Readers comments: 10-16 candidates

Corey for the community

Dear Editor:

As a longtime resident of Claremont, I am supporting Corey Calaycay for city council. 

Corey has consistently delivered on important community issues that directly impact our quality of life. He has voted to augment senior services, enhance youth and family programs, and support programs that make Claremont a leader in sustainability.

As the first chair of the human services commission—and as someone who has served on four Claremont commissions through the years—I know the complexities of policy decisions related to housing, economic development, public safety, transportation and human services.

To date, the policies Corey has supported have ensured our residents are safe, our streets are clean and beautiful, our Village is thriving, and our families have the services they need from youth through older adulthood.

We need a proven leader on our city council. And I want someone whose votes will take all of Claremont into consideration. I encourage our District 1 voters to vote for Corey Calaycay. 

Helaine Goldwater



Calaycay responds

Dear Editor:

My family and I moved to Claremont in 2003. Claremont is an amazing city and we love it here. I met Corey Calaycay while the Claremont Wilderness Park blew up on social media and attracted a substantial influx of visitors.

We live near the park and witnessed it overrun and disrespected; it resulted in defecation, graffiti, parking problems and sanitation and disposal issues. I had to call the police to report fornication in a car in front of my house.

I went to Corey and the Claremont City Council for help, and they responded. They helped clean the park, institute a parking plan and precise operating hours, which allowed for everyone—including me and my family—to feel safe to enjoy the Claremont Wilderness Park in all its natural beauty, and created a sustainable plan for everyone to enjoy the wilderness park for many years to come. 

Talk is cheap. Any candidate can do that. Corey is a man of action and has always kept the safety and progress of Claremont as his number one concern. I am honored to vote for Corey Calaycay.

Robert ‘Bobby’ Gomez



We need Calaycay’s experience

Dear Editor:

I really wish I could vote for more than one person for our city council, but since we can no longer do that, I will be voting for Corey Calaycay. I hope all of you who live in District 1 will do the same.

Corey was elected originally with a promise to listen to Claremont citizens and to do his best to support what the majority wants. He has always tried to do that.  This is a non-partisan office and Corey has never made it otherwise. I encourage everyone to look at his record rather than to make a choice based on political party endorsements. I say this as a lifelong Democrat, by the way.

Corey has not buckled under pressure from special interests in Claremont but tried to make decisions that would maintain the character of our city.

I have some knowledge of how much better the city government works when we have some councilmembers with greater experience, as I was on the architectural commission for eight years and have been involved in a number of city issues since coming here in 1982.

Although they are working hard and doing a good job, the three continuing members have only been on the council for two years, and the person elected for District 5 will be completely new.

With our city manager leaving at the end of the month, now more than ever it is important that we have someone on the council who remembers and understands past events and has experience of searching for a new manager. 

We need to benefit from Corey’s dedication to Claremont and his institutional memory—please vote for Corey on November 3.

Susan Schenk



Claremont needs Margiotta

Dear Editor:

As co-chairs of Christine Margiotta’s campaign for the District 1 city council seat, we’ve had the pleasure of connecting with neighbors across the city. Some have mistakenly assumed that because the name Christine Margiotta is unfamiliar to them, Christine may be unfamiliar with Claremont.

In fact, Christine grew up and remained in Claremont for college, and her family has lived here throughout her life. While this continuity is precious to Christine, other aspects of her biography are even more salient to her candidacy.

Christine works on solving social issues across LA County as a nonprofit executive, and her countywide successes have a measurable impact on the wellbeing of our city. Following the economic downturn in 2008, Christine was instrumental in designing and leading a Funders Collaborative that leveraged $1 billion toward alleviating homelessness for tens of thousands of people across our county, including here in Claremont. She also chairs the LA County Measure H Citizens Oversight Advisory Board, which ensures the responsible use of taxpayer dollars.

Whether one knows her personally, Christine has been going to bat for Claremont her whole career. She also knows how to work within financial constraints, be accountable to constituencies and employees, and manage multi-million dollar budgets—sums far exceeding Claremont’s budget.

In times of uncertainty, we often turn to the familiar. But given what you, our neighbors, have shared with us, “more of the same” isn’t what our community needs. Familiarity is not the basis of effective leadership, especially as the city faces a constellation of challenges calling for experience no other candidates possess.

Candidates should be assessed on the merits of their capabilities and accomplishments, and Christine has the track record, local mindset, and regional connections that our city urgently needs at this moment. Please join us in voting for Christine Margiotta for District 1.

Sorrel Stielstra and Phalana Tiller



Margiotta for sustainability

Dear Editor:

The 2020 wildfires surrounding Claremont should remind us all that climate change and C02 pollution are the defining issues of our time. What are the practical and immediate steps we can take to protect ourselves, our homes and everyone in Claremont? 

The California Energy Commission has stated that 100 percent electrification of all new buildings is the easiest and most immediate step which cities can take to limit (and eventually end) C02 pollution, the major cause of climate change. This simply means that all buildings would be built with heating, cooling, cooking and hot water production by means of electricity rather than fossil fuels.

It’s simple, direct and something we can do today, if we have leaders with the courage to take real steps in protecting Claremont. 

Unfortunately there is only one candidate for the city council with this courage and that is Christine Margiotta. She is running in District 1 and I wholeheartedly endorse her candidacy. Claremont can be a real leader in boldly moving to net zero buildings, and Christine Margiotta understands the urgency of this issue.

Please join me in endorsing and voting for Ms. Margiotta for city council.

Peter L. Coye



Courser has a clear vision

Dear Editor:

On November 3, City Council District 1 has an opportunity to elect a candidate whose abilities are just what is needed for our community at this time in our history. Zach Courser has shown his commitment to Claremont through his tireless efforts on behalf of issues of importance to us all.

I have had the opportunity to work with him in the Claremont Homeless Advocacy Program (CHAP), and observed first hand the ways that he assessed the needs of the homeless and brought about concrete resources to meet their needs.

He brings the perfect array of skills needed to solve the problems that citizens of Claremont are concerned about. He has already demonstrated his commitment to serve. Whether it has been his role with the Traffic and Transportation Commission, the board of Claremont Heritage, or the board of Pilgrim Place, Zach has made sound contributions.

He lives his value of inclusiveness through his personal outreach to people. He listens carefully and provides thoughtful responses to questions.

Given the budget issues facing every city government, his expertise as a public policy educator places him in a unique position and background to guide effective decision-making.

At a time when political discourse is divisive and shortsighted, Zach Courser has a clear vision that will see Claremont into a solid future.

Amy Duncan



Courser skilled at policy

Dear Editor:

I felt compelled to write as I see the wealth of discussion about the city council race in District 1.

I appreciate the dedication it takes for anyone to consider serving our city, so I want to acknowledge all efforts, but I do think it is important to not lose sight of the one candidate whose breadth of knowledge and depth of commitment right here in Claremont is truly unique.

I first met Zach Courser in shared work with the Claremont Homelessness Advocacy Program. I’ve been moved by Zach’s compassionate sensitivity in the way he works to meet the needs of that population through grant-writing and program development support.

He has demonstrated his commitment and support of Claremont over the years by his direct involvement in both civic and nonprofit organizations.

I must confess though that where I’ve learned the most about the extent of Zach’s public policy expertise has come quite simply from hearing him on NPR. 

Over time, I’ve had the chance to appreciate his grasp of local, regional, state        and national policy issues as a regular listener to his analyses on both Air Talk and Take Two on KPCC. He’s a good thinker.

It would be tragic for Claremont to miss out on this rare combination of direct works and high-level policy understanding. He’s hands-on; he’s grassroots; and operates at an executive level. Please join me in voting for Zach in District 1.

Gus Boesch



Ceraso will listen

Dear Editor:

I am writing to proudly support Michael Ceraso for District 5. 

Mike caught my attention the moment he hosted a conversation about mental health and COVID-19. As an advocate for preventative mental health, I was incredibly happy to see a candidate speak so boldly about his own story, and listen to those around him.

As we navigate our way through this pandemic and into the future, it’s imperative Claremont has leaders who are transparent, kind and compassionate. Representatives who build community, strengthen connections and truly listen to the people they represent. Mike is this leader.

Mike is already putting the “community first” by engaging with people. He is first finding out what people think and how they feel. He is listening to concerns, listening to what is working, listening to those most marginalized and then creating a plan to strengthen and build our community. Mike is hosting conversations about real issues. He is creating a plan for Claremont based upon what the people say.

How wonderful to see a natural born leader connecting with families and the community in new and innovative ways. He is already building community and has the ability to continue to do so. We need representatives who can think outside the box, adapt and be flexible. Mike is this person. I am confident he will listen, lead and represent Claremont well. Mike Ceraso will be a wonderful addition to the city council. He has my full support. I hope he has yours too.

Sarah Rockne



Medina for District 5

Dear Editor:

I’ve held a few titles in my time in Claremont. Currently I serve as president of the Democratic Club of Claremont; however, this letter is on behalf of myself, a resident of the newly created 5th district in Claremont. We truly have a great opportunity in District 5 with candidate Sal Medina. 

Yes, I know him well. Yes, I am volunteering on his campaign committee. But more importantly, yes, he is the most uniquely qualified person to represent our part of town and to help our city during these challenging economic times. 

How fortunate we are that one of our successful business owners is willing to bring his understanding and enterprise expertise to our city council. How fortunate we are that he and his wife understand the issues we face in District 5 and all of Claremont.

With so much focus and anticipation with Village South, it is vitally important that we approve a development that is a place for future Claremont families while expanding the great elements of the Village.  

Our local city council campaigns are compounded with the pandemic, national issues and politics, all local races combined, and now district elections—this truly is overwhelming. 

As our attention is being pulled in every direction possible, let’s remember where we can make the greatest impact, and that is at our local government level. If we want to talk about adding programs and social services for youth, families, seniors and the homeless, the city will need additional revenue. To generate that revenue, we need a successful economic environment and vision for the city.  

Sal is the person who can work with other council members, staff, the Chamber of Commerce and our residents to develop a robust economic vision. As a successful business owner, he is about action, not mottos. 

District 5 has long been the economic engine for the entire city. It is also where we have our historic Mexican community and newer, younger Claremont families of color. Sal Medina would represent us well on all those fronts.

Sam Pedroza



As simple as ABC

Dear Editor:

Unlike other residents who have endorsed candidates in the upcoming city council elections, I am not going to tell my neighbors in District 1 who I think they should vote for. I do, however, hope to persuade them to be “ABC” voters—which is to say, “Anyone but Corey.”

Preliminarily, I want to make clear that this is not a personal attack. Other than addressing the council I have never spoken to Corey, much less had an actual conversation with him. My opposition to his reelection is based solely on his irresponsible and untrustworthy conduct as a council member. 

Corey is one of five council members who managed to lose $12 million of the taxpayer’s money in a failed attempt to take over the local water system—but the only one who has run for reelection after the case was dismissed. We literally cannot afford to let him serve another term. 

Corey was repeatedly warned that the takeover was a reckless gamble, that the financial projections it was based on were badly flawed, and that the city was almost certain to lose millions of dollars. In fact, he was provided with detailed analyses, which spelled out exactly why the takeover would fail. He ignored them all.

Had Corey taken these warnings seriously enough to ask a few obvious questions, this disaster could have been completely avoided. To add insult to injury, Corey refused to even consider the possibility of filing a malpractice action against the law firm that advised the city to pursue what we now know to have been a legally baseless lawsuit. 

The water takeover fiasco was not even Corey’s most expensive mistake. During his 15-year tenure on the council, Claremont has run up an unfunded pension debt of more than $50 million—and a multi-million-dollar structural deficit—while neighboring cities have managed to generate large annual surpluses, accrue little or no pension debt, and keep tens of millions of dollars in reserve.

Last year alone we spent $5 million more on law enforcement and almost $2 million less on non-police services than San Dimas. Every month Claremont wastes almost a half-million dollars that could be used to pay down our massive debt, replenish our reserves, and restore funding for essential programs. Corey has not only turned a blind eye to these misplaced priorities; he has actively prevented the city from implementing long-overdue reforms. 

To be honest, I have no idea if any of the other candidates will do a better job than Corey. Like it or not, there is only one way for citizens to ensure that our city is governed honestly and competently—and that is to unseat elected officials when they betray our trust. If the voters don’t hold Corey accountable for his record, we can’t expect that any council member will ever be held accountable in the future. It’s as simple as ABC.

Jim Belna



Bring back Tony

Dear Editor:

With Tara Schultz leaving her job as city manager at the end of October, the city council will surely be looking to quickly fill the position. Here is a crazy idea. Why not bring Tony Ramos back? He could finish what he started and lead the city all the way to bankruptcy and beyond. 

After all, it was under his leadership that the city squandered $12 million on the epic failed water company takeover. And let’s not forget his two failed police-station bond measures, which were based on the false narrative that our current police station could not be repaired. 

Of course, he is already drawing a six-figure pension from the city, but hey, double dipping will surely get us to bankruptcy, sooner. And once we get there, Mr. Ramos, with his personal experience, is uniquely qualified to lead us through all the bankruptcy loopholes. 

Bring back Tony! 

Donna Lowe





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