Readers comments 6.7.13
Homegrown success story
I have been a Claremont resident and patron of Pizza ‘N Such for over 30 years. It is very disheartening to see the city and Mike and Sue Verbal litigate over the use (or misuse?) of their $165,000 in city parking fees required to expand their restaurant in 2002.
Mike is a lifelong resident and has toiled long and hard to develop the business. When he and Sue first opened, it was truly a “mom and pop” operation. Since then, they have worked hard to expand the restaurant, employing over 35 people. They have given dozens of youths their first work experience, bought and reinforced the building at Yale and Second and opened a second retail business at this location.
The Verbals have supported youth groups, community events and numerous downtown projects over the years. They are truly a “homegrown” success story. They were early investors in our historic downtown, as Pizza ‘N Such, along with Walter’s and Espiau’s, led the way for the Village’s expansion.
It is puzzling to me that the city apparently collected this fee and used it for a project on the west side of Indian Hill when the purpose of the fee was clearly to develop parking on the east side of Indian Hill and directly mitigate the expansion of the Verbals’ restaurant.
Then, after collecting this exorbitant amount, the city greatly reduced the fee for other businesses because of a surplus of parking in 2010. However, as many will attest, parking on the east side of Indian Hill is still problematic most of the day.
The city may defend itself and win on technical merits, but is fundamentally wrong if the funds were used other than for which they were collected.
It’s sad that this cannot be resolved without the expense and trouble of litigation to both parties.
Martin R. Lomeli
Henry Rollins and Claremont
Henry Rollins has at least one additional Claremont connection not stated in your article (COURIER, May 24).
Henry’s first 3 books—Two Thirteen Sixty One (1985), End to End (1985) and Polio Flesh (1986)—from Illiterati Press were edited and published by Laura Cloud, Claremont High School class of 1971.
Dismiss the city attorney
Attendees at the most recent Claremont city council meeting on May 28 were treated to quite a performance by our city attorney, Sonia Carvalho. This all occurred during the council discussion of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns resolution, which wasn’t actually a resolution according to Larry Schroeder, even though that’s what the printed agenda called it, but I digress.
First, Ms. Carvalho was observed passing notes to one council member, who then appeared to use the info from her note(s) as part of his rebuttal.
She then injected herself into the council debate over what the mayor’s options might be, after that what-ever-it-was passed 3-2. It seemed that by her unsolicited input regarding general law cities and the government code, she was goading, even egging on, Councilmember Joe Lyons to sign the MAIG petition as “mayor” of Claremont, after Mayor Opanyi Nasiali expressed his disinclination to sign.
Finally, she added comments about Mayor Nasiali serving as mayor only at the discretion/behest of the council, which comments were expressed in quite a humiliating and insulting manner.
All considered, this is intolerable behavior on the part of a hired staff member, in this case a city attorney. Very inappropriate and highly unprofessional. The city attorney’s job is to offer neutral, unbiased legal assistance, as needed, and only when appropriate. What is not appropriate is for a city attorney to be taking sides in a council discussion and, in essence, trying to act as a sixth council member, as she so obviously was.
Based upon Ms. Carvalho’s actions that night, she should be immediately dismissed as Claremont’s city attorney, since she knows not how to conduct herself properly.
Debate on illegal guns
During our recent city council debate on whether to support the Mayors Against Illegal Guns, opponents stated that the statement is “just words” and will have no effect, and they complained that the council should not spend so much time on it.
If the opponents think it’s so ineffective, they shouldn’t have bothered to oppose it. If they hadn’t opposed it and created a debate over it, the council wouldn’t have spent so much time on it. The opponents created the problem about which they are complaining.
In addition, they claimed that it isn’t a local matter, so the council shouldn’t address it. I disagree. The city is responsible for law enforcement, and illegal guns make that more difficult. That makes it an issue for city government.
In fact, anything which affects the residents of Claremont is a local issue. The council’s responsibility isn’t only to serve the interests of the city government; it’s to serve the interests of the city’s residents. Government at any level doesn’t exist for its own benefit; it exists for ours. Lower levels of government, such as our city, exercise that responsibility in part by petitioning higher levels to act in our benefit.
Two members of the council said that they would not vote for a resolution supporting the Mayors Against Illegal Guns. One of their reasons was that not all Claremont residents agree with it. This isn’t a good reason; instead it’s a justification for paralysis. There will always be some residents who disagree.
If an elected official supports an action or statement, he should explain why it is in the public interest. If he opposes it, he should explain why it’s not. “Some people don’t agree” isn’t such a reason.
League is left-leaning
Ellen Taylor’s recent submissions to the COURIER on behalf of the League of Women Voters illustrates how misleading this organization’s name is, especially since it suggests it serves all women when, in fact, it clearly is a mouthpiece for the policies of the Democratic Party. It truly is a classic example of false advertising.
While liberal men are welcome, the real message to conservative women is that they need not apply. In fact, Sarah Palin would have a better chance of being invited to attend a MoveOn.org board meeting than would an openly conservative woman become a member of the LWV.
Happily, I have 2 solutions for the League’s dishonesty in this regard. First I would suggest the local chapter apply to the national office to change its name to The League of Liberal Women Voters (LLWV) so as to appear more honest in the eyes of the public. Recognizing that the national organization would refuse this request, this action would at least give a patina of integrity to the local chapter.
Barring this eventuality, I have a more draconian solution.
Since the difference in political outlook between the League and the Claremont Democratic Club is negligible, I recommend these local chapters merge, with the League membership assuming the role of the Democratic Club’s women’s auxiliary, whose primary mission would be to provide cakes, cookies, tapioca and other sweet treats at regular meetings.
Further I would also suggest Ms. Taylor provide Girl Scout cookies at these get-togethers purchased from the same troop she, with police backup, evicted from her office site some years ago. In a small way this would atone for her previous cold-hearted behavior and might allay the troop’s fears of a repeat raid by a cookie monster and Claremont PD in the future.