The $273,000 temper tantrum, ‘Stormwatch 2023,’ and Cash goes national

by Mick Rhodes |

It appears the petition drive to compel Claremont Unified School District to pony up an estimated $273,000 for a special election will succeed.

Multiple sources have told me Joshua Rogers and his acolytes gathered 118 signatures on the petition. The document was turned over to the Los Angeles County Registrar Recorder’s Office last Friday. The registrar now has 30 days to complete the certification of the petition. If the registrar finds enough of those signatures are valid — the figure petition proponents arrived at was 99 — then we will be off to the races. By state law, the election would have to take place prior to July 29.

What a shame.

What a waste.

Rogers and his supporters claim the will of Trustee Area 4 voters was subverted when on January 18 the CUSD Board of Education appointed Hilary LaConte to fill the seat left vacant by former president Steven Llanusa, who resigned in December.

The board had 10 applicants for the vacant seat and interviewed nine, including the press-averse Rogers and Aaron Peterson, the runner-up to Llanusa by a wide margin in last November’s election. It selected former board member LaConte, a well-liked, intelligent, effective public servant to serve through December 2024.

LaConte told me she will not run in a special election, primarily because whomever is elected would serve through December 2026. She’s already served 13 years on the board, and four more would just be too much, she said. She saw making herself available for a stopgap appointment as a kindness to the district, and so did many others, me included.

The moment the registrar announces the petition is valid, which seems inevitable, LaConte will no longer be on the school board.

Rogers and his ilk will presumably get behind Peterson, or Rogers may run. Others will likely throw their hat in. It’s going to be a circus the majority of Trustee Area 4 voters will probably want no part of.

What confounds me most is political conservatives — and some of the petition supporters clearly fall into this category — are forever wagging their fingers at wasteful government spending, claiming they are arbiters of fiscal responsibility. In this instance some of those same folks are demanding CUSD spend more than a quarter million dollars of taxpayer money on an unnecessary election.

The whole thing amounts to a $273,000 temper tantrum.

What a bummer.

Stormwatch 2023

How fun is that cliché? We Southern Californians joke about how 1/4 inch of rain sometimes prompts TV news reporters (sorry guys and gals, it’s nothing personal) to shoot live outdoor remote segments wearing raincoats, hats, and boots, warning us that precipitation-caused catastrophe is imminent.

But this week’s storm looks to be the real thing.

A National Weather Service spokesperson told me the very cold, very windy storm, which originated in British Columbia, may cause snow to accumulate in Claremont. Whoa! By the time you read this, it may have already happened. Or not. Either way, the storm has caused the NWS to issue blizzard warnings in the L.A. County mountains for the first time in at least 40 years. That’s certainly “Stormwatch 2023”-worthy.

My colleagues in the Courier newsroom say Claremont hasn’t seen accumulated snow since 1972. Count on us to inundate you with all manner of snow photos should it come to pass that we do see the white stuff this weekend.

Regardless, we’re in for a big storm. The NWS said we could get between two and six inches of rain Wednesday through Sunday. Here’s to hoping our roofs are sound and our storm drains are up to the challenge.

Cash goes national

Though it may be pushed by breaking news, local unhoused man Cash Whiteley’s segment by lead anchor David Begnaud is scheduled to air in the 8 a.m. hour Friday, February 24 on CBS Mornings.

Cash told me he hopes sharing his story will do some good. “We’ve got to get people out of their own judgmental habits and start seeing homeless as people,” he said.


I continue to root for Cash, as do many Courier readers. After his TV appearance, I suspect the whole nation will be rooting for him.

He’s got a long way to go, but there’s no denying he’s come far in a few short months. It seems the momentum gathering behind him, and the remarkable results from his ongoing skin cancer treatments, are going to be enough to push him over the finish line.

What a joy that would be.


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