Council notes: restaurant grant approved, police arrest taggers

by Steven Felschundneff |

During public comment at Tuesday’s Claremont City Council meeting a resident complained about the large amount of graffiti that had been spray painted over the weekend at Blaisdell Park, in the 400 block of S. College Ave. The woman expressed alarm at the vandalism and wanted to know when the city would be removing the graffiti.

In a stroke of luck, and good police work, an officer on patrol at 11:27 p.m. Saturday saw a Honda Accord stopped in the closed park and questioned the occupants. The officer reported that there were three or four youths standing outside the vehicle and called for backup, according to Lt. Karlan Bennett.

While talking to the boys, the officer noticed a considerable amount of graffiti on bathrooms and trash bins and reported that it appeared to be tagging by a specific gang, which included rival gang tags crossed out. The officer said the graffiti appeared fresh and that the odor of spray paint remained in the air. Police reported that the youths had paint of the same color on their hands.

A request to search the car was denied by the young men, so police impounded the car to obtain a search warrant so that evidence could be obtained.

One minor and two adults, Angel Gomez, 18, of Pomona and Matthew Pulido, 18, of Montclair, were arrested on charges of felony vandalism. A third adult was released without charges. The juvenile was released into the custody of a parent and the adults were held for court. However, a judge later released the pair on their own recognizance.

According to city maintenance workers the damage to the park was in excess of $5,000.

During the meeting, City Manager Adam Pirrie said the city contracts with a graffiti removal company which generally responds within 24 hours to remove the spray paint if it is on public property.

Block grant incentive funding for La Popular restaurant

By a unanimous vote, and without any lengthy discussion, the City Council approved a $75,000 grant for La Popular restaurant, which is currently under construction at the former Rhino Records location. The applicant, Eureka Restaurant Group LLC, is the same company that runs Eureka! restaurant on First Street.

The money will be provided through the city’s 2022-23 Community Development Block Grant Job Creation and Business Incentive Program. The funding will be used for marketing, employee development, business expenses, and purchase of equipment, according to a staff report from Community Development Director Brad Johnson.

“In exchange for the $75,000 forgivable loan, the Applicant must create and maintain three, full-time equivalent (FTE) income-eligible jobs for persons with extremely low- to moderate- income for a period of three years,” read the staff report.

Claremont’s business incentive program is part of a larger federal grant program initiated in 1974, which provides funding to cities to facilitate projects that benefit low-income residents. Claremont receives its CDBG funding from the Los Angeles County Development Authority, which performs many of the administrative tasks required to comply with the Federal regulations.

When completed, La Popular will have an approximately 2,090-square-foot interior dining area with 127 seats and a new 842-square-foot outdoor dining patio with 56 seats.


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