by Steven Felschundneff | [email protected]
What a difference a day makes.
In our Friday, August 12 edition, we reported that as the deadline approached, only one incumbent City Council member had a challenger in the November election. But by the Monday, August 15 deadline, the three starters had a race on their hands.
In a flurry of activity on Deadline Day, Aundre Johnson and Maura Carter became qualified candidates for the council, meaning they had collected all 20 nomination signatures and submitted the forms to the city clerk.
On Wednesday, Johnson had taken the next step by forming a committee and providing the city with the necessary paperwork that will allow him to spend or raise more than $2,000 for his campaign. Carter had not yet filed those documents.
Pro Tem Mayor Ed Reece will run against former City Councilman Peter Yao in District 2, Councilwoman Jennifer Stark will face Carter in District 3 and Mayor Jed Leano will face Johnson in District 4.
While the incumbents, and Yao, are household names to COURIER readers, less is known about Johnson and Carter.
Johnson works as a television and film director and has provided Covid security management on Hollywood studio grounds throughout the global pandemic. He is married and has two sons who currently attend Claremont Elementary Schools.
He was a member of the Claremont Police Station Citizens’ Advisory Committee formed after the failure of the first bond measure to fund and build a new police station. He was also a member of the No on Measure CR committee, which in November 2019 succeeded in defeating the ordinance that would have raised sales tax in Claremont by 0.75% with money paid into the general fund.
“I’m running for office to make sure the city council is focused on increasing transparency with issues that impact our community,” Johnson said. “Likewise, I want to emphasize that the city council exists to serve all constituencies. I want to make Claremont a safe place for everyone to live while preserving Claremont’s sense of place by maintaining the unique quality of our neighborhoods.
Carter grew up in Claremont, attending local public schools and Claremont colleges. She has “worked, volunteered and participated in community events in Claremont”, including taking an active role in the “Keep La Puerta Public” campaign, which opposes Trumark Homes’ proposed development of the former site of school at 2475 N. Forbes Avenue.
“I want to continue the diversity, inclusiveness and accessibility of this beautiful city. I have many longtime friends, neighbors and associates in Claremont and enjoy a strong sense of community. I have great respect for the intergenerational voices of Claremont. I will serve Claremont with integrity, dedication to fiscal responsibility and commitment to safety, inclusiveness and sustainability,” she said.
Yao quit his job on Claremont City Council in 2010 so he could serve on the Citizens Redistricting Committee. His 10-year commitment to this organization is now over, so he is refocusing his efforts on serving Claremont.
“I am seeking another role on Claremont City Council after my previous term in 2010 to address some outstanding issues in our community. There are significant opportunities to showcase the partnership between the city and Claremont Colleges, and strengthening the town-gown relationship remains critical to ensuring Claremont’s growth. Claremont Colleges provide a world-class academic environment, and strengthening the city’s contribution to that atmosphere will be a boon for both parties. I’m also looking to tackle Claremont’s employee pension to ensure our dedicated public servants are financially protected once they retire,” Yao said.
A full profile of each candidate will be released ahead of the November 8 election, however, in the interest of giving incumbents an equal voice, each has submitted the following statements for release:
“I am delighted to continue to serve Claremont on the City Council. Claremont is in a much stronger position than when I took office in 2018. I will continue to do what I do best in this campaign and in a second term: providing a positive vision of progress, dignified and accessible leadership , and a renewed focus on our greatest challenges over the next four years,” said Leano.
“Despite the pandemic, I am proud to have delivered on my election promises of four years ago regarding public safety, financial stability, housing, sustainability and transportation. I recognize that there is still much to do, including managing our urban forest, maintaining fiscal stability, improving public safety, thoughtful affordable housing, and more. I look forward to another four years of fruitful collaboration with Claremont staff, fellow councilors and the community to advance our shared vision for our hometown,” said Reece.
“I am running to continue serving Claremont because I feel a deep sense of responsibility and gratitude to our community – a community with a heritage rooted in intentional and managed planning for organized evolution and development. My hope is to learn from our past successes while seizing the challenges and opportunities that come with living in a complex world. By balancing the gifts of our heritage with courageous change management and forward-thinking leadership, we will be prepared for uncertainty. I believe that the democratic process is a collaborative and cooperative process, and that by centering our values on fairness, sustainability and community, we all get a more rational chance to prosper and grow towards a healthy future,” said said Stark.