Wes Woods II, Staff Writer
Created: 01/11/2011 05:30:22 PM PST

CLAREMONT – City Council hopefuls offered their ideas on city economics at a Tuesday morning candidates forum.

Participants at the Claremont Chamber of Commerce networking breakfast and candidates forum featured incumbent Sam Pedroza and candidates Robin Haulman, Rex Jaime, Michael John Keenan, Joseph M. Lyons, Opanyi K. Nasiali and Jay Pocock.

Andrew Behnke, general manager of the DoubleTree Hotel and moderator, said council candidate and teacher Joseph Armendarez was unable to attend the forum.

Candidates were asked by Behnke to explain their motivation to run for council.

Nasiali said fiscal responsibility was a top priority.

“We must live within our means,” Nasiali said.

Lyons said he respected the long-standing respect for process in Claremont, especially involving citizens in planning.

Haulman said she was running because she had been involved in politics for the last eight years including a three-year stint as chairwoman of the Architectural Commission.

“I believe I have a good grasp of the tough problems that are currently facing our city,” Haulman said. Jaime said he believed in community engagement and meeting people and gathering information from them.

Pocock, who mentioned oversized city pensions as a problem, said what was happening fiscally was scary and the city would not be able to keep its parks if it didn’t focus on its money.

“We need to keep it for the people,” Pocock said. Incumbent Pedroza said he “strongly” believed in the value of public service and representative government.

“I provide some perspectives we haven’t had in quite a while. Mainly being from the southern part of town, but also the young families and youth sports …,” he said.

Keenan said there was corporate money overwhelming city government.

“It kind of removes the need for citizen participation,” Keenan said. A question about addressing Claremont’s current financial condition also turned up different answers.

Lyons said ways to find savings included negotiations with city employee association members to save money and reduce the city’s environmental, water and electricity consumption.

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