Wes Woods II, Staff Writer
Created: 02/26/2011 09:48:05 PM PST

CLAREMONT – Mayor Linda Elderkin is not through with the city even after she has decided to leave her city post in order to spend more time with her family.

“I will definitely be watching,” said Elderkin, who was elected to the City Council in March 2007. She was perceived as an establishment candidate because much of her support base featured longtime community activists and former council members.

In 1974, Elderkin moved to Claremont with her husband, Rick, and became involved in a range of organizations including Little League, theater groups and the League of Women Voters of the Claremont Area.

“The reason I ran for City Council is that Claremont is a unique volunteer community,” Elderkin said. “It’s a remarkable city where people work together for the best community they can possibly have.”

Elderkin, 64, was asked to give advice to those running for City Council. She said community commitment and long-term vision are most important.

“In Claremont it’s very important to communicate to the residents that you really understand the community and have the ability to think about the long-term best interests of the community in a way that in each little decision shapes the character of the community,” Elderkin said.

Looking at a short-term issue is not a winning strategy for candidates, Elderkin said.

“I think sometimes candidates get so focused on making a short-term splash and go with the hot-button item that they lose sight of the fact they are being elected for their judgment and their ability to see how the day-to-day decisions can transform the community for better or for worse.”

Concerning her own experience on the City Council, Elderkin said she enjoyed working with members in a “civil, respectful way” through difficult conflicts that allowed the council to make progress to serve the community.

Elderkin said when she ran for office she was “very concerned” about the lack of civil discourse in Claremont city government.

“In the new council to come I hope whoever is elected will put a top priority on civil discourse,” Elderkin said. “A courteous City Council will get a lot more done.”

Elderkin said the council that preceded her term had “real challenges” in civil discourse.

Numerous items were accomplished during her tenure, including the design and implementation of a comprehensive sustainability plan; the construction of Padua Park; a multigenerational affordable housing project; working with Arteco Partners to open Padua Hills theater; acquiring more open space in the form of Johnson’s Pasture and the Cuevas property.

“It’s a very long list in my mind of things going on in the right direction despite the fact for the last three years we’ve been cutting the budget, laying off staff and reshaping the city to fit the demands of the economy,” Elderkin said.

New council members will enjoy a “wonderful staff,” Elderkin said.

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