Wes Woods II, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
Created: 10/22/2011 06:09:01 PM PDT

CLAREMONT — Councilman Corey Calaycay has received a letter from a political action committee saying it will “actively oppose” him in future elections apparently as a result of his stance in the stymied city negotiations with the police union.

Calaycay received the letter dated Oct. 19 under the letterhead of COPFIRE — “Committee Of Police and Fire Associations Inspiring Responsible Elections” — saying he was “someone we should actively oppose in future elections as result of your failure to prioritize public safety in your position as a Claremont City Councilman.”

A member of the board of COPFIRE is Dieter Dammeier, attorney for the Claremont Police Officers Association, which is in an impasse in negotiations with the city.

“It’s called hardball politics,” said Bob Stern, former president of the nonprofit, nonpartisan Center for Governmental Studies. “They’re stating in writing a lot of time what they state in person. They’re not saying vote for this or else. They’re just saying vote for what we believe in or else.”

Stern added that “in a sense (the letter) intimidates other council members.”

The City Council is scheduled to vote on determining benefits for the police officers associations at its 6:30 p.m. Tuesday meeting at City Hall, 207 Harvard Ave. Affected as both Claremont Police Officers Association, as well as the Claremont Police Management Association.

The police officers union has claimed a new contract requires its members to pay 6 percent as its contribution to the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, which is more than the 3 percent contributed other city employees have been asked to pay. The city however said other employees will also be making the 6 percent contribution.

Dammeier said the Southern California association that sent the letter to Calaycay did not have Claremont members and the letter was unrelated to Tuesday’s meeting.

“It’s highlighted by negotiations,” Dammeier said on Friday. “The issue remains aside from the letter as far as staffing being down under Calaycay’s watch. Every facet of the department has been cut. It’s one thing for cities out there that are broke but that’s not the case here. Here the city spends money on other things not as important as public safety.”

Dammeier said even though there was no Claremont membership in COPFIRE, “the cops and firefighters stick together.”

He said Calaycay was targeted because he has run in the past for the Assembly.

“COPFIRE looks from a global perspective rather than a local perspective,” he said.

Calaycay acknowledged his receipt of the letter in an e-mailed statement, saying he wanted the public to know its message.

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