Jennifer Stark On The Issues
The services and programs we enjoy are what make our community special, and our aspirations need to be balanced with a forward-thinking budget. This means we need to develop new sources of revenue, such as attracting new businesses that support our vision of Claremont and add to our city’s unique charm. Past generations have laid the foundation for our thriving civic life by investing in our community, our environment, and our human services. Claremont must attract exceptionally qualified professionals to run our city; it’s important that Claremont be not only a great place to live, but also a great place to work. Economic, social and environmental sustainability are high priorities, and they must be balanced with the needs of everyone in the community. Diversity, equity and inclusion, climate change and drought, diversifying our housing stock, and street safety pose challenges that we need to face—and fund. And our infrastructure requires constant upkeep and investment. As a city, we need to decide what we value and what we’re willing to pay for. Making these decisions together will require listening, communicating, and making hard decisions. The collective intelligence of our community, coupled with clear communication, will allow us to effectively make those choices.
Stark supports the Claremont Police Department’s mission to strengthen public partnerships and collaborative efforts to not only tackle and prevent crime, but also to engage proactively with social issues. A next step toward that mission will be to increase training programs for all CPD employees in cultural competency, implicit and explicit bias, de-escalation and how to engage with individuals who live with disabilities, mental health issues, behavioral challenges and addiction. Claremont should continue to recruit exceptional officers who want to serve as community partners who accept the challenge of participating in the evolution of public safety that is determined to be anti-racist.
In 2021, Mayor Stark and the City Council unanimously approved implementation of the Psychiatric Assessment Care Team (PACT), a collaboration between the Claremont Police Department and Tri-City Mental Health Authority to provide community mental health support. Stark believes a critical next step will be to fund the PACT team to function in a crisis response role at all hours, 24/7. Allocating PACT’s resources and expertise to address issues of mental health provides better public safety to the community and alleviates some of the tremendous responsibilities shouldered by our police officers. Importantly, Jennifer believes we must also support the mental well-being of officers. That includes providing officers and employees with excellent pay and benefits, as well as a place to do their work in a safe and healthy environment. Stark will continue to commit revenue to make that possible.
Housing, Affordability and the Unsheltered
Claremont has a role to play in addressing these complex issues facing Los
Angeles County, California, and the nation. Jennifer Stark is passionate about
advocating for housing that will accommodate Claremont residents and
attract new families. Cities must be regenerative; that absolutely requires
opportunities for people to create their lives here. Stark is a staunch supporter
of safe, sustainable, affordable, and appropriate housing.
The housing crisis affects all aspects of our community, not just those without
homes. Tackling the complicated issues surrounding insecure housing and
serving those who are unsheltered in Claremont will take ongoing effort and
passion from well-connected collaborations. Under Jennifer’s leadership as
Mayor, the City Council unanimously approved implementation of the
Psychiatric Assessment Care Team (PACT), a collaboration between the
Claremont Police Department and Tri-City Mental Health Authority to provide community mental health support. We need to continue to invest in innovative solutions to address mental health issues that complicate the challenges for those with insecure housing or shelter. This work is done in connection with Tri-City Mental Health Authority, the SGVCOG’s Housing Trust, and other regional partnerships. Jennifer believes it is important for the community to understand that every department within the City is working creatively to address the issues of housing, affordability and the unsheltered.
Urban Forest and Open Spaces
As a volunteer member of Sustainable Claremont, a Certified Tree Steward
and a supporter of the Claremont Wildlands Conservancy, Jennifer feels a
deep connection to the environmental qualities that create Claremont’s
unique sense of place. Supporting the Claremont Hills Wilderness Park
Master Plan is a priority for Jennifer, insuring that residents of Claremont and
the surrounding region are able to enjoy the benefits of well managed open
Claremont has long been known and appreciated for its tree-lined streets. The importance of a carefully planned and maintained urban forest has been well documented: trees sequester carbon, lower temperatures, increase property values and provide mental health benefits for residents and visitors. Jennifer believes strongly in insuring that the urban forest of tomorrow is thoughtfully planned with the appropriate species selection to withstand the pressures of ongoing drought and climate change. Jennifer believes that conscientious planning, care and maintenance are the way to guarantee that our city’s beautiful canopy and wild green spaces are preserved and enhanced for our children’s children and beyond.
Moving efficiently and safely within our community and throughout southern
California has long been a challenge—one that has become even greater as
we face population growth and climate change.
Jennifer Stark is invested in sustainable transportation and has worked hard to develop a deep understanding of the challenges at hand. The extension of the Metro L Line (Gold) to Claremont will greatly benefit our city and the wider community. Jennifer’s vision for Claremont includes an environmentally sound and safe transportation network of trains, light rail, and city streets to accommodate cars, bikes and pedestrians to meaningfully provide connectivity within Claremont and to the region beyond.
Prior to her election to City Council in 2018, Jennifer served on the Traffic and Transportation Commission. Jennifer continues to support the state’s proposed “Complete Streets” policies, which provide safe, accessible options for people walking, biking and taking public transit. Complete streets enhance safety and decrease dependence on driving while improving public health by encouraging active transportation like walking and biking. Additionally, in 2022 Jennifer and the City Council approved half a million dollars to introduce “traffic-calming” measures that will improve street safety in Claremont.
Stark whole-heartedly supports the funding and re-engineering of streets that have been deemed unsafe. However, we all must take personal responsibility for our role in our community’s street safety by driving in a way that keeps our children, cyclists and all citizens safe.
Claremont is home to hundreds of nonprofit organizations and many thriving businesses, the largest of which are the Claremont Colleges and the Claremont Unified School District. Claremont’s geographic location at the eastern edge of California’s most populous county and on the western edge of California’s largest county makes us well-positioned as an area hub for non-profit and for-profit businesses. Claremont has always nurtured its economic potential for small businesses. Like many residents, I too have been saddened to see some iconic businesses decide to leave Claremont recently, but I am optimistic about our economic outlook. That we mourn the loss of any business is truly a testimony to how connected businesses are to the fabric of everyday life in Claremont.
Claremont has always valued its curated, intentional planning for vibrant businesses that offer unique experiences to visitors and residents. I have worked hard to strengthen the City’s relationship with the Chamber of Commerce, and to support the City’s need for a fully and expertly staffed Planning department to work with businesses both established and new. Soon we will see the development of Village South with new commercial and housing opportunities. In addition, I am determined to work with all stakeholders to create a vision for the property at Foothill Blvd. and Monte Vista Ave. that includes adopting an Airport Land Use Plan with appropriate zoning for commercial and light industrial use. I envision this corner property to be a beautiful and welcoming eastern entrance into Claremont and a thriving contributor to our future revenue streams. As a part of the 2022-2024 budget, I was proud to be a part of approving significant contributions from the American Rescue Act Fund to support Claremont’s Economic Development, including a business grant program, business tax relief, a reinvestment into our critical partnership with Claremont Chamber of Commerce, and funding our Community Block grant program.
Claremont has been a leader when it comes to climate change, and I believe that we can and must continue that leadership through aggressive policies and the adoption of clean technologies. Our region is experiencing an exceptional drought. By the year 2035, experts estimate that recycled water projects will end our reliance on imported water from the State Water Project. While one could view California’s housing crisis and California’s drought as competing crises, the facts are that housing development and water use are not inextricably bound. In California, 80% of water gets used for agriculture, while half of the remaining 20% goes to watering lawns and landscaping, washing cars and sidewalks, and filling pools and spas. In Claremont, we must continue to improve our water efficiency, including with climate-appropriate landscaping.
We’re also working toward more sustainable sources of energy. In 2022, I worked hard to champion changing the City of Claremont ‘s default power option to 100% renewable energy, which will start in October of this year. This will reduce our collective GreenHouse Gas emissions by more than 32,000 metric tons each year - the equivalent to removing nearly 7,000 cars from the road per year. As a part of the 2022 city budget, I am proud that we designated $100,000 to the development of a future Commuter Rebate program. We will continue to reduce our energy consumption as we upgrade the City’s facilities (heating and air conditioning), installing solar panels and proceeding with non-functional turf removal.