Readers’ comments: April 14, 2023

Are graphics at new business out of step with city priority?
Dear editor:
On a recent walk through the Village I became aware that Sancho’s Tacos will replace Heroes and Legends on Yale Avenue. I was immediately appalled by the image on the window depicting a very negative Mexican stereotype. Additionally, the term “sancho” is a vulgar slang word for a male lover with whom someone is engaging in an illicit affair.
I checked on to see if there were already other locations and discovered that there are seven in Southern California. Then as I saw the restaurant interior decorations I became offended and disgusted by the negative stereotypes of Mexican people and irreverent religious paintings (Last Supper, Virgin of Guadalupe).
To see the inside photos, go to and search for “Sanchos Tacos” in Huntington Beach, CA, and click on “see all photos.”
Ironically, I found the following info on the Claremont City website at dated July 6, 2022 under the heading, “City Council New Budget Priority to Develop Anti-Racist/Anti-Discrimination Policies”: “The City Council added a new priority for the 2022-24 Budget focused on developing anti-racist, anti-discrimination policies and plans to achieve community and organizational diversity, equity, and inclusion.”
So, I have to ask, is Sancho’s Tacos, in its retrograde style of business, representative of Claremont culture now and in the future? Is the City Council not focusing on its own mandate?
I am also e-mailing this information to each of the City Council members.
I would very much appreciate your opinion and hopefully an article in the Courier exposing this situation to the Claremont public.
Jaime Chavez


Freedom isn’t free of guardrails
Dear editor:
Leslie Watkins calls my recent letter to the Courier [Readers’ comments, March 31] “nonsense personal opinion” [Readers’ comments, April 7]. Since I don’t know what is nonsense and why he thinks so, I’ll stick to the “personal opinion” claim.
To call something “personal opinion” is to dismiss it out of hand. Though he talks of “facts,” he is refusing to consider the easily available facts about gun violence.
While he indulges in his own personal opinions, they need to be replied to. He focuses on two issues: safety and freedom.
With too many guns already in private hands, innocent people going about their business, expecting to be safe, end up in the line of fire. Will someone take pot shots at your car on the freeway? Will a co-worker walk in and start firing? Will you be shot by a disgruntled employee as you wait to deposit money? Imagine your own scenario.
With guns galore, we Americans simply do not have the peace that one can find elsewhere in the world where a gun culture does not exist. And Watkins, wanting everyone to have a gun (at least one), thinks that arming everyone will make a safer country!
To give up one’s guns may or may not be a diminishment of an individual’s freedom. But we give up individual freedom for the public good all the time: Watkins is not free to punch me in the nose because he feels like it; the harm an act produces is a legitimate reason for removing it from a person’s freedom. If you pay any attention to the harm produced by the guns rampant in this country, then you will see that surrendering one’s guns as I recommended is what must be done.
Merrill Ring


No sympathy for gun rights advocate
Dear editor:
I’m playing the world’s smallest violin in sympathy for Second Amendment snowflake Leslie Watkins [Readers’ comments, April 7]. Leslie is whining about losing Constitutional rights if, say, assault weapons, the weapon of choice for mass killers of American schoolchildren, are banned. Leslie, take a deep breath and remember: (1) hundreds of armed police officers were on site but failed, at least partly out of fear of a shooter armed with an assault weapon, to enter the Uvalde, Texas elementary school where 19 children and 2 teachers were being slaughtered; and (2) Leslie, if assault weapons are banned you will still have your choice of hundreds of other legally available firearms.
Finally, consider that while you whine about possibly losing some of your rights (a premise which is debatable) if common sense gun safety rules like those proposed by Gabby Giffords (an American hero who you went after disrespectfully in your first letter) are enacted, I’m way more concerned about those children and adults who permanently lost all of their Constitutional rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, as they are now dead.
Mark Levine


Preserving Claremont’s tree legacy, part II
Dear editor:
Judy Wright became an historic preservation advocate, author, and the mayor of Claremont dealing with Claremont Wilderness Park. Thanks to Judy, Claremont has preserved many California oaks. She was a supporter of our tree legacy.
Across 10th Street from the Wright’s home live Susan Castagnetto and Richard Lewis. They have a magnificent California oak in their backyard near the alley. City trucks collect garbage, recycling, and green waste along this alley. Jason Barber, the city’s community improvement coordinator, sent a letter over a year ago. Jason brought in a sanitation supervisor insisting that the owner have the tree removed at the city’s expense. The tree is to be removed by May 1 or face a fine of $100 to $500 per day. The tree “is still creating an obstruction and continues to be a safety hazard for our City employees,” read the letter.
There is no need for garbage trucks in this alley. Tenth Street neighbors are willing to move their own or have a “concierge” service take trash to the city’s curb — just as most of us have been doing for years.
According to our 2018 Open Tree Map, a 31” diameter oak conserves 276 kwh/year ($61 saved); filters stormwater 6,230 gal/year ($34 saved); improves air quality -13.3 lbs/year ($21 saved); removes carbon dioxide 643.4 lbs/year ($2 saved); and stores 8,144.9 lbs ($27 saved). These values increase as we update the inventory. Over a 100-year life, an urban oak tree is valuable.
Claremont City Council should stop this order to have the oak tree removed. Claremont needs policies and procedures for our tree legacy… valuing our trees.
Mark von Wodtke
Mark von Wodtke, FASLA, is professor emeritus at Cal Poly Pomona, landscape architecture.


Will Christians truly support the marginalized?
Dear editor:
The Easter week edition of the Courier on page one stated, “Jesus was all about the marginalized, and somehow that message gets lost on people.” [“Protest voices support for rights of queer, transgender youth,” April 7] How true!
The state of California requires that the City of Claremont come up with several hundred housing units for low-income persons, and another 300 or so units are required for middle income types.
Claremont is mostly built up, and there is little land available for construction of so many units. Some have suggested that the churches of the city provide some of the land now used as church parking lots for the mandated low-income housing.
This proposal will be a real test for pastors and church congregations. Will generous Christianity prevail over the more selfish forces of preserving property values and fear of crime?
In the case of the strawberry fields of a few years back [at the corner of Base Line Road and Towne Avenue, now the site of the Meadow Park development], it was the more selfish values that prevailed. The Larkin Park land proposal [Larkin Place] will be won for the poor only by the state mandates.
“Save Claremont” is on signs all over town. Are we to believe that one low-income facility with fewer than 50 residents would destroy the city?
The Christians of Claremont face a test in the near future. Will low-income housing continue in Claremont or not?
Hal Durian


Claremont Manor running smoothly
Dear editor:
I read the article regarding Claremont Manor which appeared in the Claremont Courier March 31 [“Claremont Manor executive director out, search for replacement begins”], and I would like to respond.
Even though occupants are less than anticipated and staff openings occur, lifestyle at Claremont Manor has not changed. It is uncomfortable for me to read comments of the temporary director and residents. The current change in an executive director has not altered the many services available. We have an outstanding caring staff performing their duties in a consistent, professional manner. Response to requests are quick and efficient.
Our nation has been involved in a worldwide pandemic. At Claremont Manor all public health guidelines were in effect to keep residents safe and healthy. Meals were delivered to your door three times a-day. Masks were required. Residents were encouraged to stay out of public places. In spite of the strict requirements, the staff provided all services needed.
I am confident that any challenge facing Claremont Manor will be met. I have no regrets with the choice to live here. I compliment the past director for his leadership and look forward to the future.
Jeannine Mooneyhan


‘Pull a weed’ event provided 50 Easter dinners
Dear editor:
Thank you for informing your readers of the free horticultural therapy opportunity held last Saturday morning [Readers’ comments, April 7].
For every weed that was pulled, a dollar was anonymously donated for the Inland Valley Hope Partners food bank and the overflowing mesa (which means “table” in Spanish) yielded enough greenery to provide Easter dinner for 50 people.
Thank you to all who raised up their spirits and the spirits of others in the unusual and very fun “pull a weed, help to feed” event.
Elizabeth Tulac

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