Readers comments 4.21.12
Thank you from Landus Rigsby
I would like to extend my thanks to the Claremont community for all the support that I received since I was diagnosed with Stage 5 Renal Failure a little over a month ago. It’s been a humbling and encouraging experience to receive so many cards, flowers, emails, phone calls and even monetary donations over the past month.
From the COURIER to the Claremont Unified School District and reaching to the uttermost part of the community, Claremont opened its arms to me during one of the most interesting turn of events in my life. I never HAD any expectation that anyone in Claremont had to do anything, but in true Claremont fashion, many members of the community have taken it upon themselves to at least take the time to encourage me to get better and some went even farther.
During my coverage of education in Claremont, I have witnessed the generosity of Claremonters time and time again, but I have been very fortunate to see it being on the receiving end. I just want to commend Claremont and say “thank you” for all the support. Through Claremont, I have learned in a greater way what it really means to care for others, and the people I’ve been talking to have been amazed at how much the community has reached out.
Concerning my current condition, I am back to doing most of the things I did when I was healthy but I can’t exert myself too much. One of the biggest changes has been my diet, where I can only eat 2000 milligrams of sodium and have to avoid many of the foods I used to eat (cheese, tomatoes, avocados, etc.)
My wife, Adriana, has done a wonderful job in making my meals enjoyable to the point where I haven’t missed all the sodium content. And speaking of my wife, she has been by my side the entire way, and she is a huge reason why I am doing so well. My stepdaughter, Monet, has adjusted well and enjoys seeing me home a lot more.
Please continue to pray and keep good thoughts for what is to come. I currently receive dialysis treatments 3 days a week and will be having surgery for a more permanent access for the dialysis soon. At the same time, Adriana and I are going through the process of getting on kidney transplant lists. There’s a lot to do but knowing and believing that I will overcome this keeps me smiling each day.
Thanks again Claremont, from the entire Rigsby family!
Education and Sports Reporter
In his April 18 letter to the COURIER (“A Sovereign Nation”), Douglas Lyon offers a fascinating response to my previous Reader’s Comment (“Words Have Consequences”).
In my commentary, I suggested that a person’s use of objectifying language, such as referring to undocumented migrants in the United States as “illegals,” reveals a way of seeing and not seeing other people—a worldview that serves to delegitimize and dehumanize human beings. Apparently my appeal to humanity doesn’t sit well with Mr. Lyon.
Dismissing my argument as “muddying the issue” and “preposterous,” Mr. Lyon uses my letter as a platform for extolling “rule of law” as a sacrosanct virtue, without which, he concludes, a sovereign nation is reduced to “either anarchy or a despotic government.” “Which does Mr. DeChaine advocate?” he ominously demands.
Apparently, Mr. Lyon skipped his high school argumentation class, where he would have learned about the vices of false dichotomies and specious arguments. His claim of “illegal aliens” as somehow precipitating anarchy or despotism in the United States is utterly breathtaking. Does he actually believe that undocumented migrants pose such an insidious threat to our nation’s “rule of law?” I think this would be very surprising news to the migrants themselves, the overwhelming majority of whom venture here simply to try to make better lives for themselves and their families.
Perhaps it’s time for us to rethink how we envision “citizenship” in our complex national community. Rather than appealing uncritically, as Mr. Lyon does, to “national sovereignty” and “rule of law” as irreproachable virtues, perhaps we should be working to craft laws and promote social values premised on a more humane definition of citizenship, one that regards people—all people—as worthy of dignity and respect, regardless of national borders, Green Cards, and cultural differences.
Silly me for suggesting to put the value of humanity first.
Wilderness Park traffic issues
Anyone who has tried to use the Claremont Wilderness Park recently knows how popular it has become. Hundreds of people are walking the 5-mile loop for their morning exercise every day.
On Wednesday morning, as I was surveying the enormous number of cars filling both lots and spilling over onto Mt. Baldy Road, it occurred to me that building a parking lot and charging visitors to use it may not solve all our problems (and may make some worse).
My question is: are we trying to raise money to benefit the park (or) are we trying to discourage use by charging an entrance fee because we believe that overuse is detracting from the “wilderness experience.”
Selling a $50 annual permit may result in having the new lot filled with 200 permit holders ($50 times 200 equals $10,000, not exactly the financial boon we may have anticipated). It is natural that permit holders will favor the lot while others will seek free parking in the adjacent neighborhood.
Anyone willing to walk 5 miles (especially if they are doing it for exercise) probably won’t mind an extra half-mile added to their morning workout. Within a half-mile of the intersection of Mills and Mt. Baldy Road there are quite a few streets that will have to be marked out of bounds. The concept of charging for parking can only work if we make it illegal to park on the surrounding streets.
Why not try a different approach?
Instead of unmanned meters, we could set up a kiosk staffed by volunteers and collect a dollar for every person that enters. We could sell $10 multiple entrance admission passes to expedite the process (and avoid making change).
If this kiosk were staffed from 7 to 11 a.m., 6 days a week it would intercept 70 percent of park visitors (the vast majority arrive before noon).
Make admission free on Sunday (and every day after lunch) to avoid the suggestion that we are trying to exclude hikers on a budget. This policy might distribute use more evenly throughout the day—which would be a good thing.
Having staff at the entrance has several benefits. Information could be passed out describing other hikes in the area—possibly reducing the number of visitors. Emergencies could be reported and possible problems identified as visitors pass through the gate.
The worst possible outcome is that we build an expensive new parking lot, have it filled with yearly permit holders and discover that the vast majority of visitors are parking for free on residential streets—grateful for the additional exercise!
With Earth Day at hand, it is important to consider Al Leiga’s Viewpoint, “Practical Thoughts on Global Warming” (COURIER, March 17). Mr. Leiga’s previous denial of global warming was demolished by experts (COURIER, March 3) so he now turns to advice about what to do about our situation.
One of the principles he recommends is “Do no harm.” Of course that can’t be the sole principle for anything: if I choose to walk across my lawn I no doubt squish several insects (harm to them), perhaps insects of a useful sort to us (another harm). Adoption of the conservative “Do no harm” as one’s sole principle causes paralysis.
Of course what we must do, in the case of global warming, is consider the balance of good results to harms. And what Mr. Leiga will not do is to admit (1) that there will be good, including the prevention of serious harms, produced by acting in the face of the scientific consensus that human activities are the cause of the undeniable global warming going on and (2) that the good is considerably greater than the harm caused by acting to avoid the worst consequences of global warming.
Mr. Leiga is a businessman and a former elected official. He thus knows how to run a cost-benefit analysis. In the case of global warming, that rational procedure is blocked for him by a conservative ideology that counsels inaction and the protection existing economic and social arrangements.