Readers comments 1-24-14

Changing Claremont

Dear Editor:

I went to the open house at the first of the new Base Line housing developments. So, how many expected units will be ingressing and egressing on Base Line in two years?

How many 2-car garages will be emptying and filling? How many new signals will be needed on Base Line? How many new classrooms will be filling up with what percentage of expected offspring from the units? Who gets to figure out the figures and what are their figures?

I expect more traffic around Vons and Upland Stater Bros. I guess I’m feeling sour about the changes in Clareville. But then again, I can reach the cabinets in my kitchen and my kid could never leave his second-story room alone onto a metal balcony. (I was told this was only for design and appearance).

What a grump these salesmen had to deal with. 

Helen Feller



Not the “City of High Rises”

[Editor’s note: The following letter was sent to the Claremont Planning Commission, with a copy forwarded to the COURIER for publication. —KD]


Dear Planning Commission:

I am writing in response to the proposal and consideration of the Mills Avenue housing project. I have been a Claremont resident for over 17 years and I?am greatly concerned that the project would have a negative impact including, but not limited to, the following points:

1) Any construction or building near and/or directly adjacent to the Club Homeowners’ Association should be single-family structures. And, subsequently, they should follow the same codes, standards, appearances, rules and regulations that the adjacent neighboring homes follow, and not be its own “super structure high rise community”?on its own lot.

2) Any buildings that are not similar to and harmonious with the same aesthetic appearance as the adjacent structures would be a terrible eyesore, causing an odd and grotesque structure right in the middle of a currently quiet, scenic and well-established neighborhood.

3) Being the “City of Trees,” a dense, multiple-unit structure would obstruct the current views of the trees, mountains, parks, etc., reasons for which the homeowners bought these homes in the Club Association area in the first place.

It is disappointing to think that the “City of Trees” would even consider creating a “City of High Rises” right in the middle of a neighborhood such as this.

Christie Vella-Kramer



No to Mills Avenue housing

Dear Editor:

It has come to my attention that the land on Mills Avenue across from Chaparral School has been approved by the Claremont Planning Commission for a total of 100 plus high-density housing apartments, which will most likely be three stories tall.

An outside firm from Ventura, Rincon Associates, was hired with our city money to select this site. These are some impacts that were inadequately addressed by the hired-out consultant firm and the planning commission:

1. Increased traffic

2. Increased noise

3. School crowding

4. Lower property values

5. Potential loss of available water from the well on the site and the potential contamination of the well.

6. Impact on wildlife

I believe there are better sites suited for high-density housing within the city borders.

Mary A. Krahn



Don’t pack it in

[Editor’s note: The following letter was sent to the Claremont Planning Commission, with a copy forwarded to the COURIER for publication. —KD]

Dear Planning Commission:

I am writing in response to the proposal and consideration of the housing at Mills Avenue. As a Claremont resident, I am greatly concerned that the project would have a negative impact on the following:

1) Further pushing the wildlife (i.e., coyotes) into the neighborhood, as I?have personally witnessed them hunting on this property.

2) It would obstruct the “City of Trees” view as we know it from the residents of all homes on adjacent street locations.

3) The additional traffic congestion on Mills as Scottsbluff and Radcliff would require additional traffic lights and/or crossing guards, as the elementary school is directly south of this location.

4) The additional traffic on Item 3 would create a “thoroughfare”?between Mills and Monte Vista, running parallel to the freeway and Base Line Road for drivers wanted to avoid that congested-created area.

Claremont is know far and wide as a city with a small-town community atmosphere not found in many other cities. “Pack it in” housing in a neighborhood such as that being considered on Mills Avenue would make it like any other over-developed city with no regard to the community’s aesthetics.

Brendyn Kramer


Edra Young


Edra L. Navarro Young’s 38 years of service

Dear Editor:

On January 10, 2014, there was a wonderful obituary of Edra L. Navarro Young in the COURIER. However, it would be incomplete without mentioning her 38 years of service to Delta Kappa Gamma Society International, an international honor society with more than 90,000 members in 18 countries. 

Among other things, the members can apply for scholarships and grants for further study and attend professional workshops and conferences.

No one seems to know how many offices Edra held or how many committees she chaired but everyone seemed to know Edra. What we definitely know is that Edra was initiated in 1975 and served as secretary, vice president and president of the local chapter, Beta Mu.

She was also Area XIII Director from 2007 to 2009, which is made up of chapters in the eastern Los Angeles foothills.

Recently, Edra was a member of the Chi State Communications Committee and handled publicity for Chi State in Southern California.

The esteem in which Edra was held was obvious at her funeral Mass and graveside service the day before Thanksgiving, many state members drove or flew from northern California to attend.

Edra was enthusiastic, friendly, knowledgeable and always positive. She will be greatly missed.

Jane Prendergast

President, Beta Mu


The tragic divide

Dear Editor:

Replying to a Douglas Lyon’s letter is difficult: so much to comment upon, so much wrong. Let me then take up only one matter.

Mr. Lyon (COURIER, January 17) refers to a “tragic divide within this country A divide between those of us who cherish freedom, liberty and private property rights (and comprehend what those mean)…” and those who don’t. There is a divide in the country and Mr. Lyon and I are on opposite sides of it. But his characterization of the divide is quite mistaken. For it is not between freedom-lovers on one side and those who reject freedom on the other.

My side of the divide treats freedom as only one of the central values in human life. Those on Mr. Lyon’s side of the divide, talk as if freedom is the only valuable thing in life, ignoring justice, the general welfare, compassion and so on.

Mr. Lyon’s side thinks of freedom as requiring only absence of constraint. But think of the slaves freed by the Emancipation Proclamation: they were formally free but they had no land, no resources to engage in a productive life and so those in the south remained in a serf-like condition for the better part of a century.  Again, the US gave Iraqi’s freedom from Saddam Hussein and left millions without homes, without businesses or work, with family members dead and living in refugee camps.

There is more to a desirable life than simply freedom. Those on my side of the line, cherishing freedom, reject the incomplete conception of it espoused by Mr. Lyon and friends. People need the wherewithal to make good use of their freedom. While the well-off have those resources, so many of us don’t. Those of us who reached a comfortable station in life have an obligation to see that resources devoted to improving the lives of those less capable and less fortunate are made available.

Health is one of those fundamental needs of a good human life. By accepting a right to healthcare for Americans, we are enabling people to do better with their lives, to make better use of their talents, to live more productively and to have satisfying lives.       

A monomaniacal obsession with freedom stands in the way of a fair social allocation of the wherewithal for the common good.

Merrill Ring



The devil’s in the details

Dear Editor:

In regards to his latest letter to the editor, I am sure Mr. Stevenson joins me in thanking Douglas Lyon for keeping his reply to ours of January 10 to slightly less than half a COURIER page. Self-censoring is a freedom we all wish Mr. Lyon never lose.

However, I was disappointed that Mr. Lyon’s letter did not describe to us in detail the provisions in the wondrous health insurance plan he had obtained for himself and his family—had he done so it would have helped us all understand why he was so upset over his chosen health insurance provider kicking him off his perfect plan. Perhaps his lack of such details had something to do with the Devil being in them?

Perhaps it is the fault of the brevity of Mr. Lyon’s reply but I still fail to understand his fear of bureaucratic control over his health care, all the while believing he should be able to live in one state and be subject to the bureaucratic whims of another, as far as regulating the standards of his health insurance goes. Perhaps it has something to do with his support for other states’ rights?

As to his earlier suggestions to improve the quality of medical care providers, I followed Mr. Lyon’s example by performing his elementary perusal of the ways he suggested and found that even his beloved Tort reform as performed in Texas, for example,  has failed to improve the quality of the health care that is now unavailable to 28.8 percent of Texans!

Fortunately, uninsured Texans can go to their local emergency room, which offers the best free health care in America, according to former South Carolina senator Jim DeMint, now head of the Heritage Foundation.

Speaking of the Heritage Foundation, in his letter, Mr. Lyon takes Mr. Stevenson to task for his claim that “[Obamacare] was created by Republicans.” Does Mr. Lyon not know that it was back in 1989 that—as we basked in the Reaganesque glory of finally being a permanent Debtor Nation—the Heritage Foundation (even then a notable Republican think tank) was at the barricades advocating for a requirement to purchase health insurance through a system of regulated healthcare marketplaces, the very centerpiece of Obama’s healthcare reform? The same Heritage Foundation which later lobbied Congressional Republicans to offer the initiative as an alternative to President Bill Clinton’s health proposal!

More than a decade after first issuing their recommendations, the Heritage Foundation was instrumental in boosting the popularity of Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts health reform law and for making sure the individual mandate was included in it, describing the mandate requirement as “one that is clearly consistent with conservative value.”

Heritage Foundation healthcare analysts said then that Governor Romney’s proposal would reform the state’s “uncompensated-care payment system” and force residents to take “personal responsibility” (their words) for their own health care and prevent them from simply showing up “in emergency rooms.”

If this revelation that President Obama stole Obamacare from the mouths of the Heritage Foundation and then from the successful example of RomneyCare causes Mr. Lyon to feel unwell, I urge him, in his current freedom-filled uninsured condition, to seek out the nearest fee-free Texan emergency room.

Michael Benfield



Freedom and liberty

Dear Editor:

Mr. Lyon’s recent letter to the editor regarding the Affordable Care Act is once again full of words with no substance. Like many Republicans, I think Mr. Lyon believes that if he strings together words like liberty, freedom, founding fathers and free market enough times they don’t have to actually say anything at all. They love to point to an imaginary all powerful “slew of bureaucrats” that apparently dictate everything in our lives and want to take away our freedoms. Wouldn’t a bureaucrat be an American citizen, too? Oh, sorry, let’s not let the facts get in the way of a good rambling, bumbling, nonsensical, insulting rant.

Yes, Mr. Lyon, Republicans did, in fact, create the ACA. Under a different name, it was passed into law in Massachusetts when their governor was Willard Romney. That law mandated residents of the state to purchase health care. It required companies with more than 10 employees to provide healthcare insurance for their workers. 

This plan for insurance reform in Massachusetts, including the individual mandate, was created by the conservative Heritage Foundation. These and several other provisions in that law are now found in the ACA. Why would a conservative group create such a plan? Because liberals want a single-payer system that would eliminate the need for private insurance companies.

Conservatives didn’t want that, so they came up with a plan that would require individuals to buy insurance from private insurance companies. Then once the Republicans in Congress got what they wanted, which is to say they killed the single-payer system the Democrats were advocating for, they ran away from their own plan. Democrats should have fought harder for a single-payer system, but that’s a debate for another time.

Mr. Lyon seems to think that any and all regulation is bad. He would like to get rid of “government meddling, and by letting a free and open marketplace determine what coverages are offered and at what price.” My, how perfect that world would be.

Let’s take a look at what life would be like with health insurance by private insurance carriers that are unregulated. What would prevent these carriers from taking premiums and then denying or dropping coverage? There would be no regulation to prevent that. With nothing to stop them from doing so, would they decide to pay for the coverage out of the kindness of their heart or would they keep all the money for themselves? 

Mr. Lyon says the government has no right to dictate what type of health insurance you must have. It does, actually. Still, is that the world you really want to live in? No rules, no regulations? Do you really trust the private insurance industry so much? Oh and ah…freedom and liberty.

Bill Stevenson



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