Reader comments 2-28-14
Our place in the community
Of the Claremont COURIER’s several unique features, Inter-Faithfully Speaking was an especially informative and inviting one for me in the February 14 edition. The Rev. George Silides, rector of St. Ambrose Episcopal Church, gave us a lesson in economics and community values we would do well to cultivate.
In a culture where we value consumers, where educated people are held in esteem because they are higher on the food chain as economic units, where competition, success, “getting ahead,” ambition and hard work are the rewards on the end of the stick for those born right, Fr. Silides highlights another way of life. It is one we sometimes romanticize: the Native American ways of life, the ways of the shamans, even living off the grid as self-reliant individuals.
But his “Learning to Ask for Meaning” column is a secular sermon for all of us to heed. Instead of imposing our preconceptions and dogmans on others, to learn what is within another person or culture should be the beginning and the medium for any interaction or possible relationship.
One of the catastrophes we imposed on Native Americans was to establish American schools for their youth, taking them off the reservations and teaching them new ways to eclipse their cultural values, to mold them into subjects of capitalism,leaving behind their ethos and sense of community.
It is much the same when we rationalize wars in order to impose “democratic” systems on others who aren’t striving or revolting for “freedom” and “self- determination.” Fr. Silides writes of his Ft. Yukon parishioners and friends valuing community, cooperation, generosity and caring for the tangible well-being of one another rather than the accumulation of wealth and power. There’s nothing new about this. It is the template for life found in Matthew Chapter 25, but it is rarely practiced. What a better life we’d have if we had “confidence in our place in the community!” He adds that would “give us courage.”
Anything we can do to include others and provide paths of access to the political-social-economic systems we need will strengthen the community. Claremont, with a burgeoning population of new people, will need to find ways to help them gain “confidence in [their] place in [our] community.”
Thank you, Fr. Silides. You’ve given us a good reminder from your personal experience to bring it home for us.
City appropriates funds to defend Golden State’s lawsuit
On February 25, the Claremont City Council was forced to appropriate $150,000 from its general fund to defend a lawsuit by Golden State Water Company. Golden State is asking a court to order the city to release the feasibility report, appraisal and other financial information related to the city’s offer to purchase the Claremont water system.
Though the California Public Records Act explicitly protects these documents, Golden State Water Company is arguing that the city must release the information based on the fact that some information contained in the documents was presented at a community town hall meeting on November 6, 2013.
During the town hall meeting, the city provided the community with as much information as possible while protecting its position in a complex legal process. The city has been transparent throughout the process and continues to inform the public. With this lawsuit, Golden State Water Company is attempting to turn these efforts against the city.
City staff understands that Golden State Water Company, the media and the public may want to view these documents; however, the law exempts certain privileged information for good reason. While the law recognizes transparency as important, it also acknowledges situations where disclosure creates a disadvantage for public agencies. Golden State Water is using this law to demand the release of privileged city information, yet, Golden State is under no legal obligation to release similar information.
City staff and legal counsel believe this lawsuit is not about transparency and disclosure; it is Golden State Water’s way of demonstrating it has the power and resources to fight the city at every opportunity. Unfortunately, the water company is using money from the exorbitant rates paid by Claremont residents to file this lawsuit.
While the city defends itself against this lawsuit, the Claremont City Council and its team of experts will move forward in the acquisition process. The city is committed to following the process outlined by state law.
As part of this process, the city council will hold a public hearing on March 25 at 6:30 p.m. at Taylor Hall for the Claremont community to participate in deciding what is in the public’s best interest regarding water.
Mayor, city of Claremont
Take the bait (away)
I want to congratulate my former colleague Paul Faulstich for his accurate and timely critique in the Friday, February 7 edition of the use and misuse of the so-called rodenticides.
These are indeed insidious poisons, “deadly and unnecessary toxins,” causing havoc in the natural world for decades. Like insecticides, fungicides and weed killers, rodenticides spread death because our political and agricultural system has become a subsidiary of the chemical-academic-agribusiness complex.
Remember Rachel Carson published her Silent Spring in 1962. Silent Spring warned the country of the dangers of the farmers’ sprays. But, regrettably, the country (big agriculture, academics, chemical merchants and the government) ignored Carson. The result of such ignorance is spreading disease among humans, contaminated drinking water and food, and devastated wildlife.
Is this the legacy we want to pass to our children?
The Claremont Colleges can and should take the leadership in educating their students and the larger community about alternatives to toxic “pesticides,” including rodenticides. The city of Claremont ought to ban the use of these poisons. Certainly, better late than never.
SB1005, another disaster
SB1005 would give access to illegal aliens in our state alone to health insurance subsidized by the state (that’s our tax dollars at work, folks).
It’s bad enough that we now are going to give driver’s licenses to illegals, thus providing them with valid IDs for many services and “entitlements.”
Now the senate is proposing to give away more millions and put us even further in the red.
The contention is that it would relieve pressure on emergency rooms and head off diseases and epidemics, but aren’t these things being handled now by those same emergency rooms? How long before we decide to deport the problem, rather that support it?