Readers comments 3-7-14
Safe passage on Towne
[Editor’s note:?The following letter was addressed to the Claremont City Council and City Manager Tony Ramos with a copy forwarded for publication. —KD]
With the recent onslaught of high-density housing on Base Line Road being approved, it seems the perfect opportunity to address safe passage traveling north and south on Towne Avenue.
My oldest son, who is now in college, attended Sumner Elementary School in fifth and sixth grades. He would sometimes ride his bike to school down the Thompson Creek Trail. This was after the 210 freeway opened to the 15 freeway.
After several near death incidents at the on- and off-ramps of the 210, we decided it best for him to discontinue his bike riding to school. The truth is, people entering and exiting the freeway are not as in tune to pedestrians and bike traffic as they are exiting or entering the freeway and getting on to their next destination.
This brings me to the reason for my letter. It seems that one of the requirements the city should impose on the builders of these new properties is to further the Thompson Creek Trail across Base Line and under the 210 freeway. Not a small undertaking by any measure, but one that would make passage to Sumner, Griffith Park and other areas north and south of the freeway much safer to navigate for our children and families on foot and bicycles than the current mess on Towne Avenue. And, specifically, the four intersections created by the 210. I am not sure if this was ever discussed during pre-freeway planning or if it was simply overlooked. It certainly should have been considered during the construction of the freeway.
Regardless, now is the perfect opportunity to pass all or a portion of the costs to the developers who are profiting from the very people who will directly benefit from such an improvement. They certainly have the means to pay for it.
The landscape of Base Line between Towne and Monte Vista is going to change drastically. This controversial topic is, in itself, a discussion for another day but, we should be sure that we address the safety of the residents who will want to travel to the park, school and friends’ homes in different neighborhoods of Claremont.
I find it interesting that articles and conversations surrounding conservation only seem to come up when there is a drought. I must admit that I am guilty of this as well.
As our family has been discussing what we need to do to conserve, I am reminded of my parents’ efforts in this regard. My parents, who passed away nine and four years ago, respectively, at the ages of 90 and 91, practiced conservation until their dying days. They turned off lights whenever they left a room until they needed a bit more for failing vision. When they showered, they turned off the water while they soaped and turned it back on to rinse. When they brushed their teeth, they wet their toothbrushes, turned off the water while they brushed and then turned it back on to rinse. They did this every day, drought or no drought.
Simple actions? Yes, but every little bit helps.
Cynthia Cervantes McGuire
Dirty money: Citizens United
The Internal Revenue Service has proposed very significant changes in the regulations that govern what kind of political activity and how much of that activity a Section 501(c)(4) organization can carry out. This step is our best chance to rein in the secret “dark money” that has been polluting our elections since the Supreme Court’s terrible decision in Citizens United.
At the same time, the current proposal would undermine the League’s ability to conduct truly nonpartisan voter service activities across the country. While the national League has commented to the IRS on this proposal, we need the help of citizens all over the USA.
Reforming IRS regulations is our single best opportunity to respond to Citizens United, which allowed political operatives like Karl Rove, on the right, and Bill Burton, on the left, to raise and spend unlimited amounts of secret money in candidate elections. By stopping 501(c)(4) organizations from spending on “candidate-related political activity,” the IRS can stop the abuse in its tracks.
For 94 years, the league has played a unique role in our elections by providing truly nonpartisan voter services and information to voters across the country. Unfortunately, the IRS proposal as it stands would jeopardize our work because it does not provide any exception for truly nonpartisan voter service activities like those carried out by the league. This is a terrible mistake, both for voters and for our democracy.
The League of Women Voters of the Claremont Area urges you to contact the IRS to urge the agency to work to support voter service work and stop dark money from polluting our elections.
VP for Advocacy LWV
of the Claremont Area
Will the City of Trees and PhDs remain free?
I have no problem with “action groups” such as Sustainable Claremont lobbying our city in regards to initiating or improving upon a public policy in regards to trees on public property. I have a huge problem, however, with the city even contemplating a policy whereby a property owner’s freedoms are further curtailed beyond present limits.
I understand that we need building codes, zoning restrictions, etc. in a city for public safety. We all want Claremont to look beautiful and inviting. That is exactly why I moved here 30 years ago.
I do not accept, however, any further erosion of our individual rights as citizens for the “pleasure” of a few activists in the community. How I trim my trees, how I mow my grass, the flowers that I choose to plant or not plant…those rights are mine and not yours.
I get to choose the clothing that I wear, the car that I drive, the foods I eat, the occupation I choose to pursue, the art that I like, the books I read, the news I watch, the church I go to, etc. You may not like the way I trim my trees and I can assure you that I don’t like your piercings, tattoos and rusty car with the Obama sticker on the back window.
This concept is called “freedom” and it is exactly why so many have immigrated to the United States from other countries to help build the greatest nation in the history of this planet. “Freedom” however, has become an endangered word in our society and if we don’t act now, it will soon become extinct.
Few would argue that professionally trained arborists could do a better job of trimming trees than a homeowner or untrained tree trimmer but at what cost? What about the homeowner that can’t afford the trained arborist? Will the city supply one? Will the city pay for the trained arborist from a “tree fee” that each property owner is assessed for each tree that is on his or her property?
It is “policy” like this, with good intentions, that eventually morphs itself into unintended consequences leading to poverty for many and it further necessitates the further expansion of government into our private lives. Does the concept of “affordable” housing in Claremont only apply to the purchase price or should it apply to the cost of maintenance as well? I concur with Ronald Reagan when he said the most terrifying words in the English language are “I’m from the government and I’m here to help”.
I urge the city and Sustainable Claremont to simply provide the public with information on the “suggested” way to trim their trees and then let the homeowner decide how they wish to proceed or if they wish to proceed.
It is the God given diversity of ideas, the uniqueness of the individual and the freedom to pursue and express those differences among us that has made our society great.
Let’s not interfere with God’s original plan for all people to be free or destroy the dreams of our country’s Founding Fathers. “I have a dream that one day I will live in a free City of Trees, PhDs with less fees!”
Kris M. Meyer