Readers comments 5-16-14
Wilderness park master plan
This year, the city of Claremont has embarked on a study to develop a master-plan that will guide the management of the Claremont Hills Wilderness Park.
Over the past months during public meetings on the master plan, several voices from the city council, the Technical Advisory Committee and neighbors have repeatedly claimed that the purpose of the park is preservation.
While actively supporting preservation, we, the members of the board of Claremont Wildlands Conservancy, respectfully disagree that this is the sole purpose of the park. By doing some homework, we have verified that the official purpose is to combine preservation with recreation. As we work together to develop the master plan, it is critically important to start with historically accurate facts and to make sure that all stakeholders are aware of these facts.
Understanding the historical intent for the use of our hillsides is the starting point, so we would like to call your attention to the following sources:
• The city ordinance of 1981 that determined the hillsides land-use policy;
• The city ordinance of 1996 that established the initial Claremont Hills Wilderness Park of 1125 acres, which were transferred to the city from Pomona College;
• Articles of Incorporation of the Claremont Hills Conservation Corporation, 1996. (The corporation was formed to oversee the city’s management of the park and assure its future as open space.)
• The current Claremont General Plan.
All of these documents explicitly assert that the purpose of the Claremont Hills Wilderness Park is to blend low-intensity recreational use (traditionally defined as hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, picnicking and running) with preservation of open space and natural habitat, free from development.
We believe that establishing the best balance through an open, informed and fair-minded process with an eye to the long-term future is the purpose of the master plan.
At our website, www.claremontwild lands.org, you will find a more detailed version of this letter with excerpts from the documents that support our contention. You will also find ways to participate in the master-planning process that will help assure a successful and well-balanced final plan.
Make a friendly Foothill
[Editor’s note: The following letter was addressed to Chris Veirs, senior planner, with a copy forwarded to the COURIER for publication. A sketch was included with the letter, which is not reprinted here. —KD]
We own a house near the intersection of Foothill and Mills and, like numerous other residents, students and business folks, we often have to cross Foothill on foot to get to the Colleges, the Village, etc. As you know, this is a busy intersection with lots of traffic. The auto traffic goes way too fast here, and there is almost no regard for pedestrians and bikes (all who drive are guilty). Bikes are constantly driving down the middle of Mills and confusing everything. We have three kids aged 3, 8 and 17, so we are always worried, particularly crossing Foothill at the Mills intersection on the east side from north to south.
I would like to see a master plan implemented that gives pedestrians and bikes a clear right of way. I’d love to see traffic diverted around the intersection completely, which some would say is a difficult thing at such a busy intersection. I think it is possible.
I suggest constructing a tunnel to convey auto traffic under the current Foothill and Mills intersection. I’d like to see the existing elevation used as a crossing accessible to bikes and pedestrians only. The signal at Foothill and Mills would come out, and new ones would be re-configured, so that cars could still access both thoroughfares from all directions.
The dentist’s office and hair salon would be accessed through the Foothill frontage (along the north), and Harvey Mudd’s entrance (currently at the light on the south) would have to be diverted to the east. These access points are already there, they just need traffic signals. Easy, right?!
Also, the tunnel would probably require the entrance to Morelia from Mills to be closed to traffic, and business and residential traffic from Cuernevaca, Guadalajara and Morelia to exit via the Foothill frontage road to the east.
The attached very rough sketch shows the tunnel plan for the Foothill and Mills intersection. Please consider this as part of the Foothill Master Plan. I have faith in the city of Claremont to fix this horrible and outdated intersection. Feet on Foothill: the Foothill and Mills Tunnel Solution (Yes, you have my permission to use this slogan) will be an innovative design, will elevate home values and will provide a jewel in the Foothill Master Plan that could be a crowning legacy for this planning department. Let’s make it happen, and let’s make it beautiful.
Also, please keep in mind that Millard Sheets designed the apartment complex, his adjacent art studio (now a doctor’s office) and the Guadalajara and Cuernavaca neighborhoods, which likely makes them all eligible as a district for the California Register of Historical Resources, the National Register of Historic Places and, as such, significant resources under CEQA.
Campaign finance limits
The much-anticipated US Supreme Court decision in the pivotal campaign finance case, McCutcheon v. FEC, was issued earlier this month, and once again the court ruled on the side of big money in knocking down aggregate campaign contribution limits.
The case challenged the limits on the total contributions from an individual donor to candidates and political committees that were designed to prevent corruption and the appearance of corruption.
The importance of this decision cannot be overstated. While McCutcheon dealt with a technical and arcane matter of campaign finance law, in the end it is all about more money and more influence.
As a result of this decision, another loophole in campaign finance laws has opened allowing political parties and PACs to become huge funnels for corrupting elected officials across the country.
The court has used the McCutcheon decision to continue dismantling the wall of protection against big money dominance in our political system—case by case, brick by brick.
As in previous decisions by the Roberts Court, Chief Justice ignores the corruption he is turning loose in America’s election system.
Simply put: The McCutcheon decision means more power for big money and more corruption for the rest of us. Now more than ever, we need to fight to make every vote count and give every eligible voter free and fair access to the polls. In the end, the only reliable response to a flood of money in our elections is a flood of voters at the polls.
VP for Advocacy
LWV of the Claremont Area