Readers comments 5-23-14

Crossing paths

[Editor’s note:?The following letter was forwarded by Marcus Dowd on behalf of the author, his wife Elin Dowd, in the hopes that it might inspire a bit of kindness in Claremont. —KD]

Dear Editor:

Hug. Last night, I set out for my run. I use “run” in the very loosest of terms, as it was really a fast walk, not even a jog. As usual, I started by heading over the Thompson Creek Bridge. As I came past the bushes, at the entry, I could see a woman and her 3-year-oldish daughter crossing the bridge, so I held back to make sure there was enough room. 

As soon as the little brown-haired-with huge-brown-eyes girl saw me she started yelling, “Hug!” and came running towards me, wrapping her arms around my leg. 

I was caught a little off-guard with iPhone in hand, and unexpectedly patted her back with my left arm. It was a meager attempt at a hug with a little stranger. 

As we parted, the mom said softly, “Sorry.” However, I thanked her for giving my run such a nice start. As I turned around to depart, I heard very loud and clear, “Another hug!” This time I was ready I turned around, squatted down and opened both arms to embrace this little girl. Satisfied, we both parted ways and continued on our journeys. I’m pretty sure as I left them I heard her mom starting the “We don’t hug strangers” discussion.

What a great moment. Why don’t we spontaneously ask for hugs from strangers when we really need them? I may never see this family again but, if I do, I will introduce myself, as to never be considered a stranger again and to always be ready for the genuine warmth and friendly greeting that came from this adorable toddler.

Elin Dowd



Trees and chemicals

Dear Editor:

The long careful work of city staff and  Claremont residents to maintain tree policies supporting our traditional full-street tree canopy—bringing small town beauty, safety and higher property values to all Claremont neighborhoods—is exemplary and we thank all those responsible.

While much has been accomplished, we and the Tree Action Group (TAG) hope the city council will eliminate expanded use of toxic chemicals in our tree management—toxic chemicals that risk the health of trees, people, insect pollinators and the air, soil and water.

As we now know, these chemicals do damage and often cost more in the long run. On May 8, the council voted to spend $800,000 to clean polluntants out of our water runoff. Why then would the city want to increase chemicals in the runoff? Particularly when there are cleaner, faster and cheaper options for clean-up of seedpods, fruit and leaf litter.

Moreover, the city has yet to study potential water quality and health impacts associated with the increased use of toxic chemicals in tree management, claiming the proposed changes to tree policies could not lead to significant effects on the environment. However, a revised policy would allow expanded use of tree grow regulators and pesticides. If the city wants to allow expanded use, it may, but only after studying whether these chemicals will pollute our water and air, and disclosing the results to the public.

The California Environmental Quality Act is specifically intended to require study, disclosure and mitigation of such impacts so the city and public can assess the entire price tag of a new policy or project before the impacts are experienced.

Ray and Barbara Fowler



Claremont Museum of Art

Dear Editor:

We at the Claremont Museum of Art (CMA) are very pleased about the outcome of the recent city council meeting, in which the council instructed the Community and Human Services Commission to revisit its funding recommendations for Community-Based Opportunity (CBO) grants.

We remain hopeful that funding for CMA’s project ARTstART can be included in this “reboot.” Community funding is vital to keeping ARTstART alive and serving our students.

As a nonprofit, the CBO grant is just one of many sources CMA turns to for support of its programs. ARTstART is thankful to have also received partial funding from the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, the Flourish Foundation, Rotary Club of Claremont and the ongoing generosity of our membership. It does, indeed, “take a village” to fund a nonprofit program.

What does ARTstART do with the money it raises? CMA’s ARTstART trains Claremont High School students, working with college student mentors, to provide exhibit-based art lessons for elementary students at three CUSD school sites. All art supplies, teaching materials and transportation to area cultural institutions is covered. The program brings high-quality student-led classes and activities to the city’s school system to inspire, promote understanding of art and highlight Claremont’s rich artistic history.

This year, the ARTstART team of 45 students served 482 students from Oakmont, Sycamore and Vista del Valle elementary schools, as well as El Roble Intermediate, where CMA’s comic art-themed, ARToon program, is based. Next year, we hope to extend our program to Mountain View, as well.

Ask any of the Claremont students involved in this program, or their parents, if ARTstART is a worthwhile investment for a funder and you’ll receive a resounding, “yes,” as was heard loud and clear at last week’s council meeting. Still doubtful? We invite you to attend the year-end student exhibition, StART It Up: ARTstART Year Three, on Saturday, May 31, Sunday, June 1 and Wednesday, June 4 from noon to 4 p.m. in the Ginger Elliott Exhibition Center in Memorial Park, 840 N. Indian Hill Blvd.

Curated and installed by ARTstART high school students, the exhibition features work by 4th-6th grade students from Oakmont, Sycamore and Vista. Which brings us back to Angela Bailey’s article. The “new” Claremont Museum of Art may lack walls, but it doesn’t lack a proven track record of engaging programs.

In addition to our arts education programs, CMA hosts a full slate of exhibitions held at different venues, including the Artful Evening series, our family art booth at community festivals and the hugely popular Padua Hills Art Fiesta. Our biannual event, OpenART Studio Tour, kicks off on Saturday, June 7 at 10:30 a.m. and will feature 21 artists’ studios. For tickets, email or call (909) 621-3200.

We’ll look forward to welcoming you and your family at the StART It Up exhibition or one of our other upcoming CMA events! (   

Rich Deely

Project Director, ARTstART


Police shooting

Dear Editor:

There are some citizens who believe anything done by police is legitimate. I would call their attention to the shooting of two women delivering newspapers early one morning. The officers were poor shots and the women were only wounded. Very few citizens will defend that outrageous abuse of police power.

Some 15 years ago in Claremont, there was an early-morning shooting of a young black man by two Claremont officers. The police stated that the man, Irvin Landrum, had fired at them. But when sheriff’s investigated, they discovered that the Landrum weapon had not been fired. If police lied about one thing, would it not be likely that they would lie about other things?

Most recently, there was a police shooting of a man who was allegedly backing his car in an attempt to injure or kill the officer. The Claremont police officer fired and injured the driver of the car. If the officer was halfway nimble, couldn’t he have jumped out of the way of the car? I know that my car does not go very fast in reverse. Having avoided the backing car, wouldn’t it be better for all concerened to shoot out the man’s tire? As a practical matter, we taxpayers will pay for the alleged assailant’s hospital bills following his non-fatal gunshot wound.

These three incidents of police shootings vary from the terrible shooting in Los Angeles to the shocking Landrum shooting to the questionable Claremont shooting this month. What do the shootings have in common? It appears to this 49-year resident of Claremont that police in many jurisidications, including Claremont, are much too quick to shoot. Perhaps this is due to our cowboy past, or the influence of western movies.

Whatever the cause, public respect for police officers will rise if they use restraint with their firearms. Sometimes it appears that police feel they can act with impunity. Perhaps more oversight is needed.

Hal Durian




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