Readers comments 5-30-14

A huge thank-you

The annual Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day is a wonderful tradition and successful community event organized by Sunrise Rotary.

Proceeds from last year’s Turkey Trot were presented to Claremont youth sports organizations on Tuesday, May 20 by Sunrise Rotary members Chuck Freitas and Tim Tipping. Claremont AYSO soccer, Claremont Girls Fast Pitch, Claremont Little League, Claremont Junior All American Football, Claremont Youth Basketball, Claremont Storm Soccer and Claremont Stars Soccer all received donations from Sunrise Rotary to help sponsor their individual scholarship  programs. These donations play an important role in providing financial assistance to young players who are striving to reach their athletic dreams in Claremont.

Claremont youth sports organizations and the Claremont Youth Sports Committee are very thankful for Sunrise Rotary’s ongoing support.

Chuck Gardenhire

Chairman Claremont Youth

Sports Committee


Strategic tree pruning

Dear Editor:

Welcome to Angela Bailey, the COURIER’s new city reporter.  And thank you for having her recent report on “Claremont’s updated tree policy moves to city council.” Ms. Bailey did a good job reporting on what the city staff and TAG (the Tree Action Group of Sustainable Claremont) have proposed. However, there are a few issues that need to be resolved before we have a tree policy that is worthy of our community.

Although the draft tree policy does recommend procedures for deep watering and proposes that homeowners water street trees by their property, it does not address watering street trees by city property, like in Memorial Park, in our commercial Village or police station. Claremont needs mobile watering capacity. (We used to have a water truck.) 

Especially in this time of drought, we need to be mobilizing city workers, subcontractors and volunteers with hoses and water tanks on trailers, or even water trucks, to strategically water city trees that are stressed, before we lose them.

The draft tree policy advocates using Integrated Pest Management (IPM), but it still includes provisions to use tree growth regulators just to inhibit the growth of seed pods and fruit. Why would we want homeowners to pay for using these poisons that have health and environmental risks when they could pay groups (like Teen Green) to sweep up litter on the sidewalks where homeowners won’t do it?

Rather than having more money go to chemical companies and chemical applicators, as well as paying city staff to monitor the use of poisons, we could use these funds to support youth groups who could do the clean-up. Pilgrim Place picks fruit from their trees and sells it. Scripps College just got an award for the olive oil it produces from olives harvested from its trees.

Ms. Bailey’s report does point out concerns that TAG has with regard to grid pruning. The discussion of cost is incomplete. We need to get beyond the cost per tree, which Kathleen Trepa points out is $49 per tree for grid pruning and $120 per tree for species pruning. The bottom line should consider total costs and benefits.

Grid pruning 10 trees costs $490.  With strategic pruning, we may really only have to prune four out of 10 trees which would cost $480. The benefits of strategic pruning would be that we could focus on diseased and damaged trees, reducing liability risks. We would also avoid over-pruning and the damage from cuts that can become infected.

Strategic pruning keeps more foliage in our urban forest canopy to provide shade, filter air and mitigate sound. Claremont used to do strategic pruning.  Let’s return to that proven practice.

A special session to discuss the draft tree policy will take place Monday, June 2 at 6:30 p.m. in the City Council Chamber. The council has agreed to make trees and our urban forest a priority for 2014. Please come and participate in that discussion so that we develop a tree policy and agenda for regenerating and sustaining our urban forest that is worthy of Claremont.

Mark von Wodtke, FALSA



Metal theft

Dear Editor:

That damaged “A” in the brand-new sign at Pitzer College’s West Hall could have been someone trying to steal the letter to sell as scrap metal who was interrupted in the act.

With all the metal theft going on, perhaps organizations should avoid metal ornamentation and lettering and use other substances instead.

Claudia Pearce



A fan thanks Ben Harper

Dear Editor:

It was 20 years ago that Ben Harper released his first album, “Welcome to the Cruel World.” One of the standout choices for Mr. Harper’s first solo release was an adaptation of Maya Angelou’s poem, “Still I Rise.” Mr. Harper titled this song “I’ll Rise,” and boy did he over the past two decades.

Just days after Ms. Angelou’s passing, Mr. Harper will join his mother, Ellen Harper, on stage in a sort of homecoming as the headlining act at this Saturday’s Claremont Folk Festival. I’m sure there will be some fittingly poetic tribute to the brilliant life and work of Ms. Angelou, and possibly a new recognition and consideration for Mr. Harper’s place in the pantheon of not just the greatest artists/musicians ever, but of poets, true wordsmiths, who we have had the pleasure (and pain) of feeling.

This is a man who has given his soul to us on stage and stereo. On his latest, the gentle yet heart-wrenching folk album with his mother, “Childhood Home,” Mr. Harper again pulls us into his simultaneous joy and despair with verses like, “some come in with a burden/heavy-hearted and hurting/who’s unworthy who’s deserving/but I was born to love you,” and, “all I have that’s in abundance/is my perpetual redundance/it’s hard for me to/I face it every day.”

“Double consciousness” has been one of the running themes of Mr. Harper’s career. The skill and artistry Mr. Harper uses to blend two disparate thoughts or feelings into one song or album or lyric is what makes him special. In a business ruled by image and marketing, Mr. Harper has painted the truest portrait of himself, therefore ourselves, and has carved out and maintained what I’m sure most musicians dream of as the perfect audience.

Mr. Harper explains the internal struggle of the human condition in his songs with a wonderful touch and beautiful sound, and he’s been doing it for over half his life.

So, this is one fan who wants to go beyond clapping and cheering and say thank you. Thank you for providing the words when I couldn’t find them. Thank you for the soundtrack to my life and so many other’s. Thank you for your music and memories. Thank you.

Brian Wright


Accountability for our actions

Dear Editor:

To read Hal Durian’s May 23 letter to the editor about the Claremont police officer-involved shooting, you might think the driver was simply backing out of his driveway like you and I do everyday. 

I admit, I was not in the alley on May 5 at 3 a.m., but reading the following account from KABC news, it appears that Hal Durian left out information that might provide context to this incident. 

“A 25-year-old man was shot Monday morning after an officer-involved shooting near the 10 freeway in Claremont, police said. The shooting occurred near an apartment complex in the 500 block of West San Jose Avenue. Officers were patrolling at about 3 a.m. when they came across a Honda Accord that was reported stolen on Sunday in Montclair.

The car sped off as officers approached. Officers found the car parked in an alley and stopped to investigate, believing it was abandoned, Claremont police said. As an officer approached the car, it reversed towards the officer, who shot at the driver, investigators said.”

As a resident and a parent of a CUSD student, I have seen CPD and how they work in our city, schools and sports programs. I, for one, don’t appreciate Hal Durian’s insinuations. We should all be accountable for our actions. 

Randy Scott



Vote yes on Props 41, 42

Dear Editor:

The League of Women Voters urges yes votes on Propositions 41 and 42 on the June 3 Primary Election Ballot.

Prop 41 will redirect $600 million from veterans bonds that are already voter-approved. Instead of loans to veterans to buy their own homes, this money will be used for multifamily (rental) housing, transitional housing and other affordable housing options for veterans.

California has more homeless veterans than any other state, and California veterans are more than twice as likely to be homeless as non-veterans. All Californians should have safe, adequate housing. Prop 41 will help increase the supply of affordable, supportive and transitional housing in the state.

Prop 42 will cement, in the state constitution, the public’s right to know what our government is doing and how it is doing it. It requires that local governmental bodies provide adequate notice of proposed actions, hold open meetings and make records and data accessible to the public. Prop 42 is a common-sense measure supporting the requirement to make information open and publicly accessible is a basic cost of doing business for local governments.

The League believes that democratic government depends on informed and active participation at all levels of government. Vote yes on Propositions 41 and 42. Vote with the League.

Ellen Taylor

VP for Advocacy, LWV

of the Claremont Area


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