Readers comments 2-6-15
Pitbull attack must be handled
[Editor’s note: The following letter was addressed to the Inland Valley Humane Society, with copies forwarded to the Claremont City Council. —KD]
Dear Humane Society:
What is “humane” about allowing a vicious dog, which has attacked and killed a smaller dog, another chance? A chance for what? To kill another dog or a cat or a small child? I was astounded to learn that we now have a “two strikes law” for savage domesticated animals. If the owners cannot control the animal, how are they to be rehabilitated after their “first strike”? Will we send them to prison for life or hospitalize them and give them therapy to cure them of their violent behavior?
I was stunned and grieved to learn that our miniature poodle’s best buddy was attacked five days ago by a pit bull that lived nearby and had “somehow” escaped from its yard. Cosmo was a beautiful little white miniature poodle and was unfailingly good-natured and sweet. He was attacked in our own private park by this beast who took his life, despite Cosmo’s owner’s valiant attempts to save him.
Cosmo’s owners were told that this pit bull could not be euthanized because he had only “one strike” against him. He had already attacked another dog but since the attack took place at Pooch Park, it “didn’t count.” Why are we allowing these dangerous animals to be sheltered even though they have murdered our pets?
My own miniature poodle was attacked in this same private park on November 3, just three months ago by two large dogs that had “gotten loose.”
My dog was lucky because I was able to grab the attacker’s collar and wrestle with it, screaming all the while for help. My dog was on a leash, but she pulled it out of my hand in fear as I was trying to get the attacker off her neck. She got away and ran to our garage and, fortunately, the second dog did not follow and attack her in there.
Miraculously, we were saved by two neighbors who heard my cries and came out to return the attacker to its owner while I took my bloodied dog to the vet for her injuries. She survived. Cosmo was not so fortunate, and he suffered immensely, despite the heroic efforts by the veterinarian to save him.
In both cases, the owners of the attacking dogs paid for the veterinary care but paying for care in no way absolves the owner of responsibility for the injury or death of a beloved pet. And no amount of money can replace Cosmo.
I am grieving for Cosmo, who was the dearest and most delightful of pets. His owners are grieving and this entire community should be grieving the loss of our safe neighborhoods. That pit bull killed a beloved pet. It could have killed a child—your child or grandchild. Think about it. And it is still being given a reprieve. Even human criminals who kill are locked up somewhere.
Now I am afraid to walk my dog in our private park or to take her to the Claremont Pooch Park. We should not be forced to live in fear of dangerous domesticated animals in our midst but that is what has happened here in Claremont and, I am sure, in many other communities. It is not even sane behavior to allow a dog who would make an unprovoked attack and kill another animal to live in our neighborhoods. Why are we allowing it? Who has made this rule? Did the community have any input? Was it voted into law? What can I do to remove this danger from our city?
I am so angry and disappointed in our inhumane “Humane Society” for allowing this to happen. The problem needs to be addressed now before another tragedy occurs.
[Editor’s note: The following letter was sent to city hall and the Claremont City Council, with a copy forwarded for publication. —KD]
Dear city leaders:
I’m writing concerning the Claremont Hills Wilderness Park parking overflow into our adjacent rural neighborhoods. The city has worked diligently with the local residents by installing “Parking By Permit Only” signage which, by the way, is working great and needs to become a permanent fixture. This signage has greatly helped to reduce the impact of additional people and traffic in our neighborhoods. Thank you for that.
Any future additional parking should be developed adjacent to the CHWP, not in our neighborhoods. There is a huge open space to the east of the CHWP lower parking lot that can be utilized for additional parking. I’m sure you have looked into that as a possible parking area. Thank you.
Willard Trask Jr.
Solidarity in Selma
Carolyn Gonzales praises the film American Sniper for its Americanism, for the heroism and solidarity of Americans. She misses the opportunity to say the same about a film showing in an adjacent theater: Selma.
I prefer the solidarity and heroism of those who marched across the bridge in Selma without a gun in their hands, who in the finest traditions of this country displayed their commitment to justice and American ideals.
I am writing to express my appreciation and admiration for Mellissa Martinez’s column, Lex in the City.
Always light-hearted, full of fun, full of puns and wondrously educational, it is a column I eagerly await each month. Even as a person with a master’s degree in English, I learn something every time I read it, and it cannot but help all the readers of the COURIER increase their knowledge of and appreciation for the amazing varieties of words and word histories in our polyglot language.
I have to believe that, in the most recent column, Ms. Martinez’s spelling of “Dan Quale” was intentional, especially in the context of his famous misspelling of “potatoe.” Keep up the column for years, Ms. Martinez, and continue to educate, enlighten and entertain us.
Timothy H. Hite
The Claremont City Council Tree Policy Workshop was a landmark meeting. The council provided leadership to address key problems.
Pruning: Culminating a long review of the city’s tree pruning policies, the council allocated more funds to have a city arborist monitor pruning to make the hybrid approach more successful. In this way, the city will be able to strategically select what needs pruning, while efficiently covering the city grid on a regular basis.
Poisonous Pesticides : Because the EPA’s testing and evaluation of poisonous pesticides such as Roundup (used to treat weeds in city parks) is wrought with poor science, the city must act to prevent risks to public health. This is especially important as we implement the MS4 Program to clean up runoff and work to gain control of our potable water system which draws water from wells.
Independent studies, done throughout the world, show that there are considerable risks to the health of people due to serious effects of these poisons. Claremont needs to eliminate their use to avoid risks.
After a long discussion, the city council resolved to move towards eliminating the use of poisonous pesticides in Claremont, particularly for cosmetic purposes such as weed control. The council will begin by reviewing landscape maintenance contracts which are up for renewal in April.
The city council will also have staff look at ways of reducing turf areas and use more mulch to save water and avoid the use of poisonous pesticide. This will be incorporated into the improvements to be made to Foothill Boulevard. Claremont needs to make sure that the plan will, in fact, have these improvements as well as meet the MS4 requirements for capturing and cleansing urban runoff.
Urban Forest Master Plan: Many trees in Claremont are dying due to drought, disease and age. Claremont needs to develop a Forest Master Plan to determine the best ways to regenerate and sustain the many benefits trees provide our community. City staff is pursuing a grant to get funds for an Urban Forest Master Plan. Claremont also has opportunities work with the Colleges and develop a tree inventory and evaluation that would help educate people about the community’s trees so they become more aware of the wonderful resources we have.
The Urban Forest Master Plan will be an important part of our green infrastructure. This will need to be carefully coordinated with the Foothill Boulevard improvements as well as the Wilderness Park Preservation Plan to help Claremont address a changing climate.
At the workshop, Linda Heilpern spoke briefly about Michael’s Memorial Tree and how it can symbolize cooperation and positive change in our community.
Mark von Wodtke
Money in politics
Earlier this month marked the fifth anniversary of Citizens United and we recently saw the announcement that the Koch brothers intend to raise and spend more money on the upcoming presidential election than the two major political parties.
The response at the national level has ranged from calls for more disclosure and strict coordination rules to abolition of candidate contribution limits to allow the parties and candidates to compete with these independent efforts.
The League of Women Voters has formed a Money in Politics Committee that has been hard at work. Our members and others must understand the legal and political underpinnings of the rise of independent political actors. While the decision in Citizens United did not create this phenomenon, it certainly turbo-charged the spending by these shadowy outside groups.
In addition to educating ourselves, the league is working to limit the influence of dark money. Last year, the league submitted comments to the IRS on its proposed rule strictly limiting the political activity of 501(c)(4) organizations. The comments were praised and while the IRS withdrew the proposed rule, we expect another attempt to control 501(c) organizations in the future. The league also commented on new FEC rules and will continue to comment as the FEC addresses Citizens United.
The league expects that the current congress will introduce legislation to address the worst abuses. We must continue to push for reforms on disclosure, limits on coordination and public financing for congressional elections.
Money in politics is a pervasive problem at all levels of government and while the prospects for passing meaningful reform now may be bleak in congress, opportunities to make inroads at the state and local levels do exist. The league can play an important role in making our politics more transparent and responsive.
In the end, the only lasting antidote for floods of money in our elections is floods of voters at the polls. The league’s effort in registering and informing voters continues to be, as it has for the past 95 years, the best approach to making democracy work!
Vice President for Advocacy
LWV of the Claremont Area