Readers comments 4-3-15

From Julius

Dear Editor:

Some people attempt to relate to my son who lives with severe physical disabilities. I can’t be angry by their efforts to associate my son’s condition with something familiar to them, even though their understanding may not even be in our ballpark.

Associating his asthma with their own or his special needs with a health condition of a friend or family member is not the same. Asthma and allergy intolerances in an otherwise healthy person are not as they are in a person who lives with multiple health issues due to a quadriplegic body where muscle function, including those involved with airway, are already compromised.

In a body where overall muscle control is uncoordinated, a cascade of secondary issues occur in addition to the initial problem. This exasperates the initial dangers that are already life-threatening and, in the case of my son, has resulted in numerous hospitalizations.

My request to remove and replace the holly oaks that dot our driveway certainly did not come lightly, and no member of the Claremont City Council asked questions I hadn’t already asked myself. 

As a visual artist, I consider what might be done with the holly oak wood that could commemorate our City of Trees. I look forward to having another tree variety in place of the messy holly oaks that weep mists of burdensome golden powder that my son is wheeled under ever day his school bus arrives.

It will take time for the inflammation within his body to go down, but I do believe there will be improvement with the removal of these two trees or I would have never made this challenging request. As Councilman Joe Lyons said, “we have to try.”

 On behalf of my son, I deeply thank those involved with this sensitive issue especially Paul Cranmer, community services manager; Kathleen S. Trepa, director of community services; Mayor Pro Tem Sam Pedroza, Councilmember Joe Lyons, and Mayor Corey Calaycay for understanding that trying is the best we can do. Thank you also to Angela Bailey and Steven Felschundneff for taking the time to meet my son and write this story.

Alice Marie Perreault

On behalf of Julius




Short-sighted council

Dear Editor:

The city council’s decision to cut down the holly oak trees on Green Street is short-sighted and irrational.

Councilman Sam Pedroza who, along with Councilman Joe Lyon and Mayor Corey Calaycay supported the decision, stated “seems like a no-brainer.” I have to agree with him. It is, literally, a “no-brainer” to establish this terrible precedent for cutting down trees whenever a Claremont citizen claims an allergy or other medical problem is due to a tree. 

Mr. Pedroza says, “If this tree has the particulate matter that is falling down and being dragged into their home…” That’s a big “if.”  Council cannot state with certainty that these trees are the cause, and yet they rashly cast their votes to remove the trees, instead of inviting more investigation or deeply considering what impact their decision will have in the future. This is not the kind of rational, thoughtful decision-making I expect from our city leaders.

Why are they not taking the long view into account? In the wake of the overheating of our planet, we actually need all the trees we can get. People in other countries are planting trees to combat climate change. Here in the City of Trees, the mayor and council members are voting to cut them down. Why are they not considering future generations of Claremonters who will live with the real problems of climate change? Or even the present generation?

Thanks are in order for Councilmen Larry Schroeder and Opanyi Nasiali for their wise foresight, desire for scientific proof and for upholding the values of Claremont as the City of Trees.

Mr. Lyons, Mr. Pedroza and Mr. Calaycay: your rush to condemn these trees without thought to the precedent you are setting (never mind not even having solid, scientific evidence) for future tree removal in Claremont is truly a disgrace to our city. Your names will be remembered come election time.

Gina Ortiz



Tree removals on Green Street

Dear Editor:

I want to thank Angela Bailey for a wonderful report concerning the decision to remove the two holly oaks on East Green Street.

I was at the city council meeting, and can aver that she summarized the contents of the meeting, as well as the previous tree committee meeting, accurately.

I would also add that I was touched to learn of Ms. Perrault’s understanding of my feelings about reading those “suggestions” at the tree committee meeting. Her perceptions were spot on about my discomfort! However,  I hasten to correct any misunderstandings about Mark von Wodtke’s intentions in preparing that list of suggestions.

As an allergy sufferer himself, Mr. von Wodtke was merely listing the approaches he had found effective, in hopes they might have been helpful for Julius. Since I am neither an allergy sufferer nor do I know anything about “the ancient practice of Qigong,” I was not in a position to judge the appropriateness of them, but had agreed to pass them on at the meeting, which Mark could not attend. 

Mark is one of the most compassionate people I have ever known, and I’m sure he would have modified his recommendations had he been present and met Julius. I take full responsibility for any uneasiness my reading of the notes may have caused to anyone.

At the council meeting, along with everyone else there, I experienced a very difficult process of coming to terms with all the dimensions of the issue, given the realities I witnessed and the testimony I’d heard. As I reported to my TAG colleagues, the presentations finally convinced me to support the decision to remove the trees, not because there was any proof that it would alleviate Julius’ condition—such “proof” would be impossible to provide and was a straw man built of ignorance, I’m sure, not callousness—but because it was worth the try, all things considered!

Obviously, I am speaking only for myself, and not for TAG, which is a wonderful organization of people who really care deeply about the health and well-being of our community and its trees.

Ben Wise




Little fish, big pond

Dear Editor: 

A famous social critic once said “Freedom for the pike is death for the minnows.” Douglas Lyon (COURIER, March 20) completely ignores that piece of wisdom in his advocacy of reducing government to a skeleton.

Mr. Lyon assumes that the social world contains nothing but minnows who, in the absence of government, would get along swimmingly (pun). Unfortunately, there are also pike—big voracious fish—who, given the freedom to act as they will, would devour us small fry.

Less metaphorically, Mr. Lyon talks as if the world consists only of individual people roughly equal in power. That is to ignore economic power. The world is also inhabited by corporations and individuals with wealth derived from them, who act only in their own self-interest without regard for the rest of us and have the power to accomplish their aims at the expense of the minnows.

The case of net neutrality is a case in which the intervention of the federal government, acting with full Constitutional power (contrary to Mr. Lyon), was aimed at ensuring the freedom of us minnows to access information necessary to a satisfying and democratic life. In the absence of that intervention, Internet carriers have the power to decide who will have information available to the public:  those who can afford to pay more would be heard. Having more wealth and consequent power is not in the slightest a guarantee of truth or the assurance of providing for the common good.

Mr. Lyon and right-wing anarchists generally would leave us at the mercy of those with economic power. They ignore how their lives are made safe by past acts of government protection from the pike.

Merrill Ring



Of mice and men

Dear Editor:

My concern is rats, and I don’t mean our elected officials in Congress. I mean tree rats, roof rats, attic rats, Norway rats, black rats and brown rats.

If you live in Claremont, particularly in the Village, you likely are aware that our furry friends and their fleas live amongst us, and in abundance. Last week, I did some research and found that rats like to live near people because people have access to food. They like to live in older buildings because it is easy to get in and out. They like abandoned buildings. This research also revealed that a rat can squeeze through a hole the size of a dime.

If you have ever witnessed the destruction of an old building in the Village, like what we seem to see at the Claremont Colleges on a regular basis, and happen to live near one of those demolished buildings, there likely was an exodus of rats looking for a new home. Ask any exterminator that services Claremont, when buildings come down in the Village, rats are on the move. This leads me to a concern I am not sure has been addressed.

The former Rich Products building in the Village is a very old building. At one time, it also processed and packaged frozen foods and food products. It has been abandoned for at least a couple of years and is located very close to homes, the Village Walk and many restaurants and businesses.

The building is a perfect place for rats to live in and under. The former Rich Products building is scheduled to be demolished soon to make way for more restaurants, loft apartments and retail space. So the big question is this:?Before the building comes down, what measures has the city and/or the developers taken to insure there will not be a migration of rats looking for a new place to live?

I love Claremont and, in particular, I love living in the Village. But I do not love living with rats. 

Tom Playford  








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