Readers comments 5-8-15

The new museum: Not a monument to college administrators

Dear Editor:

As a patron and graduate of Pomona College, I hope that the city of Claremont and the newspaper will generate public support to ensure that a multi-purpose, multi-use museum building serves the broader community. 

The site, across the street from the old Claremont Inn, should be a nexus for civic engagement, a sort of Renaissance city palace, which deepens the cultural density of the community and the Colleges. 

It should have the Athenaeum program that CMC has so successfully developed, some residencies for  Claremont Fellows, ultimately selected by all of the Colleges and a cinema café that shows the classic movies of the last decades, as well as the documentaries that shape our consciousness today.

The new art center should include a richly-conceived dining room that can be used to entertain art patrons (who should be cultivated to expand the modest collection), the city leadership, trustees and dining societies akin to the Elizabethan Club or the Signet Society at Harvard and Yale, which nourish good conversationalists among the faculty and students. It could also feature a community room exhibiting the plans of all of the educational institutions as an “institutional memory” display where civic leaders can meet. And, of course, there should be a dedicated commitment to public art and craft that builds a narrative into the fabric of the building, which the recent antiseptic studio art building remarkably failed to do.

Beyond the budget? Enough of the banal austerity of too many College buildings. I have offered up to $8 million from a dedicated charitable remainder trust to add the programming and the architectural and artistic finishes that can make this into a civilizing experience for all of the people.

After a year, I am still waiting for Pomona College to seriously consider these proposals and not rush a monument to completion that characterizes the dysfunctional combination of arrogance (we are the most highly-endowed college per capita in the western world and can plan imperiously)?and naiveté (we haven’t thought about this level of urbane vitality) that often characterize narrowly-conceived academic endeavors. 

The community should have the leverage to ensure a level of urbanity that recovers the energy of the old Claremont Inn, and the “daring minds” of the millennial. Let’s really use that fundraising slogan to raise institutional consciousness for broader community benefit.

Ronald Lee Fleming

Pomona College ’63

Fellow, American Institute

of City Planners

Cambridge, Mass.


Golf course is a hazard

Dear Editor:

Remember when we had a golf course in Claremont? The property, more than 30 acres of it, is now a potentially serious fire hazard. The fairways have been abandoned, the irrigation shut off and weeds grow knee-high. The eucalyptus trees are dying. If a fire got started it would leap the fence, sweep through the Botanic Gardens and spread from there into residential neighborhoods.

The current owner is the Claremont University Consortium. I think the community has a right to know what plans the CUC has for the future of this property.

It is one of the largest parcels of undeveloped land remaining within the city limits. Most of us drive by on Indian Hill Boulevard and don’t give it a second thought. The property encompasses almost half of the Indian Hill mesa, which it shares with the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden.

It could be a stunning site for another college, a major museum or the crown jewel of our city parks.

Mark Merritt



Thank you, Children’s Fund

Dear Editor:

For the past year, I have been collecting donations for a ceramic “slab roller” for a group of senior ladies and gentlemen in Azusa Senior Center. Because of budget cuts to education, all funding to this and other senior classes has been cut back to zero.

As their teacher, it breaks my heart to see them try to wedge and roll out clay with their frail hands and fingers. I have been trying to find a new or used slab roller for them. As a result of the generous donations of groups and individuals, we have finally reached our goal and have purchased what we need. 

I would like to thank the Claremont/West End auxiliary of Children’s Fund for providing me an opportunity to sell my pottery and to donate a portion of the proceeds for this cause. I would also like to thank the wonderful people of Claremont who contributed so generously. I would also like to thank Mr. and Mrs. Kelly Kidwell for sharing their home and good thoughts for the occasion. 

I almost feel sad that all of you who donated will not see the happy faces of those wonderful people in the ceramic class when they use the “slab roller.” We are looking forward to next year and another chance to help those in need.

Jack “Cactus” Caselles



Fighting for the ‘Frack Pack’

Dear Editor:

As a leader in the environmental community, the League of Women Voters looks for solutions to address climate change, protect our natural resources and promote a clean energy economy. The League recently endorsed, and is encouraging members of Congress to cosponsor and support, five pieces of legislation known as the “Frack Pack.”

These bills seek to keep our air and water safe while holding big polluters responsible for the process. The Frack Pack bills will close loopholes in the Safe Drinking Water, Clean Water, Clean Air and Resource Conservation and Recovery Acts while establishing mandatory testing of water resources to contain contamination.

Hydraulic fracturing commonly is the process used to extract natural gas and oil from deep inside the earth. The process involves injecting a highly pressurized fluid consisting of chemicals, water and sand into deep rock formations in order to increase access to and allow for oil and gas to flow freely. Drilling and fracking is expanding across the country, and the League believes we must have updated laws to hold the oil and gas industry accountable to ensure our planet and its resources are protected.

We are concerned about the impact that fracking may have on our natural resources and public health. Pro-fracking advocates argue that increasing access to these fossil fuels enables new energy sources that have a positive impact on our economy. But environmental advocates, including the League, argue it puts our air and water in danger.

Specifically, there are concerns that the water used for fracking, which is infused with sand and chemicals, contaminates ground water. Fracking also uses anywhere from 70,000 to 140,000 gallons a year across the United States. With water resources in jeopardy in most of the western US, this could have a major impact on the depletion of the fresh water supplies we need to survive.

Questions remain about the effect of releasing methane gas, which contributes to climate change. During the fracking process, methane is released into the air through the venting of wells to reduce pressure and through leaks in the system. The League of Women Voters has called on the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate methane from the oil and gas industry as a key part of the president’s pledge to reduce greenhouse emissions in the Climate Action Plan.

The League also wants to make sure that the oil and gas industry is held accountable for the chemicals used in the fracking process. The public deserves complete transparency and disclosure of the chemicals being used, so that communities across the country can be aware of any dangerous health risks.

In addition to lobbying to gain support for the Frack Pack in Congress, the League has also worked to address the issue of fracking by offering comment to the Bureau of Land Management about the need for regulations on fracking on federal lands. The League has also testified to the EPA’s Science Advisory Board about the need for a comprehensive, transparent, science-based, peer-reviewed study on its potential impact on drinking water resources.

A path toward a clean energy future will strengthen our economy by opening up millions of jobs to Americans while also rescuing America from its dependence on fossil fuels, reducing threats to our health and protecting the natural resources that we depend upon for survival.

As the nation shifts towards establishing an economy around renewable energy and decreasing the size of its carbon footprint, the League will be there to ensure that we’re also establishing accountability and safeguards to protect public health and the environment

Ellen Taylor

VP for Advocacy

LWV of the Claremont Area




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