Readers comments 7-10-15

Pomona College on plans for the new museum

Dear Editor:

Pomona College aspires to create a new, exceptional Museum of Art that engages both the Pomona College student population as well as the greater community in creativity and scholarship.

Throughout the planning process, we have been meeting with groups of Claremont residents as well as with community organizations and leaders in order to listen to concerns and answer questions about the proposed museum. We will continue these conversations throughout the summer and fall as we present updated plans to the city council and planning commission.

Unfortunately, several pieces of incorrect information have been circulated about the proposal. We are writing to help clear up some of the misunderstandings caused by these errors.

For example, the analysis of Pomona College’s plans for a new Museum of Art provided by David Shearer and John Neiuber on behalf of Claremont Heritage (Claremont COURIER, Friday, June 26) contains a number of misstatements about the college’s previous master plans.

The column refers to a “2008 Pomona College Master Plan” and alleges that it “shows institutional buildings where the Victorians are currently located” on Harvard Avenue between Bonita and Fourth Streets. No such plan exists. In 2008, the city did approve several amendments to the college’s 2003­ Master Plan, but those amendments do not mention or depict the houses on Harvard Avenue.

There is a map in the “Introduction” to the college’s 2003 Master Plan summarizing a study conducted by Moule & Polyzoides Architects and Urbanists. That study was commissioned to analyze the theoretical “capacity” of the campus for future development and was the internal starting point for the college’s master plan process.

Moule & Polyzoides suggested that the college could expand its facilities in the future by building between and around existing buildings (in-fill), including the Harvard Avenue houses. The college rejected most of the sites in that “concept map” (including the Harvard Avenue houses), and the concept of “in-fill” itself, and proceeded to develop a master plan that focused the “center of gravity” of the campus to the east (Lincoln, Edmunds, Sontag and Pomona Halls, Studio Art and the parking structure on First Street).

The column also quotes liberally from Chapter 2 of the City’s General Plan, but it neglects to note that in the “Land Use Plan” map in that chapter (Figure 2-3), the proposed museum site is designated for “Institutional Use.” A museum would be consistent with that designation.

Other misconceptions relate to the design of the facility, which has not even been determined at this early stage of planning. Pomona College has retained nationally-recognized architects Machado and Silvetti Associates to design the new museum, but the architects are only now beginning to develop proposed schematics. This firm was chosen for their impressive record of building museums that are sensitive to the particular architectural and community contexts in which they appear.

The college has charged the architects to design a facility that does not exceed a maximum height of 30 feet, matches the mass and spacing of the surrounding structures, is consistent with the architectural feel of Pomona College’s southwest campus, has ample outdoor and open space, is approachable from all four sides and includes facilities for community use.

Claremont residents who are interested in reading the most up-to-date, accurate information about the college’s master plan and proposed Museum of Art are encouraged to visit our website (

The proposed Pomona College Museum of Art will be a unique facility that anchors an academic program in a location that also welcomes and interacts with the surrounding community in ways that are very exciting.

An alternate location in the interior of the campus has been considered, but it was rejected early in the planning process in favor of a location that can serve as both a gateway to the campus and a bridge to the community.

We believe strongly that the proposed site is the only one that can achieve both of these goals while accommodating all of the program’s requirements.

Richard A. Fass

Vice President for Planning

Pomona College


Marylou J. Ferry

Vice President and Chief

Communications Officer

Pomona College


CUSD’s Dave Stewart

Dear Editor:

I was sad to read that Dave Stewart will be leaving his position as principal at Vista School. I am a longtime neighbor whose daughters both attended Vista. The article in last Friday’s paper presented many of the initiatives that Dave energetically brought to Vista. I would like to recognize an additional area of achievement that was not mentioned in the article.

During the two years that Dave led Vista while STAR Testing was still being conducted every May, the percentage of students at Vista who ranked at proficient or above in English Language Arts climbed from 58 percent before he arrived to 72 percent two years later. Similarly in math, the percentage of students at proficient or above rose from 70 percent to 82 percent.

Based on these results, Vista rose from being rated in the 70th percentile of California schools to being rated in the 90th percentile. Many people worked with our students to achieve these results, but I think Dave Stewart deserves recognition for these dramatic results, as well as his innovative methods.

Jim Keith




Bernie Sanders

Dear Editor:

The New York Times ran a savagely negative article about Bernard Sanders in its July 3 issue. In this article, Susan Lyall (“Bernard Sanders’ revolutionary roots”)  depicted the Vermont senator and presidential candidate as a youthful hippie and crack-pot revolutionary.

I roomed with Bernie Sanders at the University of Chicago in 1963, and he was not the person Ms. Lyall described. At that time, 21 years old and a graduating senior, Bernie Sanders was more serious than most undergraduates, even those at Chicago, who were and are more serious than most others. He was serious about political change, supported Martin Luther King’s civil rights movement, and he called himself a democratic socialist.

He was reading Erich Fromm’s Escape from Freedom, a psychiatrist’s evaluation of why insecure and frightened people embrace totalitarianism.

He had a girlfriend named Debbie, and they went to the beach on weekends in his jalopy. He did not touch drugs or alcohol. He had the Brooklyn accent. He was unusually moralistic, intelligent and keen in argumentation, but not self-promoting. He had many friends.

Ivan Light




Uncommon Good

Dear Editor:

I enjoyed reading the article about Uncommon Good in the July 3 edition of the COURIER. I often purchase my produce there and appreciate the high quality.

I did, however, notice that the article failed to mention that in addition to the hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, Uncommon Good is open on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. for those of us who work during the week.

Tara Armstrong




Claremont traditions

Dear Editor:

We have a new tradition in Claremont. Only certain people are allowed to see the fireworks! How wonderful and uplifting this new tradition is!

Perhaps next year only certain people will be allowed at Memorial Park. Then after that, only certain people will be allowed to watch the parade. The list of traditions goes on!

Mike Hill




Democratic straw poll

Dear Editor:

A feature of the Democratic Club of Claremont’s booth at the Independence Day festival in Memorial Park was a straw poll. The five declared Democratic candidates were on the ballot, a straw-colored form, with the results posted hourly. Bernie Sanders led at each hour, with his totals ranging from 1 to 17 votes ahead of Hillary Rodham Clinton. 

The final totals were Bernie Sanders, 124; Hillary R. Clinton, 107; Martin O’Malley, 2; Jim Webb, 2 and Lincoln Chafee, 1. Voters are encouraged to participate in a follow-up poll during Village Venture.

Democratic Club of Claremont




Unfair water restrictions

Dear Editor:

I received a letter from Golden State about Tier 1 water reduction requirements, requesting a 32 percent reduction from 2013, but they didn’t mention that drip systems are exempt from the watering schedules. That’s probably why I can’t reach GSWC on the phone right now.

The Claremont city letter arrived and explained the issue much more clearly. But people who have been conserving for years need clarification and some adjustments on the Tier 2 and 3 costs. Punishing us at 32 percent of 2013 is unacceptable! So off goes my letter to the governor, a letter to Golden State and a letter to editor.

The problem is we put in a drip system and covered our pool many years ago. We fixed leaks. We put in low-flow toilets and enriched our plumber thereafter.

When 2013 was already a reduced water usage year, “32 percent of the 2013 year” is probably impossible. We have now turned off the fountains and have only one we fill with a hose for the many birds and bees in our yards.

We plan to capture washing machine water for some of our trees—we have 39—and we decided to bathe in the pool at night and call it good. We are going to remove some of the drip underground system and let some of our expensive landscape-designed (sorry, Land Design!) plants go. So, any more ideas?

We are presently into Tier 2 a bit but, now that summer is here, the trees must be watered to prevent “a city of fire.”

I refuse to tear out my gardens and put in a Palm Springs desert and destroy my property value. This is not desert, it is a semi-arid climate and it will probably rain again. You will hate that DG when it gets wet!

If it doesn’t rain in the next few years, we are all moving anyway, but let us not panic yet.

Constance Condit





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