Readers comment 9-11-15

Peppertree Square Dollar Tree

Dear Editor:

As a Claremont resident and the owner of the firm responsible for leasing Peppertree Square, I want to respond to Mr. Auerbach’s September 4 letter and provide further information to Claremont residents regarding Dollar Tree, the ownership of Peppertree Square and the leasing process.

First, the center has been largely vacant for the past five years. In today’s substantially-changed retail world, there are very few potential businesses that are willing to lease the larger spaces at Peppertree Square. We have aggressively sought many independent businesses as well as chain tenants.

Due to the fact that the property is not located at a freeway, nor in the Village, nor on Foothill Boulevard, most users have shied away from this neighborhood location. I concur that it is great to have independent users in Claremont (or anywhere else), but most of these users, if they have any interest in the trade area, want to be in the Village and not at Peppertree Square.

Second, Dollar Tree is a store that caters to all people. Mr. Auerbach’s implication that they cater to the “absolute bottom of the consumer market” is an incredibly insulting statement to many people who are just trying to save some time and money.

Dollar Tree is located in most of the Foothill communities and frequently in close proximity to their higher-income housing. They have an outstanding brand and with over 13,000 stores they must be doing something right for their customers. To clarify, Mr. Auerbach mentioned 99 Cents Only stores previously being in the center. They never were located in the center. There was an independent discount store that was paying very low rent and they failed due to their inability to properly operate the store. 

Third, regarding all of Mr. Auerbach’s statements about Dollar Tree’s corporate practices, I have not researched all of these facts, but I am sure with a little research we can find something wrong with just about every retailer or every retail use. Should we ban all restaurants that sell alcohol since we know that alcohol can be harmful? What about banning movie theaters because they show violent movies that may promote violence. Or how about banning all bakeries since they sell foods that can cause people to be fat. I don’t believe any of these arguments, but obviously it does not take much googling to make an argument against just about any business.

Finally, regarding Mr. Auerbach’s xenophobic views about foreign investors, being domestic or foreign does not make a difference. We work for some great foreign investors and some horrible domestic investors.

The ownership of Peppertree Square has invested millions of dollars into Peppertree Square with virtually no return on this investment. They have hired the leading retail leasing firm in the region, a well-respected city architect, a quality general contractor and highly professional legal counsel to guide them.

Our goal is to bring to Peppertree retailers that want to be at the center, users that will be a benefit to residents in the trade area and businesses that can afford to pay a fair rent while also having a reasonable likelihood of succeeding.

We continue to work to attract and negotiate with other businesses, both independent and national, with a goal of filling the center with such businesses as soon as possible.

Brad Umansky


President of Progressive

Real Estate Partners


Discrediting Dollar Tree

Dear Editor:

I read Jeffery Auerbach’s Dollar Tree letter several times, trying to determine if it reflected his true feelings or was intended to be some sort of satire. I’m still not sure.

In the ultimate compliment that vice pays to virtue, the letter barely disguises a rather nasty contempt for those at the “absolute bottom of the consumer market” with a critique of Dollar Tree’s operating practices. Business critiques—even valid ones—notwithstanding, I can’t help but think that Mr. Auerbach’s real fear is that Claremont’s “uniqueness” will be polluted by the presence of souls who only earn “half of Claremont’s median household income” by people from our “neighbor to the south” who will spend “only $11 per visit.”

Humility can be a rare virtue in a city of PhDs, but most people with this degree of hubris usually have the good sense to fly under the radar. Not so, Mr. Auerbach. Does his opinion “align closely with the special character of this community?” I hope not.

Bruce Dane




End climate pollution

Dear Editor:

It is time for each of us to tell our state assembly member to vote yes on SB 32 and SB 350. SB 32 by Senator Fran Pavley and SB 350 by Senators Kevin de León and Mark Leno will be voted on by the full Assembly soon. It’s time to write your assembly member asking that they vote yes on these critically-important bills.

The oil industry is pushing hard to block this breakthrough legislation, spending millions on advertising and lobbying hard to oppose the passage of these bills. We must counter their efforts and ensure that California remains a leader in addressing climate change.

SB 32 will set an enforceable limit on climate pollution that continues the reductions required by California’s landmark AB 32 of 2006. It will require a greenhouse gas (GHG) emission level of 80 percent below the 1990 level by 2050.

SB 350 will set three goals for 2030 that cut GHG emissions: 50 percent of our electricity from renewable energy sources, 50 percent reduction in oil use in the transportation sector and a doubling of energy efficiency in buildings.

Help us see that these important climate change bills are passed by the state assembly.

Ellen Taylor

League of Women Voters

of the Claremont Area


The La Puerta flip

Dear Editor:

In response to Tony Nelipovich, Sr.’s Viewpoint in the August 28 COURIER in which some of the issues surrounding the so-called “La Puerta Park flip” were discussed, his detailed analysis was most informative and I certainly appreciate the research.

I’m a 25-year Claremont resident who lives near the subject property and who walks on Forbes Avenue nearly every day. I decided to ask a few of my fellow Forbes walkers and neighbors what they thought. No one likes the idea of greatly increased vehicular traffic, but not everyone thinks parking and noise will be that big of a deal with a sports park.

From my experience with the current La Puerta Park, there wouldn’t be big games there anything like every day, after all. Several thought bright lights would be irritating, and that’s a good point. They would need a plan for that.

But most importantly, all of us agreed that any kind of park—even a popular sports park—would be significantly less painful in terms of traffic, parking, noise, etc. than a bazillion new two-story homes with the main entrance on Forbes, as previously proposed, and as may yet be proposed again if there is that much opposition to this “flip.” Change is inevitable, people! We all know there can’t be a big empty lot there forever. We’ve been lucky to have the open space this long. A sports park on Forbes Avenue could well be the lesser of many evils. Think about it. 

Anne Stoll




Museum mix-up

Dear Editor:

While I do not wish to join the ranks of those who too endlessly pursue ongoing arguments ad infinitum in the Readers’ Comments section of the COURIER, I do want to make an exception regarding what I believe to be some misinformation provided by another reader, regarding the developing plans for the Pomona College Museum of Art.

In response to a statement by Pomona College President David Oxtoby that Pomona College has “been west of College Avenue for many, many years,” the reader claims that “There are no other college projects of this scale on the west side of College Avenue, south of the former Carnegie Library.” He appears to have overlooked the group of Pomona College buildings south of Sixth Street and north of Fourth Street, between Harvard Avenue to the west and College Avenue to the east. These large buildings include Crookshank Hall on Sixth Street, Mason Hall and Hahn Hall on Harvard, and Pearson Hall and the Carnegie Building on College Avenue.

I believe that, if anything, the relocation of the new museum to the site proposed by President Oxtoby to the space currently holding the unattractive bungalows, which have no true historical value, will greatly enhance our already beautiful city. As previously stated, I am hoping Claremont Heritage and the city of Claremont will embrace President Oxtoby’s plan, and that this wonderful project will commence as soon as possible.

Don Fisher



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