Readers comments 2-26-16
A fond farewell
My name is Martin Ramiro Gomez Lomeli. I am the last descendent of the Marcelino Gomez family left in Claremont. My grandparents, Marcelino and Marie Gomez, emigrated from Mexico to Claremont in 1929, settling in a small house on Blanchard Place. Their daughter Esperanza, my mother, was 12 at the time.
My mother had six brothers and a sister and grew up attending segregated Ontario schools. They weren’t allowed to swim in the local pool except on the days before they drained it. Regardless, they were a close-knit family growing up and surviving the Great Depression.
My grandfather and uncles “worked the groves” and my mother did house cleaning and babysitting to help make ends meet. In the late 1930s, my mother and Uncle Ramiro opened a small market that was located in the Claremont “barrio.” They later sold it to the Serna family.
My mother met my father, the local Santa Fe Railroad agent, through the parish priest. They courted in the midst of WWII and were married in the small Catholic church that was demolished with the construction of Claremont Boulevard. They moved to La Verne in 1943, where my two brothers and I were born and raised.
I grew up in La Verne, but would come to Claremont two or three times a week to visit my grandparents. Sunday was the day we would all meet at the house of my “abuelos” for amazing dinners and family celebrations. I remember going to the Village Theater to watch movies and then driving back to La Verne on Bonita or Foothill when there was nothing but fields and groves between the two cities.
In 1984, I moved back to “Clareville” with my wife Roni and we raised our two daughters here. Claremont has wonderful memories for all of us—from the Fourth of July to Village Venture and many AYSO and Claremont Stars soccer games. Concerts in the park and events at the Colleges all added to our quality of life here. Who could ever forget “Burning Man” held in the quarry east of the Colleges?
We’ve witnessed the city change from a small oasis of suburbia to developing Village West, the Claremont Auto Center, the evolution of Foothill Boulevard and the residential boom of “mega mansions” in north Claremont. But Claremont is still a special place, as acknowledged recently by Sunset Magazine.
It is with a heavy heart that Roni and I decided to sell our home and move north. Although La Verne will always be my hometown, Claremont will always be our “home” for our girls and I to cherish and remember.
Take care of it and appreciate it, Claremonters, for what you have is unique and special.
Dems say Portantino for senate
The Democratic Club of Claremont has endorsed Anthony Portantino for the California Senate seat representing our district (SD 25). We have several reasons for our endorsement.
For some years now, Anthony has participated in the activities of the Democratic Club of Claremont. In our dealings with him we have always found him honest and willing to listen, even on topics where we are to the left of his positions. We respect his views and he respects ours.
We have also been impressed by his accomplishments while serving two terms (2009-2013) in the California Assembly from which he was termed out. He received a 94 (out of 100) Assembly scorecard for his liberal record. Moreover, his chief campaign contributors have not included corporate interests. Leading Democrats such as Congressman Adam Schiff have endorsed him as we have.
In the assembly, he sponsored a bill that made it illegal to carry weapons openly in the state (even if unloaded), thereby distinguishing California from cowboy states such as Texas.
Anthony is not only active behind the scenes in Sacramento—he is community minded and a political educator of the public, organizing town hall meetings on such topics as drought and human trafficking.
For these reasons, the Democratic Club of Claremont has decided to give our support to Anthony Portantino for California Senate District 25.
President, Democratic Club of Claremont
Zoning should stay residential
[Editor’s note:?The following letter was addressed to the Claremont Planning Commission, with a copy forwarded for publication. —KD]
I am writing to discuss the general plan cleanup. I believe much of the cleanup is appropriate, but I do not believe the College Avenue addresses should be changed. This includes properties at 105, 119, 137, 211 and 239 North College Avenue, which are involved in the proposed Pomona College Master Plan.
The current designation is residential. The current use with the CUP still leaves this area with a residential “feel.” This is appropriate for this area as a boundary and buffer between the Colleges and the Village.
The institutional designation would allow completely different uses that are inconsistent with a residential designation. This would be completely contrary to both the general plan and the Village design Plan. This is so substantial a change that it does not constitute a mere cleanup.
A great deal of effort and community involvement were put into the general plan and the Village design plan. To change this land use should involve as much effort and community involvement as it took to create these plans in the first place. Anything else would abrogate this democratic process, and cheat the community of its right to regulate itself.
It is important to slow this process down, both for the above-mentioned reasons but also for the particularly sensitive nature of this area of the city.
The Village commercial district is vital to the success of Claremont as a whole. This is reflected in the community opinion by both its general plan designations, and the Village design plan. Any change in its land use must be fully contemplated due to its sensitive nature.
In addition and equally, this area constitutes an interface between the community and the Colleges. The clear yet comfortable delineation of this boundary is critical to the success of both the town of Claremont and the conglomerate of the Colleges. This is no trivial matter and must include a more thorough community involvement than this mere “cleanup” allows. This process should occur during mandated review of the general plan that would allow full community involvement.
Furthermore, during this general mandated review of the general plan, I would urge the current zoning to stay in place for the above reasons. The citizens cannot control who purchases property, but they can control its use through the zoning provided in the general plan.
It is imperative that this process be respected and followed. I urge you as a former planning commissioner to leave the College Avenue addresses as residential zoning.
Martin S. McLeod
League supports Prop 50
The League of Women Voters supports Proposition 50 on the June 7 ballot.
This constitutional amendment would give each house of the legislature clear authority to suspend, with a two-thirds vote, a member and withhold pay and benefits.
Prop 50 is a straightforward way for lawmakers to hold their own colleagues accountable for breaching the public’s trust.
Such actions are highly unusual. Over the years, five senators have been expelled, and several senators accused of corruption resigned in 1985. The Assembly has never suspended or expelled a member.
This issue is important and we want every voter to know about it so that they can study the issue with plenty of time to make a decision on how to vote.
VP for Advocacy,
LWV of Claremont