Readers comments 1-20-17
An eagle soars
Thank you to everyone who contributed to my Eagle Scout project at the Claremont Little League baseball fields at College Park. So many people contributed financially and physically and I could not have done it without you.
My project was a renovation of the Claremont Little League snack bar seating area and it was completed in December of 2016. I have worked so hard to get to the rank of Eagle and my project is the final step. I am very grateful for the donation I received from Claremont Little League in memory of Mr. Bruce White.
Also, I would like to say thank you to Kasey Jones from Jonescape Construction. Kasey and his company were a huge help with my project by giving me support and guidance. Thank you to Mr. Andrew Mowbray and Mr. Campbell Wright from Claremont Little League and Mrs. Alison Martinez from the city of Claremont for their help. Thank you to my fellow scouts from Claremont Troop 402 and Covina Troop 443 for all of the help they provided.
I would also like to thank the Holmes family and my really good friends, Sean Castro, Brendan Matos and Samuel Venegas and my parents, Kim and Kevin, and my brother Andrew for their huge contribution of time and effort.
Lastly, thank you to everyone who was kind enough to donate to my project. I hope the people of Claremont Little League and the families in our community will enjoy this renovation for many years to come.
I was delighted to read your piece on Jose Haro and his restaurant El Ranchero. My large family moved to Claremont in 1966 and, being Mexican, we value family and good food.
Since several of my siblings still live in Claremont, I’m here almost every weekend and it’s rare if my sister and I miss Sunday brunch at “The Ranch” (in addition to a midweek visit here and there for Margarita specials).
But the reason I’m writing is to mention how special Jose and his whole terrific staff are to my family. In my mother Bea’s last years (she passed away in 2012 at age 90) she always looked forward to her Sunday brunch at Ranchero and seeing Jose and the staff, who treated her like she was their own abuela (grandma). And I was so moved when I saw Jose at her funeral.
Since then, we’re always celebrating a birthday or some special occasion there. So last year, as I was planning our biennial family reunion and needed a venue for our opening meet-and-greet reception, I didn’t hesitate to book the banquet room at Ranchero. As usual, we were treated like family and everyone in attendance agreed it was the best event of our reunion weekend.
Thank you, COURIER, for highlighting this special member of the Claremont community and I encourage everyone to stop in and say “hola” to Jose and his team (and grab a bite while you’re there!)
Good news, bad news
In his article last week, Mayor Sam Pedroza assures the community that the city’s $6.3 million in litigation costs with the water company “may be reimbursed by the revenue bond if the city wins the case on appeal.”
Putting aside the unlikelihood of that happening, what the mayor is actually saying is that he’s not worried, the ratepayers will end up paying for his lawyers and consultants. It’s all good. Everything’s fine. Nothing to see here.
It reminds me of a variation on an old wheeze Mayor Pedroza: “I have some bad news, some good news and some bad news. The bad news is that we owe $6.3 million; the good news is that we have the money; the bad news is that it’s in your pockets.”
Water has been a source of controversy in Claremont for much of its history, and rates are higher here for several reasons: The system is old and, much like older people, requires a lot of maintenance. We have large lots that use more water and we did not acquire some of the revenue rights that younger communities enjoy.
Having offered Golden State Water (GSW) 20 percent of what the company claims that our local water system is worth, the city put Measure W on the ballot to engage public support for a takeover via eminent domain. Our council members now say they did not promise lower water rates but the numerous flyers we all received, showing a water spigot with currency flowing out of it, sent a different message.
Last year, this dispute was taken to court. Claremont’s argument seemed to be little more than “we are a college town, and our citizens are so smart that they deserve to own the water system.”
The city also submitted approximately13,000 pages of documents to the judge,via flash drive, hoping he would read all the paperwork and make a determination in our favor. Such an approach raises concerns about the quality of our legal representation.
Claremont also proposed the city of La Verne, which has a history of lead in its water (think Flint, Michigan), as our prospective system operator, even though La Verne would need to hire and train up to 14 new employees. Incidentally, the experienced individual who might have run the water system for Claremont retired last month.
After thoroughly reviewing the evidence and the legal arguments, the judge ruled against Claremont and dismissed the case. The takeover has already cost the city more than $6 million, and our liability for GSW’s legal fees brings the grand total to around $14 million. Of course, we could appeal the court’s ruling and incur even more costs.
The city has responded with a 16-page ramble which seems to have no real grasp of the court’s findings. I urge everyone to read the judge’s decision and make your own determination regarding the wisdom of taking an appeal.
If we do appeal, it is not likely to end well. Claremont could end up with gigantic legal bills, no reduction in rates, no water company, and a loss of civic credibility. If the city wanted to reduce the cost of water, they could have offered each user a significant cash rebate, instead of squandering it on unnecessary legal fees.
US and the UN
Tensions are high in Washington following the United Nations’ Security Council vote on Israeli settlements. Some members of Congress are now calling for a cut to UN funding. But without active participation at the UN, including full funding, our nation’s ability to achieve our foreign policy and national security objectives will be severely diminished.
Withdrawing from the UN will significantly jeopardize America’s influence around the world and our ability to steer the international agenda—allowing other nations to take the reins. Such a step would also be out of touch with the wishes of the American people. A new poll by the Better World Campaign shows that bipartisan support for the UN remains high—88 percent of Americans support active engagement at the UN. This support is shared by Republicans and Democrats alike.
The poll finds that a strong majority of Americans, 61 percent, maintain a favorable impression of the UN. An even greater majority of Americans, 67 percent, continue to support the US paying its dues to the UN on time and in full. When asked specifically about UN peacekeeping dues, support increases further to 70 percent. This shows that Americans recognize that the UN remains vital to our national interests, including combatting terrorism, handling threats to international peace and security, and ending conflicts.
The UN also benefits the economy. Over $500 million in UN contracts flow to American companies each year in 30 different states, and according to a newly-released report by the city of New York, hosting the UN in New York City has a positive economic impact equivalent to hosting seven Super Bowls.
And it’s not just the United States that benefits from the UN. The UN is indispensable to tackling global challenges. Nearly 40 percent of the world’s children receive vaccinations from the UN, 80 million individuals in 80 countries receive food from the UN, and 65 million refugees and other displaced people are helped by the UN.
Members of Congress and the incoming administration have an opportunity to work with the new Secretary-General to achieve real reforms that will strengthen the UN’s ability to carry out its life-saving work around the world. We know from experience that staying engaged on the world stage is the best way to advance American interests. Continued UN funding is vital to ensure that the US keeps its seat at the negotiating table.
President, Pomona Valley
United Nations Association