Readers comments 2-3-17
Intending to attend the meeting on sanctuary cities, I arrived at the Claremont City Council chamber at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, January 24. All the public seats were taken, so I went home.
Later, I learned that about 30 Trump supporters had arrived early and occupied the two front rows of the council chamber. These people were from other cities, some as far away as Orange County. None voted in Claremont. They carried signs and each demanded and got his/her allotted four minutes speaking time.
Claremont voters should not be turned away from city council meetings by non-residents who occupy the public seats. Additionally, the meeting lasted over six hours but it would have been two hours shorter had not the 30 non-residents each claimed four minutes of meeting time. The non-residents prolonged the meeting with slogans that did not represent the opinions of Claremont voters.
I suggest that in the future, when council chamber seats are filled and overflow conditions prevail, the sergeant-at-arms request non-residents to vacate their seats so that residents and voters can participate in the affairs of their own city.
I attended the Claremont City Council meeting on January 24. Passions were high and attendees were boisterous. I commend the council and the Claremont Police Department for their calm yet firm efforts to keep the meeting from getting out of hand and providing, to the best of their abilities, a secure environment for people to be heard.
The resolution was really a commitment to diversity and inclusion. It was nothing close to a declaration of sanctuary status, a fact that seemed to escape some of the speakers, including a man proudly wearing his red “Make America Great Again” cap, who angrily called the council members “criminals.”
A principle theme of sanctuary opponents was crime, and they cited heart-wrenching cases perpetrated by undocumented immigrants. They also expressed their certitude that the crime wave that would accompany sanctuary would inevitably spill over into their neighboring communities, making them victims of Claremont’s bleeding-heart policies.
While the anecdotes and assumptions were powerful, they play to emotions and are not convincing arguments against protecting undocumented immigrants. Eighty years of data shows that among immigrant populations, crime rates are actually lower than they are in the general population. Recent studies show that sanctuary status has no quantifiable effect on the crime rates of those cities and surrounding communities.
Another key argument against sanctuary was the threat by the Federal government to withhold funding for cities that do not cooperate to identify the undocumented and assist ICE in deportation. Since the meeting, President Donald Trump has signed an executive order to this end. This is understandably the kind of thing that should command the attention of the city council.
The resolution summary report, presented by Assistant City Manager Colin Tudor, revealed the city’s concern regarding federal funds to local programs. Mr. Tudor highlighted programs that might be in the crosshairs of President Trump’s executive order to cut federal funding to “sanctuary” cities, a total of just under $500,000, or about one percent of Claremont’s total budget.
But numerous Supreme Court rulings, ironically championed by Republicans, protect states from such coercion. The 2012 decision on Obamacare that restricted the federal government’s ability to force states to expand Medicaid found that the federal government cannot coerce a state to enact a policy by threatening its funding or, in the words of Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., putting a financial “gun to the head.”
Also relevant is an earlier decision from the high court during the Clinton administration allowing local governments to opt out of background checks for gun buyers required by the Brady Act. The bottom line is that the federal government cannot withhold funding for programs unrelated to undocumented immigrants.
Claremont programs receiving federal funding include city housing development, job creation, senior counseling, senior nutrition, Dial-A-Ride and roadway paving. It is hard to see how these are related to immigration.
The council voted in favor of the resolution with one “no” vote and one abstention, which is puzzling because the resolution is quite warm-and-fuzzy, non-binding and innocuous in its language. Councilmember Opanyi Nasiali gave a somewhat tortured explanation for voting against the resolution, but at least he took a stand.
On the other hand, Corey Calaycay’s abstention, apparently because he hesitated to cast a vote on behalf of the people who elected him to make decisions on their behalf, was equivocal at best and gutless at worst.
Perhaps with the upcoming election he felt it was the politically safe decision, but if there were ever a time to take a stand, this would be it. I would encourage that before the election, Mr. Calaycay let voters know how he really feels about this matter. I would also ask that the council consider adopting alternative A of the resolution.
The Claremont City Council did the reasonable thing when they voted unanimously to appeal the ruling against our right to take over the local water system.
If they had not, we would have had to reimburse Golden State Water Company’s related expenses to this point, and they are asking more than $7 million. That’s more than $500 per Claremont household, and we would have nothing to show for it.
We would have no choice but to continue to pay much more than that, compared to neighboring cities, each year in higher charges on a typical water bill.
By going ahead with an appeal we avoid that cost unless we lose on the appeal. The firm of legal appeal experts Claremont consulted believes the prospects for winning are reasonably good. The appeal is a one-time cost of about $450,000 or about $30 per household. And if we win, we will have the right to take over the water system and avoid these exorbitant rates that guarantee a handsome profit to stockholders at our expense. We will be out from under the monopoly that controls our water future!
When Claremont voters approved spending up to $135 million to acquire the water system it was after a long intense education campaign where misleading and exaggerated claims by the water company were debunked. And $135 million is about twice the conservative estimate of the cost of the system.
To this day, Golden State continues to make outlandish claims, such as La Verne having a history of lead contamination in its water, and attempting to cover it up. When I wrote that “Lead contamination in La Verne water was a one-time incident in a small area and was quickly corrected,” Golden State’s legal representative responded, “It would have been responsible for Mr. Allen to study the facts before writing a misleading article to the COURIER.”
Well, I had, and I have checked again. There was only one reportable occurrence, in 2012, “in a few residential locations (NOT SYSTEM WIDE). Minor adjustments were made to correct the issue and the city is now on a once every three year testing cycle which is only granted to systems that consistently meet standards.”
Let the people decide
The city has a duty and responsibility to present its best detailed analysis including legal costs by mailing the information to all households and then asking all residents to participate in the decision of appeal through emails. Encourage all residents to participate and decide. The residents will be burdened with the costs, they should be the ones to decide not just the few people who voiced their opinions in Tuesday night’s meeting.
I have been reading the Q & As on the candidates for the upcoming election and so far, there is no mention of how these candidates are registered to vote.
In light of the recent election and the political climate today, I think that information would be of interest to many and an important part of who the candidate is. I believe the citizens have a right to this information and feel that it should be included in either in your “Eight Questions” series or somewhere in your paper before the election.
Thanks from San Antonio High
I am not a resident of Claremont, but I consider myself extremely fortunate to work in the city. As principal of San Antonio High School, I have had the opportunity to interface with many people in the community and I am continually amazed by their generosity.
I have received donations that appear in the mail from citizens, scholarships on behalf of service organizations and partnerships with local businesses for fundraising opportunities.There is one such group I would like to highlight—the Woman’s Club of Claremont. Although we have few spectators at our games, and very little press coverage, we do offer a sports league that is comprised of five local schools playing four sports.
Many of us know of the costs associated with youth sports, such as equipment, officiating and uniforms. Often, high schools have boosters and parent groups to help defray costs. I appreciate how the Woman’s Club discovered our league and took it upon themselves to provide us donations through fundraising efforts.
The Woman’s Club reflects the city of Claremont in its generosity and care to see that all students are afforded the opportunity to be kids who compete for their school with pride. This is but one story of many that exemplify the heart of Claremont. Thank you for all you do for San Antonio High School.
San Antonio High School