Readers comments 2-17-17
The business of politics
We here in Claremont need to pay critical attention to the interests and ideas—or lack thereof—of heavily self-promoting candidates for city council.
After the recent forum (thank you Claremont Heritage and Sustainable Claremont, and to the COURIER for the coverage), I was struck that the candidate who was clearly among the most unqualified for serving on our city council is also the candidate whose signage is the most ubiquitous around town.
Anthony Grynchal, who has trademarked the name “Mr. Claremont” although he has possibly only lived in Claremont for a less than a year (and evasively answered a question about this during the forum), demonstrated little knowledge of the issues facing the city or of the complexity of addressing them. Please, thoughtful fellow Claremonters, pay attention to the substance behind the many signs.
More generally, the idea of having a realtor on the city council is problematic, and begs questions about conflicts of interest. To be fair, another candidate, Abraham Prattella, is a real estate developer, and I find this problematic as well (apart from Mr. Prattella’s apparent climate change denialism, which also should be disqualifying).
Let’s elect city council members who are focused on the best interests of the community, not themselves or their own personal business concerns.
Don’t get Trumped
We are in the midst of a campaign for city council. Campaigns have evolved over time but, as we get further along in time, it is increasingly difficult to find out the truth about a candidate.
I have heard about secret agents, but you would hope that we would not have secret candidates. A decline-to-state candidate allows a person to be an independent person but also to cleverly hide the true nature of who a candidate is by declaring that they are decline-to-state.
I know that, theoretically, our city council campaigns are pure in that they are supposed to be non-partisan. But since when is anyone really a decline-to-state candidate? That is like saying your beliefs are a secret and that you refuse to take a stand on any position.
As voters we have to be careful and ask the right questions to really get to the heart of the matter and find out as much as possible about who these candidates really are and what they believe in. Be careful out there when you get into that voting booth, the last thing you want is to be Trumped.
We are deeply concerned about two candidates in the upcoming city council election: Anthony Grynchal and Abraham Prattella.
Around town, we see many yard signs for Anthony Grynchal. While nice enough and enthusiastic, Mr. Grynchal appears to know little about Claremont, its issues or its history. At a recent city council candidate forum, Mr. Grynchal admitted as much, saying that for most concerns he would talk to the people and committees and “find out.” Even on the water issue, which is his platform’s focus, he intends to “find out about water rights.”
So his plan is to gather information? That is not a plan. Instead of preparing himself for civic duties by researching and gaining comprehension of the complex issues facing Claremont, Mr. Grynchal has concentrated his energies on self-promotion, going door-to-door asking people for permission to put his campaign signs in their yards.
This self-promotion is clear in his trademarked moniker, Mr. Claremont, which feels arrogant, insulting and unearned. The title insinuates that he speaks for all of Claremont and implies a depth of city knowledge. In fact, Mr. Grynchal was a resident of Upland until quite recently. (An interesting side note: Mr. Grynchal has also trademarked Mr. Upland, which his father appears to be using as his own real estate website URL.)
Everything Mr. Grynchal does appears to be in support of his business: taking the name of the town, putting his face on his car, and even this campaign. We sincerely hope that Claremont’s residents can see through this rigorously self-promoting realtor.
As for Abraham Prattella, he admitted to a lack of knowledge about sustainability issues at the candidate forum. But his previously-stated focus on real estate development in Claremont poses our greatest concern. Given that Mr. Prattella is both a real estate developer and realtor, this seems a glaring conflict of interest.
In short, Mr. Grynchal and Mr. Prattella have done little work to learn about Claremont’s issues and governance. And more importantly: Do we really want people serving on our council with a financial interest in developing and selling property within Claremont? Their business interests could seriously compromise the fair and ethical governing of our city. For us, this is a deal breaker.
Thank you to all the Claremont COURIER staff for taking the time to interview me and to write an article. I have received such positive responses from all my customers—several of them have even come up to me personally to tell me how much they enjoyed reading about the history of El Ranchero.
I would like to give a special thanks to Sarah Torribio and the photographer Steven Felschundneff. It was a great honor to be featured in the COURIER.
This was the first newspaper that I advertised in back in 1996 when I first opened. To now have an article about El Ranchero’s success in the COURIER is something I never expected and that I am truly grateful for. Thank you all again
Owner, El Ranchero
Growing up Claremont
Claremont has a low-powered radio station, KPSC 88.7 FM. Like many college radio stations, it has eclectic mix of programming. On Saturday mornings from 8 to 11 a.m., it plays polka music.
As a young father, I was assistant scoutmaster for Boy Scout Troop 403 in Claremont, sponsored by OLA and Claremont Presbyterian Church. About once a month we took the scouts on camping trips, which would always start Saturday morning at the same time that KPSC would play the polka music.
Some of the boys 11 to 17 years of age had a sophomoric, back-of-the-van attitude towards others, with noogies, wedgies and Indian burns. As a scout leader you couldn’t yell at them and, while driving, it was tough to stop and counsel them.
When the unacceptable behavior started, I would turn on the polka music. There would be a wail from the back with, “Please Mr. Wheeler, we will behave.” I noted that if they were true to their word, they could “listen to their music.”
What the scouts didn’t know was that KPSC, at that time, was a low-power station, and the signal faded when on the eastern side of Ontario.
I still like polka music. My wife Maureen doesn’t understand why I do. To me, it brings back memories.
Paul S. Wheeler
I was astonished to read in the February 3 edition of the COURIER that Trump supporters from outside of Claremont were speaking at the Claremont City Council meeting in January.
Back in the 1990s when the future of the public library was being discussed, I attended as a concerned library employee. At that time, I was not allowed to speak because, although I was a current employee of the library and would be directly effected by any changes, I was not a resident of Claremont. Apparently, this policy has changed.
I am chagrined that Claremont residents were excluded from the discussion while “outsiders” took the floor. The council needs to rethink their speakers’ policy.
Truth about water
I am concerned that Claremont voters are getting water system information that is wrong. Widely-circulated city council campaign material states that “The city of Claremont gives [Golden State Water Company] an allocation to pump water. Golden State does not actually own the rights to the water.” That is wrong. GSW owns much more of the rights than Claremont does.
We are asked to “Figure out who and when Claremont gave allocation rights to GSW.” That is easy. Most of the GSW pumping rights came from another source. Cities and enterprises that pump water from our basin (the Six Basins aquifer) agreed that GSW would bring suit in court to settle water rights issues. That was done and, in 1998, GSW (then called Southern California Water Company) was awarded the right to pump 34.7 percent of the annual safe yield from our small basin; Claremont was awarded 2.77 percent, which they lease to GSW.
Typically, only about half of the water used in Claremont comes from our basin. Most of the remainder is imported through the state water project and sold to GSW by the Three Valleys Municipal Water District.
Claremont cannot allocate water rights they do not own. The proposal that “We the people must update the policy of water allocation” is not a “solution to the water crisis.”
Distortion of truth
The League of Women Voters supports a citizen’s right to know, believing that democracy depends upon active citizen participation. An informed public is basic to democracy.
In any election, campaign material often contains inaccurate, misleading information designed to sway rather than to inform voters. The current city council election is no exception. The League does not endorse or oppose specific candidates. Nor do we review campaign materials for accuracy. However, we have been informed of concerns about inaccuracies in city council candidate materials that may be misleading. We urge voters to carefully consider candidates’ statements, both in person and in campaign materials.
To hear directly from the candidates, attend a candidates’ forum. The League’s forum is Thursday, February 23 from 7 to 9 p.m. at Benson Auditorium, Pitzer College, 1050 N. Mills, Claremont.
Most importantly, register to vote and vote on March 7. The deadline to register for the upcoming election is February 21. Participation matters; your vote is your voice. Online registration is available at lavote.net.
President, League of Women
Voters of the Claremont Area
League on sanctuary city
My family and I moved to Claremont nearly 40 years ago, and we have stayed in large part because of the city’s determination to protect and safeguard the civil rights and dignity of all in this safe and inclusive community.
The city council recently considered a resolution declaring Claremont a “sanctuary city” in light of uncertainty and/or fear in this period of political transition. I strongly believe that promoting an atmosphere of acceptance and respect for our residents is paramount.
In my position of adversity vice president, I represent the League of Women Voters of the Claremont Area. The League does not have a specific position on sanctuary cities, and I do not think it needs one. The concept of a sanctuary city goes back thousands of years and has been mainly associated with religions. I do not feel one needs to depend on religion to be decent and accepting of all peoples.
The League has studied broader topics dealing with human dignity and rights. At several levels, the League has positions of social policy that secures “equal rights and equal opportunity for all and promotes social and economic justice and the health and safety of all.”
Using that simple phrasing, I can say that the League would support the resolution affirming the city’s longstanding commitment to diversity and safeguarding the civil rights, safety and dignity of all people within our city. The League believes that we should treat other people as we would wish to be treated.
Congratulations to the council for passing the resolution to offer dignity to our diverse citizens (it passed with 3 votes for the resolution, one vote against it and one vote with no opinion stated).
Vice President for Advocacy
LWV of the Claremont Area