Readers comments 3-24-17

Growing Up: Claremont

by Paul S. Wheeler

Growing up on 19 acres of Claremont lemon groves required many tasks to be done. I portrayed them in graphic forms on ceramic art tiles on the front of Trader Joe’s Market, which I designed here in Claremont. One task I did not portray was fertilizing.

There were four types of fertilizer our family used on lemon groves. They were pig, sulfate of ammonia, chicken and elephant.

My grandfather Stuart Wheeler told the story of going to Chino and getting a load of pig fertilizer in his truck. There is a reason researchers use pig intestines—it is similar to human: In smell, also. He said that he was driving up from Chino and drove past a church with a wedding just getting out. He commented that the wedding party started waving and yelling at him. He figured it must be because the smell was ruining their day, so he slouched down in the cab, pulled his hat down and mashed on the gas, hoping nobody would notice him.

Once he drove past the church, he looked back and noticed the whole load was on fire, due to spontaneous combustion. I guess it is tough to not be noticed with a truck load of flaming pig manure.

We spread chicken manure around the groves with a manure spreader. Chicken was very high in nitrates, but smelled bad when wet. This happened about every 10 days when the groves were irrigated, or when it rained.

We also used ammonium nitrate early in the spring. This was a commercial fertilizer, which had to be purchased. It came in big bags that we spread from the back of a trailer with a spreader.

When the LA County Fair was in town, my father, Roger Wheeler, obtained elephant manure that was mixed with straw. I believe he was most excited about it because it was free. That winter, while lighting smudge pots with a torch, the elephant manure caught fire and raced up and down the rows of citrus.

When my father came into the house in the morning, he said he was too embarrassed to call the fire department because his elephant manure was on fire. Before cell phones, it took an awful lot of shoveling to put out the fire. 

We were always reminded that fertilizer in the fall is needed to smell the citrus blooms in the spring.


Dear Kris Meyer

Dear Editor:

The following is an open letter to COURIER reader Kris Meyer in response to his letter from March 17. 

Dear Kris:

I agree with you 100 percent that the press should focus more on substance than the personality flaws of our current president. However, I disagree with your assessment that this is the sum total of the reasons why there is such vigorous opposition to his proposals. There is a lot to object to on substance as well. 

For example, the Congressional Budget Office is a non-partisan institution, created precisely to help avoid the type of partisan bickering you cite in your letter, which gets in the way of understanding what is happening in the country. Their job is to analyze policy, no matter who wrote it, and tell us what is going to happen.

Their assessment of President Trump’s healthcare reform proposal is that it will be a devastating policy for millions of Americans, primarily the poor and the elderly. Maybe you are in the group whose premiums are set to go down by a few hundred bucks and this seems like a good policy to you.

But if you are a poor senior whose premiums are set to increase from $1,700 to $14,600, basically pricing you out of the healthcare market, then this policy is a bad one for you.

This is not partisanship. This is analysis. This and the many other terrible proposals being put forth will be bad for the country. This is what is fueling the opposition to this administration. Giving Trump a chance is probably the worst thing we can do for ourselves at this moment in time.

Emma Stephens



Facts vs. fiction

Dear Editor:

I must respond to the letter to the editor (“Give Trump A Chance,” March 17) for at least one reason: The writer said the stock market “gained over 3,000 points since [Trump’s] election.”

On November 8, 2016, the day of the election, although the outcome was not known when the market closed, the DOW stood at 18,332. On Friday, March 17, 2017, the DOW closed at 20,915.

It has grown 2,583 points, a 14 percent gain, largely based on the so-called “Trump bump,” as businesses hope to get big tax breaks, fewer regulations (that pesky EPA!), etc. Call it a honeymoon phase.

But in fairness, let’s look at some Obama-years facts: The DOW was 7,949 on January 20, 2009, when he was sworn in and hit a low of 6,547 on March 9 as the severity of the Great Recession played out.

From Obama’s inauguration until the 2016 election, the DOW recovered 10,383 points, more than 130 percent. And if we measure from March 9, 2009, a mere month and a half after Obama was sworn in when the DOW was in the cellar at 6,547, the growth to election day 2016 is 11,785 points, or 180 percent.

Obama, to paraphrase Trump’s bizarre claim, really did inherit a mess, but the current insecure president must at all costs minimize everything Obama did in order to convince his supporters that he is going to pull America from some demon-filled abyss.

These numbers are not “alternative facts,” by the way. But most people (sadly) believe what any slick salesman tells them because (sadly, again) it is easier than doing the research to get at the truth.

Don Linde

La Verne


What a mess

Dear Editor:

Kris Meyer (COURIER, March 17) wants us to believe that Donald Trump was chosen to be president in a normal way, that he is a normal hardworking president trying to clear up an “inherited mess” and set things right again.

But he was a big loser in the popular vote and was elected only because of an 18th century institution created to maintain the system of slavery in the South. 

The “mess” that Mr. Meyer describes is completely messed up—what he names are either not problems or are not the real problems that Trump inherited. (We could talk about those in detail. If Mr. Meyer wants to, there are many people in Claremont willing to correct him.)

Nor is Trump trying to solve problems—his Rasputin advisor, Steve Bannon, has described himself as a “revolutionary” and said that the aim of the administration is “to deconstruct [i.e. destroy] the administrative state.”

The aim of Trump’s presidency is to destroy, and then to re-create the country as northern European, white, Christian and male-dominated, for the benefit of the super-rich. I’m sorry Mr. Meyer: the mess we have is Donald Trump.

Merrill Ring



A slice of life

Dear Editor:

Congratulations to I Like Pie and the Village Marketing Group for hosting another successful Claremont Pie Festival!  Thousands of residents and visitors enjoyed a fun event.

We were pleased to sell 1,000 “Claremont Little Pies,” the proceeds of which will benefit our ninth annual Claremont Film Festival in May.

Claremont can be proud of the organizers who made the Pie Festival a reality!

Vince Turner

Claremont Film Festival


Rushing bad healthcare

Dear Editor:

The American Health Care Act is being rushed to passage by House Speaker Paul Ryan and the House leadership. It will rip apart our health care and revoke coverage for millions of Americans while raising costs for millions more.

The legislation fails to reflect the American values of fairness, community and concern for all. It is irresponsible to vote on it without knowing the cost to taxpayers.

The bill threatens the essential care that women need. It significantly cuts coverage for women and no longer assures that women cannot be charged more than men. It will increase costs for seniors and those with preexisting conditions while slashing assistance for lower-income households in obtaining coverage.

It is unacceptable that the legislation not only attacks Medicaid expansion but also sets the Medicaid program on the road to extinction.

The only real winners are the special interests and the wealthiest Americans. This legislation includes hundreds of billions of dollars in tax breaks for the wealthy and the pharmaceutical and insurance industries.

While the Affordable Care Act is not perfect, it has provided health-care coverage to tens of millions of Americans who previously went without. This proposed replacement is a huge step in the wrong direction.

Please contact your representatives in Congress to tell them not to support these drastic changes.

Ellen Taylor

VP for Advocacy

LWV of the Claremont Area



Submit a Comment

Share This