Readers comments 5-19-17
No to Clara Oaks
[The following letter was addressed to Mayor Larry Schroeder, with a copy sent to the COURIER for publication.]
Dear Mr. Schroeder:
Thank you for being of service to our community. I appreciate the time and energy you spend to take care of our lovely city.
I must express my very strenuous objection to the development of the Clara Oaks project in the hills above the Webb Schools.
The location is untenable due to fire risk. We have recently seen how vulnerable Claremont is to wildfire. We personally had friends as far south as Base Line Road be evacuated in the last hillside fires. Those who choose to live in the brush-filled hillsides are creating foolish and unacceptable jeopardy. Fire and rescue services are paid for by all our taxes. It is unfair that other property owners finance the extreme hazard for mansions in the hills.
Enough is enough. Claremont is big enough. Our city staff already works a four-day workweek. I’m not sure if that works for them, but I know I’ve needed services several times on a Friday and have been unable to do business with city offices. Do we need to stretch our resources even further?
Claremont is a sustainable community and we have a responsibility to our wild lands and wildlife. Our National Monuments and Parks are currently in peril and Claremont should be a leader and an example in this regard. Shame on us if we join the ranks of exploitation over preservation.
American Legion Post 78 is coming into its busiest time of the year. We are very involved in the selection of our Boy’s State candidates. We are working in partnership with the city of Claremont in planning the Memorial Day ceremony and Fourth of July celebration and, finally, we are planning for our June membership meeting. All of these activities are of utmost importance to us, but I’d like to add just a word about this year’s Memorial Day activities.
The city planners asked us to find an appropriate keynote speaker for this year’s ceremony, preferably an active duty service member. Our executive committee came up with several suggestions, but as we discussed our options, I began to think of the unique times in which we are living.
When I joined Post 78 just five years ago, we had a large number of WWII veterans, including at least three Pearl Harbor survivors. These veterans, who fought across Europe and parts of Africa to defeat the Third Reich, and then across the Pacific Islands to defeat the Japanese in the most intense and costly of all wars, are often referred to as the best of our country’s “Greatest Generation.” One could argue that it was through their dedication and sacrifice that Western civilization survived.
The unique characteristic that I associate with these “old timers” was how much they seemed to enjoy being in fellowship with their fellow vets. They were obviously very happy to be members of the American Legion and played a major role in keeping the organization going.
And so today, as we considered various speakers that we know we could call upon for Memorial Day, we recognized that this is probably the last opportunity we will have to recognize and pay homage to our WWII veterans. Just think about it: from out of that dedicated million-plus military force that paid such a heavy price in defeating the greatest evil of our lifetime, we are watching these last living heroes rapidly fading before our eyes.
Here in Post 78, serving Claremont, Montclair and La Verne communities, we have only seven members of that exclusive circle of valiant warriors remaining, and most of them are severely limited physically, being in their 90s at this time.
I don’t know how many of them will be healthy enough to attend the Memorial Day ceremony, but we are determined that the WWII veterans who are able to attend this year will be the focus of our program.
With the approval of our city officials, we decided that we would feature our remaining WWII veterans as our Memorial Day speakers this year. It will be my distinct privilege to introduce these surviving heroes and summarize their individual military records as a remembrance of their magnificent contribution, and as a reminder of the efforts of so many who have passed on, many without adequate recognition.
Make a special effort to join us at this year’s Memorial Day ceremony on Monday, May 29 at 11 a.m. at the Oak Park Cemetery in Claremont. There are more than 800 veterans interred at this historic cemetery, and we will be honoring them all.
Bring your family and friends and let all of us use this opportunity to honor these grand comrades of that great victorious fighting force. We will have the privilege of saying thanks to these noble veterans for their honorable service and extraordinary sacrifice to our nation.
Keep it local
Thanks for the well-written report on the Claremont City Council’s action “City council lends support to fossil fuel initiatives” by Matthew Bramlett.
I must say, I thought the council’s action on the resolution was a bit naive, but I was amused by its presumption.
As reported by Mr. Bramlett, the reason for the action given by longtime Claremont environmental activist Freeman Allen is that “…the situation to curb climate change is critical.”
It may well be, but I doubt that Claremont or, for that matter, Los Angeles or New York’s city council support for the resolution in question will do much to advance a solution to the problem.
Climate change—aka global warming—is truly a problem that is global in nature and requires a global solution. Greenhouse gases emitted in California (or, for that matter, in China or India) distribute rapidly throughout the respective hemispheres in which they were emitted.
As a result, while action to reduce emissions in one country is important, it will take collaborative action worldwide, especially in the rapidly developing economies of places like China and Indonesia, if the problem is to be effectively addressed. That is because the developing economies of the world are also the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases.
According to climate models, cutting emissions here in California to zero will not make much of a dent in predicted global warming unless the rest of the US and other large emitting countries take concerted action to reduce their emissions.
California has perhaps one of the most aggressive greenhouse gas regulation programs anywhere. It has taken a cap-and-trade approach, largely because of the ability of the government to actually regulate emissions instead of relying on a tax-and-rebate program as suggested in the resolution endorsed by Claremont’s council. (One wonders why citizens who get all of their fossil fuel taxes back would not spend their rebates consuming more fuel?)
Taking action on the tax-and-rebate resolution on climate change at the local level may feel good because of the “critical” nature of the problem, but it’s ineffective and often uniformed by the arguments in favor of other approaches, such as California’s well-established cap-and-trade program.
Dealing with climate change is a job for the federal government and the international community. Why should Claremont deal with climate change by endorsing the “tax-and-rebate” scheme presented in the resolution?
If the answer is the critical nature of the problem as Mr. Allen suggests, then why doesn’t the council take on other “critical” problems such as North Korea’s threatening nuclear weapons program or the worldwide problem of human trafficking?
As in the case of climate change, I suggest the reasons are that these “critical” and “global” problems are beyond the authority, scope and competence of our city council. Better that the council should stick to the multitude of local challenges facing Claremont for which they were elected to address (e.g. transportation, development, homelessness, crime).
I feel very foolish, as I am on the board of the Petterson Museum at Pilgrim Place and feel that it is a terrific museum with wonderful exhibits.
How did I miss adding this to my column on things to do in and near to Claremont??I want to thank Brent Marie for bringing the museum to the attention of our readers as a great place to go and explore the art and history of our own town. I must be more alert from now on.
With thanks to Brent for alerting me and reminding readers about what Claremont has to offer.
Healthcare for all?
Along with many others, I have been following the so-called “single-payer healthcare” dialogue in these pages.
Professors Alex Rudolph and Claudia Strauss state in their Viewpoint [COURIER, April 21]:?“The United States is the only leading industrialized country that does not provide guaranteed health care to all its citizens.”
This is provocative, but highly misleading. With this statement, we encounter a critical bit of misinformation and misdirection in the debate over subsidized health insurance/care. How so? The statement confuses health care with health insurance.
While it is true that citizens of other “leading industrialized countries” may have universal health insurance, they are by no means guaranteed of receiving health care. Having health insurance on paper does not in any way guarantee that anyone would actually receive the health care they need, when they need it.
How do we know this? Well, we merely observe conditions in those other “leading industrialized countries,” where we find, almost always for reasons of cost control, (1) limitations on the types of procedures offered, (2) rationing in the form of long wait times, and (3) massive disincentives to any form of innovation or improvement, which is precisely what we (and the rest of the world) all depend upon in order for the quality of our health care to continually improve.
It is true, our health insurance and healthcare costs are high and rising. Why? Precisely because of government interference in the marketplace. It can be stated axiomatically that anything the government regulates becomes more expensive, more complicated, less likely to innovate and much less responsive to the consumer.
The solution to our healthcare woes is to get all levels of government out of the business of mandating coverage, regulating the content of insurance policies and constraining insurance companies from competing with each other or from operating anywhere they find it economically feasible and from offering whatever sorts of policies consumers would find desirable (i.e., would actually voluntarily purchase.)
With more free-market competition—with much more free-market competition—and with a vibrant and robust health insurance marketplace, prices would drop and availability and options would expand.
The only role for government in all of this is to assure a level playing field in a free-market system. For example, to assure that health insurance policies honestly describe the coverage offered, in comprehensible language and format.
Needless to say, for the truly indigent and for other truly exceptional cases, individual states would still be offering Medicaid or other options.
As with all utopian schemes, “single-payer healthcare” would be a disaster for the recipients of health care, as the ongoing collapse of Obamacare so clearly illustrates.
Don’t repeal the ACA
Now that Congress is back in session, we cannot let up the fight to protect our healthcare. The US House of Representatives has already voted on a new bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act. This legislation already promises to make the already bad bill worse. The latest repeal effort would allow states to eliminate protections for those with pre-existing conditions.
We need to send a strong message over the next few weeks. Do not take away our care. Stop trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
So what does that mean? The Affordable Care Act is still under threat and we need to intensify pressure to make sure Senate members get the message that it’s time to give up on repeal.
Americans need the Affordable Care Act—let your congressperson know how important it is to all of us. The bill states:
“It is the intent of the California legislature to establish a comprehensive universal single-payer healthcare coverage program and a healthcare cost control system for the benefit of all California residents.
“(b) (1) It is further the intent of the legislature to establish the Healthy California program to provide universal health coverage for every Californian based on his or her ability to pay and funded by broad-based revenue.
“(2) It is the intent of the legislature for the state to work to obtain waivers and other approvals relating to Medi-Cal, the state’s Children’s Health Insurance Program, Medicare, the PPACA and any other federal programs so that federal funds and other subsidies that would otherwise be paid to the state of California, Californians and healthcare providers would be paid by the federal government to the state of California and deposited in the Healthy California Trust Fund.
“(3) Under those waivers and approvals, those funds would be used for health coverage that provides benefits equal to or exceeded by those programs as well as other program modifications, including elimination of cost sharing and insurance premiums.”
LWV of the Claremont Area