Readers comments 11-17-17
Homelessness in Claremont
When reading your November 2 article on Claremont’s homeless workshops, I was touched by the lengths residents are going to in order to combat homelessness. I am a student at Scripps College, but I was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Every year while I was growing up, I would serve Christmas Eve dinner at my local homeless shelter. However, I recently found out that, due to a mandate from the state, the shelter is no longer taking families and caters only to homeless individuals and couples. When I heard this news, I was heartbroken thinking about how the children I had met at the shelter would no longer have a place to call home.
According to The Sun, San Bernardino County has seen a slight drop in its homeless population from 2016 to 2017. Meanwhile, LA county has experienced a surge. In addition, San Bernardino, Upland and Ontario are among the cities with the highest homeless populations in the Inland Empire.
It is so important that Claremont has created a community-based homeless intervention and prevention program. Not only does this program provide shelter for the homeless, but it also gives them the skills and training they need in order to become fully functioning members of the community through job training, resume-building, getting a state ID and, ultimately, finding housing.
Rather than sweeping the issue of homelessness under the rug, Claremont is addressing it head on. I think many communities, including my own in Hawaii, have a lot to learn from the way Claremont is dealing with its homeless population.
Great article by Mark von Wodtke on the pursuit of eating healthy and well.
One excellent resource for the people of Claremont is Uncommon Good, located way in the back of the United Methodist Church north of Foothill Boulevard. Uncommon Good maintains several farms and gardens and sells organic, locally grown produce. The prices and variety are good and the quality is great!
Uncommon Good is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
New city attorney
[Editor’s note:?The following letter was sent to the Claremont City Council, with a copy forwarded to the COURIER for publication. —KD]
Dear City council members:
When you select a permanent city attorney, we hope that you will no longer obligate the city to use the city attorney’s firm for special and complex legal services, as you have done in the past and as the temporary legal services contract provides.
One of the city’s goals should be to accomplish its objectives without litigation whenever feasible. Another should be to identify and employ whichever law firm is the most suitable for particular additional work; no one law firm is the best for every job. The city will rely on its attorney’s advice to help it accomplish these goals. If litigation and other additional work must be performed by the city attorney’s own firm, it creates a conflict between the firm’s interest and the city’s, which undermines the attorney’s judgment and credibility.
We have recently experienced what can go wrong when the city attorney’s firm is not the best for a particular job, i.e., the water system acquisition. It is possible that a more suitable firm would have given the city better advice regarding the actions it should take or avoid to maximize its chances of success and would have argued the city’s case more successfully.
Bob and Katie Gerecke
Pamela Casey Nagler’s long letter to the COURIER (Friday, November 10) attempts to justify the name of Cahuilla Park. I have no argument with the bulk of Ms. Nagler’s letter, which is largely accurate background information on California native people. However, even the plaque on Indian Hill Boulevard, outside Taylor Hall, declares that Cahuilla Park is incorrectly named after the Cahuilla people.
The confusion, according to Judy Wright’s book, Claremont: A Pictorial History, is that the Serrano people, who lived across Indian Hill Boulevard on the mesa, moved away and wound up in the Morongo Reservation, where they intermarried with the native Cahuilla. Apparently, the Claremonters who named the park mistakenly thought the inhabitants of Indian Hill had been Cahuilla rather than Serrano.
The people we call Cahuilla (and who self-identify today as “Cahuilla”) lived in the desert regions east of Redlands and Yucaipa, in the Coachella Valley, and southeast along the mountains and the western shoreline of the Salton Sea. Like most California natives, they self-identified first with their small bands or triblets such as the Morongo Band of Cahuilla or the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla—sort of like our “Claremont Band of Californians.” The band or triblet was the immediate organizational structure while the identification with “Cahuilla” was cultural.
Anyone who would like to learn more about these people can start with their websites and follow up with many excellent books. For the Cahuilla, I would especially recommend Lowell Bean’s book, Mukat’s People, and a visit to the Malki Museum in the Morongo Reservation (near Banning) or to the cultural museum of the Agua Caliente Band in Palm Springs.
Recently, when I walked up my street I saw a poster on a telephone pole advising neighbors to protect their pets because five family pets had been killed by a bobcat. The COURIER also published an article about this distressing situation.
In May, a bobcat was sighted near my neighbor’s pool, and the Claremont police put out a warning with a photo, instructing us to contact the police if we saw a bobcat.
In August, I saw a very large bobcat in my garden. In October, I saw a bobcat walk outside my kitchen window, where I sometimes drink morning coffee or eat dinner with my family.
This is a situation in Claremont for which the city has reneged a large segment of its responsibility to protect its citizens and ensure that Claremont is a safe place to live. I called the Claremont police at the first sighting, and they said that providing safety for residents from wild animals was not their responsibility. They told me to call the Humane Society.
The Humane Society said they don’t deal with wild animals and told me to call the State Game Warden. That office told me I could buy a garden hose with a motion detector that would activate spray with movement and potentially scare animals off my property.
In other words, all three agencies failed in their mission to provide for the public health and safety of its residents.
A bobcat is a threat to public health and safety and potentially lethal. They may tend to run away, but they can kill a grown man.
Residents of Claremont should be able to expect to live without fear of being attacked by a wild animal. Our pets are beloved members of our families. Also, pets are our “property.” The wanton destruction of our property must stop, including the psychological trauma afflicted on pet owners when their pets needlessly suffer a terrible death, and on the general public.The city is responsible for the negligent destruction of our “property.”
I believe our city has set itself up for enormous liability and even tragedy. It will not be an “act of God” when a wild bobcat attacks a small child playing in his or her backyard, or an adult out for an early-morning or evening walk. It will be a premeditated act of negligence on the part of the city of Claremont because the city could have been proactive to ensure our safety, but has chosen not to be, thus incurring responsibility for the destruction of our property or possibly our lives.
As residents, we are not equipped to deal with dangerous wild animals such as bobcats or large coyotes.
Recently, a tagged puma was determined to be hiding in bushes in downtown Mountain View only a couple feet from pedestrians and bicyclists. Amid community furor, the animal was tranquilized and removed to the hills. A cougar was caught on video cams in San Francisco.
These cities became proactive and took responsibility for the health and safety of their residents.
Why can’t Claremont do the same before the inevitable tragic loss of a child is involved?
Oppose the CCA
Our family has great concern regarding the vote on the Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) proposal. Below are some points and questions that concern us:
This is not a citizen-driven policy, but rather a pipe-dream bureaucratic structure envisioned by a few activists. Only three residents appeared at a summer subcommittee meeting, and none at a human services committee meeting, approving this. There is no community investment.
There is substantial risk. The staff report indicates the answers to many questions are unknown. The proposal is too complex at this point even to understand the liability.
What will your response be to the public when you favor CCA, and yet CCA exposes the city’s general funds to tens of millions of dollars in liability (outside of the so called “financial firewall”)?
This will be yet another unelected bureaucracy: think Metro, RMC, the sewer agency, etc. Although stacked with elected officials, these officials are appointed members and are unaccountable to a constituency. The proponents—see Sam Pedroza’s notes—say there will be local control, but the large board will effectively dilute any city’s vote.
The “opt-out” provision is especially telling. Claremont customers would be automatically enrolled in the CCA unless they took action to opt-out. This is akin to the LLD requirement 20 years ago that unless you signed a petition against, you were deemed to have supported it. The fact that the CCA has this requirement tells you all you need to know about the viability and attractiveness of their plan.
Even the proponents—Mr. Pedroza’s “correspondent”—see a real possibility that electricity rates will approach Edison’s as all costs are accounted for. They will never admit that costs will exceed Edison’s, but they are very likely to when public employee costs are taken into account.
The short deadline is designed to force cities into making a decision without all the facts. Please resist this. If it’s a good deal, fairness would dictate that the goodness of the deal could be explained well beforehand.
The short term costs to the UUT should not be a factor in decision making, but even these appear to argue against adopting this ordinance.
It is especially troubling that the city council favors joining a CCA that has the right to terminate our city from the CCA JPA while subsequently holding the city responsible for paying off multi-million dollar power purchase contracts?
Are residents aware that our city remains responsible for paying off power purchase agreements if it finds lower cost energy elsewhere? Are residents aware that the city is not indemnified if a secondary purchaser of the city’s power (following city’s departure of involuntary termination from CCA) decides it no longer wants the power?
The recent COURIER column by Freeman Allen, though purporting neutrality, carried only one side of the argument: that by a designer of the CCA program. The other side has not been solicited, and the deadline seems stacked against that participation.
The costs to the city are discussed, but it’s never clear exactly what liability the city itself is signing up for should this not work out. The state goals and requirements for renewable energy already address this issue. The same electricity comes down the wires for everyone, regardless of the retailer, Edison or the CCA.
The rule that the CCA can establish minimum renewable requirements for its customers unfairly penalizes all who might not choose those higher rates.
Is the community aware that CCA delivers energy that is no cleaner than what SCE delivers because CCA engages in green-washing with RECs, and that much of CCA’s “clean” energy is rebranded coal and gas-fired power? Even the Sierra Club calls this a bait-and-switch scheme.
I would encourage the community to put pressure on the council to vote no on this matter, and oppose any effort to bring this back anytime soon.
Council, these are just a few thoughts and questions we ask you to consider before you entangle us in another public utilities grab. We feel that with so many important unanswered questions, we would respectfully ask that you seek more thoughtful answers and further clarification on whether this is good for Claremont.
Escape to the Village
As a student at one of the Claremont Colleges, the Village has easily become a sanctuary for me. It’s somewhere I can escape to when I get tired of seeing the same faces, eating the same types of food, and studying in the same places on campus.
There’s something so novel yet comforting about surrounding myself in the scenery the Village provides. It’s a feeling of escaping the confines, the expectations and responsibilities college burdens us with.
As we physically further ourselves from campus we are also able to mentally separate ourselves with the stress of school. I believe that this feeling is shared by many other students at the 5Cs.
For this reason, I think that the Claremont Colleges should collaborate with the city of Claremont to try and make the Village even more appealing and hospitable for students. The Village could host events in collaboration with the art and creativity clubs on campus. The events held by art clubs are to help students de-stress, I think they would be much more effective if held off campus.
I also believe there are music groups that would love to get exposure and experience by performing at the Village, and I know students would also really enjoy going out to support them. Regardless of the initiative presented, I think that the denizens of Claremont could really benefit from having a closer relationship between the Colleges and the Village.