Readers comments 12-22-17

Arts funding in CUSD

Dear Editor:

We appreciate the opportunity to explain funding for arts and other programs, which were raised in a December 15 letter to the editor. Our intent is to ensure that the community understands that the board of education and staff of the Claremont Unified School District value educating the whole child and allocate limited resources to ensure students are offered a variety of extracurricular and co-curricular activities to enhance their educational experience.

One of the district’s strategic goals states, “Our schools will provide unique opportunities that develop the whole child by promoting involvement in extracurricular and co-curricular activities and encourage positive student behaviors.”

One of the ways that goal is supported is through allocating a large portion of the district budget to support personnel who serve as teachers, coaches and club advisors for the nearly 100 different clubs, sports teams and performance groups offered at El Roble Intermediate School, Claremont High School and San Antonio High School.

Additionally, for the last several years, CUSD has also allocated $300,000 per year to assist all booster groups with the cost of transporting students to and from various events.

California school districts receive most of their revenue from the state, and that revenue is not enough to cover all budgetary expenses. Like most school districts in California, CUSD relies on active booster groups to raise additional funds to support these groups and activities.

CUSD is also fortunate to have tremendous community partnerships,  such as the Claremont Educational Foundation, Chamber of Commerce, Claremont Museum of Art and service clubs who also provide additional funds in support of the visual and performing arts, technology and innovation.

With all of these groups working together, CUSD continues to be a top-performing district that experiences tremendous success in many areas.

We always appreciate the public’s questions, interest and support of Claremont Unified School District. Please feel free to contact the superintendent’s office at with any further questions or concerns.

Jim Elsasser,


Claremont Unified School District


Metrolink reality check

Dear Editor:

It is perhaps understandable for the members of the city council—and anyone else who doesn’t use public transportation on a regular basis—to believe that it is important for residents to continue to have direct access to the Metrolink from a dedicated Claremont station.

What they fail to realize is that Metrolink is just one part of a comprehensive transit system that is viable precisely because of the interconnectivity of many different transit modes, including commuter rail, light rail, buses, shuttles and privately-run services like Uber and Zipcar.

The vast majority of Metrolink riders—daily commuters like myself who drive our cars to the station—can easily switch to the Montclair or Pomona stations, which are only a couple of minutes away.

As for the few non-drivers, downtown Claremont is already connected to the Montclair station by Foothill Transit, Dial-a-Ride and a dedicated bike path. A free shuttle will run during the Gold Line construction period, and the Gold Line itself will seamlessly connect Claremont to the Montclair and Pomona Metrolink stations once it is up and running.

Most Metrolink patrons are already accustomed to making connections to subways or buses when they arrive at Union Station, so they are unlikely to have any difficulty using transit connections at the front end of their ride as well. Transit planners also understand that unlike the Gold Line, which is intended to link many communities together, the Metrolink’s job is to get commuters to and from Los Angeles as quickly as possible—and that having station stops which are only three minutes apart from each other defeat that purpose.

If the Claremont station could be relocated at a reasonable cost, it might be possible to make a case for doing so. But as we learned at the informational meeting on December 11, such a project would cost $40 million—or the equivalent of $100,000 for each one of the approximately 400 people who board the Metrolink in Claremont each day. That is a ridiculously poor return on investment.

And as the Gold Line is already under severe budget and schedule pressure, every dollar spent on relocating the Claremont station will directly impact the Gold Line’s completion.

Claremont can easily handle the loss of the Metrolink station, and other than experiencing shorter crossing gate delays on Indian Hill and College Avenue, few residents will even notice that it is gone.

Rather than continue to fight what is likely to be a losing battle to save it, we should be focusing all of our efforts to facilitate the timely completion of the Gold Line stop in Claremont—which is an essential element of our city’s future success, and ought to be our highest priority.

Jim Belna



Keep Metrolink in Claremont

Dear LA County Board of Supervisors, Metrolink Board:

This letter is on behalf of the more than 150 store, restaurant and business owners who comprise the Claremont Village Marketing Group, a 501c(6) non-profit, in Claremont. We’re writing to ask for your continued support of the Claremont Village as an ongoing stop for the Metrolink train.

Our group was formed 17 years ago to market and grow business in the Claremont Village. We take credit for our thriving downtown. In recent years, we’ve served as a model for over 15 other small California downtowns that have contacted us for advice on how to build and sustain a successful downtown area.

In marketing our Village outside our community, advertising has always suggested riding Metrolink to get to us. Over the years, we partnered with Metrolink to bring in large audiences for the holiday train. We’ve sought advertising opportunities with Metrolink, and we promoted and partnered with Metrolink when they sponsored the Jazz at the Depot music series. For the 2017 Women’s March in LA, we had one of the most crowded platforms for people needing to get on the train headed to LA.

Claremont is well known for its more than seven prestigious, top-ranked universities, collectively referred to as the Claremont Colleges. Students, faculty and their families are within walking distance of your station and are prime users of Metrolink in Claremont. Without a stop, they would not have access to transportation to and from the area.

The Claremont Village is an experience-driven destination and provides a safe, protected environment for Metrolink travelers. Neighboring stations in Montclair and Pomona are simply parking lots with no amenities, and they’re located in areas many travelers deem unsafe. The volunteer police officers who patrol our Metrolink parking lot know riders by name, and they recognize and protect vehicles driven by Metrolink customers. Claremont offers both a sense of security and community to riders.

The December 11 Hughes Center presentation by the Metro board was attended by hundreds of community members who all showed up with one common voice: Keep Metrolink in Claremont. College students, business owners, city staff, council members and residents were 100 percent in agreement on this matter. Not one attendee spoke in favor of Metrolink leaving Claremont.

For Supervisor Hilda Solis, who did not stay to hear public comment and who did not clearly state her position on the matter, we are asking for your support to keep Metrolink in Claremont.

Claremont residents voted in large numbers and overwhelmingly in support of Measure M. We are a politically-active community, and our voice is important. In our wildest dreams, we never imagined that supporting Measure M would lead to the removal of Metrolink from our community. We urge you to keep Metrolink in Claremont.

Board of Directors

Claremont Village Marketing Group

Annika Corbin

Owner, I Like Pie

Sonja Stump

Owner, Sonja Stump Photography

Mike Manning

The Last Drop Cafe

Brian Ofstedahl

Owner, Amelie

Randy Lopez

Owner, Ophelia’s Jump Productions

Jenelle Phillips

Trinity Youth Services

Olga Fernandez

Owner, Claremont Headstones,

Caskets and Urns

Jolene Gonzales

Owner, Bert & Rocky’s Cream Co.

Lori Paley

Owner, Aromatique

Skin & Body Care



Claremont does not need its own Metrolink station

Dear Editor:

The proposed Claremont Metrolink station would be less than 1.5 miles from the existing Montclair Metrolink station. It would also be less than three miles from the existing Pomona Metrolink station.

Claremonters who are already driving to the existing Claremont station would be minimally inconvenienced by driving to Montclair or Pomona.

Montclair has a huge reserve of underused parking. Those, including students, who are now walking to the Depot, could continue to walk to the Depot and take any one of the five existing Foothill Transit bus lines that now run between Claremont and the Montclair Transit Center. All lines are equipped to service the handicapped.

Those of us who drive on Indian Hill would really appreciate the grade separation provided by a bridge. If we do not now put in a grade separation, we will definitely pay the price in lawsuits after the first pedestrian or vehicle fatality and then will be forced to later install the grade separation at a higher price in money and inconvenience. Look upon the bridge as a safety measure.

What could we do with the $40 million saved by skipping the new Claremont Metrolink station? I suppose we poor taxpayers could simply leave the money in our pockets. I would be very happy to dedicate this money to affordable housing or something that would benefit the community more than a redundant Metrolink station.

Maybe the parking saved by not having a Claremont Metrolink station could be used by downtown Claremont. The Claremont station assuages our pride but it is definitely not needed, especially at a price of $40 million.

Michael Klein



Trump’s con

Dear Editor:

As Donald Trump watched President Obama belittle him at the annual correspondent’s dinner, he sat quietly with a nasty smirk, plotting his revenge.

Mr. Trump lied his way into the presidency and has been eagerly enacting his revenge ever since. He is trying to dismantle the ACA, kill DACA and overturn environmental regulations.

In short, he is obsessed with doing away with every law and regulation enacted while President Obama was in office. His revenge is coming at the expense of the American people.

Mr. Trump has the support of 33 percent of the American people, and I wonder at what point will these few begin to see him for who he really is? What will it take? He is not a Republican, he is not a Democrat, he is simply a con man, the ultimate opportunist. His only goal is to enrich himself.

Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort, Steve Bannon, Michael Flynn, George Papadopoulos, Roy Moore—are these the people Mr. Trump was talking about when he said “I know all the best people”? When Mr. Trump complains about a rigged system he must be referring to the help his campaign received from the Russians.

Do you suppose Michael Flynn saw the irony of his leading the “lock her up” chant at the GOP convention as he plead guilty? 

The recent elections in Virginia and Alabama give hope to the rest of us. We now look to the Mueller investigation for a quicker end to the Trump presidency. 

Perhaps the Democrats can win back the house or senate (or both) in 2018 and begin an impeachment process. If not, then we hope the people that stayed home in 2016 will find the motivation to vote this horror of a president out of office in 2020.

Pam Stevenson



Wicked King Donald

Dear Editor:


Wicked King Donald went out

On a Christmas even

Stole some money from the poor

And was not done with thievin’.

With McConnell forth he went

Though their task was cruel

When the tax bill came in sight

They made it their tool.


“Bring me meat and bring me wine

From that poor man’s hovel!

On it now I wish to dine

While I watch him grovel.”

This is what King Donald said

When they begged him not to,

“That loser would be better dead

And I shall be richer too.”


Therefore, greedy folk be sure,

Stocks and bonds possessing,

Ye who now oppress the poor

Shall receive Don’s blessing!

Ivan Light



Who stole Christmas?

Dear Editor:

I attended Claremont’s recent tree lighting ceremony and I have to say it was painfully obvious that the word “Christmas” was not allowed to be uttered from the stage. The songs didn’t include it, Santa couldn’t say it and even the tree decorated with lights is no longer a Christmas tree.

“‘And now!’ grinned the Grinch, ‘I will stuff up the tree!’ And the Grinch grabbed the tree, and he started to shove, when he heard a small sound like the coo of a dove. He turned around fast, and he saw a small Who! Little Cindy-Lou Who, who was not more than two. The Grinch had been caught by this tiny Who daughter, who’d got out of bed for a cup of cold water. She stared at the Grinch and said, ‘Santy Claus, why??Why are you taking our Christmas tree? Why?’

But, you know, that old Grinch was so smart and so slick, he thought up a lie, and he thought it up quick! ‘Why, my sweet little tot,’ the fake Santy Claus lied, ‘There’s a light on this tree that won’t light on one side. So I’m taking it home to my workshop, my dear. I’ll fix it up there. Then I’ll bring it back here.’

And his fib fooled the child, then he patted her head, and he got her a drink and he sent her to bed. And when CindyLou Who went to bed with her cup, he went to the chimney and stuffed the tree up! Then the last thing he took was the log for their fire. Then he went up the chimney, himself, the old liar.

On their walls he left nothing but hooks and some wire. And the one speck of food That he left in the house, was a crumb that was even too small for a mouse.” —Dr. Seuss

Maybe someone’s heart is a few sizes too small.

Jim Rupprecht











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