Readers Comments: 1-5-18

Paying for police

Dear Editor:

Does Claremont need its own police department? The Claremont Police Department is the largest expense category in the city’s annual budget. Claremont spends more than 50 percent of its annual income to fund police, and the amount keeps growing.

The CPD has hired more staff and acquired more equipment. The pension liability for police officers has the potential to severely burden all taxpayers in Claremont more than it already has. The CPD is a small force and all of its financial obligations must be paid by us, the citizens of Claremont.

The CPD pension burden will cause us to financially tread water, if not drown. Many officers can retire at age 50 with up to 90 percent of their last year’s income for the rest of their lives, along with receiving healthcare and other benefits. The citizens of Claremont are paying for this. How is your pension doing? Can you retire at age 50 with up to 90 percent of your last year’s earnings for life? Do you even have a pension?

The leaders of Claremont’s city government may be sleeping on the job when it comes to police expenses. Have they considered other options? Have they sought a bid from the LA County Sheriff to provide services? If the number of officers on patrol in Claremont is the same, whether from the CPD or the sheriff’s department, we may be able to save a significant sum of money.

Even if the costs are the same for both scenarios we can save a tremendous amount of money by using the sheriff’s personnel because we won’t need to pay off a $30 million bond to build a new police station.

We are still paying for the last school bond. We are now paying more than $8 million for the failed water company acquisition. Why should city leaders burden taxpayers with a $30 million bond when we may have a viable alternative? Are they looking into this option, or are they simply going to stick us with $30 million of debt? Basically, a police force provides us with two functions.

1. Crime prevention—the greatest deterrent to crime is the presence of a cop,  whether it be on foot or in a patrol car. It won’t make a bit of difference to a criminal if the cop is from the CPD or the sheriff’s department.

2. Solving crimes—neither department has an enviable success record when it comes to solving crime. In most instances, a citizen reports a crime, the officer shows up and writes a report. Subsequent investigations fail to solve many crimes. As long as the officer response rates are about the same it doesn’t matter which officer writes the report.

We all know that some businesses call the police more frequently than the average homeowner. Why not have the businesses that use police more often pay on a per use basis? And homeowners in certain sections of the city call the police more often. Why not have those who call more often pay extra than those who never, or very rarely, call the CPD? All property owners should pay a base amount and then the city can charge extra to those who use police services more often.

In this time of heightened awareness of social justice, why not advocate for a simple plan of financial justice for Claremont taxpayers and have a rational, fair method for paying for police services actually used. Is an exploration and discussion of this topic too much to ask of our city leaders?

They are going to stick us with increased taxes to pay for the city’s escalating police pension obligation and for the new gym in the new station. Will you and your kids be allowed to work out in the gym? Why not investigate if we can get a better financial arrangement from the LA County Sheriff. Are they afraid they will be embarrassed by the outcome?

Tony Nelipovich, Sr.



More transit

Dear Editor:

I would have guessed that by now, everyone would be on board in support of more accessibility to public transportation, not less. Apparently, some folks seem to think that the elimination of Claremont’s Metrolink station would be “minimally inconvenient” for drivers, and that “many different transit modes” are available and affordable to all others.

There is a significant population of those who are car-less due to circumstances beyond their control (seniors, students, disabled, etc.) or by choice (cyclists, pedestrians, environmentalists, etc.) whose daily lives would be more than inconvenienced by the elimination of our local station. 

So here’s a suggestion:  If drivers would please lock their cars in their garages for a short but reasonable period of time, say, two weeks, and rely solely on public transportation for all their needs, there might just be a shift in support of more, not less, transportation options.

And that just speaks to departures. What about arrivals? Aren’t we all supposed to be proud that Claremont is a “destination city?” Aren’t the Village merchants and restaurateurs pleased that customers are able to arrive by rail from east and west? How can that status be maintained if Metrolink passes us by?  

Let’s face the future and save our station.

Dennis Lloyd



Holidays for all

Dear Editor:

In response to the letter “Who stole Christmas?” published on December 22. We might not see as much resistance to the idea of celebrating Christ’s birth at Christmas if Christians didn’t try to negate all the other celebrations that legitimately go on at this time of year.

People of all religions, all cultures of the northern hemisphere have always experienced these days as the shortest of the year. (In the southern hemisphere, these are the longest, warmest days of the year). 

At this time, we have only nine hours of daylight and 15 hours of darkness. It is the time of year when people have forever either prayed that God would bring back the sun, or simply used parties, candles and bonfires to celebrate the fact that now the days would become longer, the air would get warmer, and food would grow once again.

Christians did not originate celebrations at this time of year. They borrowed the idea from the many festivals that were already going on. 

Christians identified the “return of the sun” with the idea of the “coming of the Son of God,” which is why Christians celebrate Christmas in December, rather than at the much warmer part of the year when Jesus was actually born.

Why not acknowledge all the festivals, both religious and secular, that occur at this time? We could say “Merry Christmas and Blessings on All the Festivals of the Season.” Rather than elbow in and take over what belongs to everyone, it would be Christian to acknowledge reality and respect the many religious and secular ways of filling these darkest, longest nights with light, song, and prayers of hope.

The blessings of the sun/Son, the increase in warmth and light, the spreading of kindness are things all people can celebrate. 

Genevieve Beenen

Former Claremonter


Get over it

Dear Editor:

The writer of the letter published December 22 titled “Trump’s con” obviously harbors virulent hate for President Trump as evidenced by the use of her damning words in every way possible to describe the sitting president of the United States. Words like “his nasty smirk,” “plotting his revenge,” “he is obsessed” and “his revenge is coming at the expense of the American people.” All this in the first three of eight paragraphs.

Oh, and in paragraph four, she calls him a con, which seems like she ran out of bitterly hostile things this point.

It’s patently clear who is obsessed, who actually is plotting revenge and it’s not the sitting president. He is way too busy fulfilling his campaign promises, the latest being tax reform. Not to mention job creation and the boom in the stock market.

In all reality, I can understand this writer’s mindset. After all, the corruption was developed by the massive funding raised by her party of choice to insure her candidate would win and her candidate failed badly instead. Well, let’s have some pity.

To the writer: Trump won, your candidate lost. Just get over it.

Chuck Blood



My side of the line

Dear Editor:

There is one thing I agree with Peter Weinberger on—Claremont is a great place to live. 

On just about everything else, I take issue. You, sir, may “accept the fact that Trump is openly racist.” I am here to tell you that you are wrong. Protections for the citizens of the United States of America, by an American president, is the primary function of government. For immigrants who come here with the intention to live according to our values, our constitution, our laws—they are welcome. All others are to be blocked entry.

You mention black athletes. Excuse me, but President Trump stuck his neck out for the UCLA players in China, and got them sprung from jail. Despite the resistance, the president performs acts of mercy, regardless of race. As for white supremacists, they are an extremely small and disgusting corner of our society. Their activities and message should be confronted head on, as those beliefs lead to nothing but division and hatred.

As a small business owner, I am grateful for the tax cuts that I will now be able to enjoy, and employ. And believe it or not, many of us tradesman invest in the stock market and are cheering the benefits of higher corporate earnings. Somehow an improving and growing economy is slurred as a “trickle down” scheme.

I started my business in 1986 just as the Reagan tax cuts were passed. My business thrived, and I bought my first home two years later. My customers had more money to spend on my services, and I benefitted. It will be the same this time around, like it or not. Resisters cannot stop all progress; the American people will work for their best interest. They will start companies, hire, invest and strive.

My biggest beef with Democrats is their resistance to school vouchers. This may be a discussion for another time, but I feel so sad for  kids in communities that do not enjoy our level of parental involvement and property values. They are stuck in a geographical boundary of subpar public schools, to say the least. And if their parents would prefer to move to a community with a winning school district? No choice. The properties are too expensive. Private schools are too expensive.

I believe that someday in the distant future, we will look back and rue the days that we allowed this cruel system to persist.

Joe Ryan




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