Readers comments 1-12-18

Paying for police

Dear Editor:

In his letter published January 5, Tony Nelipovich asks, “Does Claremont need its own police department?” I do not recall this coming up for consideration at any time over the past years, while the cost of a new police station was being considered and debated. 

The Los Angeles County Fire Department does an outstanding job for Claremont. There is no reason to think that the County Sheriff’s Department would not be their equal. This is a smart, and obvious, alternative that should be given serious consideration before putting the citizens of Claremont another $25 million in debt.

Mr. Nelipovich cites numerous other valid reasons for making this change.

Jack Sultze



Start school later

Dear Editor:

Since moving to Claremont from Minnesota some 15 years ago, I have been asking our school administrators to better match the circadian rhythms of our teens by starting middle and high school later in the morning. 

Sleep research is clear: teen brains are on a different clock from adults—they naturally go to sleep around 11 p.m. and should sleep until 8 a.m. 

Many Minnesota schools have already made the difficult adjustments to later start times because the sleep research and results are clear: teens learn better when they start school later. Yes, after-school activities need to move back 30 minutes to accomplish the change, but outcomes, attendance, and behavior improved.

Last week, the PBS News Hour closed with testimony from behavioral scientist Wendy Troxel reminding us that “When teens don’t get the sleep they need, their brains, bodies and behavior suffer. Around the time of puberty, kids experience a delay in their biological clock. That means that teenagers are hormonally programmed to stay awake later and sleep in later.”

Many legislators, doctors, parents, professors and many teachers and educators are “waking up” to the need to match our school schedules to best serve our teen learners, but it’s difficult to change extra-curricular schedules. 

Sooner or later, we we should make this cost-effective policy change to assist better learning for our students. But when I recently contacted the Claremont school board about this issue, the superintendent replied, “The issue of changing start times at the intermediate and secondary schools is not a discussion that has been held by the board to date. I have not heard from many parents asking us to consider this change.”

In other words, CUSD doesn’t recognize sleep-deprived students as a priority they should address.  

It turns out our State Senator Anthony Portantino understands sleep research about teens, and sponsored SB 328, the “Start the School Day Later” bill, in 2017. He’ll be talking with the school board about this issue at its Thursday, January 18 meeting at 6:30 p.m. at the CUSD district office, 170 W. San Jose Ave. 

If you agree with me, Senator Portantino, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association and the CDC that later start times would help our teens be more successful, please show up at this meeting and express your support for later start times. Or write the school board a letter at this same address.

Thanks and see you at the school board meeting.

Mel Boynton



Cannibals at work

Dear Editor:

Thank you for expanding your readers’ comments section to include some side-splitting comedy. Is “Chuck Blood” a pen name? A person whose name is Rambo or Machete is upset because a woman is angry? I didn’t know that the super-tough, alt-right uber-males had such a tender side! It’s so sweet.

The real giveaway of the article was Mr. Blood’s surreal observation that “He (Donald) is way too busy fulfilling his campaign promises, the latest being tax reform.” That is genuine Monty Python comedy!

First, the “tax reform” is a classic Republican, Paul Ryan tax change where the rich get richer at the expense of everyone. This is not stealing from the rich to save America’s middle class like Steve Bannon wanted and the Trump campaign promised.

The average American is going to get a couple thousand dollars for the next few years and then it ends for them. Meanwhile, just because of changes in the inheritance tax, America’s top one-percenters literally get millions upon millions of dollars direct from the US Treasury.

And the corporate tax breaks that are supposed to be “tax breaks for American workers” in the form of more jobs? First, it is the workers who “work” for the heads of corporations. It is sheer comedy to think bosses feel obligated to their workers unless they fear the workers will leave.

Second, when corporations get big financial breaks, their first thought is to give obscene end-of-the-year gifts to their top leaders. Plus—and I don’t know why I haven’t heard this fact on any news channel whether it be FOX or CNN—corporations do work for someone: their shareholders. The shareholders are next in line behind the executives.

This is not the wild ranting of some obsessed person, Mr. Blood. This is how the world works. Just get over it.

So the rich get a double, enormous benefit from this plan with the higher stock prices, increased dividends, etc. “This is going to jumpstart the economy” is the claim. Prove it. Stock prices are already astronomically high (DOW above 25,000). Now you’re going to pour high-octane gasoline on that fire? Holland tulips, here we come! This could be the first time in history a country actually accelerated into a bubble.

To think that if we give unthinkable amounts of money to the most powerful and greedy corporations they will suddenly function as a nonprofit by sharing their wealth is a laugher. On the issue of taxes, Donald Trump definitely failed on his campaign promises.

Meanwhile, Mr. Blood would have us think that Donald Trump and his administration are just a fine-tuned, hard-working bunch of Santa’s elves, slaving away in the West Wing, too busy to pay attention to irrelevant people in pain, screaming outside on the front lawn. Let’s all sing, “Hi ho, Hi ho, it’s off to work we go!”

Donald Trump has never sat at a desk and worked 12 hours straight in his life. He boasts that he never carried a single book in college. We didn’t need Fire and Fury to tell us that inside the White House it is all “fire and fury,” because that’s what Donald Trump trumpets himself. That’s what every person has said as they exit the White House’s revolving door.

It’s beyond absurd that you can have your White House communications director fired before he even starts his job and proudly tell us all that “so-and-so” is just sucking his #%*&. This kind of attitude and language, and these kinds of relationships, are not only normal, but are encouraged, expected, idolized and celebrated in this White House.

As one GOP—that’s right, GOP—commentator said this week, “Truly, when you look at their comportment in this majestic place, the West Wing of the White House, they couldn’t be more vile than if they were monkeys hurling their excrement at each other in a cage.”

The White House is a wood-chipper, driving people away with such violence it is jaw-dropping—Flynn, Priebus, Bannon, Spicer, Price, Omarosa, Comey, Yates, Gorka, Scaramucci, Bharara and all of the other attorney generals plus about 30 more.

This is white male rage on steroids in the White House. This is what Trump himself embodies, 100 percent. This is what he promised, 100 percent. And, you are right, Mr. Blood, this is what he is delivering—and with tremendous success measured by his standards. They need to own it.

That is the quality that Donald Trump loves and promotes with special friends like Bill O’Reilly, Joe Arpaio, Roy Moore and Steve Bannon. They all cultivate a culture of chugging five Red Bulls, going to work, pounding their chests like King Kong and spitting at everyone around them.

We are no longer shocked when they attack Democrats, women, the disabled, people of color or the entire Arab world. They promised to “burn the Republican house to the ground.” They attack their closest friends and allies—no, not England or Australia—but Jeff Sessions and Rex Tillerson. We are now numb to this administration’s full throttle assaults on the FBI, the CIA and all news reporting that does not serve as a propaganda arm for the government. And, yes, even NFL football! It’s a culture of cannibals, and we should not be surprised if within a year the cannibals have devoured even themselves.

In addition to treating everything and everyone in the world as pure trash, Trump is especially targeting women as disposable refuse. To quote Fire and Fury page 23, “Trump liked to say that one of the things that made life worth living was getting your friends’ wives into bed. In pursuing a friend’s wife, he would try to persuade the wife that her husband was perhaps not what she thought. Then he’d have his secretary ask the friend into his office…Trump would engage in what was, for him, more or less constant sexual banter. Do you still like having sex with your wife? How often? You must have had a better [@#$%]  than your wife? Tell me about it. I have girls coming in from Los Angeles at three o’clock. We can go upstairs and have a great time. I promise…And all the while, Trump would have his friend’s wife on the speakerphone, listening in.”

For Trump, being the president of the United States does not “make life worth living,” but bedding your best friends’ wife still keeps you from giving up? No further comment is needed. Notice, I have not even mentioned a word about “Russia.”

Yet one woman being mad is totally unjustified and comes as a complete surprise to Mr. Blood and is an offense to Mr. Trump. They believe women shouldn’t have the right to feel hurt from all of this. Oh, the pain that Mr. Blood/Trump feels when any woman dares to cry out, “I’m hurt. I don’t deserve this!” What a laugh.

Do they think that one woman needs to stop crying because she’s afraid that she might be hurting the Capital City Cannibals’ feelings? I never realized how sensitive people like Mr. Trump and Mr. Blood truly are.

Mark Carlson



20/20 vision

Dear Editor:

My 20/20 vision is fading and the 2020s don’t look so good anymore.

Our federal government is undermining the credibility of our country. The EPA is dismantling environmental protection and there’s little federal policy support for clean renewable energy. The Standard American Diet is SAD, and millions of people don’t have health care coverage. 

Claremont is threatened with losing its Metrolink station and opportunities to become a multimodal transit node, even though we supported Measure M.

We have no control over Claremont’s water, which makes watershed planning difficult in this time of a changing climate, and we are being penalized for trying.

Our economy and policy making are becoming increasingly dominated by powerful special interests—the military-industrial complex, the fossil fuel industry, industrial agriculture, and big pharma—which take our money and use it to promote their special interests.

Rising public consciousness is an exercise in frustration if there is no positive change. Even with my optimism, the future looks less promising. Consequently, I’m going to focus writing on endeavors where, individually, we can achieve positive changes through our actions. Currently, I am writing a book on regenerating water.

Thank you for your support for the “2020’s Vision” that I have endeavored to share. I have appreciated positive feedback I received from readers of the articles.

Going forward, I will continue to occasionally contribute viewpoints to the COURIER when I feel passionate about a local issue. Claremont is fortunate to have an excellent local paper that provides us with the opportunity to share our views.

I look forward to a change in the political climate—when there is less polarization, which wastes time, effort and money spent on resistance. I look forward to a time when people are more willing to work together for the common good to create shared visions that stimulate positive change.

Although frustrated by our current political situation and control by special interests, I remain hopeful that there will be positive change. We need to make the Earth great again. The survival humanity depends upon it. 

Mark von Wodtke, FASLA




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