Readers Comments 3-9-18

CHS students speak out

[Editor’s note: The following letters were submitted for publication by two Claremont High School students. Newspapers are probably the last medium a teen would use to send a message, so I’d like to extend my gratitude to Matthew and Yi for taking the effort to leave Twitter and speak to us—the older folks—in our environment. You’ve given me hope today. I can’t thank you enough. —KD]


Dear Editor:

I am writing to address the recent events that took place in Florida, or more specifically, America’s reaction to these events.

At first, most of us fell back into the same pattern that has been repeated so many times. We felt the shock, anger and sadness. We watched for new developments. We prayed for the families that were affected. Then, we returned to our everyday activities. The initial rush of emotions faded, and Americans went back to our normal lives, almost as if nothing ever happened.

We let this pattern of school shootings—feeling bad and moving on—become the new norm. We didn’t try to change anything, most of us were just relieved that the shooting didn’t take place near us. We had become numb to the violence, and began to ignore our sad reality. It seemed that we had given up, until suddenly, people began to speak out.

There have been numerous walkouts with thousands of students involved. Shooting survivors went to Washington DC and the Florida state capitol. They spoke to Congress members and President Trump. They were also featured on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and countless news programs.

When the rest of America seemed to be losing hope, these high school students stood up. They decided that they would do everything they can to bring an end to these shootings. Things can change. These high school students are proving it every day.

But if we, as a country, truly want to make a difference, then we all need to stand up. We need to support these courageous students, and show our government that we are a people who will no longer tolerate school shootings. We can do it.

Matthew McCarthy


Claremont High School


Dear Editor:

I am a student from Claremont High School, and I want to speak my voice by submitting the following letter.

Once again, another terrible incident happened, 17 people were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida. This is the 18th school shooting in the first six weeks of 2018. Who is responsible? The murderer who slaughtered the 17 innocent lives? Congress that has done no work? Or some us, the audience, who learned about the 18 incidents but chose to be silent? Everyone is responsible for these incidents.

If we had spoke out, stood up or done something, it is possible we could have had a different result so that the 18th incident might not have happened. But we did not, we chose to ignore it and think that such incidents would never happen to us.

Ignorance can be considered one of the murderers. These tragedies seem to be part of daily life. They are normalized. People are turning cold, and stand by these tragedies doing nothing but talking. Few realize how terrible the whole situation will really become. Violence like this cannot be normalized. It cannot be business as usual, and it cannot only be the news that people talk about after dinner.

“Stand up, don’t stand by,” as quoted from my teacher. We need to act right now to erase the possibility of future incidents.

Lack of attention to mental health is another murderer, why? As we know, the suspect in this incident does not have a healthy mind, and that is the motivation for what he did. A normal human being can control himself/herself and not harm people because this is humanity, which pursues peace and a wonderful world.

If the students who knew the murderer and the teachers who saw his abnormal behavior or the adults who lived with him would have spoken out and tried to treat his mental illness, this incident might never have happened.

The mind is at the core of every action, movement and thought. The ill human mind needs to be treated because ignoring mental health issues can have terrible results. Attention to mental health is needed, not only in schools but for all people.

This letter might end up with a discussion without action, since no solution has been worked on yet. But I hope this letter will demonstrate what we need to do in order to stop the situation.

Solutions should begin with a controversial topic—gun control. There are two sides currently opposing each other, speaking against each other and achieving very little. What about reaching a mid-point where both sides can produce a solution to real problems? We need to find a balance and an agreement among our public regarding gun control.

Secondly, we need to focus on mental health. The government needs to send more funding to schools for mental health and for lessons on psychology for students to learn how to control themselves. More psychologists are needed to improve student  mental health. We need to treat people who have mental illness with respect and care and try to help them as much as we can.

Lastly, promote social awareness. If we can come to a social agreement, it can be solved quickly.

Although we cannot see progress or effects right now, at least we can maintain our hope. Hope is the reason why we never stop fighting; hope is the motivation of our action; and hope is the possibility of our greatest, most wonderful dream—safety for every single American high school student.

Yi Li

Claremont High School


Record breaker

Dear Editor:

This past week, we lost the first-ever person to run a sub four-minute mile, Sir Roger Bannister. He accomplished this feat without substantial training and concurrently with his studies to become a neurologist. He ran the mile in a time of three minutes and 59.4 seconds. Unfortunately, this record only lasted 46 days.

The current day record for the mile three minutes and 43.13 seconds, can anybody name who holds this record? And from which country is the record holder? I had to look this one up!

Peter Williams



Rail adventures

Dear Editor:

I enjoyed Mick Rhodes’ article about his family’s adventures on the rail systems here in Los Angeles, Metrolink and Metro. I, too, am thrilled that the Gold Line is now accessible with a short drive and can connect us to our sprawling, diverse, and fascinating home.

My wife and I are on the “grand” side of parenting and take the Gold Line to Pasadena to see the kids and the new grandbaby. And like Mick’s journey, we have travelled all over to DTLA and beyond. Someday I want to take a “station trip”: ride the rails, get off at each station, and take in the station art like a rolling museum. Might be fun to do as a group!

And public transportation is not just for joyrides, we have taken the Metro to pick up new cars in Calabasas and Glendale, go to work conferences in Alhambra and Santa Monica and plays in East Pasadena.

Sometimes you have to get creative with the last mile (try taking your bike, or a connecting bus, or even a ride-hailing service) but that is part of the adventure.

Metrolink and Metro are a wonderful resource that not only open up new worlds as Mick described but can save you stress, money, and occasionally time. I would encourage everyone to get to know Metro, get out of your car, and see the City of Angels and surrounding communities and connect.

Let’s hear more rail adventures in the paper soon!

Scott Lawrence Lawson



Back houses, granny flats

Dear Editor:

At many homes in town, the cars are parked in the driveway, while the garage is used for storage. The city can allow garages to be converted to studio apartments, thereby avoiding loss of open space and of trees when back houses are built or rooms are added as granny flats. 

Homeowners can get rid of some stuff and put the rest in the attic or in a mini-storage unit, which will cost less per month than the rent collected on the converted garage.

The issue of parking for a tenant’s car will be no different than if the garage remains full of stuff. The city won’t look any different: cars will still be in driveways. This option should be available.

It’s comparatively inexpensive up front for the homeowner, and it minimizes loss of outdoor space and shade. It’s likely to be adopted by a number of homeowners, possibly more than would spend the money for a back house or home addition. 

This will increase the supply of affordable housing for homeless persons and others who are able and willing to take advantage of it, and it will enable more aging homeowners to have live-in help so they can avoid institutionalization.

Bob Gerecke



Autonomous cars

Dear Editor:

Ludd Trozpek’s recent screed against California allowing testing of self-driving cars with no human on board is amusing in the extreme, particularly coming from a Libertarian, small-government cheerleader of Mr. Trozpek’s ilk.

Shouldn’t this be a matter of “all comers welcome” (both human and robot) on our public streets? Do we really need more nanny-state intervention saying who or what can and cannot ply the highways?

In a stunning reversal of form, Mr. Trozpek wants the state to engage in “picking winners and losers” rather than allowing the unfettered free market to work its magic.

Also, it is noteworthy to know that after millions of miles of testing Alphabet (Google), Tesla, Uber, Apple and other tech giants have demonstrated that autonomous cars (read self-driving) are safer than human drivers, with the complete elimination of accidents still a distant, but not unobtainable goal.

A few years ago, a group of Claremont seniors wrote a letter to Governor Jerry Brown, expressing concern that autonomous cars “have no driver” and therefore are a menace to society. These good citizens conveniently forgot that they were the “danger on the road,” not the self-driving cars that can stop much quicker than a human driver can stop a car in almost any emergency.

A UCLA study reports that almost 80 percent of the cars on LA freeways could be eliminated in the coming era of “transport as a service.” This era would be characterized by electric, autonomous, connected cars, which would basically invert today’s predominant reality; namely, that cars today are used only five percent of the time and sit idle 95 percent of the time.  Furthermore, the cost of transport could be cut in half.

The earliest and most enthusiastic adopters of the era of electric, autonomous and connected cars will be the working poor. The savings for them will be stunning as they realize they can go anywhere at about 50 percent of the current cost of car ownership. (For example, the median wage for the 4.2 million employed people in LA County is in the range of $13 per hour. For these workers the advent of the autonomous car will mean putting up to $50 per week in their pockets as “found savings.”)

For those who choose to continue to own, operate, drive, insure, maintain, wash and garage their own cars the bonus will be manifest. Massive reductions in traffic and congestion on all freeways will be their bonus, a feature they can enjoy as a result of the era of autonomous cars.

Peter L. Coye



Strange times

Dear Editor:

We certainly live in strange and disquieting times. Who would have believed a Republican president would be the one saying, “Take the guns first, go through due process second.”

Another pillar of conservatives is “Less government control, more free enterprise.” Since Delta Airlines announced its withdrawal of discounts to NRA members, the Georgia state legislature has risen in wrath to block legislation giving Delta tax breaks.

Senator Paul Ryan’s proposal to tighten up loopholes in gun legislation leaves me wondering, ‘Who allowed all those loopholes in gun regulations in the first place?’

In the February 21 CNN Town Hall discussion held in Florida, Senator Marco Rubio said “If I believed that [the assault weapons ban] would have prevented this from happening, I would support it…I absolutely believe that in this country, if you are 18 years of age, you should not be able to buy a rifle and I will support a law that takes that right away. I will support the banning of bump stocks and I know that the President has ordered the Attorney General to do that.”

A bit later that same night, Congressman Deutsch of the Florida state legislature suggested, “If there is a problem with the assault weapons ban…if there were too many loopholes…let’s bring up the assault weapons ban and close all those loopholes so that we have a bill that keeps people safe.”

Whereupon Senator Rubio rushed to point out what seemed to him to be an obvious flaw. “It’s not the loopholes, it’s the problem that, once you start looking at how easy it is to get around it, you would literally have to ban every semi-automatic rifle that’s sold.” The thunderous applause that interrupted Mr. Rubio at this point seemed to indicate that the audience of several thousand believed the banning of “every semi-automatic rifle that’s sold” was the whole point of the discussion.

As I said, strange times that leave us shaking our heads.

Kathleen McKenzie



Preschool success in Claremont

Dear Editor:

As a parent at ABC for Me preschool, I was so proud to read about the success of the ABC for Me and Tiny Tots programs housed at the Hughes Center. Ms. Tayo does an excellent job and deserves recognition.

While the article highlighted all the things ABC for Me preschool does well, there is another side to this story that was missing from the article and remains off the front page of our public discourse: the lack of affordable, quality preschool options for working parents in Claremont.

ABC for Me Preschool tuitions rates are extremely fair. At $780 per month for full time care, ABC for Me is an extremely popular option for working parents. The result, however, is a waiting list of almost 30 children who are currently trying to find affordable child care options.

ABC for Me open enrollment starts the first week of March, and several parents hoping to find a spot will likely by turned away because of a low number of current students moving on to kindergarten or transitional kindergarten.

For those who do not find a spot at ABC for Me or Tiny Tots, the remaining options in Claremont spike in tuition. The next tier of prices exceed $1,000 per month, and several preschools exceed $1,200 per month per child for full-time care.

For families with two working parents who earn middle-class salaries, finding out you do not have a spot in ABC for Me effectively constitutes a sharp pay cut, further squeezing the working class parents already directly impacted by decades of stagnant wages and increasing costs of living. 

While other options like in-home residential daycares exist, these facilities are seldom accredited by agencies like NAEYC (National Association for Education of Young Children). ABC for Me has been accredited for several years. As such, those children with no other choice but non-accredited daycare options start kindergarten on a lower playing field, having missed the basic and essential curriculum outlined by Ms. Tayo in last week’s article.

The impacts on a working family—wage stagnation and increasing costs of living—are larger policy issues that do not appear to be reversing soon; however, this community can directly combat these two trends by working to ensure that all Claremont children have access to affordable, quality preschool. 

Jed Leano




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