Readers comments 3-30-18

Celebrating Claremont women

Dear Editor:

On Sunday, six of Claremont’s most influential women of the past came to life again in Memorial Park for The Founding Mothers of Claremont: A Living Museum.

Presented by Girl Scout Troop 1094, this event, which showcased the lives of several women whose contributions made lasting impacts on Claremont culture and education, would not have been possible without the sponsorship and generous support of Claremont Heritage. 

Our scouts would like to thank Claremont Heritage, especially executive director David Shearer and staff members Kristen and Riley Fass, for their encouragement, openness and assistance with this new event. 

We would also like to thank the Candlelight Pavilion for the loan of several set pieces and props, as well as Susan Kent for providing delicious pastries and cookies for our patrons’ enjoyment. 

Lastly, we would like to express our gratitude to all who came out on a beautiful spring day to listen to the inspiring stories of Claremont’s long-ago women whose hard work and dedication we continue to benefit from today.

The Girl Scouts of Troop 1094



Prepare students

Dear Editor:

Gina Ortiz’s reply to my solutions (COURIER, March 16) for preparing students for life was typical of those that, instead of actually doing something to solve problems, would rather push their hateful agenda against civil rights in order to keep the outrage going.

Taken out of context, mischaracterized, and then finished off with an outrageous straw man argument was clever on her part, but exactly the kind of emotional manipulation that I proposed students be taught to discern and fight against.

Yes, parents and public schools do have a duty to protect children, but only up to a point. No one has a duty to rescue anyone else if the rescuer thinks their own life is at stake. Students need to be aware of how the world really works so they can start to form attitudes and plans of action.

Progressives pretending that big government can rescue everyone in seconds is dishonest at the very least. Of course (warning: buzzwords) authentic, organic and realistic lessons with doses of logic thrown in will expose students to the “dog and pony shows” of those that want to sell the idea that they are “doing something” about a problem.

For instance, has the Claremont Board of Education really nothing left to do other than pass symbolic resolutions (#09-2018) that push current leftist propaganda? Do any students feel safer?

If we treat students like adults, they start to act and problem solve like adults. Treat them like snowflakes and you get puddles of sheep.

Those that live and/or teach in ivory towers ignore the fact that those towers require daily janitorial service.

Leslie Watkins



Thundering silence

Dear Editor:

The student demonstrations throughout the country and around the world last Saturday were not only a celebration of our country’s youth, but a celebration of the United States of America. They were peaceful, heartfelt, eloquent, and dedicated. They reminded us of that old truth “United we stand, divided we fall.”

TV and radio commentators were thunderstruck by the six minutes of silence introduced by Emma Gonzalez and honored by 800,000 youngsters flooding our nation’s capital.

Silence is at such a premium in our media-saturated environment that many are intimidated by it. Not Emma Gonzalez. She let her heart speak during the silence. She struggled with her emotions.

Although some demonstrators took up the cry “Never again” when they couldn’t deal with it, they stopped, and the silence, where millions of Americans listened to their hearts speak, continued for another two minutes.

In that silence, Americans were united by their feelings of loss, empathy, anger, pity, guilt and the determination to stop the killing on our streets and in our schools. Now let us do the hard work of supporting our young people and reducing gun violence.

Peggy C. Spear             Aimee Ellsbree

Stephen Smith               Katrina Mason

Members of Claremont Friends Meeting


It’s a good thing

Dear Editor:

I recently read about the future renovations to the public library. Although the temporary closure might be an inconvenience to some, I believe making the library a more inclusive and welcoming space will be better for the Claremont community in the future.

Kelly Ransom



Safety forums

Dear Editor:

The recent Parkland school shooting was yet another devastating school shooting that rattled America. The news coverage was overwhelming. However, a less publicized statistic is that in the 12 plus weeks of 2018, the Parkland shooting was one of 17 school shootings. This averages out to 1.4 shootings per week.

These numbers certainly call into question the sense of safety that I (and possibly many of us) take for granted here in Claremont.

Last week, Captain Aaron Fate gave a talk to parents, teachers and school officials at El Roble Intermediate School on how to prepare the school for a shooter situation. This initiative needs to be taken at far more schools, especially the Claremont Colleges and Claremont High School, which have so much outdoor exposure.

Clara Madsen



Measure SC

Dear Editor:

During my eight years on the city’s Planning Commission, I heard several presentations about proposed bonds: the schools needed one, the city wanted one to acquire open space, the city wanted one to acquire the water company and the city needed one to build a new police station.

At one of these meetings I said there would come a day when there was a real need, but the voters would say “no,” because it was too much. Too much taxation on the federal, state, county and city level (and I understand that a bond is not a tax per se, but it shows up on your tax bill).

When I said this, I saw eyes rolling. I am sure people were thinking “there he goes again talking about how taxes are too high.” And now, several years later, here we are. Measure SC may not be the “slam dunk” our city leadership thought it would be, or that many of our city’s “intelligentsia” think it ought to be.

Why? Is there a need? The station is old, outdated, unsafe and needs to be replaced. Why would anyone question passage of a GO bond that will cost them another $200 to $400 a year on their property tax bill? Don’t we want our police to work in a safe environment? Don’t we want to live in a safe in environment? Why would we, what’s the word, “resist?”

Let me offer a theory: the last few years have left many of us, and our family budgets, feeling under siege. First there was the effort to pass Measure CL, a bloated $95 million money grab. We avoided that and supported a smaller, better focused bond. We are paying to upgrade the schools.

Then there was the first try at the new police station. A bloated $50 million edfice with all the bells and whistles including $3 million to be the most “sustainable” it could possibly be. We avoided that one too. So the city has regrouped and returned asking for $25 million.

However, in between, there has been the $12 million water adventure, which resulted in absolutely nothing other than self assured pats on the back and expressions of “Well, we tried.” What is $25 million minus $12 million?

There have also been two recent sales tax increases within LA County. Sales tax hits everyone, even when they “shop Claremont” (actually it hits Claremont shoppers a little more, as the tax is lower in neighboring San Bernardino County) and it is regressive. One of these was the second sales tax increase for which we were assured would bring the Gold Line to Claremont (Second time’s a charm? We’ll see).

And the state has gotten into the act: the gas tax. A 12 cent per gallon increase effective last November with another increase to follow in July 2019. Plus an increase in the vehicle registration fee ranging from $25 to $175. Lest my fellow Claremonters who drive zero emissions cars smile smugly, they hit you for a separate additional $100 fee starting in 2020. Again, regressive taxes, not “tax the rich.”

Our city council members, either individually or on occasion collectively, spoke in support of these tax increases.

Very few people really like taxes, but we recognize that civilized society requires some taxation. Tea was not thrown into Boston Harbor because the colonists did not want to pay any taxes, they just did not like the tax mechanism and the rather haughty attitude of the British monarch toward their objections (some of us in Claremont can relate to the colonists’ feelings, although our “monarch” has five heads).

Besides our obligations to the crown, er, the city of Claremont, we also have obligations that we want to meet: our own children.

Whether it is Little League/AYSO registration fees, spirit packs for high school sports, art and music lessons, car insurance for a teenage driver, donations to the school for specific acitivities or just to help, donations to charities, both in and out of Claremont, the cost of raising children here is expensive and growing. The solicitations and requests arrive by mail, email or in the backpack, nearly every day.

Then there is saving for our children’s college and our own retirement. For those raising a family in Claremont, it feels like it never stops. Now along comes SC.

In her recent editorial, Kathryn Dunn hit on something very important: perhaps its time for the city of Claremont to ease the burden on Claremont families just a bit. For too long it’s been “if you live in Claremont, you gotta pay.” Perhaps the people are saying “no more.” Reduce some taxes or fees. Yes, it may mean some service or amenity is  cut back. We understand that. Many of us do this all the time in our daily lives.

As parents, we often are unable to pay for things we would like to pay for. I think many of us would like to pay for a police station. The question is, can we?

Jeff Hammill


(Attorney at law, title only listed so the real estate agent, who is a very nice man, doesn’t get hostile phone calls or emails. —JH)


Human error

Dear Editor:

After seeing pedestrians nearly hit by cars, Grace Wilson calls for police to enforce “jaywalking” laws at the intersection of Amherst and Sixth. She and your readers may be surprised to know that pedestrians cannot break jaywalking ordinances at this location. 

Ms. Wilson likely assumes that since there are crosswalks nearby, pedestrians must use them. State vehicle code does not require this. Crosswalks are amenities that offer pedestrians the right-of-way, but their use is not mandated. The Claremont municipal code does require use of crosswalks, but only in business districts.

The California Vehicle Code prohibits only one movement that resembles the common notion of jaywalking: crossing a roadway between two adjacent intersections that are both governed by traffic lights. By definition, crossing at an intersection cannot fall afoul of this restriction. So under the vehicle code, pedestrians may cross at intersections, or even straight across many roadways.

It seems that our car culture has led us to believe that the law constrains our movements as pedestrians more than it does. But surely Ms. Wilson is sensible to caution skateboarders who shoot across Sixth without pausing to check for traffic, and drivers going too fast. And it remains the responsibility of pedestrians to respect right-of-way, and to ensure that oncoming vehicles have time and space to stop for them when stepping into the roadway.

Scott Banks



More human error

Dear Editor:

Last week brought news of a woman who walked into a lane of traffic and was struck and killed by a self-driving car from Uber Technologies, Inc. in Arizona. While certainly a tragedy, this should not be cause for alarm or any mitigation in the on-going testing of autonomous or self-driving cars. 

Clearly this was the pedestrian’s fault and anyone who walks into a traffic lane can expect the worst. This is not a story about the dangers of self-driving cars, but another example of the carelessness of humans. 

Also, recently reports came to light of some 14 minor accidents with the autonomous cars being tested in Redwood City, California. While this prompted some newspapers to engage in hand-wringing about the “safety of self-driving cars” those same news reports forgot to mention the most important facts of these accidents, namely that they were all caused by human drivers, not autonomous cars! (All the accidents were caused by human drivers crashing into self-driving cars.)

The promise of autonomous cars is the complete elimination of accidents, a radical reduction in the cost of transportation and freeways with virtually no traffic jams. 

We should not slow the inevitable progress toward these highly desirable goals by a misreading of human foibles. The promise of autonomous cars is too great to be slowed by human error.

Peter L. Coye



EDITOR’s Note:

Well, I did it, and I’ve been kicking myself all week. In my column last Friday, I left off a zero when computing Claremont McKenna College’s annual endowment expenditure. It should have been $31,136,000, not the $3.1 million I published. (Thank you, Richard Chute, for alerting me to the gaffe.)

I’ll take my mistake as an opportunity to better illustrate my point that we aren’t causing undue financial stress to ask for a substantial contribution from the Colleges toward the new police station.

Although a tax-exempt organization, the Claremont University?Consortium provides shared services to the Colleges; perhaps it can help coordinate a donation at this critical point for the city.

Endowments (and expenditures) for each institution in the CUC are:

Pomona:?$2.17 billion ($86.8 million)

CMC:?$784 million ($31.3 million)

Scripps:?$343.2 million ($13.7 million)

HMC: $303 million ($12.1 million)

CGU: $158.5 million ($6.3 million)

Pitzer:?$137 million ($5.5 million)

KGI:?$62.3 million ($2.5 million)

—Kathryn Dunn


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