Readers’ Comment 05.04.18
Prop 68 good for Claremont
The Claremont Wildlands Conservancy urges all Claremont residents to vote yes in June on Proposition 68, The Clean Water and Safe Parks Act.
The proposition was passed as SB 5 in 2017 with bipartisan support by both houses of the state legislature. To secure funding through the sale of $4.1 billion in general obligation bonds, it requires approval by two-thirds of California voters. Repayment of these bonds would be made from the state’s general fund and would have very modest impact on individual households and taxpayers.
At a time when California is facing persistent drought, extraordinary wildfires, new challenges brought about by climate change, and with little support from the federal government, Californians must take responsible action to protect our natural resources, ensure access to clean drinking water and make available safe parks for children and open spaces for all citizens to enjoy.
Money dedicated to The Clean Water and Safe Parks Act would address these concerns for decades to come. Of the $4.1 billion raised: $1.5 billion would go to natural resource conservation and resiliency; $1.3 billion would be invested in neighborhood parks, state park preservation and protection, and trails, greenways and passive recreation in rural areas; and $1.3 billion would be directed to protecting our water resources.
Claremont would be eligible to apply for funding from the following categories:
$200 million for “local parks grants;” $15 million for “parks and recreation Grants” allocated to cities with populations under 200,000; $30 million for open space projects that could permit us to expand our wilderness park; and $30 million dedicated to trail development.
Please join us and all of the state’s major conservation organizations, the League of California Cities and the League of Women Voters in supporting Proposition 68. It is good for California and it is good for Claremont.
President of the Claremont Wildlands Conservancy
Let’s step up
Speaking as a 35-year resident of Claremont, I urge my fellow community members to vote yes on ballot Measure SC, for the construction of a new police station. As a former member of the police commission, and 20-year member of the committee on human relations, I have had a front row seat to view and evaluate the remarkable, progressive reforms CPD has undertaken over this period of time.
I have witnessed firsthand how our police force has transformed itself into an exemplary unit of women and men dedicated to the principles of community-based policing and fair treatment for all residents and guests. We now need to step up and provide our force with a safe, dignified, state-of-the-art facility for everyone’s sake.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder
According to the American Psychiatric Association, people with a narcissistic personality disorder exhibit exaggerated feelings of self-importance, excessive need for admiration, and lack of empathy for others. They are obsessively concerned with power, success, personal appearance, and intricate calculations of self-interest at the expense of others.
The individual traits are common enough; the personality disorder can be diagnosed when the trait complex is exaggerated.
In Think Like a Billionaire, a success manual he wrote, Donald Trump explained that entrepreneurs succeed “because they are narcissists” who focus on their dreams “even if it’s sometimes at the expense of those around them.” Draw your own conclusion.
Pooch Park praise
I highly recommend going to the newly renovated Claremont Pooch Park on College Avenue. My dog and I absolutely love the park and all its amenities. The park is equipped with special dog water fountains, a shaded resting area, safety fences and more.
This off-leash park allows for owners’ minds to be at ease while their furry friend is able to roam free. The dogs enjoy playing with one another while running up and down grass. In order for little dogs to feel more comfortable, there is a separate area where they can roam without the intimidation of larger dogs. All the dogs and people are very friendly making for a very enjoyable experience.
The Claremont Pooch Park is a great asset to the Claremont community and I will definitely be taking my dog back.
Yes on SC
Fellow Claremont voters, let’s get our police station out of the dark ages. On June 5, vote Yes on Safe Claremont (Measure SC) to build a police station that’s up to the job. Our 47-year-old station was obsolete years ago and would fall down in an serious earthquake.
Our city has grown substantially since the early 1970s, technology has completely changed, we have many more officers and many of them are women. Currently, our women employees change in a trailer in the parking lot.
We need a station that’s ADA compliant, with reliable electricity and plumbing, that can withstand an earthquake, and will allow our officers to investigate cases in a civilized and private space. Frankly, our current station should be an embarrassment to any citizen, and we deserve better.
We know that home values, business potential, officer recruitment and personal safety are all tied to a first-class police department. We need to use our common sense. Our excellent police chief and sworn officers and staff deserve a good police station to keep our city safe. Most leading Democrats, Republicans and independents have unified in the bi-partisan effort for Measure SC. But the measure requires a two-thirds majority to pass, so you need to reach out to your neighbors and talk about why passing Measure SC and building a modern police station is important to all of us.
Take advantage of the station open houses to see for yourself and go to any of our public forums to answer your questions.
We got to today the Claremont way. City officials and our police department listened after the last bond measure failed. They went back to the drawing board and listened to all parts of our community in producing a scaled-back budget and a solid plan for us going forward. The more affordable new station is planned for the current site after the planners heard from you and me. Now it’s up to us to spread the word and support our police department by passing Measure SC.
Enough, already. Claremont needs a larger, safer police station. We’ve argued enough about size, location, financing. We have a reasonable plan and more delay will add to costs. I urge the citizens of Claremont to vote “yes” on Measure SC in the California Primary Election on June 5.
Looking out for new families
Last week’s viewpoint is just the latest attempt by established residents to label and marginalize anyone who doesn’t agree with them. I am not anti-police-station. I recommended long ago the city build a 20,000 square foot station for $20 million and finance it over 20 years.
Given the city’s newly-disclosed $50 million pension liability and the $12 million water debacle, that would seem to be the prudent choice. However, despite the false labels, I will continue the good fight.
Every week, Partners for a Safe Claremont tells us that 86 percent of residents will pay less than $200 a year. Jim Keith even wants you to believe that $200 won’t hurt your lifestyle.
First of all, no one, including Mr. Keith, has the right to tell someone else that $200 isn’t that much money, especially when those who are trying to convince you are only paying $15.
Second, under the progressive parcel tax rejected by the city council, 94 percent of homeowners would pay less than $200 per year. And here’s another “real fact,” under the regressive parcel tax rejected by voters in 2015, 100 percent of homeowners would pay less than $150 a year! What is their point?
The difference between Partners for a Safe Claremont and me is I’m fighting for young families, families who are already overburdened by Measures Y, S, and G to the tune of several hundred dollars a year, whereas they actually seem to relish in shaking these families down.
I would discourage anyone from meeting these folks for dinner and drinks and letting them divvy up the check, because if you are the last one to show up, they’re going to want you to pay for their steak and martinis. That’s what Measure SC does!
Yes, I was opposed to the regressive parcel tax in Measure PS because it would have cost homeowners $13 million more than a GO bond. And yes, now I am opposed to the GO bond in Measure SC because once again, our city council decided to make young families pay $5 million more while giving everyone else in the community, including businesses, non-profits and the Colleges, huge tax breaks for a police station they will all benefit from. My support for Claremont’s newest residents is consistent.
Mr. Keith believes that the financing debate delayed the project by a year and will cost us more money. Let me remind him that delaying this project by three years saved us from a 47,000-square-foot police palace and $119,000,000 in taxes. His hindsight-is-20/20 argument has no place in this discussion.
The fact of the matter is the city council’s handpicked ad hoc committee narrowly recommended a GO bond over a progressive parcel tax, while public surveys showed a clear preference for a parcel tax. To dismiss the importance of this debate highlights just how little Mr. Keith cares about what young residents in this community have to say. He’d prefer they just be quiet and pay their $200.
The problem facing Partners for a Safe Claremont is the truth. And when the truth needs to be obscured, you get $5,000 from Claremont Toyota. Why Claremont Toyota? Because they will pocket more than $420,000 if Measure SC is successful.
You take that money and print thousands of yard signs and postcards and blanket the city to try and convince voters that making our newest neighbors pick up the tab for everyone else is fair. I’m not buying it. Our mayor did not buy it. And if you moved to Claremont in the past 10 years, you should not buy it, either.
Voting no on Measure SC does not mean you’re anti-police-station. It does not mean you don’t support the police. It does not mean a new station will cost more in the future. And it most certainly does not mean the current police station is going to fall down. Those are all false arguments that play on emotion.
Voting no on Measure SC simply means the new city manager and the city council will have to come up with a better plan. And with three council seats open this November, maybe that’s the best choice.
Let’s fulfill our privilege
It has been over a month since my last letter to the COURIER regarding the financing of a new police facility.
I have had the opportunity to read published letters, thoughts and opinions on various social media platforms covering this issue, and comments from members of the public who have shared their thoughts with me.
Here is my summary of anecdotal analysis:
1) The need for a new police facility exists.
There has not been any significant dispute about the need.
These are some of the justifications for not passing the bond measure:
A) It is a waste of money; B) The city council are a bunch of crooks and cannot be trusted; C) They should wait until a new city council is elected; D) Upset that the water utility bid failed in court; E) Allowing the design of the new art museum to be approved; F) It’s too big for the city; G) The Colleges should be compelled to pay; H) The city should not be allowed to appeal any previous defeats; I) It is unfair to taxpayers.
Points A, B, C, E and H have no relevance about a new police facility. I am sure the feelings are real for those who shared them, but they are smoke screens to divert attention away from the acknowledged need by all sides of the argument for a new station. It also shows a lack of understanding of basic civics that I hope is still being taught to our students in school.
I would like to discuss item F, the facility is too big. Documentation provided by Police Station Advocates, an anonymous group opposed to Measure SC, says a 20-20-20 plan (20 million dollars for 20,000 square feet over a 20-year term) is more reasonable. I disagree with an arbitrary number that is presented, without qualification from competent professionals.
The proposed facility area was mathematically calculated by licensed architects and engineers using accepted standards for essential services facilities based on data provided by the city and its staff (a legal mandate in California).
Point G, the Colleges should be compelled to pay their share. This is a very arrogant statement. The Colleges have traditionally been good neighbors and have helped in many ways. Now, there is a demand to make a new police station contingent upon a private entity’s contribution? I did not realize Claremont residents condone extortion as a method to finance a project. Very shameful, indeed.
Item I, it is unfair to tax payers. People move to Claremont for many reasons. The most common ones shared with me are that it is a safe community and has good schools.
Property values in Claremont have consistently risen since 1971 when the existing station was built. What cost $65,000 in the 1970’s costs $650,000 today. There is a cost to taxpayers to keep the city safe. This is done by hiring the best candidates and giving them the facilities to do their jobs.
Capital improvements are as much a part of private enterprise (raising prices to expand their manufacturing capacity) as they are in public maintenance (approving taxes and assessments to maintain an expected level of quality). Our taxation system is not perfect, but it is what we must work with.
Growth and change involves risk. Whether it’s a business venture, a relationship, or one’s general well being, we all must take a risk. When you moved to Claremont, you took a risk to live in a safe community. We can ensure a continued safe environment for our children and ourselves with this needed and necessary improvement.
A quote from Gary R. Blair sums it up succinctly:
“Creative risk taking is essential to success to any goal where stakes are high. Thoughtless risks are destructive, of course, but perhaps even more wasteful is thoughtless caution which prompts inaction and promotes failure to seize opportunity.” (emphasis added by me).
The people of Claremont spoke, loud and clear, when asked to finance a facility that was twice the size and twice the cost almost three years ago. The need of a new building was discussed in 2002 and continues to be acknowledged as a legitimate need in 2018.
An ad hoc committee spent 15 months researching, listening, discussing, paring down and arguing over ways to reduce cost, size and keep the station at its current location.
The people wanted a general obligation bond versus a parcel tax, a smaller footprint that would meet the needs by 2018 standards and beyond, and an affordable cost to the taxpayers.
Measure SC was crafted and ordained by the city council in response to the people’s voice and expressed concerns. Now, it is time for all the registered voters in Claremont to fulfill their privilege and duty to vote and approve the financing for our new police facility that Claremont residents asked for.