Readers comments 6-15-18

Act quickly after SC

Dear Editor:

Measure SC failed by about 400 votes (approximately 6 percent of the votes cast). It required a two-thirds super-majority to pass. We still need a new police station. That has not changed.

The proponents I have talked to (and I was one) are understandably disheartened and say no one will propose a new version of the measure this year or next.

I have the opposite opinion. I think we should qualify a new measure for the November 2018 ballot. I think it should be a parcel tax based on square footage.

I think we should know in advance exactly who will pay how much (the citizens, the Colleges, the business community.)

Although Measure SC may have had the least total cost, obviously some people thought the mechanism was unfair (especially families that have moved to Claremont more recently, thanks to the inequities of Prop 13).

I think it makes more sense if essentially the same pool of voters faces substantially the same measure while the debate is fresh and before financing and construction costs increase too much.

Between now and November 6, I would encourage every person who voted against SC to contact the city manager’s office and pledge your support for the new financing mechanism (parcel tax based on square footage) or else explain what exactly would have to change to earn your support.

Please take a few minutes and let the city know what it would take to earn your vote.

Mark Merritt



Disappointing results

Dear Editor:

We should be ashamed of ourselves!  The results of Measure SC are not what any reasonable, self-respecting city should obtain. They auger very pessimistically for the future health and safety of our city.

It’s true that some Claremont bond proposals have been voted down in the past. But this one had all the right goals, specifications, procedures and supporters.  It should never have failed. Though a few individuals wrote about idiosyncratic personal reasons for opposition, all of the main criticisms were fully rebutted before election day.

Nearly everyone agreed that the current police station was outmoded and could not be renovated to meet the urgent needs for adequate facilities and staff.

Specifications of Measure SC were improved by lessons learned from the failure of the previous proposal. The total cost was cut to about half of the previous proposal while still providing the needed space and facilities. The downtown location was also a great improvement over the distant location in the previous proposal.

A blue-ribbon committee of citizens on various sides of the previous proposal was named, and functioned well. It met frequently, sought the views of all citizens in public meetings, and finally voted democratically on the provisions of the proposal. 

The fact that it chose the mechanism of a bond issue over a parcel tax has been objected to by many critics. But that decision was arrived at democratically, and it should have been supported by voters of all opinions who had the overall community welfare in mind.

The good reason for that choice is that it made the estimated final cost of the bond more than $3 million cheaper than the parcel tax—a fact that should have persuaded any reasonable critic.

So now we have no new police station in our future, and little hope of getting one in any reasonable time frame. The advocates are exhausted by two failed efforts, so no one knows when another opportunity may occur in the future.

Meanwhile it is a certainty that both the health and safety of our community will suffer due to inadequate police facilities and—who knows?—perhaps discouraged or departing police personnel. Shame on us, Claremont!

Stuart Oskamp



Should have been a parcel tax

Dear Editor:

Measure SC failed to pass. In preparing its recommendation, the citizens ad hoc committee sent out a survey to residents. I responded with the majority who wanted the new police station funded by a parcel tax. Why did they survey residents if they ignored the results?

The city council indicates it is responsive to residents. Perhaps they are only responsive to their base.

Another question in the survey asked how I would vote. I responded then as I would today. I would have voted for Measure SC if it had been funded by a parcel tax based on square footage.

I wonder how many other Claremont residents would have done the same?

Eileen Ambrose



What about the city yard?

Dear Editor:

It is disingenuous to imply that those of us who opposed the ballot measure think the current police facility is adequate. We opposed the measure because:

a. the cost is still “way over the top;”

b. financing for any project needs to be shared equally;

c. no serious consideration was given to contracting with the sheriff’s department; and

d. most importantly, nobody has looked at the one large building in the city that is way under-utilized and could be modified and enlarged if necessary.

Claremont has grown and changed.   Those of you who said, “If they don’t like paying for the current measure they should just leave town,” are displaying the attitude many of us decry—that of residents who have lived here for 40-plus years and who expect everything to run the way they see fit. They mostly have comparatively low property taxes, if any, and can influence decisions because many are retired and have the time to make their voices heard disproportionately at city government.

They should remember why Prop 13 passed in the first place. I remember in 1969 when several retirees I knew personally had to sell and move out of town because they could no longer afford the property taxes on their homes.

One can argue elsewhere whether Prop 13 was the best way to reign in government spending. Those of you who think opponents to SC “should just leave town” should all be ashamed and required to pay at least an equal share of any public projects that you vote for. The “newcomers” are paying enough in property taxes and added fees as it is. 

Claremont is already too expensive for most young families to afford a home here. Before we know it, CUSD school attendance will drop and there will be no need for the big chunk of fees we are being charged to retrofit the schools.

The city denied an application for a 7-Eleven at Mills and Foothill, because it wasn’t a snooty enough business to be so close to the Colleges. Upland had no problems accepting sales tax from such a business, which was eventually built even closer to the Colleges on Arrow Route!

We are not a large city floating on sales taxes, we don’t need any more grandiose, glamorous service buildings. We have one already at the city yard on Monte Vista that has, I’ve been told, a completely empty second floor. Why was an expensive second floor necessary?

The city is already built out and surely there is no need for a grand expansion of services. Perhaps the city yard building should be taken over by the police department and an extension built to house the technology needed. Surely the city architect saw to it that it was built to accommodate electrical upgrades? The sanitation department can be re-housed in a more modest building.

Enid Eckert



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