Readers comments 9-28-18
Winning isn’t everything
As I am not a voter in the city of Claremont, I am uniquely qualified to give advice to all of the current city council candidates.
Dear Council Candidate,
Do you want to be November’s top vote- getter? The task is quite simple: Be everyone’s second choice. Or in the case of this particular election, everyone’s third choice.
With three open seats, the math favors the candidate that does not strongly appeal to just one block of voters, but is instead the candidate who fits the calling of “Okay, I’ll vote for him or her too!”
Here are some simple guidelines to achieve this coveted position:
Review your campaign literature. Delete every sentence that you find the pronoun “I.” Make the voter the hero of your campaign. Help voters achieve what they want for the city.
Get out of your bubble. Contact people who you think would never vote for you. Imagine that they have a sign on them that reads: “Make me feel important!”
Demonstrate to the other candidates that you will be a reasonable person to work with on the council. Their supporters are going to be asking them, “Who else should I vote for?”
On the morning after the election, don’t let being the top vote-getter go to your head. You are not there because of your agenda. You are there because you hold a position of trust throughout the city.
My husband and I have lived at the same address in Claremont since 1986. I have been registered to vote since I was 21 (yeah, that’s how far back I go) and I have never missed voting in any election. Yet, mysteriously and perhaps inexplicably, he and I have started to have trouble with the polls.
Last election, we both did not receive sample ballots. The one before that, we both were caught in some complication that caused us to be able to cast our votes only provisionally. This time goes farther: I have somehow been de-registered. I know that I have not changed anything that would cause my status to change.
My husband says darkly that it is because we are registered Democrats. I’m not convinced; incompetence can look a lot like malice. However, I would like to hear if there are others whose status has been compromised.
After attending the candidate forum held on September 20, it appears there is only one candidate who is focused on the spending side of Claremont’s financial problems. New revenues are not the solution to all the poor decisions that have been made in the past, and Douglas Lyon is the only candidate who seems to get that.
Mr. Lyon understands that nothing is free and transforming our wonderful town and the Village into a tourist destination is not the solution, because more of a good thing almost never leads to something better.
Do we really want parking meters, more traffic lights, more crime, more congestion and longer wait times at our favorite local restaurants?
If you believe that maintaining the character of Claremont and addressing the real problem with the city budget—spending—is important, then Douglas Lyon should be your first choice in November.
Courser for council
The financial future of the city of Claremont and its long term sustainability will be determined by the votes cast by residents on November 6.
The Golden State Water debacle has left the city in a financial quagmire that must be reconciled by the election of three new city council members who will work with veteran and proven council members Larry Schroeder and Corey Calaycay.
The Arbol Verde Preservation Committee (AVPC) is a 47 year-old progressive grass roots community organization that was established to prevent gentrification from Claremont College intrusion. 2018 marks the 50-year anniversary of the construction of Claremont Boulevard and the destruction of the Sacred Heart Chapel, Claremont’s first Catholic church. AVPC’s mission is to preserve the cultural and diverse character of one of Claremont’s historic Mexican American neighborhoods.
During the last five years, AVPC has closely collaborated with Claremont Heritage, sponsoring historic and cultural programs such as the Padua Hills Mexican Players.
All six candidates running for council are well qualified but one particular candidate, Zach Courser, is uniquely qualified. He demonstrates great character, sincerity, compassion and an innovative and pragmatic approach to the challenges we face as a city in the years to come.
Mr. Courser, a public policy professor at Claremont McKenna College, has served as the chair of the city’s traffic and transportation commission. He will play an important role in policy decisions when the Gold Line comes to Claremont. He has a clear understanding of how city government works.
A proponent of Measure SC, Mr. Courser has creative ideas about how to fund the expanded construction of Claremont’s much needed police station, which includes the Claremont Colleges bearing more financial responsibility in its contributions.
Mr. Courser, who has been mistakenly characterized as a former Republican by some Claremonters, is a resident of Claremont’s Arbol Verde neighborhood, which he has described as “close knit, safe, peaceful and multi-ethnic.”
Although there are only three open seats for the council election, AVPC could not arrive on a group consensus in endorsing two other candidates aside from Mr. Courser. We believe that three other candidates deserve serious consideration by Claremont voters.
Jed Leano, Jennifer Stark and Ed Reece are strong and qualified candidates and will also be excellent public servants for Claremont City Council.
All are proponents of community policing, with Mr. Reece having special expertise having served as chair of the police commission. Safe neighborhoods is a paramount issue for Arbol Verde residents, where the “Claramonte” Latino gang terrorized the neighborhood and controlled El Barrio Park from 1950 to 2011. Since 2011, residents worked with the Claremont and Upland police departments to successfully eradicate the Claremont gang.
Historically, women have had a profound influence in shaping Claremont into the great college town it is today. AVPC believes that Jennifer Stark, whose conservative father is Jack Stark (former President of CMC and AVPC nemesis), will continue in the footsteps of Helen Renwick, Bess Garner, Ruth Ordaway and the late Judy Wright, all who had close relationships with Arbol Verde residents spanning the last 100 years.
Ms. Stark, however, is a progressive home grown Claremont native who will bring balance and a feminist “giver of life” spirit to the council.
Mr. Leano and Mr. Reece will bring a practical understanding to Claremont’s homeless problem with Mr. Reece having lived experiences with homelessness and Mr. Leano also having a compassionate understanding through his relationships with mental health agencies like Tri-City Mental Health.
Additionally, they will both bring a small business component to the Claremont City Council, with Mr. Leano having a successful immigration law practice and Mr. Reece owning a thriving small business in Claremont.
Chair, Arbol Verde
Housing, gas tax
[The following letter was addressed to the Claremont City Council, with a copy forwarded to the COURIER for publication.]
Dear City council members:
The September 25 agenda contains two items of great interest to us, but unfortunately we cannot attend the meeting.
Item four deals with homelessness. We are impressed by the extensive and thorough planning that has gone into our city’s consideration of services to the homeless and potentially homeless. However, our city like all others is hampered by a lack of suitable housing of the types identified as needed.
Repeatedly, cities report to the state those properties on which they will allow affordable housing to be built, yet it doesn’t get built. This is a sham, and the state and cities are partners in it. Although state law does not require a city to get something built, our city’s extensive plans are unrealistic and possibly hypocritical if the type of housing needed isn’t being built.
We urge you to beef up your plan by specifying that our city will take steps to have the needed housing built, even if that requires the use of eminent domain and tax incentives.
There are developers of affordable housing who should be able to build for very low- and low-income tenants, with and without on-site social services. If our city acquires a property, it can sell it to such a developer and offer tax incentives just as cities do to attract private profit-making businesses.
Item six deals with the gas and vehicle taxes. It’s obvious that they are needed to maintain highways and streets. We visited two other states (New York and Idaho) during the summer, and were aware that their roads are in better shape than ours, despite their more severe weather.
For decades persons who generally opposed taxes on the public as a whole preferred taxes or fees upon the users of a public service or resource. California’s taxes on gas and vehicles are exactly that. Public-spirited conservatives as well as progressives should support it.
As residents and taxpayers in Claremont, we will benefit from these taxes, because they will improve road conditions both in Claremont and in the surrounding areas, which we traverse.
We hope that you will vote to support the retention of these taxes and will join in the campaign for them, by writing op-eds or letters to newspaper editors, by publicizing your argument on social media and by soliciting local residents and businesses to participate in the campaign.
Thanks very much for reading and considering these comments. By the way, you received several deserved pats on the back when the city council candidates in the forum sponsored by Active Claremont praised your work instead of dwelling on disagreements with your decisions, although one questioner asked them to do the latter.
Bob and Katie Gerecke
As one of the over 62 million people and a “deplorable” who voted for President Trump, I believe Mr. Merrill needs to be educated about government.
President Trump can be impeached or the 25th amendment falls into place if he’s done something terribly wrong. Acting like a jerk sometimes is no reason. It will be a war like no other if either is attempted.
President Trump was elected for primarily one reason—to get immigration under control. It is hard to do because Democrats buck him at every pass (i.e. sanctuary cities) but the wall will get done.
President Trump has succeeded in bringing the unemployment rate to 3.9 percent, consumer confidence is the highest in over 17 years, nothing but “help wanted” signs everywhere I go, lowest food stamp requests in almost 50 years, the stock market is the highest ever and, if Mr. Merrill has a 401k, I think it is doing quite well. And we are getting even with our so-called allies for ripping us off in trade deals.
We finally have a guy who tells it like it is and doesn’t play nice when wronged. Like it!