Readers comments 11-9-18

Claremont leaders

Dear Editor:

Peter Weinberger’s most welcome message in “My Side of the Line” (November 2) provides me this opportunity to express gratitude to two longtime and proven Claremont leaders:

First, Peter himself, not only for the spirit and tone of his editorial, but also for his leadership along with editor Kathryn Dunn in providing Claremont with a unique forum for community information and conversation.

It would be difficult to think of Claremont as a “village” without the COURIER. It takes a newspaper to make a village. Thank you, Peter.

My gratitude also to Councilmember Sam Pedroza for his recent pre-election letter in “Readers’ Comments” in which he connected his decision not to run for Council as an incumbent to his belief that the time for a new generation of Claremont leadership is now. 

He then stated his recommendations for city council, namely, Jed Leano, Ed Reece and Jennifer Stark. Claremont agreed. Thank you, Sam.

Butch Henderson

Senior Pastor Emeritus

Claremont United Church of Christ


The Baughmans

Dear Editor:

With the approaching centennial of WWI Veterans Day, I wonder if you are aware that one of your former citizens was awarded the French Croix de Guerre (equivalent to the American Medal of Honor) for actions of bravery during that war in France?

Kenneth Russell Baughman, born in Illinois, served during that war and returned home after suffering results from mustard gas poisoning. After marriage in 1922 they moved to Claremont. 

His grandparents and their children owned citrus groves around the area. Kenneth managed his father’s grove which was located at 2630 N. Indian Hill Boulevard (the address has changed since) where he built a small unique house using rocks from the area. It is listed on the National Historic Register due to its unique structure but, sadly, looks to be falling apart. Kenneth and his wife lived there many years until being forced to move for the new freeway.

The Baughman Park land in town was donated by Kenneth’s father to honor his service in WWI. I doubt that homeowners in that area are aware of the reason for that name.  Baughman Avenue was named for one of his uncles who owned a house there.

The Baughman name has quietly added to the community but has diminished with the passing of time, I am sending this message as I reminisce this special occasion and thought it might be of interest to you and others.

The Baughman name survives in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Kenneth was my father-in-law.

Mary E. Baughman

Murfreesboro, TN


Campus safety

Dear Editor:

I appreciated Meghan Bobrowsky’s article about the recent efforts by Claremont police to connect with the community. As a junior at Claremont McKennna College, I interact mainly with campus security rather than the Claremont Police Department, but it’s my belief that the Colleges would benefit greatly from a similar outreach program.

While many police forces have tried to improve relationships with citizens, there still exists a noticeable disconnect between the Claremont College student body and campus security. Of course, it’s inherently difficult for campus security to maintain a positive reputation because students mainly interact with officers in the context of unfortunate situations, but this can be improved with authentic and meaningful communication.

Specifically, the school should work to integrate security officers into social (yet sober) events, such as dorm meetings. These meetings take place at least two or three times per semester, they are highly attended and, thanks to upbeat agendas, the audience is very involved.

Residential assistants, who organize these meetings, could help establish a working relationship between residents and security officers by inviting a campus security representative to introduce themselves and sit in on the meetings. This would allow both parties to interact within positive and sober environment, plus residents could update security officers about upcoming events.

As a whole, the Claremont Colleges and the surrounding community would benefit from a stronger rapport between students and campus security.

Zack Rossman



In defense of our council

Dear Editor:

John Watkins wrote a letter to the editor titled “Killing the police committee” on October 26. In that letter, he made a statement that is false. He wrote “the previous engineering firm was not asked to review a retrofit option by the previous city manager or this council.” Based on his error, he then charged “What basis did they have for approving anything if they didn’t even know if the building could be added on to?”

It is important to set the record straight, since some COURIER readers might assume that allegations in a letter to the editor are correct if no one replies.

Since I was a member of the prior police station committee and am now on the current one as well, I personally know that the prior committee asked whether we could salvage the current building. “Can we build up on the current station? Rehab the building?” is recorded in the minutes of our first meeting on January 13, 2016.

In response, a report was prepared by WMM Associates based on a structural analysis by Risha Engineering. Their report to our committee presented on June 1, 2016 included the statements “It is not a facility that will meet any of the current requirements for the Seismic Safety Act. It cannot be retrofitted to meet essential services requirements…After a significant seismic event, the old building with retrofitting would still have to be replaced, requiring money to be spent twice.”

With such a negative report from these consultants, it was responsible for our committee and later the city council to pursue a plan that did not use the existing building. This 2016 evaluation matched the report from a prior architect in 2002 as well.

We now have a third opinion from a new set of consultants. They first reviewed the Risha seismic study and confirmed that the current building will not survive a significant seismic event. 

What is different is that they think there may be a way to reinforce the current building, and that this approach might save money. However, they clarified to the city council that they have not yet done a study on the details, so this is just a concept. There is not even a proposed design for the reinforcement yet.

Making modifications even more expensive if people are in the building, they reported finding lead paint and asbestos that become hazardous when disturbed.

So far, there are no estimates for many of the cost elements that will be required to convert our existing station into usable space in the future. I think we will all agree that there is a lot of work ahead to pursue this option.

Jim Keith



Recycling goals

Dear Editor:

California’s goal of recycling 75 percent of its waste by 2020 may not come soon enough. Part of the reason may lie in one word: education.

We all have a role in reducing waste to do our part in protecting the environment. However, in an honest attempt to curb land pollution, we may sometime unknowingly make it worse.

Personally, as a sophomore at Claremont McKenna College who is also an international student, I would like to think that I know about what items are recyclable. However, being inundated with new and oftentimes conflicting information simply makes it harder to do my part.

Moreover, different countries have different systems for recycling, and tourists and international students from other parts of the world may be even less familiar with local systems than residents themselves.

Glass bottles and milk cartons that have not been washed out, and certain kinds of paper are some examples of items that are not recyclable. A couple of items may contaminate an entire load, contributing to greater waste and rendering the effort useless. There is a difference between wanting for something to be recyclable, and something actually being recyclable.

The knowledge gap that pertains to this difference can lead to tons of otherwise avoidable pollution, and counteract otherwise productive effort to reduce it to simply symbolic significance.

I therefore urge the Claremont COURIER to play a greater part in helping educate the public on recycling standards and etiquettes through its content.

We live in an innovative state that is driven to innovate and find solutions to unique challenges, and we can certainly do a better job of recycling to save the environment.

Uddhav Gupta



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