Readers comments 11-30-18

Village traffic

Dear Editor:

I have a suggestion to help traffic congestion, especially on weekends in downtown Claremont. Here is a business opportunity for athletic high school or college people.

An entrepreneur could purchase 10 or so rickshaws, the ones powered by a person, using his or her feet, or the ones powered by bikes. Say they are available for up to a one-mile radius from city hall for a buck per rider, or less. With cell phones and, perhaps, hand-held GPS gadgets, they could pick up fares within the mile or so radius.

The parking nightmare, that only gets worse, might be relieved by this enterprise. Also, with parking meters becoming inevitable, rickshaws could prosper. Plus  people could get around in style, just like what happens in many other over-crowded cities from Beijing and Tokyo to Claremont and Bangladesh. Any suggestions?

Go online and Google rickshaws, under “Images.” Some of these get-abouts are picturesque and would add intrigue to our town. They might also be romantic, but that’s not part of the business plan.

Chris Rubel



Other people’s money

Dear Editor:

Count me in as part of the “anti revenue faction.” Yes, I am part of that group that doesn’t fall in line behind every tax increase (I mean “revenue opportunity”).

I’m one of those who says no to (almost) everything. I voted no on two county sales tax increases that were supposed to finally “bring the Gold Line to Claremont.” How is that working out for us?

I voted no on two police station bonds because $50 million was ridiculous and $25 million was hardly a bargain.

Yet despite us “anti revenue” folks, or the people who just say no to everything, or if we just cut to the chase, Claremont’s “deplorables,” the city seems to be doing quite well. The city collected $576,000 more in tax revenue than anticipated (now, who negotiated the deal to give half of that to the city employees is a topic for another day).

With revenue coming in in excess of projections, and a growing economy, maybe, just maybe, does Claremont have a spending problem rather than a revenue problem?

A few weeks back there was a debate about adopting a city slogan of “living within our means.”?Perhaps, with a new council coming in we could consider a new slogan. I suggest the council look to the words of Britain’s great “Iron Lady,” Margaret Thatcher: “the problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.”

To save a few dollars on the signage, we can shorten it to “You eventually run out of other people’s money.”?That would look good on the walls of the city council chambers.

Jeff Hammill



District-based elections

Dear Editor:

While details of the proposed change to district-based council elections still must be worked out, I trust the city council will consider the following issues.

1. As the proposal itself mentions (p. 5), the Government Code prohibits cutting short any existing terms, implying that those members elected to the council in 2018—Jennifer Stark, Jed Leano and (likely) Ed Reece—are entitled to serve until 2022. This fact seems to imply that, if one of these three members were placed in the same district as one of the two incumbents—Larry Schroeder and Corey Calaycay—who are up for reelection in 2020, then neither of the two incumbents could legally seek reelection. This potential result strikes me as problematic for three reasons.

First, Mr. Schroeder and Mr. Calaycay may wish to seek reelection.

Second, while the council could avoid this result by approving boundaries that don’t place incumbents in the same district as incoming members, it seems that this decision should be driven, not by knowledge of where council members reside, but by non-arbitrary, publicly defensible criteria.

Third, and most fundamentally, it seems that the city council itself shouldn’t be the ones voting on their own district boundaries (proposed for late February), given the potential for conflict of interest.

2. These points generalize. In other words, if one accepts the claim that it would be a wrong to Mr. Schroeder and to Mr. Calaycay to deprive them of their right to seek reelection in 2020, then it would likewise be a wrong to any member of the public who might want to seek election in 2020 to be deprived of that opportunity by boundaries that happen to place them in districts where one of the incoming city council members resides.

To avoid the potential for procedural and political unfairness, therefore, the city council should consider having the district boundaries themselves approved by some body other than the city council itself, and—if it can be done consistently with avoiding liability under the election code—either delaying implementation of them until 2022, or combining some at-large and by-district elections (which may hold independent merit).   

Chris Naticchia



Community engagement

Dear Editor:

What’s your experience with the city of Claremont? A student from 5C colleges may answer: “I had several nice meals and watched a movie in the Village.” That’s it.

As a student at Claremont McKenna College, I find many of us get little engagement in the local community. Many stop by the city, study on campus for four years and leave without much knowledge about the city or connection with the community.

According to an employment survey of CMC graduates, around 10 percent of them work in public service. The proportion is also very low in other top universities and colleges. Therefore, we hope students can engage and contribute more to the community when they are still at college.

Here at the Claremont Colleges, we are able to be involved in the community in many ways. We have Community Partnerships at Pomona, tutoring programs at CMC, Refugee Advocacy Network at Scripps, Community Friends for International Students, etc. However, despite so many clubs and programs, only a small number of students are involved, and we need more than that.

We can bring our great a cappella groups to senior centers. We can organize sports games with neighbors around. We may have programming workshops for kids. We can even have students help report and assess local candidates’ future plans.

Though temporary, students are still residents of the city when we are at college. We should engage more in the local community, since it’s part of our social responsibility and will benefit a lot from this supportive environment that we help build up.

Yoyo Yin



Go for Gold

Dear Editor:

After reading Matthew Bramlett’s recent article, I was really sad to learn about the uncertainty that is surrounding the arrival of the Gold Line to Claremont.

When I first arrived in the City of Trees to attend Pomona College, I was amazed by the beauty and the welcoming atmosphere of not just the Colleges, but also Claremont in general. However, the lack of an accessible public transportation system amazed me almost just as much.

Having grown up in Europe, where most cities rely on public transportation, I soon had to realize that my options as a student here are limited.

Before coming to college, I saw California as the global trend-setter in many areas, including culture, technology and even politics. However, as an international student, I observed that Southern California has some catching up to do in terms of building its own reliable public transit system.

Claremont, a city that is home to thousands of college students looking for jobs, internships and services provided by the surrounding metropolitan area, is no exception. The students’ dependence on public transportation was very well demonstrated last year when a large number of us attended the meetings with the Metro board to show our support for preserving the Claremont Metrolink station.

While keeping the Metrolink here is a step forward, the Gold Line would definitely expand the currently available set of opportunities by connecting the community to new cities.

This is why, I would like to urge the city and the Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority to take all the necessary steps in order to make sure that this project is completed, and that it gets completed sooner rather than later.

Levente Papp



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