Readers comments 3-1-19
New complex by Griswold’s
Many years ago, my father lived on and owned a small lemon grove in Claremont. While I grew up on the west side of town, my Claremont roots are deep as I have enduring memories of this beautiful Village we all call home. Finally, I was able to move back so I could live and work here while raising my four daughters.
When the current Griswold’s townhome development was initially built, I walked the land for the purpose of selecting a unit that I still intend to use as my retirement home. I still love the complex.
Unfortunately, however, I have learned that there is a proposal to build a 95 to 96 townhome development immediately south of Griswold’s. As of this writing, I am unsure about the precise plans proposed for the project, which is called “Colby Circle.”
I use the term “unsure” since the city building department gave me a set of plans but then promptly informed me the plans were “not current, nor accurate.” However, the one thing I was told by city staff that was accurate is that the project will be three stories high and built under a “zero lot line” concept, meaning that every foot of land is to be built upon.
Of note, each of the many townhome projects that have been built over the past several years have been at least two stories and many are three stories high. In addition, the proposed Colby Circle development is without elevators. Consequently, this discriminates against the handicapped and retired residents who need to live in one-story units.
By contrast, the Griswold’s townhomes consist of 54 one- and two-story units on a similar size of acreage. Moreover, there is a pool, jacuzzi, picnic area and meeting area for the community. I have been informed that the Colby Circle project will have no such desirable amenities. Translation: it will be a development of three-story boxes with limited parking for its owners or guests.
Moreover, the parking that is available outside of the garages will be noticed as “public” and will be available to anyone in addition to customers at Trader Joe’s, the DoubleTree and the Candlelight Pavilion, as well as residents. Does this type and style of a project enhance or benefit our community? I respectfully submit that it does not.
High density means, high population, congestion, ecologic stress and traffic. I readily acknowledge that this is a business for the developer who purchased the land many years ago—a developer who is not now nor ever was a resident of Claremont, and may not be aware of its special charm.
I acknowledge that in the past many developers have built well-considered projects that have been of value to the community-at-large. Those are always welcomed, appreciated and more profitable to the developer and to the city in the way of property tax.
Much of the real estate development in Claremont was the product of hard working and thoughtful developers. They have maintained the charm of the Village through their collective skill and thoughtful planning. This Colby Circle project, however, needs to be considered from that perspective, as well.
It is my understanding that the Colby Circle project is working off a plan that was first approved in 2007. Now, the city is saying that plans are being revamped, but they do not have updated plans to distribute to the public. Frankly, this is unacceptable by any rational standard.
I respectfully suggest that the city request a current proposal from the developer that is responsive not only to their expectation of profit but is also responsive to the character and charm inherent in our community. Thereafter, submit the proposed plan for constructive public consideration and discussion.
A well-considered and thoughtful development is of profound value to all. Conversely, an ill-informed and undisciplined development is an avoidable disservice to all that must endure its results.
Suzanne H. Christian
Blaisdell Park’s decline
My family has deep roots in the Claremont community dating back to 1958 when my grandparents moved here from Weymouth, Massachusetts. My children make the fourth generation to be born and raised in Claremont. My reason for writing is to bring attention to Blaisdell Park’s decline and long-neglected playground and the surrounding area.
A ride-on toy was removed, perhaps because it was damaged, but wasn’t replaced. A ramp for children with disabilities leads up to the weathered and outdated play structure with nothing for them to do when they get to the top, surrounded by an inappropriately short wall that serves no purpose except as a tripping hazard.
All of this in litter-filled sand rather than updated rubber or playground mulch. Why has this happened? And what are the social and community implications if we stand by and do nothing?
As a father of three, I recently found myself in a difficult situation with my young children who are now old enough to question … well…everything! One of them recently asked me: “Dad, why doesn’t our park have a fun play structure like Chaparral? It’s not fair we have to drive all the way to Higginbotham and Chaparral to play on cool things and not see lots of trash everywhere.”
How is a parent with any integrity supposed to answer that question? As a resident living below Arrow Highway for 12 years and seeing the way Blaisdell Park, in particular, the playground, but also, in general, is being neglected is unfair.
With the above said, I, with a group of concerned neighbors, request that city leaders work together with residents to come up with solutions to bring Blaisdell Park up to the standard of other parks in Claremont.
Kudos to Stu Oskamp and Bob Wolf for their timely and informative explanation of the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (HR 763) in last week’s COURIER. As they describe, this bipartisan bill will facilitate the transition from fossil fuels to clean energy in a manner that is effective, good for people, good for the environment, and revenue neutral.
It’s probably worth clarifying the relationship between this proposed legislation and another climate plan which is currently in the news, i.e. the Green New Deal. The scope of the latter is far-ranging, encompassing job guarantees, free education, healthcare, and infrastructure improvements, coupled together with a clean energy revolution.
Introduced in both the House and Senate as a non-binding resolution, it is an ambitious and aspirational vision which emphasizes the urgency of the climate crisis, but is not yet defined in terms of actual costs and legislative actions.
By contrast, HR 763 is specific legislation which will limit greenhouse gases by collecting a carbon fee from polluters and returning it to households. It appeals to both liberals and conservatives because it depends on free market principles rather than on regulations, and does not grow the size of government.
If you are a COURIER reader who lives in a congressional district other than CA-27, by all means write or phone your representative and encourage them to support HR 763. But if you are a Claremont resident, be proud that our Representative, Judy Chu, is one of the original co-sponsors of this bill, and write to thank her for her leadership.
The real emergency
There’s a lovely song in Stephen Sondheim’s musical Into The Woods that goes in part, “Careful the things you say, children will listen. Careful the things you do, children will see and learn.” In my opinion, these words of warning apply to more than just children.
In the February 22 edition of the COURIER, there was an item in the Police Blotter about someone who wrote racist, pro-Nazi and anti-semitic messages on a restroom wall at Higginbotham Park. This is just one of the growing number of such hate incidents that we have observed since Donald Trump was elected.
Sadly, these kinds of things have occurred for a long, long time, and while Mr. Trump didn’t directly instruct these people to commit hate crimes, he has repeatedly behaved in such a way that has empowered people with a propensity to do such things.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization that, among other things, tracks hate groups, has reported on this growing trend. I have never understood the desire to scapegoat anyone or to blame any group for frustrations I may have with myself or with my life. But when the president demonizes people from south of the border, refers to the free press as the enemy of the people, etc., these words, to Sondheim’s point, often serve as a green light to extremists and to those who, perhaps, are just a step or two away from taking anti-social action.
Regardless of one’s political leanings, I cannot recall during my lifetime any president, Republican or Democrat, who continually voiced such disdain for immigrants, for the press, for the rule of law, for civility and for the basic institutions underpinning our democracy. This is our national emergency, if truth be told.
Council is correct on marijuana moratorium
The Claremont City Council reaffirmed its ordinance from 2016 banning commerical marijuana dispensaries, transportation, and cultivation, albeit temporarily.
The city council is right in proceeding cautiously to develop ordinances to regulate on a matter that, while approved with a large majority through Prop 64, remains controversial.
Colorado, the first state to legalize marijuana, has since seen an increase in much-needed tax revenue, but also a spike in crime rates and car accidents to the point where the outgoing governor is not ruling out recriminalizing sales.
Yes, there are many benefits to the proper use of marijuana for medical purposes. Cannabis may treat or relieve pain and help with symptoms from many cruel diseases, which makes it a popular choice. However, rushing to implement its sale without thinking about all potential consequences from legally dispensing this brain-altering substance may lead to unwitting consequences.
Reflection of Travel Tales
Reading Jan Wheatcroft’s recent column, “Before and Now,” led me to think about my own travel experiences. I was very lucky to travel along with my parents to multiple international countries while growing up. Travel opened my eyes to a variety of cultures and ideas and has greatly shaped who I am today.
One great aspect about traveling to a foreign country is that you’re forced to be humble. You have to be flexible to adjust to new customs and rules in order to avoid conflicts with locals.
When you don’t know the language, you must find creative ways to get your point across without being rude. When you need help, you rely on kind and sympathetic strangers to lend a hand. Once you’ve encountered these situations, you learn to be approachable to those who are adjusting to new settings, patient to those who are experiencing communication issues, and supportive in times of need. The possibilities for learning while traveling are endless.
Traveling has helped me appreciate a simpler lifestyle. Packing light has allowed me to immerse myself in the local culture and enjoy the moment. Time flies quickly while traveling, so making the most out of the experience is the priority. Back home, living with few possessions gives me less to worry about, stay organized, and focus more on personal development.
With advancing technologies, international travel has become much more accessible today. I hope everyone can love traveling as much as Ms. Wheatcroft and I do and meet the vibrant people in communities around the globe.
I’m optimistic about the power of global mindsets in producing positive outcomes.