Readers comments 8-30-19
Gratitude to Claremont
It is with great gratitude to all the people of Claremont and the surrounding communities that I announce my retirement as an ophthalmologist after 31 years of practice.
I came to Claremont in June 1988 to join the elder John J. McDermott MD, thinking I would stay no more than two years. I was so warmly welcomed and embraced by this community that those two years rapidly grew to 31.
Thanks to my colleagues Drs. John J. McDermott, Sunil Shivaram and Anil Shivaram for their years of support and continued good care of the patients of Claremont Eye Associates.
It has been a very full and rewarding experience to serve the rich diversity of humankind living in this valley. I thank you all and wish the best for each of you.
Marjorie A. Parker MD
Hats off to Edison
Hard hats off to Southern California Edison Company. Several weeks ago, on a Sunday afternoon—kablooey!—the Griswold Townhomes suddenly lost all power. We stayed off line, with blown high voltage loss until Monday evening.
For a short time, Edison managed to jury-rig us back on line, only to blow the next old underground section. These underground, rotten wire systems were installed about 1978.
So, the platoon of on-site Edison employees lobbied the big wigs and got authorization to replace the entire system. In came five wonderful Doosan three-phase generators on trailers, quiet, clean, diesel generators, along with security guards.
For days these fine generators throbbed, quietly away, keeping us with power. We had full power while the guys in their hard hats, yellow vests and heavy gloves, along with their tools, gear and several trucks (everything only a company the size of Edison can afford) dug, pulled cable, connected and replaced the entire system.
Then, carefully, without killing any Edison workers, these wonderful people gradually, carefully, turned on the new system. It worked!
I, for one, want to recognize Edison for the safe, efficient and skillful job they did for us in the Griswold Townhomes. Of course, this work is being done in hundreds of ways and places all the time, but to witness it and to be the beneficiaries of newly-installed power makes us more appreciative. High voltage is a vicious dragon when not handled right. Safety is their priority. They have learned the hard way through years of taming the voltage dragon.
By the way, how come it is called the Edison Company? Nikola Tesla and George Westinghouse won the AC/DC war with Thomas Edison about 1890. How come it isn’t the Southern California Tesla Company? Doesn’t matter, I guess. Our television, computers and lights work, and the refrigerator seems happy, too. (Notice how all these things are now necessities?)
Thanks all of you Edison people, who help enhance our lives with AC power—power we usually take for granted. Stay well grounded and know y’all are appreciated. Thanks to Rudolf Diesel, too. His engines ran just fine on peanut oil.
The new diesel technology used here by Doosan has revived the diesel as a relatively clean, very reliable power source. (Just a plug for the diesel remnant at large among the majority Greenies.)
Re: Merrill Ring’s 4300-word screed on the COURIER website. I think both those who agree with him and those who disagree can agree on this: sophomoric.
Village South EIR lacking
Our city government is making a mistake by prematurely having an environmental impact report done on the Village South proposal. The EIR will have analyzed a proposal, which is both wrong and incomplete. The project doesn’t comply with the guiding principles adopted by our city council on June 12, 2018. It contains so many unacceptable features and leaves so many features unknown, that its adoption as is will be unlikely.
The project proposes up to 1140 residential units—probably housing more than 2,000 people. Rentals are assumed for 795 of the smaller units. In addition, yet another hotel, more food vendors and retail shops. A city within a city and a traffic nightmare on Indian Hill.
Buildings five stories tall is urban, not suburban, in character. Parking is propsed in structures separate from housing and thereby making it difficult for seniors and the handicapped. Yet, there are still too few parking spaces for the residents, their visitors and customers of the businesses there.
And there is no indication of amenities, such as a pool or clubhouse to attract residents of all ages, or an enclosed outdoor area where children can play while safe from vehicles and strangers. There is no information about passive energy conservation or solar panels, and nothing about water conservation features such as gray water recycling.
City staff have said the details haven’t been finalized yet. How can an accurate environmental analysis be done on this? The analysis should not proceed when parts of the proposal are incomplete or are being withheld from the public’s view and when public comment hasn’t yet been allowed on all of its features.
It’s also troubling to have been told that the consultant who will complete the environmental impact report was recommended by the project’s design consultant and has been used by him on prior projects. In my opinion, the EIR should be completed by someone who has no connection with the firm that was involved in developing the proposal the EIR will evaluate.
The whole approach needs to be changed. The proposal’s details should first be revealed, be subjected to public scrutiny and aim to win the support of the planning and architectural commissions, which it has not yet done. And the EIR should be completed by someone not nominated by the proposer.
If you agree that spending public money on the EIR for this very dense development should be postponed, please tell Principal Planner Chris Veirs (firstname.lastname@example.org) by the deadline this coming Tuesday, September 3.
Hold off on Village South EIR
The Village South (west of Indian Hill, north of Arrow) Specific Plan (VSSP) should be revised by city staff and the city consultant before beginning an environmental impact report (EIR).
For two years now, Claremont residents have been assured that Village South will be “compatible in scale and character with the Village and Village Expansion.”
The goals and principles for the specific plan adopted by council in June of last year also state that the plan will “extend the beautiful, engaging, pedestrian-friendly public spaces and public art found in the Claremont Village and Village Expansion areas.”
A community meeting about the VSSP was held July 29, three days before the city went “dark” for its August recess. It was not a city council meeting or a planning commission meeting. Staff presented a “worst-case scenario” for Village South, which is to be the basis for an EIR.
This plan, which includes more than 1,100 residential units at a density of 65 per acre, has basically rewritten one of the principles to make four-story structures a given for developers and five stories allowable, essentially adding a story to each proposed building in a large part of the plan. Nowhere in the Village is there a four- or five-story building.
Claremont should be creating a specific plan that looks at the best case scenario. As a community, we should be demanding the best, on a scale that fits Claremont as a village.
This draft specific plan is not ready for an EIR. It should be sent to the planning commission and then to the city council for comment and then rewritten to reflect Claremont’s vision as set out in the original goals and principles.
Quality of life
Our quality of life in Claremont is exceptional and worth protecting. Thanks to our beautiful parks and hillsides, our unique and successful local businesses, our safe and secure neighborhoods, and a wide array of events and experiences around town, we have become a highly desirable destination for residents and visitors alike.
Our schools are another example of how our community thrives and how we can invest for success. I have spent a majority of my time, energy and money working to strengthen our schools through the Claremont Educational Foundation.
One of the issues facing our school district is the ability to generate sufficient annual revenue to operate at optimal levels without losing important people, programs, and services, or deferring maintenance. Thankfully, we’ve been proactive and successful, but the challenges are ongoing.
Our city is facing its own financial challenges which could have a direct impact on our students. For example, city services such as the Tracks Activity Center at El Roble Intermediate School and the Youth Activity Center adjacent to Claremont High School provide safe and supervised after school opportunities for our youth. A potential loss of programs such as these due to budget deficits would be a real loss to our students and their families.
The time is now to take advantage of a singular sales tax opportunity that will be paid by all those who enjoy the quality of life our community has to offer. If we refuse to act by claiming this increase locally, it is likely that our sales tax will eventually increase anyway and go to other entities such as LA County.
Please join me in supporting Measure CR and protecting our future by taking action today. Our community deserves this investment.
Our nonprofits need CR
For the last 25 years, Claremont has come together to identify and meet the needs of our most vulnerable residents. This has been accomplished through the youth master plan, the senior master plan and the collaboration of the city, school district and many community volunteers and organizations.
Community-based organization (CBO) grants from the city of Claremont have been leveraged by the many recipient organizations to provide vital services for our entire community. These organizations are able to expand services with the help of hundreds of people who provide thousands of volunteer hours each year.
The local support these grants provide also allows groups like AbilityFirst, Claremont After School Programs (CLASP), Meals on Wheels, Claremont Museum of Art, Project Sister, Shoes that Fit and Hope Partners, among others, to have stronger support from other funding sources outside of Claremont.
The projected deficits for the city budget will jeopardize CBO grant funding. We need the proposed sales tax increase to save the vital services that have been developed over the years.
Please support Measure CR on the November ballot to increase the city of Claremont’s sales tax. Our community needs it.
A Green New Deal
In a recent article (August 24, 2019), the New York Times said of China: “It has fast trains, smooth highways and efficient ports that dependably move goods from the factory floor to the world. China already makes a quarter of the world’s manufactured goods.”
In other words, China now has the efficient infrastructure that the United States used to have. That is one big reason that China has become the world’s leading manufacturing nation.
During the election campaign of 2016, candidate Donald Trump promised to rebuild our infrastructure if elected, but he has thus far failed to make any effort to do that. Instead he has opened a trade war with China and usurped authority to order US firms out of that country.
This policy has disrupted the world economy, increased the likelihood of worldwide recession and even of military conflict with China.
Instead of this absurd policy, President Trump should make good on his campaign pledge to put “one trillion” US dollars into rebuilding our infrastructure. That would create jobs in the short run and, in the long run, reanimate our manufacturing sector. Yes, China is a trade competitor. A competitor is not an enemy.
Nations deal most effectively with trade competitors by increasing their international competitiveness. Rebuilding our infrastructure would do just that without threatening a worldwide recession and possibly another world war.
As of right now, the only politicians who understand this obvious point are those who call for a “green New Deal.”