Readers comments 9-13-19
Old La Puerta
This parcel is unique in that it is in an established quiet neighborhood, not compatible with development into a high density complex of the sort that builders now favor.
Claremont administrators, the city council and the school district have the opportunity to be real leaders in the use of this parcel rather than onlookers.
The land could obviously be expanded into the existing adjacent park to be held in reserve for future school use, which will surely be needed, funded creatively by grants or bonds, and those employed in the public domain will be aware of other possibilities.
In the interim it would be helpful to have an explanation about the dumping that is being done on the parcel. Why is it happening? It is hoped that our city leaders understand that this is about quality of life in Claremont.
Carts and horses
I’d like to thank Jennifer Kern for reminding us about the correct order for moving projects forward: first the plan, then the EIR.
We all expected the goals and principles for the Village South Specific Plan to be followed by a draft plan, then by an EIR driven by the plan, then a decision about whether the EIR was adequate, and lastly by a choice of the preferred alternative for the plan.
There is still time for a draft plan to be presented to the public and the planning commission for comments, and then for the scope of the EIR to be determined, and then for an EIR with a number of viable alternatives to be devised.
Although the grant we got to do the draft plan requires us to have a plan with new zoning to vote on by next June, we still have just enough time to do things in the right order with the correct amount of citizen input if we act without delay.
Please use the contact form on the city website or drop a note off at city hall right away to ask that we put the horse back before the cart.
Towne Avenue destruction
Regarding the article on the various road projects clogging up traffic through Claremont, I take exception to the comments made by Claremont spokesperson Bevin Handel. She stated that our city “is working with Pomona” on the Towne Avenue improvement project, but I’d like to know what exactly does that mean?
My wife and I live east of Towne Avenue just above Foothill Country Day School (FCDS), and never received any notice of the work that was going to be done, the time frame and, more importantly, how the city was going to minimize the impact to our daily drives in and out of our neighborhood.
If Pomona is truly running this improvement, then why are there warning trailers and equipment parked on Culmore Street and not on one of their own streets across Towne Avenue?
Can’t wait for the morning school traffic for FCDS to begin negotiating that part of the street, should make for fun TV! Just kidding. Obviously no one thought of the impact to the local school traffic, and that perhaps the work should have been done over the summer months, instead of leading smack into the new school year.
Now with all the work and equipment parked along Towne Avenue just south of Culmore, making a left turn on to Towne Avenue is like Russian Roulette. But to Ms. Handel’s statement, all is good because our city is working with Pomona on the project.
As far as I’m concerned, the only “work” you did was provide them the permit to park their equipment overnight in our neighborhood. Gee, thanks for your help!
Support Measure CR
As Will Rogers noted, the main difference between death and taxes is that death doesn’t grow larger. Taxes, on the other hand, often seem to go up, and up and up. This fall Claremont citizens are being asked to approve a .75 percent increase in our local sales tax. Why is the increase necessary?
Claremont faces a structural deficit which is projected to grow over the next four years. It is caused by increases in PERS retirement costs, liability insurance, utility costs, and other factors over which we have no control. Nineteen other cities in Los Angeles County, facing similar problems, have already voted for this tax increase.
Despite cuts of $7.7 million out of a $27 million budget in the past three years that have resulted in reducing staff and deferring maintenance costs, we have not gained enough. In order for the city to continue to maintain our infrastructure, landscaping and parks, and to offer a rich array of services and support programs, Claremont will need to find additional revenue.
As a 55-year resident of Claremont I ask you to join me on November 5 in voting yes on Measure CR. The city needs the added revenue to be able to continue to provide the facilities, activities and programs that make Claremont such a wonderful place to call home.
Us and them?
As I think about the initiative for us to raise additional funds for our city through the Measure CR sales tax initative, two words comes to mind: “trust” and “us.”
Let’s start with trust. Trust is the currency of our social lives. When it is intact, it fosters collaboration. When we trust each other, people come together to take action on common goals and, together, we can achieve a sum which is greater than the whole.
I’m sure I have a reputation as a tax and spend liberal, so you might be surprised to know that I’ve voted against past bond measures for both the school district and the police station. And, I’ve also voted for them. My point? I’m not a pushover.
Like over 70 percent of you, I voted for the water system takeover, and then (after we lost what I believe was a win-able eminent domain case), I applauded the “early retirement” of our city manager and city attorney, and supported the changing of the guard at the city council, even as I counted some of them as friends. I think that accountability is a good thing and that it fosters trust…and the restoration of trust.
Frankly, the water system effort and other issues before our community have eroded some of the essential trust that is the currency we need so badly right now as we face a fiscal crisis in our town. So, I want to remind everyone that, while we may question some of the past actions of those in leadership, we now have new leadership and the new leadership appears to be focused, intelligent and, yes, trustworthy.
We have a new, capable city manager, a new city attorney, and three new members of city council who have rolled up their sleeves and are taking on some difficult issues. I personally believe that we should trust our current leadership to spend the funds that Measure CR will generate wisely.
And now for the other word: “us.” Sometimes, it’s just so easy to objectify and even vilify our city leaders and staff. It’s easy to fall into an “us vs. them” mentality. But, if you do that, you miss a critical point—our elected officials and staff aren’t “the city.” You and I, all of us who reside in Claremont, we are the city.
The sales tax measure is something that will benefit us—the residents who love our community, cherish the programs for youth and elderly, the strong services provided by our police and public works staff, and protect the essence of our small town sensibility in a sea of urban sprawl that surrounds us.
Claremont is special, but it doesn’t have to be. We can take a different path and keep the sales tax at its current level while cutting services. In doing so we may surrender many of the things which make us distinctive as a community. Yes, we can do that. And if we do it, this time it won’t be someone else’s fault. It will be ours. The future ahead of us is the one that we will make together.
I hope you will join me in trusting our current leadership and taking action that will benefit us all. I hope you will vote in favor of Measure CR on election day. Visit yesforclaremont.com. You can endorse the measure online, make a donation, like the Facebook page, and share with friends.
Yes on CR
I am writing to encourage Claremont voters to preserve our city’s excellence by voting yes for the three-quarter cent increase on our sales tax.
The income from this small increase will prevent the city from having budget deficits in the next few years and from having to make even deeper cuts to staff than have already been made.
We don’t want cuts to children’s or senior’s programs. This is not a regressive tax since it is not placed on food or drugs. Please vote yes for CR.
Celebrate the arts with CHS theater
Each year, the cultural and education communities come together to celebrate the transformative power of the arts in education to transform our communities, schools, teaching, and learning.
As our young people and educators return to school, we take time to reflect on the role of arts education in our lives and how it has contributed to making us the people we are today.
The research is undeniable: when schools and communities embrace the arts—dance, music, theatre, visual and media arts—students benefit, educators are more effective, and learning communities are revolutionized.
Designated by congress in 2010, National Arts in Education Week is a celebration of the transformative power of the arts in education. We will be celebrating throughout the community this week and I encourage all supporters of arts, culture and education, as well as our elected officials and education leaders, to join with us!
The research is clear: youth who participate in the arts are more likely to be successful in school, college and career than their peers who did not have arts education. However, the same research indicates a racial gap indicating that arts education is an equity issue and an issue of racial justice in America.
In order to reap the benefits of arts-rich schools and arts-infused communities for all members, we must focus on increasing access, particularly for students who are typically disenfranchised.
Additionally, we must focus our efforts on broadening and diversifying the leadership pipeline, so that our arts educators, cultural program leaders, and our community’s artists reflect the communities in which they are working.
As we celebrate National Arts in Education Week, we should take pause to cheer for our accomplishments, but also remember the work we have to do. How can we support parents, families and the community in providing more opportunities for arts education? It’s up to us, the arts education community, to take a stand and take the lead. And we can start during National Arts in Education week.
The Claremont community has supported the Claremont High School Theatre program for more than 57 years. With an annual self-funded budget of more than $170,000 per year, the sum total of our economic impact to our city is more than $350,000. (intranet.americansforthearts.org/by-program/reports-and-data/research-studies-publications/arts-economic-prosperity-iv/calculator).
Thank you Claremont for your support of our students. Please join us for our 2019-2020 theatre season.
Krista Carson Elhai
Claremont HS theatre director
Educational Theatre Association
California Educational Theatre
Association, past president