Readers comments 3-27-20
A statement on religious diversity from the Claremont Interfaith Council
In response to President Trump’s statement that he is expecting “packed churches all over our country” on Easter, we, the undersigned members of the Claremont Interfaith Council, publicly proclaim our recognition that the United States of America is beautifully diverse in its religious traditions and does not operate based on one singular liturgical calendar. Because of our religious diversity, we uphold the importance of separating religion and government in order to protect all faith traditions and beliefs.
Furthermore, we understand ourselves as neighbors, friends and family members who value life and wholeness first and foremost and prioritize our community’s health and safety over any one particular religious tradition, holiday or celebration.
We take seriously our responsibility to encourage people to remain safe and healthy while we uphold the sanctity of life instead of chasing economic prosperity. Although Passover Seders (April 8 and 9 this year) and Iftars for Ramadan (which begins April 24) were not mentioned in the president’s timeline, we recognize that a premature social gathering of any type risks further spreading of the coronavirus which would endanger the most vulnerable among us.
We will continue to support and care for each other through times of crisis, actively resist loud voices that diminish our safety, and stand together in our shared belief that what affects one of us affects all of us.
The Rev. Dr. Jennifer Strickland, Claremont United Church of Christ; The Rev. Dr. Jacob Buchholz, Claremont United Church of Christ; Rabbi Zev-Hayyim Feyer; The Rev. Dr. Kah-Jin Jeffrey Kuan, president, Claremont School of Theology; The Rev. Karen Sapio, Claremont Presbyterian Church; The Rev. Martha Morales, Claremont United Methodist Church; The Rev. Dr. Ray F. Kibler III, Claremont School of Theology; The Rev. Brian Gaeta-Symonds, Claremont Presbyterian Church; The Rev. Dr. Thomas Johnson, director, Center for Lutheran Studies at Claremont School of Theology; The Rev. Lara Martin, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church; Cantor Paul Buch, Temple Beth Israel; Rev. Jan Chase, Unity Church of Pomona; Rev. Karen Clark Ristine, Claremont United Methodist Church; David Herrig, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Come on, Claremont!
I saw way too many play dates outside over the weekend.
Safer at home, six feet distance less than 10 minutes. Wash your hands.
It won’t be for much longer. Let’s keep Claremont virus free. We got this!
Diane Hom, MD
Protect Claremont renters
This is an open letter to the Claremont City Council. It is the city council’s responsibility to protect the residents of Claremont from this novel coronavirus to the best of their ability.
One way this can be accomplished is by preventing any resident of Claremont from becoming homeless at this time. Shelters are crowded, and make social distancing difficult (if not impossible). People may have to stay with family or friends, bringing more crowded conditions to single-family homes and apartment buildings. Given the estimated rate of infection, this would endanger the lives of a great deal more people—especially multi-generational households.
How do you self-isolate after exposure when your family of four has been evicted and you share one room in your mother’s house? How do you quarantine a mild case to keep it from spreading to grandparents when there are eight people living in a two-bedroom, one-bathroom home? How do you prevent exposure while living in a car using public facilities? What if those facilities are closed?
Of course, this is already the reality for many people, but we can prevent further hardship by enacting a moratorium on evictions in Claremont. According to US Census data, 33 percent of occupied housing units in Claremont are occupied by renters, and just under half of those renters are paying 35 percent or more of their household income towards rent.
Given the shutdown of so many businesses, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that a great number of residents (homeowners and renters alike) are without work, or have had their household income lowered by at least half.
There is already a moratorium on foreclosures, what we need now is a moratorium on evictions, then a mortgage and rent freeze. It is a step to prevent people from becoming houseless during a crisis.
If the Claremont City Council wants to protect its citizens, it will keep them from being evicted and foreclosed on not only during the crisis, but after it as well. I believe the city council has this power, and it is their responsibility to take this seriously.
It has been proven time and time again that maintaining hygiene and accessing healthcare (both things imperative to preventing the continuing spread of COVID-19) are incredibly difficult if one is in an unstable housing situation.
Mayor Larry Schroeder and council members, I urge you to take action, because if there ever were a time for drastic action, it is now. Residents of Claremont, support your friends and neighbors, and show solidarity with those who are struggling.
Thank you, CMC
As there remains public dissatisfaction with California healthcare system’s under-preparation towards the spread of COVID-19, I find it impressive that many school systems responded so quickly to the outbreak and fulfilled their responsibility to students with versatility and humanitarianism.
For example, on March 11, the president of my school, Claremont McKenna College, announced that students needed to remain off-campus for the rest of the semester. Understanding the distressed sentiment of the student body, the school provided travel reimbursement and financial aid to students in great need.
At the same time, through a “visualization” process, the faculty promptly moved class materials online and carried out lectures over Zoom video meetings.
Within 10 days, the majority of students packed their belongings and left for their alternate locations.
CMC allowed around 60 international students, whose hometowns were of high-level travel advisory, to stay on campus in a consolidated apartment with strict social distancing. These students are provided with health kits, cleaning supplies and three daily meals.
During such extraordinary times, many uncertainties await. For example, it is unclear how the testing and grading system shall remain impartial with virtual teaching. Nevertheless, the tight coordination between CMC students and staff members rendered the beginning of this transition safe and effective.
With such unity, I am sure we, the Colleges and the Claremont community, will all come out of this crisis more experienced than ever.
Claremont McKenna College
Reveal Village South plans
At the March 12 City Council meeting, Jerry Tessier of the Village South development team said (per the COURIER) “We haven’t even released a development plan, and yet people are attacking our plan.”
The solution is to reveal the plan online and tell the public where it is. This will answer many questions, suspicions and objections.
Revealing the developers’ proposed numbers of floors, residential units and parking spaces will address the public’s major concerns so far, as follows:
—Will the buildings detract from the suburban feel of Claremont and from the attractiveness of our downtown to visitors?
—Will the population be so large, car-less and dependent on Uber, Lyft or Dial-A-Ride (which create more trips than driving one’s own car) that Indian Hill Boulevard will be clogged with traffic?
—Will there be enough parking to prevent overflow into the residential neighborhood and into the existing downtown, which is already impacted?
Residents and business owners who care about the above questions should be able to comment, knowing what’s in the developers’ proposal.
The developers have asked our city council to relax the restrictions on building height, to allow more units.
Revealing information before the council considers doing this is important not only to provide transparency and thereby to enable informed public input on this development. It’s also important to build trust by city residents in our city government.
Bob Gerecke, Helaine Goldwater
Jerry Klasik, Joan Bunte, Sue Keith