Readers comments 5-29-20
Key term is ‘local’
Last week’s opinion piece by Joe Lyons is an important reminder of the need to develop local answers to prevailing problems.
CHERP is worth supporting and its example is worth applying to other areas of concern. The Covid-19 virus has dramatically demonstrated the foolishness of globalism. For Claremont and surrounding cities it has shown that the pioneering work of food independence advocates like Nancy Mintie and Randy Bekendam needs to become the center piece of neo-localism.
Ms. Mintie’s intellectual indebtedness to the primary pioneer of localism, theologian John Cobb, is reflected in the name of her organization; Uncommon Good. After reading For the Common Good, the book Mr. Cobb co-authored with economist Herman Daily, Ms. Mintie concluded that the common good proposed by these thinkers was anything but common. She organized Fiddleneck Farms and operates out of the Whole Earth Building behind Claremont United Methodist Church.
Randy Bekendam has been farming in the area for 21 years and many young adults who attended local schools saw their first farm animals at Amy’s Farm, the place Mr. Bekendam runs with love and goodwill. Amy’s Farm produces enough food to sell and also to give away to the poor.
Pastor Stephen Yorba Patten (possibly related to General Patton who was a Yorba on his mother’s side) feeds the hungry every Sunday afternoon out of what used to be El Buen Pastor Church on White Avenue in Pomona and is now the Urban Mission feeding bodies and souls with vegetables grown in the converted church parking lot and at Amy’s Farm seven miles away.
Food independence can, must and will be built on the foundations laid by these leaders of localism.
I have lived in Claremont for 46 years. It is an iconic city with the many colleges and the Village and has a nice environment in which to raise a family and open a business. Sadly, the leadership in the city has left a lot to be desired when it comes to managing the problems caused by the coronavirus.
If we give every leader in the state of California or the county or city of Los Angeles the benefit of every doubt, clearly the first two or three weeks of the virus required decisions, whether right or wrong, that were at least semi-justifiable.
However, this changed when studies came out from Stanford and USC (not too much publicized by the press) that showed a very high percentage of people with the virus were asymptomatic.
Once that study and others like it came out, it was pretty clear what the solution was to resolve the issues raised by the virus so that our entire economy would not be destroyed. Clearly the focus of all activities should have been on the rest homes, retirement communities and places where the elderly reside.
Every study done shows that the people most affected by the virus are in the 65-plus range. To Claremont’s credit, the fact that it is hard to even get a number as to how many people have contracted the virus suggests that the retirement communities have done a great job in having adequate testing and qualified staff who can spot people with coronavirus and, if they get it, move them to a hospital or a facility where they can be treated. This was contrary to what New York did.
Other than the people who were sadly targeted by the virus, the remaining issue to solve had to do with how many facilities there were to treat people. As long as we had enough facilities to treat people and as long as we covered the targeted group of older people then the solution was to open things up and not destroy the economy. However, in California that has not been followed despite it having been proposed by people a lot smarter than the governor and the representatives of the county and city of Los Angeles.
When people with brains recommended we open the K-12 schools, this was ridiculed even though young kids do not get the virus as much and being at home and educating young kids is not sustainable for the parents or their children.
The harm caused by the virus to our local economy is devastating. It saddens me to drive everyday to see it essentially a ghost town with a few restaurants barely surviving by take-out, but basically the life of the city has been sucked out of it.
Also, the notion that we are not going to allow nail salons or barbershops to remain open is absurd. The stylists or nail techs could test negative for the virus every day and then the next day could get it.
We are not going to be free of the virus until we get a vaccine. In the meantime, it is important we focus on the areas where people are most likely to get it and become symptomatic. The current policy by the county and state does not do that. Instead, they would rather have people go broke and lose everything than try to help them and realize that we live in a society with risks; one of the risks is regardless of who we are (and I am 77 years old) we might get the virus, in which case we have to hope there is a facility to treat us and we will make it. As I write this you can get a haircut in Upland but not Claremont.
The final straw which prompted me to write this letter was the story in the COURIER about public buildings in Claremont reopening by appointment only. Why is it public buildings are closed at all? I have the same comment for the courts and I have been a lawyer for 51 years.
As long as the people in public buildings and/or courts are drawing salaries, the buildings should be open and business should be easily transacted. If people want to wear masks fine, but if the check out people at Walmart or Target can work then people at the desk in Claremont City Hall or the courthouse can also work and/or do what needs to be done. This is a classic case of people with money telling people without money what to do. The result is what is happening in the city of Claremont.
Granted, the city does not have the absolute power to do whatever they want and have to be treated like a third rate dictatorship. Nevertheless, the city, like others, should have written a letter and asked to reopen based on its record. If they can open up in San Bernardino County they certainly can in Claremont.
The damage done to the state of California is about to become irreparable. Viruses kill people all the time i.e. 70,000 people died from the flu in 2017. I survived the Asian Flu in 1956 when I was a teenager and 112,000 people died.
Obviously we want to protect those most vulnerable, but we cannot let the fear of this flu destroy our economy and with it our way of life. It is time for city leaders to step up, be strong and take on the morons at the county of Los Angeles and ask to open up our city. Thank you.
Paul M. Mahoney