Readers comments 7-10-20
Commons not a good fit
I am writing to share my strong support for the recommendation that Jennifer Jaffe made in her July 3 letter that The Commons not be used for residential development but only for appropriate commercial development.
All of the reasons she outlined are accurate and compelling. Ultimately, this project is not a good fit for this location. It has always been zoned for commercial use for good reason and no tweaking around the edges will change the fundamental issues and problems that have been identified.
I sincerely hope all of those involved in the decision making process will reconsider moving forward with this project and look for alternative commercial options.
Damage from The Commons
I agree with the Claremont residents who have spoken up in opposition to The Commons development proposed at Monte Vista Avenue and Foothill Boulevard. It was terrifying to learn of the recent airplane crash just blocks from where I live. All afternoon, we heard sirens from emergency vehicles.
I purchased my home three years ago and never imagined the stress we would experience from the noise of the nearby flights, let alone from an airplane crash. Whether indoors, or when trying to talk or play in our yard, or when walking along Mills, Foothill and nearby streets, we hear one flight after another, often staying overhead and more than one flight at a time in the air, day and night.
As a physician, I know the impact that the stress of noise has on our physical and emotional health. The noise of the airport will impact those who would live so near if The Commons is built as housing.
The area is zoned for commercial use. Everything else around it is commercial along Foothill and Monte Vista. That seems like good planning. I hope our city will support its own previous wise decision when it designated the area for commercial uses, and not approve changing the zoning for housing The Commons.
The Commons is irresponsible
Last week an old small plane taking off from Cable Airport crashed, not far from the proposed residential development The Commons at the corner of Foothill Boulevard and Monte Vista Avenue.
Had the plane been in trouble during landing, it could have used the avigation easement, a strip of land in the middle of what is to be The Commons. This strip will remain if the development is built and will be called a “park,” but will have no trees and bushes in order to save the planes.
This “park” in the middle of these family residences will apparently have no children or adults either. Why? Because the Environmental Impact Report states that the noise level from Cable Airport (two blocks away) is above acceptable standards. No problem, they state: just require better insulation of windows and doors.
Of course, children and adults will not want to be outside. Already, we neighbors further west can’t sit outside on many a weekend due to the noise as small old plane after small old plane takes off.
So it’s good that children and adults can’t sit outside due to the noise, because studies show the level of lead in the air from small old airplanes (most of what we have at Cable) that close to a small airport is quite high and therefore unhealthy.
The residential development of The Commons is an irresponsible plan, unfriendly to children and adults for whom it is supposedly designed! It is zoned commercial. Let’s keep it that way.
I have enjoyed Jan Wheatcroft’s columns for many years, but especially her most recent one. Travel Tales took me back to past journeys with my daughters.
About 15 years ago, I heard Jan speak at Borders bookstore in the Montclair Plaza about her practice of making travel journals. It was a fascinating talk.
Her journals were filled with colorful drawings, beautiful photo collages, ticket stubs and strips of fabric. Each was a work of art that captured the essence of her travels.
A few weeks later I took a class from Jan in journal making. On the next trip with my young daughters I had my blank journal ready, complete with a bag of colored pencils and scissors. We took photos, made collages and drawings, and our travel journal became a beautifully unique documentation of our trip.
I now look back through them and the colored drawing of a pelican on a pier brings me back to that lovely moment with my girls.
Save the Laemmle Theater
It was with great dismay and sadness that we read in the COURIER that the Laemmle Theater is for sale. If the sale goes through, this will be a huge loss to our community in many ways.
Ever since the theater came to Claremont we have been big supporters. Every week we and our friends picked the movie we wanted to see, sometimes two. It’s been our evening on the town.
After the movie we’d vote and head out on foot to the restaurant of the week for dinner. We don’t think we’re the only ones.
The theater is a magnet for Claremont. It draws people from the city and beyond to shops and restaurants. We understand the pandemic has brought terrible times for the theater as well as the restaurants and other businesses in the city. But the pandemic will end and when it does, we will be so much smaller as a community if we no longer have the Laemmle.
We have a proposal. The businesses in the city and perhaps other community members could pitch in together to purchase the theater and lease it back to the Laemmle at a nominal fee. This would keep this wonderful resource in our community, drawing people to our many restaurants and shops.
Liza Alldredge and Pat Huffman
Sharing life stories
It’s obvious that Charlene Leavell’s commentary is well intended (Viewpoint, “Sharing life stories to break down barriers,” Friday, July 3.) But for this reader, it underscored the lack of writers of color in the COURIER’s pages, week after week, and at a time when we need to be amplifying these voices more than ever.
Why not hire writers of color to tell their own stories, rather than indulging in well-meaning “as told to” columns?
Moreover, her column carried with it a whiff of the exotic: “Oh! Can you believe such terrible things happened to this nice young man???”
Until we can stop looking upon these experiences as being “other” and start realizing that they are stitched into the very fabric of what Black, Indigienous, and Persons of Color understand as the American experience, we won’t make the progress we want to make.
Yi Shun Lai
[Editor’s note: The COURIER belongs to the community. We have always published viewpoints and letters from people of all backgrounds and over the years we have had many paid staff members from all racial backgrounds. (If we weren’t so challenged by the state of newspapers today, I’d hire a dozen reporters representing all cultures). I thank Ms. Leavell for her bravery in sharing her writing and for recognizing her own biases she hadn’t previously identified. Ms. Leavell is working to create open dialogue about issues of race and equality. What growth can we make as a society if we put limits on who is permitted to join the conversation? We all need to recognize and openly reject prejudice in our community. And I believe, quite emphatically, that everyone should be talking about racism. So my invitation stands: To people of any color, nationality, race, gender or sexual identity: Please write me. Tell me your story, because I’m listening. —KD]
Police Blotter policy
Recent conversations regarding the role of police drew my attention to the COURIER’s weekly Police Blotter.
The blotter contains information presumably gathered from police records regarding arrests and reported crimes in Claremont. This includes the names of people arrested by the Claremont police, and sometimes commentary on their actions.
Information contained in police reports can often be woefully incomplete. For instance, the Louisville police incident report from March 13 details no injuries to Breonna Taylor even though officers fired eight shots at her.
With substantial details withheld from public view and no ability for an arrested person to comment, the blotter likely does not tell the whole story of an incident.
It is true that all information presented in the police blotter is public record. But unlike arrest records maintained by the Claremont police, the COURIER’s articles are indexed by search engines.
A key component of journalistic ethics is to minimize harm. For some individuals, the police blotter is one of the top search results on Google for their name. The search result will not disappear, even if no charges are ultimately filed or years pass.
With 1,918 arrests by Claremont police in 2019, the COURIER already makes editorial decisions on which crimes to include in the blotter. Cleveland’s major newspaper chose to stop naming most people accused of minor crimes in 2018.
More newspapers across the county are rethinking how to report on crimes. Developing a more nuanced policy for naming arrested individuals and removing unneeded commentary would be in the best interests of the Claremont community.
[Publisher’s note: Mr. Nardi makes a solid case for why editors are so important. Because of our decades of editing experience, the COURIER is confident that we can determine what crimes reflect trends in the city. Unlike most community newspapers and websites, we take the time to rewrite the arrest reports to give a more clear snapshot of each incident. Part of this rewrite includes use of names, which are vital in reporting any story. The COURIER rarely uses anonymous sources and we always attribute quotes. We also take great care in not using names of minors or if publishing puts a subject in harm’s way. For example, we don’t identify by name people who are arrested for domestic violence to protect the victim or children involved. The purpose of the Police Blotter is not to “cause harm;” it is a valuable tool to alert residents to trends in crime and to identify serial criminals. Since the Police Blotter is behind our paywall, only COURIER subscribers have access. This also blocks random people on the internet from accessing this information, now and in the future. —PW]
Is Claremont connecting?
To be clear I am a Democrat and I will vote for Biden. To be clear, I live in Claremont and support tolerance. How tolerant is Claremont? We all need to think about this. Tolerance means to have the “ability or willingness to tolerate something ,in particular the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with.”
I’m troubled because I have heard from neighbors that they are afraid to put up yard signs declaring their support for Trump. If I can put up a Biden sign, why can’t they put a Trump sign?
I was recently removed from a Facebook page called Claremont Connects because I was too provocative in pressing opinions that were not popular. One of the moderators told me that I was “not in alignment” with the philosophy of being “kind.”
After apologizing and spending one week in Claremont Connect detention, I returned a more conscientious contributor. Two days later I got completely excommunicated from the group. Why? Too many people complained about me.
I was offensive because I was, in essence, challenging people to be tolerant. I addressed the Facebook page with what I’m doing now—asking for tolerance for our Republican community members.
Some of the 300 responses from my post were vile and shocking. Some admitted they would vandalize the signs and/ or never talk to their neighbor again. Dear Claremont Connects moderators: that does not sound “kind” in my opinion.
My personal feeling is that Trump is a jerk but, we have a two-party system and I will not allow myself to vilify someone on the other side of the aisle. How tolerant is Claremont? We all need to think about this.
And Claremont Connects needs to think about whether it is insisting on kindness or if it is, in fact, controlling the range of opinion on their page.
Let’s hope for more kind days ahead.