Readers Comments 8-21-20

Punishment won’t make us safe

Dear Editor:

Despite increasing local and nationwide demands to defund the police and reinvest in community care, Claremont City Council opted for punishment over protection last week when they criminalized not wearing a mask.

Criminalizing the refusal to wear a mask is counterproductive, ineffective and will unfairly impact marginalized people who are already being disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

Julia Marcus, PhD, MPH, an infectious disease epidemiologist at Harvard Medical School, has spent her career studying HIV prevention and how criminalization has impacted such prevention.

She recently said, “There’s no evidence that criminalization improves public health, but plenty of evidence that it disproportionately harms people who are already marginalized.”

She has also recently said that punitive models of prevention do not work, and that an ideal model of prevention would be one that promotes collective action through rewards and positive reinforcement.

Dr. Marcus and other public health experts believe that personal conversations rooted in genuine compassion and empathy are far more effective at changing behavior than criminalization is.

While I am not at all surprised by the Claremont City Council’s recent decision (or the overwhelmingly positive response from Claremont residents about said decision), I am extremely disappointed and thoroughly disheartened.

I love this city, and I want everyone to be safe. Criminalization and punishment will never make us safer.

Christine Gatson-Michalak



CEF Prius Raffle

Dear Editor:

We want to express our sincere thanks to Claremont Toyota for 10 years of Claremont Educational Foundation’s Prius Raffle fundraiser.

We have effectively raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for our children, schools, teachers and district through this important fundraiser.

More than ever, this year mattered and allowed us to safely fundraise through the selling of Prius tickets when each and every one of our planned events was cancelled. We are beyond thankful for your years of generously donating a car to CEF.

We would also like to thank those who supported us along the way.

Thank you to Laura Dandoy and Associates for boosting an additional ticket to every six-pack of tickets sold by CEF. The added sales promotion and advertisement certainly helped us achieve our goal in this trying time. A thank you to you and your son, John, for your kind and generous support when we needed it most.

A much needed thanks to Barbara Perry-Lorek of Chameleon Creative for a decade of donating the printing of our Prius tickets. This allowed us to defray the cost, thus adding more to our fundraising efforts.

To the Claremont COURIER for always being behind us for all our events in good times and bad. We thank you for your support.

To the many booster groups who have sold Prius Raffle tickets. We couldn’t make it without you! The many hours and days of hard work are much appreciated and have allowed us to reach our annual ticket sales goal every year.

To everyone who looks forward to this fun and exciting Prius Raffle and supports our cause. We thank you for purchasing tickets in hopes of winning that amazing car year after year and feeling good about your purchase, even when you are not the drawn ticket.

We had a wildly successful year in a time when fundraising was certainly a challenge. We can’t thank you enough and we look forward to many more continued years of making our children and district our priority through CEF fundraising. With much thanks,

Michelle Mitchell

Prius Raffle Chair, CEF


Shoes That Fit

Dear Editor:

Each summer, Shoes That Fit works with local businesses to fill backpacks with new shoes, socks and school supplies so that local children in need can start their school year off on the right foot (pun intended).

With closures due to COVID-19, we feared that we might not be able to help as many children this year—at a time when so many families are struggling and the need for basic necessities is greater than ever. But with the help of some extraordinary volunteers—most notably Sonja Stump, Ginny Babineu and the Claremont Kiwanis—along with caring organizations locally who hosted backpacks and the donors who filled them, we will provide more backpacks than last year!

Because of the generosity of donors in Claremont and surrounding communities, we will be able to help more than 240 children in our local school districts start their school year with confidence and joy.

Even with remote learning, children need good shoes that fit to participate fully in their physical education requirements, to walk to and from their school sites to pick up meals, materials and assignments, as well as simply to run and play.

We would like to extend a huge thank you to the businesses and donors who participated in this year’s backpack campaign:

Aromatique Skin & Body Care, Bert & Rocky’s Cream Co., Claremont Chef’s Academy, John Watkins, Lizzie’s Gold Mine, Packing House Wines, Some Crust Bakery, Sonja Stump Photography, Tattle Tails Boutique, The Treatment Skin Boutique, Tina G Cosmetics, Claremont Farmers Market, Claremont Kiwanis Club, Warehouse Pizza, Seville ReVintage, A Lot of Good Thrift Store, Last Name Brewing, Century 21 Experience Rancho Cucamonga.

Thank you Claremont and beyond for helping kids learn, play and thrive!

Amy Fass

Shoes That Fit CEO


Virus hysteria

Dear Editor:

I thank the COURIER for printing Scott Grannis’s August 14 viewpoint piece, “Collateral damage from overreacting to COVID.”

Mr. Grannis offers readers something they encounter all too rarely in our popular media, an honest and balanced assessment and perspective on the COVID-19  phenomenon.

His phrase “pathologically paranoid” perfectly describes our various governments’ and other people’s unbalanced and tunnel-vision overreactions, including their obsessive fixations on mask-wearing, anti-social distancing and business shuttering.

Douglas Lyon



I’ll stick with the experts

Dear Editor:

Regarding “Collateral damage from overreacting to COVID”  (Scott Grannis, viewpoint, August 14): I must disagree with many statements by the writer, an economist, I believe.

One would almost conclude that this public health crisis were a zero-sum game: virus allowed to run its course and economy flourishes; virus mitigation measures are taken and economy is destroyed.

True, there are always pathogens out there ready to get us but COVID-19 is high-octane, and some doomed history repeaters clearly learned nothing from the so-called Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918.

No, we haven’t overreacted to COVID; rather, the president’s unwillingness to listen to the emerging science and to take timely national action is, in fact, under-reacting with deadly results.

Despair, depression and suicides from schooling at home, mask-wearing and other “freedom-crushing” public health measures may be collateral damage, but let’s recall the contagion-free Great Recession a decade ago that saw a financial meltdown with millions of people losing their homes, jobs and businesses. I bet that also caused some despair, depression and suicides.

With COVID, protecting the vulnerable and everybody else, for that matter, is a team activity. We all have to play ball. And yet as the body count grows (America has an inordinate percentage of cases relative to our population), a good number of people still feel taking any precautions translates to an infringement of their constitutional rights.

Would these same freedom-loving people be okay if airports didn’t have TSA screening, never sure, then, if someone were on their flight carrying a gun or a bomb?

Meanwhile, I’ll stick with the scientists and the experts like Dr. Fauci and others who are trying not to have their expertise co-opted by the president’s re-election strategy. To be honest, I welcome specific expertise, which is one reason I don’t have my CPA perform my annual physical.

Don Linde

La Verne


The pain of addiction

Dear Editor:

I applaud the article by Mick Rhodes on how the devastating effects of addiction destroys families. It planted the seeds of empathy, unity, compassion and hope. These are values our country drastically needs to embrace in order to heal from its brokenness.

Addiction is a spiritual malady and a generational curse that does not discriminate: affecting families regardless of ethnicity, gender, culture or socio-economic status.

Growing up in the Mexican American Arbol Verde community, I also grew up in a dysfunctional family where the head of the household, my father, was a heroin addict and was absent because of his time spent in state prison.

I was emotionally damaged like Carlos (Sue Razetto’s son) and was unable to discern normalcy. After swearing to God that I would never be like my father, I fell into addiction like my father.

Mr. Rhodes’ article expresses my definition of peacemaking: “The ability to empathize with pain and brokenness.” Recovery from addiction requires a healing that is not done in isolation, but with 12-Step support groups, especially Alanon and Adult Children of Alcoholics, where our experience, strength and hope are the foundational cornerstones for successful recovery.

Al Villanueva



Life-saving Narcan

Dear Editor:

After reading the article by Mick Rhodes in the COURIER yesterday, I thought I should share some additional information with you.

At Hendricks Pharmacy, I am specially certified to provide Narcan (and other similar prescription products) to anyone who wishes to obtain it without the need for a prescription from a doctor. It’s a very easy process that involves a quick form for the individual to complete and brief counseling from a certified pharmacist, like me.

I have provided this service for several years now, though I feel many are unaware. Other than awareness, the only major hurdle is payment. Many of the patients who have received it previously have insurance that covers it, but the cost without insurance is around $160.

If you would like to get additional information on this or any of the services I provide to the community here in Claremont, feel free to contact me at (909) 624-1611.

Brian Garner, Pharm.D.

Hendricks Pharmacy


Factually incorrect headline

Dear Editor:

The headline on August 14 that read, “Most CUSD families choose blended learning for fall,” is not correct. The blended learning program was one that families had to opt out of.

Most families did not choose blended learning, they just did not choose the CORE or CHAMP models. The parents that I spoke with did not like the idea of unenrolling from their child’s school to take part in either of these two new online programs.

Most parents I know made the choice to not choose, and are entrusting the district to stay on distance learning until it is safe to return. If my family feels that it is still not safe to return to school when CUSD opens for blended learning, we will figure out our options in that event.

We may even home school or unenroll our child from the school district entirely. I know of many other families who are making a similar “non-decision.”

The more accurate headline would be “Few CUSD families choose CORE or CHAMP.”

Beyond not wanting to unenroll students from their home school, parents like us are also wary of the effectiveness of Edgenuity, since Claremont High School does not have enough staff to offer a full range of classes to both CORE/CHAMP and blended learning.

Classes that could not be staffed would have to be offered through Edgenuity, which has a fraction of the support that students would have if they still had access to their CHS teachers.

The district made it very clear that enrolling in CORE or CHAMP meant unenrolling from your school. That means the district is essentially creating a brand new school that has yet to prove its effectiveness.

Jeff Nicoll



Save the post office, Congress

[Editor’s note:?The following letter was sent to Congress member Judy Chu, with a copy forwarded for publication.

Dear Rep. Chu:

While Congress is in recess, President Trump is undermining the US Postal Service in the frank and open expectation of preventing Americans from voting on November  3.

Congress needs to come back from vacation and save the US Postal Service. If not, the election of November 3 will be compromised with disastrous consequences.

This is very serious.

 Ivan Light




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