Readers comments: Political 10-23-20

My choice is Chris Naticchia

Dear editor:

Since my retirement from the city council, I have shared candidly about the pernicious threat that certain opinions and political strategies pose to the political and social fabric of our beloved Community.  And we have all experienced some level of discontent, confusion, and cognitive dissonance created by opinions that masquerade as fact based truths.

In my opinion, we are struggling to redefine ourselves as a community and adrift as a culture, because we are without the ability to discern the difference between the important and the unimportant, between science-based assertions and special interest-based propaganda, and between liberty and license.  Absent discernment, critical thinking and simply being critical become synonymous, and with that distinction blurred, confusion and cognitive dissonance are an inevitable outcome.

In this context is it vital to our Community and our Country that every vote we cast contributes to reversing this unacceptable and sociopolitically corrosive challenge to our democracy.  This year our votes will determine who occupies two of the five seats on the Claremont Unified School District Governing Board, and with it the opportunity to elect someone who will insist that critical thinking be integrated into the curriculum in an age appropriate manner, in order to prepare each student academically and socially “to participate, thrive and contribute as a member of our diverse global society.”

That person is Chris Naticchia.

As a Professor of Philosophy and Ethics at California State University San Bernardino, Chris is the only candidate that will take his seat on the Governing Board possessing the professional experiences and academic credentials to immediately begin promoting and implementing his platform.  As a person who has clearly articulated his perspective on important issues before the Governing Board, as a person whose platform reflects discernment in setting priorities and proposing solutions to the challenges that face the District, as a person who can both promote and contribute to the integration of critical thinking into the curriculum, and as a person of integrity whom I know to be dedicated and committed to serve all the students of the District, Chris Naticchia is the only candidate that meets all the qualifications necessary to begin serving the District and its students immediately following his taking the Oath of Office.

Joe Lyons

Former Mayor and Claremont City Councilperson


Calaycay listens

Dear editor:

In the coming months and beyond, our Claremont City Council will be making decisions on pending issues that will significantly affect our community.  They include land use, housing, economic development, and personnel for key city positions.

Voters should thoughtfully consider who among the current candidates is best prepared to tackle these issues, and they should reflect on what we know or can learn about their styles of decision-making.  

Preparation largely equates to relevant experience: familiarity with what has gone before, a keen-eyed assessment of the present developing situation, and a clear vision of what can realistically be achieved.  Council members’ decisions must honor Claremont’s civic culture of broad citizen participation and appropriately draw on support from the city’s professional staff. 

District 1 voters and the city of Claremont will be very well served when Corey Calaycay is returned to City Council.  He intently listens to divergent views, evaluates them in the light of his broad knowledge of Claremont and the region, and then offers reasoned explanations for his decisions.  He is the most prepared to serve us in these challenging times. 

Allan Wicker

Claremont, District 1


Vote for Sal

Dear Editor:  

We are residents in District 5 and business owners in the Claremont Village and would like to ask everyone in District 5 to vote for Sal Medina for City Council.  Sal has been in business for many years in the Claremont Village; has been very active in the Chamber of Commerce and we believe he understands the needs of our District, especially the needs of the village merchants.  In this time when there are so many challenges we need this understanding. We strongly urge a vote for Sal.

Catherine T. Curtis and Diana Miller 



Calaycay has experience

Dear Editor:

As a former member of the City Council, I know the challenges of ensuring the Claremont budget is strong and balanced.  In good years this was difficult, but in this COVID-19 environment we are going to need an experienced, steady hand to guide us through this economic storm. For this reason, I’m an Honorary Co-Chair of the committee to re-elect Corey Calaycay to city council.

Corey has the insight, the relationships at the state and federal levels, and the institutional knowledge to help close the budgetary gaps that are sure to challenge us. And as someone who has called Claremont home for more than 46 years, he understands our community and our priorities. I urge District 1 voters to support Corey Calaycay! 

Sandy Baldonado



Kathy Archer is dedicated to education

Dear editor:

My family has had the privilege of being involved and serving the Claremont community for many years in a variety of ways. My late husband Sam Mowbray was a school board member for many years and believed in the power of strong leadership and communicative engagement. My two sons and daughter-in-law all went through CUSD and now my grandchildren have the same opportunity.  I believe that Kathy Archer is the most suitable candidate for the school board. Kathy is an independent thinker who looks at all sides of an issue before making a decision and will weigh all options to support children, families, teachers, and administration.  I urge you to vote for Kathy Archer on November 3. For more information on Kathy visit her at

Barbara Mowbray



Reznik has the vision

Dear Editor,

It’s time for a young voice on our city council, particularly in a college town.  That’s why I am writing in support of Ethan Reznik’s candidacy and vision for Claremont.

Ethan wants to build relationships with our neighbors in San Bernardino County in order to combine resources on complicated issues like homelessness, which do not adhere to county lines.  He calls for greater accountability within law enforcement and encourages more cooperation between the police and the community.  He wishes to preserve Claremont’s unique business environment in the Village, which requires balancing the interests of both retailers and restaurants.  A Claremont native, Ethan will fight to improve every neighborhood in our city. 

His recent mailer drew clear distinctions between the candidates in terms of their political leanings, which is helpful in a race where voters usually don’t do much research on the candidates.  Of course, I take everything that a candidate says with a grain of salt, but after verifying the information, I find the mailer to be not only accurate but helpful as well.  I hope that Claremont elects Ethan Reznik.

Parsa Ariane 



Corey is a strong voice

Dear editor:

Having lived in Claremont for decades and knowing Corey Calaycay and his family since he and my son were in kindergarten, I feel qualified to speak to his long-term dedication and commitment to his hometown.

Corey returned to Claremont after college with a degree in business and jumped into state and local politics. Once elected to the City Council, he soon became the “go-to” Council member for any issues residents and merchants had with the City. Corey listens, he gets answers, and he follows up to be sure the problem has been resolved. He has played a major role in numerous Council decisions that have enhanced the charm of the Village and made it a destination for visitors: The preservation and adaptive reuse of several historic buildings, including the Claremont Depot; promoting the legacy of the arts in Claremont and the Public Art Master Plan; bringing many new and sought-after businesses to town, and voting for Al Fresco dining and the Business Assistance Program during this challenging time. He will continue to bring his realistic vision and collaborative style to the Council as it works to rebuild and revitalize the Village after the pandemic.

Change is important and new blood brings new ideas. Claremont has seen a great deal of that on the council and in the city staff in the past two years. What is imperative in this election is to remember the importance of balance and how much stronger that makes the Council. Corey’s experience, regional and state relationships, and organizational memory are critical to retain on the Council at this juncture. With at least one new Council member assured, and three who have served for only two years, Corey will continue to be a strong voice for retaining the unique fabric of our community as we face new challenges and many tough decisions moving forward.  A vote for Corey is a vote for Claremont!

Mary F. Weis



Rea clearly the best choice

Dear editor:

As a student at the Claremont Colleges, I have enjoyed familiarizing myself with the community. One of the things I love the most has been the Village; it has a very unique charm that often only small businesses possess. Furthermore, we must solve the fiscal problems that have plagued the City. Bennett Rea is clearly the best choice for Claremont District 5. He has a comprehensive plan for both these issues, along with clear solutions for many more.

As a previous small business owner himself, Rea is clearly qualified to speak on the matter. His top priority is to keep large corporations out and preserve the Village’s irreplaceable ambiance. I am all for this. There are enough Targets and Walmarts a couple miles in the other direction. 

Claremont has been bogged down by lack-luster revenue generation. Rea has the experience as a business owner, allowing him to programmatically handle the City’s finances while pushing for progressive change. His tax plan does not affect local residents; an increase in transient occupancy tax will only impact visitors and tourists that come visit our beautiful City. 

Rea also has much needed plans to reform sustainability in our City, which often experiences poor air quality. I won’t go into depth here because I believe that this should be a prerequisite for any running council member at this point. The world is changing and our approach towards it should too.

Michael Hao

San Diego


Naticchia thinks outside the box

Dear editor:

Last Courier, Merrill Ring pointed out that Chris Naticchia is unique among the candidates for the school board for thinking outside the box, for thinking about issues that impact our education system that do not obviously come with the board member territory.  He mentions the Viewpoint that Chris Naticchia wrote showing the connection between CUSD student enrollments and affordable housing. But there is more.  Naticchia has also written about racism and our schools, and (with Pam Nagler) about the importance of passing Proposition 15 for the benefit of Claremont schools.  He even wrote a downhome piece about his experiences in learning to teach classes via Zoom.  As a Claremont elementary school teacher for 32 years, now retired, I believe we need Chris Naticchia on the school board because he sees how our educational efforts are connected to the wider world.

Karen Chapman Lenz



Laura is a leader

Dear editor,

I have been fortunate to have the opportunity during the past 20 years to help guide Citrus College to become nationally recognized for its record of student success. I know what it takes to provide the solid, steady leadership to achieve outstanding results for which all of us can be proud.  

Laura Bollinger is the best person to take my place as Claremont’s representative on the Citrus College Board of Trustees. She is an alum of Citrus College, has been involved with the College since her graduation and understands what it takes to be an effective leader. It is important in the coming months that we have trustees at the helm that have a proven history of being able to provide the time and focused attention that will bring the college back on campus after the pandemic. Laura is that leader. 

Laura’s leadership skills are on display every day at the Claremont library. As president of the board of the Friends of the Library, Laura led the negotiations with the county that resulted in a renovation of the children’s library to meet the distinct needs of Claremont’s youth. This took inspired leadership that resulted in her being asked to serve on the Los Angeles County Library Foundation Board.

I unequivocally endorse Laura Bollinger as the next Claremont representative on the Citrus College Board of Trustees and urge you to vote for her. 

Sue Keith



Ceraso has the stuff

Dear editor:

Long ago, I covered council elections as a reporter for the Courier. Among the cast of characters who run, few candidates have “the stuff.” By “the stuff,” I mean a candidate who displays a keen understanding of what Claremonters want to see in their local representative; one who is empathetic and strives to make the community better for everyone; one who honors the past while looking toward the future; one who will be a true councilmember for all of Claremont.  Michael Ceraso has the stuff.  Mike called me in July and asked if I wanted to work on his campaign. I said yes because we see eye-to-eye on a number of issues, particularly affordable rent. Mike is a renter too.  He wants more affordable units throughout Claremont–anywhere where there’s space to build. He wants to revisit our inclusionary housing ordinance to place a stronger emphasis on low-income housing in future developments. Mike knows affordable housing brings stability, racial and economic equity, public safety, sustainability and community spending power. He knows that a truly inclusive community must have space for everyone. I personally know the difficulties of being a low-income renter in Claremont. My now-fiance and I lived on a property near Harrison and Berkeley that was sold to house flippers. They raised our rent beyond what we could afford to get us out. Thank goodness we found an affordable place to live in south Claremont through friends. Many former Claremonters have not been so lucky. It shouldn’t be this way. Amid a statewide housing affordability crisis made worse by the pandemic, will Claremont be a leader, or will we drag our feet and pass the buck? Michael Ceraso has the stuff to make Claremont a leader. He is the only viable choice for District 5.

Matthew Bramlett



Admittedly underwhelmed

Dear editor:

After reading all the endorsements (and ABC) for District 1 city council candidates, I’m admittedly underwhelmed by my choices.

Christine Margiotta changed her essay from police “murders” to “killers” without a single mention of the change in her Courier Viewpoint a couple weeks ago, which was intended to defend the essay. Her reason for calling police murderers appeared to be akin to “that’s my day job”. Apparently, she stokes flames during the day and builds bridges at night? Hard pass.

Zach Courser is on the record as being open to bringing back another sales tax increase. Unfortunately, I worked too hard to defeat the last sales tax increase and I cannot vote for someone who is willing to give it another go. Soft pass,

Ethan Reznik essentially has no experience running anything. He is on record as wanting to purchase the shuddered Claremont Club. Claremont doesn’t have the money to fix the police station, let alone buy a multi-million-dollar health club? Soft pass. 

And Corey Calaycay thinks he should get re-elected because he has experience. Sorry, but that sounds too much like a Mitch McConnell argument. And let’s not forget the $12 million that Calaycay lost on the failed water takeover. It’s time to go.akeover. It’s time to go. 

So who does that leave? Kathryn Dunn. Yes, I’m writing in Kathryn Dunn for District 1. After 25 years at the Courier she was recently let go from her job as Editor. She is a life-long Claremont resident, she understands a budget, and she knows what makes Claremont a special place to live. 

Join me in writing in Kathryn Dunn for District 1. 

Matthew Magilke



Christine builds coalitions

Dear editor:

I am convinced that Christina Margiotta is the best choice for District 1 this election.  We have so many issues we are facing, many of them at crisis levels, this year and for the coming years.  Rather than listing them all out, which will only be depressing, I would like to touch on two of them here.  Fiscal responsibility is a huge obligation, particularly at the city level.  Christine’s approach of determining the community’s commitments, then working to support those, is far more effective than looking at the available dollars and trying to make them stretch.  She is experienced at fund-raising and will not rely on tax revenues alone to support Claremont’s responsibilities.  Sustainability writ large, covers so many things, but here I would like to point out that environmental sustainability has been at a crisis level for some time, but inertia in these large natural systems has shielded us until recently.  Christine understands the need to take action immediately to change our course.  We have a narrow window in which to correct our behavior and keep global climate change from spiraling out of control.  While this also concerns all countries in the world, it also concerns all cities, so Claremont needs to do its part.  Christine builds coalitions to get things done, and will do so for sustainability in Claremont.

I strongly support Christine Margiotta for the District 1 position on Claremont City Council, and urge all of District 1 to do the same.

Joan Fryxell



Bob Fass understands our values

Dear editor:

As people begin voting, we’d like to encourage everyone to cast their vote for Bob Fass for Claremont School Board.  As Co-chairs of his campaign, we are proud to support Bob because of his long commitment of service to our Claremont public schools.

As a proud alumnus of our schools and a proud CUSD parent, Bob understands our community’s values and the importance of our excellent public schools. Perhaps most importantly, we know that tough decisions are coming which will require thoughtful, effective governance.  Bob has demonstrated through his leadership that he is prepared to hit the ground running on the first day he is in office, and this is essential for the important decisions that lie ahead.

The future of our children’s education could not be in better hands. Please join us in voting to elect Bob Fass to the Claremont School Board.

Richard Chute and Laura Roach



Christine is Right for District 1
Our community and country are enduring major stress and challenges, for which we need skilled leaders and innovative answers.  For Claremont City Council District 1, my first choice is Christine Margiotta.  She brings deep Claremont roots, coalition building experience, fresh perspectives, plus management and budget skills to all our looming issues.  Christine can help our city deal with race relations, budget priorities, and pandemic challenges.  Now is the time for us to choose yet another caring and strong woman to help meet the challenges across Claremont.  Join me in voting for Christine Margiotta.  
Mel Boynton


Laura is honest, straightforward

Dear editor:

I am writing to strongly and enthusiastically endorse Laura Bollinger for the Citrus College Board of Trustees.

As a past member of the Claremont Unified Board of Education, and having been a longtime resident of Claremont, I am in awe of all Laura has done and continues to do in the community. But to me what I value most about Laura is her straightforward, honest, communication. We have sometimes disagreed on how problems might be solved, or which approach is better, but she listens! She listens to new ideas and I can see her thinking through. She is more concerned about doing right than being right and that, in these days is a gift.  

She is such a strong advocate for education and has spoken so often of the way Citrus was the core of her training to be so engaged in the community.

In other words, I am proud to endorse her to serve on the Citrus College Community Board representing Claremont. She brings strength to the board and a gift to Claremont.  

Beth Bingham



Chris Naticchia is an educator

Dear editor:

As an active, involved parent and community member, I am delighted to support Chris Naticchia for Claremont School Board. 

As someone who regularly attends school board meetings, I have seen firsthand who in Claremont actively attends and engages in the public process. I have witnessed Chris Naticchia ask well thought out questions, offer guidance and expertise, suggest resources, research the issue at hand and represent the voices of students, parents and community members. 

 Chris Naticchia is an educator, an advocate for public education and a leader who digs deeply to find the best solutions for all people. Chris is the person looking beyond the day to day shuffles – he looks at the larger picture and sees the value in creating broader connections. He is thorough in his research and will always look at every side before making a decision. Chris does his homework first. He examines the topic, thinks beyond the scope of local politics and will make sound judgment for our students. I know this because I’ve seen him do so, not only during the pandemic, yet for years beforehand. 

 One of the most important characteristics of a strong school board member is a person who creates a clear vision and has well thought out goals for the school district. After hosting a virtual public candidate forum and speaking to each candidate separately at community conversations, it’s abundantly clear Chris has the knowledge, the passion and the brains to sit at the table. He has a clear plan for student achievement and will be a huge asset to the CUSD school board. Chris Naticchia has my vote.  

Sarah Rockne



Vote for Sal Medina

Dear editor:

If you read the police blotter or city press releases, you know that crime at Motel 6 has increased dramatically.  There have been shootings, brawls, drug sales, and organized prostitution. Many of our Claremont neighbors who live nearby are now living in fear.  They are planning to sell their homes unless they see our city take action to make this motel safe.

At a recent candidate forum hosted by the Chamber of Commerce, the City Council candidates running for District 5 – our South Claremont district – were asked what should be done to reduce crime at the motels.

Candidate Sal Medina, answered: “We need to work closely with our business owners and the police agencies, very similar to the Safe and Healthy Housing initiative proposed in the apartment communities. We saw this happen years ago when we had the “smash and dashes”.  All of us business owners met with the Chamber of Commerce and police chief to make sure we were doing everything we could to empower ourselves.  The same path needs to take place here.”

Sal’s answer is the right one. He had already met with a neighbor of Motel 6, walked the area, and met with our City Manager to urge action. He is working with our Committee for Safe and Healthy Housing to bring a Crime Free program to Claremont’s motels.

Our Safe and Heathy Housing committee has helped our police department bring the Claremont Crime Free Program to our 30 largest apartment communities. It has reduced crime at the nearby apartments along San Jose Ave by 48% over the past 11 years. It has made renters’ lives safer and more stable. We need the same improvement for our motels.

Candidate Michael Ceraso answered the same question about our motel crime with: “Have the police step back, and have the non-violent first-responders be the experts who can empathize and put individuals through the continuum of care, because they have been trained on it, and they have the years of experience to go to someone who is dealing with substance abuse and say “Here I am here for you. Let us get you off the streets and put you through the continuum of care.”

Please read that statement carefully. He reveals how unprepared he is to lead Claremont to solve the very real crime problems we have. Michael says our police should be ordered to “step back”. He thinks that he can create a new response team of mental health workers who will be willing to knock on motel room doors after 911 calls, at a time when unpredictable violent crime is increasing.

I believe that Michael has neither the experience nor the judgement to lead our city. 

Sal Medina has lived in Claremont for 14 years, and has developed the longest-running business in Village West. He has demonstrated that he is willing and able to solve real-world problems. I urge you to support Sal for City Council, District 5

Jim Keith



Response to Jim Keith comments

Dear editor:

“You know you’ve made it in Claremont politics when Jim Keith attacks you. Jim, your tough on crime approach is a relic of the past. It was wrong then and it’s wrong now. Those policies criminalized mental health, disproportionately locked away young people of color, and bred mistrust between police and communities of color. Worse, they have not made our city safer. While you want to treat those struggling with mental health and substance abuse as criminals, we want to help by delivering treatment. Claremont Police Chief Shelly Vander Veen agrees. In a recent police commission meeting, Chief Vander Veen stated the Cahoots program we modeled our homeless policy after is a good one. Sal Medina, we ask that you discourage your number one supporter from misleading the public. Claremont is a city of compassion, and Jim’s antiquated “lock ’em up” policies have no place here.”
Mike Ceraso






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