Readers comments 8.11.12

Political culture

Dear Editor,

    Thank you for the Almanac. It is a timely and refreshing antidote to the negative letters that have appeared in the Courier lately.

    It is clear that Michael Valentine and Joe Farrell dislike the political culture of Claremont, and they take it very personally. Of course, it is unpleasant to be in the political minority, but no one has a monopoly on that experience of frustration. We’ve all been there.

    Mr. Farrell’s opponents on measure CL certainly suffered the agony of defeat in 2010. And many of us in Claremont have endured several decades without any acceptable congressmen or state legislators. Presidents, governors and city council members have been a mixed lot. That’s politics: win some, lose some.

    Sometimes it gets personal. Mr. Farrell is offended by Peter Weinberger’s suggestion that Mr. Valentine could move to another city if life in Claremont is so intolerable to him. In response, Mr. Farrell launches a grossly insensitive counterattack, which indicates a stunning lack of cognizance that Peter Weinberger’s comment is perfectly reasonable, and understandable, in light of Mr. Valentine’s criticism of Mr. Weinberger’s father, who died last July. That is not an insignificant detail.

    Ironically, Mr. Farrell considers himself a significant victim of unfair treatment, possibly because so many people in Claremont tend to disagree with his politics, and don’t want to vote for him.

    Mr. Farrell’s approach to public discourse might be part of the problem. In his tirade against what he perceives as a locally prevalent “love it or leave it” attitude, Mr. Farrell equates disgruntled Claremonters with women suffragettes, blacks in the South during the 1960s, anti-war protesters and gays. This stretch for common cause is absurdly over the top, as well as hypocritical. Conservative politicians, such as Mr. Farrell, have historically rejected the political aspirations of each of those groups. Most Claremont voters know that, and are not so easily fooled.

    Are people who disagree with Mr. Farrell automatically “snobs” for expressing opinions, as he implies?  There are snobs, and slobs, everywhere, but is that really so important? The substance of political debate matters more than superficial labels. In any case, sincere thanks to the Courier for continuing to provide a public forum for all views. 

Dave Nemer



Island of civility

Dear Editor:

    I could be wrong.

    But the first time I heard the description, referring to Claremont, “Island of civility in a sea of slobs,” was more than 40 years ago in the old Courier office on Harvard Avenue in the Village.

    Martin Weinberger, the late, great editor of the Courier, recounted to me then that certain anonymous wags had coined the saying in an earlier generation.  I did not get the impression that the pithy aphorism was Martin’s, as he was always quick to attribute what needed attribution and was ornery enough to have taken pride in the statement were it his of which to be proud.

    Yes, Mr. Valentine has dredged up a chestnut, if you will, from over 40 years ago. 

    With just a tad more effort, perhaps he might be able to recite what juicy stuff Richard Nixon (not a crook) had to say about our good Congressman Jerry Voorhis in 1946. Inquiring minds here in the Athens of the Inland Empire would like to know.

    A memory is a terrible thing to waste.

    I could be wrong.

Michael Bever



Curves for Women

Dear Editor,

    It is a great loss to Claremont that Curves for Women has been squeezed out of business by practices of the central corporation. As a regular attendee for 13 years, I witnessed management that produced a community center for women in Claremont. Hours were adapted to accommodate everyone, from mothers who came in after their children were off to school to women whose work schedules only allowed exercise time in the early morning or late afternoon and early evening. 

    Encouragement and direction in healthy dieting were offered. New approaches such as Zumba were included.  Music and conversation were constant companions. Women from Curves recognized each other all about town because of our half-hours of exercise together. All this came about because of superlative management and staff. 

    It is sad that the controlling corporate body of Curves has been losing its sense of mission in the United States. Thanks, Dana and Dianne and all who improved the lives of women via Curves.

Aimee Elsbree



Raising city speed limits

Dear Editor,

    Having recently relocated to Claremont, and to Radcliffe between Indian Hill and Mills in particular, I am very concerned about the city’s plan to raise the speed limit on this stretch of road, and not just for my family’s safety. Speeds traveled along this roadway are excessive. So far, we have not seen one ticket issued. Many people and especially children and families use this street to walk and bike to and from Cahuilla and Chaparral parks and Chaparral School and the high school. Changing the limit on this street would not help slow traffic and would likely encourage faster driving for some.

    The reason speeds are so high is likely due to several things including street width, lack of speed limit signage and lack of enforcement. Where cars do slow down is midblock where the 25 mph speed limit sign is posted. Another is the severe bend in the road.     

    Both the bend and the proximity to the schools and parks in the area are enough to allow a variance to the state guideline. Incidentally, many state guidelines are ignored by local municipalities. I have to wonder why this one, created decades ago and mostly for highways, is all of a sudden being taken so seriously. Furthermore, since the 210 construction, Radcliffe and Scripps are an alternative to the better-patrolled Baseline, for commuters exiting the freeway. The bottom line is that raising the speed limit does not help and more likely will put our families at further risk.

    There are other solutions that will protect both motorists and pedestrians. For instance, there are similar stretches of street near parks and schools in South Pasadena where we lived before this, and rather than raise the speed limit where cars were driving too fast, the city installed traffic-slowing measures, even shared bike lanes, to help ensure the safety of city residents. Claremont is a similarly family-oriented small town, whose residents pride themselves on the city’s walkability and public safety. Why aren’t we doing the same? Increasing speed limits to “conform to state guidelines”—despite any real state pressure to conform, and despite any proof that tickets are being fought and dismissed by the courts, seems negligent at best, and is a waste of tax payer dollars and staff time. Do the right thing, don’t conform to outdated and dangerous guidelines.

Drew Ready


Trip down memory lane

Dear Editor:

    I have really enjoyed your coverage of the city. I love the COURIER.  I probably saved this because my neighbors were in the pictures. My last high school graduate was in 2011. I’ve enjoyed your pictures from the past this summer. I thought you’d enjoy this very timely group of kindergartners pictured in the paper in 1999. I found a few recent grads in the bunch last seen on the CHS theater stages.

Beverly Kottkomp



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