Readers comments 11.3.12

Teachers support Prop 30

Dear Editor:

We are voting yes on Proposition 30 because we believe our students do not deserve another $6 billion in cuts to education.

We are voting yes on Proposition 30 because we believe our students should not suffer the effects of attending under- funded schools, in class sizes too big for quality learning and while spending fewer days at school.

We are voting yes on Proposition 30 because we believe our students should not bear the burden of a current economic downturn as they make their way toward their futures.

We are voting yes on Proposition 30 because we care deeply about the success of our students.

We stand with the Claremont Unified School District School Board and the city of Claremont in voting yes on Proposition 30. Please join us!

Sycamore teachers

Talia Bowman                        Kelly Diaz

Lydia Hernandez            Lenora Hester

Melissa Jackson           Lynne LeForge

Anna Sanchez                 Lisa Schuster

Leslie Wallace


Vote yes on Prop 37, for the right reasons

Dear Editor:

I will vote yes on Prop 37 for labeling genetically-modified foods as I think there are environmental concerns with GM plants, such as development of “super weeds.” Given a choice, I don’t want to buy into this.

That said, as a biologist, I remind people of a few facts: One, we eat “foreign”DNA all the time, along with proteins and etcetera, in fresh foods. Two, the DNA of all living organisms is biochemically identical—not just similar, identical. Third, the Bt “pesticide” produced in some GM plants is one of hundreds of naturally occurring compounds that plants and other organisms use to defend themselves. We consume these regularly.

Hence, the term “Frankenfood” is grossly misleading and 99 percent ridiculous. All GM foods are tested, as they should be, and full transparency here is a must. People with food allergies must be careful with all foods. Otherwise, GM foods generally carry the same risk as all foods, which is never zero. The ubiquity of BPA (bis-phenol A) and other endocrine disruptors is a thousand fold greater public health hazard.

Perhaps food companies wouldn’t be so opposed to labeling GM foods if they weren’t so vilified by food alarmists. There are reasons to vote yes on Prop 37 and to buy organic food, but the red franken-herring that destroyed the world isn’t one of them.

Leo Kretzner, PhD



Romney’s unsensible taxes

Dear Editor:

Mr. Grannis’ letter of October 31 defending Willard Mitt Romney’s smoke- and-mirror tax policy provides nothing new. The tax cuts proposed by candidate Romney would disproportionately benefit the wealthy. By another name this is trickle down economics and it has been sold to the American people for a long time, and has also been called Regonomics or Supply Side Economics.

The theory goes like this: Give wealthy people or big business a tax break and they will spend the money on offering more jobs to get more people working and paying taxes. The problem is, it simply doesn’t work. In fact, in 2005 the Congressional Budget Office completed a study that disproves the theory. It doesn’t work because wealthy people and big business do not necessarily spend the money on increasing employment, or spend the money at all.

If you own a business and simply get more money would that trigger you to hire another worker? The answer that most business owners would give is no. So when do business owners hire more workers? When there is a need. When there is a higher demand for their products or services. Demand and not supply is what is lacking in our economy today.

Put another way, if a person worth $300 million is given $10,000 or even $100,000, what will they do with that money? How much impact would that money have on their spending habits? They won’t likely run out and buy a new car or television. The impact on the economy is limited.

What happens when you give $500 to a bunch of people that make only $30,000 a year? What impact does that money have on their spending habits?  Study after study shows that the money is spent almost immediately. The impact on the economy is real because demand is increased.

So how do you get more money into the hands of people that have little to no money? Well, one way is to provide them with jobs rebuilding roads, bridges, power grids, and other needed projects.  The construction workers that have been hit the hardest in this economy should be employed providing infrastructure for the whole country, improving our economy while investing in the future.

We could also employ more teachers, firefighters, police officers, border patrol agents and other government jobs. These workers would buy cars, clothes, go out to dinner, go to the movies and help to provide even more jobs.

Trickle down, or supply side economics, has been tried and tested for many years. We are currently seeing the effects of the Bush tax cuts on the economy. Where are the jobs? Are we really only one more tax cut away from economic prosperity? 

After many years of trying trickle down the result has been the concentration of wealth at the top and the shrinking of the middle class. Not the America that most of the country wants.

Pam Stevenson



Yes on Measure J

Dear Editor:

It disappoints me greatly that our city council has chosen to take a stance against Measure J, the extension of the dedicated sales tax to fund transportation projects in Los Angeles County.

Let us be clear that this is not a tax increase, but merely an extension of the period in which the tax is collected so as to increase the amount of money that can be raised in the near term by issuing bonds and borrowing from the Federal Government via the TIFIA program.

Transportation is a regional issue that affects all communities in the county, including Claremont. We are lucky to have the Claremont Depot that now boasts 42 Metrolink regional rail departures each weekday in addition to service on weekends. These trains connect Claremont to Union Station in Los Angeles which in turn has become a place from which more and more of the region’s cultural attractions, job centers and other destinations are now accessible.

While it is disappointing that the Gold Line Foothill Extension may not be reaching Claremont as a part of the original Measure R package or this extension, it will soon be terminating 11 miles closer than it does now, which opens up the possibility of having Foothill Transit operate all-day express bus service to the new terminus in Azusa, in place of the current rush-hour-only express service to Pasadena that Claremont now enjoys. That will give Claremont significant increased mobility along the 210 corridor.

And please, let’s place the blame as to why construction of a light rail line to Claremont is being delayed where it really belongs: Projected ridership numbers and federal-funding-realities that will not allow Metro and/or the independent Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority to obtain anywhere near the oft-touted 80 percent matching federal funds; Rail transit systems have not been funded at those levels by Washington, DC for a very long time. Focus on proving the Gold Line’s ridership forecasts out to Azusa first and an extension to Montclair will certainly follow.

Claremont saw close-at-hand impact that rising gasoline prices had on both the local economy and the ability of local residents to avoid foreclosure as they increasingly had to choose between making their mortgage payment and filling the tank.

Measure J speeds up both improvements to the existing freeway network (such as completing I-710 which will in turn remove Port trucks from I-210 east of Pasadena) and extension of the transit network so that more trips to and from Claremont can be achieved without a car. Gasoline isn’t getting any cheaper anytime soon.

We are already getting a return on our decision in 2008 as anyone who uses the Expo Line will tell you. Please think about our region’s needs now and in the future and vote yes on Measure J

Erik Griswold



Wither America

Dear Editor:

I find myself looking forward to this year’s election with anticipation, trepidation, exhilaration and apprehension. Let there be no doubt about it, this nation is at a crossroads. One road leads to tyranny, the other road back toward liberty. This election will determine which road Americans choose to follow.

For the sake of clarity, let’s look back over the last 4 years and ask ourselves, Do we really want 4 more years of this?:

Real GDP only 3 percent higher now than in 2008 (per US Dept. of Commerce; that’s really bad); $5, or is it now $6 trillion of additional national debt (it’s hard to keep track; rising $35,600 every second); 43 months of national unemployment over 8 percent (California’s above 10 percent); 47 million people now on food stamps (up almost 50 percent); The largest federal government power grab, ever. (Obamacare); Guns “walking” across the border to Mexican drug cartels to murder hundreds of Mexicans, and one US border patrol agent (Fast and Furious; Brian Terry); 4 American diplomats killed in Benghazi, Libya (while the President watched, dawdled, went to Las Vegas for a fundraiser, and still won’t tell us why help wasn’t sent).

Sadly, this is only an abbreviated list.

Bottom line, we can’t survive 4 more years of Barack Obama. At this crossroads, to bring us back from the precipice, the only prudent choice for America is Mitt Romney (and a Republican Congress).

Douglas Lyon



Scrambling Food

Dear Editor:

The engineers who inserted the DNA bacterial gene, Bt, into corn assumed the corn would produce nothing but a poison for the insects feeding on it.

However, in addition to the insect-killing protein, the Bt gene could give birth to other proteins with unpredictable behavior and possibly toxic effects on human health and nature.

Genetic engineers also constructed the workhorse of their ambition, what makes genetic engineering so deceptively appealing to farmers and especially to companies like Monsanto with the vision of controlling the world’s food supply: food crops that remain harmless from the killing power of certain weed killers. That way, a perfect marriage of pesticides and food seals the perpetuity of pesticides.

In order to reach such heights, genetic engineers take genes from one species and shoot them into the genes of another. They willfully ignore that, in nature, genetic material moves freely only within a single species. Butterflies don’t mate with fish.

This manipulation of nature strikes home because it affects the food we eat.

According to “GMO Myths and Truths,” a June 2012 report of Earth Open Source, a nonprofit British science organization, genetic engineering is not precise or predictable and “has not been shown to be safe.” GM crops “have shown clear signs of toxicity in animal feeding trials—notably disturbances in liver and kidney function and immune responses.”

In summary, the GM crops:

“Are laboratory-made, using technology that is totally different from natural breeding methods, and pose different risks from non-GM crops”; “Can be toxic, allergenic or less nutritious than their natural counterparts”; “Are not adequately regulated to ensure safety”; “Do not increase yield potential [of crops]”; “Do not reduce pesticide use but increase it”; “Create serious problems for farmers, including herbicide-tolerant ‘superweeds,’ compromised soil quality, and increased disease susceptibility in crops”; “Have mixed economic effects”; “Harm soil quality, disrupt ecosystems, and reduce biodiversity”; “Do not offer effective solutions to climate change”; “Are as energy-hungry as any other chemically-farmed crops”; and “Cannot solve the problems of world hunger but distract from its real causes—poverty, lack of access to food and, increasingly, lack of access to land to grow it on.”   

Despite the threat behind the inoculation of food crops with alien DNA genes, 6 genetic engineering companies (Monsanto, BASF, DuPont, Bayer, Syngenta and Dow) and 6 countries (the United States, Brazil, Argentina, India, Canada and China) are leading the way in making the world a field for the genetically modified or “transgenic” crops—fast.

Genetic engineering companies sell farmers’ seeds. But, more importantly, that the entire enterprise of scrambling the genetic stuff of food gives the owners of this technology the potential ownership of food all over the world.

For this reason, the traits of the seeds have nothing to do with feeding the world or making agriculture more productive and less toxic.

Don M. Huber, emeritus professor of plant pathology at Purdue University, says the genetic engineering of crops is more like “a virus infection than a normal breeding process.” He worries that we are so “willing…to sacrifice our children and future generations for this massive genetic engineering experiment that is based on flawed science and failed promises just to benefit the bottom line of a commercial enterprise.”

The least we can do is require the labeling of GM food. Like the Europeans, Americans deserve to know what they are eating.

Californians have a choice to approve Proposition 37 this Tuesday and guide Americans in finding their way out of the scrambling of their food.

Evaggelos Vallianatos



Elect Obama

Dear Editor:

Tuesday is election day! This is an important election, as each candidate for president offers the American people an entirely different vision of the future.

It is my view that President Obama has earned a second term. He has shown a steady hand in the most trying of circumstances.

We tend to forget how horrible things were when President Obama was sworn in. America was on the precipice of a Great Depression. September of 2008 saw the worst crash since 1929 with thousands upon thousands of Americans losing their jobs, and we had negative growth as a result. This did not just happen in America but in many parts of the world.

Immediate actions were taken by President Obama to stop the bleeding and then he set in motion the necessary steps for an economic recovery and to correct the abuses that caused the Great Recession.

It has not been an easy journey and the world is struggling to recover. If there were easy answers, someone would have come up with the solution to what has gone wrong, but no one has. The economy has shown signs of better times to come.

The president has also earned another term by ending a war in Iraq and setting in motion the return of our troops from Afghanistan. He has also brought to justice the man who was responsible for 9/11.

President Obama’s opponent is someone who no one knows. Former Governor Romney is a mystery to all of us. What does he believe in and what would he do? If one would believe him from his campaign for the nomination, he would bring back the economic policies that gave America the Great Recession.

Mr. Romney would give us another tax cut that would put us further in debt and he would get rid of regulations, the very regulations that were voted on and passed to end the abuses that caused the economich crisis. One shouldn’t give the keys to the car back to the person or persons who put us in the ditch to begin with just because we haven’t gotten completely free of the problems yet.

Mr. Romney has shown the propensity to say anything to win and has not shown the moral character necessary for the job that is the most difficult in the world, President of the United States.

For these brief reasons I humbly submit my recommendation for President Obama to be re-elected.

Gar Byrum









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