Readers comments 12.12.12

Building Bridges

Dear Editor:

I received my November 17 COURIER with the lovely photos of Bridges Auditorium. Many memories came flooding back. It was comforting to read that the auditorium is being given new life after being stagnant of a regular season for way too long.

The article stated the reality of keeping the facility functioning and the neglect it has suffered due to a limited budget. Receiving support from the Pomona College administration is important; having a budget for first-class performances is imperative. The public needs to be aware of what is involved for Bridges to be the magical performing arts center that it was in the past.

Bridges has faced many hurdles over the years in order to have presentations in the auditorium. At a close distance, I observed the highs and the lows when my father, Jay Doty, was director.

The highs were when he was able to secure contracts for certain artists, such as Arthur Rubinstein, Beverly Sills and Joan Sutherland, and Q and As with Cary Grant, Lucille Ball, Bette Davis and Carol Burnett, just to name a few. I remember those years as the magical years. At one time, there were 40 performances in a season.

The lows came with budget cuts and the economy. The 40 performances became 20 performances. The well started running dry. This was when Bridges was under Central Services with the Colleges. Evidently, it has become drier over the years.

Pomona College deserves applause for bringing life back to Bridges again. The auditorium is a jewel set in the middle of campus. It needs to be remembered for what it is, a treasure, a gift from the family of Mabel Shaw Bridges. It is time to try to bring some of the past back. Book those acts!

Janet Doty Vincze

Ann Arbor, Michigan


The public voice is the school district

Dear Editor:

I am not sure what surprised me more at the Claremont School Board’s meeting last Thursday: that the school board would try to make simply owning a gun a disciplinary offense, or that the board president ignored input from staff and the public by skipping over the entire agenda item for public comment on that issue.

Two “Core Values” of the district are: “Treat everyone with kindness, dignity, respect and equity,” and “Foster staff, parent, family, and community engagement.” I think you will agree that Board President Jeff Stark did neither.

There were several individuals prepared to speak on the proposed new policies, one of which by its expressed terms would have banned gun ownership or even motorcycle riding by district staff.

There were numerous other virtually unenforceable attempts at personal conduct regulation of employees, again off duty, including attempting to ban activity that was “dangerous” to “others.” 

When the meeting began, the board voted to table the agenda item discussing these policies until a future meeting. Board President Jeff Stark then did the unthinkable, at least to me, when he pretended that those people who wished to speak on that agenda item had nothing to say now that it was tabled. He skipped over the public comment agenda item, and ignored the staff and members of the public who came to speak on that topic.

Should the board not have listened anyway? Would staff and public input not inform their decision-making in the future, and make it better and more responsive? Would the administration not want to hear what those same folks thought before going back and re-engineering the policy? Was that “treating people with dignity and respect,” and “fostering community engagement?”  

It stunned me to see the board ignore the effort made by members of the community and its own staff to come to their meeting to express their opinion on core policies of the district.  

Simply because the board, at the last minute and without notice, decided to table a controversial policy change should not mean that they are disinterested in what people have to say on the topic. Are they never going to revisit this issue? Do they not intend to change the policy ever?

The clear message I heard was that what “you” think is not important to “us” until “we” are ready to listen, after the policy has been drafted. That is not true input; it is tolerating a difference of opinion.

School district policy should reflect the community in which it lives. Citizens, staff, parents and even students need to have input in what district policy dictates. The way current policy is created, in a closed environment by staff and then decreed from “on-high,” is the wrong way to go about it. 

Claremont tries to be progressive in so many areas, yet its school board is the last bastion of insular, closed-minded government in our community.

Joe Farrell



Camera misrepresentation

Dear Editor:

Mr. Lyon, for one who claims to be misrepresented [COURIER, December 5], it may not help your case to make assumptions about other people. But if the certain portion of the population you lump me into is moderate Republican for the last 28 years, you sure do have me pegged.

As to your distinction between an “Automated License Plate Reader” camera and officer, it is not very clear at all. The city news article of December 1 states that our cameras “track vehicles with lost or stolen plates and those linked with wanted persons, Amber Alerts or tagged as BOLO (Be on the Look Out). Sounds like this is exactly the presumption of reasonable suspicion you are looking for. The system may have the ability to do more, but Chief Cooper says there are no plans to do so.

And your statements regarding terrorists have to be the most small-minded I have ever heard. It would be interesting if the COURIER could publish images of Timothy McVeigh (Oklahoma City), Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold (Columbine), Jared Loughner (Tucson), James Holmes (Aurora), Seung-Hui Cho (Virginia Tech), Wade Page (Sikh temple) and Anders Breivik (Norway) as terrorists/murderers are not as recognizable as you imply. And do you really think the Israelis have it figured out, launching rocket attacks at buildings associated with suspects that indiscriminately kill everyone in the general vicinity? Must be nice for you to not look like a terrorist.

Bob Nichols



Warren Buffet is rich, but he’s wrong

Dear Editor:

Bob Gerecke (“Taxing the rich,” COURIER, November 28) lionizes Warren Buffett for agreeing with Democrats that the rich need to pay more. While Warren Buffett is a very smart investor, he is not an expert on tax policy nor is he well informed on fiscal policy issues.

The top 10 percent of income-earners in this country already pay over 70 percent of federal income taxes, and the top 1 percent (the rich) already pay almost 35 percent. Is that not enough? Almost half of those who work pay no federal income taxes. Is that fair? Is it healthy for so few to pay so much, and for so many to pay nothing?

When almost half the population has no skin in the game, it is easy to demonize the rich—it’s called the “tyranny of the majority.” Liberal pundits say that Californians were “courageous” to approve Prop 30, but the truth is that a majority of the population voted to significantly increase taxes on a small minority for the benefit of themselves. That’s simply craven, and also very shortsighted.

Demonizing and pillaging the rich is almost sure to backfire, to the detriment of us all. Upper-income taxpayers and most businesses in California now have a much bigger incentive to relocate to more tax-friendly states. California has become very unfriendly to the rich and to the owners of capital, and many are likely to decamp, leaving the state to impose higher tax rates on a shrinking tax base.

The UK tried the same thing a few years ago, when it raised the top tax rate on millionaires to 50 percent. Now they find that two-thirds of those millionaires have disappeared, and tax collections from the remaining have dropped by $10 billion. The rich are not stupid and they will not consent to being fleeced; they can vote with their feet.

A Los Angeles business owner today told me that “I am moving everything I can move out of California now and I cancelled negotiations on 3 California-based deals…I won’t be investing anything in California going forward. Every entrepreneur I know is doing the same thing. Prop 30 will be a disaster for the state, in my opinion.”

Most important, however, is the fact that our trillion-dollar deficits and our weak recovery have much more to do with excessive spending than with tax rates that are too low. Entitlement spending is on an unsustainable course that no amount of tax hikes can fix.

Looking to the rich to solve our problems is a fool’s game; if we don’t cut spending, we will all be ruined. Shame on Mr. Buffett for undermining his credibility for a few moments in the liberal limelight—I thought he was smarter than that.

Scott Grannis




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