Click After the storm, everything is new here to add content

by John Pixley

It was Greek to me. Almost literally. It certainly wasn’t what I had in mind.

This wasn’t what was in the calendar. (I double-checked and checked again.) This wasn’t a reading by Naomi Nye, a Palestinian-American poet and writer. Instead, last week at the Atheneum at Claremont McKenna College, I found myself looking at an endless series of graphs and listening to a lecture on economics and the intricacies of the Euro. The man was or is a deputy minister or something and had a heavy accent and a Greek name.

Like I said, it was all but Greek to me.

Expecting poetry, perhaps Persian poetry, and getting statistics is not easy. It’s a bit like sitting down to have chocolate mousse and being served toast. Not that toast is bad—it’s just not chocolate mousse. And there are those who really do prefer toast.

It’s also not unlike getting up on a frigid morning in Claremont and seeing snow so low on the foothills that it’s hard to see where it stops. There is just snow above all the roofs in town. It looks like every tree up on the hills is visible—black against white—down here in town.

And then, by the afternoon, the snow is gone. Did it really happen?

Not that I find snow on the foothills to be disconcerting like getting statistics instead of poetry. Although some may feel differently, it is certainly outside the norm in Claremont. It was all the more strange after returning from 2 unusually balmy and lovely February days in the Bay Area. That it was fleeting—gone in a few hours—made the snow all the more surreal. Whether one enjoyed it or not, it didn’t last.

In any case, as with the trees visible against the white on the hills, things are much clearer after a storm. With the sky scraped clean, we can see much farther and more sharply. Just as we know more of what we want or need after a rough time or making a mistake, like going to the wrong talk. Everything is new, with a fresh slate, another opportunity, and we can start again.

Isn’t there a Chinese character that means both danger or caution and opportunity.

We might think about this as we get ready to vote in next week’s city council election. Even though the campaign season has been bizarrely low-key, it is still an election, a time to wrestle with, if not struggle with, and work out our vision for the future.

Yes, times have been hard and money has been tight, but does this mean we have to hunker down, or can we plan for an exciting, different, sustainable future? Where is the line between being careful and being hopeful and expansive?

Or is there a line? Do they have to be 2 very different things, mutually exclusive?

One issue is the city taking over and being in charge of water distribution. Many Claremont residents are in favor of this, angry that the water company has been raising rates with no concern for the residents’ concerns. Local control, with residents having a more direct say, is a good thing, no doubt, but I hope everyone fully realizes that, if the city takes over from the water company, rates won’t go down, at least for a while. In fact, because of the expenses of the takeover, rates may be higher for some time. We should be sure that everyone is clear in moving forward on this, with the understanding that a city takeover may well not mean cheaper water.

It may or may not be a storm, but another big change, another thing that is outside the Claremont box at least as much as snow on the low foothills, is the COURIER coming out on Friday. Although I don’t know if I’d go as far as saying “What’s this world coming to?” as I did hear when the new publication schedule was announced, it does feel a bit like being naked, no longer getting the COURIER on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

For as long as I can remember, the COURIER has been published on Wednesday and Saturday, and I can hear Martin Weinberger, who was the editor and publisher for most of that time, railing against the change as well as. If not more about there being no Saturday mail delivery, the cause of the change. (I think he once wrote that this would be a shame.)

As I write this, I am looking at a new deadline. I am having to work around it and make adjustments to my schedule.

It may or may not be easy, it may or may not be what we want, but we will have to adjust. And we will adjust. In a few years, we will probably wonder what we did without a Friday COURIER.


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