Readers comments 3.29.13

Shelve the candy hunt

Dear Editor:

As a citizen of Claremont, I am totally baffled that the city would allow a candy hunt. I have never heard of this politically correct phrase before with regard to spring and Easter—excuse the horrific word “Easter”—celebration.

The city should not allow a bunch of kids to run around ruining the grass at Memorial Park, which could get messed up plus some of it may have to be replanted after the candy is discovered.

Whatever happened to Claremont’s sustainability issue? Besides children should not be eating candy. They should be eating only plant-based foods from local farms. Where the heck are their parents regarding this issue? Haven’t they heard about the obesity problems in this country?

Why not ditch the whole thing and not spend the money and put it to more important use.

The city is hurting for money and it should get rid of the so-called “Spring Celebration.” Better yet, set aside the money or donate it to the Occupy Claremont people to use however they see fit.

Jacqueline Mahoney


[Editor’s note: The city’s candy hunt and spring celebration begins promptly at 9 a.m. at Memorial Park tomorrow. Kids, get your baskets. —KD]


An unwelcome welcoming

Dear Editor:

Yesterday afternoon a friend and I decided to go for a walk at a location we have been enjoying for years. Upon our arrival at approximately 5:20 p.m., we noticed posted signs regarding a new parking fee to be imposed effective April 1, 2013.

As we approached, we commented to each other about all of the improvements in the area and how nice it looked compared to our previous visits. Admittedly, we have not used the trail in some time. 

We continued through the gate and proceeded on our hike. Along the way, we stopped to look at a baby rattle snake and also to rest and to enjoy the view at top of the trail. These events proved to be a mistake because when we returned to leave, several police officers were at the gate issuing tickets for not leaving the park before closing. There were at least 50 hikers in line to receive the ticket.

As the sun went down and it got darker and colder, they called for reinforcements to help move the line along. We counted 7 officers involved in this ridiculous show. Yes, there is a sign at the gate with hours posted. But really? A $50 ticket for stopping to enjoy the view and being 10 minutes late?

We won’t be using the trail again. Perhaps they should close the park at 5:30 p.m. if they want you to be out by 6:30 p.m.. In fact, there is a good chance I won’t be in Claremont any time soon. Do they really need the money that badly?

Ex-Claremont consumer,

Gary T. Griffen



Guns in the world

Dear Editor:

I am concerned about the opposition to gun control and am aware of the argument that it is a Constitutional right to bear arms. That provision in the Constitution has to do with the militia, and now with police protection I do not believe it applies to the general population. Also laws need to be studied and contextualized.

I also am aware of the statement, “Guns don’t kill, people do.” Unfortunately, a weapon is often needed and, when one that can kill many in a matter of seconds is available, it is often the choice made.

As a missionary in Japan for 40 years I can testify to the safety of living in a nation that has strict gun laws. Hunting rifles are allowed, but all other guns are not. When I was the director of a telephone counseling service in Tokyo, I often took a night shift, which meant that I arrived at the nearest station to my home at 11 p.m. I had a 20 minute walk with no fear. The number of deaths by guns is minuscule compared to our record in the US, which is more than those killed in battle.

Do Japanese gangsters acquire guns? Yes, of course. But the number of guns in the country is very small. Police carry guns that are covered so it is difficult to grab one. They are seldom used and when they are the public protests. I don’t believe we ever had news of police wrongfully killing innocent victims.

In war, the Japanese were armed and committed terrible crimes. In last night’s news I heard that over 200 of our soldiers in Korea have committed terrible crimes and are often not punished as they are tried by the military, not the Korean government. The crimes are probably often not by guns but are violent. We teach soldiers to be violent, a necessity in war.

In a conversation with Norwegian friends when they were here last summer, I learned that the number of deaths by guns in Norway is one-tenth per capita of that in the US. The news about the killing of many by a young man in Norway was a rare occurrence.

I am afraid that a law banning assault weapons is not going to help that much as there are so many guns already in circulation, but I believe we have to start somewhere.

Miriam Olson



True value

Dear Editor:

Admittedly, I’ve never been one to get involved with local politics. However, when I was notified of the possible removal of many of the 110 mature pine trees in The Club neighborhood, I felt compelled to act.

Much of my concern sprung from the fact that the home my husband and I purchased in The Club in 2006 has decreased in worth by more than 40 percent following the economic downturn that began in 2008. One of the reasons we chose to buy a home in this community was its rich canopy of mature trees. The US Forest Service, for example, says healthy, mature trees add an average of 10 percent to a property’s value.

I first spoke out at the city’s Tree Committee meeting on January 28 simply because my family cannot afford to lose any further. But what I quickly discovered is that this issue is about so much more. What is truly at stake here is “value.”

The value of wildlife. The value of clean air. The value of shade. The value of our homes. The value of our community. The value of our city’s urban forest.

Myself and another concerned residents walked the streets, talked to our neighbors and found many of them felt the same way. In just a few hours on a Sunday, we collected 43 signatures on a petition urging the city to uphold its current tree policy, which calls for a tree’s removal only when its health or stability is jeopardized to repair hardscape.

These initial efforts eventually led to the formation of the grassroots effort Protect Claremont Trees and the collection of nearly 250 signatures from residents throughout the city, who believed the proposed “Tree Replacement Program” would set a damaging precedent for the future of Claremont’s mature trees.

On Tuesday night, the Claremont City Council voted unanimously to instruct the Community and Human Services Department to adhere to city’s Tree Policy Guidelines, not only in the initial phase of hardscape and tree maintenance for The Club neighborhood, but in all future phases as well.

On behalf of myself and my fellow community members who devoted their time and energy to this cause, I sincerely thank Mayor Opanyi Nasiali and our city council members for listening to concerns on both sides and thoughtfully considering this complex issue until the late hour of 11 p.m. By continuing to uphold their important role as “guardians” of Claremont’s forest, it reinforces the multi-faceted value of trees to our city.

What I have realized is that this is the first step toward protection and preservation of Claremont’s mature trees as well as saplings that are just beginning to spread their branches.

In nurturing our urban forest to best preserve it for generations, we need to ask: What constitutes an appropriate street tree? How do we account for the inadequacy of relying on individual homeowners to properly water city trees? What are appropriate standards for tree trimming? How might we restore the position of arborist to the city’s staff to ensure the strategic, long-term development and protection of our treescape amidst hardscape repair?

As the mother of 2 young boys, I feel an important obligation to do whatever I can to make certain the Claremont they grow up in and call home will always remain a city of trees. I invite other concerned residents to join us in doing everything we can to make this possible. There is still much to be done.

Emily Cavalcanti



Just the facts, ma’am?

Dear Editor:

The following 3 paragraphs are excerpts from the ACLU of Arizona webpage. 

“The court ruled that the NVRA-mandated mail-in federal voter registration form must be accepted by Arizona election officials, even if the applicants do not provide the US citizenship documents required by Proposition 200.”

“The rejected proof of citizenship provision was one component of Proposition 200, which passed in 2004. That provision required documentary proof of citizenship for all new voter registrants in Arizona and has resulted in the rejection of tens of thousands of voter registration forms.”

“The court’s decision in the Arizona case recognizes Congress’ broad powers to govern registration procedures for federal elections, and will enable poor, elderly and minority voters to once again avail themselves of voter registration drives and the mail-in registration process without the cost, procedural hassles and privacy concerns that go along with mailing in copies of birth certificates or other evidence of citizenship.”

The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan political organization encouraging the informed and active participation of citizens in government. It influences public policy through education and advocacy.

Ellen Taylor, as the VP of the LWV of the Claremont Area it would be wise in the future to be more specific when you urge voters to agree with the LWV positions. Important facts are missing in most of your letters. You write often to the COURIER about issues dealing with voters’ rights, air quality, equality, women’s rights and gun control.

I don’t believe you are non-partisan.  You clearly have a personal agenda and are relentless in steering your “claims” without including “facts.” Without specific facts to substantiate your claims you are perceived as being insignificant and irresponsible.

What was challenged in Arizona has to do with proof of US citizenship and proper qualifications to vote. Many Americans believe we should prove to be “non-felon” United States citizens in order to vote. People rarely want to make voting unavailable to the elderly, poor and minority, however, many of us believe all voters should be United States citizens.

Dennis McDonough



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