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Readers comments 4.19.13

Growing pains

Dear Editor:

Is it just me or does anyone else find the April 12 article on Claremont’s open spaces—which might have been more appropriately titled “The end of Claremont’s open spaces”—disturbing?

Why are “we” so excited that we are filling up most of the remaining open spaces in our city? Why is the city council approving the building? Do we really need more houses and condos here in our city just because Mr. [Brian] Desatnik says “there is certainly a demand for housing here.” Because there’s a demand,  therefore we should build more? Since when does demand dictate common sense?

More families mean more drains on resources. Water in our area is already scarce and expensive. So let’s build more housing, which will increase the demand.

In the sameApril 12 COURIER edition, another article noted we are issuing pink slips in the Claremont Unified School District due to budget cuts. More families mean more kids who will require an education, more police services, more trash services, more of everything. Does this really make sense?

Who hasn’t enjoyed strawberries from the fields off Towne and Base Line? Who hasn’t seen the rock structures on Monte Vista and Base Line and wondered about who used to live there and what they did for a living?

And what about just leaving some spaces open and unoccupied, just so we can breathe and see a piece of land with nothing on it? Shouldn’t we as a community be saying “there is certainly a demand for it here.” I think so.

Susan Stocker

Claremont

 

Quality columnists

Dear Editor:

I’m not familiar with other hometown newspapers, but I am impressed with the quality of the columns in the Claremont COURIER by Jan Wheatcroft, John Pixley, Debbie Carini and Mellissa Martinez. 

Each one covers a different topic, and each one is well-written and informative.  The Lex in the City by Ms. Martinez that covered the topic of mondegreens and eggcorns was especially interesting.

I was inspired to email parts of the column to several friends, who in turn were inspired to email back with their own mondegreens and eggcorns.

One related how her mother thought her parents were referring to the “neck store” neighbors. Another thought the wording in the song “Guantanamera,” was “once in a meadow, oh, it was once in a meadow.”

Thank you for columns that inspire laughter, thoughtful insights, wisdom and, most recently, a column that brought back memories for a bunch of high school friends.

Betsy MacLaren

Claremont

 

Small warning, hefty fine

Dear Editor:

Congratulations to the city of Claremont and its police department for developing both a clever and entirely legal method of imposing extortionate entrance fees upon unsuspecting out of town visitors. 

Not beholden to the dull and conventional practice of actually posting parking restrictions on a street, the city does make sure to post the smallest and most inconspicuous signs at the city perimeter. That tiny sign yielded $70 for 2 overnight parking tickets, certainly paying for the cost of the placard many times over.

As seen from a Google street view at the entrance of the city on Indian Hill Boulevard, the so-called sign indicating “no overnight parking” is almost hidden from view.

Especially late at night, the sign after the Indian Hill exit off of the I-10 San Bernadino Freeway is easily missed. Even if an eagle-eyed motorist does catch the sign, posted lower and away from other traffic signs, the “no overnight parking” sign could just as easily refer to the parking lot for a strip mall. This miniscule placard was the only indication of the citywide parking ordinance for the particular route I drove.

I now have gone through 2 levels of appeals with the city and filed a complaint with the police department. Each representative insisted that the citations for overnight parking were issued in an entirely legal manner. I am sure they were, and I congratulate the city for coming up with a legalized means of extortion.

However, I am particularly confused by a hearing examiner’s conclusion that “drivers are required to look for signs when parking.” Since there were no signs on the street where I parked, I wonder if out-of-town drivers are also required to look for the nonexistent or invisible signs as well?

I have gone through 2 levels of appeals and spoken with a representative of the Claremont Police Department.

Still, no one can explain how any reasonable person could believe 1) that someone coming from out of town would anticipate parking restrictions without any restrictions posted on the street, like almost every other community outside Claremont would do; 2) that such inconspicuous posting of a placard as indicated in the attached image constitutes sufficient notification; and 3) that someone from out of town should apparently be able to absorb such restrictions through osmosis or some other mysterious process of orientation.

But congratulations, city of Claremont. You have figured out a way to coerce $70 from out-of-town visitors, and you did it within the letter of the law!

Steven Carr

Fort Wayne IN

 

Electing the PUC

Dear Editor:

Water is a much broader issue than if the city of Claremont can buy back our water rights from Golden State Water. Water, the cost of water to the consumer, is going to be an increasingly serious issue to not just Claremont but to other communities and to our state, to the nation and the world as long as water is considered to be a commodity from which those who would privatize it would make a profit from it.

Water is more than just a commodity but a basic necessity of life. Monopolies used to control the cost of electricity 80- plus years ago. Franklin Roosevelt felt that electricity was a basic necessity of life and that everyone should be able to afford it. Well, there is no more of a basic necessity than water.

The price of water should never become so costly that we have to make hard choices between what we choose to eat and whether we can pay the water bill.

Not only should we be outraged by having a monopoly control the cost, but we should look to what is supposed to be a public utility commission for help.

The possibility of help from the commission is less likely to occur as long as the members of the commission are appointed and not elected. Whether or not the appointees are consumer-friendly depends on the governor appointing them. Too often, the appointments that are made are the result of political favors being repaid.

I’m sure that some of us remember when property taxes became outrageous for seniors, well the cost of water has skyrocketed over the years and our public utility commission has up until this point not seen a rate increase that they do not like.

No senior nor citizen should have the cost of water be so high that their way of life is adversely affected because of a monopoly being able to make an ever increasing profit and by the failure of the PUC to really work on the consumers behalf.

Where has the PUC been while citizens have had a surcharge to their bill added as a result of their saving on water usage? It is totally unfair to ask us to save on water usage and then want to be paid more money because the profits are reduced.

The time has come to have a publicly- elected PUC. Yes, the corrupting influence of money may result in the wrong people being elected, but then that would be our fault for electing them. We stand a much better chance of having publicly-elected PUC members be responsive to the public than if they are appointed.

Who do appointees owe their allegiance to? They are not responsive to our needs.

Gar Byrum

Claremont

 

Our bill of rights

Dear Editor:

Yet again, words are flying nationally and locally on the issue of supposed gun control and “gun violence.” Let’s begin with a little background.

In the Declaration of Independence our founders declared that our rights, our natural rights, our rights as American citizens, come from God. Meaning specifically, that our rights do not come from a king, not from a politician, not from a president, not from a congress, not from a state legislature, nor even from a city council, but from God.

The founders then codified those rights in our governing document—the Constitution—to protect them against future encroachments and infringements.   Shortly after its ratification, and necessary in order to obtain its ratification, the Constitution itself was enhanced, and our rights further emphasized and clarified with the first ten Amendments thereto, which we commonly refer to as the Bill of Rights. That is, rights that shall not be infringed by any temporary, elected body.

Now, fast forward to today. To help cut through all of the hubris and demagogery, let these assertions be submitted to a candid world:

• The Constitution is never on the ballot at election time;

• the Bill of Rights is never on the ballot;

• no particular set of election results has the power to re-write the Constitution;

• candidates are on the ballot, but never the Constitution or the Bill of Rights;

• neither the Senate, nor the House of Representatives has the authority to re-write the Constitution with a mere vote on legislation;

• just because members of Congress are physically able to write, vote on, and pass legislation does not necessarily mean that they have the Constitutional authority to do so;

• where are the public, televised hearings by all of the relevant committees and sub-committees discussing the  proposed “gun control” legislation?;

• the public hearing process is essential to the American people for understanding what their Congress is up to;

• it takes time for inside-the-beltway news to be absorbed and digested by the citizenry at-large;

• secret, back room deals a la Manchin/ Toomey are repugnant to small ‘r’ republican government.

At the moment, a lot of bloviating politicians are acting as though our Bill of Rights is only a “bill of needs”—the “needs,” of course, defined arbitrarily and capriciously by them. For example, New York governor Andrew Cuomo, “No one needs 10 bullets to kill a deer.”

But, let’s play along for just a minute with this ‘needs’ business. How about this in regard to the First Amendment? No one really needs ABC, CNN or MSNBC when we have Fox News. No one really needs the Washington Post when we have the Washington Times.

 Let there be no doubt, as soon as even one of our rights is up for grabs, then, ultimately, they’ll all be up for grabs, and at the whim of whatever mobocracy dominates the political landscape at the time.  

And, yes, this applies especially to the platitudinous goal of “solving” gun violence, which, by the way, none of the Democratic Senate’s currently-proposed legislation would have an effect on, anyway.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is the time for plain speaking. Those who talk about “needs” instead of rights evidence a totalitarian mind-set. Very different from an American mindset that holds our God-given rights—and our liberties—foremost.

Douglas Lyon

Claremont

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