Readers’ comments 5.24.13
[Editor’s note: The 250-word limit for letters to the editor continues through June 14. Thank you all for rising to the challenge. —KD]
City should settle with Pizza ‘N Such
In recent weeks, I have followed the saga of a favorite Claremont eatery—Pizza ‘N Such—and the development of parking in the Village. It seems that the owners of Pizza ‘N Such attempted to follow the rules when it comes to Village development and parking.
The expansion of Pizza ‘N Such triggered a need for more parking in the Village and the rules called for the owners to come up with the money for this development and, in turn, the city agreed to spend the money in the Village— not the West Village.
As we know, parking in the Claremont Village has become a real headache for everyone, so following the rules when it comes to parking is in everyone’s interest.
I have been a resident of Claremont for 35 years and have never seen the city act so capriciously. The guidelines for spending the money the owners of Pizza ‘N Such (Mike and Sue Verbal) forked over to the city were pretty clear—it had to be spent in the Village for parking development. Any other use of the money was forbidden, and unfair.
Yet for some reason, the city decided to spend the parking money on whatever it liked, and didn’t follow the rules. It seems to me that the Verbals have a very good case against the city. Further attempts to re-imagine past errors will only cost the city of Claremont more and more of our taxpayer money.
Do the citizens of Claremont really want our elected officials treating Village merchants in this off-hand manner? Isn’t following the rules what Claremont is all about? How does violating a contract with a business, which has been a favorite of thousands of Claremonters, square with “Claremont values?”
This entire episode is likely to embarrass the city manager, the mayor, the city council and all elected officials associated with Claremont, unless it is settled now. The longer the city fails to settle this dispute and makes claims that are not supported by the facts, the more this will cost every citizen of Claremont when a jury decides against Claremont and awards the owners of Pizza ‘N Such not only their original parking money back, but damages as well.
The message from the citizens to the Claremont should be loud and clear—wake up!
Peter L. Coye
S 744 and the social safety net
Ellen Taylor’s letter says nothing about the effect of S 744 on low-skilled, low-paid American workers or its effect on the US social safety net [COURIER, May 17]. The premise of “Comprehensive Immigration Reform” is that the US needs more foreign workers and would benefit from an increase in immigration. That assumption is questionable. Here is what liberal economist Paul Krugman has written on this matter:
“It’s intellectually dishonest to say…that immigrants do ‘jobs that Americans will not do.’ The willingness of Americans to do a job depends on how much that job pays—and the reason some jobs pay too little to attract native-born Americans is competition from poorly paid immigrants.” (New York Times/ March 27, 2006).
“…while immigration may have raised overall income slightly, many of the worst off native-born Americans are hurt by immigration—especially immigration from Mexico. Because Mexican immigrants have much less education than the average American worker, they increase the supply of less-skilled labor, driving down the wages of the worst paid Americans.” (New York Times/March 27, 2006).
“Basic decency requires that we provide immigrants, once they’re here, with essential health care, education for their children, and more. Unfortunately, low-skill immigrants don’t pay enough taxes to cover the cost of the benefits they receive.” (New York Times/March 27, 2006)
“Open immigration can’t exist with a strong social safety net. If you are going to assure health care and a decent income to everyone, you can’t make that offer global.” (New York Times/April 26, 2010).
Grasping at straws
House Republicans are again holding staged hearings about the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
The Benghazi attack was not unusual: 13 such events happened while George W. Bush was president. Approximately 100 people were killed in those attacks on our embassies and consulates, and many others were injured. Where was the Republican indignation over those events? Why didn’t they condemn Bush for not providing enough military forces to repel the attackers? They now try to blame the Obama administration for inadequate security, although they cut the state department’s budget.
They also allege that his administration intentionally lied about who the attackers were. Remember that on the very same night, our embassies and consulates were being attacked in several Muslim countries because of outrage at the slander of Mohammed by an American Muslim-hating film maker. It took a while to figure out who the Benghazi attackers were, and government agencies avoided jumping to conclusions.
Nevertheless, according to the Washington Post, immediately after the attack, the president used the phrase “act of terror” 3 times in public statements.
With Congress’ approval ratings in the dumps, and with the American public turning against Republican intolerance and obstruction, Republicans in Congress are grasping at straws. They would rather smear the president and the state department than repair their own reputation by voting the way the majority of the public wants, even when it’s a 90 percent majority, as it is on background checks for gun sales.
Regarding gun control, all I hear is constant blether about “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” How come no one speaks about “a well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state?”
The only well-regulated militias I know of here are the National Guard and several well-armed and well-trained “patriot” groups. In Switzerland, the government issues rifles to all able-bodied males who then serve as that country’s militia and maintain its security.
If the gun nuts want to consider themselves a militia, then they should expect to be well-regulated, which would include training and thorough background checks. I don’t see how any thinking congressperson could interpret Article II of the Bill of Rights any differently.
Kenneth E. Hunter
District office art installation
Recently, Claremont Unified School District received a remarkable gift from a generous anonymous donor. The gift is a piece of art that is now hanging in the lobby of the district office.
Designed by Dr. Ken Johnson and executed by students with special needs in Molly Goodreau’s class at Claremont High School, the art was first seen by our donor at the Fairplex ArtReach show in March. Believing it should be seen by a wider audience, he started the process to bring the art to the district office for permanent installation.
I would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank the generous and thoughtful donor. Not only did he fund this project, he brought a sense of pride and accomplishment to a group of wonderful students. They are gifted young people who have found a voice in this art.
I would like to invite and encourage the community to visit the district office and see this wonderful, 3-dimensional work of art. It now hangs on the wall of the lobby of the District Office at 170 W. San Jose Ave., and it makes me smile every time I see it.
Mary Caenepeel, president
Claremont Unified School Board
We Americans like to look down our noses at the “corruption” in other countries while, in fact, our political system is for sale to the corrupting influence of big donors. Don’t think this affects you? Think again.
Just look at the favorable tax rates (15 percent) for venture capitalists and large investors, subsidies to big polluters and not one Wall Street executive jailed for nearly collapsing our economy in 2007 to 2009. These huge favors for the investor class happened at the same time that pre-schooling, public education, transportation infrastructure, underwater mortgages, incarceration rates, climate change and veterans’ backlogs have gotten worse.
As a result of these policy choices, the middle-class, working and poor in America are losing the American Dream, while the very rich are doubling and redoubling their wealth.
What amazes me is how nearly half of the otherwise-smart Americans actively vote for this slide into mediocrity to continue. They support lower taxes for the rich and disinvestment in programs that grow the middle-class. Even modest proposals to regulate banking, educate more of our children, make the total tax rate for billionaires closer to yours, fix our roads, or do anything to avoid global warming are rejected as socialism or too radical.
Our kids and grandkids will rightly ask, “Why did you pile up this debt to benefit the very rich while refusing to act on the issues that affect our futures?” Well, children, we allow corruption of our own.