Readers comments 8.30.13
The soundtrack of our lives
I was proud to have been a part of Anne Carlson’s article, “The Soundtrack of Our Lives,” in the new COURIER Almanac, which speaks to the vitality of the music scene here in Claremont. There has been a long tradition of a vibrant and interactive musical family that has increased and prospered over the last half century. Claremont has grown, and with that, so has its ability to support and nurture the ever-expanding Claremont musical community.
Internet speed (or lack of)
Typical Internet download speed in my neighborhood is 0.25 Mbps and upload speed even lower, unless I subscribe to Time Warner Cable.
Yesterday, my service with Verizon was down for several hours. Thanks to regional monopolies organized, no doubt, by powerful communication company lobbyists, access to the Internet in the 21st century in portions of Claremont is disgraceful. One more indication that government is for the few.
I’m told telephone lines are meant only for telephone service and there is no fibre-optic cable in my area. And, as is usual with monopolies, Time Warner Cable service is costly and from complaints I have read, customer service is less than satisfactory.
Verizon advised me that there is nothing they can do to improve DSL because the telephone lines are outdated. The California Public Utilities Commission doesn’t just control our water rates; members decide, together with the FCC, who among us gets to purchase decent telephone service. Shouldn’t municipalities be responsible for laying fibreoptic cable as an infrastructure investment to be repaid by user taxes collected by phone companies, all of which will offer competitive pricing and service?
Europe is way ahead of the US in implementing new communications technology. In the UK, there are no regional monopolies and I am told fiberoptic service is available from numerous phone companies.
Although I don’t know whether it is nationwide, I do know that towns much smaller and poorer than Claremont are “wired.” Additionally, thanks to local competition, the cost is only $15 a month and “bundles” aren’t required to access the Internet at this price.
The United States should be at the forefront in implementing new technology, but it won’t happen unless the government breaks up these special interest arrangements. In your dreams—nothing will improve unless citizens get riled up enough to force change.
It’s yes on Ojai water!
On August 27, voters in Ojai, by an 87 percent margin, chose to tax their property to buy out Golden State Water Company.
Ojai is a small town of about 7,500 east of Ventura. Under GSWC, their water rates are over twice those in nearby cities. Ojai residents were letting their yards go brown. They just couldn’t take it anymore. The campaign against the takeover sounds very familiar: articles about a “water grab;” warnings about how much more rates would go up if we have a takeover. We heard the same thing about Felton, another small town that bought out their private water system.
GSWC says they were sorry they did, but a quick check on the Internet shows that’s not so. Although it costs a typical water user about $600 a year to pay for the takeover, there was an actual net saving of $400 per year. Felton residents are pleased with the outcome.
Ojai gets almost all its water from local wells. That water costs much less than water that must be imported. Here in Claremont, imported water is about 5-times as expensive as well water, and a third to a half of our water is imported. Yet typical Claremont water bills for the same amount of usage are lower than in Ojai. No wonder Ojai revolted. But our water is no bargain. Our high Claremont rates are close to twice those in neighboring La Verne, and have more than doubled in the last 5 years. “Claremont Outrage” rose up to protest. Our city council is negotiating a takeover from GSWC. Will Claremont follow in Ojai’s footsteps? We should know before long.