Readers comments 10.4.13

Mistaken and totally wrong

Dear Editor:

This is in response to the person responsible for sending an anonymous letter to my wife, Claremont Park Ranger Pamela Stevenson, and I. We received the anonymous letter in the mail on Monday, September 23. The letter was critical of another Pam Stevenson, who has published letters in the COURIER. My wife has never written a comment or sent an editorial to the Claremont COURIER. The letter was received at our home address. The wrong address, as it was sent to the wrong Pam Stevenson.

The writer of the anonymous letter was disappointed in the comments of Pam Stevenson to the COURIER. It commented on the “liberal Democrat,” name-calling and using language such as “right wing nut jobs.” My wife was accused of being a “left wing **** *****.” 

The writer was irritated by comments made in the COURIER about Todd Starnes and Miss America, and told the other Pam Stevenson to refrain and to not “spew” out articles to the local newspaper. The writer stated that “diversity is one of the many things that makes our country exceptional,” which I thought was hypocritical. Statements were made to “quit embarrassing your husband” and that he or she “will see you driving around town in the city-owned Ranger truck again soon.” He or she claimed to be “an Independent, not a Republican or Democrat.”

Because the letter was sent to our personal address and included comments and name-calling while making reference to my wife’s work truck, we have accepted this letter as threatening. We have informed the Claremont Police Department and the city of Claremont. 

Pam and I are not “Independents.” We are pretty far right and very conservative.  We don’t tend to listen to name-callers and ill-informed people, nor do we believe the liberal or conservative spin on the news channels. Ill-informed people make bad decisions, based on bad data. This ill-informed anonymous writer, who is too scared to be upfront, has made a distinct threat. My wife and our families have been in Claremont for over 58 years.  

My wife works as a part-time city park ranger for very little pay and no benefits. She—along with all the rangers and volunteer rangers—give up weekends to deal with parking, games, coaches, beer, excrement, the homeless, animals, broken bones, fires and so much more. She and all the rangers do this, not for the pay, but because they want to.

I wish to make this very clear to the writer: I love my wife dearly and in no way has she ever embarrassed me. We also hold these truths to be self evident—all the amendments of the Constitution—including the first and the second. I will protect my wife to the fullest extent of the law and to the best of my ability. I will do this for all the Pam Stevensons in Claremont.

Robert B. Stevenson



Meeting our needs

Dear Editor:

I can only believe that our local police department has developed an intense jealousy over the Montclair Police Palace and also wants to spend tens of millions of tax dollars to have one of their own.

Why can’t our city council for once approve the least expensive approach that meets our needs instead of going along with “nothing is too good for Claremont?”

Rather than continuing to look for a developer to tear down the old Rich’s on First Street between Oberlin and Cornell,  making the parking problem even worse than it is now, how about taking a serious look at using the existing building, with appropriate modifications, for a new police facility? Everybody would be a winner.

E. Milton Wilson



School board election

Dear Editor:

I urge all voters to read the candidates’ statements included in your sample ballot for the November 5 election.

Steven Llanusa, candidate for the Claremont school board, is proposing a major change in how we draw neighborhood attendance maps. He wants to create compact, contiguous boundaries for each elementary school. This plan is very different from what we now have.

Redrawing the existing residential boundaries of the Claremont school district would have the following consequences:

• Freedom to move within the district would be greatly restricted (intra-district transfers).

• Families from outside the district who want to attend Claremont schools (inter-district transfers) would be more highly concentrated in Vista, Oakmont and Mountain View.

The fact is that certain schools are considered more desirable than others. There is no way to redefine the boundaries in favor of some neighborhoods without disadvantaging others.

The result would be less freedom of choice and greater socio-economic concentration within individual schools.

Is that what we want?

Marc Merritt



The public good

Dear Editor:

I’m writing regarding the letter written by Alice McKay in last week’s COURIER. Like Alice, I’ve had it with the ongoing fight between the city, California Water Grab and Golden State Water Company.

Like Alice, I don’t live beyond my means. I pay around the same amount as Alice every month for water, and it is by far my biggest monthly bill. It is larger than my electricity, gas, sanitation and even my cell phone and Internet service in the summer.

My parents live in Santa Fe Springs (southeast Los Angeles) and pay only $38 a month for water in summer (actually, Alice, your water bill is bad for southern California). They have a front lawn with grass and a backyard jungle full of fruits and vegetables, including persimmons, avocados, guavas, bananas, lemons, tomatoes, chili peppers and more.

What’s most peculiar about the water rates in Claremont is that they go up by over 15 percent every three years, like clockwork. That is unheard of for any utility to increase its rates that much and that often. And this is true whether you use 10 gallons or 10 million gallons a month. Not even my cell phone company or the evil Time Warner cable increases their rates that much and that often.

Like Alice, I have common sense. But on matters as important as this, I think one should do some research to have an opinion based on facts and not emotion. So I simply went online and looked at the application that Golden State filed with the government for the recent rate increase. I was absolutely shocked to find out that the number-one reason they need to raise rates so much is because their customers keep reducing their water usage! In other words, because Claremont residents are using less water than before, Golden State must raise rates to compensate. My goodness! So I guess we should tell all those rich folk with their koi ponds to increase their water usage so me, the little guy, can see lower rates.

How can people be a part of the solution when they are confused on what the problem is? The problem is that our water rates keep skyrocketing every three years, and the solution is not to reduce water usage more because that will only raise rates more. The solution is to have some say and control over our water rates and, under the current system,  that will never be the case.

Compare, for instance, the process for the recent sanitation rate increase by the city to the water rate increase by Golden State. When the sanitation rate increase was proposed, we were notified beforehand and had the ability to speak directly to the five people (our city council members) that would approve the increase. We could voice our opinions either by speaking during a city council meeting, by email or even at the Sunday Farmer’s Market and receive responses directly from them.

Compare that to the water rate increase in which Golden State never engaged with the community as to why they needed to raise rates. We don’t even know who to contact in the company to have a conversation. And the regulatory agency merely sent an inflatable boob to sit and pretend to listen to us complain without engaging in any discourse, and then they arbitrarily raised rates with no reasonable explanation. If you are okay with that process then by all means write a letter to the editor.

If my common sense tells me anything, it’s that Golden State and their public relations goons are really the ones who wrote the letter from Alice McKay, and the more I read that letter the more it is blatantly obvious. Shame on you, Golden State Water!

If there’s anyone in this story that is “the little guy,” it is all of us, the city of Claremont, up against the Goliath tyrants of Golden State, who have complete control over something that is a basic necessity of life. Right now, Golden State owns every single drop of rain or melted snowflake that flows in to Claremont, and are just waiting for the day that they can use their massive profits to buy the rights to the very air that we breathe.

This is not something we can fix by buying low-flow showerheads or re-landscaping our yards. This is about having control over the cost of a public good. And not just for our next water bill, but for the water bills of our children and all future generations.

Arnold Tuason



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