Time heals some wounds; special election price tag confirms its idiocy

by Mick Rhodes | editor@claremont-courier.com

As regular readers of this column are no doubt all too aware, I’ve been candid about my long, sometimes meandering mental health journey over the past several years. Over this time I’ve held some of my fraught, fractured relationships to the light, taking responsibility when needed, imagining better scenarios, and sharing strategies I’ve found for dealing with trauma and loss.

Well, I am happy to report that over the holidays the most painful of those fissures was mended over pie and coffee at Norm’s. I waited a long time for this, setting boundaries, (eventually) sticking to them, and learning to be lovingly consistent. I’m here to report these things can work. They did for me — for us.

It’s a burden I’ve carried for a long time, one I’m so very grateful to set down.

I see now “waiting it out” was the only road forward. It turns out reacting to provocation — a mistake I spent years repeating — is a waste of time, unless you count a decade of anxiety and gray hair proliferation, in which case it was worthwhile.

I share this today to offer hope to others who, like me, may be wondering if their own troubled relationships are capable of restoration. If mine can change, so can yours. People grow. Perspectives evolve.

Time does not, as we’ve always heard, “heal all wounds,” but it sure makes them less tender. The scars, it seems, need time to settle. At least that’s how it worked for me — for us.


How to waste half a million dollars

Word arrived over the holidays that the price tag for the special election foisted upon Claremont Unified School District last July by a small group of shortsighted residents — 102 to be exact — was actually much higher than the pre-election estimate of $273,000. The final tally? A whopping $490,387. Yes, you read that right: nearly half a million dollars poured down the drain.

A half-million dollars buys a lot of iPads. That’s a few teachers’ yearly salaries, a load of textbooks, and plenty of student extracurriculars.

As I wrote repeatedly, both before the petition to compel was finalized, and in the run up to the July 25, 2023 special election, what a profound waste. With news of the actual final cost, I will amend that: what an astronomical, stupid waste.

All this for a very small group to get their way, cost to taxpayers and students be damned.

It serves nobody to rehash all the reasons why the special election was a terrible idea. One does bear repeating however: hubris.

Despite the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorders office pre-election cost estimates of more than a quarter million dollars, lead special election proponent Joshua Rogers claimed repeatedly — without any supporting documentation — that the county’s quote was “far-fetched, and widely overstated, perhaps purposely so, to dissuade districts from causing everyone the trouble of holding an extra election.” Inexplicably, his baseless assertion gained traction, at least, apparently, among the 102 who signed his petition to force the election. Oopsie.

That “I am smarter than the experts” line of thinking, made widely popular by a certain former president, pervades these days. Now it has made its way to sleepy little Claremont, with disastrous effect.

What a waste.

It’s difficult to find anything to be hopeful about with respect to this debacle. Perhaps in the future Claremonters will do their homework before signing a petition to force an election of this sort. That’s all that comes to mind.


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