Letters to the Editor: June 17, 2022
The June 10 edition of the COURIER did its usual great job of presenting different perspectives on an important public issue. In this case the precipitating subject was the gun slaughter of innocents in Uvalde, Texas.
First, was Mike Boos’ well thought out responses to the Republican and NRA disinformation and misinformation arguments against gun regulations, “Don’t be Gaslit by NRA Talking Points.” Mr. Boos offered several well-reasoned counter arguments that could be presented to any politician, gun industry propagandist, or NRA tribalist in a public debate or personal discussion.
Second, was the article, “Local Prayer Vigil Mourned Those Lost in Mass Shootings.” This perspective was long on grief but short on responsible action. Prayer is great for bleeding off personal anguish and passing responsibility on to a higher power by pleading for supernatural intercession. It also removes the burden of taking responsibility by giving those who are praying the delusion they are actually doing something about the problem. It has certainly served cowardly politicians who predictably fall back on the mantra, “Our thoughts and prayers are with you,” as they do the ‘avoid accountability’ dance.
Thank you COURIER, for two widely different perspectives on an important national issue. I think I’ll enlist with Mike Boos on this one.
Thank you Claremont COURIER!
Last week, CBS’s 60 Minutes premiered a news story titled “Headlines, Deadlines and Bottom Lines” about ‘local newsrooms strained by budget-slashing financial firms”. If you missed it, you can watch it here: https:/www.cbsnews.com/news/local-news-financial-firms-60-minutes-2022-06-12/#app
In short, the story is about a company called Alden Global Capital that is buying up all of the newspapers in the country and crippling their budgets in order to make more money at the expense of quality reporting. As stated in the story, it is the demise of American journalism and a literal ‘assault on our democracy.”
Well, thank goodness for the vision of Peter Weinberger. By taking the bold step to make the Claremont COURIER a nonprofit corporation, he has protected it from this onslaught and given the citizens of Claremont the continued availability of local news. He has gifted to the citizens of Claremont the long term health of a watchdog organization that is our eyes and ears to the democratic process in our town.
Watch the 60 Minutes story…see how lucky we are…then send a thank you to the Claremont COURIER…and maybe a donation too!
My problem with saving water is my inability to know how much I’m using. I installed today an app based meter which straps onto the existing water meter. It provides instant, minute by minute, usage.
My wife is greatly relieved that she has a target to work to; so am I.
You can find these apps on Google Play Store or Apple.
Let us reason together
We believe President Biden and Secretary of State Blinken were both wrong in excluding certain nations from this week’s important conference in Los Angeles. We recommend that in the future they channel LBJ and the Book of Isaiah from which he often cited passages with important lessons for our time. One such lesson was voiced by the words “Come, let us reason together.” We were not instructed by this great prophet that we should “Let some of us reason together,” or that we should “Reason together some of the time.”
Water…another red herring
Each time an affordable housing plan, or homeless shelter project, or permanent supportive housing development is proposed, the advocates for the no-growth/no change coalition, joins with our “not in my city” neighbors, to deter our city council from fulfilling our community’s moral and legal obligations to shelter the homeless; provide permanent supportive housing for our physically, mentally, and chemically dependent residents; and support, encourage, and assist developers to include housing options for low income individuals and families in their development.
For those readers who are familiar with the public “debate” that occurs when any issue relating to housing reaches the dais of one or more of our commissions, and on the rare occasion when it makes it to the dais of the city council, …… well, you know what happens at the podium, the not so ennobling expressions demeaning the character of those who need the assistance of permanent supportive housing to survive and recover, and the repeated reference to debunked reasons and stereotypical myths.
Unfortunately, in the setting of the Council chamber, these passionate and fear driven expressions of concern, almost always results in council decisions that disregard the affordable housing needs of more than 50% of the households that already reside in Claremont, and 75% of persons who work full time in Claremont, where the median annual salary is $63,000.
And when anyone attempts to intentionally shelter, or even provide basic life and dignity supporting programs and services, like showers, laundry, and bad weather overnight shelter to the homeless, it is not uncommon for our own councilpersons, past and present, to initiate objections to such proposals, even when forwarded by respected persons and nonprofit organizations within our own community.
Which is why I read with interest and concern, the two stories written by COURIER reporter Steven Felschundneff on the water shortage crisis, which appeared in the June 3rd COURIER. Both touched on the likely impacts that a continuing drought will necessitate, particularly our need to further curtail water usage for landscaping and other non-essential uses.
Clearly a real concern given the role that landscaping plays in establishing and protecting property values and preserving the character and standards of our unique neighborhoods, and our large, dated developments at the time of their construction. (Yes, not just a bit ironic, given that both property values and neighborhood preservation are two talking points used by opponents of building low income or multistory housing in Claremont.)
However, from my perspective, the biggest concern is that the crisis related to water will be used as yet another “red herring” to distract our council and our community with half-truths spun into a “whole” truth. And with the history as an informant, it is my opinion that the “whole” truth will likely be used to undermine our current community effort to build a permanent supportive housing complex at Larkin Place, a development that by design is water efficient to meet both its residents and maintenance needs.
The inconvenient truths are obvious, if the drought continues, we will be required to use water more efficiently and in unaccustomed and annoying ways, and our city will be required to permit only those construction designs and features, both new and renovating, that meet water use standards that should have been put in place during the mid-20th century.
The whole truth is not that because the above are true, we must consider placing a moratorium on new residential construction permits until sufficient water is available for our preferred uses, and only then should we remove the moratorium, always exercising caution when considering high density developments like the Larkin Place permanent supportive housing project.
The real truth is that because the above are true, and that other facts relating to a more global perspective on water supply are available that support a very different policy approach, it would seem that a bit of critical thinking will be required before using the scarcity of water as a reason to obstruct any affordable housing or permanent supportive housing projects. When as much as the 80% of the state’s water supply is being used by the agricultural sector versus 20% for all other sectors, and when 100s of thousands of acre feet of storm water get discharged from the Delta to the Pacific Ocean, for lack of a means of conveyance south, the question of scarcity is more one of location rather than supply.
That said, I realize that we must make decisions in real time, and that our council must weigh the concerns of residents and put those concerns into context and alignment with existing policies and priorities, and mandates. On all counts, neither water scarcity nor the pending consideration of an easement to accommodate the Larkin Place development, should be considered sufficient to block or otherwise delay the project moving forward. There is no reason to continue finding reasons to continue ignoring the needs of our most vulnerable residents, and our collective responsibility to meet those needs. In addition to the excellent reporting of Steven Felschundneff, reporting on the same issue from a more global perspective, can be found in the L.A. Times story by Liam Dillion at the following website https://www.latimes.com/homeless-housing/story/2022-05-31/does-california-have-enough-water-for-lots-of-new-homes-yes-experts-say.