Readers comments 9-17-21
Claremont PD facility in need of updated accommodations
Only one of the many buildings owned by the city is open to the public 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. That building is the Police Department facility on Bonita Avenue and manned by 94 police-related personnel. This is the only city building in dire need for retro-fitting and seismic protection.
Proof of the need has been cited, over the years, by three well-known architectural/engineering firms at a cost to the city of many thousands of dollars for consulting fees. If the National Institute of Standards and Technology (a federal investigation organization) were requested to review our PD facility they would find fault with the same observations made by the city’s paid consultants. This is the same federal organization investigating the long known structural problems of the building that collapsed in Florida a few months ago.
No other city building-worksite has employees with work stations/desks in the boiler room, closets, storage spaces, and are so tightly fit together that one needs to walk sideways to pass by. No city building, except our PD facility, has been reported to Cal/OSHA for hazardous working conditions in the building; ex., mold, asbestos, faulty wiring and water pipes, seismic and structural needs and space. A paper response from OSHA is pending; OSHA could and should continue with an on-site investigation.
All our city buildings are compliant with the 1990 ADA (Disabilities Act) amended January 2009 (Title III). Only our PD facility lacks compliance. This non-compliance has lasted for 30 years, it is reportable and finable by the U.S. government.
All city buildings are compliant with Title VII, i.e., “equal facilities for female employees,” except our PD facility. When the PD facility was built in the early 1970s they anticipated zero female officers over the following 40 years. With that faulty prediction, female officers were left with an inadequate sized locker room, with a single restroom stall. As a result, our city made a hurried, makeshift addition for more locker and restroom space to ensure there were lockers and facilities available for all the female officers, and uniformed female support staff. Over time, we have seen more female employees, still using the less than adequate adapted trailer as a locker room and restroom facility. The city is remiss in updating PD facilities for females, a reportable condition that’s finable by the U.S. government.
According to the guidelines of the 1986 Essential Service Building Seismic Safety Act, the city of Claremont designated our police department and facility as the City Command Center in case of a catastrophe. If our PD facility is not seismically safe we could have no command center.
I challenge council members to visit a variety of city buildings to observe staff working conditions, ADA compliance, Title VII accommodations, building structures, seismic safety, and work space. Visit the PD facility after your review of other buildings. Maybe then you will have a different viewpoint of the dire needs of the police department’s working conditions and the immediate concern for retro-fitting the PD facility and address the non-compliance concerns. Remember, this facility is the only building in the city open 365 days a year, 24 hours a day; it never closes.
During the past 20 years the city has had committees, commissions and advisory ad hoc presenting information. We do need another committee; all the information needed is available. We need the council to make a decision for action.
50-year Claremont resident
Letter about the Claremont School of Theology
Although we are sorry that the plans of the Claremont School of Theology didn’t work out, we are very glad that they will remain part of our community. The school not only attracts interesting students and faculty to the area but fills a niche not covered by our other institutions. They generously have allowed space to other groups for meetings and recently have offered some temporary housing for the Afghan refugees that Newcomers Access Center is arranging to resettle.
One of the things that makes Claremont special is the diversity of its institutions. Having the Claremont School of Theology here adds to the richness of our community.
Sara and Stephen Simon
A letter about those who deny vaccinations and mask mandates
Contrary to Scott Grannis (COURIER 9/3/21), in the current dispute about vaccinations and mask mandates, there is a black and white: those, such as Grannis, who reject masks and vaccinations, have not a leg to stand on.
Grannis et al refuse to recognize that we rightly surrender pieces of our personal freedom all the time (sometimes only for the short term): we don’t drive automobiles wherever our personal choices lead us, we don’t punch others in the nose, we are not free to climb barricades into the national capitol and on and on. The price of our ability to live together in a civilized manner is giving up items of our freedom.
The right to require vaccinations has long been settled in this country: in 1905 in the case of Jacobson v. Massachusetts the Supreme Court ruled (7-2) against Jacobson (whose case was the same as that Grannis and others are making today): that “for the public good” the state may require vaccinations (smallpox in that case).
As a consequence, all of us have long since been vaccinated for smallpox and the disease has vanished. Why is COVID-19 any different?
Notice that the Supreme Court decision was made on the grounds that the “common good” takes precedence over an individual’s wish to do what they want, over their freedom. Public health in certain cases trumps an individual’s freedom.
Grannis recognizes that such a loss of freedom must be made on a case by case basis (one’s freedoms are after all one of our major values) and so he tries to downplay the seriousness of the current pandemic. He says that hardly anyone dies from it. I don’t think that 600,000 plus Americans and millions world wide count as hardly anyone. But death is not the only way to tote up the consequences: being in the hospital on a ventilator, even if you survive, is not anything anyone wants. Then there are the discovered and undiscovered long term consequences. Don’t kid yourself: this is a serious disease affecting millions – this is a situation that requires a major response on the part of the country.
Mandating vaccinations and masks (which are effective contrary to Grannis) is absolutely the right thing to do. Those that deny that are both intellectually bankrupt and morally obtuse.
Oppose Senate Bill 9
Imagine a future where housing speculators swoop in on the San Gabriel Valley’s long-established neighborhoods to purchase existing single-family homes with plans to tear down the home and build four full-sized residential units on the same property.
Multifamily developments like these could become a reality if Governor Newsom signs a bill sent to him by the Legislature on September 3. Senate Bill 9 ends single-family residential zoning in California by forcing cities and counties, with few exceptions, to approve splitting single-family parcels in half so a two-family duplex can be built on each half lot. Rear yards would be no more than four feet deep. Required off-street parking would be inadequate for four units and waived altogether if the lot is within one-half mile of transit lines.
Quadrupling the allowable number of units on a parcel will deprive children of backyards where they can play, devastate our urban tree canopy and reduce privacy, light and air for residents. Forcing cities to grant unconditional approvals to proposed multifamily homes in neighborhoods not planned for higher density could overburden our public safety services, schools, parks, roads, drinking water supplies, sewers and the energy grid.
California certainly has a severe shortage of affordable housing. San Gabriel Valley cities support legislation to provide incentives to rezone vacant and nonviable commercial properties across our state so affordable housing can be built. Last year we established the San Gabriel Valley Regional Housing Trust which is financing rent-subsidized housing developments for low-income residents in multiple communities. S.B. 9 will not provide subsidies needed to develop affordable housing, and instead will incentivize market-rate housing, further inflating already high land costs.
For these reasons, the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments must oppose Senate Bill 9. Residents who share our concerns are urged to contact Governor Newsom via phone at (916) 445-2841, fax at (916) 558-3160 or via webpage form at https://govapps.gov.ca.g-ov/gov40mail to ask him to veto Senate Bill 9.
President, San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments
Councilmember, City of Monrovia