Readers comments: April 5, 2024

C’mon Claremont: time to up your playground game

Dear editor:

I am increasingly disappointed in the glaring ways in which we fall short compared to our neighbor cities. I should not be seeking out and driving my children to the fabulous playgrounds and parks in Covina, San Dimas, and La Verne. I am discouraged and disheartened when our family takes a weekend trip to the beach, and we discover incredibly creative and stimulating outdoor spaces built for children. Children of all ages and all abilities. Where is the imagination and creativity that defines our amazing community? Have you attempted to use the bathrooms at the College Park Little League fields? Atrocious and embarrassing. Have you visited the Larkin Park playground recently? Just sad.

I attended the Claremont Community and Human Services Commission meeting on March 6 to share my concerns about the Lewis Park playground “improvements.” While at the meeting I learned that the city has a comprehensive plan to update all of playgrounds on a “like-for-like” basis, meaning each playground will remain exactly as it is and every 20ish years, we will shell out $150,000 to 200,000 for equipment that looks and operates the exact same but is “new.”

This is unacceptable and a complete waste of money. Claremont needs a new plan that looks at ways in which we can invest significant capital in to a new and exceptional play area for all children.

In a time where cellphones, toxic social media and technology are clawing their way into our youngest citizen’s daily lives, exceptional outdoor spaces and playgrounds should be the priority. We need playgrounds that welcome kids of all ages and abilities, spark their imagination, and make them want to return time and time again. Think outside the box, Claremont! You have creative and motivated families that want to help!

Katie Tewell



Israel wants to operate without the scrutiny of the press

Dear editor:

It hasn’t been a week since Editor Mick Rhodes published his editorial on starvation in Gaza [“There is no justification for the horrors in Gaza,” March 29], and two major related events have already escalated the Israel/Palestine crisis.

On April 2, the Israeli government attacked World Central Kitchen’s aid convoy, killing seven aid workers from North America, Australia, Europe, and the Middle East. Officially, the Israeli government declared their air strike an accident, but other sources declare the Israel Defense Forces deliberately targeted the convoy. As a result of this lethal airstrike, aid to Gaza, already too little, has slowed. Two aid organizations, one of them World Central Kitchen, have suspended their aid operations in Gaza.

In a separate action, the day before Israel’s airstrike on an aid organization, Israel’s unicameral government body, Knesset, approved the so-called Al Jazeera law, giving the government temporary powers to prevent foreign news networks from operating in Israel if the Israeli government deems them harmful to national security.

The message is clear, Israel wants to control what the foreign press reports about them.

It’s hard not to see these two events as interrelated. Israel wants to operate without the scrutiny of the press. Since Hamas’ vicious attack on a music concert and kibbutzim in Israel on October 7, Israel has killed at least 203 aid workers in Gaza, according to the Aid Worker Security Database, along with at least 126 Palestinian media workers, according to Gaza’s Government Media Office.

What a world, indeed.


Pamela Nagler



Thank you for your honesty about Gaza

Dear editor:

My mother worked most of her career amongst the Claremont ‎Colleges. As her young daughter, I enjoyed being spoiled by the students as she organized the priest, the rabbi, and the minister at the ecumenical center. In her last job at Scripps College as the executive secretary to the president we met for lunch many times in the Village.

In the 1980s I worked at Always Travel on Second Street. That is where I met my husband who was going to Pitzer College. I felt compelled to go to the City Council [“Council declines to take a position on war in Gaza,” March 1] and call for them to write a resolution asking for a cease-fire, as many cities have done. I regret to say that our pleas fell on deaf ears, and here we are with the majority of the population shoved into the corner of a completely destroyed Gaza.

We are guilty as Americans ‑ the one country that had the infrastructure to deliver aid across that troubled border. We have witnessed in real time starvation and desperation. Yes, Mr. Rhodes, I agree with you enough is enough. Not one more dime should go to any country that blocks sufficient aid and medical supplies to a dying civilian population.

No matter what agency you look to for information, a reasonable conclusion can be drawn that the systematic targeting of civilian infrastructure has been on purpose, with the intended affect to make Gaza uninhabitable. How many of Gaza’s dead bodies are mixed in the rubble and concrete they’re scooping up and tossing into the sea to create the new seaport jetty?

Thank you for your honest editorial.


Deborah Alfaddaghi



Media can’t be trusted to report impartially on Gaza

Dear editor:

Your column “There is no justification for the horrors in Gaza” [March 29] demonstrates why American media, including your paper, cannot be trusted to provide impartial information. You treat Israel’s actions as if they are occurring in a vacuum. Hamas is an active player in this conflict and is continuing to fight, even during the last cease fire. In your righteous indignation you never mention that Hamas could end this conflict in a day. They could simply surrender and save their innocent civilians. Hamas’s continuation of the war demonstrates their willingness to have their women and children die for a war they cannot win. Is it not better to live to fight another day? Another item of misinformation is the Palestinian death toll. Hamas is not reporting how many of these deaths are their military deaths. In fact, there is no independent verification of the death toll. I wish the Palestinians never attacked Israel and that the Israelis never responded in the way they did. But then again neither one of us has our wives and children brutally murdered.


Edward Broomfield



Thank you for publishing column on war in Gaza

Dear editor:

Thank you for publishing Mick Rhodes’ piece on the horrors in Gaza. Thank you for articulating what the majority of the world is seeing. It is nothing short of shameful that our country is funding this madness of catastrophic proportions.

Thank you for being a light in a country whose politicians and decision makers are sitting in the depths of darkness.

Asma Ahmad



In support of Ukraine

Dear editor:

I started flying the Ukraine flag soon after Russia unleashed its invasion last year. The Ukraine has prevailed, as has the flag, but in perilous condition.

May we recommit to saving Ukraine, now, so I can start flying a new Ukraine flag, with hope for the future.


Bill Dodge



Gaza column was naïve, inaccurate

Dear editor:

Since your October 12, 2023 opinion piece [“Israel-Hamas war is a teaching moment, but what is the lesson?”] you have sought to equate the mass murder which Hamas perpetrated on defenseless Israeli civilians and the suffering which ensued with the suffering of Palestinian civilians who are victims of the barbarity of their own de facto army, Hamas. Your desire for moral equivalency has now devolved into perpetuating the blood libel, accusing Israel of committing, “wholesale butchery,” of Palestinian civilians. Your reliance on U.N. statements reflects profound naïveté. Some 70% of the members of that organization are non-democratic states, hardly a viable moral compass. You conclude that Israel was founded in response to the Holocaust. It was not. Jews are not settlers. They are the indigenous people of Israel, have always been there and will always be there. All decent people pray for peace in the region and for the safety of all who live there. Editor Rhodes’ recent column does nothing to secure a future in which Israelis and Palestinians beat swords into plowshares and spears into pruninghooks.

Marilyn Lubarsky



Fourth of July: please go back to the way it was

Dear editor:

Fourth of July is the tradition and holiday that brings everyone together! Or at least it was.

Please go back to the way it was. As a third generation Claremonter, the Fourth of July in Claremont was magic. The best place to be. From the early morning race to the last firework. I have four kids now and we fortunately were able to enjoy one or two Claremont Fourth of Julys until it was all rearranged. No reason for it anymore. Go back to the way it was; it will no doubt be more successful than recent years. It’s a day for the community and friends and family to be together and celebrate what it means to be and live in Claremont, California, and America!

My parents were born and raised here; my grandparents were raised here too. And I was born and raised here and attended all Claremont schools. My grandfather was the basketball coach at Claremont McKenna College for many years and my mom was a teacher at El Roble and other schools for many years. I truly, genuinely, loved where I grew up and the Fourth of July was a day in time that epitomized that youthful, playful way of life. I would so love to bring my kids back to see it the way it was.


Kylie Holley



Column ignores the role of Hamas

Dear editor:

Your comment, “Finally, can we just say the quiet part out loud?” [“There is no justification for the horrors in Gaza,” March 29] demonstrates your lack of historical understanding and delegitimizes the state of Israel. Well before the Nazis implemented the Final Solution, the idea of a land sharing partition existed, starting in 1937 with the Royal Commission on Palestine. When the British pulled out of Mandatory Palestine giving responsibility to the United Nations, the U.N. passed a partition plan that led to international war. At multiple points in almost 100 years, land sharing plans have been rejected by Palestinians. People need to read their history.

Your viewpoint ignores the role of Hamas. Hamas is the political party of the elected government of Gaza whose main responsibility is the safety and welfare of its citizens. The government in Gaza perpetrated a heinous attack on the civilians of a neighboring country and didn’t prepare its citizens for the counterattack that would occur. The Gazan government then hid troops and arms in tunnels underneath where its citizens live and get medical care. What would Gaza look like today if it used the billions of dollars of aid given, had been used to build another Dubai rather than a network of tunnels?

U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, recently wrote in the New York Times, “Eighteen million Sudanese face acute hunger, and famine is looming. Nearly eight million people have been forced from their homes in what has become the world’s largest internal displacement crisis. Measles, cholera, and other preventable diseases have spread.” When will you write on the crisis in Sudan?

My proposal is:

  1. Release the hostages. Now!
  2. Hamas give up, put your guns down and stop firing rockets. Forever.
  3. Anyone connected with the October 7 attack has to surrender and face their war crimes.
  4. Get new leaders that are more moderate and root out radical Islamists.

Then the rebuilding of Gaza will begin in earnest.

Mike Blitz

Chino Hills


Courier ‘tasteless’ for weighing in on Gaza

Dear editor:

I find it tasteless that you allowed a columnist in a local newspaper to weigh in on a controversial international situation [“There is no justification for the horrors in Gaza,” March 29]. Having said that, I question whether that columnist, Mick Rhodes, ever committed himself to serious critical thought.

As a prompt, I offer Mick Rhodes these questions for contemplation and, hopefully, a retraction. However, if there is a retraction, I will not see it. I am unfriending, unfollowing, and unsubscribing.

Do you actually believe that if Israel ceased its attack on Gaza that

  1. the hostages would be released?
  2. that Hamas would  never again attack Israel?
  3. that Hamas would abandon its underground military infrastructure?
  4. that Hamas would suddenly agree that Israel should exist?
  5. that Hamas would provide aid to the Palestinian people?
  6. that Hamas would sever its relationship with Iran?


Jacqueline Knell



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