Readers’ comments: December 22, 2023
Restore remote comment at city meetings
Recently, in reaction to “antisemitic, bigoted and racist” rants spoken remotely during a City Council meeting, City Manager Adam Pirrie and then Mayor Ed Reece announced that remote comment via Zoom or phone will no longer be allowed at council, commission, and committee meetings [“Hateful calls prompt cessation of remote comments at public meetings,” October 13].
Unfortunately, this prevents oral participation by all who cannot attend a meeting in person. They include the elderly, the handicapped, their caregivers, parents with children, and commuters. I believe that this was an example of “throwing out the baby with the bathwater.”
Live oral (not only email) participation is important for four reasons:
1) Some elderly and handicapped may find it difficult to comment by email. Some may not even have convenient access to email.
2) During a meeting, the commenter can tailor his or her comments to support or rebut what has already been said.
3) Participants can hear one another. They’ll know how many others agree with them and will learn others’ perspectives. With staff no longer reading emails aloud, we lack this benefit.
4) Participants will ensure that the members of the council/commission/committee have heard them. We can’t verify that our emails have actually been read.
In addition, it’s not possible to even listen by phone to meetings which are not held in the council chamber.
I hope that our City Council will enable remote oral comment and remote listening at all public meetings. Constituents who cannot attend a meeting in person matter too, and they have something of value to contribute to the deliberation. If a caller makes a bigoted statement, the meeting chair can counteract it by reiterating our city’s opposition to racism, antisemitism and other forms of hate and discrimination.
Kudos to editor on campus protest piece
Thank you for your editorial on the importance of protest on college campuses [“Passion never goes out of style,” December 15]. As a former Vietnam era protester and draft resister, I couldn’t agree more. It is important that those who speak up on the issues of the day be willing to identify themselves and to be counted, no matter what their positions.
I can assure you that there have been many protests at Pomona College during the 40 years that I have taught there, some vocal and others silent, and as far as I know, none of us was punished by the administration.
Our presidents have recognized that our community is diminished, both politically and morally, when we do not speak out on important issues.
Yamashita is the Henry E. Sheffield Professor of History at Pomona College.
Courier standards have slipped
Kevin Dettmar was spot on in his letter to the Courier [“Do better, Courier,” December 8]. Any actual editing and filtering left when Kathryn Dunn left a couple years ago.
I know this, because as a part of my classes at Claremont McKenna College, I used to require that my students publish a letter in the Courier. Kathryn made sure that their letters were both timely and relevant to the community. Many students had to submit two, three, and even four letters before one was published. When they finally got a letter published, oftentimes they were so proud of their accomplishment they would send a copy home to their parents.
That all changed after Ms. Dunn left the paper. Every single letter my students submitted was published, no matter how poorly written or irrelevant the topic. I eventually had to drop the assignment because they were learning nothing, and I got tired of giving them credit for writing nonsense. And much of the nonsense continues to this day.
So yes! Mr. Dettmar is absolutely correct. The Courier needs to do better. If someone wants to spout nonsense, that’s what social media is for.
It’s not just about bike lanes
People need mobility. We can balance our transit systems to provide more freedom and fun.
Why not enhance walking, biking, and public transit with our car culture to create a better community?
Countries like the Netherlands are doing this, and we can do it here in Claremont too. It is not just about accommodating bike lanes. We can improve our quality of life. Claremont is small, which makes it easy to walk and bike here.
E-bikes make it easier to ride up the slope from south Claremont to north Claremont. Many of us know that the best way to get around town is on an E-bike. Better bikes with fat tires accommodate older people who can safely enjoy riding; commuters are interested in fitness; young people going to school enjoy freedom to get around on their own. Some parents take young kids to school on bike seats and avoid automobile congestion at schools. Some people even have front racks that can carry their dog to a park. Bikes can be folded to fit into apartments, car trunks and on public transit. And, walking and riding bikes reduces emissions as well as congestion.
The City of Claremont is involved in a program to help people procure E-bikes (see ci.claremont.ca.us/living/transportation for more info). Metrolink has bike to work
offers. Rad Power Bikes is now North America’s largest E-bike community. Local bike shops can link with global suppliers with amazing choices.
Let us create a better community!
Mark von Wodtke
Don’t forget victims of October 7
On October 7 Hamas entered Israel and massacred 1,200 people and kidnapped 240 men, women, children, and babies, some Israeli and some foreign nationalists, including Americans, Jews, and non-Jews.
Israel and Hamas are now in a fierce battle: Israel for survival and security of its borders, Hamas for the destruction of Israel. Every war has tragedy, including the unfortunate killing of civilians. The Israeli Defense Forces do not intentionally kill civilians. Hamas does. They continue to hold over 100 hostages, including Americans. Hamas raped, mutilated, and murdered women and proudly presented this to the world in videos. Hamas has miles of underground tunnels that protect them from Israeli air strikes, and denies Gazans and Palestinians entrance. Hamas uses Palestinian citizens as human shields. Hamas and the Palestinian Authority pay suicide bombers’ families after they have killed themselves and Israeli citizens.
The reactions in the U.S., on college campuses and within cities, are stunning, apparently fueled by the images of the IDF’s campaign within a densely populated battlefield in Gaza. But there is yet another story, with images of murdered Israelis, of women mutilated and raped, of people still held hostage. These are people not to be forgotten or neglected.
Israel is defending itself against a neighbor who has stated openly that they want nothing less than to destroy Israel. Israel must have security and assurance that Hamas will not enter to kill Israeli citizens. Hamas refuses this, and refuses peace, for what would Hamas do if there really was peace? To enter into an agreement of mutual peace there must be trust that what happened on Oct. 7 will never happen again. Hamas must stop shooting rockets, and murdering Jews. Hamas must release all the hostages. Placards should read: “Hamas release all the hostages! Hamas stop your killing!”