Readers’ comments: February 2, 2024

Quakers call for cease-fire in Gaza
Dear editor:
As Quakers, we believe there is that of God in every person, and are opposed to violence in all its forms. The violence visited on the people of Israel on October 7 by Hamas was unspeakable. So also is the violence being visited on the people of Palestine by Israel on a daily basis.
We call on our government to reset its policy: to call for an immediate cease-fire, to pursue negotiations and to free the remaining Israeli hostages in Gaza. The only possible road to peace in the region is the reduction of arms sales to Israel, an unswerving commitment to a cessation of hostilities, and the resumption of dialogue. The International Court of Justice’s ruling underlines the importance of action now to forestall genocide.
Claremont Friends Meeting


DEI, CRT are racist constructs
Dear editor:
Regarding Dawn Sharp’s letter [“Letter helps make special election proponents’ motives clear,” January 26], I support equality in academia — equal opportunity.  I do not support equity — equal outcome.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and critical race theory are racist constructs. They’re divisive and put us on the road to socialism and communism.  A 300 word limit is not adequate to cover this topic, I will summarize:
Giving athletes a fair chance to make the team or become the starter — equality.  Saying we need more white running backs in the NFL and more Asian point guards in the NBA — equity.
College acceptance and hiring decisions based upon a person’s skin color is racist.
Eliminating AP/honors classes and math requirements because some claim higher standard curriculum is racist or unfair to Black and brown kids is unfair to kids who excel at a higher level, regardless of their skin color, and will result in a “dumbing down” of our education system and future generations.
Disregarding the SAT and comparative evaluations of GPA in college admissions and putting emphasis on a DEI statement will not result in a superior student compared to those institutions who emphasize those benchmarks.
Our country was created through freedom, equality, the exchange of ideas, debate, and meritocracy. Every child can find their purpose, success, and happiness in America by working hard and striving for excellence in whatever they do. Admittedly, our history has not been perfect, but we have corrected some of our past failures and must continue to strive for excellence as a nation.
The Bill of Rights, Constitution, Declaration of Independence, history and traditions of America, free market capitalism, private property, and individual liberty are foundations of this great country. We should focus on these ideals in the classroom, while celebrating our diversity, accepting all people based on the content of their character, not skin color, gender, sexual identity, or cultural background.
Campbell Wright


Outcome of special election push speaks for itself
Dear editor:
In Jim Belna’s January 19 Viewpoint piece, he asks, “Does the Courier really care about fiscal discipline?” I believe the answer to that question is yes, despite Mr. Belna’s doubts. The Courier assesses situations case by case and reaches its own conclusions, independent of Mr. Belna’s counsel. A related question also warrants consideration: Does Jim Belna really care about the accuracy of his own public comments?
Mr. Belna implies that he cares about the school district’s budget. He brings up the Riley’s Farm lawsuit and criticizes Claremont USD based on the questionable premise that, “The district could have settled this case almost immediately at little or no cost.” No evidence is provided to support that claim, but Mr. Belna jumps to an accusatory conclusion that the district unnecessarily incurred “… hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees,” calling it a “… colossal — and completely avoidable — waste of money.”
There are two major problems with Mr. Belna’s analysis. First, his dream scenario of a quick, low-cost settlement with Riley’s Farm was unrealistic and disingenuous from the start. We can only speculate as to Mr. Belna’s motives for having promoted a hasty payment to the plaintiff. Second, contrary to Mr. Belna’s assertion, the school district has not spent any money on this case so far. Legal fees have been covered by Alliance of Schools for Cooperative Insurance Programs, as reported by the Courier.
In other news, Mr. Belna is unhappy the Courier used the term “idiocy” to describe the decision by 1.5% of the electorate to block a school board appointment to temporarily fill an open seat. The mighty 1.5% chose to force a special election. The outcome was a predictable landslide, and the election cost the district almost half a million dollars. So, was that a consequence of wisdom, or something closer to idiocy? The situation speaks for itself.
Dave Nemer
Nemer was a member of CUSD’s Board of Education from 2013 to 2022.


Justice not served in Spejcher case
Dear editor:
I am writing to express my profound dismay and disbelief at the sentencing of Bryn Spejcher, who received a mere two weeks of probation for the 2018 stabbing death of her boyfriend, Chad O’Melia, 26. This decision not only undermines the severity of the crime committed but also sends a troubling message about the value of human life and the pursuit of justice in our legal system.
Chad O’Melia’s untimely death is a tragedy that has undoubtedly left an irreparable void in the lives of his loved ones. The leniency shown to Ms. Spejcher is a disservice to the memory of the victim and the grief of his family. It is perplexing and disheartening how a violent act, resulting in the loss of a young life, can be met with such a disproportionately light sentence. This ruling not only fails to reflect the gravity of the crime but also raises serious questions about the consistency and fairness of our judicial system.
While we must respect the nuances of legal proceedings and the principle of proportionate punishment, it is essential to recognize that justice, in this case, seems to have been inadequately served. The sentence of two weeks’ probation grossly undermines the severity of the crime and falls short of the expectations of a society that relies on its judicial system to uphold justice and accountability.
It is imperative that we reflect on this case and consider the broader implications of such sentences on the public’s trust in the legal system and the message it sends about the sanctity of human life. The community deserves a judicial process that is fair, just, and proportionate to the crimes committed.
I also believe that cannabis growers and retailers should have the same liability as pharmaceutical companies and pharmacies for the side effects of their products and the damages caused by them.
Kris M. Meyer
Spejcher, 32, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter prior to being sentenced last week in Ventura County Superior Court. Her defense successfully argued she was suffering from cannabis induced psychosis at the time of the 2018 stabbing.

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