Readers’ comments: February 23, 2023

City should do more to stem Village business closures
Dear editor:
One year ago the Claremont Courier published an article, “City, broker say Village business climate is strong despite closures,” [February 10, 2023]. In it, City Manager Adam Pirrie, commenting on the number of businesses closing, said, “There are multiple factors at play. You are seeing an increase in rents. And then there are other businesses that are closing for other reasons … It’s more than just a simple issue of the rents that are being charged.”
That brilliant analysis does not explain why a much loved business, Square I Gallery and Artist Trait, is moving. It’s been forced out of its home on Harvard Avenue after 33 years exactly because of a staggering rent increase.
Where is our City Council? What is Adam Pirrie doing to protect the essence of the Village? There does not appear to be any strategy for controlling spiraling rents that are forcing beloved institutions out of business. The only response I’ve heard is: “What the market will bear.” If the City Council and Mr. Pirrie can only hear the siren call of landlords who promise more tax revenue on ever higher rents, then it will be a case of killing the goose that laid the golden egg.
The Claremont Village attracts visitors precisely because of the mix of galleries, crafts, and small businesses that have been cultivated over decades. Yet the essence of the Village is now being destroyed. More and more shops stand empty.
I read the platitudes voiced in “Village loses art ‘institution,’ as Square I relocates,” [February 2] about Marodeen Ebrahimzadeh being forced to move after decades, and after becoming a beloved “institution.” This did not have to happen. And this would not have happened if we had real leadership from City Council and the city manager. But with this bunch in place, we are glimpsing the future: the sad end of what was charming and most loved about Claremont.
Megan Callaway


Scofflaw drivers: knock it off!
Dear editor:
For several years now, I have noticed how many drivers in Claremont blow through stop signs and run red lights or, at best, roll through them. On my morning walk around the Village I see so much of this: parents blowing through stop signs at 10th Street and Berkeley Avenue as they take their kids to school at OLA, drivers around the Colleges and throughout the Village. It happens everywhere! I even saw LA County Fire roll through a stop sign — and they did not have emergency lights on, so there was no excuse.
I inquired with a friend of mine who does not fully stop at intersections as to why he does not do so. He said, “If I saw someone coming, I would, but if there’s no one there, why stop? After all, I’m saving the environment some because it takes more fuel to start a standing vehicle than I expend rolling through the sign.” Neither of these explanations are buy-worthy. First, large posts that separate the windshield from the driver’s and passenger’s windows obscure pedestrians walking across a street. Also, SUVs and pickups have gotten so tall, their drivers may not see a short person. Second, while it may be inconvenient or use more fuel to stop and start, it’s the law. Laws help to create a civil society, something certainly most of us agree we need far more of today.
So, people, knock it off! Stopping at signs and lights only takes a few seconds or, at most, a couple of minutes, a far shorter time than you’d spend if you did get pulled over by Claremont PD or, God forbid, hit a pedestrian.
Denise Spooner


Where are older folks in the bike lane conversation?
Dear editor:
I woke up to KPFK (90.7 FM) early one recent morning to find Bike Talk at 6 or so. They were talking about rearranging roads, bike lanes, and the speeds of road and sidewalk users that have to share spaces and routes.
When I drive anywhere in Claremont, I end up on north/south streets with schools between me and the Village. I understand the speeds are different for the three units using the same spaces. On these roads there is another difference in the traffic flow: age. Walkers and bicyclists include very young people, and some retirees, accompanied or not. Auto traffic always includes older people. I understand the movement toward non-gasoline movers for the young and fit, or empty nesters for any reason. But where are the 70+ in the bike plan? Pilgrim Place? Claremont Manor? Mt. San Antonio Gardens? Do they all walk, send out for groceries and meds, arts and craft supplies, or bus to get them? Do many bike? Some can still drive and must hang on to that freedom.
We don’t have room for “tuk-tuks,” like Asia, with bikes pulling seats. Where on the roads would they fit? Special tuk-tuk lanes? I guess all we can do is see if the newest try works, then tear up the streets again. Traffic goes on.
Helen Fuller


 Attack on Oberg is ‘indecent’
Dear editor:
The mere publication of the persistent letters to the editor of John Norvell of Mt. Baldy, is evidence of the falsity of his contention that the standards of the Courier have declined. In fact, the paper continues to publish a wide range of community opinions no matter how hysterical, how inflamed, or how absurd thy may be.
Norvell’s particular attack on Carol Oberg [“Courier complicit in spreading Israeli misinformation,” February 16], a widely respected professor, renowned in the world of early education for her scholarship and treasured by those who know her for her kindness and boundless compassion, is distasteful at best. Accusing her, when she writes about the brutality of Hamas, of willful ignorance or of being a liar, is simply indecent.
Norvell stands in a long line, stretching across time, of those who pronounce the “blood libel,” accusing Jews, explicitly or implicitly, of being liars who murder the innocent, in order to justify violence against them. The best evidence he offers to establish the falsity of professor Oberg’s claims is to attack her credibility. Shame on him.
Marilyn Lubarsky


Council: please reconsider proposed ceasefire resolution
Dear editor:

Dear Mayor Medina and City Council members: I am writing to request your reconsideration of placing on the City Council’s agenda the proposed resolution calling for an Israeli-Hamas ceasefire. If removal is not possible, I would urge you to reject the resolution for the following reasons:
Adoption of said resolution, or any modified version of it, would not serve its stated purpose of furthering the objective of peace. Instead, it would only serve to exacerbate a growing human relations crisis that’s been developing in our community since October 7. Perhaps the council is not aware of the growing tensions occurring at the Claremont Colleges, and throughout the community at large, between Jews, Muslims, Arabs, and Christians. Presumably well-meaning people, clothed in the banner of peacemaking, are actively engaged in creating a climate of suspicion and distrust among residents. Misleading and false accusations against community members based upon national identity have caused untold hurt and trauma for many.
As a Jew, experiencing firsthand some of the vicious, antisemitic vindictive, it frightens me to anticipate the even greater polarizing harm that adoption of such a resolution would cause in pitting neighbor against neighbor.
Please use your authority to help restore harmony to our beloved community by working for meaningful peace by reducing tensions.
Rose Ash

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