Readers’ comments: February 3, 2023
SCE tree removal offer in conflict with city, state
Returning home from errands last Friday I looked in my mailbox and was happy to see the Courier, but I also found a notice on my doorknob from an “authorized agent” of Southern California Edison.
The Courier had a photo of City Council members planting trees to mark the anniversary of the big windstorm of January 21, 2022. Good for them, I thought. This is the “City of Trees,” after all.
The door hanger offered “free removal of my ash and elm trees.” It said “maintaining vegetation” near power lines is needed for access and public safety.
The Shamel ash and Chinese elm in my backyard are the tallest and widest trees on my block. I often see passersby raising their eyes to admire them. The trees need pruning periodically, and by sheer luck I had them pruned just before the storm. That night my trees withstood the wind and so did the power lines that run alongside them.
The power lines have been there for around 75 years and so have the ash and the elm. Edison contractors do a little trimming now and then, but removal was never mentioned. Why now? How many other Claremont homeowners got the same message and may have misunderstood that “free removal” was required?
The California Air Resources Board sets out reasons for preserving and planting urban trees on its website coolcalifornia.org. Claremont’s Sustainable City Plan calls for increasing our urban forest. Edison, a state-regulated utility, is working at cross-purposes with state and city policies. I’ll tell Edison not to destroy my own trees, and I’ll also ask state officials to look into the company’s practices.
I’d like the Claremont City Council to do the same.
Trustee Area 4 special election supporters should sign petition
I am a proponent for the CUSD special election petition. I “found” the law permits an election and have done some research and organizational work. Many people tend not to read the fine print or start controversial things. For better or worse, I tend to be the opposite.
Having spent some time engaging on this topic I am shocked at the frantic vitriol and ad hominem moral attacks with which this has been met. This is how the comfortable privileged react when they sense that change is afoot. I feel like Shrek when he was chased out of town by townsfolk with pitchforks.
The main attacks have been about the exorbitant election price tag of $273,000. This number was given to me by Allison Deegan at L.A. County Office of Education and originated from “someone at the Registrar’s office” with no other details. Why neither the LACOE nor the registrar will provide additional information is beyond me. Perhaps they feel we aren’t owed further explanation.
It is also not clear how this cost would impact the education of our children. Luckily, we should be able to get this answer from our superintendent’s office, and I call on them to provide it. By way of example (and not to dig up dead bodies or break confidentiality) they might specify how the similarly sized and unbudgeted payment to former Superintendent Jeff Wilson has impacted services.
The petition forms are ready and everyone 18 and over has the right to collect and submit signatures. Contact me at CUSDSpecialElection2023@gmail.com to get one. They are due February 21 in L.A. County Superintendent of Schools Debra Duardo’s office. Also, visit www.change.org/CUSDSpecialElection.
Trustee Area 4, Claremont
LaConte is the right choice for CUSD board
The Courier has kept us well informed about the Claremont School Board’s unanimous January 18 interim appointment of Hilary LaConte to fill former member Steven Llanusa’s vacated seat through 2024. It’s hard to imagine a more qualified candidate. Hilary LaConte helped lead the board for 13 years (2007 to 2020) and served three terms as its president. As a former teacher and advocate for later start times, I have admired her as a local and regional education professional for more than 20 years. She is recognized by all as an exceptional leader.
Holding a new special election to fill the 23-month vacancy is being suggested by some, but this would be expensive, time-consuming, and distracting for our district. Estimated cost: $273,000. Claremont Unified School District has lots of challenges ahead as it emerges from Covid, hires staff, and delivers quality education to Claremont students and families. Clearly, Hilary LaConte is the right choice to unite and help lead the board for the next 23 months.
Let’s save that money and effort for what really matters: educating our kids.