Readers’ comments: January 27, 2022
City’s ADU policies need scrutiny
The recent news that the Claremont City Council approved a program to grant $20,000 to homeowners who wish to build an ADU on their property raises the issue of how rental properties are actually used in town.
While the majority provide long-term housing, a number are being used for short-term rental. Websites such as VRBO, Airbnb, and Flipkey list 17 short-term rentals and surely there are others. I know this because one of our neighbors built an ADU and uses it for short-term rentals, but it does not appear anywhere on those sites.
The problems with short-term rentals include: Claremont’s Municipal Code 16.333.070 prohibits property from being rented for less than 30 days; they can be a public nuisance with guests who come and go at all hours, throw trash in recycle or green waste bins, and are not closely supervised as to use; and, they deprive the city of occupancy tax revenue, which hotels pay, but people who use their property for short-term rentals do not.
City Council suggested regulations regarding the rentals that are part of the grant program; however, the broader problem of short-term rentals in general needs to be addressed. Currently people found in violation of the city’s prohibition of short-term rentals get several warning letters, then pay a fine of $100 that rises to a maximum of $500. This fine structure is not going to deter people who can make more than that in one night by renting their property.
Some rules and regulations must be put in place that are fair to the hotels and lodges in town who are paying occupancy tax, considerate of the neighbors of people who rent out their property on a short-term basis, but allow for short-term rentals. Prohibition has been tried, but clearly hasn’t worked. So, now what?
Voters have recourse in LaConte appointment
I have followed with interest the process of replacing the school board member who was recently forced to resign his seat for Trustee Area 4. As a resident of that area, I myself applied for the appointment that was made recently, and participated in the appointment process. I understand from the public comments at the board meeting and the comments on Facebook on the recent story about the matter in the Courier that the outcome was not universally well regarded.
I write this letter with the purpose of informing the interested public that there is a straightforward manner in which the selection of the new board member can be made by vote rather than appointment of the school board: a petition containing the signatures of at least 1.5% of the registered voters in Trustee Area 4 must be presented to the Los Angeles County Superintendent of Schools Debra Duardo no more than 30 days following the provisional appointment. Details can be found at california.public.law by searching “Code 5091.”
I personally am on the fence on whether forcing an expensive special election for this seat would be advisable. On the one hand, the election would cost upwards of $200,000, which seems exorbitant, given the smallish size of the district and voter base.
On the other hand, citizens have raised what seem to be valid concerns around the appointee and the process. I myself found the process to be somewhat cursory, and not at all robust; each of the candidates was asked the same four questions by the current members of the board, and then Ms. LaConte was selected by the four after a few minutes of deliberation. I personally had the impression that the outcome was a bit of a foregone conclusion.
If you are interested in considering working on or signing such a petition, you may indicate so at chng.it/cbGsrD6FXt.
Editor’s note: According to the L.A. County Registrar-Recorder’s office, CUSD Trustee Area 4 contains 6,566 registered voters. The Los Angeles County of Education told the Courier Thursday it estimated the cost of a special election to be $273,000, and that the election must take place no later than July 29.
Dangerous commentary on Mt. Baldy hike
Peter Weinberger’s accounts of summiting Mt. Baldy, first published eight days after an experienced hiker perished and two days before another lost her life [January 6 and 13, respectively] are irresponsible portrayals of a formidable alpine climb.
Yes, Baldy is “challenging” and “dangerous” for the inexperienced, yet Peter invites the “experienced” to seize a “wonderful outdoor experience,” leaving the reader to self-rate their abilities.
Summiting Baldy in winter requires expert mountaineering skills. Advanced hikers (who have bested more treacherous peaks) know areas require significant technical skills.
It’s outrageous that Peter’s follow-up “warning” is an afterthought near the end of a narrative of his thrilling trip as a teen.
Weekly, helicopters whir over Baldy rescuing hikers who are either lost, have altitude sickness, or languish from exposure.
What hikers should know is:
- They will need crampons, an ice axe, navigation tools, a satellite phone and layers of cold weather clothing.
- At points the trail is barely 2-feet wide sloping at a 45 degree angle, and sections look wider where snow disguises the deadly knife edge.
- The ascent is 4,600’ over 13 miles, where hikers at times slog at 1 to 2 mph.
- Conditions change in a matter of minutes due to the unpredictable winds; suddenly clouds roll in, creating a complete whiteout.
- Ice is guaranteed. The bowl is riddled with frozen chutes and avalanches happen frequently, especially after rain.
This is the “experience” needed to undertake Mt. Baldy in the winter.
Ironically, the day of Peter’s second account, KABC TV urged hikers to use “extreme caution” climbing Baldy.
Peter should have also discouraged hikers without mountaineering experience and implored those who come upon ice to turn around and try again another day — perhaps in the spring when the climb rewards with a challenging ascent and views to Catalina.