Readers’ comments: July 14, 2023

Return parade to its traditional afternoon start time
Dear editor:
When Claremont’s Fourth of July parade moved from its historic afternoon start to 10 a.m., it elbowed its way into the morning territory of two other local Fourth of July parades: La Verne and Ontario. As such, the parade participant and spectator groups were diluted.
Many Claremont residents are members of regional organizations and participate in these other city parades. Pre-time change, they could do two parades. This conflict also extends to organizations themselves, plus regional political leadership. They cannot be in two places at the same time.
Three suggestions: 1. Move the Claremont Fourth of July parade to a 1 or 2 p.m. start, which would not only free it from other cities, but also allow for more pre-parade time for people to enjoy the Memorial Park festivities; 2. Reconsider who can be in the parade and then open it to Claremont businesses. Other cities do this, with robust participation of youth and adults; 3. Actively extend invitations to Claremont organizations and encourage their participation. Encouraging organizations to take part will help restore the event to its preeminent status.
George Keeler


Housing element concerns? Speak up on podcast
Dear editor:
During the July 11 Claremont City Council meeting’s public comments period regarding the sixth cycle of the housing element, many speakers were opposed to one or more of the “opportunity sites.” Several speakers also recognized these directives are forced upon Claremont by Sacramento, not at the behest of the council members. In constructing these policies, our duly elected county, state, and federal representatives likely never considered Claremont and its people. Now the results are coming home to roost in Claremont’s backyards. Gauging by the pro-con ratio of the speakers, a few people were hoping it would pass, most others … not so much.
For Claremont residents who would like to share their opinions and concerns — for or against — beyond the limits of the City Council meeting, I invite you to do so on my podcast, “Claremont Speaks.” It would be in your own words and voice; no “four minute limit,” no restriction on time, topic, or language (no “seven words”). Your episode/interview would be publicly available on almost every podcasting platform, enabling you to promote and share the episode links with any/all of your favorite representatives and fellow community members. If you want people to listen to you, let’s make it drop-dead easy for them to do so. Please email to explore this further.
Russ Binder


Chief Justice Roberts and affirmative action
Dear editor:
The practice of affirmative action does not, as Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts suggests, ignore the importance of “besting challenges, acquiring skills and learning lessons” as providing evidence of an applicant’s identity in applying for admission to a college or university.
On the contrary it recognizes their importance by being sensitive to the special difficulties that they provide for a non-white applicant in a white supremacist society. Its virtue is precisely its sensitivity. In addition, its sensitivity is more likely than Robert’s rejection of the practice to provide an objective assessment of an applicant’s likelihood of success in meeting the challenges of acquiring a university education.
Stephen Simon


What is Peterson trying to say?
Dear editor:
I’m left concerned after reading school board candidate Aaron Peterson’s recent interview [“CUSD Board of Education special election candidate profiles: Aaron Peterson,” June 30], especially regarding his statements on book bans including, “You don’t give complex thoughts to a simplistic mind; you do not give books of the world to a second grader who has very little concept of the world. So, you have to have this content moderation.”
Content moderation and simplistic minds? This is how a potential district trustee refers to students? Wouldn’t denying “books of the world” limit student potential by preventing intellectual and social growth? Perhaps this is the point? And who would oversee this?
If this is what he is saying publicly, I wonder what he must be saying in more insular spaces. I’ve seen some screenshots of his past social media activity that have left me alarmed by their tone, subject, and use of racist dog whistles.
On April 19, 2021, he linked to a National Review article, “Biden Set to Push Critical Race Theory on U.S. Schools” on his Nextdoor account, and added the comment, “US Dept. of Education accepts racial discrimination as curriculum. You don’t have to destroy a people to defeat them; you only need to change their history then time will do the rest.”
On June 26, 2021, also on Nextdoor, Peterson posted a link to a story about diversity, equity and inclusion and wrote, “If you believe America is ‘systemically racist’ you will walk the path of good intentions… straight to hell.”
What is he trying to say here? Is he being prescriptive? Is he blaming the U.S. Department of Education for wanting to “change” Black American history?
Aaron Peterson is not someone I’d trust with “content moderation” or other school board responsibilities. I encourage all CUSD Trustee Area 4 residents to please not vote for Peterson. Alex McDonald is the much better choice.
Mike Boos


Vote Peterson for CUSD Board of Education
Dear editor:
Imagine your child was tested on proficiencies necessary to become an informed and engaged citizen. I’m thinking reading, math, and science. Suppose your child’s score in reading was 72 out of 100, the score in math was 52 out of 100, and in science it was 43 out of 100. Would you be satisfied with your school’s performance? I think by most measures these are very unsatisfactory, verging on failing.
These are recent scores for students at Claremont High School, according to a compilation by U.S. News and World Report [, search “Claremont High”]. The ranking goes on to place Claremont High below more than 320 schools in California and below more than 2,200 high schools nationally. For comparison, two high schools in the nearby Fullerton district are in the top 100 or so in California.
While the CUSD Board of Education has been fiddling, our schools have been burning. Maybe Claremont outshines some local districts, but that is not acceptable.
Aaron Peterson will be laser focused on educational performance. The current board seems to be a hallelujah chorus of everything except that which matters: the education of our students.
Aaron has real ideas and real questions for the CUSD administrators. He will bring a much needed fresh light to our schools, not tired platitudes on the one hand, nor unnecessary distracting fights on the other. He will demand action.
Please join me in voting for Aaron Peterson for school board for Trustee Area 4. You should have your ballot in hand and can easily return it by mail now! The deadline is election day, July 25, but I encourage you to vote early.
Jennifer Reyes


Vote Peterson for CUSD Board of Education
Dear editor:
Aaron Peterson’s goal is to make high quality education the focal point of the Claremont school system. He also brings a thoughtful, well-rounded approach toward addressing the challenging social topics of our day, one that is not biased or showing of favoritism. I firmly believe he has a great capacity for fair treatment and will bring balance and rational discourse to the board.
Two Courier Readers’ comments over the past weeks have spoken against Aaron Peterson by stating unfounded assumptions appearing to be based on bias and bigotry. Per one reader [Readers’ comments, June 23], Aaron’s desire to “remove politics from the classroom,” is “a dog whistle to signal people who want children to have no education about African American history, gender or sexuality, indigenous Americans, Islam, and other faiths, etc., and that the speaker of the phrase is ready to ban books and seize control of what is taught.” This is a huge assumption leading to an unfounded conclusion. Peterson did not say he wanted to ban books, but instead wanted to allow parents to give thoughtful consideration as to what books are available to which age groups and to have a rational conversation about it as adults.
I believe that Aaron will bring a new, fresh perspective to our community, be inclusive of all points of view, and bring a positive balance of viewpoints to the CUSD Board of Education in the best interest of our children and the community as a whole. I challenge you to go to Aaron’s website [] and listen to his thoughtful responses to difficult questions about gender-neutral bathrooms and having parents involved in what age appropriate content should be accessible to students in different phases of their education.
Please make your choice based on fact, not fiction.
Linda Mawby


Vote McDonald for CUSD Board of Education
Dear editor:
Fellow Trustee Area 4 voters: as you cast your ballot by July 25, please remember this special election is costing Claremont Unified School District $273,000 — a waste of precious district funds.
Claremont Unified School District ranks in the bottom 25% of all California school districts in terms of per-pupil state funding. This expense is a big hit to the CUSD budget, which is already struggling with declining enrollment and post-pandemic academic recovery.
As an active fundraising volunteer over the last 13 years through Condit Elementary School PFA, the Claremont Educational Foundation, and multiple CHS booster groups, I know firsthand that every dollar these groups raise involves countless volunteer hours to provide all our deserving students with opportunities and resources the district’s lean budget cannot afford. For these reasons, I vehemently opposed this special election and supported the well-qualified, board appointee, Hilary LaConte, who would have held office only until the next election. I question the fiscal responsibility of any candidate who supported the special election.
In the current field of candidates, I enthusiastically support Alex McDonald for the Trustee Area 4 seat. Alex is a thoughtful, well informed CUSD parent who understands the role of a school board member thanks to his service as trustee on the board of the California Medical Association.
Alex is a lifelong learner and a teacher of his fellow physicians. I am confident his background will be immensely helpful to the other board members as they navigate the changing landscape of public education in a post-pandemic world. Alex will be ready to engage in responsible oversight of district actions and collaborative review of policies that serve the best interests of all CUSD students and families.
Nicole Ouellette


Vote McDonald for CUSD Board of Education
Dear editor:
The upcoming election for the CUSD Trustee Area 4 school board seat presents a clear choice for the future of our schools. As a former math teacher at Claremont High and parent of three sons who have graduated from Condit, El Roble and Claremont High, I am grateful to the teachers who guided my sons on their way to adulthood. As a teacher, I understand the important role the school board plays in guiding the district and the teachers.
While the three candidates have children in the public schools and will provide fresh perspectives, only Alex McDonald possesses the leadership experience and professional expertise to thoughtfully guide the school district as a board member.
I have listened to both candidate forums and the podcasts featuring the candidates. Based on his professional background as a family physician and his regular attendance at school board meetings, Alex has answered the questions in ways that recognize the complexity of current challenges facing the education of our diverse student body. He respects the right of individual parents to guide the education of their students without limiting the access of other students.
Alex has shown respect for the professional expertise of the educators in the district. Instead of resorting to simplistic suggestions, he explains the complexity of the challenges and knows he must work with the educational community. He understands that as we educate students with diverse backgrounds and abilities, we need to meet all students where they are (academically, emotionally, physically, and socially) to establish meaningful connections with them so that they can succeed.
I urge my fellow voters in Trustee Area 4 to cast their ballots for Alex McDonald, a candidate who embodies inquisitive, sensitive, and respectful leadership. Return your ballot today!
Linda Saeta

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