Readers’ comments: June 9, 2023

Kudos to CUSD Board for quick action
Dear editor:
On May 15, I along with two other parents of Black, Indigenous, and people of color students, sent a letter to CUSD’s Board of Education calling out racism our children have faced at their elementary schools. We described how they had been called “monkey,” “half-monkey,” and the “n word,” how they had been asked to play slavery-themed games during recess, witnessed fellow students do Nazi salutes, and subjected to numerous micro aggressions, and we expressed gratitude for the support we felt from teachers and principals. Later that week we attended the school board meeting to share personal statements during public comment.
Dr. Elsasser invited us to come meet with him, other administrators, and CUSD Board Vice President Bob Fass the following week, where we further shared about the impact of racism on our families, and we walked away with a commitment that they would publicly acknowledge that this is an issue impacting our schools.
I would like to commend the school board on their response to our letter and comments. Not only did they send out an email informing all district families of the issue, creating an opportunity for parents to talk with their kids about racism, but at the June 1 board meeting board president Kathy Archer and board clerk Kathryn Dunn requested the district’s equity advisory committee revise its proposed district diversity statement to be stronger and more specific.
Thank you to the board for listening and choosing to take first steps toward addressing racism in a meaningful way.
Deborah Kekone


Colleges’ Foxes rugby team also two-time national champs
Dear editor:
Congratulations to the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Athenas tennis team and Head Coach Dave Schwarz for successfully winning two straight DIII National Titles [“CMS are national champs again,” May 26]. It is an incredible achievement and they have much to be proud of.
However, they are not the only current two-time national champions at the Claremont Colleges. With a 47-5 defeat of Howard University in Houston, TX on May 7, The Claremont Colleges Foxes women’s rugby team won the 2023 College Rugby Association of America Division II title, their second in as many years. A competitive club comprised of students from all five Claremont Colleges, the Foxes are looking forward to another title defense next season.
Evan Wollen
Director of women’s rugby
Claremont Colleges


It’s time for Claremont to step up, address the unhoused
Dear editor:
I am a resident of the North Towne Park community, in Pomona bordering Claremont, located just north of the CVS shopping center.
On Monday, June 5 at about 10:15 a.m. I was walking to CVS and noticed what I believe was Claremont PD, one car and one SUV, talking to a man who came out from behind the strip mall in Claremont where Patty’s Mexican food and other businesses are located. He appeared to be homeless and was staying behind the center.
When walking back home, about 10 minutes later, in full view of the police, I saw the man and a woman move three shopping carts full of belongings plus a bicycle across Towne Avenue into the CVS center in Pomona on the west side of Towne Avenue. They appear to now be camped there. The police then left. There is now a pile of their belongings behind CVS.
Is this going to be Claremont’s solution to homelessness, to just move people to Pomona? I would like to believe this was a one-time occurrence and a fluke, but I doubt it.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Claremont. My mother worked for the Courier for 20 years, my kids went to Claremont schools, and my church is in Claremont. But if this is an example of how the city treats its neighboring cities, it is saddening. Pomona has invested its stretched resources to shelter the unhoused already in the city. It’s time for Claremont to step up.
Janet Yarborough Siedschlag


Presidential protection is embarrassingly lax
Dear editor:
Our president, Joe Biden, fell on stage at the June 1 Air Force Academy graduation in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where he was a keynote speaker.
Someone in the FBI, CIA, White House security circles should lose their job(s) for poor protection of our president from accidents like this one. He was not protected!
This is modern times. No one leaves sandbags on the stage to stabilize microphone equipment. How about entering the 21st century! Our hospitals spend fortunes in protection of accidents due to falling by our older and elder patients.
Someone in government let our president and the citizens of the United States down.
George David Schnabel


Vote for McDonald for CUSD Board of Education
Dear editor:
As a 39-year theater educator, with 27 years in Claremont Unified School District, I’ve witnessed firsthand how important it is for a community to have a cohesive, dedicated, and engaged board of education. As such, I strongly endorse Alex McDonald for school board.
I’ve spent time over the past months getting to know Alex, finding him to be an ideal addition to the existing board. As a result of the support his own public schools gave him in his adolescent struggle with dyslexia and the valuable education his three children are experiencing at Condit Elementary and El Roble Intermediate, he has a passion for quality education. He’s also a strong advocate for the arts and for student mental health.
As a member and president elect of the Educational Theatre Association’s National Governing Board for nine years, I understand the unique challenges of working on a governance board. I see in Alex the skillset required to be the community’s voice in setting policy for students. Alex’s experience in board governance as a member of the California Medical Association gives him an understanding of how to provide the direction and oversight a school board requires.
Alex is a strong advocate for academic excellence. He believes that all children deserve access to a rigorous and challenging curriculum that will prepare them for college and careers. As a family physician for over 10 years, he is also passionate about student health and well-being. His experience formulating policy and his commitments to education and to medicine would help create a safe, healthy, and supportive school environment where all children can thrive. He’ll bring to our school board a commitment to excellence and a deep understanding of collaboration, vision, and strategic planning.
I urge you to vote for him on July 25 for the Trustee Area 4 school board seat.
Krista Carson Elhai


Vote McDonald for CUSD Board of Education
Dear editor:
Since I’m a teacher and a Trustee Area 4 voter, I am often asked why I am supporting Alex McDonald for Claremont Unified School District’s Board of Education. Here is my answer: I teach at Vista del Valle Elementary School and know firsthand that Alex cares as much about our students and our faculty as he does about those of Condit and El Roble, which his three children attend.
I am convinced that Alex will responsibly represent the entire school district. Not only does he value the Claremont schools, but he also credits the public school system for his own professional success and community leadership skills.
Other reasons to vote for Alex: he will bring to our school board a wealth of experience from serving on boards as a physician, including the California Medical Association and the California Academy of Family Physicians. He and his family understand the time commitment and are willing to adjust to the demands on a school board member.
And at the top of my list: when you talk with Alex, he listens.
Maria Tucker


Opposition to Larkin Place is not about hate, fear
Dear editor:
In response to the June 2 Readers’ comment “Reject Larkin Place fear mongering”:
To suggest concerned Claremont residents are ignorant, fearful, and expressing hateful thoughts about their genuine safety concerns is not a fair assumption to make. This is not about hate nor fear mongering; this is about the safety of our vulnerable population surrounding Larkin Park.
Pilgrim Place entered into an agreement with Jamboree Development targeting two classes of residents: the severely mentally disabled and the chronically drug addicted. It is important to understand Jamboree’s choice of this homeless category will not be required to participate in drug abuse or mental health programs to mitigate their debilitating conditions. This is deeply misunderstood by many. It is strictly a voluntary program.
Jamboree has chosen not to consider the safety concerns of Claremont residents. Pilgrim Place has chosen not to engage with concerned residents. Many residents have expressed disbelief at Pilgrim Place’s management not doing their “due diligence” to ensure their decision to sell the property is thoughtful and respectful to the surrounding community. Not surprisingly, Pilgrim Place has security patrols protecting their residents from potential safety concerns. Furthermore, the city has declined to act on Claremont residents’ safety concerns by refusing to perform a safety study.
To be crystal clear, we have no problem with housing this class of homeless who suffer from drug addiction and mental health conditions in Claremont. Placing them next to a Joslyn Senior Center, El Roble middle school, a daycare center, and a public park would be negligent and irresponsible.
All of us are in favor of finding solutions for our unhoused population. Homeless candidates that would be a safer compromise for Larkin Park are extremely low-income individuals, preferably seniors, veterans, or single young mothers who are not likely to pose a safety risk to our seniors and children.
Paul Gendron


Pilgrim Place, Jamboree: house a lower risk population at Larkin Place
Dear editor:
After reading last week’s Readers’ comment “Reject Larkin Place fear mongering,” I am concerned that the citizens of Claremont are unaware of the public safety risk that is posed by housing persons who have a history of chronic homelessness, untreated severe mental illness and addiction to drugs at Larkin Place.
In my experience as a former psychiatric hospital administrator and retired reserve police captain (Monterey Park Police Department), these persons routinely refuse psychiatric and addiction treatment and have extensive criminal histories. It is my opinion that, coupled with this population’s unemployment status and transient lifestyle, this will result in criminal activity (burglary, theft, robbery, etc.) to fund their continued illegal drug use, posing a threat to Pilgrim Place residents and the Claremont community.
As former assistant director of behavioral health for the San Bernardino County Department of Behavioral Health, I am not here to fear monger. I support permanent supportive housing for this population. However, Larkin Place is not an appropriate location. This population will require voluntary, intensive 24/7 behavioral health care services (medication, therapy, crisis services, and case management) provided by licensed behavioral health professionals. The developer, Jamboree Corporation, is not a licensed treatment organization and cannot provide these services. The local mental health authority, Tri-City Mental Health, can provide these services at their clinics and will likely need to request additional funding from the City of Claremont and Los Angeles County for additional intensive services.
I urge Pilgrim Place’s CEO and board (the seller of the property) to halt the escrow process and work with Jamboree and the community to find a lower risk tenant population, i.e. homeless senior citizens, women with children, or families who are also in desperate need of housing.
Richard Louis, III

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