Readers comments: March 24, 2023

Kudos, but what about Michael Ryan?
Dear editor:
The articles you have been writing since you became Editor of the Courier have been fascinating and so informative about local happenings and individuals of which I was unaware. This past week, I was especially interested in the article about the dying of live music performance in Claremont [“Live original music’s death rattle in Claremont?” March 17], and, of course, saddened by it. However, I expected that before you ended you would mention the wonderful live music of Michael Ryan and his partners, Hai Muradian and Ken Soderlund at Walter’s Restaurant once a week on Wednesday evenings. I think they have been there at least five years and before that at another Claremont restaurant which no longer exists. This group presents a treasure of wonderful music, and you might want to consider an article about them. It is sad that we have lost so much of live music in our area, but wonderful that we still have Michael Ryan and his friends on a regular basis. Michael is a professor of music at the University of La Verne.  He performs in other areas of California as well and each summer in Europe.
Many good wishes to you and your staff, from a subscriber to the excellent and appreciated Courier for many, many years,
Nancy Lee Ruyter


Kudos for border piece, much more needs to be done
Dear editor:
I want to commend Mick Rhodes for his opinion piece, “’We just want to live’: a border story” [March 10]. The “border” has become such a volatile issue in recent years that it is difficult to get at the human story taking place so near to us. Claremont United Methodist Church has been involved with the border church directed by Via International for several years. Under the leadership of the Rev. John Fanestil there are several vital ministries taking place at the border including service for migrants. For several decades Fanestil has led weekly communion at the fence near Friendship Park originally dedicated by then First Lady Pat Nixon. As he claims it is the only cross border celebration of the sacrament in the world. Regrettably, the Biden administration is proceeding with a 30-foot high wall at Friendship Park which will make that “communion” most difficult. We need to continue to lift up the human story at the border.
The Rev. Al Streyffeler
Claremont United Methodist Church 


Hikers should be mindful of fallen tree at CHWP
Dear editor:
The recent heavy rains in Claremont caused a tree on Via Santa Catarina in the Claremont Hills Wilderness Park to topple over. It is leaning precariously over the street, held up by a smaller tree. I reported this to the proper city authority. The Claremont city arborist looked at the situation and called to tell me that this was not a city problem, and that the city is only responsible for trees within three feet of the curb. He did not offer to explain who is responsible.
This is a dangerous situation for the hiking community, many of whom are children who enter the park using the Via Santa Catarina entrance, not to mention the cars parked along the curb.
I would advise people who walking and parking on the north side of Via Santa Catarina near Mountain Avenue to be extra alert.
“If a tree falls in the Claremont Hills Wilderness Park and the city doesn’t care, does it make a sound?”
Ted Ritchie


Tree removal plan: let Mother Nature decide
Dear editor:
Regarding possible Claremont contracting to cull trees [“Plans to remove thousands of trees a surprise in the ‘city of trees,’ March 10]. First of all, it would be a glaring conflict of interest to have the same company that was contracted to cull the trees also decide which trees need culling.
I would like to suggest a solution that would protect the beautiful big trees that have given our town its character, save Claremont money, and make the citizens happy: let nature do the culling. She does a good job. Unless a tree is doing immanent structural damage to a dwelling or is possibly injurious to life, let nature do the culling. She did a good job a year ago and yes it cost money to repair sidewalks and streets, but it will cost millions to do it through a company that declares up to 1,000 trees in need of destruction. Keep our big beautiful trees.
Dr. James Price


A ‘city of trees’ no more?
Dear editor:
I love the times when city staffers are asked to help get something improved, and we are told that there are more important things on their list or there is no money for the task. This then reminds me of when one can’t afford to pay for the treatment for a pet, and the pet is euthanized. Enter the parkway tree project as yet another test of community patience and understanding.
A week-and-a-half-ago I asked a person from the Gas Company why he was marking line locations in front of our house. He said that the city was planning to remove the parkway trees. This was the first time I had heard of that puzzling operation. A few days later, a letter arrived from the city stating that indeed the parkway trees were in “fair condition” due to “drought stress” (a curious issue during one of the wettest winters on record) and therefore would be removed within the next 60 days. The letter included an email link to send a response, which I did, expressing my outrage, concern, request for a second assessment, and if still requiring removal, replacement trees.
Last week I was told there may be a chance for a second assessment, which has yet to happen.
To my surprise, returning from a weekend out of town last night, the trees had been removed. So much for community inclusion in the process, and an honest response to my request. Why am I surprised? The city must have decided it cheaper to euthanize the trees than to try to keep them alive, as my family has done from the day of their planting. It’s time to excise the trademark of “The city of trees.” We are taking bets on if and when the trees will be replaced, and will keep you posted.
Ben Bull


Speaking of civil rights
Dear editor:
Re: “Gabby Gifford does not support your civil rights” [Courier letters, March 17], I was puzzled by the writer’s statement, “Democrats steeped in liberal anti-civil rights news media can’t seem to fathom how wrong their worldview is,” given that Republicans in many red states are banning books, whitewashing the history that doesn’t fit their narrative, trying to undo a woman’s right to choose, starting pointless culture wars, and so on. Is this not anti-civil rights on steroids? (Note to culture warriors: drag shows are not the root of all evil or responsible for the downfall of civilization. Nor is teaching the unvarnished facts of American history.)
How do such autocratic actions square with the Republicans’ constant drumbeat of small government and personal freedom? Further, Fox News isn’t a credible source for anything given it just came to light that some popular Fox News hosts (see: Dominion Voting Systems lawsuit deposition evidence) not only don’t believe the “big lie” but also are not fond of the former president. They were saying whatever was needed (aka, lying) to keep their ratings up and to satisfy their viewers.
But to the main point about guns: I doubt America will ever get over its love affair with guns. The January 30 edition of U.S. News & World Report reports that as of 2017 U.S. civilians held an average of 120.5 firearms per 100 people, the highest rate in the world. That in no way makes me feel safer, nor does the fact that there have been more mass shootings in 2023 than the number of days so far this year. Most of these atrocities are committed by men, so a deep dive into the causes of this propensity for violence should be a starting point. Meanwhile, my progressive, fact-based worldview will continue.
Don Linde
La Verne


Federal spending on climate vs. military is shortsighted
Dear editor:
Climate deterioration represents the biggest threat to U.S. national security of the 21st century. Everyone in soggy California knows that. And yet in Washington, “national security” still means military responses to geopolitical challenges. In the 20 years following 9/11, the U.S. spent $21 trillion on the Pentagon and two failed wars. For $4.5 trillion the U.S. could have built a fully renewable national energy grid. Suppose that military spending (2001-2021) had been reduced from $21 to $16.5 trillion and a national energy grid had been built with the saving; we’d have 100 percent renewable energy now. Doesn’t everyone agree that the United States would be stronger and safer in that case? Yes, Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act represents the largest investment in climate security in this nation’s history. It’s a commendable step forward. Nonetheless, climate investment under the IRA will average just $37 billion per year over the next 10 years. That is, climate security will obtain just three percent of the funding allocated to military security. I’m not okay with that, are you?
Ivan Light

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