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Readers comments: May 20, 2022

Human trafficking:
Dear editor:
I attended a recent human trafficking awareness presentation that I thought would express different views highlighting the problem and would offer some solutions. But as I was listening to the speakers, I was disappointed in a few things. The meeting began with 45 minutes explaining that all street level sex workers in our area are victims, even the adults. Then, the speakers from the Pomona and Claremont police departments explained it takes many arrests of any particular sex worker for the police to get a chance to build trust and offer services and a path away from sex work. After all that explanation about the victimhood of the sex workers, each police representative complained that the Los Angeles D.A. policy wouldn’t prosecute people picked up for loitering for prostitution. It sounded like, “Gosh we’re sad we can’t jail victims.” The disconnect was jarring.

The message I got from this presentation was 1) prostitution equals trafficking; 2) there is no effective way to decrease demand (sex purchasers), so the police have to try to reduce supply (sex workers); and 3) that the police and other service providers have very little success convincing sex workers to stop sex working. The end result was that this is an unsolvable issue.

I was appalled by a few tone deaf things the presenters said. The police identified “minimal clothing” in public as the first problem caused by the sex workers. Are you policing women’s clothing now? The police also said it gives our communities a bad reputation and the sex workers and clients leave litter (condoms). So basically, the problem is that it is unsightly. We spent 90 minutes kvetching about a problem of unsightliness.

The program was presented by the Committee for Safe and Healthy Housing, which does not appear on the list of committees on the Claremont city website that I could check (https://www.ci.claremont.ca.us/government/departments-divisions/city-clerk-s-office/commission-committee-board-appointments). Who are they? Was our City money spent on any part of this program, which seemed to be (not that) subtly aimed at bashing the DA? Was this really about the upcoming elections?
Ms. Mele Wood
Claremont

Response to “City unveils plan to spend federal stimulus funds,” (May 13 COURIER)
Dear editor:
The city (staff) plan for spending the federal stimulus dollars needs a serious review as it does not seem compliant with in the “spirit and intent” of the federal guidelines. Specifically with respect to the almost half million dollars ($413,000) for the one-time stipend payments for both full-time and part-time employees who “got to work” at least 1,000 hours during the pandemic. Full-time public safety employees would receive $4,000, (for doing their job) while other full-time employees would get $3,000. Part-time employees would receive $1,000 if they “got” to work 500 hours.

The COURIER article further advised “The intention behind the federal program, passed in March of 2021, was to repay cities for lost revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic and to stimulate the economy. As such it came with some restrictions, in­cluding prohibitions on using the money for pensions, building up cash reserves, paying down outstanding debts or paying off judgments.”

As noted, the intent of the program is to stimulate the economy and prohibits using the money for pensions. Question: Does a payment to the city staff comply with the program intent? Granted, the proposed payment does not apply directly to “pensions” but indirectly makes a payment for the job the city staff should always be doing (addressing public safety), and it seems this would be a self-serving way of saying, “it stimulates the economy.”

Overall, Claremont residents should be and are immensely proud to live in Claremont and appreciate the city staff however, an across-the-board stipend should be reviewed. They “got to work and were properly paid” whereas many residents “lost their jobs/income.” Further, most likely some employees worked much harder, and others did not have the same workload—perhaps less.

A further review of the $413,000 should be considered as truly stimulating the economy such as perhaps addressing issues with the current water mandates; a Claremont Police Department appreciation day; A Claremont business appreciation day; or other acts that will truly benefit the city economy and continue to show the country why Claremont is just a great community.
Rich Laughton
Claremont 

Pomona Valley Hospital waiting room
Dear editor:
Pomona Valley Hospital is a public institution. I have always received good care there. Last week I went for an ultrasound. The staff and technicians were all polite and excellent. However, I and the other patients and family members in the waiting room were subjected to the extremist rhetoric of Fox News blaring from the TV in the waiting room. This is totally inappropriate and deeply offensive. If TV is required (and I do not see why it is needed), then they should have something inoffensive, such as cooking, animal shows, home repair, or medical advice. Regardless of your politics, I’m sure everyone can agree that a place for healing and wellness needs to be as peaceful and non-traumatic as possible. Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center must immediately cease broadcasting all forms of divisive TV wherever patients and family members might be.
Carol Sorgenfrei