Readers’ comments: May 5, 2023
Council must act to protect renters, CUSD
Even a landslide of public comment from homeowners, students, and renters all over Claremont hasn’t persuaded Claremont City Council members to tighten the “renoviction” loophole.
We are distraught.
Council members fret that the money from expensive (hypothetical) lawsuits could go to renters instead. But if council members don’t protect renters in good standing like us, we won’t be here to spend it on. We’ll be thrown out of our homes so that deep-pocketed landlords — not smaller landlords with less cash flow — can turn affordable homes into luxury apartments renting for as much as double what some of us are paying now.
Unconscionably, AB 1482 lets landlords with significant cash flow skirt state-imposed limits on rent increases as long as the landlords toss (a trivial amount of) relocation money at renters they displace and invest some money into the property. Numerous cities have, sensibly, restricted renovictions to those necessary for tenants’ health and safety. They know they must protect renters from a money grab that effectively resets base rents astronomically.
Why won’t Claremont?
This isn’t merely a renter’s issue. With housing costs rising sharply, CUSD is at the edge of a cliff. Enrollment is dropping, with several classes closed this year and six or more additional elementary classrooms projected to close next year. Which neighborhood school will close because the council didn’t take vital steps to make sure families stay in their homes?
Where will fixed-income seniors go when their smaller landlord sells, and new owners evict them to flip the property to luxury apartments?
We have the chance to take local control. Are council members really going to sit safely in their fixed-interest homes and watch as citizens get thrown out of Claremont? It’s a travesty. We implore them to act, declaring, “not in Claremont!”
Lydia Hernandez and Elaine Thompson
Council: bring balance back to the rental market
Last week the Claremont City Council began deliberating an ordinance [“Council passes rent ‘stabilization’ program, punts on protections,” April 28] to address no-cause evictions and rent stabilization in Claremont.
Much of the City Council’s discussion assumed there were only two sides to the issue: landlords and tenants. But all Claremonters are affected. These ordinances will determine who gets to call Claremont home. Too many people who grew up in Claremont can no longer afford to live here. According to the city’s own data, rents are rising almost twice as fast as property values and many Claremont renters are spending more than 50% of their income on rent. Outside corporations are buying up properties like Monarch Terrace and evicting all tenants so that they can remodel and raise rates.
I live in south Claremont, a few blocks from Monarch Terrace. As a homeowner, I value living in a diverse community with people from all walks of life. I want my children to grow up with friends of all incomes and backgrounds. That diversity is part of what makes Claremont the wonderful community it is. Once lost, it will be impossible to replace.
At last week’s meeting, several City Council members spoke of needing to balance tenants’ rights with landlords’ rights. These ordinances are not about punishing landlords; they are about restoring balance to a rental housing market that is imbalanced. For decades, past City Councils in Claremont (and many other cities) failed to meet their citizens’ needs by not zoning for enough housing. Now renters are paying the cost of those decisions.
Over the long term, the solution is to build more housing. But that takes time. In the short term, our City Council has a responsibility to address these past wrongs and bring balance back to the rental market.
Sancho’s Tacos: consider internalized racism
Mexicans in Southern California have been targets of Anglo racist attitudes for a long, long time. This has been evident in housing as the barrios were razed, in education where Spanish was not allowed in the classroom or playground, in health care, employment, policing, and so many other ways.
One of the worst results of this prejudice and discrimination is an ongoing internalized racism aimed at ourselves. It is exhibited for example by those of us who oppose immigration and devalue the contributions of other Latinos and fail to use voice and vote to protect and improve the lives of those who have the most basic needs.
The enormous improvements in the lives of those of us fortunate to call SoCal our home are a testament to our self-advocacy, leadership and organizing in partnership with a supportive broader population and systemic social progress. This is reflected in Claremont’s new budget priority to develop “Anti-Racist, Anti-Discrimination Policies.”
Let’s start by requiring Sancho’s Tacos [“Are graphics at new business out of step with city priority?” Readers comments, April 14] to change!
Rita Gonzales Levine
SCOTUS needs code of ethics
The recent news about Clarence Thomas’s financial entanglements with GOP megadonor Harlan Crow should be alarming to every American. This is what happens when the highest court in the land is given free rein to police itself. Clarence Thomas isn’t the first justice to engage in unethical behavior. And if Congress continues to ignore the need for a Supreme Court code of ethics, he won’t be the last.
Of the nine justices currently on the bench, four have been called out for unethical behavior and connections in the last year. Neil Gorsuch sold property to the head of a law firm with cases in front of the Supreme Court. Samuel Alito dined with anti-abortion activists and allegedly leaked decisions on reproductive health. John Roberts’ wife has earned millions of dollars from law firms with business before the Supreme Court.
Congress has a constitutional duty to act as a check on the Supreme Court and restore faith in our judicial system. It’s time they act and pass a Supreme Court code of ethics.
Claremont flood victims may need to lawyer up
Who was to blame for the water that flooded their homes in Claremont causing substantial damage in millions of dollars? Claremont residents asked the Six Basins Water Master Board. At the conclusion of Six Basins’ Water Master meeting Claremont members went with no response and the board went into closed session as residents left empty-handed.
Since the 1800s water agencies and cities have had water rights and the power of eminent domain to secure land for purpose of providing and protecting water and water rights over commercial development projects.
Water moves underground from higher elevations downward, and identifying what waters can cause substantial damage takes experts who specialize in water rights and studying groundwater flows. All member agencies and Six Basins have such tools.
It took the City of Pomona 10 years to be awarded $48 million dollars after water attorneys who specialize in water law hired by the city proved to a judge that fertilizer used by a Chile manufacturer had contaminated Pomona water and caused substantial damage back in the 1930s and ‘40s.
Claremont residents may have no other option than to stand united and hire a water attorney if the powers above don’t answer to properly owners.Such is the price of human error and eminent domain.
Readers’ comments: May 26, 2023