Readers’ comments: November 10, 2023

Study finds Claremont wants safer cycling options
Dear editor:
In his letter opposing Mountain Avenue safety improvements [“Readers’ Comments,” November 3], Douglas Lyon claims that in Claremont “the overwhelming vast majority of people do not want to be out bicycling.”
On important matters of city policy, we must rely not just on personal hunches, but on actual data. Fortunately, we have the data, and it shows that Lyon is plain wrong.
In a three-year study led by Harvey Mudd faculty and funded by the National Science Foundation, I worked with statistics professor Tanja Srebotnjak and teams of student researchers to conduct the most comprehensive study to date of Claremont residents’ perspectives on cycling. Several hundred in-person interviews were conducted with a cross-section of residents reflecting the city’s demographics. To be clear, this was a survey of residents generally, not of cyclists per se.
The results speak for themselves:
Men report riding bicycles an average of 103 times per year, and women 64 times per year.
Eighty-one percent of women respondents and 74% of men indicate they wish they could ride more.
The main barriers to cycling are concerns about safety and proximity to cars. Forty-three percent of respondents report personally knowing someone who was injured while cycling in Claremont.
When asked what changes would make a difference, the top responses were safer intersections and more bike lanes. Three-quarters of respondents said they would bike more if infrastructure improvements were made.
In light of these realities, Claremont Streets for People is calling for safer road design to meet public demand. Hopefully our political leaders will do the same.
Paul Steinberg
Steinberg is a professor of political science and environmental policy at Harvey Mudd College.


A ‘Nudge’ for better trash disposal
Dear editor:
One of my favorite books is “Nudge” by Richard Thaler, in which he suggests small actions (nudges) that can make big changes. I am very confident that I am not the only one who is completely confused by what goes in the black, green, and gray trash bins. I propose a nudge to Claremont.
I suggest Claremont design and print stickers that can be placed on each of the trash bins that  tell us the dos and don’ts for each bin. I am confident that there are CHS students who would work on a project like this so they can add it to their college applications (“… implemented citywide recycling and refuse clarification program”). I am also confident there is a group of volunteers who can take the trash pickup schedules and go out and put the stickers on the bins when they are out on the street. I bet the entire project could be done for under $20,000.
With this very simple project, a city of 35,000+ people would be substantially more compliant with California laws, but also positive trash disposal practices.
Brad Umansky


Council nixing Zoom comments should be a lead story
Dear editor:
The excellent letters to the editor section in the recent Courier [“Readers’ Comments,” October 27] seemed worthy of putting out front as the lead item in the paper. The letters describe attempts to restrict public comments at Claremont council meetings. These kinds of comments will undoubtedly increase exponentially and in frequency in the wake of the rise in antisemitism fueled by Israel’s Holocaust-like attacks on Gaza.
The shutdown itself is a threat to democracy. That judgment recognizes that the spoken comments were vicious. But when they do cross the line, there are other means to gain restrictive control rather than closing all public comments For instance, if a speech involves threats or intimidation there are injunctions and other actions that can be taken against the specific speech makers.
Claremont’s problem is not unique. Riverside and San Bernardino face the same kind of shutdown because of similar intemperate speech; undoubtedly there are other places.
This seemed like a time that opinion was warranted in a more prominent place than it was in the recent edition.
Mel Opotowsky


Unwavering support for Israel
Dear editor:
I write to express my unwavering support for Israel in the ongoing conflict with Hamas and Hezbollah. As a democratic bastion in a volatile region, Israel’s right to self-defense is incontrovertible when faced with organizations that have been designated by many countries, including the United States, as terrorist groups.
The butchering of 1,400 innocent Israeli citizens on October 7 by Hamas coupled with the perpetual aggression launched by Hamas and Hezbollah toward Israel’s civilian population through rocket attacks and other acts of terror is a blatant violation of international law and human decency. These acts undermine any attempts at peace and threaten the stability of the entire Middle East.
Israel, like any other sovereign nation, has the right and duty to protect its citizens. When met with a daily barrage of threats, Israel’s responsive actions are not only justifiable but necessary for the survival of its nation and the safety of its people. I support Israel’s complete annihilation of Hamas and Hezbollah. In the pursuit of peace and security, it is critical that the international community recognize and support Israel’s legitimate counterterrorism measures.
The path to peace is unequivocal — it requires the cessation of violence and the destruction of groups like Hamas and Hezbollah, whose charters call for the destruction of Israel. Only then can there be a foundation for a lasting peace that benefits both Israelis and Palestinians, bringing prosperity and harmony to the region.
In the quest for peace, Israel must not stand alone. It requires the moral support of all nations that value democracy, peace, and the rule of law. Standing with Israel is not just an act of solidarity, but a stance for those values that are the bedrock of any free and just society.
Kris M. Meyer


May the calls for a ceasefire in Gaza be heeded
Dear editor:
When I was pastor at Hollywood United Methodist Church, I developed a deep working and personal relationship with Rabbi John Rosove.
I was pleasantly surprised when he asked me to light the candle remembering righteous gentiles during Yom HaShoa, or Holocaust Remembrance Day services.
Rabbi Rosove’s son works for Jewish Voice for Peace, one of many Jewish organizations calling for an immediate ceasefire in the Israel/Hamas conflagration.
Judaism is a highly ethical religion that impacts its members deeply. Sadly, most righteous Jewish persons and organizations are not connected to synagogues. In Israel and in the US the righteous voices come mostly from secular ethical Jews.
Ilan Pappé wrote “The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine,” and was summarily dismissed from the Israeli University of Haifa, where he taught.
Miko Peled wrote “The General’s Son,” where he tells the story of his highly ethical father who upon learning about the planned ethnic cleansing of Palestine resigned from the Israeli Defense Forces, learned Arabic, earned a Ph.D. from a Palestinian university, and dedicated his life to speak against Zionist policies.
Nameless young Israelis languish in jails where they were sent for refusing to serve in the IDF. The numbers of individuals and organizations that call for a humane ceasefire in Gaza are swelled with righteous Jewish voices. They are peacemakers. May their numbers increase and may their calls be heeded.
Ignacio Castuera

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