Readers’ comments: October 20, 2023
Council meetings returning to in-person public comment
At the October 10 Claremont City Council meeting, the public comment portions of the meeting were dominated by Zoom participants who made repeated racist and hateful comments, unrelated to items actually on the calendar. Because of the disruptive atmosphere created by the anonymous participants, the city has decided to return to in-person comments for future meetings. The League of Women Voters of the Mt. Baldy Area fully supports this decision.
Our members have been observing council and commission meetings for decades.
We do not speak; we listen and report to the governing body if conduct is inconsistent with an open government. In our collective experience, in-person public comment, specifically on the issues facing the city, is an important aspect of an open and responsive government.
Barbara Nicoll, president
League of Women Voters of the Mt. Baldy Area
Where do we go from here?
256 208 090. This has been the webinar ID for every Claremont City Council meeting held on the Zoom platform since April 14th, 2020. Only budget workshops and other special meetings, such as the extended comment on the Village South project, sometimes used differing Zoom webinar ID numbers. A similar pattern is seen looking at the commissions; new numbers each for a few sessions, then retention of one webinar ID with few exceptions. It is therefore not a surprise that persons wishing to cause chaos were able to access the city council meeting last week.
Now that remote comment has been closed off, where does the city propose to go from here? Have we now told those with disabilities, including compromised immunity, that they can no longer participate in our public meetings? Written comments are distributed only, and no longer read aloud for others to hear. Comment time was just shortened by 25% from four minutes to three. What happens when the next lockdown occurs; will we suspend government? Current council chair Reece and the city manager had options other than shutting out those who can’t attend meetings in person, but they panicked and went with the easy way out.
Recent events in Israel
If you want to write an opinion piece, have an opinion. If you want to write well, guard against self-indulgence.
Ambivalence about evil is evil. Ambivalence about pure evil is pure evil. Despite your protestations to the contrary, your equating Israel’s potential military response (whatever it may end up being) to the brutal attacks of October 7, 2023, by Hamas militants, is to definitely take a stand.
You make much of your “privilege.” Recognize that this privilege is the direct result of living in a country that now, and for the last 250 years, has made ruthless decisions to defend and protect our principles and the way of life we hold dear. As part of this, we unconditionally support our allies, who share our principles, when it comes time for them to make the same type of ruthless decisions.
So, instead of washing your hands of your duty to instill moral values in your children, try saying something like this: “When you see evil, you condemn it. Full stop. Recognize that the world is a very messy place, and full of suffering, and although it is not likely to end, we must do our best to minimize it. On October 7, Hamas committed unspeakable atrocities upon Israeli civilians. Israel must respond. Hamas operates purposefully to maximize the amount of suffering any response will cause to the people of Gaza. We pray and trust that the elected leaders of Israel will make the ruthless decisions necessary with wisdom and care as they defend their country and way of life.”
Will “town” speak up on School of Theology move?
When I was in seminary at what was then called Southern California School of Theology at Claremont, I was too busy to know what was going on in the city of trees and Ph.D.s.
Claremont Men’s College (now Claremont McKenna) was wantonly destroying the vibrant Mexican American enclave in Claremont. To their credit a few years later they granted a Ph.D. to a person who suffered directly because of the carving of that community. They also invited this young man to address the Atheneum on the campus of the institution that hurt the Mexican American community in this sophisticated city.
During those tragic days the “town” side of the “town and gown” equation was mostly silent.
Sixty or so years later the “gown” side is legally destroying the seminary I attended by enforcing a clause that gives the Claremont Colleges the right to buy back the school property at 1950s prices. Mind you, this is a sister organization that for 66 years has contributed to the value of the Colleges and the reputation of the city.
The Muslim program has looked for places to go, so have the Lutheran and Episcopalian centers. The Center for Process Studies that brought honor and respect to Claremont is now in Oregon.
Dr. John B. Cobb Jr., an iconic figure in China as one of process philosophy’s leading figures, has been completely ignored by those who value mammon more than community.
Will the “town” side of the “town and gown” continue to repeat the sin of omission and remain silent? What do faculty members think? Are the students aware of what is being done in their name and the name of future students?
All that the Colleges are doing is legal, but so was segregation at one time. Will the “town” speak?