Readers comments: September 9, 2022
Larkin Place: state correct in overriding local control
In the discussions about the easement to Larkin Place, the notion of local control pops up frequently — and with it criticism of SB35 as the source of the loss of local control.
It is widely agreed that having decisions made at the governmental level closest to the scene of the activity is best — and for housing that means decisions at the local level. However, what happens when the local level consistently fails to meet its obligations, which is what is happening statewide with respect to providing housing to meet the varied needs of its citizens? Then a higher level of government must intervene to see that the obligations are met but to do so temporarily until the local level shows that it has become capable of doing what it should do.
That is what SB35 does; if it applies temporarily to Claremont, it is because we are not meeting our housing requirements (and doing so for unacceptable reasons). And to the claim that left to our own devices we will solve the problem, the answer is that the evidence is not there that that will happen any time soon enough to be a solution to California’s huge moral problem of homelessness.
One should think in this connection about the southern states cries of states’ rights. Those rights have been invoked precisely to avoid federal demands that those states halt racial discrimination. The analogy of states’ rights to local control needs to be recognized.
Larkin Place: city should conduct safety study
Re: “State: City broke law in denying Larkin Place easement” (COURIER, August 18, 2022).
In response to the above article, I join a growing number of Claremont residents who are in favor of the City of Claremont conducting a public health and safety study due to the high public safety risk posed by housing chronically homeless in a small neighborhood that are mentally ill, addicted to drugs and historically refuse treatment.
As former assistant director of behavioral health, San Bernardino County Department of Behavioral Health, and recently retired reserve police officer (captain) in East Los Angeles, I have serious concerns about the housing of chronically homeless at the Larkin Place housing site as there is plenty of data to indicate this category of disabled persons brings with it a serious criminal element.
I am not opposed to low-income affordable housing for homeless persons in Claremont. However, in my 34 years of experience persons with untreated mental illness and drug addiction sadly often leads to involvement with the criminal justice system. Even if these tenants do not sell illegal drugs themselves, their use ensures they are caught up in the crime and violence that accompanies untreated drug and alcohol abuse that will negatively impact public safety. See U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development study “The Applicability of Housing First Models to Homeless Persons with Serious Mental Illness”, Executive Summary, Client Characteristics at Enrollment, page xxii, https://www.huduser.gov/Publications/pdf/hsgfirst.pdf
I believe the City of Claremont should conduct a public health and safety study, present the findings to the Claremont community to provide evidence that there will not be an increase in crime.
Yao’s bond proposal benefits city employees, burdens taxpayers
Claremont City Council candidate Peter Yao is proposing a bond to buy out the liability on the local pension fund which is only 85% funded at this point. He claims that it will “pay out” over 20 years. His proposal includes an additional real estate tax of 1% to offset the shortfall for CalPERS retirement system.
This is just another proposal to assure city employees won’t lose part of their retirement benefits, but at the expense of the taxpayers. A pension that is funded at 85% is dependent upon the administrators of the fund making sound long term investments. The percentage of funding can increase or decrease depending on the investments contained in it.
What Yao is proposing is a local level bailout similar to the one that exists in CalPERS.
At a local level, the accrued shortfall would be paid by local residents long term through increased taxes.
At a state level, any shortfalls in CalPERS (currently estimated at over $200 million) will be paid for long term by the taxpayers of this state. Obviously not a good idea for our taxpayers but great for our city employees.
For other proposals by Mr. Yao (including reduction in police presence), look at his website, peteryaoforcitycouncil.com.
Good things happening at Women’s Club
Many are not aware that the Woman’s Club of Claremont is dedicated to community improvement by enhancing the lives of others through volunteer service and donations. Claremont ladies of all ages have been meeting monthly for more than 100 years!
Our new year begins Wednesday the 14th of September with a luncheon/business meeting at the WCC Clubhouse, 343 W. 12th St. The speaker will be from Inland Valley Hope Partners, a local nonprofit striving to heal homelessness and hunger.
The meeting is from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., and lunch will be catered by Gus’s BBQ. The cost is $20 for WCC members, and $25 for non-members/guests. WCC will give IVHP a donation at the end of the lunch meeting. Reservations are required for lunch by Monday, September 12 at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/40936-4930527.
Donations are not tax-deductible. More info is available at womansclubofclaremont.com.
Experienced U.S. National Parks visitor’s unique perspective
Early this August, my grandson and I spent 10 days at Zion, Bryce Canyon, Arches, and Canyonlands National Parks. We also drove the 17-mile dirt road in Monument Valley. It was a wonderful adventure for this 89-year-old Claremonter!
I am thankful for many family camping experiences and trips with Boy Scout Troop 402, where Dennis Wheeler led weeklong back country adventures in the Sierras and to Havasupai native lands.
Currently, I depend upon a four-wheel walker. While my grandson was out hiking, I had ample opportunity to observe people and the environment while sitting under a tree, under picnic area coverings, or in the lodges and the information centers.
Zion was the most popular among the four parks we visited, followed by Bryce Canyon, Arches, and Canyon Lands National Parks. At Zion, open space between the canyon wall is quite limited which makes it look more crowded. Private cars are not allowed. The park bus service is efficient and makes stops at various trailheads. In the other parks, visitors can drive and park at designated areas which also provide access to trailheads. One does not notice big groups of people, unlike when the buses unload in Zion.
Previously, my wife (now deceased) and I visited the parks. At that time, some of the roads and public facilities had rustic character and parking was difficult. Since then, there has been significant improvement to the roads and now there are maintained restrooms at each trailhead site and viewing areas. The park service has initiated a reserved time entrance to the park. This certainly seems to have improved crowding.
Observations about Park visitors: To our surprise foreign visitors seemed to make up the majority at Zion, Bryce, and Arches National Parks. Among them French speakers were most prevalent followed by Germans.