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Claremont Courier - A Local Nonprofit Newsroom

Readers comments 5-21-21

Hush money
Dear editor:

City attorney, Alisha Patterson and our city council want us to believe that paying outrageous amounts of hush-money to make “top-executive officials” go away “serves the public interest.”

Okay… do they actually teach that in lawyer school?

Alisha Patterson is hardly one the public can trust to stick to facts. After all, she was responsible for penning the “Impartial Analysis” for Measure CR where she made the false claim that California has a statewide sales tax cap of 10.25%. Any functional literate would have known that’s simply not true. Perhaps Alisha thought that error in fact served the public interest as well.

I can assure everyone that actions like these do nothing to serve the public interest. They only undermine public trust in city hall.

Matt Magilke
Claremont

Thank You Sycamore Elementary
Dear editor:

Dear Sycamore Elementary School,
There is no amount of words or gifts that could aptly express my gratitude. My second child will “rise” soon and it finally hits me that both my children are no longer children. This magical place shaped in a profound way, their lives.

When we were thinking of purchasing a home in Claremont, I researched schools and came to the conclusion that Sycamore was the school I wanted my children to go to. I had no knowledge of how you could intradistrict transfer, so my husband and I sought to purchase a house in the Village and fortunately purchased one before school started.

Sycamore was more than a school it was my kids’ home away from home. I look at all of the teachers, staff, administration and realize that you were more to my kids than the titles you carry.

All of the teachers and administration helped to shape them, define them and are so much a part of their story of the adults they will become. These wonderful people helped raise my children with me. My kids were met and honored at whatever stage they were in. They are who they are because of you, your guidance, your love and care. Thank you to all the teachers who took such good care of my babies. I’m forever indebted to you.

In June I will hear the Sycamore song sung for the last time when it closes the 6th grade send off. And maybe because my kids missed so much in 2020, I am more appreciative and take less for granted? I loved every part of our experience at Sycamore—I couldn’t have imagined a better place for my kids to grow up. I met amazing parents and developed deep friendships. Fortunately I was able to navigate my work schedule and volunteer a lot—and as much as I gave—I have to say that I (we) got back so much more. Sycamore is always and forever in our hearts and it will be hard to say good-bye.
Thank you Sycamore.

Centia Batz
Claremont

The Commons
Dear editor:

The COURIER photograph used last week showing a very small plane above The Commons site does not accurately portray the proximity of the planes to the ground. Armstrong’s shoppers know those planes are well under 300 ft. overhead. They are loud and low.

Thanks to the COURIER for covering this story in depth and making room for the many letters, this was a complicated proposal. This said, if the letters to the COURIER or the public comment were any indication, there were more than twice as many people against this development than were for it. For three years people came from all over town to share their concerns for the public health and safety of future Claremonters. Some of these community members currently live near the site and suffer the extreme noise and regular concern for crashes.

Yet, this is not a case of NIMBYism, since the only backyard The Commons would be in is the airport’s.

While I would agree with Councilmember Leano’s closing statement when he said “we had an opportunity to change so families lives today” I strongly differ in his conclusion that “we chose not to.” The majority of the council did the right thing, they listened to the unbiased experts, and did choose to change some families’ lives, for the better!

Councilmembers Stark, Calaycay, and Medina chose to protect public health and safety and weren’t distracted by the last minute offer of a few low cost housing units. Thank you councilmembers, ‘cause nothing changes a life like protecting it.

Drew Ready
Claremont

Soil contamination
Dear editor:

There is a possible unsafe soil contamination at Village South.

Village South was for many years the site of manufacturing. One of the chemicals used was Trichloroethylene (TCE). We now know it can harm babies’ development and cause lymphoma, as well as liver, kidney and cervical cancer. Four water wells to the east of Village South was destroyed or shut down. In every one of those wells, the TCE was high and growing. Water from an existing well continues to be treated to remove as much as possible of the TCE.
Claremont resident Nathan Reynolds’ wrote a letter in response to the draft EIR that summarizes the issues. He had tracked TCE contamination of our water wells and, based on his research, calls for Phase I and Phase II soil testing to be done as part of the EIR. This would provide residents the opportunity to know the results of the tests and mitigation steps to be taken, if the results show contamination of the soil.

There were other letters in response to the draft EIR stating that the soil sampling should be completed before finalizing the EIR. You can find these letters from two law firms and private citizens on the city of Claremont website. Currently the recently updated EIR, although much better about potential mitigation, still calls for testing to be delayed until specific development proposals are submitted for review. That could be years in some cases.

My questions:
If the soil is contaminated by TCE or other contaminants, will the years before each development is proposed result in a possible plume continuing to grow and spread?

Could water recharge that is planned for Village South drive even more contamination downwards into our drinking water?

We already know that the wells to the east of Village South have been increasingly contaminated by TCE.

My questions:
Is contamination flowing from Village South or from another source?

Four wells contaminated by TCE have either been destroyed or made inactive. If we were to find the source of the contamination, could we stop the increasing contamination of the fifth well?

Was the soil tested before two low income communities, Courier Place and the Claremont Villas Senior Apartments, were built? If not, we need to stop building without checking for the source of well contamination.

TCE can pass through a concrete slab and so special focus should be on areas under the slabs where the chemical(s) were stored or used. This would require drilling into the slab, or sometimes angled borings from outside of the building. Groundwater samples may also need to be collected. The plant where my husband Jim Keith worked had to be tested and it did not disturb production nor did he consider it invasive.

Claremont must do better than further delay on this issue. TCE contaminated soil can be cleaned up, but it is not a quick process.

For all the concerns stated, Phase I and II testing for TCE must be done as part of the Final EIR. It will give us either a sigh of relief or we will have transparently planned mitigation measures.

Transparency is important for such an impactful development.

Sue Keith
Claremont

—Editor’s note:
For more background information, please see Nathan Reynolds’ letter on Village South soil to City Planner Chris Veirs at: claremont-courier.com/print-archive/soil1. —PW

Be respectful of everyone
Dear editor:

Have you heard of the Asian hate? Did you know that people who look Asian are being blamed for the coronavirus?

People should be respectful to everybody. It’s not what’s on the outside, but what’s on the inside that matters. It doesn’t matter how you look. Everybody is different, but in a good way. Don’t make fun of people who look different from you. They are normal. It doesn’t matter your gender or the color of your skin because everyone is human, and everyone is beautiful. All people are created equal. Everybody is welcome, and all are loved.

Everybody believes in different things, and there shouldn’t be prejudice about what you believe.

Everybody is different, but nobody is right or wrong. Everyone’s opinions matter. We should all be treated with respect.

There is a fire spreading, but not everybody smells the smoke of hatred. The world was not made for hate. The world was made for love.

Claremont Girl Scout Troop 5604
Fourth and Fifth Grade
Sycamore School

 

Is our government complicit?
Dear editor:

At approximately 3:00 pm Pacific time on November 9, 2018, I received a horrible phone call that changed my life and the lives of my family forever. The U.S. Consulate in Merida, Mexico called my wife and me to inform us that our 27-year-old son, Taylor Kristofer Meyer, was attacked, robbed, and murdered while he and his friends were vacationing in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. Taylor was murdered despite following all of the State Department guidelines for traveling in Mexico.

The State Department, whose primary responsibility is the protection of American lives outside of this country, provides a travel rating for Americans visiting in foreign countries from a level 1 being the safest, like Canada, to a level 4, like Iran, being the most dangerous. In 2018 and 2019 the Quintana Roo State in Mexico as well as the overall country had been assigned a level 2 travel advisory by our State Department. This is the same level as Germany, Italy, France, and Antarctica. Mexico is the ONLY country on the planet, which our State Department has subdivided into multiple ratings from a level 2 through 4. More than half of the country was rated a 3 or 4, yet the overall country was rated a 2.

My wife and I tried to discourage Taylor from vacationing in Mexico because of the dangers there, but Taylor argued back that Playa Del Carmen in Quintana Roo State was safe and was rated a 2. Taylor also advised us that his vacation therefore was just as safe as the three-and-a-half week European trip to Germany and Italy which my wife and I had just returned from a few weeks prior.

Nothing will bring my son back and I accept the fact that his murder will never be solved. I’m comforted to know that he is at home with his Savior in Heaven. However, I am determined to prevent what happened to my son from happening to anyone else. Currently only because of COVID-19, all of Mexico is rated a 4 so tourists are avoiding travel to and within Mexico.

However, with the increased availability of vaccines, I suspect the State Department will reduce the rating for the country and its tourism areas back down to a 2. I believe if Mexico would have been accurately assessed in 2018 and 2019 it would have been rated at least a 3 and possibly a 4.

Had that been done, my son and his friends would have vacationed elsewhere and he would be alive today.

Since my son’s murder, I have been contacted by family members of Mexican murder victims from La Verne, Brea, Alta Loma, and Redlands all who were murdered within two years of my son. I’ve also been in contact with victim families in California and from other states. According to our State Department’s website data, more Americans are murdered in Mexico than in every other foreign country combined. The murder rate in Mexico exceeds four per hour and this does not count the estimated 70,000+ people who are missing. Approximately 1.3% of crime in Mexico is reported and solved.

On July 30, 2019 I filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the Department of State requesting all sources and metrics used by the department to develop their travel advisory ratings. I also requested the weighted metrics for Antarctica, France, Germany, Italy, and Mexico between January 1, 2018 and December 1, 2018. This FOIA request was acknowledged received by the Department of State and given tracking number F-2019-08393. Despite efforts by Congresswoman Judy Chu’s office and letters from me to the Secretary of State, I’ve received no response from anyone since the Department of State’s acknowledgement of receipt of my FOIA request.

At this point I do not believe I will receive a response because I believe the Mexican and American tourism lobbies are fighting to keep the dangers in Mexico quiet so as not to adversely impact their tourism business. A total of 8.5% of Mexico’s known GDP is tourism and there is significant American investment from VRBO’s, hotel chains, resorts, time shares, restaurants, cruise ships, and airlines all of whom profit from Americans traveling there. Mexican journalists writing to shine light on the crime in Mexico are being threatened and/or killed so as to keep the dangers there quiet. Mexico ranks second to Syria on the planet for the murder of journalists.

Unlike most murders of Americans in Mexico, my son’s murder received tremendous national and international coverage on television, radio, and newspapers. I believe that this coverage was for the purpose for me to try to make a difference not only for the safety of American tourists, but also to inspire change within the Mexican government itself. As a first step by this letter to the editor, I am asking this newspaper and its readers to help me in any way they can to obtain an answer to my FOIA request. It is imperative that our State Department put the safety of Americans first before the financial interests of those individuals and corporations that may have tourism investments there.

Kris Meyer
Claremont

 

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