Readers comments 1.5.13
A new year and my goal to get in better shape started off by a 5-mile walk around the Claremont Loop. It was beautiful but a bit cool, which my knee did not care for but, just the same, I was going to stick to my guns and complete my walk.
The sun dropped behind the hills and it got cooler but my goal was in sight. Proud of myself, in spite of my knee screaming, “Get this over with!,” I completed my goal.
Upon exiting the park, I saw 2 police cars. Curious about what was going on, I asked one of the officers and discovered that I and 18 others (that I saw) were getting a $50 ticket for coming out of the Claremont Loop after the sun dropped over the hills. “What?!” That is ridiculous!
After sleeping on it, this morning I still think it’s a ridiculous Claremont code and just another cash generator (cash cow) for a mismanaged city. If I were to walk around the city streets all night, there would be no issues. Why is this any different? What’s next, a city-wide curfew? Or maybe homeowners that don’t want anyone walking by their house at night can issue a curfew on that street.
These city fathers have set the precedent now. When did Russia take over Claremont?
Congratulations, indeed, and kudos to the COURIER upon the promotion of Kathryn Dunn to editor-in-chief (Saturday, December 29). Her influence upon the COURIER’s editorial content, news reporting, style and layout is already apparent in keeping the COURIER vitally connected to the Claremont community.
Kudos as well to owner/publisher Peter Weinberger for his creative and visionary look into the COURIER’s future. Even in this digital online age, the print media remains a significant builder and symbol of community identity.
So to Peter’s request for feedback on his ideas about a single enhanced weekly edition along with a more robust website, I say, “Right on.”
Put it behind us
Those who argue against the city’s purchase of Claremont’s water system claim that a 2005 study by the League of Women Voters of the Claremont Area estimated the value of the system at the time to be $100 million. For example, the study by Golden State Water consultant Rodney Smith that was released last week (reported in the COURIER, December 22, page 3) says the League report “assumed the takeover cost could be $100 million.”
I’ve taken a close look at the League’s report and talked with one of its authors. It’s obvious to me that the authors set out $100 million as a hypothetical figure, not an estimate.
The report, “Water Issues in the City of Claremont,” is posted on the League’s website, www.claremont.ca.lwvnet.org. It states on page 18, “revised 2/15/06,” “We assume a cost of $100 million; the actual cost, of course, could be significantly different.”
The phrase “We assume” was used here in the sense it is used among scientists, that is, to put something forward for the sake of argument. It probably wasn’t a good idea to use the term in a policy paper where it would be misconstrued.
Claremont’s water issues deserve thorough discussion. The $100 million figure has become a red herring. Let’s put it behind us.
We admire the passion that Cruz Sembello has for the California Alliance to Protect Private Property Rights (COURIER, Wednesday, December 19). CAPPPR was so successful in defending him and 500 other homeowners from losing their homes in Baldwin Park that he joined the organization. That is truly the sign of a successful nonprofit; the quality of work is such that the people you help will then turn around and join the group to further the cause. We applaud him for doing so.
In the situation with Golden State Water and Claremont, however, CAPPPR is defending the utility. There are no homes threatened here, no little guy to defend, no eminent domain issues for anyone other than Golden State Water, a privately held, for-profit, public utility.
The only private property rights they are protecting are Golden States. Additionally, we’re not aware of any politicians attacking CAPPPR, just private property owners—Claremont citizens, the very people that CAPPPR should be defending.
The only letters we’ve seen are those from other Claremont property owners who question the motives and intentions of the director of CAPPPR. Claremont citizens are not stupid; we know what we are getting into. When the dust settles, we will know what the valuation is, how much property taxes will go up and what the operating costs of running a water company are. Then, and only then, can we make an educated vote on what direction to go.
The choice will probably come down to: 1) stay with the status quo and keep pumping more and more money to GSW and American States Water, all the while hedging our costs by buying ASW stock or 2) pay a higher rate but with the money going towards the city, where at least we know where the heck it’s going.
Finally, Mr. Sembello is concerned about a lack of transparency from a city he doesn’t even live in, when his organization will not comment—one way or the other—if they are benefitting from defending GSW. Yes, we do want disclosure and we will have it but, until GSW puts their cards on the table, we don’t think the city should show their hand.
Office of Congressional Ethics
The League of Women Voters of the Claremont Area urges interested people to write to the Speaker of the House (The Hon. John Boehner, US Capitol, H-232, Washington, DC 20515) and to House Majority Leader (Nancy Pelosi, 235 Cannon House Office Bldg., Washington, DC 20515) to express gratitude for maintaining the unique Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) the past 4 years and to encourage both their offices to continue OCE operations in the 113th Congress without interruption by reactivating the agency and appointing new board members in a timely fashion.
OCE is a semi-independent investigative agency that supplements the work of the House Ethics Committee. The agency was first established in 2009 by then-Speaker Pelosi and maintained intact by Speaker Boehner in the last congressional session.
OCE provides a critical yet non-intrusive link between the public and the important work of the House Ethics Committee. OCE cannot make recommendations or judge any case but in the course of its investigative reports, the agency does offer useful evidence and insights and helps the public better understand the nature of specific cases—both those that warrant dismissal and those that warrant further consideration. (See data on OCE and Ethics Committee enforcement actions at www.citizen.org/documents/making-the-congressional- ethics-process.)
Most of the preliminary investigations are dismissed for lack of merit or insufficient evidence. In the 112th Congress, only about a dozen cases have been recommended to the House Ethics Committee for further investigation.
The terms of 4 members of OCE’s board will expire at the end of this year, leaving just the 2 chairmen—Porter Goss and David Skaggs—as sitting board members. OCE cannot function without an active board of directors.
It is the sole responsibility of the 2 officers to agree upon and appoint board members for the expired terms in the 113th Congress. The expiring terms are term-limited, so those 4 members cannot be reappointed, but the 2 current alternate members of the board may be appointed to regular terms. And any of the expiring board members may be appointed to the 2 alternate positions.
Whatever your choices for appointment to the board, there is a wide selection of qualified and interested persons, especially among former members or staff of Congress familiar with how the institution operates.
Vice President for Advocacy
LWV of Claremont Area