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Readers comments 5-17-19

Front page news

Dear Editor:

It is very rare that I have an issue with anything I see or read in the COURIER, but today I must express my thoughts regarding the placement of a remarkable story in last week’s edition.

Having been a subscriber for more than a decade, and one who enthusiastically reads the COURIER from cover to cover each week, imagine my shock to find the following headline located at the bottom of page 5: “Claremont Courier wins big in state journalism awards.”

I am sorry, but this is front page news!

To have earned being named first place for general excellence over 34 other local newspapers statewide (in the small weekly division), along with winning seven other awards (!), is something that I feel should be featured on page 1 accompanied by a large BOLD TYPE HEADLINE!

I imagine that the COURIER team probably feels that they are just doing their job and that they are not comfortable with drawing attention to their exceptional award-winning talents (as this is not the first time they have been recognized as being the “Best of the Best” in the state), but there are times to be loud and proud of your accomplishments. This is one of those times.

I could not agree more with the judges comment, “There is something for everyone here. If I lived here, I would subscribe and read every page.”

Congratulations to Publisher and Owner Peter Weinberger, Editor Kathryn Dunn, and the entire COURIER Team for always delivering a fair, balanced and first class local newspaper.

Take the page one credit. You have all earned and deserve it. Well done!

Brian Ofstedahl

Owner, Amelie

Claremont

 

Techie teens

Dear Editor:

Kudos to the techie teens who put on a helping session for seniors with their technology at the Youth Activity Center on April 30.

I recently retired my flip phone and upgraded to a smart phone. It has been a slow but sure process of trying to learn all the technology.

These teens were so smart and helpful and I left having learning several new things on my phone. I sure hope they have another one of these sessions again.

My heartfelt thanks to all the techie teens that took time out of their busy day to help us catch up in the techie world.

Laurie Finnegan

Claremont

 

Trees cut in City of Trees

Dear Editor:

We wish to make Claremont residents and all those concerned with the environment, sustainability and climate change, aware of the massive removal of healthy trees in the Club neighborhood of Claremont.

It is a sad state of affairs that we must appeal to the community in an attempt to stop the cutting of beautiful, mature trees. We live in Claremont, known as the “City of Trees.” The city logo is a tree.

Sustainability and respect for the environment have for decades been core values of this city. This community has always considered trees a treasured resource. The preservation of our communal forest, the protection of trees and a careful stewardship of our urban tree canopy are all principles that residents take great pride in.

Claremont has been ahead of the curve on this for years, but now many other cities across the nation and world have awoken to climate change. Many are planting trees to become more sustainable and livable.

The city has a set of guidelines and protections to care for its trees. Unfortunately, even though our address ends with “Claremont,” we don’t enjoy many of these because we live in the Claremont Club HOA. Lately, we’ve seen trees cut more and more aggressively, without open dialogue with the community or transparent advanced notice.

In the last few years, we saw several big trees adjacent to our home cut. Each time a tree was cut, we were surprised and saddened. Placing generic items on HOA board meeting agendas does not count as a good-faith effort to keep homeowners informed of major tree-removal projects. It seems strange to have to point out the many positive aspects of trees in a city known for its love of trees, but let’s sum them up.

Mature trees provide valuable benefits to the environment, create beautiful aesthetics and increase property values. They also improve health. They moderate temperatures, lower energy costs, clean the air reducing pollution, and improve livability.

Trees are essential parts of ecosystems: they provide protection from sunlight, reduce solar radiation and thus lower risk of different types of cancer. Trees produce oxygen, helping fight cardiovascular disease and diseases of the respiratory tract. Living in a leafy, green neighborhood may lead to lower levels of some markers for heart disease and stroke, new research suggests.

We believe that unless trees are dying, beyond saving or pose an imminent threat to safety, they should not be cut. Perhaps in the future the city can consider adopting an ordinance requiring it to inspect trees prior to removal from HOA grounds.

Other ideas are requiring a permit to be issued for big trees to be removed, establishing a maximum number of tree removals per year, and enforcing prompt replanting. Perhaps the HOA can get consultations with specialists approved by the International Society of Arborists or other similar groups.

In conclusion, an HOA within a City of Trees should have inclusive and transparent policies that reflect the spirit of Claremont. This HOA tree policy needs to be revised and realigned with Claremont’s commitment to protect trees.

We are currently trying to save one of the last remaining trees in our cul-de-sac. It is a majestic pine tree known as M408. If you want to add your voice to protect our trees, please contact the city to voice your concerns.

If you are reading this and are a homeowner within the Club HOA, please consider attending their next board meeting on June 6 to voice your concerns.

Maria Trakovsky,

Emilia Trakovsky

Claremont

 

Study abroad suspension

Dear Editor:

As an international student, I would like to confess my opinion on the motion from Pitzer College faculty demanding the suspension of Pitzer’s study abroad program at the University of Haifa in Israel.

First, realistically, any suspension would have no impact on the decision taken by the state of Israel. Pitzer faculty and whoever involved in the vote justified their motion using by Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine.

Pitzer faculty Daniel Segal explained that this illegal occupation “depends upon the United States military aid and staunch diplomatic support.” As an international student, I think this explanation contradicts the purpose of any vote in favor of the motion.

Considering the historical relationship between Israel and the US, I believe that neither the United Nations (UN) nor the US strategic allies from Europe would be able to convince the US to stop its military aid to Israel. One could argue that the University of Haifa hosts members of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), but there is a difference between hosting them and giving them commandments for the frontline.

I hardly believe that Pitzer—which couldn’t even bring all the 5C’s to the table for this matter—would convince the US to stop aiding Israel militarily just by using the study abroad program as a tool. Yes, suspending the study abroad program at Haifa wouldn’t have any impact on Benjamin Netanyahu’s decisions about Palestine.

Second, in trying to defeat the views from presidents of both colleges, Mr. Segal said that “in contemplating action in response to injustice, listen to the victims, to those who are suffering, to learn what help they seek from allies.” This statement is self-defeating, having talked to the international students from Palestine who suggested the suspension of the study abroad program in Israel isn’t sufficient to conclude that all Palestinians would offer the suspension as the solution to the conflict with Israel.

After the Pitzer president rejected the motion, there were campaign boards standing in the walkways at Pitzer College. The campaign was ineffective because, in my opinion, little or no Israeli citizens saw the boards.

The effective way to send the message would have been to place the boards in front of the offices of the Israeli government, because they are the direct target of the campaign.

There are other effective ways to help Palestinians, and these differ from the suspension of Pitzer’s study abroad program in Israel. While activism is a vital element of our life, it is better to think about the effectiveness of a campaign before jumping to random solutions such as the vote to suspend the study abroad program.

Justin Mugabe

Claremont