Readers comments 1-31-20
Lose your delusion
Members of our family and friends ride Metrolink daily and wait on a platform for the train, sometimes the weather conditions can be unkind to the unsheltered. Additionally, scores of Metro bus riders commute to and from the First Street bus stops. The bus stop on the north side of the street is without even a shelter.
Where can these traveling taxpayers contributing to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions go for shelter and a bathroom break? Not at the Claremont Train Depot or the “Claremont Transit Depot” as Claremont city staff has referred to it in order to use public funds to renovate a depot that has absolutely nothing to do with transit.
The delusion that Claremont is a welcoming town is debunked by the fact weary travelers on public transportation have no access to a shelter or even a public restroom, while the architectural gem constructed precisely to serve traveling taxpayers stands before them without any chance of respite.
Instead, their traveling taxpayer dollars are used to renovate that gem for the benefit of a specific set of citizens who travel in their own space at a bargain basement price of $1 annually for the privilege of hanging art on its interior walls and requiring a $5 admission fee to enter the public space.
The Claremont Museum of Art is an essential stitch in the fabric of our community; however, our leaders and members of our community could strengthen that fabric by applying public funding to public works that benefit the public.
Yvonne Cervantes Coleman
Name the price
Please do not laugh. I’m serious. As a cost-free money-raiser for the city of Claremont, I propose selling the right to name a street or public park for terms of 10, 20 and 100 years, the price to vary with duration and importance of a street or park.
Purchasers would obtain the right to name streets or parks after themselves or others and, so long as the choice is not obscene, commercial or inflammatory, the city will approve. Example: Joe Jones pays $15,000 and Main Street is renamed Jones Street for 10 years. Or do you admire Abraham Lincoln? Then Main Street can be renamed Lincoln Street for $10,000. A sale costs the city nothing and raises money.
I do not think it’s illegal. The state of California already sells the right to design your own automobile license plate. If 100 residents spend $10,000 each to rename streets and parks, Claremont will receive a gift of $1,000,000. Possibly sales could be rendered tax-deductible as well because nothing of value is received in exchange for the gift. That one will require legal opinions.
What I saw
I looked and this is what I saw.
The following was originally intended as a reply in the philippic style (although I prefer the less over the top term polemic) to a readers comment that appeared in the COURIER January 17, under the title “Look in the mirror, Joe.”
However, I now present it as a response to three recent readers comments entitled “Too much,” “Claremont power elite” and “Depot delusion,” and the hundreds of letters written by the handful of Claremont residents who are dedicated to convincing all of us that “government is the problem,” and that the city council and Claremont Unified School District Board of Education and both their staffs, are no exceptions.
In fact, they are so dedicated and determined to make it a reality, they are willing to go to any length, including attacking the credibility, integrity, and competence of those we entrust with correcting the consequences of their election day “victories.”
That said, I will begin by simply correcting the misrepresentation of my viewpoint that appeared January 10. My intent was not, as characterized in “Look in the mirror, Joe,” to question the intelligence or integrity of those who voted no on Measure CR or any of the numerous measures placed on the ballot over the last decade.
Rather, my remarks were intended to: 1) acknowledge what I consider our collective failure as a community to support ways that provide the means required to meet all the fiduciary obligations our council is charged with; and 2) to emphasize the very real consequences on our community associated with not approving the local sales tax increase.
On the other hand, my correctly perceived angst-filled and harshly critical remarks did have an intended purpose, namely, to expose the small group of anti-government activists who are proud of their efforts to defeat every revenue measure put to the public for a vote.
As for my reasons, let me be clear, it has nothing to do with attempting to obstruct freedom of speech and association, but everything to do with the cumulative, community-destroying impacts of the duplicitous, deceptive and character damaging tactics used to make their position that “government is the problem” more palatable, while disingenuously disguising their allegiance to a pledge taken by their professed leader.
And although deserving of special consideration, I will defer addressing any specific half truth or maligning assignment of responsibility until an opportunity arises to engage in a truly “vigorous debate” when such statements are made in the future.
And in the interests of brevity and significance, I will also refrain from any attempt to counter reputation maligning comments with whole truths and first person representations of the events in order to identify the source and motive behind our community’s discontent turned distrust.
I have purposely not mentioned by name those who authored the comments cited above, and the numerous anti-government comments that have appeared in the COURIER over the last decade. I have done so in order not to dilute the full credit one of them deserves for an unfaltering commitment to the 1980s mantra that “government is the problem” and the shrink and starve approach to solving the problem.
At each attempt by the council or board of education to generate local funds for capital improvement and operations upgrades deemed necessary through public input processes, this individual immediately began organizing the opposition committee to do whatever it took to defeat the measure.
And with credentials that would make Newt Gingrich and Grover Norquist, Founder of American for Tax Reform, proud, the author of “Too much” would have the reader think that my protests are attempts to hide truth from the public, when the reality is that her protests and railings against government never reference the true motive and objective that is advancing.
As the founder of the Claremont Conservative Tea Party; spokesperson for the Claremont Taxpayers for Common Sense; principal organizer and acting chairperson/leader of opposition committees against city and CUSD measures CL, W, PS, G, SC and most recently, CR; and signatory to the anti-tax Taxpayer Protection Pledge, the disguised motive behind the “government is the problem” movement in Claremont can be summarized in Donna Lowe’s pledged allegiance to “oppose and vote against any and all efforts to increase taxes.”
I fully expect that this blatant act of finger pointing will result in the type of response my viewpoint prompted. So the best I can hope for is that you, the reader, will reflect upon the nature of the content and the tone of the messaging associated with their opposition campaigns, public statements claiming numerous failings of our local governing, and in the numerous comments that have appeared, to determine for yourselves their veracity as spoken or their alignment with the pledge taken by Ms. Lowe.
And if we have in fact lost trust and confidence in our elected representatives, did the source of our collective discontent and debilitating distrust originate and been hammered into the contrived reality envisioned by the author of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge: “My goal is to cut government in half in 25 years, to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub.”