Readers comments 11-20-20
New COVID restrictions
On November 18, a story about rising COVID cases was posted. I enjoyed it and appreciated the information regarding L.A. County’s new restrictions—that being said, I think it’s undeniable that there are many more restrictions to come. Now more than ever, it looks like we will be fully closing down once again. Especially as travel drastically increases for the holidays.
Experts are expecting a rise in COVID-19 cases after the holiday season begins, and it is no surprise as to why. Holiday travel is going to cause a tremendous amount of extended periods of interaction between people: on planes, in stores, in homes. Not to mention, Thanksgiving is largely based around food—and no one wears masks while eating. COVID cases have been spiking at an exponential rate the last few weeks, and I believe that after Thanksgiving, the increased number of cases will be high enough that we will be forced to completely close down again.
As much as anyone else, I am tired of staying inside and I miss my loved ones. Part of what makes this season so beautiful is that many of our responsibilities take a bit of a break, but an even more precious part is that we get to see our friends and family. However, I sincerely hope that those planning trips will consider the impact that it could have on other people and their communities: one trip will never be worth the life of another person.
Black Lives Matter sign
John Pixley writes in his column that, “It says something when one is the only one on the block to have a BLM sign.” I'm curious to know what, exactly, he thinks this says?
I am the only one on my block to have a Black Lives Matter sign. And I have driven down streets in Claremont where they're in front of almost every house.
I was eight when I learned about the Holocaust. Being a half Jewish, half Mexican kid it was extremely worrisome to me. I asked my stepfather, a Black man, if the Nazis would someday come for me, too. He explained to my young self that if they did, he would be there to protect me from them, and my father would be right next to him.
For me, displaying a Black Lives Matter sign means I have my stepfather's back.
Just like he had mine all those years ago.
Good-bye La Puerta Sports Park
One to two acres of the La Puerta Sports Park on North Indian Hill Boulevard have been added to Trumark Homes’ acquisition of the Forbes-La Puerta property from CUSD for the purpose of building a road on this added acreage to allow Trumark to complete their plan to build 65 two-story houses (4 per lot), and 9 ADUs. This plan of added acreage approved by the board of education breaks the 99-year lease, signed January 23, 1979, by the city and CUSD. The original 99-year lease was/is still on file at city hall as of July 29, 2020, with no changes. There are still 58 years left on this lease. Has the city been informed?
An onsite review of the park concurs that both softball fields would be demolished beyond repair for regulation games usage. The T-Mobile cell tower underground vault, next to the ball fields, would be in jeopardy. The resizing of the park also eliminates the two regulation full-size soccer fields. Coaches from the softball league and AYSO confirm they have not been informed of possible changes. T-Mobile has not been informed.
There are many open questions: When did the CUSD Board of Education authorize the selling and destruction of the park? When did the CUSD board authorize the unilateral breaking of a 99-year lease? Does the CUSD Board of Education know what their staff is doing?
A review of the amendments to the sale contract between CUSD and Trumark Homes includes verbiage that is disconcerting and questionable—in addition, their exhibits are blank. Because CUSD “owns” the La Puerta Sports Park property, they may permit Trumark to run a road from Indian Hill Boulevard to the Forbes property along the north or south soccer fields, thus, one regulation soccer field would be ruined for play. This will also destroy the many trees planted 40 years ago to protect neighbors from noise and lights. A logical reason for this permitted roadway would be because Indian Hill Boulevard would be the street used by the developer, since the development houses are modular and transporting them will need a street wide enough and structurally built for heavier vehicles/trucks. Forbes is a 2-lane residential street, not conducive for wide, heavy equipment trucks.
Summation: (A) The loss of the La Puerta Sports Park and any part of it that has existed for over 40 years would be catastrophic for Claremont families and children. Sports clubs/organizations and over 10,000 children in the past 41 years have relied on sports arenas that our city provides. (B) The legality of one party changing the 99-year lease is questionable.
Thank you for all the support
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the many community members who supported my campaign over the last six months. Thank you to the Claremonters who engaged in my campaign by endorsing me, writing encouraging notes, donating, and sharing their ideas and concerns for Citrus College. With a record number of Claremont candidates, in addition to an already long ballot, its commendable that so many people participated in the political process. If you consider all the candidates running and the many community and committee members supporting them, there was a lot of civic engagement that our town should be proud of.
This trustee race was an excellent opportunity to raise awareness of Citrus College in the Claremont community. Joe Salas and Eric Kaljumagi were clearly candidates who cared about Citrus College and the community college system. I thank them for all the time they spent advocating for Citrus College and discussing the important issues that face the college today. The many virtual candidate forums held by community groups were also great opportunities for voters to hear from the candidates. Voters had good questions about issues like the upcoming budget challenges, opportunities for Claremont students and equity-minded governance. Thank you to the many volunteers who organized these forums and those who attended or watched recorded versions.
I hope that as a result of this campaign, the Claremont community will continue to stay informed about Citrus and join me in advocating for this invaluable community asset. With student college debt skyrocketing, a start at Citrus College can be a good choice for a student entering college. For more information about the many programs at Citrus College, their website is: https://www.citruscollege.edu.
I also encourage community members to consider supporting student success at Citrus College with a contribution to the foundation. I have been involved with the Citrus College Foundation over the past twenty years because the funds they raise make a difference in the lives of many students. I am pleased to hear that Joe Salas has also encouraged support of the foundation; please join us and the many Claremonters who have helped support the fundraising efforts of the foundation. The website is: https://www.citruscollege.edu/foundation/pages/default.aspx.
I am humbled by the trust the voters have put in me and as I have said throughout the campaign, student success will remain at the core of my decision-making process at Citrus and will be my guiding principle. My passion for Citrus will be evident in everything I do.
Proud of the campaign
Last week, I called to congratulate Sal Medina on his election to Claremont City Council for District 5. I'm looking forward to working with him to create a future for our city that serves everyone. Our race for District 5 was downright pleasant, to the point when last week, Mike Ceraso hosted a virtual event for Councilmember-elect Sal Medina, and I appeared as a speaker—three District 5 candidates coming together post-results to ensure Claremont becomes better. That's not how elections usually go, I’ll bet, and I appreciated that civility and respect on the campaign trail and beyond. Thank you Mike, Sal and Donell for your grace.
I want to say how proud I am of what our campaign accomplished. We energized, engaged and mobilized young voters and first-time voters at an impressive rate. We received donations from teachers, students, business owners, working class parents, retirees, 501c3 founders, activists, faith leaders and more. In a race with about 3,200 voters, our campaign boasted 30 plus incredible volunteers, 85 plus donors, 650 plus voters support our vision, and most importantly to me, integrity—all of this from a first-time candidate, an abolitionist activist, a stay-at-home dad, and a political upstart. Thank you to all my supporters, donors, volunteers and my entire campaign team (special massive public thank you to my wife, Elise, who shouldered so much during this race—you're a rock).
We ran on a holistically imagined platform of justice—racial justice, economic justice, housing justice, climate justice and support for those most in need during this pandemic. I'm continuing to advocate for these and other issues, connecting with like-minded community leaders here in Claremont who are ready to mobilize, organize and effect change.
I’m proud of the campaign we ran not only because of the policies we put forth, but the way we approached them —with truth, with unapologetic anti-racist and anti-classist ideals, with empathy and understanding. We were bold and honest with folks because I believe that’s vital when dealing with entrenched problems as well as in imagining creative solutions. I met wonderful Claremonters on social media, on the phone, via emails and in person who gave me unique perspectives, wisdom and insight. In some form or another, every conversation with you gave me energy to move forward.
That energy will take us to what is next, and that starts with supporting Sal on the city council. In my conversations with Sal, I've found him to be a person of integrity and optimism, and he also sold me a bottle of wine that was so good it made me angry at table grapes. I look forward to shaping the city’s future with him these next four years, staying in close communication, and working together to ensure the 57 percent of folks who voted differently are seen and heard, too. With Sal’s empathy and our determination, I know that will be the case.
Lastly, thank you to all of Claremont and District 5 for being engaged in this local election and beyond. I am incredibly grateful that I had the opportunity to run for Claremont City Council in District 5 this year, and I can’t wait to keep doing the daily work with you to help make Claremont more equitable, just, inclusive, safe and inspiring.