Readers comments 1-08-21
Snail Mail lives
Our niece and nephew sent Jay a birthday card from their home in Valley Stream, NY. The envelope was postmarked December 7th, and the card arrived on December 26th—well past his birthday.
We mailed a birthday card to Jay’s second cousin in Boynton Beach, FL, on November 30th. The card arrived on December 26th—well past her birthday.
One of Rochelle’s cousins mailed us a holiday card from Setucket, NY. The envelope was postmarked December 5th, and the card arrived on December 24th.
These late deliveries cannot be attributed to the annual Christmas crush. All three cards were mailed in late November or early December.
Either the U.S. Postal Service has been severely impacted by the corona virus, or it has succumbed to victimization by Donald Trump’s newly appointed postmaster general, Louis DeJoy, who reduced employee overtime hours and ordered the removal of postal sorting machines. Donald Trump told a television interviewer that he himself was blocking funds for the postal service in order to hinder mail-in voting. (See “Louis DeJoy” in Wikipedia.)
In the interest of speeding up mail delivery, we recommend that the USPS bring back the pony express.
Jay B. Winderman
Given that our elected officials have doomed us to a policy of herd winnowing, I would like to suggest an action that each of us can take to fight the COVID-19 onslaught. Greet each person you encounter not wearing a mask with the mantra:
Only you and your fellow citizens have a chance of saving our parents and grandparents, the essential and the unhoused, until all are vaccinated.
Now, more than ever!
As frequent readers of the COURIER know, I have had differences of opinion with the COURIER’s opinion pieces and editorial positions, both on and off the printed page. However, in every case the issue was resolved, if not to everyone’s satisfaction, then at least to the point of restoring civility that allowed for continuing communication to occur. And for the record, the disagreements were never about who placed a greater interest or concern for the best interests of our community, rather on the differences of opinion about how best to meet the challenge our community was addressing at the time.
Additionally, on each of those occasions, I have been tempted to, and on one occasion did let my subscription to the COURIER lapse, only to resubscribe in order to keep informed about our community and the opinions of our fellow residents - opinions that play a key role in decisions made by our city council and school board. And although I had some appreciation of the commitment to publish letters and opinions on all manner of subjects, I did not know the level of dedication to this commitment until this last election cycle, during which the publisher and editor used both the print and electronic editions to circulate almost every letter submitted.
That said, I received my renewal notice for the COURIER, and was taken aback by the SUBSTANTIVE increase in the subscription rate deemed necessary to keep the lights on, and the written word published. That notice remained unattended to and was disappearing between two weeks of mail on either side of its delivery - until today, during my pre-New Year reflection on the past, and hopes for the future.
Again, as frequent readers of the COURIER have come to know, I have become increasingly concerned about the level of incivility that masquerades as thoughtful discourse regarding the serious issues that our elected officials on the city council and school board must address, particularly those that require some form of revenue generation to be effectively resolved.
Over the last decade, we have been asked to pay for a number of major public projects that public opinion polling and extensive public input were deemed either necessary, or to the long-term benefit of our community. With the notable exception being the passage of a school improvement bond that passed on its second attempt, we, the citizens of Claremont, have been unwilling to approve any bonded indebtedness to replace or renovate our city’s inadequate and unsafe police station, and have deferred even attempting to generate public funding for our deteriorating infrastructure and city owned buildings.
And finally, there was the failure of the sales tax measure that would have provided a locally controlled source of revenue to meet what was a long anticipated structural deficit, which has only become an even greater concern as a result of the devastating socioeconomic impacts of the COVID 19 pandemic.
So as they say, what does this “have to do with the price of tea in China,” or for that matter my reason for deciding to renew my subscription to the COURIER?
And although tangential, it derives from my concerns for our community’s future, and what I have experienced as a loss of our sense of being a vital community, caused by what I have called out as the undermining of the public’s trust in our city’s governing bodies, that occurs when incivility and unfounded criticism masquerade as critical, solution-centered thinking. The pernicious nature of this longstanding national, and now local affliction, has contributed to our failure as a local electorate to replenish and pay forward the inheritance that allowed Claremont to prosper, because it honored its heritage of being an informed and highly participatory citizenry, that embraced diversity and inclusivity, an actively engaged, and diverse community.
With the growing structural deficit, a long list of deferred building and infrastructure maintenance and repairs, and our unwillingness to provide the necessary means to do the people’s business, our city council will continue to meet its fiscally responsible in the only way left to generate a balanced budget, namely, through significant reductions in city services, programs, and staffing, and the elimination and significant disruption of relationships and partnerships with community based organizations and institutions, which as an integrated whole formed both the fabric of our of community and the inheritance that has been depleted during a decade of distrust bourn of incivility, alternative facts, and duplicitous motives.
And through it all, the Claremont COURIER has reported on and chronicled the history of our city, from the good to the not so good. It has provided space on its pages for opinions ranging from the vulgar and profane, to the intellectually stimulating and spiritually uplifting. All done to keep the readers informed as to the political and social happening within our city, and promote discourse on matters of public interest. Certainly not perfect, but always with the best interests of Claremont as its North Star, the COURIER is a piece of our tattered heritage we cannot afford to lose.
It is my sincerest hope, that as we emerge from the chaos and confusion that has created a state of suspended animation and separation, that the “new normal” will take shape following serious critical thought and discernment, and that the COURIER will continue to be a place where our best thoughts and ideas can be shared, and our sense of community restored.
Subscribing to the Claremont COURIER is a way to both recognize the contribution it has made to our being informed citizens, as well as a way to preserve a significant piece of our heritage that may be needed now, more than ever.
Golden State Water increases
When people do not protest increases in utility rates, the requested rates typically get approved. Claremont (and other Region 3 cities) already pay too much – the only way we can limit the increases is to protest.
Please do not be complacent – we cannot afford to continue to ignore these rate requests, as has been done in the past.
GSW issued a letter to Claremont (and other Region 3 cities they service) on Sept 17, 2020 of their application #20-07-012 to the CPUC for water rate increases for the years 2022, 2023, and 2024. Total requested increase over three years is almost 25%.
Ratepayers have rights – if ratepayers demand to know how these increased fees are justified, and make it clear the pain it will cause residential and business owners, the CPUC has the authority to reject the utility request.
Make your voice heard on how these already high rates will affect your family and business—there are several ways to do this—please use all these avenues:
1) CPUC Website: The CA Public Utilities Commission’s website offers ratepayers to submit comments on the GSW application. You can view other ratepayer’s comments and add your own voice. Valid comments include:
• Consequences to you, your family, and your business of 14.5% higher rates in 2022, and 23.6% higher rates in 2024.
• Frustration over lack of communication and justification of the dramatic 14.5% increase.
• Need for understanding why rates should increase by 14.5% in one year, when the annual average increase is 2% to 4%, and some years, rates decrease (as Region 3 did in 2019).
• Demand for evidence that GSW has adjusted to reduce operating costs, just like families and businesses have during economic difficulties of the “COVID” years of 2020/21.
2) Email to the CPUC’s “Public Advisor” your comments and concerns regarding GSW proposed rate increase to Public.Advisor@CPUC.CA.GOV
3) Contact your city council to express your pain and frustration and ask how the city is assisting you in fighting GSW’s requested rate increase.
4) Contact your local newspaper (e.g. Claremont COURIER) and social media avenues to express how this proposed rate increase – the largest ever – will affect you and your business.
5) Attend Public Comment meetings organized by the CPUC to hear residential and business ratepayer comments on the proposed increases. These meetings will be held during 2021.
6) Call the CPUC to request information, express frustration, express opposition, and to request notification of public hearings on the rate application at 866-849-8390.
CPUC gives ratepayers effective avenues to resist unfair utility rate increases – please use them.
Do not allow Claremont’s failed and ill-conceived effort in 2019 to reduce water rates give the impression we are “power-less” - ratepayers have influence and power, so we must use it.
Thanks to our members
The Claremont Museum of Art Board of Directors would like to take this opportunity to express our gratitude to our members and friends in the Claremont community for the generous support and encouragement we have received.
Although we remain closed, we plan to reopen just as soon as it is permissible to do so. In the meantime, we invite you to visit our website www.claremontmuseum.org to view a video of “Inside Out,”our current exhibition featuring 28 local artists.
Thank you for your investment in our mission to inspire, educate and provide access to the arts. Our education program in the Claremont Unified School District is ongoing via Zoom, and we have ambitious plans for 2021, including the continued restoration of our historic home, the Claremont Depot.
Elaine Turner, CMA President
American Democracy is saved
Elated! Overjoyed! A social miracle! Praise the Lord! As a First Nations politically progressive Democrat and devoutly religious believer in Jesus Christ, my prayers were answered with the election of the Reverend Raphael Warnock as the first African American to represent Georgia in the United States Senate.
Credit must be given to Stacey Abrams, a Black woman of color, who started a grass roots movement ten years ago to fight against the Black voter suppression efforts by Republican Party operatives whose natural character is inherently racist.
All the gains we progressive Democrats achieved during the mid 1960's with the passage of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Act, spearheaded by President Kennedy and affectuated by President Johnson, were gutted by Republican racist strategists since they were passed by Congress, over 50 years ago.
This led to the election of Donald Trump and resulted in an authoritarian personality cult movement that drank the kool-aid of an anti-Christ false prophet. Trump supporters worshiped him and put him on a pedestal, an act of idolatry.
The spirits of Martin Luther King and John Lewis Jr. are rejoicing in Heaven today. “On earth as it is in Heaven.”
Our American democracy has been saved from an historic attempted coup by haters and racists and led by a narcissistic former President Trump.