Readers comments 4-30-21
The Commons too close
The Commons residential project proposal is three times closer to the airport than my house near the intersection of Foothill and Mills. My every day and night is disrupted (indoors and out, windows open and closed) by the noise of the airplanes and helicopters (police, news crews, commercial, private) from Cable Airport.
So, since hearing about the proposal in 2019, I have taken every opportunity to speak up on behalf of those who would be my neighbors at The Commons. After so many meetings and hearings and letters, there have been many times I have wanted to spend my retirement differently. But then another plane or helicopter goes right overhead.
And I remember my fellow Claremonters-to-be who are not there yet to defend themselves, the people who would be spending their savings, and mortgaging hundreds of thousands of dollars, to live at The Commons.
Buyers would be purchasing (even after the required notification of airport proximity) without realizing that the proposed mitigation for building housing so near and in the trajectory of the Cable Airport runway is simply to have purchasers sign a waiver, and added insulation— residents needing to keep inside and windows closed, HVAC-reliant always for quiet and to avoid leaded airplane fuel pollutants.
Buyers at the Commons will rightfully assume that Claremont would not have approved a project in an area so incompatible with airport land use law, so incompatible with residential basic quality of life, particularly since it means losing a commercially zoned site so appropriate for commercial development.
If the Commons is built, with all its inadequacies and inappropriateness, buyers of future projects in Claremont cannot assume that Claremont decision makers adequately protect the safety and well-being of its citizens, by only building homes where it is safe and decent for simple daily living.
And our public process and civic culture will have suffered, by ignoring State laws and recommendations against the project by State agencies, by overturning the well-informed unanimous denials by the Planning and Architectural Commissions, and by disregarding the years of consistent, respectful, well-reasoned and fact-based public opposition by so many in the Claremont community.
Questions about Schultz departure
In the April 16 edition of the COURIER, Mr. Jim Belna wrote a searing letter regarding the departure of Tara Schultz from her position of City Manager.
Mr. Belna challenged the city for giving Ms. Schultz generous severance pay. He said, “Under the terms of her contract, Ms. Schultz was not entitled to receive any severance pay at all if she resigned.” He said the “severance package was an illegal gift of public funds.”
Mr. Belna said that the city council giving Ms. Schultz tens of thousands of taxpayer money wouldn’t do that “without expecting something in return—if not for the city, then perhaps for their own benefit.”
He wrote a series of questions that need to be answered. For example, “Did the council ask Ms. Schultz to resign, or did she do so on her own initiative? Who proposed the severance pay…How is the payment even legal?”
I could ask questions myself. Why did Ms. Schultz need to get a lawyer? And why did the city pay her attorney? And why did the city give Ms. Schultz medical insurance up to the end of 2021?
What has been the response to questions about the severance pay for Ms. Schultz? The response has been a virtual tsunami of silence. Not one word from the mayor or other council member or the city attorney. When the city is challenged on the legality of the settlement, there is an obligation to respond. At a minimum, the city attorney should say if the deal was legal and give examples of other similar payments.
I am very happy that our beloved President Biden has said its OK to go outside without a mask if you are vaccinated, (I am totally vaccinated). However, I did not believe that a mask worn outside before his edict made a difference. To give you an example a couple of months ago, I was walking my dog on the Thomson Creek Trail by the park and a park ranger approached me and told me I had to leave because I had no mask on and said he would give me a hefty citation. No one was on the trail or in the park but somebody who had nothing else to do with their life snitched on me from far off distance. I 'm I going to infect a tree? I left and it seems to me that the park rangers and police should start patrolling around the bus stops and train station in Claremont where the weirdos hang out and if they damage you or your car tough luck. They get taken to jail for a couple hours and get out but that is the way the world is and the woman walking her dog gets a citation for not wearing a mask when it is the height of stupidity to wear one. Go figure.
Corruption or incompetence?
In response to recent letters by Stuart Holmes (April 23) and Jim Belna (April 16), the illegal payment of taxpayer dollars to former city manager, Tara Schultz, is nothing new for the city council and the people who run city hall. Shady, backroom deals like this have become all too common.
From the millions squandered hiring our, then, city attorney’s law firm to pursue a takeover of the water company that was laughed out of court while at the same time claiming to have no money to repair the police station, to the diversion of $350,000 of transportation funds to build an art museum for Claremont’s privileged while potholes get ignored, no one should be surprised by this latest example of mismanagement at City Hall.
I’m still trying to figure out if it’s corruption or incompetence.
We need a more ambitious CCC
We need a more ambitious Civilian Climate Corps than the one Joe Biden has proposed. His plan allocates about $10 billion to the CCC, creating 10,000-20,000 jobs per year. In contrast, Rep Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Markey released legislation that would create 1.5 million jobs—with an eye towards justice and meaningful work. Their CCC rises to the scope of the crisis by including a base pay of $15 an hour, specified recruitment in communities hardest hit by the climate crisis, health care and student loan forgiveness, and a direct pathway to union jobs.
As a young person, the CCC would make a huge difference in my life. With millions homeless and unemployed, constantly raising global warming rates, a decrease in biodiversity, and not nearly enough support for minority communities, the CCC is integral for the success of our country. I, myself, am a young female Pakistani Muslim who immigrated to the United States and aspire to be a surgeon working for Doctor's Without Borders. However, what use are my goals if in a few decades we live in a world out of a dystopian novel?
There’s a lot of work to do to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure, greener and more justly than ever before—and millions of people are still out of work. Biden and Congress: include a bold, pro-justice CCC in the infrastructure package to begin making the Green New Deal a reality.
Takeaways from remote learning
Roughly one year and one month after telling its students to leave campus and not come back, Claremont McKenna College recently announced it will be opening up its campus this fall for all its incoming and returning students. Since it seems college life will at least partially return to what it was pre-pandemic, I wanted to take some time to reflect on what I got out of working in this remote environment. Although some students may remember mostly the negative aspects of remote learning, I want to do the opposite and share three positive takeaways:
1. Find My True Interests. I got back all the time I used to spend walking to class or the cafeteria and I used this time to research various careers that interest me. I was able to network with a lot more people due to more free time and I now have a better understanding of how to position my near-term career and my final two years at CMC.
2. Spend More Time with Family. Living at home has allowed me to spend more time with my intimate family members, which is important to me. This opportunity has also allowed me to serve as a helping hand for my family, which my parents have greatly appreciated.
3. Realize Who My True Supporters Are. This remote environment has allowed me to find peers that truly support me. As a result, I have been able to strengthen my existing relationships with these peers, which I’m very thankful for.
These are just a couple of my positive takeaways. I hope to potentially inspire other students to also reflect on what they achieved in this remote environment.
Claremont McKenna College ‘23
Claremont Village Marketing Group
As we are all fully aware, the COVID pandemic has been personally, professionally and emotionally devastating in ways most of us never imagined experiencing in our lifetimes. It has been a year of profound loss for families, loved ones, friends and businesses. We pray that the worst is behind us. As deaths, hospitalizations and cases decline, and while immunizations continue to increase and restrictions being lifted, I wanted to introduce, or re-introduce to all Courier readers, the Claremont Village Marketing Group and all that we hope to achieve as we begin to move forward.
The CVMG is a nonprofit, non membership dues organization made up of 100% completely volunteer small business owners who own and operate their business in the Claremont Village. Since its inception nearly two decades ago, our goal and objective is to help bring awareness and engagement to the Claremont Village through events, fundraising and digital marketing either created by or supported by CVMG. Events like the Wine Walk, Blues and Brews Craft Beer Walk, Art Walk, Chocolate Walk, Pie Festival, Dia de los Muertos, Halloween Trick or Treat, Holiday Promenade, Shop Small Saturday, College Family Weekends and Graduation, and so much more. We are committed to showing all that the Claremont Village has to offer and making it a go-to destination for all looking to find the best restaurants, unique and distinctive shops, museums, theaters, gardens and more.
The pandemic, of course, caused us to cancel nearly all of our public activities this past year. Given that we rely on these community events and partnerships to raise funds to continue our marketing campaigns, we continued to meet monthly to create and develop new marketing ideas to help drive support and awareness that businesses were safely open, what offers they had, and to ask for community support. Thanks to the generous sponsorship of Claremont Escrow, we created and sold beautiful Holiday and Valentines Day Gift Boxes, as well as our recent Easter Egg Hunt, where Village businesses offered free items and discount cards to all who purchased in addition to drawing names for grand prizes. And we are doing it again for Mother's Day! Please visit claremontvillage.com for more information—and keep visiting our site to always be informed of all that is happening in the Village!
We thank you for your support and for the love and support of our Village business community!
Brian Ofstedahl, VP CVMG