Readers comments 5-28-21
Think about it
If you’re a freedom-loving patriot who believes in personal choice and you’ve chosen to skip the COVID-19 vaccine because you don’t like the government telling you what to do, please take a moment this Memorial Day weekend to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice so that you have that choice.
The men and women who gave up their freedom to defend this country are the true patriots. As a 20-year-old, I enlisted and served in the United States Air Force. For four years, the government told me what time to get out of bed, what uniform to wear, what direction to march and what vaccine to put in my arm. I did what I was told because that’s what duty is.
Of course, I enlisted voluntarily and it was my choice to give up many of the freedoms that civilians enjoy. But many others did not have a choice. My Uncle Wilbert was born in North Dakota on November 22, 1949. He was drafted into the Army as a 19-year-old and reported for duty on January 6, 1969, less than three months after Donald Trump received a medical deferment for “bone spurs”. The government sent my uncle to Vietnam on June 25, 1969 and he was killed in action 32 days later.
Wilbert Fleck and thousands of soldiers just like him, who answered the call to duty and gave their lives in Vietnam, did what the government told them to do. Just like those before them who didn’t come home after the government told them to get on a boat and run up a beach in Normandy.
I cannot think of a better way to honor those who answered the call to duty and gave their lives, than for everyone, who has not already done so, to do their duty this weekend and get vaccinated.
Former City Manager Tara Schultz left our city months ago. She wanted her privacy and after negotiating a settlement with the Claremont City Council, she left. She values her privacy and our city council does too.
There are a couple of people here in Claremont who just can’t leave it alone. There’s a limit to this issue. They should leave it alone. Talk of “hush money” should end. But some people just can’t leave well enough alone. Even when the city attorney weighs in with a letter clearly stating the legal legitimacy of the deal made with Tara Schultz.
Time to move on. Other issues will come to the fore.
For all the struggles and frustrations endured by the parents and students of CUSD during these times, I would like to share an observation about the management of our schools, and of Claremont High in particular. I have taught at CHS, math and English, for 25 years.
The competence and commitment I have witnessed over the last 15 months is truly remarkable, given the extraordinary complexity of guiding this sprawling place through a merciless storm. Here, a small number of souls, the administrators and support staff, have summoned an inspiring level of energy and commitment to the cause of learning for our diverse population. That they have kept this place going is worthy of our gratitude. Of note, before I was a teacher, I was a consultant to organizations that ranged from Japan to Silicon Valley to New York and Germany. I regard myself as allowed an opinion of my own employer. I have seen what world-class organizations look like and how they operate.
I have rarely seen any organization as focused and thorough as CHS.
The storm may now be blowing out and we are approaching port fundamentally intact and ready for action. I encourage citizens of Claremont to account themselves lucky, and to acknowledge a debt of gratitude to those folks who have sacrificed so much for them.
“The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt.” (Leviticus)
Claremont High School
We need to do more than more of the same.
These comments are addressing the 2021-28 Housing Element being prepared to meet Claremont’s assigned affordable housing obligation as per California’s 2021-28 Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA). And with the preferred sites decided upon, it is clear that the 2021-28 housing element will fail to equitably identify opportunity sites within the large portion of the city that is north of Baseline Road, despite numerous small undeveloped parcels scattered across the area, and the >400 acre parcel zoned park/resource conservation east of the most northeasterly residential properties within our city boundary, west of the San Antonio Creek channel, and north of the 210 Freeway.
That said, and recognizing that the selection of opportunity sites was biased to favor access to existing public transportation, the 2021-28 is not different from previous housing element site maps that reflected mostly oppositional public opinion that removed most potential sites from being considered, many of which have since been developed without providing any units that meet the affordable housing criteria.
This loss of possible affordable housing development sites over time, together with the exclusive use by developers of the moderate income housing unit option of the 2015 inclusionary housing ordinance, has resulted in an “overproduction” of units to house moderate income households, and not a single unit for low income individuals and families.
Unfortunately, I think this trend will continue unless the council take action to 1) amend the inclusionary housing ordinance to remove the moderate income units from receiving unit and offset bonuses, and require that 10% low income units be included in all multi-unit developments, and 2) to publicly encourage property owners to exercise their permissible high density land use rights to propose low to market rate mixed income housing developments that align with the principle of creating socioeconomically integrated neighborhoods.
With this in mind, and certain that there will be equally demanding RHNA cycles in the future, this is an opportunity to both accept the inevitable and comply with the state’s demand to build low income housing, and, more importantly, to do so in ways that reflect our heritage of innovative leadership, while realizing our core values of being a community that fosters inclusion, embraces diversity, and makes socioeconomic equity the touchstone of its governance.
And finally, by including the historically excluded properties in north Claremont in the list of opportunity sites, the council will, for the first time, adopt a policy that allows for the equitable distribution of affordable housing among the five districts that comprise our city. Also, by deciding to do so now, our city and community can prepare to meet future housing demands in a manner that anticipates and accommodates cultural, social, and economic changes, while preserving and sustaining our community’s cherished values.
While we begin to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, many people will see Memorial Day as an opportunity to gather, celebrate, and return to a sense of normalcy. However, Memorial Day is an important occasion each year. It is an opportunity to honor the brave men and women who sacrificed their lives while serving in the U.S. military.
This year, while you celebrate with friends and family, we encourage you to remember what Memorial Day is all about. Take some time to reflect on the freedoms and liberties you enjoy and give thanks to those who sacrificed their lives to protect them.
The National Moment of Remembrance is scheduled for 3 p.m. local time each Memorial Day and presents a chance for all Americans to commemorate the fallen by pausing for a minute to remember those who so humbly gave their lives for the betterment of our country.
To learn how you can pay tribute not only on Memorial Day, but throughout each year, contact your local Veterans of Foreign Wars Post.
John G. Lowe
Veterans of Foreign Wars, Department of California