JUNE 2019

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Fridays, 11:30-1:00 pm 
Issues Luncheon

Village Grill, Claremont
Get informed – and inform


Friday, June 14 10, 12-1:30


Eddies’ Italian Eatery

Stater Bros Shopping Center (Foothill Blvd)

SpeakersMichelle Evans and Cherie Rabideau, ‘Life and Love for a Transgender Person’.  Michelle Evans received the ‘Diverse Community Leader Award’ from Orange County Human Relations and was recognized as one of the 100 Most Influential People in Orange County by the OC Register.

Cost:  $17 includes non-alcoholic beverage, tax and tip – Italian dishes, some vegetarian.  Note: the meal is served promptly at noon (arrive at 11:45) - the talk begins at 12:45 and is free and open to the public


Saturday, June 15, 9:30am

Executive Board Meeting


Monday, June 24, 7-9 pm

Member’s Meeting< /span>

Napier Center, Pilgrim Place

SpeakersJohn Forney and Jim Rhoads, ‘The Opioid Crisis’. The meeting is free and open to the public.  A club members’ busi ness meeting (beginning about 8:15) will follow the speaker 




Saturday, June 1: Democratic Presidential Forum:  MoveOn is hosting their first-ever in-person forum with presidential candidates in San Francisco, CA, where each candidate will present "one big idea" that they'll push forward if elected. Cory Booker, Julián Castro, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O'Rourke, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren will ALL be there.

This is a unique and critical opportunity to get candidates on the record about bold progressive ideas, which can help to shape the campaign going forward—and to jump-start an idea-centered and robust debate in the weeks leading up to the first Democratic debate at the end of June.

MoveOn will host this event, stream it live, have large sections of it covered by cable news, and then create videos capturing each of the big ideas (which will then get seen millions of times.   These particular big ideas and the notion that we need big, bold visions in the weeks to come, will set the stage for the first Democratic debate.


Monday, June 3: Indivisible Claremont Monthly MeetingThe topic is immigration.  There will be two speakers: (1) Jed Leano, immigration attorney and Claremont City Council member; (2) Jonathan Fung, Staff Attorney for the Immigrant Resource Center in Monrovia.  7-8:45, Louise Roberts Room, Claremont United Church of Christ.


NAACP Pomona Valley Branch and SEIU1000 2ndAnnual  Poor People’s Campaign Pomona Stylea full schedule of events can be found at  https://docs.google.com/document/d/1K0QuFFBLY4Fop58o-X-mIFkoVDW2BfkY4Z2xFmuqjaM/edit

The campaign will close with a march and rally on June 22.

June 26 & 27 First Democratic Presidential Debate: 
Time: 9 p.m. ET (6 p.m. PT)
Aired On: NBC, MSNBC and Telemundo
Live Stream: NBCNews.com
Location: The Adrienne Arsht  Center for the Performing Arts in Miami Beach, Florida
Sponsors: TBD
Moderator: TBD
Qualified Candidates: Biden, Booker, Bullock, Buttigieg, Castro, Delaney, Gabbard, Gillibrand, Harris, Hickenlooper, Inslee, Klobuchar, O'Rourke, Ryan, Sanders, Swalwell, Warren, Williamson, Yang
Not Yet Qualified: Gravel, Moulton, Messam, Williamson
Qualifications: A candidate will need to either have at least 1 percent support in three qualifying polls, or provide evidence of at least 65,000 individual donations from a minimum of 200 different donors in at least 20 states.  The present plan is to have no more than 20 candidates appearing, 10 per night.  Which night a candidate will appear on will be settled (say by a coin toss).


July 30 & 31, 2019
CNN Democratic Primary Debate

August, 2019
Democratic Primary Debate


Democratic Club of Claremont News



From the Editor:


This will be the final edition of the Voorhis Voice before our summer break.  Please notice the information about our 4th of July booth and parade entry – and sign up!  This has been a big month for letters from club members to newspapers:  all the ones that I know of have been reprinted here.  There are also other very important events listed in the calendar.  

See you September 1.

Email Contact:  on the subject line write EDITOR VV and address the message to m36ring@earthlink.net


President’s Message

Sam Pedroza


One of the most controversial bills affecting local government was made a 2-year bill when our Senator, Anthony Portantino, as Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, placed SB 50 by Senator Weiner on hold. 


On a recent trip to Sacramento, I had an opportunity to meet with Senator Portantino and I thanked him for his bold move. He acknowledged that he did not kill the bill but instead gave cities a reprieve in order to develop a housing plan that is substantial and meaningful.  He is correct; cities need to step up or the State will have to circumvent local land use authority.


On my same trip I also had a friendly conversation with Senator Wiener. I thanked him for his effort for bringing the discussion forward. Howeve r I expressed my concern and frustration as a former local electedofficial. I urged him to consider an incentive approach and, at the very least, allow for a process that includes local government involvement. He seemed determined to continue with SB 50 so we shall see. 


Housing is the central issue in Sacramento. Decisions on infrastructure, transportation, homelessness all surround how housing is addressed.  Governor Gavin Newsom pledged to build 3.5 million new units of housing by 2025 to help ease the state’s soaring rents and home prices. Additionally, there are 17 housing bills that are moving along in the legislature (listed below). 


We have an opportunity in Claremont to be a real part of the solution. We have an engaged City Council, active residents, energized college students and a couple of pending housing projects. We have all the necessary the elements to bring forward proactive housing program, now we need a forum for the discussion, will it be in our city or in Sacramento. 


ACA 1 (Aguiar-Curry) 

AB 10 (Chiu)

AB 68 (Ting)

AB 69 (Ting)

AB 587 (Friedman)

AB 670 (Friedman)

AB 671 (Friedman)

AB 881 (Bloom) 

AB1279 (Bloom) 

AB 1481 (Bonta)

AB 1482 (Chiu)

AB1484 (Grayson) 

AB1763 (Chiu) 

SB 5 (Beall and McGuire)

SB 13 (Wieckowski)

SB330 (Skinner)

SB 695 (Portantino


Claremont High School Young Democrats Club - Summary of 2018-19

Carolee Monroe


The Democratic Club of Claremont mentors the CHS Young Dems. Foremost, we arrange for speakers on those topics the students want more information.  The student club members are given opportunities to participate in DCC events at Earth Day, July 4, Village Venture and our Annual Party.  They are informed of community programs to attend and volunteer for.  The students can compete in an annual “tee-shirt design contest”, with the winner’s design made ava ilable to club members. A pizza lunch is provided at all YD meetings so as to be uninterrupted.  Beth Bodnar, as Club Advisor, provides guidance and assistance.  DCC members Jack and Carolee Monroe and Karen Chapman Lenz facilitate the program.


This school year of 2018-19 the speakers, and their topics, were: Jill Benton and Sharon Cohen: Canvassing: What’s at Stake in the 2019 Mid-terms?;  Kathryn Dunn, Editor of the Claremont Courier: The Importance of a Free Press;  Susan Castagnetto, Susan and Shirley: Incarceration and Readjustment; Mayor Larry Schroeder: Claremont Districting; Sam PedrozaParticipating in Politics;  Sienna Ross: ProgressiveYouth;  Merrill Ring: Current Political Climate Update; Karen May: Resistance & the Blue Wave; and Claremont Unified School District Board of Education President Hilary LaConte and Member Dave NemerThe Role of the Board and the Funding System of Education. The YD officer s led several activitites, including a Discussion of Current Events; Participation in CHS Mock Election; and Post Card Writing.


Out-going 2018-19 officers are Fiona Baler, Margo Gutierrez, Maddy Boon, Sarah Kuriyama, Emily Rodriguez, Kiara Mariscal, Lila O’Leary, Ryan Tineoand Alex Abara.  Continuing for the 2019-2020 school year are Merry Aichele, now as president and Ani Singh as vice-president. Others newly elected are Will Andrews, Paige Thielke, Grace Corcoran, Shannon Murphy and Rene Nieto. Congratulations and al l the best to all!   


During the final meeting of the school year, the YD members were asked to evaluate the year’s programs.  Several comments focu sed on wanting more information of community events and opportunities for community actions.  That will certainly be possible during the upcoming primary election season!  Also, an early opportunity will be to join with our President Sam Pedroza in riding bikes and wearing their “YUNG DEMZ” tee-shirts in the parade on July 4th.  


Actually, everyone is invited to ride with Sam! Please join in - show the community our commitment to Democratic ideals, especially to dealing with climate change. 



Countdown to Claremont’s Fantastic 4th!

Carolee Monroe


5 - Five weeks until we join in the celebration with:  

 Two booths during the Festival in Memorial Park

* Straw Poll of all 23 Democratic Presidential Candidates * Patriotic Tattoos and Decorations for B ikes

 A Parade Entry featuring:

 * DCC President Sam and others riding bikes

4 - Four hours of Festive activities

  * Choose one hour (10, 11, 12, 1) to volunteer!

3 - Three options during the Parade:

  * Carry the club banner

  * Ride with Sam

  * Walk and take photos to post on Facebook

2 - Two posters for each of the 23 candidates:

 * Displays on the truck sides  

1 - You! Where will you fit into making this a success? 



• Donate ribbon, crepe paper streamers or whatever items that can be used to decorate bikes and helmets.

JULY 4  BOOTH - (10 AM - 2 PM) 

• Be a “poll worker”  at our straw poll of all Democratic presidential candidates: distribute ballots, count the votes and post the results hourly. 

• Help decorate the bikes of those who will ride in the parade with Sam.


• Ride with Sam in the parade on your decorated bike. Wear your patriotic garb or there may be some “YUNG DEMZ” tee shirts available.  Everyone is encouraged to ride, with a helmet - and helmets are required for those under 19. OR, Carry the Banner! OR, Post the event on social media!


Contact Carolee (909) 626-8122 or jackncarolee@verizon.net  to help. 


Summaries o f Talks at DCC May Events


The May luncheon speaker was Ed Reece, founder of ISN Global Enterprises and recently elected Claremont City CouncilmemberThe topic was the Politics of Small Businesses. (Notes by Carolee Monroe)



Ed shared both his experience as the head of a small business located in Claremont and the results of a survey of small businesses across the nation. Conducted by the National Small Business Association in 2018, the report focused on the political engagement of small business owners. 


Small businesses, 28 million nationwide, face several challenges. Among them are hiring quality workers, rising health care costs and never-ending “hoops” that require consulting input, along with other human resource issues.   One example Ed shared was the $40,000 cost and prolonged process he incurred in the dismissal of an employee who had harassed another employee.


Small businesspersons, overwhelmingly, are engaged politically. Not only do they vote but more than three-fourths of them have had personal contact with an elected official. While 38% identify as Republicans and 28% as Democrats, more than three-fourths do not vote a straight party ticket.  The consensus among owners of small businesses is they are not understood by policy makers. 


Contacts with elected officials were about economic/fiscal issues, controlling health care costs, social issues and domestic security. While there is discontent overall among small business owners with politics, the Democratic Party is perceived as the “anti-business” party.   A majority of those surveyed support at least one form of campaign reform. 


To thrive, some of the needs of small businesses include access to capital, improved banking services, affordable health care, limited corporate contributions to politics and access to higher education for future employees to be trained as a skilled workforce.


Ed’s presentation engaged his audience throughout.  Some suggestions for follow-up included: patronize small businesses to the degree of establishing a relationship with each; energize small business organizations; rally for reforms to help them; determine which and support those banks that are “small business friendly”; and consider the DCC joining the local Claremont Chamber of Commerce



At the May members’ meeting, Bob Nelson, veteran Democratic Party activist, currently a member of the ADEM Executive Board, spoke on the topic of  ‘The Fight for the Soul of the Democratic Party’. (Notes by Carolee Monroe.)


Bob Nelson’s talk, “The Fight for the Soul of the Democratic Party”, was a history of the continuing evolution of the Party as it has moved from a position of racism towards one of social justice. The title, Nelson explained, reflects the on-going religious-like (soul) aspect of conflict (fight) within the party. 


The party began with Thomas Jefferson, whose relationship with Sally Hemings is now acknowledged as one in which Ms. Hemings was powerless. Jefferson’s Democratic Party was founded on slavery, as the party determined a method of counting slaves so that slave states could have more representation in Congress.  Then, with the presidency of Andrew Jackson, who enforced the removal of Native Americans from their ancestral lands, the  MissouriCompromise and the failure of the Party to address the concerns of abolitionists, there was a continued focus on the toleration of, even support, of slavery.  Still later, the Dred Scott decision by the US Supreme Court added to the history of racially-motivated political decisions. In 1877, Southern Democrats used the disputed presidential election to remove Federal Reconstruction troops, a decision that led to the disenfranchisement of Black people.  Throughout the 1800s, the Party maintained its position of white supremacy. 


Then, the Industrial Revolution caused people to migrate to cities from rural areas. This led to employees needing protection from powerful bosses.  Some employee groups were women, child-laborers and black Pullman Car porters.  An awakening to the need for social justice spread.  So, with the election of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a Democrat, the Party began its ascendancy. The Party had attended to social investment, as demonstrated by projects like the Erie Canal, the National Road and a trans-continental railroad.  Its recent evolution, however, has been interrupted; some instances: using the atomic bomb against Japan, addressing “Western Imperialism” and supporting puppet states in South and Central America. The liberal/progressives within the Democratic Party continued to gain strength.  


Now, Nelson said, the foundation of the Democratic Party has been completely re-oriented. He described its “Five Pillars” as: 1. Civil Rights; 2. Women/Gender/Sexual orientation; 3.OrganizedLabor/Unions inclusive of Women; 4. Peace, Anti-war, Anti-imperialism; and 5. Climate Change and Social Investment.


The party has evolved, though not completely, into a social justice party.  However, given that, as Speaker Pelosi has said, we are now faced with the possibility of fascism in the country, it is imperative in the coming election that the party close ranks.  It will be necessary for Pelosi to force the two sides to work out how they are to form a coalition to defeat Trump in the coming election.  He clearly hopes that the necessary compromise puts the progressive wing in the saddle.

&nb sp;



Essays Etc. by Club Members


Great California Progressives #5

The Democratic Club of Claremont is in the progressive wing of the Democratic Party.  We California Progressives have a long tradition of producing some of the great figures in American political thought and action.  These essays are dedicated to ensuring that we current members of the club and the party know our ancestors

The fifth of the great California Progressives to be noticed in this series is Harvey Milk.


I received a message from Senator Dianne Feinstein reminding me that May 22 is Harvey Milk Day in California.  


I had no idea that there is such a day commemorating Milk.  In fact, it was instituted back in 2009 by the California Legislature (May 22 was his birthday.)


But even more than my ignorance of the special day is my guess that so very many Californians on the political left don’t know that either and don’t even clearly recall who Harvey Milk w as and why there is a day in the California calendar honoring him.


What we do remember is that he, an elected member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, was assassinated in 1978, along with San Francisco Mayor George Moscone, by a former mem ber of the Board who had been disgruntled and resigned two weeks prior to the shooting.  


Milk was not the first openly gay man to win public office in the country:  but he became a nationally known figure, symbolic of the gradual accepta nce of gays and lesbians in this country.  He himself made a comparison between what he represented and what Jackie Robinson had meant for blacks in baseball.  


He was able to serve only one year between election and assassination so his substantial contributions to politics were small.  Rather he is honored – as well as being given a special day in the California calendar, he was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama – as a leader in helping another group of Americans become recognized asAmericans and human beings, something that we progressives are committed to.



Report on Indivisible Claremont Climate Change meeting: Where are We and What Can We Do About It?


The speakers were Char MillerW.M. Keck Professor of Environmental Analysis and History at Pomona College and author of many books on environmental justice, western water resources, and the politics of marijuana, and Peter Coye, founder and CEO of California Energy and Power, and consultant for Energy Vault.


Before introducing our guests, I began with a short update on what has been happening in my home town of Chico, where the city council has declared a climate emergency. They have been severely impacted in the aftermath of the devastating Camp Fire in Paradise, exacerbated by heavy rains and flooding, and preceded by the failure of the Orov ille Dam spillway in 2017 which caused the evacuation of about 180k people living downstream.


Dr. Miller delivered a sobering assessment of where we stand now with climate change, using government graphics, since removed from the EPA website by the current administration, that show the magnitude of the crisis. Many of the worst case predictions from just a few years ago have now become likely best case scenarios, with rising sea levels swamping areas like Silicon Valley, Long Beach Harbor, and a huge portion of Southern Florida. 


The data show that areas in the West that get their water from the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Nevada will become more desert-like in the next 50 years and unable to sustain current population levels. The aquifers in the California Central Valley and the mid and Southern U.S., which support most of our agricultural production, are currently being depleted at a rate beyond any possibility of their being recharged. He stated that the Sonoran Desert will expand northward and current populations who are able will likely have to move b ack to the Midwest states bordering what will be the last substantial source of fresh water in the U.S., The Great Lakes.


He is a proponent of the actions outlined in the Green New Deal and believes that even if we enact them now it will help but the best we can do is “nibble around the edges” of the problem. Questions and comments from the audience had to do with carbon sequestration, a carbon tax, and the fact that we like our lifestyles and as a society are unlikely to willingly return to the ways of the indigenous peoples who lived successfully for thousands of years in balance with the environment.


On a hopeful note, Peter Coye presented some exciting new technologies that make a rapid transition to renewable energy and goals of net zero seem within reach. He showed us a model of his PS2 vertical axis wind turbine which has been proven by experts at UC Berkeley and Cal Tech to be capable of producing 10x the electricity per acre of land compared to the traditional horizontal axis wind turbines we are all used to seeing around Palm Springs and on the way to the Bay Area. They also do not cause harm to birds the way the traditional windmill blades do. A working unit is currently deployed in Palm Springs. 


One of the nagging drawbacks and legitimate criticisms of renewable energy production has been storage. Solar collectors only work when the sun is shining and wind turbines only when the wind is blowing.  They are capable producing excess power during times of operation, but how to store it for use later has been problematic. Energy Vault , a company founded by Bill Gross of Idea Labs, and that Peter is consulting with, has developed a storage solution based on gravity. Basically the energy produced from renewable sources is used to lift huge concrete blocks in above ground towers or underground silos which then become potential energy, essentially gravity storage. Within about one second of demand, blocks can be slowly lowered by the force of gravity and used to turn turbines which generate electricity much like th at from hydro power produced with dams. Peter stated that three towers could store enough energy to power the entire community of Claremont for 8 hours.


Another significant feature is th at these towers can be built at decommissioned coal plants where there is already electric grid connection. The toxic waste from these plants, called fly ash, can be encased in the concrete blocks, eliminating the chance that the heavy metals contained in the coal byproduct will be released into the ground water. Apparently, there are decommissioned coal plants all over California where this could be done. 


Letters from Club Members



Letter from the Democratic Club of Claremont, signed by President Sam Pedroza, published in the Claremont Courier May 24 and also distributed to elected officials across California and the nation. 


The Democratic Club of Claremont rejects the ongoing witch-hunt conducted by the President and others against representative Ilhan Omar.


Because she is a Muslim, because she is an immigrant, because she is female, because she is non-white and because she speaks what she takes to be the truth, she is the subject of attacks.


In the current political climate in this country and given the position of her chief attacker, these attacks are not just unfounded, < span class="bumpedFont15" style="line-height: 25.200000762939453px; font-size: 1.5em;">but  put her life in danger.

We call upon all Americans to stand with her and repudiate the witch-hunt.



Letter from Pam Nagler (submitted to the Los AngelesTimes)


In the late 1700s and the early part of the 1800s, the Spanish military and the Franciscan fathers controlled the bodies of indigenous women in the coastal areas of California between San Diego and San Francisco. 


Rape was one of the tools that the Spanish soldiers used to subjugate the populations. The women were not the only victims, many men died defending their women, and entire villages relocated inland in an attempt to protect themselves - putting themselves at risk for procuring food.


Women, as a rape response, often tried to miscarry, abort their unborn babies, or kill their infants at birth. As much as the Franciscans abhorred the practice, there was little that they could do about it. What they did do, was punish the women - they whipped them, shaved their heads, and forced them to stand in front of the church holding a hideous wooden doll. Public humiliation and painful punishment only exacerbated the horrible circumstances the women had already endured.


However, not all of these abortions and infant deaths were intentional. The women, experiencing various stage of the syphilis (introduced by the soldiers), often were unable to bring their babies to term. The Franciscans could not or did not differentiat e between the abortions that were an act of volition and the miscarriages due to syphilis.


Why do I bring this up? Because this is what we are revisiting in Alabama. Part of the story there is that lawmakers cannot seem to d iscriminate between miscarriages, still-births and abortions. Scientific knowledge was not available to the Franciscans back then, and evidently, not available in Alabama 2019, either.


Letter from Merrill Ring (published in the Claremont Courier, May 10)


Those who regard the Green New Deal as a joke are missing (willfully?) the background to the proposal:  that global warming and associated climate change is an existential threat to the entire globe.  That foundation for the GND is totally and fully proven: only if we very very quickly take emergency action can we hope (and it is hope only) to avert the worst of the disaster that is already upon us.  Rather than making jokes, spend some time seriously studying about what is presently taking place and will continue to take place.


To those who are aware of what is going on with the planet, but who think that we can’t do what is needed, the supporters of the GND remind us that during the Great Depression and the Second World War which was the culmination of it, we did take joint action to lift us out of the economic collapse and to win the war.  The War Production Board was created and ran the economy during the war:  all our resources were put to use to ensure that we created the materials necessary to win the war.  The Reconstruction Finance Corporation (plus the willingness to borrow extensively) provided the money that was required.  The supporters of the GND point to those efforts and say ‘See it was done in an earlier emergency – it can be done again.’

But the key is accepting that global warming caused by fossil fuels is producing an unprecedented slowly unfolding disaster for us all.


Letter from Don Martens (published in the Los Angeles Times May 6 )


I drive around my city of Pomon a and see corridors with few businesses and many shuttered, unused buildings just sitting there.  Why not tear these down and build mixed-use or multistory housing in their place?


If housing is at such a premium right now, thenbuilding on these plots of land would surely be a moneymaker.  I would think getting rid of blight would be good for any city and raise the value of their homes.


Where is the political will?


Op-Ed Piece by Merrill Ring (submitted to the Los Angeles Times)


The LA Times (May 8) published a letter from Michael Bennett (Rowland Heights) criticizing an op-ed (by Virginia Heffernan) that had argued that Trump is trashing the country and must go.  Bennett calls himself a “conservative” and insists from that point of view the comi ng election has nothing to do with Trump.  No matter how abnormal Trump is as a human being, no matter crooked and ineffective he has been as a businessman, no matter the destructiveness and embarrassment of his political life, the conservative is not interested.  The election will be about the issues not the man 

and his Presidency.  

Bennett lists the issues as the conservative sees them.  I’m going to write out the list, in Bennett’s own order, because it, along with his rejection of Trump as an issue, give an insight into the conservative mind today.  I will not include an explanation of any of the items, leaving it to the educated reader to know what is intended.  Obviously, other conservatives might differ in the items and their place on the list.  (In fact I suspect that most Trump supporters would place immigration quite a bit higher on the list.)


Income Redistribution


National Security

Flawed Trad e Pacts


Excessive Government Regulations 

An Improved Immigration System


I do want to point out what gets number 1 billing as an issue on that list:  Socialism.  Never mind what Socialism is thought to be: the right has freaked out over the recent fact that Socialism is being discussed in public.  Bennett clearly shows that fear by making it the most important matter that we face in the coming election.

&n bsp;

Socialism is certainly a big-ticket item.  While most comparable progressive lists would start off with what Bennett rejects as an issue, namely Donald Trump, it is likely that many of them, instead of being so personal, would place a different big-ticket item first on the list:  fascism.


Bennett, the conservative, cannot see past the personal and so has not ability to notice that what is most deeply troublesome about Trump as President are his anti-democratic, fascist, tendencies.

& nbsp;

Sure, I know that ‘fascism’ is as fuzzy a piece of terminology as ‘socialism’.  And it is clear that Trump is not a fascist in the sense of having an fascist ideology (he is quite incapable of having any such organized body of ideas).  But every inclination that he has is anti-democratic, is authoritarian, without regard for constitutional principles.  He has The Leader mentality, identifies himself as The Leader.  


Because he is President and can try to carry out those authoritarian inclinations with the help of so many enablers, that is a deeply frightening prospect, vastly more worrying than the Socialist prospect.  


By the way, how would a progressive continue the list of 2020 issues?  I probably would offer the following incomplete list:


Global Warming


Restructuring the Economy.


Why don’t you try your hand at it?


Letter f rom Bob Gerecke (published in the Los Angeles Times May 22)


Michael Hiltzik reminds us that Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth War ren, a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, proposes a small-percentage tax on the wealth of the richest 0.1% of Americans.


We already have a wealth tax on the primary asset of the middle class; it’s called the property tax, and it’s determined based on the value of one’s residence.


Unjustly, middle-class homeowners pay this wealth tax on the full value of their home, not on the portion they actually own. Even worse, the wealth tax on property hits those who own no property, as landlords pass the cost of this assessment onto renters — so renters pay the tax on their landlord’s wealth.


For the sake of at least a little economic justice, a tax on the value of the assets of the wealthiest is long overdue.


Letter from Chris Naticchia ( published in the Claremont Courier May 24)


After listening to the arguments over SB 50 at the last city council meeting and hearing my neighbors' concerns, I bec ame persuaded that SB 50 as written wasn’t the best vehicle to address the housing shortage.  However, a few days later, as I reflected further on the council’s discussion, I realized that something 

important got lost in it.  

If you listen to the discussion (available on the city website), you’ll notice that the overwhelming majority of the outrage is directed at SB 50, its author, and its attack on local control.  The main attack is that it spreads the burdens of providing housing unfairly:  coastal communities won exemptions, cities that had multiple metro stops and had otherwise made good progress (Pasadena) would be required to do yet more, and cities that had fewer opportunities to develop land would face greater challenges in meeting their housing-element goals.  There were other burdens, too, such as pre serving neighborhood character. 

Very likely, those who dominated this discussion already had a good amount of equity built up in their Claremont properties.  What the discussion lacked (from both the public and council) was the perspective of those frozen out from the opportunity to build equity by owning their own homes.  ; They were the invisible constituency.  As a result, the outrage was not appropriately balanced. Instead of placing it primarily on how we unfairly freeze out younger generations from the chance to build equity — our grown children, new teachers, and young families who seek a home in Claremont — the city council placed it primarily on SB 50, its attack on local control, and how the burdens were spread.  But as council member Leano suggested, it’s difficult to occupy the moral high ground on this issue by championing local control when the exercise of local control created the problem in the first place.  And the burdens on the invisible constituency themselves became invisible.

I would have preferred to hear from our council constant reminders that, whatever the flaws of SB 50, we as a community still have a responsibility to tackle this intergenerational unfairness by doing our part to remedy it — not to punt this to other jurisdictions or kick the can down the road.  That is to say, I would have preferred some stronger push back from them, as if to recommend humility rather than indig nation. (Of all the council members, Jed Leano, in his remarks, came closest to recognizing this.)  It’s easy for those of us who already own homes to wait for a solution we like while those who don't bear the brunt of our choosiness.  Let’s make sure these issues continue to receive the local attention they deserve.


Letter from Bob Gerecke (submitted to LAT)


The state already tells each city how many units of affordable housing, targeted at each income level, it's responsible to have.  Cities then identify the parcels on which they'll allow affordable housing to be built, yet no affordable housing gets built on most of them.  The state should purchase some and re-sell them to developers who will build affordable housing.  Re-selling will stretch the money the Governor has available for housing.  This may not require new legislation.

If the state begins to do this on a sample of properties statewide, cities themselves will begin to act, in order to retain local control.  The state can keep purchasing and re-selling in those cities which don't do enough.  This is one way the Governor can take the lead and prod even the laggards to follow.  


Now YOU write!


Do so!  Of course, newspapers have so many restrictions (especially space) that very worth while letter do not get published.  But try! And if it doesn’t get published there, sent it to the VV and it most likely will be published here.  (Or if it does get published, send it here also and have it republished.)


Or call . . . .   & Complain (or Praise)







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The Voorhis Voice is published by the Democratic Club of Claremont, PO Box 1201, Claremont CA 91711.  The newsletter’s name commemorates the late Jerry Voorhis, a talented and courageous Congress member from Claremont.



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