Claremont Insider: Affordable Housing eMailbag

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Affordable Housing eMailbag

A reader notes that the Claremont 400 seems to have dueling talking points on the Base Line Rd. affordable housing project. On the one hand, they say the housing is for the poor. On the other, they argue that the project will allow much-needed middle-class workers like public safety workers or teachers to live there.

Our reader writes:

The Claremont 400 need to get their Karlrovian talking points in line. In today's Courier (Wednesday, November 28, 2007) Bob Gerecke writes in his letter the wonderfulness of having housing where "teachers, firemen and police" can be bear in case of disaster. So therefore the affordable and low cost housing is a boon. But meanwhile Mayor Pro Tem Taylor says the housing is for "poor people". Now my question is are teachers, firemen and police "poor people"? To be successful in the use of karlrovian speaking points they need a consistency in hammering home the relevant points of their argument. And bring a retired teacher I never new I was poor people, especially when at 31 I was able to purchase a home in Claremont for my family. (Nice home mind you in northern

And further in the debate, are these educated teachers, firemen, and police going to wave their rights and the rights of their children or even desire to move into a facility where an independent study and a governmental agency have both pointed out the health risks associated with the site.

Wow, the Claremont 400 talking points are confused and misguided. I would suggest they take on new ones that are more realistic if their plan for Claremont dominancy is to succeed.

Which is it? Poor? Middle-class? And what exactly makes the Claremont 400 think that the housing will be limited to any one class of workers? As usual, the claim is based on no evidence whatsoever. It's simply an emotional claim made to try to sway public opinion with no supporting facts to back it up.

The reader also cited a letter in the Claremont Courier by Claremont Democractic Club President Bob Gerecke, whom we last heard from when he inserted himself into last March's City Council election. Gerecke's wife, Katie Gerecke is a former Claremont League of Women Voters president, and the League, as much as any Claremont 400 organ, is pushing the Base Line Rd. project.

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Another thing you'll see in this argument is the Claremont 400's refusal to discuss the fact that the project's draft environmental impact report (DEIR), which the city commissioned at a cost of $160,000, noted that there are serious problems with air quality on the site.

The DEIR specifically mentioned a 10-year USC Keck School of Medicine study released in January, 2007, that found that children who grow up within 500 feet of a major highway have a greatly increased risk of impaired lung development. The Base Line Project will be entirely within the 500-foot limit.

The 400 try to confuse the issue by saying, as Councilmember Ellen Taylor did a few days ago, that "we all live near freeways in Southern California." True, but we don't all live within 500 feet of freeways. Here, Taylor, is intentionally trying to manipulate public perception and ignores engaging on the facts.

Taylor and company try to muddy the waters further by arguing that Claremont has allowed other housing developments to be built along the 210 Freeway. This ignores the fact that the USC study wasn't released until early this year, so the projects Taylor refers to were built without this knowledge. In effect, Taylor is arguing that we should pretend that the USC study was never done and that we should proceed in ignorance of that information, as we did before.

Taylor and friends also try to ignore the fact that the South Coast Air Quality Management District has weighed in with a letter saying the projecd should not be built on the Base Line site. They want to pretend that if they don't talk about these things, they don't exist.

Do facts, logical argument, and critical thinking mean nothing to Taylor and the Claremont 400?

We would all agree that air quality is certainly central to the affordable housing discussion. It's a shame that people like Gerecke and Taylor have to degrade it further with the smoke they're blowing.