Claremont Insider: Readers Chime In On Parks

Friday, April 11, 2008

Readers Chime In On Parks

We received a few emails in response to last Saturday's post about the crime problem in Claremont's Mallows Park at the northeast corner of Harrison Ave. and Indian Hill Blvd. Those problems included the recent find by a resident of a sawed-off shotgun in some bushes, as well as some reported odd activity in the bathrooms.

The reader who alerted us to the problems at Mallows Park indicated that the Claremont Police Department weren't very helpful, and the reader joked that the CPD might have been preoccupied with solving the city's Girl Scout problem.

One concerned reader said that they had noticed the some of the same problems:

Dear Claremont Insider,

I just wanted to thank you for running a piece about the Mallows Park problem. Everything that your reader says is true--particularly the very disturbing discovery of a sawed-off shotgun in the bushes. This should be a wake-up call to all our neighbors. I live on Harrison and I have noticed over the years how the park has become increasingly overrun with punk kids and homeless people. I know people who will walk several blocks out of their way to avoid going by that park.

Since I first heard about the gun incident I have been taking note of how seldom the bathrooms are locked at night. At far as I can tell they are just open all the time. It's really no wonder then that they have apparently become a magnet for drug dealers.

Thanks for giving this issue wider attention.

Well, yes, these things do deserve wider attention. Sadly, though, the CPD and the city haven't been especially responsive in the past. It really been a case of more poor Claremont customer service, a problem that plagues Claremont municipal government as surely as it does our local restaurants.

And the city commissions that work with parks, Community Services and Human Services, couldn't care less what hazardous situations they might be responsible for creating. (Claremont, consider yourselves on notice for your next lawsuit.) They're too busy chasing after state and federal grants for whatever the Project Du Jour might be to be sensitive and empathetic to the needs of the neighborhoods they affect.

And then, there was this reader, who worries that the problems at Mallows Park won't just be limited there:

Hello There,

The article and email on the "Saturday Crime Report" that was submitted by another reader is exactly what some of us here who live near the soon to be Padua Park are worried about. A park of that magnitude will invite this kind of element to the neighborhood. On the last Saturday of each month when everyone goes up to Mt Baldy due to not having to pay the $5 fee, I usually notice more cars with people of suspicious nature cruising the area. Usually, I hear more loud bass thumping music during these times as well as screaming teenagers driving by. In addition, I have had three friends who have had their car windows shattered during these times of the month.

I can pretty much guarantee that once this park goes up the police will be very busy around this area. People from other cites will know of this park and will be traveling over here to do what ever they will do good or bad. It will be like an open invitation for illegal activities. I believe we will see more cars cruising the neighborhoods, as well.

I have a great idea for the City Council to ponder and to think seriously about. Since this "National" Park will be going up anyway, why not build the new police station right across the street from it in that vacant land that was originally to be as a toddler park. From the last information I received on the park the vacant land across the street was no longer going to be part of the Padua Park. I would feel a bit more at ease as well as more accepting of this park knowing that the police would be right across the street. This would also cause the future "park criminals" to think twice before doing their illegal activities in the park. Obviously this is an idea that won't be considered, but if this won't happen we can all contribute some money and have a life-size cutout made of "Queen Ellen" sitting on a police motorcycle at the entrance as a deterrent. That would sure deter me if I saw that. Look how she single-handedly cleaned up Claremont's organized crime problem of the Girl Scouts mob.

Not a bad idea - something like a scarecrow. It'd work about as well as the current CPD action plan. Probably better.

Hey, if Ellen Taylor's involved, pictorially or otherwise, we'll be quivering in our boots. Take that, thugs!