Claremont Insider: Thursday Mailbag

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Thursday Mailbag

More mail, this time park-related talk:


We got this email in response to our post on the light posts that went in at the two city of Claremont parking lots on Mills Ave. north of Mt. Baldy Rd. (the area is largely unlit at night):

DATE: Monday, September 30, 2008 9:58 PM
SUBJECT: City of lights
TO: Claremont Buzz

Hi Buzz -

Looks like at least some of the cement anchors near the Wilderness Park parking lot are for surveillance cameras. One oversees the east end of the Thompson Creek bike trail and parking lot across the street, while another is at the very top of Mills Ave. at the smaller parking lot for the Wilderness Park. Don't know if there's one at the top of Indian Hill, too, at the Thompson Creek Trail parking lot there. And who knows if there is a constant live feed to the Police Dept., or if they just go to a recording device to go refer to after a vehicle break-in. I'll let you pontificate on that. I hope they are a crime deterrent.

We're taking a wait-and-see view on this one. We'll just have to hear what people who live around the parking lots have to say, especially those homes on Mt. Baldy whose backyards face the Thompson Creek Trail parking lot. Do the cameras look into their upstairs windows? Also, if the City plans on similar cameras and lights along Via Santa Caterina at the trailhead to Johnson's Pasture, how will those residents feel about being watched 24-7?


Then there was this in response to Claremont's plowing ahead with Padua Ave. Park despite a evidence supporting the idea of a graying city population:

DATE: Monday, September 29, 2008 11:09 AM
SUBJECT: [ No Subject ]
TO: Claremont Buzz

Dear Buzz:

With a declining youth population, why Padua Park? I moved to Claremont in 1964 when my ex went to work for G.D. Our children were born in 67 and 69 (a baby boom year - one of the largest, if not the largest, graduating classes of CHS). We moved into this home in northwest Claremont in 69. It was teeming with children and aerospace engineers. La Puerta was open and it was anticipated that our north of Baseline children would go to that school. We would have 200-250 trick or treaters annually. Today. if we have 20, we think that is a bunch. We hardly have any children in this neighborhood anymore and no engineers. We now have a grandchild that we take to Higginbotham Park on a regular basis. I am desperately seeking a playmate for her. However, when I speak to other adults in the park, they are not from our neighborhood, but from South Claremont, Pomona, etc. They tell me the reason they bring their children to Higginbotham is that they want a safer environment. That is pathetic!

I was a stay at home mom in those days and did my bit with PFA, AYSO and Little League. I was president of Little League in 82. That year we had 476 boys AND girls participating. It was the largest league we had ever had. And, you need to keep in mind that the Pony/Colt League for 13-plus year olds was separate. I was on that Board as well and I vaguely recall we had about 200 playing. Little League has very strict boundary rules for participation. What is the participation level today? Somehow we managed practices at all of the parks, some of the elementary school play grounds and St. Ambrose's field. We even managed the season Field 2 at College Park was flooded. We were in competition with men's softball and hardball and all of the other soccer teams in town as well as Pony/Colt.

Are we renting our fields out to groups outside the City? I know the school district allows students outside our district to attend CHS. I presume it is to increase their state and federal monies as well as bolster the school population so they can tell us they need more bond monies. What is the school population versus prior years?

Is this another boondoggle as all of the tennis courts (lighted and non) of the 70's? I remember that fight well. The City had to have them in nearly every park and CHS increased their courts. Today as I traverse Indian Hill and the surrounding area, you got it, I don't see one court in use. Nor does Parks and Rec sponsor any leagues anymore.

But, of course, who am I to question the powers that be. I am a cynic and was opposed to Village West, the roundabout, the trolley and any number of things that Glenn and the housewives have dreamed up. We had pretty decent government in Claremont until about 1983 when G.D. pulled out.

Great job you are doing. I so enjoy reading your blog. Oh yes, you are right to remain anonymous. Retribution in Claremont is still alive and well.

One factor is the growing competition among sports groups, youth and adult, for field space. There are two soccer clubs, the Claremont Stars and the Foothill Storm, that draw from all over the area. Also, there adult soccer and softball leagues that compete with the kids for field time. And, there are relatively new groups like the the youth All-American football league that weren't around before. Add to that the fact that AYSO has added a spring league, and you get a lot of overstressed fields.

The argument that we need more fields for "our" kids, is pretty trite. Do we really need two soccer clubs? Probably not. Those two soccer clubs could use any city's fields. Groups like AYSO and Little League ought get the top priority if we're really talking about "our kids" since they are truly community-based organizations. And the adult recreation leagues certainly do not have anything to do with kids.

So, the city and its Youth Sports Committee aren't being completely honest when they bring up the kids argument. But trying to have a reasonable discussion about the subject is like questioning motherhood, apple pie, and the American Way of Life. That's why you end up with unused tennis courts. Any sports-related decision in town cannot be questioned in the planning process. False assumptions get made and become policy.