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Re: Friends of Mt. Fiji

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  • Mo
    Mr. Pott, and nelalist readers, whoever divermon is -- he is not Harold Hewitt. After reading the post by whoever claimed to be Harold Hewitt, I had to
    Message 1 of 11 , Oct 1, 2006
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      Mr. Pott, and nelalist readers, whoever "divermon" is -- he is not
      Harold Hewitt. After reading the post by whoever claimed to be
      Harold Hewitt, I had to laugh. The Harold Hewitt I worked for at
      Oxy for nearly six years (until I left Oxy a year and a half ago)
      would never have allowed a public email to go out with spelling
      errors. Indeed, I checked with him, and Mr. Hewitt confirms that he
      did not send the email Mr. Pott responded to below. Someone was
      just yanking your chain, Mr. Pott -- pretty effectively, too,
      judging by the heat in your response. <grin> And just so everyone
      is up to date, Mr. Hewitt is no longer at Occidental College; he
      moved on earlier this year to a new position.

      Now I'd like to add my 2 cents worth to the issue of the college
      building on Fiji Hill. Several emails (including the Harold hoax)
      seemed to suggest that Mr. Pott should live with whatever is thrust
      his way because he chose to live near the college. I disagree with
      that principle. People who live near airports and freeways, for
      instance (and, no, I'm not suggesting that Oxy is comparable to
      either of those - this is merely for illustrative purposes!), take
      steps to mitigate the negative impact of the growth of those
      operations on their quality of life. Limitations are implemented,
      either through operational (i.e., flight patterns/times, etc.) or
      environmental (i.e., sound blocking walls) means, to achieve a
      reasonable compromise that allows for continued operations of the
      existing activities while recognizing and mitigating the negative
      impacts of growth on neighbors.

      I think "reasonable" is the key here. When Mr. Pott referred to the
      change in the lighting proposed for the athletic fields Oxy built,
      he was referring to a change that took place precisely in line with
      what I described above. If I'm not mistaken, Mr. Pott originally
      challenged building the athletic fields altogether, which wasn't a
      reasonable compromise between the competing needs of the college and
      its residential neighbors. Eliminating the proposed lighting was.

      I don't think it's reasonable to suggest Oxy can't or shouldn't
      build faculty and staff housing on Fiji Hill, which is, after all,
      property owned by the college. At the point in time that the
      college "firms up" this project and begins developing specific plans
      for the building of employee housing, I think it's very reasonable
      to ask that steps be taken to reasonably mitigate potentially
      negative impacts on the surrounding community. Since there are no
      specific plans at this point, I think it's pretty much impossible
      for anyone to claim one way or the other what, if any, negative
      impacts might exist.

      In my opinion, Occidental College has been very responsive to the
      concerns of neighbors in our community. Oxy isn't proposing large
      scale building projects anywhere but on its own campus, and it isn't
      proposing large scale growth of its operations. It is proposing
      improvements and additional projects in line with the needs of its
      existing operations.

      Oxy has a beautiful, open campus that is enjoyed by many of us in
      the community. The college is a valued contributor to our community
      in many ways besides the obvious education benefits: financially;
      with student volunteers who mentor and tutor our younger students;
      employees who serve on community organizations. Oxy students
      contribute to the diversity of our population with their youthful
      vibrancy and passion. Are there drawbacks? Definitely. I live a
      block away from Oxy, so I can state unequivocally that there are
      some negative impacts from "college life" that residents face. I
      can also state that from my perspective, the drawbacks absolutely do
      not outweight the benefits.

      Mo Oxford

      --- In nelalist@yahoogroups.com, "Jeff Pott" <jpott0000@...> wrote:
      > Mr. Hewitt, you've not pointed out any errors in my post, only
      comments with which you disagree. As an administrative employee of
      Occidental, one would expect you to defend the development proposals
      of the college, no matter how misguided they are. However, it would
      be appropriate for you to identify yourself as an Occidental
      employee in your posts, so that your biases are apparent to all.
      For those who don't know, Mr. Hewitt is Vice President for
      Administration and Finance at Occidental.
      > I neither said nor implied that the land in question belonged to
      the community. I said that Mt. Fiji was a community resource, which
      it clearly is. Furthermore, it is so clearly and obviously
      hypocritical for the college to claim to be striving to be 'green
      and sustainable' while destroying open space and endangered habitat
      that no additional comment on my part is necessary. Everyone knows
      that being 'green and sustainable' is about much more than plant
      > Insofar as my 'class argument' goes, are you denying that the
      college is wealthy and powerful? Do you disagree that Occidental
      College is probably the most economically influential component in
      the Eagle Rock/Highland Park community? Finally, are you actually
      stating that those who have wealth and power don't have more direct
      connection to, and 'pull' with politicians than those of us who work
      for a living? One really does expect more honesty and candor from
      the representative of a respected institution of higher education
      than that.
      > Finally, why I choose to live where I live is not really any of
      your business. What you're actually saying is that we in the
      community should just shut up and blindly accept the development
      proposals of Occidental, no matter how destructive they might be to
      the community in which we have chosen to live. You know, like Oxy's
      proposal a few years ago to light all of their athletic fields until
      10:00 at night, 5 nights a week, 9 months of the year, with 100,00
      watts of light. Fortunately, those of us who care about the quality
      of life in this community were able to defeat that poorly conceived
      development plan. The bitter irony of this is, or course, that if
      such a thoughtless, self-centered and destructive development plan
      were proposed for your neighborhood, you'd never stand for it, yet
      you expect those of us who live here to passively sit by and let it
      happen. There's the real 'class argument.' The fact that I, and
      many community members like me, strive to keep this a decent,
      livable community for all of its residents, regardless of
      Occidental's poorly thought out development schemes, is really what
      bothers you.
      > Jeff Pott
      > ----
      > In a message dated 9/25/06 9:34:24 AM, divermon@... writes:
      > I thought I would point out errors in your post.
      > "We are also objecting to the hypocritical proposal to destroy some
      > of our community's valuable, declining open space, meanwhile
      > promising to be both green and sustainable"
      > This land does not belong to "the community" as you imply. It is
      > private property, and not "your" open space. Also, Oxy's "green"
      > and "sustainability" plans are not about open space, they are about
      > efficient operation.
      > Finally, your pulling out the class arguement "we are poor and
      > College people are wealthy and powerful (and by extension implying
      > backroom political influence) makes you sound petty and weakens any
      > appeal of your arguements. If you do not like living next to a
      > College, why did you decide to live where you do? Certainly Oxy has
      > been here far longer than you have.
      > -Harold Hewitt
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