We Own The Air
I admire Doug Curlee as a reporter (KUSI), but I don't agree with his letter last week (November 21) about KLSD talk shows that were all canceled by the corporate owner, Clear Channel. Curlee insists that "broadcasting is a business." Curlee should know better. The public owns the airwaves, and the law says they must serve the public interest. That's why we have an FCC. Does it serve the public interest when the publicly owned airwaves are used solely to augment the profits of the big corporations?
In the November 8 feature story, "No Time to Dream," the author's name, Steven Shepherd, was misspelled. The story was originally published June 11, 1981, as was stated on the first and last pages. The science and care of cystic fibrosis patients has changed significantly since then.
We Can Tell You Why Not
On Saturday, November 17, partially inspired by the article "Why Tijuana?" (Cover story, November 15) in your paper, I went along with my wife to Tijuana for a day visit. We had the most unpleasant experience in our lives.
After spending a few hours in the city, we decided to head back to San Diego around 3:00 p.m. Streets were extremely busy, and soon after we took the only lane that leads to the border crossing, two cops on motorcycles pulled us over (for no reason) and requested my driver's license and registration. I handed over my license and document from a rent-a-car company and got the immediate response that I was driving that car illegally without permission in Mexico. I tried to explain that the rent-a-car company was aware that we'd cross the border, and everything should be in order. The policeman quickly pulled out of his pocket a (well-prepared) piece of paper where it stated (in English) that this was a serious offence that would lead to car confiscation and imprisonment for two to five years!
At this point we got really concerned about what would happen next. I figured they wanted some money, so I offered to pay up. The cop said that if I paid $500 he'd let us go, no questions asked. I responded that we did not have that much cash on us; the cop asked how much did we have? We emptied our pockets and barely had $80. The cop just laughed and said he then needed to take us to the station.
I had no choice but to offer my credit card, which he gladly accepted, and then he instructed us to follow him to the ATM. One cop on the bike turned on rotation lights and went in front of our car, and the other did the same thing and stayed behind the vehicle, so we easily got out of the traffic jam. Soon after, we arrived at the ATM; the cop remained on his bike, and we went to the bank just to find out it was closed. He said to follow him to another one that turned out to be very busy, so he did not want to stop there (I guess not to get exposed) and instructed us to go to the next one. The third location was quiet, and we did not see anybody nearby. We went inside, got the money, and handed it over to the policeman, who took the money without counting it, put it in his pocket, and said that he trusted me.
I requested a receipt as proof and got the immediate response that in order to issue a receipt he would need to confiscate the vehicle. I argued that another cop might stop us and ask for money before we left the country. He answered, "I will take care of you." We followed him to the lane for San Diego, and he took off. We were still very concerned up until we crossed the borderline.
I strongly believe this message should be passed on so other people are aware of what crooked Mexican cops are doing and how your trip can turn into a hell. Oh, by the way, it was our first wedding anniversary that day! So much for the fun.
Mel and Sasha Stanisic
Someplace To No Place
Thanks to Joe Deegan's exposé, we now can see how developers work ("Kensington Terrace: Who Knew?" "City Lights," November 15). Kensington was a well-planned community in 1926! However, the pressure to accommodate new development, the rush to crack open well-planned communities goes on all over the city. We have the secret change in the Municipal Code (2000) to allow a change from a 30-foot height limitation to 50 feet along Adams Avenue; we have the tacit approval for new mini-dorms in the College Area; and we have the proliferation of so-called low-income condos in single-family neighborhoods.
Such changes frustrate and anger settled residents. Their once-settled and peaceful neighborhoods are being changed into "no-places."
Deegan points out why the word "developer" is so hated. First, because they operate below the radar, financing politicians to change the rules -- domestic colonialism. Secondly, developers are not responsible for the mess they leave behind. They do not have to actually live in the crowding, noise, and impossible traffic -- even the crime -- they leave behind. Thirdly, they are required to make a Needs Assessment, asking existing residents what they need in their communities. Maybe the community does not "need" what is being proposed. No matter. The need is the developer's -- the new feedlot, the new chicken cage or rabbit warren is built anyway. They do not care how people are expected to live in the new slums.
It is time we elect officials who are responsible to the sustainability of good places in which to live. Remember, all of our water, food, energy is hauled in. Until we have these secured, there is a limit to density and growth. It is time for a political change.
I have been living at the Golden West Hotel since December 18, 1994, and eating in the Moon Cafe on a regular basis ("The Sun Sets on the Moon Cafe," "City Lights," November 8). I have been working at the Sun Cafe since August of 1995.