Historic Blight

Larry Harmon’s urge to create San Diego’s version of Potemkin villages is okay with me as long as it is voluntary to the property owner (“We Could End Up Looking Like Phoenix,” Cover Story, April 17).

One need only look at the California Theatre or the La Jolla cabins for historic-designation blight that destroyed millions in property values and tax revenues.

Larry Stirling
via email

Correction

Due to an editorial error in last week’s cover story, “We Could End Up Looking Like Phoenix,” the cost of restoring the Crellin Cottage was misstated. The correct amount was $80,000.

Fine Colored Lad

I was surprised to read that Klein wrote Nixon about meeting another USC alum, Rafer Johnson, “a very fine colored lad” (“Ghosts of Nixon’s Past,” “Breaking News,” April 17). You’d think that a former student sports editor of the USC paper would know that Rafer is a UCLA alum. And believe me, no one at UCLA would dream of calling Rafer a “fine colored lad.” Nor Ralph Bunce, Jackie Robinson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, et al.

Phil Crepeau
via email

Gas Hike

Since gas prices are so high and many San Diegans may be looking for outdoor activities closer to home, I hope that “Roam-O-Rama” continues to feature more local hikes, such as the Los Peñasquitos Canyon article (April 17).

May I suggest the recently opened Otay Valley Regional Park and Trail?

I live in the South Bay and wanted to go walk the trail, but specific info about getting there and what’s available is hard to piece together from what maps and such I could find online.

I’m looking forward to Jerry Schad’s review of this new park.

Laura
Chula Vista

Jolly Thought

Ah, yes. The War on Terror is so precarious that even decades-closed missile test ranges have to remain classified, lest an al-Qaeda operative be dispatched to bomb them (Letters, April 10)? Shades of the TV show 24. America, Land of the Fearful? What will we do if/when we get in a fight with an enemy with real power, such as China?

Sidney J. Jolly
via email

We Are Not Beasts

My empathy to Union-Tribune castaways, my shame to Don Bauder for speaking before thinking, or, in this case, researching the tale he spins (“Spite?” “City Lights,” April 17). Employment Development Department (EDD) adjudicators, who decide eligibility of claimants, are the primary jury but not the monsters that Donny projects.

EDD eligibility is first taken in by “moving party,” and if a former “tribute” member takes an incentive package, they are the moving party for jumping ship after only being informed that the boat is leaking and some baggage is due to be tossed soon in the future if they don’t take this incentive package now and they choose to leave before the shadow and empty workspace is sprung upon them.

Don, think for a moment what is happening here as the employer offers an incentive package to employee to leave now. Maybe the package is worth, say, $8000, and employee takes this in lieu of perhaps not getting unemployment in the future. (Eligibility is based on good-cause criteria and individual under that standard.) That same unemployment claim might be worth $11,700 ($450 per week, maximum, times 26 weeks) in unemployment benefits and is a wage taxation and future liability on the sale of the business. Up front, this shows a present savings of $3700 and future issue resolved. Economically, this is commonplace not only with the “Onion” but also with many employers. Employers then make what we, the EDD, call a “Wage Notice” to show purpose of payment and post that with EDD information site. The EDD then sees this as evidence to support understanding of employer’s position and intent, along with showing that claimants knew what they were getting into before they took the swim.

As an adjudicator, there are many times when I feel justice is not served, but as a professional, I’m sworn to uphold law and policy set up first in Washington with the Department of Labor, then interpreted by the State of California in the EDD. As the river flows, it winds up on the desk of an adjudicator, who must act impartially and decide on eligibility based on decisions previously made and upheld, along with good-sense reasoning.

Each day an adjudicator will go through the process of being hated, feeling compassion for others, abuse in venting, and justice. We know it is far more important in the long term to make good decisions than to hold grudges and attempt to punish any party who has personally or emotionally attacked us, as we live under constant review and must support our actions. We recognize that we are often dealing with desperate people on their last thread of hope. As we move forward and understand issues, we help people directly within the services of the EDD and indirectly by assisting the wounded to find help.

Many people have claimed we are a heartless lot, but those same are looking out with a mean outlook before looking in to see answers within themselves. Each day I take pride in helping others — even if it upsets them that their primary goal cannot be found talking directly to me. Each hour I am potentially scarred by these same wounded who lash out without purpose other than venting. I don’t know that many of them even realize that I am here to help, and if they will listen, the journey ahead might just be better. I wonder if they realize that I really and honestly just want to assist them back to work, for that is the goal and unemployment is but a bridge between two points.

We are not beasts, Don, and if you talk to us before judging, you might find that we are friends you haven’t met and hopefully never have to talk to again — for professional reasons, at least. Don, we work three blocks from each other. Couldn’t you have just done that homework?

Name Withheld
by Request

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