A Great Green Read
What a joy it was to read Bill Manson’s piece “Wild” (Cover Story, December 8). Having interviewed Phil Unitt many years ago while working on a piece about the ecological destruction that road development was visiting upon our county, I was happy to see how things haven’t necessarily become worse and worse. Humans can change directions, and the general awareness that seems to be rising and allowing for such a diversity of fauna to coexist with humanity here is heartening. Certainly, the rising tide of urbanization is a good thing; the high-water mark of constant far-flung development seems to have been reached as we now recede toward something more stable and sustaining. Perhaps someday the San Diego River will gain its proper place in the city’s consciousness. This city, by all rights and history, should be one of geraniums, not smokestacks. That is a direction all cities must consider taking in the carbon-drunk future, and it seems to me that we have a good start if not a leg up on many of our peers.
Don Bauder’s piece was equally telling, Freudian analogies notwithstanding. This city has always had something of “an edifice complex,” no doubt brought about by the factual reality of being something of a cul-de-sac. Blame the Laguna Mountains. When Kate Field, one of the most famous women in America at the time, visited San Diego in 1888, she found our city “so lovely and so lazy.” Upon leaving she remarked, “You have given yourselves and received from others more treacle than is good for you. Your digestion is out of order in consequence.” I would suggest modestly that bad digestion can lead to other dysfunctions. The hubris it takes to self-name your metropolis “America’s Finest City” is of a magnitude similar to the one it takes to propose 900-foot titanium wings along the waterfront.
Bauder has mostly been a delight since leaving the Union-Tribune, and since the recent implosions have rendered what was never a great newspaper tattered beyond salvation, his voice will be sorely needed to counter the 1-percenter attempts to shove a stadium up the downtown’s collective arse. The antidote for giving away too much to the too rich would seem to be to, uh, not do that.
Pro-active scientists and recognition of our opportune forgetfulness make for a nice issue. Thanks!
Sail On, Fools
Re Don Bauder’s “Head Case” (“City Lights,” December 8).
Right on, Don. As the old saying goes, “ ’Em wotz got.…gitz!” Maybe we should refer to San Diego as the Ship of Fools.
Victims Of The Elected
Another interesting article by Don Bauder — “Head Case” (“City Lights,” December 8). I’ve lived in San Diego for many years, and I’ve always been amused by our apparent feelings of inferiority. In spite of the population growth, it seems San Diego has more claim to “biggest little city” than Reno. We may be large in area and number of residents, but we remain small in terms of attitude, leadership, and politics.
Our slogan of “America’s Finest City” seems laughable, like a kid at the playground loudly bragging to cover his insecurities. San Diego is wonderful for two basic reasons: our weather and our natural setting. Unfortunately, some residents have been doing their utmost to change both of those for the past 125 years or so. All the attempts with irrigation to change San Diego from being a desert have resulted in the average humidity more than doubling since the 1970s. And while an entire book could be written on changes to our physical setting, I’ll offer one small example. Drive south of Broadway on Harbor Drive in Centre City. How much of the San Diego Bay can you see? Just consider how much more attractive it might be if something like Chicago’s Lake Shore Drive had been the inspiration instead of filling in with hotels and convention buildings. There may be a place for those, but I don’t accept that it is where they were located.
We residents continue to be pushed by our elected officials — and a few others who hope to remain nameless — to build sports stadiums, expand convention facilities, plan new city halls, etc., and all the while, our streets are in disrepair, our water supply and distribution system are inadequate and falling apart, our sewage treatment is inadequate, and on and on.
The list of issues is complex. But I feel it needs to be addressed in a better fashion than we are doing currently.
Another Kind Of Justice
We were disturbed to learn in Moss Gropen’s otherwise interesting and important cover story “My House Has Wheels” (December 1) that Osiris Murillo, an alumna of our criminal justice program at San Diego State University, who lost her job during the current recession, is now living with her three-year-old daughter out of her car at 28th and L Street. We are concerned about Osiris’s future and want to reach out to her (though we do not have a contact number). We encourage Osiris to get in contact with SDSU’s criminal justice program’s career adviser, Patricia Frosio, at 619-594-5576 (firstname.lastname@example.org). The SDSU Criminal Justice Student Association president RanDee McLain (email@example.com) and the criminal justice Honor Society president Adrienne Ehrlich are also there to help, and Dr. Nurge, the coordinator of the Criminal Justice Program, will arrange to cover child care while Osiris goes for interviews.
Dr. Stuart Henry
Director of the School of Public Affairs