One-Sided Report

I live as close to the river as one should, and if and when the 100-year flood hits, it will most likely take my home with it (“There Is No San Diego River,” Cover Story, October 23). I live in Mission Valley Village, and our mobile home park was bought by a developer, Archstone Smith, which wants the City to close our park and let them build a four-story condo complex within ten feet of the river, across from the Admiral Baker Golf Course. The City’s Development Services Department did an environmental impact report on the project, and there was no input in this report from anyone from any of the river conservatory groups. At first I thought that it did not bother anyone, and it might be supported by them. However, after seeing how the EIR misrepresented other things, I no longer believe that. What I am trying to find out is if there are organizations that are interested in preserving this section as is and would like to have the easement through here for the river walk and trail. We, the residents, are going before the city council in the near future to try to stop this development and save our homes and the easement.

Homer Barrs
Mission Valley Village Mobile Home Park

River Revival

Nice article on the San Diego River (“There Is No San Diego River,” Cover Story, October 23).

I was really surprised to see Mr. Cuthbert quoted as saying, “There was a little activity in the Lakeside area. People there borrowed my reports and exerted a little bit of pressure. They have done some work in developing park space,” because that is not the case, and a lot of work is going on out here, about $17 million-plus in river restoration!

I work for Lakeside’s River Park Conservancy and would like to invite you and Mr. Cuthbert out for a tour of our project and show you that we are saving the San Diego River out here in Lakeside!

Lakeside’s River Park Conservancy was founded in 2001, with the mission to preserve and restore the biological integrity and beauty of the San Diego River while integrating recreational uses.

The segment of the San Diego River in Lakeside had long been the focus of extensive sand-mining operations and heavy industry. Such industrial operations are coming to an end, and a new phase in the river’s life is at hand, one in which nature and humanity work in harmony and regional quality of life is enhanced.

Phase one restoration of the San Diego River in Lakeside was completed January 2007, which included removal of a constriction in the river to allow for the safe passage of floodwaters.

Phase one also replaced acres of riparian habitat for wildlife and supports a multiuse trail system for runners, walkers, hikers, and equestrians.

Many threatened and endangered species reside at Lakeside’s River Park, such the California gnatcatcher and the least Bell’s vireo.

Lakeside’s river restoration also created four acres of constructed wetlands designed to use phytoremediation (sun and plants) as a natural filtration system to treat storm water and urban runoff flows (pollution) entering the site at the mouth of Los Coches Creek (a large, 17-square-mile tributary) as it enters into the San Diego River on its way to the Pacific Ocean.

Currently we are in phase two of the restoration process, which began in January of 2008 with Caltrans taking approximately 500,000 cubic yards of fill dirt from the south side (next to Highway 67), saving taxpayers about $6 million. This dirt will be used as fill in the construction of the Highway 52 extension.

The removal of the dirt is good for the River Park because it will lower the ground level to allow for the natural river bottom to reemerge.

Once the excavation of the fill dirt is completed, Lakeside’s River Park Conservancy will revegetate this area with native California plants and create a new wetlands habitat. This new wetland will be home to many animals and birds and also provide additional water-storage areas during floods.

Cindy Collins
Membership & Volunteer Manager
Lakeside’s River Park Conservancy

Elementary Motivation

Your September 11 cover story in the Reader, entitled “Plague of the Urban Tumbleweeds,” moved our school into action. Each year, Fletcher Hills Elementary School’s fifth-grade class holds a fund-raiser to raise money for the end-of-year activities. This year’s fund-raiser is Project Green, a green fund-raiser selling environmentally friendly, reusable shopping bags with our school’s logo printed on them!

Our goal as a school is to sell 1000 reusable shopping bags. If every family at Fletcher Hills Elementary purchases and uses at least one green bag, our school will have reduced plastic-bag use by 180,000 bags per year.

Our fund-raiser kickoff was held on October 25 at Fletcher Hills Elementary School’s annual Fall Festival, and the fund-raiser will end November 10. (People can order bags at [email protected] com.)

Fletcher Hills Elementary is doing its part in the fight against the urban tumbleweed. Thank you for the motivating article that inspired a school, and hopefully a community, to recycle, reduce, and reuse!

Annie DeGraff
Fletcher Hills Elementary PTA

Answer, Rabbi

Curious why Rabbi Rosenthal (“Sheep and Goats,” October 16) was not asked the question found at the end of the other “Sheep and Goats” columns: “What happens when we die?”

Paul Richard
via email

Matthew Lickona responds: I was unable to speak with Rabbi Rosenthal after the evening Yom Kippur service, but I called him later, and here’s what he said: “In Judaism, as with many other things, there’s not one simple, easy answer. If I could give you a simple answer, the simple answer is, we don’t know. Judaism has a range of beliefs; anywhere from physical resurrection at the time of the Messiah; to the eternity of the soul with God in heaven; to the belief that once you’re dead, you’re dead, and there’s nothing afterwards. There’s also the belief that you may die physically but you live on in the thoughts and minds and hearts of the people you leave behind. And I found out that Jews who practice mysticism do believe in reincarnation. So it’s pretty much ‘You can believe whatever you want to believe.’ The only thing we don’t believe in, explicitly, is eternal damnation in hell. There’s a belief in a purgatory, but there, people eventually make up for their sins and go to heaven. So it’s really wide open.”

More from SDReader


MsGrant Oct. 30, 2008 @ 10:26 a.m.

Sorry, Fred. I'm all ablush. I typed too quickly, prior to reading your proclamation of adoration. Forgive my whiplash-like jealousy. I'm sure it happens all the time, chicks fighting over you and all.


Josh Board Oct. 29, 2008 @ 3:53 p.m.

So Conor, tell me what ya really think.

First, a few things. Could you REALLY be this bitter that I spelled your name wrong in the first column? Someone left a voice mail at the Reader saying you were ticked about that and the fact that I didn't mention more about your band, but geez. Didn't think that meant I'd read an email like this.

Second, Hunter S. Thompson is highly overrated. That dude was paid big bucks by Rolling Stone to cover the biggest boxing match in history, and instead turned in a thing about him getting drunk at the hotel pool and never going to the fight. Figured you like him.

Third, I had a great conversation with your parents at the party (Thanksgiving in July). And many other people. There's only limited space I can put all that in. And, when I play basketball with a girl, and have to chase a basketball into a swarm of bees, hey...that's interesting to me (and a few other people out there, one being the waitress at BJs in La Jolla, who went nuts when she saw the name on my credit card, saying how much she loved the column). I'm sorry you don't. Or, that you wish YOU were writing it.

And, on that last line, let me seem to want a lot. My girlfriend (who doesn't dislike anyone), mentioned to me how odd she found it that when we talked to a few of the people that claimed to be the "founders" of the Thanksgiving in July, you wanted to make it clear, that it was really YOU that came up with the idea yourself. And you said, "I mean, if they want to take credit for it, fine let them. But it was me that started this." And, you said that a few times.


Josh Board Oct. 29, 2008 @ 3:54 p.m.


Bizarre, that a friendly, annual gathering in July for neighbors, family, and friends, is more about YOU wanting credit for starting it.

Fourth, regarding the Intense party...the music was too loud to talk to the guests, so I "filled in space" talking about my trip to the Mexican joint. Sure, people there (like you and your guests), would've rather read about their cool costumes, etc. And, in regards to not paying the entrance, I get invited to many "charity" party/functions, some being $500 to get in. If I paid for all those, I might have to go out and get a real job. But sometimes I do donate at those events (like one in which I bid over a thousand bucks on a guitar, etc). I like to admit when I didn't pay, though. And I figure the charity is getting some ink out of it, so no worries.

And now, you writing to say you don't like how I covered it.

And lastly, to answer your question about openings grabbing the readers, hey...sometimes I play around with things. Sometimes editors edit, and want to get right to the point. Other times, I feel the column just doesn't lend itself to starting like Moby Dick.

Dude, you gotta chill out. Enjoy life. If my column makes you that upset, I'd say skip it. And be glad I didn't mention how dorky you looked wearing that fez the whole party.

I'll be skipping your Thanksgiving parties in the future, so tell Lisa not to bother sending me the evite.

Josh Board Crasher


Ollie Oct. 29, 2008 @ 5:09 p.m.

Down with the Crasher!

Up with Remote Control King!


JulieParrots Oct. 29, 2008 @ 9:46 p.m.

Woo Hoo! Sounds like its gonna be a party so swell, that Josh won't even be board. Looks like I have no choice but to attend if I want to have a good time partaking in San Diego's drunkin debauchery and electioneering. And if there is a Julie Parrots imposter from the Gloria campaign wearing a monty Python prop, I will have no choice but to follow him around with a pair of empty coconut shells making the sounds of horse hooves. Portraying their "high and mightiest" selves.


Fred Williams Oct. 29, 2008 @ 5:20 p.m.

Down with the remote control tyrant. Down with bored Josh!

Up with Abnormal Heights!

(Next up, Fred reviews the fight of the year. Ollie and Josh both go in the cage, but only one comes rules!)

Hey, Josh. Be sure to bring your biased reporting and navel gazing skills on down to Golden Hall, Tuesday November 4th, to watch the election returns.

Party with the Parties, candidates, and ballot sure to wear your "I Voted" sticker or you'll get beaten up by elderly party activists.




Fred Williams Oct. 29, 2008 @ 6:45 p.m.

Ollie, you're invited too, old friend. If you can't get off the couch, though, just watch the local live news feeds as the results come in.

You can skip quickly from station to station to get a combined 3D view of Golden Hall. It's almost exactly like being there in person, except for your body being someplace completely different.

Now, the sound might be off, but that could be fun:

We're here live at Golden Hall where:-:talking with supporters:-:led to the city's financial crisis:-:with a bonus if you order now!:-:Corruption scandals:-:marching around with signs and chanting:-:make the decisions that will lead this city forward.:-:We're showing Aguirre:-:joining the Republicans in Congress, where my father's party:-:ought to pay their fair share:-:when we're back in five minutes, after these important messages.

Looking forward to election night at Golden Hall, everyone!


JulieParrots Oct. 29, 2008 @ 7:52 p.m.

In response to post number 5. ...(still smiling) That is hilarious and Entertainment in writing!


JulieParrots Oct. 29, 2008 @ 8:26 p.m.

I always enjoy reading your Abnormal Heights section. I also find your comments (to other fellow San Diego Readers, most notably to the infamous fumbler) quick-witted and very entertaining. The comment about your band Fred Williams and the corrpulent carcasses had me chuckling.


MsGrant Oct. 29, 2008 @ 8:42 p.m.

Oy. Should I invite Ollie? At least he loves you.


Fred Williams Oct. 29, 2008 @ 8:49 p.m.

JulieParrots, you are gorgeous. Wow! Never thought you'd look like this in person...

I love Fumber, like a brother. A special education brother wearing big braces and a plastic helmet, but a brother nonetheless.

When I get compliments on my writing, especially from an exotic woman with a parrot riding on her shoulder, pirate costume awry, a saucy wench we old sailors merely dream about on long deployments, well I can barely restrain myself from from inviting you to my big party at Golden Hall on November 4th.

I've personally reserved the entire Golden Hall at the Civic Concourse in the heart of downtown for my lavish Election Night Celebration.

Naturally, all the media will be there to cover my party. So will the parties, guaranteeing a heluva party. We gonna party, oh yeah!

The chair of the Republicans will be handing out pirated copies of the latest video games and charges of voter fraud, while the head of the Democrats will be drunkenly slapping Obama stickers on random surfaces, including television cameras, discarded campaign signs, and Duncan Hunter, Junior.

Sure, I'll be followed around by Fumber all evening, whining that his mother expects him back home before ten o'clock, but we can ditch him and find someplace where you, me, and the parrot can get acquainted.

I'm just suspicious that fake JulieParrots from the Gloria campaign will strap an old Monty Python prop on his shoulder and pretend to be you.

You know, I've invited the entire City of San Diego...oh, heck...make it the whole dang County!

Come on down to Golden Hall, meet the candidates, see them shout and cry, watch upper echelon staffers from your city government get s***faced drunk in public...oh, it's great.

Bring the kids so they can see democracy in action.

Golden Hall, Downtown San Diego, November 4th, 2008.

The election year party crash you'll never forget...look forward to seeing you there.




Fred Williams Oct. 29, 2008 @ 8:52 p.m.

MsGrant, don't tell Ulysses, but I have a thing for you too...




MsGrant Oct. 29, 2008 @ 8:54 p.m.

Oh, my, God. Stay tuned and see Fred and Julie GET IT ON!! HERE, LIVE AND SUCKING UP!


Fred Williams Oct. 29, 2008 @ 9:05 p.m.

MsGrant, no offense; there's more than enough Fred to spread around...

You, MsGrant, Julie, and her Parrot can all join in with the Fredliness goin on live and in person at my gala Election Night Downtown Party at Golden Hall. I haven't yet gotten clearance for Fred and the Corpulent Carcasses to play a short set, but I'm hopeful.

Everyone is invited. Party with the Party People!

Election Night Downtown at Golden Hall...


Fred Williams Oct. 30, 2008 @ 10:48 a.m.

Now, girls, there's no reason to fight over me. You can share.

Julie, I'm so glad you solved the impostor problem.

Any woman wearing a pirate's parrot who also has another parrot wearing woman following her and making clop, clop, clop noises with coconut shells is NOT JulieParrot, but might be an African swallow.

Meanwhile, any women wearing parrots who eschew the coconut clopping escort are probably also NOT JulieParrot, who would have been the coconut clopper who is subject to said eshewing.

Therefore, only women with parrots neither encumbered nor eshewed with coconut cloppers is the genuine JulieParrot, who will promptly join MsGrant in wanton displays of feminine wiles, pirate jargon, and blatant parrot abuse.

Golden Hall on election night has never seen the like of what awaits San Diego next Tuesday. I hope the Mayor has arranged for extra security...and someone to clean up after all the parrots.


JulieParrots Oct. 30, 2008 @ 1:58 p.m.

Indeed! You nailed it! As for the abusing of parrots, well, these feathers are permanently painted on. So they can be plucked at all you want. Brilliant. This pretty bird is going to be in attendance November 4. Everyone is ready for a change in San Diego. This election is just what we need. By the way, Im sure it was not only your highly creative mind that aided into your crowning of Mesa's "Man of the Year", but a list of other attributes as well... Cheers.


Fred Williams Oct. 30, 2008 @ 2:20 p.m.

Mesa College Man of the Year...oh, so long ago...brings back memories, indeed.

They say I won because I convinced the Community College District to expand library hours for working students...but we all know it was really just because of my handsome legs.

Wow! I can't believe it was so long ago...1990. I'm getting old.



JulieParrots Oct. 30, 2008 @ 11:45 p.m.

Perhaps, but aren't we all aging. Besides, with age comes wisdom and experience. :)


Barbarella Fokos Nov. 1, 2008 @ 3:47 p.m.

I think I just witnessed a comment menage a trois. You can't have Ollie at your party, Fred. He'll be busy "crashing" my "Elation Day '08: Barack to the Future" soiree. I'll organize a smoke signal off my terrace in the direction of Golden Hall. I'll be wearing my brand new red, white, and blue boa (purchased at Party City) to demonstrate my patriotism. ;)


Fred Williams Nov. 1, 2008 @ 4:03 p.m.

Barbarella, be sure to blow some of that smoke signal my direction...hanging out with politicians, I'll be needing something to soothe my nerves.


JulieParrots Nov. 2, 2008 @ 1:55 p.m.

Aww, shucks Fumber dear, looks like ya caught me.


Fred Williams Nov. 2, 2008 @ 6:22 a.m.

"that smoke will be probably be massive amounts of ganja"

Well, Fumber, we can only at the Reader, where I share a luxury office with Don Bauder, we're burning so much ganja we can barely see through the smoke clouds to teach the children how to roll properly.

That's the reason we take the students, and their teachers, to the park for their smoking lessons. See, the gentle breeze clears a little of the haze, allowing us to carefully inspect for stems and seeds, break up the pot into appropriately sized chunks for rolling, and ensure that each joint is carefully and lovingly inspected for shape, firmness, and a smooth draw.

Our biggest problem, naturally, is finding kid-sized rolling papers. The orange zig-zags are just too big for their little fingers, but every time we let them use the bong they end up spilling water everywhree. Ahhh, kids.

It's so important to teach the little ones about drug abuse. Dropping good bud on the floor, boggarting, or leaving too much saliva on the joint are all serious problems facing youngsters today, and we must teach children not to abuse their drugs in such a wanton manner. Similarly, we must all take responsibility in teaching our kids how to drink alcohol responsibly. Did you know that some children don't can't even tell when it's their turn to buy the next round? The importance of our work cannot be overstated.

With time,patience, and generous funding from Mayor Sanders and Police Chief Landsdowne, we've taught so many students the importance of respecting drugs, carefully inspecting for color and smell before laying out cash for supposed "kind", and never paying too much for ditch weed. We've saved countless students from the frustration and disappointment of buying oregano, and are very proud of our work in the community.

Fumber, it's always wonderful to know how much you support us in our important work. Those of us here at the Reader, although we are paid princely sums for our work, always appreciate positive feedback from the residents of America's Finest City, and I know I speak for Barbarella, Potter, Board, Ollie, and Bauder when I say that we love you and are all wishing you the very best when you eventually graduate from your current courses and move up to middle school.


Fred Williams CEO and President San Diego Chapter Drug And Recreational Education (D.A.R.E.)


JulieParrots Nov. 2, 2008 @ 11:30 a.m.

How fortuitous Mr. Williams! It appears you have a new disciple. I have been under the assumption that Fumbler only was commenting simply to spite you, yet it now seems as though Fumbler's search for the most magnificent education has finally been realized!


Josh Board Nov. 3, 2008 @ 8 p.m.

I just came back to this thread and read all the posts. Even though it veered away from Conor hating my writing style, I want to go back there. Since, he and his homies are now sending all kinds of letters to the Reader.

I Googled him, and saw a lame website he has. Wow...his attempts at humor. He tries to write like a mix of Ollie, Jim Gaffigan, and Dave Barry, yet doesn't pull any of it off.

One of his bits involves writing about bacon flavored mayonaisse. Brilliant, Conor.

Another has him reciting the alphabet. Wow, that's comedy gold.

He also has created, along with the Thanksgiving in July, a "National High Five Day." You're brilliant, Conor.

I saw he also wrote a cover story for the Reader, in which for a few days, he listens to 91X and 94.9 and compares them. I thought that piece actually worked, even though there were tons of letters at the time, saying it sucked.

Keep trying, though Conor. You'll come up with something funny.


MsGrant Nov. 4, 2008 @ 7:29 a.m.

An easy write at best. Listening to two radio stations and rehashing the play list in print does not a Pulitzer prize winner make. The guy is gunning for your job and his need to be SOMEONE is embarrassingly obvious. Getting all his friends to write in - REALLY? That's pathetic, and honestly, in very poor taste. Reality TV would be a better place for someone of this ilk. Your grasp of pop culture is written in a wry style, which some people can't get. They want to be out and out salivating over every little detail and do not understand irony. Masters of the obvious always think they can do a better job.


MsGrant Nov. 4, 2008 @ 7:59 a.m.

One more thing. If Mr. Lastowka is indeed a bona fide writer, I suggest he consult in his Stylebook the chapters pertaining to libel and defamation. Expressing an honest, heartfelt opinion is one thing. Launching an out and out campaign to discredit another individual for the sole purpose of obtaining their position of employment is quite another.


jfeala Nov. 5, 2008 @ 11:34 a.m.

Conor currently works as a comedy writer with the former creators of Mystery Science Theater 3000, a show universally loved and recognized as one of the funniest ever. He won the Fiction 101 contest in the CityBeat with an incredibly wry and ironic short.

He is funny, and from what I've seen, you are not. He does not want your job, he just wants the column to be good. The same goes for me and a lot of other people.


JulieParrots Nov. 5, 2008 @ 11:55 a.m.

I am noone special, just another San Diegan. Even though I don't know Josh or Conor personally, I find Josh's columns well written and one of the main reasons why I read his blogs and stories religously. Thanks for the daily laughs. :)


Josh Board Nov. 6, 2008 @ 1:19 a.m.

Hey, thanks Julie.

Well, jfeala...Conor working with someone else that was successful, really doesn't mean much. What do they write that we've seen? A short story in City Beat? And, Mystery Science Theater 3000 is one of the lamest shows ever. A great concept, that had one laugh every 10 jokes. Not a good ratio considering they throw so many jokes out there, and have so much to work with!

It's funny that I never heard from Conor BEFORE he felt his party was attacked (ie me mentioning they must've lost money, etc). Believe me, I could've said worse things about his party. They were promoting art, and yet they had merely 4 or 5 pieces of art for sale. And all upstairs, where nobody even went.

But, if Conor is as funny as you claim, why not post something he's written here, and let us all judge. His saying the alphabet bit, surely wasn't (nor was it original).

And for you guys (in the most recent letters section) to post typos I have in my daily blog (spelling "stared" instead of "starred" or whatever it was), is bush league. People care about the content, not a spelling error in a blog.


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