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The Beauty Of A People

What a beautiful story told by Steven Sorensen (“Please Don’t Tell Anyone That Old Surfers End Up Here,” Cover Story, October 8). His observations on the Mexican people, their values and work ethics, moved me immensely.

I spent five years during the ’90s working at a Nebraska meat-packing plant. I was one of just a handful of whites, not to mention the only white female. It was wretched, backbreaking work. Many days when my knife would be dull and my hands raw, I didn’t give a damn about the quality of meat I was hacking away at. My line partner would scold me in broken English to take some pride in my work, to try harder. Seeing me struggle, he would “pull my turn,” sharpen my knives, and get me back on track.

The days are endless on a factory line, mind-numbing. They would pass the time singing, talking of their families back in Mexico, laughing — smiling, while doing a job that used to make me cry at night. Every day, we would teach each other five words, in English and Spanish, and once the last hog hit the table, we’d be fluent in each. On days when the noise of the machines kept us from hearing one another, we’d write those words in blood on the white cutting tables we hunched over for 12 hours a day. These people taught me patience, tolerance, and that feeding your family is more important than the aches and pains of a slaughterhouse.

Mr. Sorensen expressed the beauty of these people so eloquently. I hope to see more from him in the future!

Scripps Ranch

Bridge Survivors

Re the letter titled “Grim Expectations” (October 8). John Kitchin writes, “I know of no Anglo using the pedestrian bridge who was not attacked and robbed in September.” Meet two of them. We were in TJ three times in one week last month, via the pedestrian bridge, and found TJ quiet, peaceful, and nonthreatening. After our dental appointments, we wandered around Pueblo Amigo, the area near the dog track, had lunch, bought groceries, all without incident. And best of all, we returned on the pedestrian bridge with healthy-looking teeth and new crowns.

Sue and Mac Persaud
via email

Four Cops And A Flasher

Enjoyed “Stopped in Their Tracks” (“Stringers,” October 8). I was one of the joggers mentioned. There were actually four of us — three homicide detectives and one intelligence detective from SDPD. The suspect was on the ground because we put him there (he wanted to fight as opposed to wait for a patrol unit) after he tried to interrupt our after-work run through the park by exposing himself to us on the Bridle Trail.

J. Beard
via email

Trips For The Limited

Re “Roam-O-Rama,” “Mine Canyon” (October 8).

Thanks for this column. I am a fan of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. I have become handicapped and have limited mobility. In this column, Jerry Schad provided good information for someone like me regarding car camping and accessibility by car.

Schad’s columns are usually designed for fit people who can get around better than I can. Can he please mention in his columns portions of these “Roam-O-Rama” trips that would be suitable for persons with physical limitations?

Best wishes and thanks from a longtime reader.

John Fox
via email

Chased Out Of Town

Re “Soon There Won’t Be a Barrio Logan” (Cover Story, October 1). Thank you for writing this story. The young males of Barrio Logan seem to be bearing the brunt of the police force and undercover detectives, as they are harassed on a daily basis. I am convinced that the DA’s office is pressuring the police to clean up Barrio Logan for the downtown expansion, even if it means placing false accusations on these young men, who cannot afford to defend themselves in court. I realize not all are innocent, but we need to remember not all are guilty. I have witnessed this harassment myself and couldn’t believe what I was seeing. We need to come up with a plan that benefits all at hand and not push residents out by placing them in jail or harassing them to sell their homes. As your story states, some have lived here for over 55 years.

My prayer is that the police harassment stops and that the DA’s office does not continue to offer merit promotions to those officers that arrest the most individuals. This only causes temptation to abuse the system. Could the reason that young men in Barrio Logan are suffering be due to the eastward expansion of the Ballpark Protection Zone and its investors?

via email

Three-Strikes Cleanup

I’m sure you wouldn’t be writing a story about non-“Anglos’ taking over any other neighborhood (“Soon There Won’t Be a Barrio Logan”, Cover Story, October 1). Regarding Principal Hernandez’s comment that “especially since Petco Park went up, from 1995 onwards, it’s [the reduced violence and gang activity] really changed the community.” The reason why Barrio Logan and every other community in the State of California is safer is because of the Three Strikes Law. That law has sent thousands of people convicted of committing three or more violent crimes to prison for 20 years to life. That law has also deterred many thousands more from committing violent crimes.

Bruce Jamieson
via email

It’s Better Than Ehhhh…

The Side Man at the Diversionary Theatre hits on all cylinders with fascinating characters that seem like you are watching real people, a complex but understandable story, and history imparted along the way. These actors are putting it out there. You obviously thought highly from your review (October 1). Your best rating of “Worth a try” suggests maybe it’s time to add some breadth to the ratings in your theater reviews. This play should be seen!

Tom Wiczynski
via email

Jeff Smith responds: “Worth a try” is, admittedly, a large category, from the passable to the very good. Some people want numerical evaluations of shows. But you can’t quantify a live production like that. A movie will always be a two or a four. Live productions change from night to night: a four one night could be a two the next. Also, some shows grow a great deal, while others devolve. The “Critic’s picks” are the ones I can recommend without reservation.

We Fired His Butt. Happy?

It’s time you took the responsibility of running a box item whenever one of your columnists fails to meet a deadline and you end up with no column to print.

Whether you like it or not, some of us peruse the Reader for the satisfaction we get from individual columnists.

Whenever a column doesn’t show up, we wonder whether the cause is illness, failure to meet one’s deadline, a firing, or simply the columnist’s wanting to take a day off.

Surely you realize your responsibility in advising your readers whenever a regular columnist goes missing. It is one of an editor’s prime responsibilities.

Hopefully, with this letter to jog your memory, you’ll start paying attention and advising your readers whenever it becomes necessary to explain a missing column.

Roban Barr

Aside from normal vacation weeks, to help the paper save money and space, Reader regular writers take one out of eight weeks off — Editor

Critic Of The Critic

I think it’s about time the Reader gets a new movie critic already. Does this guy like movies? It just seems that he doesn’t enjoy any movie he sees unless it’s before the ’60s. Anyway, isn’t it about time you get a fresh face and even fresher opinion than the stale one you have already. I should go even further and say that the whole paper needs updating. It’s the same ads with the same placement every month. When you have magazines like 944 and now SoCal out that are so much better and free as well. Just food for thought. Your paper has seen its day, unless you restructure, starting with the movie critic!

via email

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SDaniels Oct. 14, 2009 @ 4:03 p.m.

Hey Kathy from Scripps Ranch:

Why don't you write a blog about your unique experiences working in that meat-packing plant? You've already begun to describe them in your letter this week, and it certainly provides a "hook" --maybe even a cover story? :)


nan shartel Oct. 14, 2009 @ 4:45 p.m.

i love the "old surfer die piece" too

i have a friend who is exceededly unwell and dying but refuses to give up surfing...I'd give anything for her to be able to spend a week soaking up the ambiance of Baja

she's a Vancouver BC native and her last surfing jog was to Tofino...a trip her Doctors did everything they could to squash...to no avail

she said riding the 12footers is the only thing that extends her life...i put the story in CKA for her...and i put all of your beach related news with upbeat message in CKA...for those snowbirds with broken wings but still wildly beating hearts that are up for a So. Cal adventure...thx for this one READER!!!



speakouter Oct. 15, 2009 @ 12:19 a.m.

To Sue and Mac Persaud, re: Bridge Survivors, above, about non-Mexicans being supposedly always attacked on the pedestrian bridge in TJ. I've also never had anything happen to me on going there.


Sianara Nov. 14, 2009 @ 9:13 a.m.

I've no idea where you will place this but first, I love the Diva pages.

Too though, regarding the Health Care Reform letters etc. about it. I have had Medi-Care since 2004. I'm all for public health care reform as it pertains to me as well. I am living with a roommate as there is no way, living on SSDI that I could live on my own, let alone pay for my visits to my doctors or pay for my prescriptions even after having the majority traded in for generics. HELLO!!? I would love to live on my own and provide for my self instead of depending on someone else to do it for me.

My roommate got laid off in September and what little social life I had has been in a stalemate since then as well. I would dearly love to have a life of my own and to live elsewhere but that won't happen any time soon as long as there is no increase for cost of living on the Social Security part of things and costs go up for basic medical services.

Insurance premiums and costs need to go down for any of us happens.



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