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What I Say, What I Do

Am I the only person who noticed the ironic hypocrisy in pedicab driver Guy Harinton’s xenophobic rants “Pedicab Wars,” (Cover Story, September 10)? He decries non-American college students who have the audacity to spend their summers visiting the U.S. and — heaven forbid — working. And yet, in the same breath, the nativist comments on how much he enjoys going to Tijuana, Mexico, for his “fun and entertainment.”

I wonder — did Harinton bother to learn Spanish before traveling to Baja California? Has he researched the legal regulations in force in Tijuana before going there to party? I would be willing to wager that Harinton himself has violated a few of the laws of the Republic of Mexico in his time.

David Schmidt
via email

J-1 Bad News

The exploitation of these J-1 visa students by the exchange industry has led to an investigation by the U.S. Department of State, which ignored the mounting problems for years (“Pedicab Wars,” Cover Story, September 10). The City of San Diego profited as well. The Committee for Safety of Foreign Exchange Students was instrumental in opening this investigation. The placement agencies rake in millions of dollars and pay no taxes. Check out their 990s. This public diplomacy program is a failure. The San Diego Office of the U.S. Department of Labor is also fielding complaints about the exploitation of these students.

Sally Smith
via email

Can’t We All Get Along?

I haven’t read the Reader in years, but a friend picked one up for me. I was interested in “Pedicab Wars” (Cover Story, September 10). When I started to read it I was offended by the language and the obvious racism of the man who was speaking. I threw the whole thing out and will not recommend it to anyone.

This is a time when we should try to get along with our fellow man, as we are all in this world together.

Teressa Weddle
via email

Double Fare For The Pit Bull

Joe Deegan’s story on San Diego’s public transit system shows that Joe Deegan rarely rides San Diego public transit (“If We’re the Best, Imagine the Worst,” “City Lights,” September 10). Bums with pit bulls are permitted by incompetent drivers to board buses. One need not imagine what will eventually happen. The senior monthly bus ticket, also used by handicapped people, went from $15 to $18 in less than a year. Drivers pull away from a stop, even if another bus is only half a minute behind. The 15 Limited regularly pulls away when the local bus Number 1 is about to park behind it, forcing transferring passengers to wait another 15 or 20 minutes in the hot sun. Many new drivers are totally unqualified and dangerous drivers. Some buses are often a half hour to 40 minutes late.

Nothing is done no matter how many complaints are lodged. In fact, complainants are discouraged and often hung up on.

Drivers do nothing to discipline dangerous and obnoxious persons who intimidate the elderly and women. The finest system in the country? I laugh.

Name Withheld
via voicemail

Joe Deegan responds: I ride the bus daily.

Usable Commute

Re “If We’re the Best, Imagine the Worst,” (“City Lights,” September 10). When I attended SDSU in the late ’70s and early ’80s, I rode the 115 from Clairemont to SDSU, and the ride took one and one half hours! Oh well, at least it gave me time to study!

Allen Stanko
via email

Got Any Change?

Has Don Bauder ever been to Qualcomm to see a Charger game (“Chargers Won’t Fulfill Desires in San Diego,” “City Lights,” September 10)? And have you guys ever published anything that was positive?

How about publishing an article to get the City to do something positive, like go get the Summer Olympics here, another Super Bowl, another U.S. Open — all of this would easily pay for a new stadium.

Isn’t a journalist’s/editor’s job to help make change? How about some change for the better for once?

Name Withheld
via email

Stop It, Immediately!

What the #@! is wrong with you? Do not under any circumstances put out an edition without “Tin Fork”! And stop moving the location of the features around — movies and “T.G.I.F.” now in part 1? Why?

A Regular Reader

Raider-Hater Gossip Junk

Can you attend any junior college to get a job as a tabloid gossip columnist, Hedda Jr. (“Sporting Box,” September 10)? Just another mindless article that only attempts to pile on the Raider-hater bandwagon. Get a life, write something with your crayons if you need to act childish!

Name Withheld
via email

Nonsensical Bloodbath

Duncan Shepherd gives Inglourious Basterds three stars and calls it Tarantino’s best film to date because of the director’s technical skills in filming a brutal, nonsensical bloodbath, which barely rises to the level of a comic book. The story is filled with absurdities (a Jewish girl, alone and on the run from the SS, miraculously appears in Paris as the owner of a movie theater; American commandos, dropped into occupied France, are able to terrorize the Germans by ambushing and scalping their soldiers. In reality, the Germans, after the first loss, would simply have taken 10 French villagers out and shot them. And then 50. And then 100). The reviewer ignores the silliness of the story line because he admires Tarantino’s carefully crafted scenes. But, like a slowly deflating balloon, the scenes lose their impact because the director drags them out to the point of boredom (the film itself is dragged out to two and one half hours).

This film is drivel and should have received the black dot.

Andrew Crane
via email

Mostly Innocent

I’d like to sympathize with Mr. Wyant (“They Have No Concrete Proof,” “City Lights,” September 3), but I am wondering if he is as innocent as he portrays. For example, when he writes, “When a small amount of cement spilled onto the road, I had tools ready for proper cleanup.” I wonder how much is a small amount? Did he completely clean it up? And what tools can completely clean up cement on a road?

Further, he writes, “We explained how we had taken every reasonable precaution to avoid spills,” which implies there might have been some spills, and it is my understanding that no amount of cement is okay to spill into the street that eventually goes to the storm drain and into our waterways. It is great that he cleaned the tools and equipment into a hole in the yard, thereby avoiding the bigger discharge that would have resulted from cleanup. Perhaps if he did all of the mixing and other work over the yard there would have been no “small amount of cement spilled into the road.” It is my understanding that the City storm water regulations require zero discharge of pollutants, which might not be the case if one only takes what they consider to be “reasonable precautions.”

Name Withheld
by Request

Dana Wyant responds: The level of the property made it impossible to transfer the concrete from the mixer to the wheelbarrows any way other than in the street. The concrete that was spilled was cleaned up with a flat shovel and broom immediately, and none of the residue went into the gutter or storm drain. The only thing left was the stain, which we did not wash down with a hose. Even if it had rained afterward, there was nothing that would have gotten into the gutter or storm drain. As we had put sandbags in the gutter before doing the work, even if there had been larger spills, the concrete would not have entered the storm drain.

As far as any concrete left on the street: when the City is repairing broken water mains, the hole created from the work is filled with concrete and then leveled to the street; it’s then allowed to dry and cure with stains around it — no different than any residue that was left by my small spill.

The Storm Water Department, in their determination, stated that they felt there was a significant discharge into the storm water drain system. How was it determined that the residue in the gutter was even concrete? The fact is that the samples Ms. Flores took were never tested. The residue that she found could have been from someone backwashing a pool or any other possible combination of events, but we will never know since the samples taken were lost.

Clown Council

Mr. Kendrick and the rest of the clowns on city council (including the mayor of El Cajon) should be canned (“I Blow Smoke on Your Law,” “City Lights,” August 27). All of this city government in El Cajon (city council and mayor) are either extreme religious fanatics and/or “a follower.” I say this because one of them votes with the majority because of a fear of causing waves, not because she has her own ideas. (There’s only one woman on the city council.) This city government is one step shy of communism with their pushing of laws that reflect their own beliefs, not the majority’s (i.e., nonsmoking law and others). When the hell is it against the law to smoke outside in public? Obviously, in El Cajon (again, a stupid move).

Also the fact that they have screwed El Cajon taxpayers numerous times in the process. A number of years ago these people (city council and mayor) rejected a request/license from a well-known ice cream shop in the area to conduct business in the downtown area because they wanted a “high-scale eating establishment” in downtown but had to settle for Hometown Buffet instead. Then a few years later the city council bought the old Social Security building on Broadway with federal block grant money for a nonprofit, with expectations of being paid money back via rent from tenants of the building, which backfired, and they had to foreclose on it. (Very bad move.)

These people should be canned; instead, they are reelected. I’m starting to believe the old saying about El Cajon being nothing but crackheads and tweeters [sic]; otherwise, who in their right mind would be voting for them?

In 2004 I moved out of the El Cajon city limits but still consider El Cajon my hometown. (I have lived in the area since 1981.) If I were able to run for El Cajon City Council, these jokers would be afraid of me, considering I’d run for open government and make sure the citizens’ voices of this fine city were heard and every item in a closed council meeting was known to every citizen.

Instead we have this: self-serving lamebrains. What is your preference?

Name Withheld
via email

Heads Up, People

My letter here is directed to people who are convinced that they have no skin in the game (“PUC Loves SDG&E,” “City Lights,” September 3). If this is your thinking, you are deluding yourself, and it just might cost you your home, your belongings, and possibly your very life.

Any fire that starts in the outback will threaten the whole of the North County. Look at the L.A. Station Fire, if you need proof! Every area in San Diego County is in jeopardy! This is not a local fight. Fire is no respecter of borders or property lines.

My next point is that someone sent me an article regarding a recent brushfire that started in Hemet and moved towards Idyllwild. Fire investigators found small bits of ceramic power line insulators and bits of metal strewn about.

Did you know that there are explosive charges at the top of power poles? They are designed to save the power line circuits from overloading and destroying the circuit. When the circuit breaker trips, these explosive charges ignite to blow the wires from the circuit to short-circuit the line.

Now, I submit to you a question: is it not possible that one of these explosive charges could have gone off prematurely or malfunctioned in Hemet, starting the fire? What else could have blown those insulators and metal parts to smithereens? Surely, not a drop of 50 feet from the top of a power pole.

Another point. Early on, most of the news media were under the delusion that this whole protest against SDG&E was about preventing SDG&E from pulling the plug on the folks in the above-mentioned towns. This was incorrect! SDG&E already has the authority to pull the plug. They did so earlier this month up here — three times. SDG&E needs no PUC ruling for this.

However, what they do need is a rule modification that gives them tort immunity from doing so. This means that they can pull the plug and be free from lawsuits!! Great strategy.

So, in a nutshell, SDG&E pulls the plug when certain weather criteria are met. We sit in the dark for 24 hours or longer. A small fire starts and begins to gain momentum. Firefighters arrive only to find that there is no water in the fire hydrants to draw from.

Yes, firefighters have 1000 gallons on board, but how long is that going to last on a quarter-acre fire pushed along in a 50-mile-per-hour windstorm? Small fires don’t stay small in 50-mile-per-hour winds.

The handwriting is on the wall, folks.

In all probability, SDG&E is going to get their tort immunity. Many people in the county are going to pay for this insanity, with more than their checkbook. Little wonder that the PUC is called the largest rubber stamp in California.

No one person, no entity or corporate structure should ever be given full immunity from anything they do. No one, not no way, not nohow.

Not Richard Nixon, not Union Carbide, not Exxon, and not SDG&E. Everyone needs to be held accountable for their actions, no matter how altruistic or well meaning their intentions.

Alain Michel
Valley Center/Pauma Valley

On September 10, the PUC rejected SDG&E’s power shut-off proposal, although giving SDG&E the opportunity to file a new plan. — Editor

Just Another Money Grab

Reference is made to the article entitled “They Have No Concrete Proof,” (“City Lights,” September 3) by Dana Wyant, regarding the couple who did concrete work at their home in Rancho Peñasquitos. Assuming what was related is factual and true, then the action taken by the City of San Diego is outrageous and unfair. It smells of just another creative and shameless way the City digs into its taxpayers’ pockets.

On another parallel, Sunroad Enterprises was found at fault when their Centrum 12 edifice, which was built next to Montgomery Field, exceeded the height restriction. How much was Sunroad required to deposit into the City’s piggy bank in fines?

Name Withheld

September Isn’t Winter

A small but important bit of information (“Best Buys,” August 20). John Hoffman of Grangetto’s Farm and Garden Supply gave Eve some bum info. Winter squash are not planted in September. They are winter squash because they are hard shell and keep in a cool place for over a year. I have one butternut and one spaghetti squash left from last fall’s harvest, which was about 45 pounds of squash total. Plant them right at the same time as other squash. Gardens are wonderful, particularly for the food and tranquility they offer.

Greg Gieselman
OB/Point Loma

Try Me

Occasionally I find P.S. Mueller’s cartoons in your publication. The last one was truly pathetic!! They are not only poorly drawn but have no humor attached to them. Hopefully you are not paying Mr. Mueller for these pathetic and amateurish cartoons. I am a cartoonist myself and have been drawing for over 40 years. Mine are funny and far better looking than Mr. Mueller’s. I would be more than happy to send some to you for your viewing pleasure. How about it?

Jerry Sackett
via email

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Josh Board Sept. 16, 2009 @ 4:14 p.m.

Regarding Andrew Cranes letter: Bravo!

Although I think Tarantino's film doesn't deserve a black dot (perhaps just one star, though), it did have some interesting moments. It's hardly QTs best. Most would agree Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown, and even Reservoir Dogs, were better (two of those are brilliant, near flawless films).

My girlfriend leaned in during the movie and asked why the Nazis let the girl escape. That was odd. But they did explain how she came to own that theatre in France (her aunt and uncle owned it previously).

I don't mind buying the premise that they could be dropped in France and catch Nazis, as Tarantino is just having fun with the subject matter...just as you have to go with the flow when Robert Downey Jr. is putting a heart back into his body in Iron Man. With film, sometimes you throw the realistic stuff out the window and just go with the flow.

But that being said, I wonder why QT has to have these pretentious conversations about French and German filmmakers. It's like he has characters in his movie talk about things HE finds interesting, but nobody else would!

And why the close-ups of the desserts being eaten? You have this tense scene where a Nazi that killed the girls family is sitting across a table from her. She's scared, nervous, angry...and there's a close up of the whipped cream, and the fork cutting the pastry. It's like Tarantino loved "Big Night" and Julia/Julie, and other films where close-ups of food were used to great effect, and he wants them in his movie. The problem is...they don't work, or fit, in this vehicle.

By the end of the movie (which was 30 minutes too long) I felt like I was one of those people trapped in the theatre that was burning down!


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