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Letters

What’s Up, Switzerland?

If Ashley Gardner was referring to the United States when she stated it has been 100 years since women were allowed to vote, she is incorrect (“Well-Behaved Women Rarely Make History,” Cover Story, February 3). It didn’t happen until 1920 with the passing of the 19th Amendment. What is more shocking is that women didn’t get the right to vote in Italy until 1944, France until 1945, Greece until 1952, and Switzerland until 1971!

Bill Neece
via email

They Pay and They Tow

In February of 1987, my wife’s car died on a freeway a short distance from our home. The CHP saw the car, called A to Z Towing, and the car was towed to our residence.

We didn’t have enough cash to pay the large towing bill, and I persuaded the towing company manager by phone to accept my check. I then told him the charges were exorbitant. At this point, he refused to accept a check and said his driver would tow our car to their lot.

Fortunately, a neighbor saw this and loaned me money to pay the bill. In this fashion, we were able to keep our car and avoid an even bigger impound fee.

The next day, I called the CHP to complain about A to Z Towing — in the hope that the California Highway Patrol might stop using them. The officer I spoke with dissuaded me from filing a complaint, and I realized it would probably be a waste of time.

It is interesting to note in your “Under the Radar” column of February 3 that A to Z Towing is one of the companies that give money for the benefit of the cops.

Wade Cline
Hillcrest

Consider Stupid Chick’s Life

The title to this week’s column, “Stupid Chick’s Lucky” (“Diary of a Diva,” February 3), is more apt than the writer of the column thought.

When we first get in an accident, it’s human nature to focus upon whether the driver was at fault and then arrange your argument so that you appear blameless. The problem is that the fault system is a really stupid tool to rely upon for an important moment in one’s life.

At the end of the day, it’s not really about fault when the front of our 1500-pound car comes in contact with another human. If this happens and we don’t consider how we will ultimately feel if even innocently we change another’s life for the worse, then this experience will have taught us nothing.

James Kennedy
via email

When the Truth’s Not the Truth

Re “Stupid Chick’s Lucky” (“Diary of a Diva,” February 3).

Being deemed “not at fault” does not necessarily mean that there will not be later consequences for you. It all depends on how good her insurance company’s attorneys are. They are going to pull out all the stops to get someone else to pay.

In the mid-1970s in San Diego, my brother had recently gotten his driver’s license when an elderly woman on a bicycle, traveling with a group of cyclists, pulled out into traffic, moving diagonally in front of him to reach a bicycle route across the street. He was moving at or just below the posted speed limit of 50 miles per hour. Fortunately for her, he was able to move sideways in his lane, allowing her to slip down the side of the car instead of hitting her straight on. She hit the ground and did end up with a head injury and a broken elbow, if I recall.

Police at the scene, and later, the accident report, stated that she was at fault. Her insurance company sued my parents’ insurance company, which ended up paying out a sum of money for damages, hospital bills, etc. My brother was then charged with an “at fault” accident, even though it wasn’t his fault. He had to pay higher insurance rates for the next three years because of it. Since it was an older car and didn’t have comprehensive on it, he had to pay for damages to the car out of his own pocket. And of course there’s the inconvenience of not having a car to drive while it’s in the shop being repaired.

The funny thing is, the woman was well known in the bike-riding community (such as it was back then), so of course everyone assumed that she could do no wrong and it wasn’t her fault. I even heard later through someone that knew her that she said she had been hit by a truck, when actually it was a small car.

Good luck to you, Barb. I hope something like this does not happen to you. You are not your insurance company’s priority; the bottom line is. If it’s cheaper for them to pay out than to fight it, you lose.

J. Bradley
via email

Why So Angry, Don?

Bauder continuously bashes Bridgepoint (“Bridgepoint: Bad for Students, Good for Gamblers?” “City Lights,” February 3). Yes, they are changing the methods for “recruitment,” but the graduation rates are from the government and not Tom Harkin’s statistics. I am not exactly sure why Bauder is after Bridgepoint, but he is motivated. Despite the HR and DOE growing pains the company is going through, it is a growing company and they are improving. Bridgepoint is one of the largest employers in San Diego despite the bitterness from Bauder and former employees. Yes, the methods need to change but no, is the company out to screw the students over. By law, no institution can collect interest on financial aid, and by law, unearned funds have to be sent back to lenders. There are many students that are going online because they want to better themselves and there are others that want to collect their excess funds and do not care about the future repercussions. Lighten up, Bauder, go after the mirror.

Brian
via email

Good Cop, Good Cop

Good article (“A Double Helix Fifteen Hundred Miles Long,” “City Lights,” February 3). Good police work. When people talk about things falling between the cracks, this story should come to mind. Note that there was an opportunity to acquire the subject’s DNA prior to his being accepted into the Prop 36 release program. A warrant had to be served after he failed to appear. Unfortunately, this would not have saved either of the victims, but it may have saved a little time and effort elsewhere.

S. Fortun

Eva Knott responds: It is unclear as to when the DNA was collected. A sample was taken from Fernandez at some point in 2007, and it took a while to be processed. By the time interested parties were notified of a CODIS match, Fernandez had been deported.

I Just Ask Where I Came From

I want to thank Elizabeth Salaam for sharing her story about her search for her birth family (“All I Want Is My Birth Story,” Cover Story, January 27). She did a wonderful job explaining how it feels to be adopted and the emotional roller coaster she was on during her search for her roots.

So often, society forgets that the adopted child actually has two families: the one that adopted and the one that relinquished. Upon finalizing an adoption, the state even goes as far as removing the birth parents’ names from the original birth certificate, replacing them with the names of the adoptive parents.

For many adoptees, the adoption means inclusion into a family that loves, supports, and provides many opportunities for growth. But it can also mean a loss of family (including siblings), identity, and heritage. Removing the names of the birth parents from the birth certificate can be seen as hiding something shameful. The adopted child was actually born to these people. Why hide it? To add insult to injury, the majority of the states, including California, won’t even allow the adopted person access to their own original birth certificate.

As a society, we should focus on family preservation. When that isn’t possible, we need to recognize that adoption can be a traumatic event for a child. As such, the child needs to be allowed, even encouraged, to grieve his loss. We must then also recognize that a child may want to know where he came from: his medical history, ethnic background, if he has siblings, where his nose came from, and where his sense of humor came from. It is a normal and natural thing to want to know. Searching and reconnecting with biological family members shouldn’t be looked at as a threat to the adoptive family. It’s simply allowing the adoptee the opportunity to look at his life, starting at chapter one instead of chapter two.

Any adoptee, birth parent, or adoptive parent who is interested in talking to other members of the adoption triad can come to the Adoptee Awareness group that meets from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m., every first Monday of the month at Sharp Mesa Vista Hospital, 7850 Vista Hill Avenue, San Diego, CUBirthparents.org.

Carlos Martinez
via email

Forget It, Be Normal

Re “All I Want Is My Birth Story” (Cover Story, January 27).

Thank you for publishing a story about adoption reflecting the loss experienced and retained by the parties most often portrayed as simply being by-products of a fortunate and wonderful thing to society in general, based on often less-than-healthy needs of those unable or unwilling to conceive or provide viable sperm to bear children on their own. I refer to the losses most adoptees feel as victims of the primal wounds suffered by separation at the outset of life from the only thing (first mom’s heartbeat, voice, smell, etc.) ever known; again from time to time if not regularly throughout their lives if left unknown. I refer to the mostly young first mothers relinquishing so precious a thing as a human life nurtured in their womb for 40 weeks because of someone other than them, like an embarrassed parent, clergy member, opportunistic adoption agencies providing healthy babies for great profit to prospective adoptive parents who pay so well, often under the mistaken belief someone else’s newborn baby will resolve shortcomings they feel in themselves such as barrenness or low sperm count.

So many of these first mothers were led to believe if not forced to make choices with permanent lifetime consequences for a temporary, seemingly huge or insurmountable setback as an unplanned pregnancy. So many of these first mothers were never promised confidentiality or ever even considered the long-term ramifications of that at relinquishment.

So many of them were assured that they would soon forget all about this unfortunate problem, return to “normal,” then live happily ever after unaffected by any of it. When their children reach adulthood, they are realizing none of it was ever really forgotten or normal again as they approach middle age with holes in their hearts and souls.

Thank you for not running another story about how someone like “Brangelina,” Rosie O’Donnell, Madonna, or Elton John and his young trophy husband should really be sainted and much admired for the wonderful thing they have done saving the poor bastard children of sluts, whores, and potential welfare moms and deadbeat drug-addicted womanizing men who ran out on them after impregnating them with their demon seeds, or from somewhere culturally separate and therefore unworthy from the realities of being raised by strangers or in a foreign land.

Sorry for rambling so much. I could go on and on. I would strongly encourage anyone touched by adoption to attend one of the CUB meetings referred to in the excellent cover story. Not only did I find them helpful while conducting my search for my first mom, but the things I heard there helped make the relationships I was blessed with for ten years so successful — after I located LoisAnn, brother Donny (Uncle Krackennutts to my kids), cousin Michelle, aunts, uncles, etc., before LoisAnn’s passing. My three kids were with an extra granny and mutual love they otherwise would never have known. Knowing some, not all, of my birth story didn’t solve the world’s problems but was exponentially better than the frustration of sealed records and their intrinsic unfairness that was all I knew for over 30 years of wondering.

D.B. Gietzen
via email

I’ll Take Weight Watchers

Barbarella, I have been reading your Reader column from the first. I am a fan of yours. Nice to hear the two of you are so happy with each other. In regards to your “Slimmer of Hope” (“Diary of a Diva,” January 20), I must reference World War II’s Bataan Death March, with full respect to those who suffered, as proof that weight can be lost. Please keep the good stuff coming.

Tim
via email

Missing Parts

Hey, yo, where is part three of that terrific article “The Big Rich” (Cover, January 6 and Feature Story, January 13)?

Ted Rodosovich
University City

The Rook and the Fax

I have a small disagreement with your analysis of the January 20 “Brainstorms” puzzle — specifically with your statement that “The buttons have to be rooks to prevent Black’s king from escaping mate at d3.” In fact, d3 is already covered by the pawn at c4. Thus, the only square requiring coverage by a bishop is e3, which would be accomplished with either the button or butt as such. There is no need for a rook anywhere in the situation.

I would have submitted a solution, but as has been happening with ever-greater frequency, your fax terminal systematically refuses my transmissions.

A.T. Certik
via email

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What’s Up, Switzerland?

If Ashley Gardner was referring to the United States when she stated it has been 100 years since women were allowed to vote, she is incorrect (“Well-Behaved Women Rarely Make History,” Cover Story, February 3). It didn’t happen until 1920 with the passing of the 19th Amendment. What is more shocking is that women didn’t get the right to vote in Italy until 1944, France until 1945, Greece until 1952, and Switzerland until 1971!

Bill Neece
via email

They Pay and They Tow

In February of 1987, my wife’s car died on a freeway a short distance from our home. The CHP saw the car, called A to Z Towing, and the car was towed to our residence.

We didn’t have enough cash to pay the large towing bill, and I persuaded the towing company manager by phone to accept my check. I then told him the charges were exorbitant. At this point, he refused to accept a check and said his driver would tow our car to their lot.

Fortunately, a neighbor saw this and loaned me money to pay the bill. In this fashion, we were able to keep our car and avoid an even bigger impound fee.

The next day, I called the CHP to complain about A to Z Towing — in the hope that the California Highway Patrol might stop using them. The officer I spoke with dissuaded me from filing a complaint, and I realized it would probably be a waste of time.

It is interesting to note in your “Under the Radar” column of February 3 that A to Z Towing is one of the companies that give money for the benefit of the cops.

Wade Cline
Hillcrest

Consider Stupid Chick’s Life

The title to this week’s column, “Stupid Chick’s Lucky” (“Diary of a Diva,” February 3), is more apt than the writer of the column thought.

When we first get in an accident, it’s human nature to focus upon whether the driver was at fault and then arrange your argument so that you appear blameless. The problem is that the fault system is a really stupid tool to rely upon for an important moment in one’s life.

At the end of the day, it’s not really about fault when the front of our 1500-pound car comes in contact with another human. If this happens and we don’t consider how we will ultimately feel if even innocently we change another’s life for the worse, then this experience will have taught us nothing.

James Kennedy
via email

When the Truth’s Not the Truth

Re “Stupid Chick’s Lucky” (“Diary of a Diva,” February 3).

Being deemed “not at fault” does not necessarily mean that there will not be later consequences for you. It all depends on how good her insurance company’s attorneys are. They are going to pull out all the stops to get someone else to pay.

In the mid-1970s in San Diego, my brother had recently gotten his driver’s license when an elderly woman on a bicycle, traveling with a group of cyclists, pulled out into traffic, moving diagonally in front of him to reach a bicycle route across the street. He was moving at or just below the posted speed limit of 50 miles per hour. Fortunately for her, he was able to move sideways in his lane, allowing her to slip down the side of the car instead of hitting her straight on. She hit the ground and did end up with a head injury and a broken elbow, if I recall.

Police at the scene, and later, the accident report, stated that she was at fault. Her insurance company sued my parents’ insurance company, which ended up paying out a sum of money for damages, hospital bills, etc. My brother was then charged with an “at fault” accident, even though it wasn’t his fault. He had to pay higher insurance rates for the next three years because of it. Since it was an older car and didn’t have comprehensive on it, he had to pay for damages to the car out of his own pocket. And of course there’s the inconvenience of not having a car to drive while it’s in the shop being repaired.

The funny thing is, the woman was well known in the bike-riding community (such as it was back then), so of course everyone assumed that she could do no wrong and it wasn’t her fault. I even heard later through someone that knew her that she said she had been hit by a truck, when actually it was a small car.

Good luck to you, Barb. I hope something like this does not happen to you. You are not your insurance company’s priority; the bottom line is. If it’s cheaper for them to pay out than to fight it, you lose.

J. Bradley
via email

Why So Angry, Don?

Bauder continuously bashes Bridgepoint (“Bridgepoint: Bad for Students, Good for Gamblers?” “City Lights,” February 3). Yes, they are changing the methods for “recruitment,” but the graduation rates are from the government and not Tom Harkin’s statistics. I am not exactly sure why Bauder is after Bridgepoint, but he is motivated. Despite the HR and DOE growing pains the company is going through, it is a growing company and they are improving. Bridgepoint is one of the largest employers in San Diego despite the bitterness from Bauder and former employees. Yes, the methods need to change but no, is the company out to screw the students over. By law, no institution can collect interest on financial aid, and by law, unearned funds have to be sent back to lenders. There are many students that are going online because they want to better themselves and there are others that want to collect their excess funds and do not care about the future repercussions. Lighten up, Bauder, go after the mirror.

Brian
via email

Good Cop, Good Cop

Good article (“A Double Helix Fifteen Hundred Miles Long,” “City Lights,” February 3). Good police work. When people talk about things falling between the cracks, this story should come to mind. Note that there was an opportunity to acquire the subject’s DNA prior to his being accepted into the Prop 36 release program. A warrant had to be served after he failed to appear. Unfortunately, this would not have saved either of the victims, but it may have saved a little time and effort elsewhere.

S. Fortun

Eva Knott responds: It is unclear as to when the DNA was collected. A sample was taken from Fernandez at some point in 2007, and it took a while to be processed. By the time interested parties were notified of a CODIS match, Fernandez had been deported.

I Just Ask Where I Came From

I want to thank Elizabeth Salaam for sharing her story about her search for her birth family (“All I Want Is My Birth Story,” Cover Story, January 27). She did a wonderful job explaining how it feels to be adopted and the emotional roller coaster she was on during her search for her roots.

So often, society forgets that the adopted child actually has two families: the one that adopted and the one that relinquished. Upon finalizing an adoption, the state even goes as far as removing the birth parents’ names from the original birth certificate, replacing them with the names of the adoptive parents.

For many adoptees, the adoption means inclusion into a family that loves, supports, and provides many opportunities for growth. But it can also mean a loss of family (including siblings), identity, and heritage. Removing the names of the birth parents from the birth certificate can be seen as hiding something shameful. The adopted child was actually born to these people. Why hide it? To add insult to injury, the majority of the states, including California, won’t even allow the adopted person access to their own original birth certificate.

As a society, we should focus on family preservation. When that isn’t possible, we need to recognize that adoption can be a traumatic event for a child. As such, the child needs to be allowed, even encouraged, to grieve his loss. We must then also recognize that a child may want to know where he came from: his medical history, ethnic background, if he has siblings, where his nose came from, and where his sense of humor came from. It is a normal and natural thing to want to know. Searching and reconnecting with biological family members shouldn’t be looked at as a threat to the adoptive family. It’s simply allowing the adoptee the opportunity to look at his life, starting at chapter one instead of chapter two.

Any adoptee, birth parent, or adoptive parent who is interested in talking to other members of the adoption triad can come to the Adoptee Awareness group that meets from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m., every first Monday of the month at Sharp Mesa Vista Hospital, 7850 Vista Hill Avenue, San Diego, CUBirthparents.org.

Carlos Martinez
via email

Forget It, Be Normal

Re “All I Want Is My Birth Story” (Cover Story, January 27).

Thank you for publishing a story about adoption reflecting the loss experienced and retained by the parties most often portrayed as simply being by-products of a fortunate and wonderful thing to society in general, based on often less-than-healthy needs of those unable or unwilling to conceive or provide viable sperm to bear children on their own. I refer to the losses most adoptees feel as victims of the primal wounds suffered by separation at the outset of life from the only thing (first mom’s heartbeat, voice, smell, etc.) ever known; again from time to time if not regularly throughout their lives if left unknown. I refer to the mostly young first mothers relinquishing so precious a thing as a human life nurtured in their womb for 40 weeks because of someone other than them, like an embarrassed parent, clergy member, opportunistic adoption agencies providing healthy babies for great profit to prospective adoptive parents who pay so well, often under the mistaken belief someone else’s newborn baby will resolve shortcomings they feel in themselves such as barrenness or low sperm count.

So many of these first mothers were led to believe if not forced to make choices with permanent lifetime consequences for a temporary, seemingly huge or insurmountable setback as an unplanned pregnancy. So many of these first mothers were never promised confidentiality or ever even considered the long-term ramifications of that at relinquishment.

So many of them were assured that they would soon forget all about this unfortunate problem, return to “normal,” then live happily ever after unaffected by any of it. When their children reach adulthood, they are realizing none of it was ever really forgotten or normal again as they approach middle age with holes in their hearts and souls.

Thank you for not running another story about how someone like “Brangelina,” Rosie O’Donnell, Madonna, or Elton John and his young trophy husband should really be sainted and much admired for the wonderful thing they have done saving the poor bastard children of sluts, whores, and potential welfare moms and deadbeat drug-addicted womanizing men who ran out on them after impregnating them with their demon seeds, or from somewhere culturally separate and therefore unworthy from the realities of being raised by strangers or in a foreign land.

Sorry for rambling so much. I could go on and on. I would strongly encourage anyone touched by adoption to attend one of the CUB meetings referred to in the excellent cover story. Not only did I find them helpful while conducting my search for my first mom, but the things I heard there helped make the relationships I was blessed with for ten years so successful — after I located LoisAnn, brother Donny (Uncle Krackennutts to my kids), cousin Michelle, aunts, uncles, etc., before LoisAnn’s passing. My three kids were with an extra granny and mutual love they otherwise would never have known. Knowing some, not all, of my birth story didn’t solve the world’s problems but was exponentially better than the frustration of sealed records and their intrinsic unfairness that was all I knew for over 30 years of wondering.

D.B. Gietzen
via email

I’ll Take Weight Watchers

Barbarella, I have been reading your Reader column from the first. I am a fan of yours. Nice to hear the two of you are so happy with each other. In regards to your “Slimmer of Hope” (“Diary of a Diva,” January 20), I must reference World War II’s Bataan Death March, with full respect to those who suffered, as proof that weight can be lost. Please keep the good stuff coming.

Tim
via email

Missing Parts

Hey, yo, where is part three of that terrific article “The Big Rich” (Cover, January 6 and Feature Story, January 13)?

Ted Rodosovich
University City

The Rook and the Fax

I have a small disagreement with your analysis of the January 20 “Brainstorms” puzzle — specifically with your statement that “The buttons have to be rooks to prevent Black’s king from escaping mate at d3.” In fact, d3 is already covered by the pawn at c4. Thus, the only square requiring coverage by a bishop is e3, which would be accomplished with either the button or butt as such. There is no need for a rook anywhere in the situation.

I would have submitted a solution, but as has been happening with ever-greater frequency, your fax terminal systematically refuses my transmissions.

A.T. Certik
via email

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