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Cover Bee

Everyone involved with Queen Bee’s would like to send out a huge thank you to the Reader for putting the Queen Bee on the front cover (May 26). We actually built her for the Toyland Parade last year, and she has gotten pretty popular.

Alma Rodriguez
via email

Foot Traffic

I’m calling in reference to the “Sharrowed Roads” in the “Stringers” column (May 26). For the past three weeks, bike logos have been painted on certain streets in Kensington. We understand this. This is to get bicyclists made aware of by cars. Now, what do we do about getting bicyclists to be aware of pedestrians? They all — near 100 percent — refuse to stop at stop signs. As a pedestrian, I regret this. I’ve been run over several times. What markings can we paint into the street to protect the pedestrians who would very much enjoy something being done about that?

Name Withheld
via voice mail

Religion 101

Concerning “Rhyme & Verse” (Poetry, May 26), “Rosh HaShanah.”

No matter how lovely or striking the poem which you quote, your uninformed and amateurish statement that Rosh Hashanah is the “Jewish festival of lights” shows your shallow understanding of the topic and sophomoric level of research. Rosh Hashanah, the “Day of Remembrance” or “Day of Judgment,” is the Jewish New Year, in early autumn. Hanukah is the “Feast of Lights,” usually around Christmas, celebrating the Hasmonean guerilla war victory in 164 BC. You must have a Jewish person on your staff who could have proofed your copy. Or anybody who passed Introduction to Religion 101 would have known this. Or Wikipedia?

Your ignorance reminds me of what American grocery chain stores do on Jewish holidays. The conventional wisdom in the grocery business is that Jewish people buy matzoh on Passover, which usually occurs around Easter. The Old Testament commands Jews to shun leavened bread and eat only unleavened bread — matzoh, similar to communion bread. So, since shallow understanding runs many businesses, every Jewish holiday “brings out the matzoh.” Rosh Hashanah, Hanukah, and even the most recent historical holiday, Yom Ha’atzmaut (Israeli Independence Day), all bring out boxes of matzoh at the stores, which, of course, sit there and get stale until the next Jewish holiday.

The great majority of customers, Jewish and non-Jewish, don’t buy matzoh anyway, anytime of the year. And those who do want to buy matzoh for religious reasons are often turned off by the obvious ignorance of the store management concerning Jewish holidays.

Shabtai’s collection of poems, J’Accuse, is a fine, subtle work, clarifying the complexity of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. And the title J’Accuse is deliciously ironic in its citation of Zola’s 19th-century work decrying French and European anti-Semitism. It’s a shame that your careless comment about the “feast of lights” rendered whatever you said about Shabtai superficial and trifling.

Richard Siegel
via email

Steve Kowit responds: Richard Siegel is correct. My apologies for that error. I’m glad he admires Shabtai’s J’Accuse as much as I do.

Change From Within

“Love Well” (Cover Story, May 19) is a great example of how America and its potpourri of citizens can inflict positive change in other countries without handing billions to corrupt leadership. Our government can’t continue to try and manipulate other cultures that are deemed third world and corrupt with our own brand of corruption. Cultures are changed from within, by the people in those countries. Our wars in Asia are prime examples. “Love Well” describes other mechanisms that provide far better results. Great story and a great man.

C. Allen
via email

Home Bed Advantage

Don Bauder’s May 12 article “Hometown Bias” (“City Lights”) missed the point. Too much time and emphasis is placed on statistics in sports, and this article was no exception.

Yes, the home field is an advantage. There may be minor bias by referees and umpires — but nothing significant. Home teams have an advantage because players get to sleep in their own beds and get to perform in ballparks and arenas that are familiar to them.

It’s really that simple.

Ron Harris
via email

How Could He?

The week of April 11–15, 2011, was designated the National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. This week was dedicated to recognizing, honoring, and supporting crime victims and the challenges and struggles that they face and endure. To honor this week, the Crime Victims Fund hosted an event at the Rooftop Beach of the W Hotel. The W was gracious in their support of our endeavor, as was San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, an invited guest to the event.

On or around May 4, 2011, the San Diego Reader, in a complete and utter distortion of the event, published an article entitled “Bonnie Dumanis Releases Butterflies to Honor Crime Victims” (“Under the Radar”; titled “Bonnie’s Butterflies” in the Reader’s print version), with an offensive picture of Ms. Dumanis. Inexplicably, an even more offensive version of the article ran on Divorce.com around May 7.

It is inconceivable that anyone could have the audacity to make light of the suffering of crime victims. Your article was shameful and despicable. In my capacity as the executive director of the Crime Victims Fund, I had an opportunity to speak with Matt Potter regarding the event and the organization. It is crystal clear that Mr. Potter forgot what we discussed when we spoke.

The Crime Victims Fund is an all-volunteer 501(c)(3) organization founded in 1982. We provide emergency financial assistance to victims of crime, that is, persons, who through no fault of their own have been assaulted, raped, abused, robbed, hit by cars, strangled, stabbed, shot, and even murdered. Regardless of the nature and extent of the crime, victims and their families are too often left with financial fallout from the crime — above and beyond the emotional and physical toll of the crime itself. The impact crime has on victims and society in general, particularly during difficult economic times, is staggering. We simply try to alleviate some of the suffering.

D.A. Dumanis, Sheriff Bill Gore, and Sheriff Bill Kolender before him are on the front line of helping injured victims countywide because they have firsthand knowledge of the destructive force of crime on victims. Like any other nonprofit during these difficult times, we do have struggles with the ebb and flow of our funding as reflected in our 990s. Despite any financial concerns, we have continued to provide food, transportation, medical assistance, and shelter on a consistent basis for the past 30 years. We concede that our bottom line isn’t as large as that of the San Diego Reader. Rather than use ink to humiliate our organization, National Crime Victims’ Rights Week should be a call to arms to our community and the Reader itself to contribute to the Crime Victims Fund so that we can continue meeting the multitude of requests we receive for assistance daily.

The stark reality is that anyone, at any time, can become a victim of crime. Perhaps your publication, with its wide platform, would better serve the citizens of San Diego by sharing the stories of true challenge faced by crime victims rather than mocking victims and the organizations and persons that support them.

Patti Colston, M.S.
Executive Director
The Crime Victims Fund

Man In The Mirror

In response to your letter (“You Reds in the Red, White, & Blue,” April 14), I would like to applaud your effort in becoming a mechanical manufacturing engineer. However, I need to point out a few discrepancies in your argument, in random order.

First off, I pride myself on staying up-to-date on the real world. Besides regularly publishing engineering articles, I attend conferences and seminars on current technology releases. Old face, new ideas. Engineering is a practice, like law and medicine. Your engineering degree, which is in doubt due to your unsubstantiated dialogue, is supposed to be a license for continued practice of your profession.

While I sympathize with your family issues, neither your father’s death nor your uncle’s age is related to your current status. One in a million is not an accurate statistic; perhaps you ought to accept the fact that under a bell curve, a certain amount of engineers will fail. Like you. But I cannot accept the blame, nor can the guy down the street. You probably need to blame the guy in the mirror.

Capitalism is based on the steady growth of value-added products: taking raw materials and semifinished materials and creating marketable goods that provide profits to be reinvested in improving production, creating employment, and improving life style.

I suppose you can consider my kids as rotten. Four are university graduates, one in the second semester at a local engineering university, one still in high school. Certainly they have been spoiled with current technology — iPods, cell phones, laptops — but these times are part of their world, as much as an abacus was when I received my degree in the Middle Ages. And maybe it’s not fair that my daughter received the highest scholastic honors in high school, which means she pays nothing for engineering school, but perhaps her burning of the old school midnight oil had something to do with it. I’m not sure.

I was just coming back from lunch at Seau’s restaurant (Cobb salad with chicken) after eating with another engineer to discuss an automation project, and while making our way through the almost-full parking lot, we started talking about cars and noticed a lot of new models. These must have been purchased by persons other than the slum-class-economy subjects with whom you concluded your letter.

You see, buying cars, whether made in Japan or Korea, or even the United States, is part of the free market capitalistic form of life. A car from Japan, sold in Mission Valley, creates value-added salary for a salesman, who in turn is able to purchase food, buy a house, and see an overpriced ball game. Your bitterness toward those who are able to do this adds to your dilemma. It’s likely you display this during job interviews. I know if you applied to work for me, I would sense this and probably pick someone else.

I will add one more piece of information. I did not become an engineer right after high school. In fact, I earned a GED while serving six years in the U.S. Army, then took courses at night, and finally earned my degree near age 30, all the while working and supporting my family. At age 59, I still earn a decent living and find time to coach Little League (32 years).

The problem is not “communist.” Rather, that the world noticed how much better capitalism is and adopted that form of life. Let me suggest that you consider a change of career.

Steve Blood
Chula Vista

Still Missed

I finally looked up the article announcing Duncan Shepherd’s retirement (“So Long,” November 11, 2010). Thank you for allowing Duncan Shepherd to review movies for as long as he did. I always read and appreciated them — most of all for his uncompromising criticism and intelligent writing. It was one of the few pieces of media these days that did not, in my opinion, insult intelligence. Because of him, I went to see movies I might not have seen. He will be missed.

Name Withheld
via email

Annoying To The Max

I always try to ignore them, too (“Go Away,” May 26). Sometimes, I’ll wear my headphones and listen to something on my iPad. I often rehearse what to say in a non-American accent just in case I can’t escape talking to them. I especially hate the ones who work for Greenpeace. Are they supertrained to be annoying?

Shinichi Evans
via Facebook

Stupid Truth

I don’t bother lying anymore (“Go Away,” May 26). I say, ‘I don’t sign things in front of stores’ and keep walking. It sounds really stupid, but it’s the straight truth.

Debby Hugo
via Facebook

The Snarl Approach

I bare my teeth at them and growl (“Go Away,” May 26). Or pretend that I’m on my phone. But once I got into an argument with one of these yahoos about health care.

Laura Anderlohr Dorrance
via Facebook

BS Weary

I just say no (“Go Away,” May 26). I’m tired of coming up with BS or avoiding. Those guys get paid per signature.

Brad Clinkscales
via Facebook

Half Scam

Half these guys are scamming anyway “Go Away,” May 26). Sign a petition to do the opposite of what you think.

Andy Cooper
via Facebook

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