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Blow Up

Smokers: Your smoke is excruciating to me, a nonsmoker (Cover Story, March 17). It feels like fingernails scratching my lungs. You shorten my life, you dirty my clothes. And you complain of being inconvenienced? You are a killer — a slow, deliberate killer. If you want to kill yourself, fine; just don’t torture me in the process. Stop blowing smoke where I must be.

Jess Barmatz
via email

The Long Smell

Smokers by and large have no consideration for others (Cover Story, March 17). Their smoke blows in other people’s faces and they could care less. Look at any freeway exit and you’ll see their litter everywhere. The beach is full of their butts. They might be outside, but plenty of times I have to walk through a cloud of smoke just to get in a building. My neighbor’s guests go out on the top of the stairs four feet from my gated door so all their smoke goes into my apartment. I have six people all at the bottom of my stairs all smoking, and their smoke goes in everyone’s apartment, and they are oblivious. Smokers seem to think everyone is infringing on them. What about those of us who don’t want to smell their disgusting habit? That smell carries a long way. I have no problem with people smoking — I think it helps from being overpopulated. Just keep it to yourself.

Todd Gilbert
via email

We Love Unions

I think Don Bauder has his statistics wrong about labor ( “No Labor Protests Here,” “City Lights,” March 17). I heard that 60 percent of Americans support union rights in the Wisconsin case. Also, previously I heard that 53 percent of Americans want to join a union and 70 percent of Americans support unions.

Thank you for your great work.

Val Sanfilippo
via email

Show Me The Money

In “No Labor Protests Here” (“City Lights,” March 17), Don Bauder states that “The top 15 hedge-fund managers are bringing home an average of $1 billion a year and paying only 17 percent taxes.” That means each one is getting $1 billion or more on the average. I do not believe you. Prove it! Show me the names and their individual income. Seventeen percent tax? Do you mean federal? Or state? Or combined? I do not believe you. Show me your facts. Do you have access to their income-tax returns? Did they volunteer this information? Or are you simply writing an inflammatory article? Unless you have proof for your statements, you should be fired. You also state that “the richest 1 percent rake in 24 percent of total income.” Prove it! In print!

It is also true that the top 20 percent of income earners in the U.S. pay 80 percent of all income taxes. The bottom 20 percent pay no income tax. How is that fair?

Ed Cox
via email

Don Bauder responds: The numbers quoted in the article are commonly accepted. Economists Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez came up with the income numbers, which have been quoted widely, including in the New York Times. You can also look at work by economist G. William Domhoff. You can find information on hedge-fund managers raking in $1 billion a year or more from various sources, including Robert Reich, former labor secretary. Hedge-fund managers pay low taxes because so much of their income is classified as capital gains. One of the richest people in the country, Warren Buffett, has pointed that out disgustedly.

Give Us More Light

Love to see Susan Luzzaro is back (“City Lights,” March 17). She exposes these corrupt Chula Vista politicians who forget what they said and when they said it. She shines her little light on their lies so that the average person can understand what goes on in the shady halls of government. I never tire of her insights and creative stories that she’s published in the past. Please publish more of her work.

Gloria Foster
via email

Look Out, Commies!

I’d like to make a comment regarding that it’s much easier to say no to a Girl Scout instead of saying “It’s none of your business” to someone with a clipboard. (“Cookie Momster,” “Diary of a Diva,” March 17). We do not live in a communist country. If your communist writer will continue to do this, we’ll just stop reading your articles. If you don’t understand what that means, please continue doing this and, altogether, your paper will be shot down, basically. You will no longer circulate your newspaper because we will find a way to get rid of you.

Name Withheld
via voicemail

Um...What About Catbirds?

I was reading the “Straight From the Hip” article in this week’s Reader (March 17) when I came across a statement that was just plain strange. Matthew Alice (who usually is quite on in his facts) stated that birds have the highest brain-to-body-weight ratio of any mammal. This is news because, last I checked, birds are, well, birds, and they don’t nurse nor give live birth, so I am pretty sure they are not mammals. Just sayin…

Debbie Lovato
via email

Too Old for DIY

I’m calling with regard to your cover story in the March 10 Reader, “My Washing Machine Texts Me When the Whites Are Done,” by some guy named Ollie. I have a question, Ollie. What the hell does DIY stand for? You forgot to explain that anywhere in your story. I have no idea what DIY means.

By the way, I’m a retired engineer. I worked long enough ago to remember when it was NACA — pronounced one letter at a time, never “Naca.” The National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics did useful applied research in aeronautics. That was before Eisenhower changed it to NASA — which I always pronounced one letter at a time, never “Nasa” — and gave it the commission to use taxpayer money to perform circus stunts. We always pronounced it N-A-C-A. Actually, there was a Puerto Rican who came to work once at North American Aviation who pronounced it “Naca,” and everybody laughed at him. To me, it’s silly to pronounce it that way.

Anyway, what the hell does DIY mean?

Name Withheld
via voicemail

DIY stands for “do it yourself.” − Editor

Yellow Journalism

Just a slight correction to the article about the Yellow Deli (“Tin Fork,” March 10). The picture titled “Dayag, daughter Tsebiah, and wife Roeh” is incorrect. Tsebiah is Dayag’s wife, and Roeh is his son.

Ben McCourt
via email

The Price Of A Good Meal

Re “Cat Snip” (Cover Story, February 24).

I have donated to the Feral Cat Coalition for many years and had a true feral hanging around my house “done” through them. (He didn’t come back for a month, but his hunger eventually overcame his wrath for me.)

This small grass-roots organization does its good works quietly and competently. Judging from the letters, the cover photo was a bit shocking for your more sensitive readers, but I hope it made everyone read the article — and to remember this group for help with poor feral cats and for donations, which are used much more efficiently than in big organizations.

Lisa Butler
via email

Biweekly Not Good

Don Bauder and Jeff Smith represent the exceptional quality of the Reader. There are many other worthy writers in the Reader, but these two gentlemen are world-class.

Jeff Smith is the consummate theater reviewer. No one is more knowledgeable or more discerning. His columns not only educate the public but help shape and accelerate the growth of excellence of San Diego theater. I don’t know why he now appears every other week, but if it is in your power to return him to weekly status, I implore you to do so. Until such time, the Reader is just not what it used to be, and that’s a shame.

Jim Caputo
via email

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Jay Allen Sanford March 23, 2011 @ 2:36 p.m.

The Reader gets death threats via voicemail?! "Look Out Commies" seems to have been threatening something anyway - "your paper will be shot down...you will no longer circulate your newspaper because we will find a way to get rid of you."

Wow, the Reader must be doing something right, to inspire that kinda ire!


SurfPuppy619 March 23, 2011 @ 2:58 p.m.

It is also true that the top 20 percent of income earners in the U.S. pay 80 percent of all income taxes. The bottom 20 percent pay no income tax. How is that fair?


Why is it fair?? Please. Get serious.

The top 20% may pay 80% of the taxes, but they are taking in 95% of the income, so they are getting a sweet deal.


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