Bad News On The Beach
Thank you for publishing an article concerning the investment firm of WFP Securities (“These Are Right for Client?” “City Lights,” April 21). I hope that other people will be forewarned before dealing with this company. As a retiree, I lost my entire life savings listening to their advice. I had no idea that they were getting me into high-risk, high-commission investments. In fact, the opposite was stressed. I was told that even in the worst-case scenario, my principal would be safe because each of these companies (Medical Capital and Striker Oil) had enough assets to cover my original investment. It was explained to me by their investment “advisor” that these were safe investments in which I would receive a reasonable return over a three-year period. Nothing could be further from the truth. These were Ponzi-like schemes that paid high commissions to him and the firm.
Even though your exposé was right on target, it failed to mention that WFP was also represented by the brand name Aloha Wealth Management. This branch of the firm specifically targets surfers and the surfing community. This is how I got involved with them. People in the beach areas should be made aware of this.
After realizing where my investments were headed, I met with John Schooler to discuss my concerns. He stated that he was sorry that I had lost my retirement savings but blamed it on a downturn in the economy. Of course, this was not true. He took no fiduciary responsibility for what had happened. He vigorously defended the salesman that had lured me in. These were trash investments that rewarded the seller handsomely but were a crapshoot for the investor.
The callousness demonstrated by this company is reprehensible. Their motto should be caveat emptor. I’ve been threatened with legal action; they’ve stopped handling my accounts and refused to answer any questions about the direction my investments were taking. They tried to browbeat me into going away.
Since that time, I have been in close contact with the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority for over two years trying to rectify this debacle. I’m not the only one who got caught up in this web. There are over a dozen of us, mostly retirees who are veterans that have been duped into these investments because we trusted a financial advisor we’ve surfed with for over ten years.
Richard Rocco Emma
Regarding Don Bauder’s article “Money Orgy” in the April 28 issue (“City Lights”), I would like to comment as a retired 20-year Wall Streeter, from 1973 to 1994, a time when we were “honest crooks”!
The U.S. populace is riding along in Rudolph’s sleigh, but now his red nose indicates a flying brothel from a sinister trinity harnessed alongside ol’ Rudy — Congress, the Fed, and Wall Street. We are a sleigh of fools, convinced that we’re on a glorious ride of capitalism, not realizing that capitalism is a synonym for predator, and we who ride are, in fact, its prey.
While right-wingers in both major parties — with the help of churches, I might add — divert our attention to what should be nonissues, like gay marriage and adoption, or said Right’s version of sugarcoated misogyny, their smoke screens allow them to divert billions to the “Haves,” no different than the offshore dictators we hypocritically blast because of their fat offshore bank accounts. No different.
How many clumps of reindeer waste will we suffer before we storm the Bastille?
Didn’t Pick Up Palin
I did not pick up the Reader this past week because of the photo of Sarah Palin on the cover (“The Fall of Western Civilization”) because nothing that has Palin, her family, or any other anti-American, antipatriotic, and anti-Christian as the focal point is of interest to me because this ideology is what I believe is wrong in America today. Your advertisers wasted their advertising dollars on me and my family this week.
What I Remember
I was thoroughly surprised to see this past week’s cover for the April 28 issue of the Reader (“The Fall of Western Civilization”), and I’d like to share with you an interesting story as to why.
Just above Sarah Palin’s head and underneath the red-blocked title box was a small storefront sign that said simply “Coffeehouse.”
I painted that sign.
I was 24, and it was my first day at work. I had just moved to San Diego from Texas two weeks earlier, and I remember how thrilled I was to have been lucky enough to find a job so quickly.
There was a sense of determination in the air for me that day. I recall feeling full of promise and the possibilities I conjured up in my head as I rode my bike to work for the first time were endless.
I had arrived in San Diego heartbroken and tattered. Leaving home wasn’t very easy, and saying good-bye to family and friends had been rough. Despite the wear of that experience, I was somehow still hopeful enough.
I got to work that day and remember repeating a mantra in my head as I locked my bike next to a Dumpster on Polk Avenue and 30th Street. “Today is the first day of the rest of your life, John,” I repeated silently to myself, over and over again, and I laughed.
I walked into what was then the Otherside Coffeehouse triumphant and smiling, raring to go. I had a grin, but when I got there the faces of the people inside the café when I exclaimed “Good morning!” were too much to bear.
It was 8:55 a.m., September 11th, 2001.
When I painted that sign, I remember painting it to get my mind off things. All of the televisions in the café were on, everybody was talking about war, and the tragedy and violence of the situation were overwhelming.
There was a lump in my throat where a song had been. I remember feeling defeated. My mantra had not worked. If this was a sign of things to come, I had better be worried.
We sat and we watched for hours. We listened and said very little to one another. My head and neck started to hurt, and I remember wanting to be back home with my family. I wanted to hug my mother; I wanted to retreat. All the courage I had summoned up that morning to succeed and to cement my feet into the ground had dissipated.
I asked my new boss if he had some paint and some board. When he asked me why, I told him I wanted to make something to cover the hole above the door where some glass had been broken and repaired with plywood.
He gave me a few colors. I think I might have even had four.
I went toward the back of the café and started to paint. I didn’t even know what I was doing. All I can remember is sitting there, dipping my fingers into the paint, smearing them across the board, and starting to cry.
“Today is the first day of the rest of your life, John,” I repeated silently to myself, over and over again, and I wept.
So, yes, I was thoroughly surprised to see this past week’s cover for the April 28th, 2011 issue. It made me very, very thankful to realize that, ten years later, I still live, love, and learn here, and my mantra has always been there.
John Michael Garza
Joke? What Joke?
I am appalled that you printed P.J. McDonnell’s “joke” (“Have a joke?” “Off the Cuff,” April 28). Cancer is no joke. No wonder McDonnell is unemployed.
I think this was highly, highly in bad taste, the last person’s comment, “P.J. McDonnell, Unemployed,” from Hillcrest: “What did the blind, dumb, and deaf kid get for Christmas? Cancer” (“Have a joke?” “Off the Cuff,” April 28).
I mean, are you serious? Is this April Fool’s Day or something? I love your paper, but I think this is in super, super bad taste, and I’m disappointed.
Radiation Run Amok
As a family physician, I have been seeing one to three patients a week with new onset electrical hypersensitivity or aggravation of old symptoms since the installation of smart meters by SDG&E on homes and apartments (“Smart Meter? Her Heart’s Not in It,” “City Lights,” April 28). This Wi-Fi radiation is not just a brief blast every 30 to 60 minutes as claimed by the industry but up to every 7 seconds, sending info to appliances in the home to conserve energy. This diminishing of energy is called “brown out” and decreases the life of the appliances by up to 40 percent.
But, it is the life of the people I am concerned about. There are hundreds of articles in peer-reviewed scientific magazines that document ill effects of nonthermal radiation at the frequencies the smart meters are generating. In an article by Drs. Sage and Carpenter, they reported references to adverse health effects of electromagnetic fields/radio frequencies leading to childhood and adult leukemia, childhood and adult brain tumors, and increased risk of the neurological diseases, Alzheimer’s and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. In addition, there are reports of increased risk of breast cancer in both men and women, genotoxic effects (DNA damage and micronucleation), pathological leakage of blood-brain barrier, altered immune function including allergic and inflammatory responses, miscarriage, and some cardiovascular effects. Insomnia, cognitive dysfunction, memory loss, behavioral problems, delayed reaction times, altered attention and concentration, and altered brainwave activity (altered EEG) were reported.
Dr. Sears, in her report to the Canadian government on environmental sensitivities, shows that 3 percent of the world is extremely sensitive to electromagnetic fields, and 16 to 35 percent is moderately sensitive, due to the genetic variations in detoxification called snp’s (single-nucleotide polymorphisms). When exposed to the electromagnetic fields, the cells cannot detoxify fast enough in those genetically predisposed, leading to cellular physiology dysfunction and eventual premature cell apoptosis (cell death by suicide gene expression). The rest of the population not affected mock the ones that are sensitive and tell them to see a shrink.
Most of the population affected do not even know the radiation is the cause of their problems — symptoms of electromagnetic field sensitivity are fatigue, sleep difficulties, cognitive problems, skin burning or flushing/redness, headache, palpitations, depressed mood, head pressure, ear ringing, mood changes, increased fibromyalgia or muscle pains, balance/vertigo issues, muscle twitching, anxiety, increased sensitivity to chemical smells and drugs, nausea, decreased appetite, unexplained fears, itching, tingling… Many of the people I see already know they have a problem and turned off their cell phones, removed cordless phones, turned off routers on computers, avoid Wi-Fi providing motels and stores, have cabled computers and alarm systems, and are careful of the electrical-appliance placement in rooms.
Often their home was their only safe harbor, and now SDG&E has defiled that for them. Sad part is that it is not only their electrical meter and gas meter and soon-to-be water meter zapping them, but all 200 or 300 neighbors’ smart meters broadcasting through their homes without permission.
Northern California has revolted, and over 90 municipalities and counties have banned smart meters. Here in San Diego, I guess we are just so happy to live in paradise we put up with big business and greed destroying our health. Today, San Diego is the second-worst electromagnetic field radiation quality in the United States only behind Washington, D.C., and no one seems to care. Over 10 million times the background radiation in 2011 compared to 1970 — thanks to the military, weather doplers, FAA towers, cell phone towers, Wi-Fi telecommunications, radio, and TV broadcasting, and the various smart grids. This without a single study to show safety of this technology before it was released. The European Union Watch Group has declared that this uncontrolled radiation is going to have more documented detrimental ill health effects in the next 20 years than leaded gas, asbestos, and tobacco put together.
Dan O. Harper, M.D.
They Lied To Me
I am a resident of La Mesa whose health and life are being destroyed by the smart meters on my home and in my neighborhood (“Smart Meter? Her Heart’s Not in It,” “City Lights,” April 28). I have developed a constellation of symptoms consistent with microwave sickness that are making life very difficult and painful while impacting other family members, as well. I never imagined that in my retirement San Diego Gas and Electric would be allowed to come to my home and neighborhood and slap several smart-meter devices on the walls that were not tested for health, safety, and environmental impact, allowed by the California Public Utilities Commission, which is headed up by a former utility executive. Unlike Southern California, where this has not been covered by the media, Northern California has millions of people informed and angrily resisting the smart-meter installations. We have been uninformed and taken advantage of as a result. Our county has been fully deployed. We never knew the risks. Now we must fight to get the smart meters removed.
I have seen multiple physicians who are all interested in having the smart meters removed from my home so the health issues will be resolved. San Diego Gas and Electric has told me they cannot remove the meter. I found out that this means they will not; they could if they wished. In fact, from your article, it is obvious that they did this with Ms. Foster. So I am allowed to suffer painful and dangerous health effects such as severe inflammation of the sinuses and headaches, hearing loss from major ringing in the ears, dizziness, ice-pick pain in the ears at times, sleeping problems, and development of electromagnetic and microwave radiation sensitivities that I never had before — along with a rare skin cancer that can come from radiation exposure — all because SDG&E doesn’t want to help me by removing the offending meters. I cannot use my bedroom, where the worst (electric) meter was placed or that end of my home. I have to sleep on the couch now, suffering back pain to add to the troubles. SDG&E has been heartless so far. They tell me it is mandatory, and they say I am not covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act, yet the Public Utilities Commission says it is not mandatory, and the U.S. Department of Energy and Congress never mentioned wireless in encouraging (not mandating) the electrical-grid upgrade.
These wireless meters are not, as they would have you believe, harmless. Not by a long shot. The industry-paid “study” that is constantly referenced by SDG&E is no study at all, just a paid report by PG&E. A review of that report found major flaws. When the flaws were corrected, the smart meters were found to provide up to 160 times the radiation of cell phones to the whole body. Pulsed radiation is more harmful than other types too. The SDG&E smart meter was pulsing radiation into my brain and body at a distance of less than a foot as I slept, never knowing this till six months had passed.
I am worried about all the other people with pacemakers and implants that can be interfered with, or people with lots of metal dental work, those with earrings and metal eyeglasses (metal objects attract the signal from the meters, making one become a secondary antennae), the children and pregnant women, animals, and wildlife exposed to these horrible smart meters and the outdoor-wide area network (aka smart grid) that they are part of, full of very risky, unprecedented radiation emissions. We are being used as guinea pigs to feed government collusion and corporate greed. One California city is described in a U.S. Department of Energy smart-meter grant as a “living laboratory,” in fact. I ask that you learn and help stop this assault on humans, wildlife, and the environment.
What kind of nation and state do we have where we allow unrelenting torture of thousands of our citizens and harm to them, all in the name of money and power? Shall we give up our freedoms and privacy, our health, and stick our heads in the sand? This is an outrage that no one should tolerate. I ask that everyone in our county stand up to this and say no to smart meters. Say no to San Diego Gas and Electric. Demand justice. Contact me at [email protected] to establish Southern Californians Against Smart Meters and help protect ourselves and our future generations. Learn more at smartmeterdangers.org.
As stated in the story, San Diego Gas and Electric “agreed not to install a smart meter” on Susan Foster’s home. — Editor
In many respects, the rollout of smart meters in San Diego Gas and Electric Company’s territory has been a nightmare for consumers (“Smart Meter? Her Heart’s Not In It,” “City Lights,” April 28). The utility monopoly (SDG&E) is trying to hide the fact that there is growing evidence that the meters may be a health hazard, that more than 30,000 of them have been replaced because they failed or their accuracy was in question, and that SDG&E’s ultimate goal is to charge captive ratepayers more money for electricity when they need it the most, such as hot summer days when air-conditioning is required. Kudos to UCAN for asking that the California Public Utilities Commission provide the ability for consumers to opt out of this unproven technology for which there are still no technical standards. At a cost of $250 to $500 for each smart meter, this is one of the biggest consumer rip-offs of all time.
Keep ‘Em Coming
Who cares? We do (“Who Cares? We Don’t,” Letters, April 28, re “Diary of a Diva”). We hope Barbarella is paid well and keeps those great articles going. She presents a real-world slice of life in San Diego that we enjoy and learn from. Easily the writer we most share with friends.