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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
via email

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.

Bill Bartkus
via email


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.

David Drees
San Carlos

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.
via email

They Lied To Me

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Visduh May 8, 2011 @ 8:07 p.m.

Kent Hill really missed the point of the photo of Sarah Palin on the cover. That was a shot of one of those standup cutouts that have been making the rounds for years. One can only speculate where they got that one. But you can be sure that it was put out in front of that place as either whimsy or to mock Palin, probably the latter. Why she is such a focal point for that sort of treatment I fail to understand, but I am often puzzled, so that's not unusual.

Hill then goes on to describe Palin as "anti-American, antipatriotic, and anti-Christian." Or at least that is what I got out of his letter. I've heard plenty about her character failings, but nobody before has claimed she was anti-American or antipatriotic. She wears her brand of Americanism and patriotism on her sleeve. You may not like it, but it's out front and on display for all to see. Then as to her being anti-Christian, again I find that puzzling. She doesn't talk endlessly of her Christian faith, but few national political figures do. If they did it would likely spell political suicide.

Looking more closely at Hill's letter, I find some other things that are barely voiced. He states that nothing that has she and her family "as the focal point is of interest to me because this ideology is what I believe is wrong in America today." What ideology, Hill? You need to be more specific about your distaste for her and her family and all those other things mentioned, and then readers such as myself might understand.

Writing a letter to the editor isn't an easy job. You need to be brief and clear, hard-hitting but not inflammatory, and turn a phrase well. That letter was brief, unclear, accusatory, and muddled. Care to try again Kent?


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