Stands With Giants
I have not picked up the Reader in two years, but today I saw the name of Jerry Schad on the cover. The reprint of the 1987 Sorensen article on Jerry was most welcome (“Life on the Crest,” September 29). Perhaps the Reader can give an entire issue to Jerry Schad, who stands with Thoreau, Edward Abbey, Joseph Wood Krutch, and John Muir. This was a giant. I loved this man.
via voice mail
Rest in peace, Jerry.
Your passion for the outdoors touched and inspired so many to get out and hike!
Go walk a mile in Jerry’s shoes.
Eat The Spirit Too
Re last week’s cover story (“I Eat My Lawn,” September 29).
So many of us urban farmers in Clairemont have been successfully eating our lawns for so many years that the Clairemont Produce Coop was formed. We gather monthly to mingle, trade information, exchange crops and recipes, and get advice from master gardeners. We also trade informally; last Sunday, for instance, a local couple arrived at our doorstep with a bag of juicy oranges fresh-picked within the hour. In return, they were invited to pick strawberry guava and sapote from our trees.
Encouraged by the fact that almost anything can grow in our local microclimates, “growing your own and sharing it” is catching on. Our particular property on the side of a canyon has been producing dates, plantains, sapote, loquats, pomegranates, berries, herbs, figs, two types of apples, two types of guava, many citrus varieties, and vegetables.
We still grow ornamentals — but no lawn.
In addition to its obvious health benefits, perhaps this community spirit of cooperation is the upside of a dire economy?
Mac and Sue Garson-Persaud
In his September 20, 2011 “Almost Factual News” blog, Walter Mencken misleads readers to believe he spoke with both University of San Diego president Mary E. Lyons, Ph.D., and USD professor of chemistry Debbie Tahmassebi, Ph.D., about a recent $600,000 National Science Foundation grant, but he did not. The information attributed to Drs. Lyons and Tahmassebi is completely fabricated and untrue.
We understand the nature of this satirical column. However, Mr. Mencken has gone too far with this completely false article. The only “factual” statement in the piece is the fact that USD received a $600,000 National Science Foundation grant we commonly refer to as AFFIRM. We demand the blog be removed from your website immediately.
Pamela Gray Payton
Assistant Vice President
University of San Diego
The Chaldean community is owed an apology. The raid on the Chaldean club as described in “One Night, El Cajon Felt Like Baghdad” (“City Lights,” September 29) by local police, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and federal and other police, carried out dramatically, abusively, dangerously, and disrespectfully, makes me ashamed to live in San Diego. That the agencies engaged in what certainly can’t be viewed as a serious or smart raid to obtain dangerous or significant contraband makes it clear the goals of the “operation” were to embarrass and abuse the club members, to grab and pocket money like gangsters, and to pose as protectors from terrorism though choosing to bully older Chaldean gentlemen instead of endangering themselves by confronting real, known, or at least likely terrorists. Don’t these highly paid supercops do some quiet, covert observation first to build the case so they can maximize the success of the onetime opportunity police get from a big, organized, and surprise raid? How do they follow that up now that they put on the big show that netted nothing but cash and disgrace? I am not afraid of that club where older Chaldean men meet, socialize, and maybe play cards or some games. As the cops, DEA, and ATF came up with virtually nothing, though confronting about 100 men for three hours, it’s not likely the club poses more threat than any poolroom or bar in town where many bets are made every day on pool, football, and beer guzzling.
But if raids in San Diego are so ineffective and without intelligence, real terrorists might choose to live or act here, as has been the case more than San Diego wants to admit, probably. Al Qaeda pilots of 9/11 trained here; the recently killed one went to school here. Many transient types any border town attracts — and who are also, unfortunately, attracted to its police force — add a fly-by-night feeling that isn’t very secure and is not enhanced by out-of-control, unfocused law enforcement yahoos.
On a lighter note, if corruption is easier to take than reckless endangerment of the public, it is possible that ATF and DEA were so gung-ho because they feared federal workplaces might not be funded in October. No continuing resolution approved by Congress last week, plus fiscal year 2012 budget possibly not passing by October could mean some unpaid paydays or weeks, on top of canceled overtime that these supercops I’m sure take for granted! The working, store-owning, cash-carrying Chaldean gentlemen were easy pickings, and pick each pocket is what those cops did during the raid. There is no guarantee they’ll all get all their money back. Courts and cops hang on to one’s dough long and tenaciously, hoping accused will go away, feel too threatened, or die before taking back their money.
Profiling and then pushing around and robbing Chaldeans is bad and cowardly, especially if the cops know the difference between that community and the few or known Iraqi, Arabic, or American extremist fundamentalists who engage in terrorism, as we’ve seen here and in Europe. Chaldean storekeepers and coworkers I’ve known for 20 years here are nice, peaceful, and pleasant people who fit in and are like us and are as they say they are, Christian. They shouldn’t be targeted, abused, and laughed at by cops. Hey, you don’t hear of such bumbling, sleazy failed “operations” by Scotland Yard or Germany.
I hope some apologetic and peaceful gesture comes from each involved agency and the district attorney. The image of bullying, corrupt thugs on the force is as ugly as the big-mouthed bullies who won’t allow a congregation its mosque in “their” community, though Arabic and Iraqi Americans — both Muslim and Christian — are part of the community, too. San Diego and El Cajon are lucky to have a Chaldean community and are enriched by those who choose to live, work, and pay taxes here, too.