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Way to Go, Lemon Grove

Re: News Ticker: “Operation Lemon Drop: Success

Lemon Drop a success? Really? The “swarm” of officers arrested .016 percent and cited .0357 percent of the 3,330 hundred riders they contacted, which means that 99.9643 percent of the people they harassed were legally riding the trolley.

This is a valuable use of the county sheriffs? They’re making $26 an hour to protect us from losing, what, $2.00 a ride?

If, as they say, the bulk of the arrestees were nonviolent people on their way to court-ordered programs, now these people are farther in the hole then before they began.

Way to go, Lemon Grove. Nice to know the city is so crime-free that law enforcement has nothing else to do, and that it is protecting us all from people getting to the programs the court says they need.

  • Name Withheld
  • via email


Off the Tracks

Thank you for Dorian Hargrove’s excellent coverage of the ongoing fiasco that is the MTS’s handling of the Desert Line.

As citizens in the Cali-Baja megaregion, one of the most vital regions of global trade and economic growth on the planet, we will soon face the consequences of not having a reliable rail alternative to support manufacturers and their partners.

The congressmen ask fair questions. How could the MTS come to the conclusion that these particular promoters were best suited to carry out this project and were deserving of the public’s trust? How exactly did we get comfortable that the lessee had the needed financial wherewithal (a fact cited by the MTS staff in their recommendation to enter into the 99-year lease)? Were obvious red flags ignored? Why?

I submit that whether the PIR orchestrated a malicious scheme to enrich themselves at the expense of investors or simply pursued a poorly considered plan doesn’t matter — the fact remains that a regional freight rail utility is off the tracks and going nowhere.

Doesn’t the situation now call for the MTS to take action to terminate the lease and re-evaluate options to structure a partnership capable of attracting a world class team and capital?

I worry that the greatest fallout from this detour may be borne by you and me as taxpayers. By supporting these characters, the MTS has given them the appearance of legitimacy. It strikes me that investors in the PIR scheme would appear to have good cause to hold the MTS responsible for their loses. This is not a happy thought.

It is time for accountability and answers.

  • Name Withheld
  • Chula Vista


Bee Killers

Our City Fathers had their heads in the sand when Parks and Rec contracted with an exterminator to kill a colony of bees July 3 under a picnic table at Ocean Beach.

Protecting the public is the responsibility of the local government. In this case, however, no thought was given to also protecting the environment. Honeybee colonies are disappearing at an alarming rate due to Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). Bees are critical to agriculture, especially in an area such as San Diego.

An experienced beekeeper could have removed the bees safely to another site, preserving the colony while protecting the beachgoers. Parks and Rec had an entire week to develop a simple, viable plan, but instead became complicit in a mass bee-icide.

  • Pamela Huff
  • Tierrasanta


Alternate Realities

This is a little late, because it’s about the June 26 Reader — “What’s that You’re Reading,” by Danielle Melody.

Read the rest of Carlos Casteneda’s series on Don Juan. The purpose of is to teach people to reach alternate realities. It is definitely not all about men! Much of Casteneda’s work deals with these alternate realities which, once you accept them as realities, you can reach without drugs of any sort. The trick is, in order to stay sane and at the same time be a shaman (or whatever your culture calls it) you must be able to keep one foot in this heavy reality that we have as a society, that he cited as the normal one. The others are not called realities for no reason.

  • Name Withheld
  • via voicemail


What a Relief

A few years ago somebody wrote an article in the Reader about the scarcity of comfort stations between the Tijuana border and downtown there on Imperial. They said there wasn’t a single place where a person could relieve themselves along the trolley line.

I am very happy to report that the E Street trolley station has been remodeled to the extent that they know have toilets open to the public — no charge, door locks. As far as I know, that’s the only public station between the border and Imperial Avenue.

I like the Reader and I hope this helps some of my fellow travelers. I know it saves me the embarrassment of being afraid of being caught when having to go between two parked cars in the parking lot.

  • Charles E.
  • via voicemail


Junior Moves On

Elizabeth Salaam wrote an outstanding cover story on Paras News, “Man of 4000 Titles” (June 19). Many Paras regulars know that in a tech age, people still want a real magazine.

Now, just three weeks after the story, Junior Najor has sold his half of the newsstand back to his uncle and is on to new pursuits. With his drive and an SDSU degree in accounting he’ll undoubtedly be successful.

We’ll miss him. But we’ll always have your article —and real magazines.

  • Kimberley Monari
  • North Park


They Lost Us

This is in response to “Wanted: Metal Mecca” in the June 12 Letters section.

It’s true that the metal scene is a shadow of its former self. Nobody really seems to talk about it. The venues, bars, and clubs are co-existing without any concern. The owners, promoters, and booking staff are out of touch with the original metal community and the past. Those of us who have been going to concerts and shows for years and years have seen the changes in San Diego and the venues that no longer exist, places I went to over 30 years ago.

I am not sure what will become of Brick by Brick. It will never top the 1990s decade and early 2000s when major metal acts and bands from other countries performed there on a consistent basis. The place was on the metal map; it was well-recognized. Every local metal band you can think of played there. It was a gathering place for many years, a place to befriend like-minded metal fans and bands. We were always at those shows.

Some of us were there in the ’80s when it was the Spirit. There is no other place that had such a consistent loyal fan base. But times have changed. The Brick has become a tomb of memories for most of us.

Where is everyone now? Are they heading up to Ramona Mainstage? Ramona is not known as a metal town, and it never will be. The venue itself is inconsistent, musically speaking. Therefore, the fanbase is divided. There’s such a gap in between metal events that it’s impossible to develop a following.

Metal fans are loyal to the venues who cater and treat you with respect. That’s how it once was. We saw what happened to the places that abandoned metal — they lost their entire following. They lost us.

Soma lost their original fan base years ago; they have become a youth center for discontent white boys that are into imitation, boy band, nu-metal, bicore pop music. It’s not even real. Soma and their following do not represent the San Diego metal community. They have no respect for their elders at all. They have no concept of a real underground scene from the past, especially the ’80s and ’90s, two complete decades unmatched forever, the golden years for all things metal.

What an amazing time that was for San Diego. For those of us who lived it, long live the past! Always keep the memories alive.

  • The Metal Elder
  • Spring Valley


In Decline

Is there a new editor of the Reader? Everyone says the cover stories have declined lately.

  • Larry McBean
  • Downtown


No Reason to Give Up on Justice

The Reader’s July 3 cover story, “Murphy Canyon Mystery,” highlights problems that have existed for years with Citizens Law Enforcement Review Boards, which were created in 1988 when voters passed Prop G because they sought justice for those victimized by police misconduct. However, since the mayor decides who stays on the board, one could hardly call it independent.

Perhaps it’s time for a new ballot measure that would cancel the current board’s structure and replace it with a truly independent one open to all citizens, and its boardmembers decided by the voting public at large.

I understand the frustration felt by Mr. Saikali. Obtaining copies of police reports is no easy task, whether you’re listed as the victim or the suspect. Good luck even getting police to write a report if you’re the victim of crimes involving your private property. I never realized that auto theft was a “civil matter” until I heard it from two separate police jurisdictions in North County.

I also know of a case where someone was awakened at 3 a.m. by three intruders, one of whom threatened him with a hatchet and held him against his will until the next day, when they proceeded to rob him of all his personal property. He was advised that it was a civil matter and to sue the people in small claims court.

Unfortunately, the way police react to a crime depends on the manner in which it is reported. Calling 911 gets a fast response if you sound like you’re panicking. However, if you decide not to waste valuable police emergency resources because you are no longer in any immediate danger or because you brought your car in for repairs and did not realize it was missing until you went to pick it up, you will probably be dealing with an answering machine or a desk cop who won’t take the matter seriously.

Nobody likes these cases because they’re hard to solve if your attackers are long gone, or your car is already in 100 pieces somewhere south of the border.

My advice to Mr. Saikali would be to start collecting signatures for a ballot measure to start a real Citizens Law Enforcement Review Board. Get that petition circulating because voters are as fed up as he is with these rubber-stamp boards.

In the meantime, don’t worry about obtaining police reports and personnel files, because cops aren’t likely to hand over any information placing the city at risk of a lawsuit. Besides, police reports are written by police, so they aren’t going to help you if you’re disputing the assessment of a crime.

There is no reason to give up on justice. Fortunately, we live in a time where most people have cell phones with cameras, video recorders, and social networking capabilities. If you are in a bad situation, or you witness something that doesn’t look right, document the scene and write your own report. Talk to any witnesses, get their contact info so you can share pictures and compare what you saw. Then do research of past incidents of police misconduct. You can conduct a computer search for records at the courthouse and write down the case numbers of any cases in which the city or their police department are listed as defendants (or respondents). Have the files pulled and look to see which officers are listed in past complaints.

It may be time-consuming, but at least it’s not a waste of time, like seeking cooperation from police. There is a lot of reading involved, but with persistence you might just find your smoking gun. The clerks at the courthouse are always very helpful.

Once you have all your information, put it into a neat, organized report. Make copies and send one to the Reader, since there no longer exists any other newspaper concerned with investigative reporting in San Diego County.

You can give a copy to the DA, but don’t expect any response since the DA’s main endorsements come from the police.

Then, if you still can’t get justice, hire an attorney and get paid. Like the police will tell you, it’s a civil matter.

  • Laurel Kaskurs
  • Oceanside


A Desire for Truth

Regarding Joe Deegan’s article “Murphy Canyon Mystery” (July 3 cover story).

Society is deluged with perceptions that females are always victims and males are always villains. These stereotypes must end. The acceptance of females falsely accusing males, and police presumptions of male guilt also must end.

There are numerous examples of innocent men imprisoned until their convictions were overturned due to DNA and other evidence, and help from the Innocence Project, etc. Many cases involved females fabricating/embellishing stories or instigating violence and then playing a victim (with self-inflicted harm).

Violence against males by female aggressors occurs far more than is reported, but research exposing this is beyond the political agendas of most governmental, educational, and private entities. These abuses are treated as funny by entertainment media instead of decried.

The legal system protects cops under qualified immunity. The system assumes an accused person from the non-elite is likely guilty, and police are given a wink to go on running the streets however they wish.

Police tampering with, planting, or ignoring evidence, beating people, lying, extorting, committing sexual attacks, and murdering are protected acts by police unions. An example is the police execution of Kelly Thomas.

The idea that police have stress, and so they need to commit crimes defies reason. On that basis, iron workers, tax accountants, and others should be so privileged. Far too many police are hot-tempered and treat the public as subservient to them. In reaction, some in the public assume the role of sycophant.

To say it is ok for police to lie for each other to cover up crimes also lacks reason. Almost anytime we in the public interact with government, we are forced to sign our names under penalty of perjury. Meanwhile, those in government are not required to do the same, and can lie with impunity. Cover-ups by cops and prosecutors to protect cops who commit domestic violence was investigated by Frontline.

Police did not cite/arrest the male-female team of perpetrators with felony battery for the acute bodily injuries they caused me. Instead, consistent with a pattern of hate, the SDPD cited me for misdemeanor battery and then secretly raised it to felony battery. No reason was ever provided to me for either citation.

The custom of issuing bogus citations must end. Police should be obliged to quickly supply the accused with a written, specific basis for a citation, or they should suffer the maximum penalty their false accusation deserves. With baseless accusations, the district attorney’s office rejected the case against me and no charges were filed in court against me.

SDPD deliberately citing the victim in this case served two depraved purposes. 1) It kept police and the perpetrators of my beating from prosecution, as Oscar Garcia (deputy district attorney) said my being cited made all other facts irrelevant and then ended the call; and 2) It denied me access to the legal system of assistance normally due a victim.

On this, Cynthia Charlebois, who heads the victim assistance unit in the district attorney’s office, said that I was not a victim in my horrific beating. Internal Affairs stated likewise on its Complaint Control Form (shown in Deegan’s article), while admitting possession of photographs (including those taken by police at the scene and a nurse at Sharp Memorial Hospital that night) of severe injuries to my head, face, eyes, and body from the beating.

I asked Charlebois if she would say that to a woman who was raped before bystanders, and who police watched with glee being raped. Charlebois ended the call.

Paul Azevedo, chief of the district attorney’s special operations division, backed Charlebois and was silent when faced with the same question.

Investigatory work is arduous. It demands an unbiased style, rejects premature conclusions, carefully seeks all evidence, and examines evidence with a desire for truth. It does not try to force evidence to conform to assumptions. It should not be about laziness or bigotry.

SDPD’s Ken Davis (#4319) and his accomplices Eric Cooper #6523, Geraldine Taitague #6151, Kristopher Spencer #6811, Stephen Shebloski #5317, Adam Wells #6204, and Addam Ansari #6865, who comprise the Gang of 7, showed no interest in legitimate investigatory work. Add Internal Affairs’ Tim Salens and Shawn Takeuchi to that list.

Yet, these actors operate with the blessings of Kevin Faulconer (mayor), Todd Gloria (city council president, past interim mayor), William Landsowne (past police chief), Shelley Zimmerman (current police chief), Bonnie Dumanis (district attorney), Jan Goldsmith (city attorney), and others in the crooked San Diego power structure who claim to be “public servants.”

  • Jeffrey Saikali
  • via email


Neither Factual, nor Funny, nor Ironic

I am a longtime Reader reader of 20+ years. I used to go out for lunch and go with my coworkers to the store to pick up a free copy. If I had to pay for the current version I would ask for my money back.

I understand that Matthew Alice died and that he would be hard to replace, but why did you have to replace him with his illegitimate son, the Hipster? Furthermore, what is this SD on the QT? Not only is it not factual, it’s also not funny or ironic.

On the positive side, Diary of a Diva, Blog Diego, Overheard in San Diego, Weird News, and Crasher are all worth reading. Your main story is often compelling, and even the stories that you choose to reprint are, for the most part, very entertaining.

It seems that at least half of your current publication is fruity stuff. I realize that ads from restaurants, pot shops, and plastic surgeries generate your income and have to be there, but I think it could be packaged better.

I also understand that your main demographic is young people, high school, and college students. We Baby Boomers still have a lot economic influence. I highly recommended that you find a new Alice, dump the Hipster guy, and run Diary of a Diva every week.

  • Lanny Boddy
  • Escondido
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