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What you think

Famosa Memories

The Roam-o-Rama you have in the February 18 issue about Famosa Slough is very interesting. I used to play there as a 12-year-old boy with my 10-year-old brother and my 7-year-old brother, and once in a while, a couple of neighbor kids. We played there during the last year of the war, in 1945.

My family lived in some government housing called Frontier, on a street called Grinnell, and I can’t even find that street on a map anymore, somewhere near Midway and Kemper Street, or Midway and Florida Street.

Anyway, I didn’t know Famosa Slough by that name. I don’t know if it even had a name — it was just a big saltwater pond. We would fish there. It wasn’t as built up then as it is now. We would go there and shoot our bows and arrows, and fish. There was some kind of saltwater fish that we used to catch. It looked like a blue gill, but it wasn’t a blue gill. It was some kind of fish that gave birth live because you’d cut one open and there’d be a bunch of little live fish inside. We’d catch them, and crabs. I remember one time I brought home a bucket full of mussels, and my mom said, “Eh! I’m not going to cook those things. Take them back to where you got them.”

On the north side of West Point Loma Boulevard there was a big salt marsh. Having read Tom Sawyer, one time we built a raft and tried to float the thing at the saltwater marsh, but it wouldn’t float.

The thing that you show on your map in the Reader is some kind of channel, and there was some kind of a saltwater inlet that came from the north, and it went under West Point Loma Boulevard in a great big pipe, and it came out on the south side of the road and fed into the saltwater pond that you call Famosa Slough. It wasn’t all built up then.

There was an abandoned street car line that ran along the north side of West Point Loma Boulevard that, I think, went to La Jolla originally. There was a streetcar bridge that went over this thing that you show as a channel on your map. To us it was just an inlet, but the streetcar went over that thing. The street car — well, it was a bus at that time — went to Ocean Beach, Crown Point, and Mission Beach.

There was also a big pile of junk there, where people would dump things. We’d find all sorts of wheels and bring them home and make carts.

We lived there just the first half of 1945, and my father worked in personnel at Consolidated Aircraft. As I said, we lived at the Frontier, which was some kind of government housing for war workers. The war came pretty close to an end in June of 1945 and school was out. At the same time, Consolidated laid off a heck of a lot of people, including my father. So, we packed up and went back home to Illinois.

Anyway, it was interesting reading about the Famosa Slough. I’ve been back there once or twice, and everything looks so different now. It was fun reading about a place I used to play at 70 years ago!

  • Name Withheld
  • via voicemail


Not Enough Luxury

Re: City Lights: “Will Chargers Eat up Our Sidewalks?

On February 3, 2015, I received a letter from my city council representative indicating that $9 million was being allocated to slurry seal 70 miles of San Diego streets that are the fourth worst in the nation for cities larger than 500,000.

The repair method and $9 million bother me. Why? First, a 2010 Federal Highway Administration report found that “an over-reliance on short-term pavement repairs will fail to provide the long-term structural integrity needed in a roadway surface to guarantee the future performance of a paved road or highway.”

Second, the San Diego mayor is focusing a large amount of city time on getting a new Chargers stadium whose construction cost alone would be in the range of $527 million-$1.6 billion, based on the last ten NFL stadiums that have been built. To put this in perspective, the $9 million for street work is only 0.5%-1.7% of the cost of a new Chargers stadium. You might wonder what’s wrong with Qualcomm Stadium.

Maybe the real issue is that there are not enough luxury boxes for the wealthy. Forbes magazine reports that “premium seat revenue is also a big differentiator with stadiums and the NFL’s financial hierarchy. The Cowboys, Washington Redskins, and New York Giants all generate at least $75 million annually from club seats and luxury suites. The San Francisco 49ers and Minnesota Vikings are at the bottom of the premium seating category at less than $10 million, although both franchises are building new stadiums that will dramatically improve their fortunes.

Further, the Office of Independent Budget Analysis Report lists $898 million in deferred capital backlog including $475 million for roads. Other infrastructure needs listed are $520 million for convention center expansion. Excuse me. The $898 million was based on a February 2012 assessment. Bet the mayor’s stadium and convention center financial data is up to date.

  • Roger Newell
  • via email


Serenity Now

Re: Neighborhood News, “Return to Pork Chop Island

I wrote in protest to these calming efforts way before they went into effect and still stand by those words. La Mesa sent a great letter back stating that “studies show ... papers show” that these work.

Well, these don’t. Put down your papers, and take off your bifocals, and just watch the cars go by. The calming measures are not calming anything. They look like traffic calming amenities but they are a farce.

Real roundabouts such as those in New England or Portland actually require a driver to circle something versus scootching to the side at the same speed — especially now that those walking on the street or riding bikes have to deal with traffic that has no place to pass. There are no sidewalks designed in any coherent/logical/progressive form for walkers or pedestrians.

Fifteen years of commuting by bike and reading manifestos for traffic calming showed me that these designs implemented here in La Mesa are pathetic, impractical, and antithetical to the very concept of traffic calming. If La Mesa is going to do it (actually calm traffic and provide safe environments for people on foot, wheelchair, and bikes) they should go 100% instead of this type of design.

I live one block away from this street and would love a real solution instead of this drive-a-round joke of a traffic calming. I just quit commuting daily by bike between La Mesa and San Diego and joined the San Diego solution to congestion and traffic. I bought a car and stopped biking on roads in this crazy backwards county where the only progress rests behind a windshield wiper blade.

  • Robert Craddick
  • La Mesa
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Famosa Memories

The Roam-o-Rama you have in the February 18 issue about Famosa Slough is very interesting. I used to play there as a 12-year-old boy with my 10-year-old brother and my 7-year-old brother, and once in a while, a couple of neighbor kids. We played there during the last year of the war, in 1945.

My family lived in some government housing called Frontier, on a street called Grinnell, and I can’t even find that street on a map anymore, somewhere near Midway and Kemper Street, or Midway and Florida Street.

Anyway, I didn’t know Famosa Slough by that name. I don’t know if it even had a name — it was just a big saltwater pond. We would fish there. It wasn’t as built up then as it is now. We would go there and shoot our bows and arrows, and fish. There was some kind of saltwater fish that we used to catch. It looked like a blue gill, but it wasn’t a blue gill. It was some kind of fish that gave birth live because you’d cut one open and there’d be a bunch of little live fish inside. We’d catch them, and crabs. I remember one time I brought home a bucket full of mussels, and my mom said, “Eh! I’m not going to cook those things. Take them back to where you got them.”

On the north side of West Point Loma Boulevard there was a big salt marsh. Having read Tom Sawyer, one time we built a raft and tried to float the thing at the saltwater marsh, but it wouldn’t float.

The thing that you show on your map in the Reader is some kind of channel, and there was some kind of a saltwater inlet that came from the north, and it went under West Point Loma Boulevard in a great big pipe, and it came out on the south side of the road and fed into the saltwater pond that you call Famosa Slough. It wasn’t all built up then.

There was an abandoned street car line that ran along the north side of West Point Loma Boulevard that, I think, went to La Jolla originally. There was a streetcar bridge that went over this thing that you show as a channel on your map. To us it was just an inlet, but the streetcar went over that thing. The street car — well, it was a bus at that time — went to Ocean Beach, Crown Point, and Mission Beach.

There was also a big pile of junk there, where people would dump things. We’d find all sorts of wheels and bring them home and make carts.

We lived there just the first half of 1945, and my father worked in personnel at Consolidated Aircraft. As I said, we lived at the Frontier, which was some kind of government housing for war workers. The war came pretty close to an end in June of 1945 and school was out. At the same time, Consolidated laid off a heck of a lot of people, including my father. So, we packed up and went back home to Illinois.

Anyway, it was interesting reading about the Famosa Slough. I’ve been back there once or twice, and everything looks so different now. It was fun reading about a place I used to play at 70 years ago!

  • Name Withheld
  • via voicemail


Not Enough Luxury

Re: City Lights: “Will Chargers Eat up Our Sidewalks?

On February 3, 2015, I received a letter from my city council representative indicating that $9 million was being allocated to slurry seal 70 miles of San Diego streets that are the fourth worst in the nation for cities larger than 500,000.

The repair method and $9 million bother me. Why? First, a 2010 Federal Highway Administration report found that “an over-reliance on short-term pavement repairs will fail to provide the long-term structural integrity needed in a roadway surface to guarantee the future performance of a paved road or highway.”

Second, the San Diego mayor is focusing a large amount of city time on getting a new Chargers stadium whose construction cost alone would be in the range of $527 million-$1.6 billion, based on the last ten NFL stadiums that have been built. To put this in perspective, the $9 million for street work is only 0.5%-1.7% of the cost of a new Chargers stadium. You might wonder what’s wrong with Qualcomm Stadium.

Maybe the real issue is that there are not enough luxury boxes for the wealthy. Forbes magazine reports that “premium seat revenue is also a big differentiator with stadiums and the NFL’s financial hierarchy. The Cowboys, Washington Redskins, and New York Giants all generate at least $75 million annually from club seats and luxury suites. The San Francisco 49ers and Minnesota Vikings are at the bottom of the premium seating category at less than $10 million, although both franchises are building new stadiums that will dramatically improve their fortunes.

Further, the Office of Independent Budget Analysis Report lists $898 million in deferred capital backlog including $475 million for roads. Other infrastructure needs listed are $520 million for convention center expansion. Excuse me. The $898 million was based on a February 2012 assessment. Bet the mayor’s stadium and convention center financial data is up to date.

  • Roger Newell
  • via email


Serenity Now

Re: Neighborhood News, “Return to Pork Chop Island

I wrote in protest to these calming efforts way before they went into effect and still stand by those words. La Mesa sent a great letter back stating that “studies show ... papers show” that these work.

Well, these don’t. Put down your papers, and take off your bifocals, and just watch the cars go by. The calming measures are not calming anything. They look like traffic calming amenities but they are a farce.

Real roundabouts such as those in New England or Portland actually require a driver to circle something versus scootching to the side at the same speed — especially now that those walking on the street or riding bikes have to deal with traffic that has no place to pass. There are no sidewalks designed in any coherent/logical/progressive form for walkers or pedestrians.

Fifteen years of commuting by bike and reading manifestos for traffic calming showed me that these designs implemented here in La Mesa are pathetic, impractical, and antithetical to the very concept of traffic calming. If La Mesa is going to do it (actually calm traffic and provide safe environments for people on foot, wheelchair, and bikes) they should go 100% instead of this type of design.

I live one block away from this street and would love a real solution instead of this drive-a-round joke of a traffic calming. I just quit commuting daily by bike between La Mesa and San Diego and joined the San Diego solution to congestion and traffic. I bought a car and stopped biking on roads in this crazy backwards county where the only progress rests behind a windshield wiper blade.

  • Robert Craddick
  • La Mesa
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