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Helping a Trivial Number

Re: News Ticker, “Take a Hike, Bikers

The attempt by Little Italy’s Business Improvement District to preserve parking spaces rather than allocate street space for bike lanes through the heart of the community would be much easier if we had a mayor more interested in helping the vast majority of San Diegans than in working to help a trivial number of bicyclists take over part of our roadways throughout San Diego.

Mayor Faulconer and Todd Gloria have both worked to close down entire streets to cars, and to close lanes on other streets. They want to get rid of parking spaces in order to aid a small number of people on bikes. These actions would not just harm businesses, inconvenience the vast majority of San Diegans, and cause congestion, they would also increase greenhouse gases because congestion increases car emissions.

Let’s remember during the next election that we need a mayor and city council members who will work to help the overwhelming majority of San Diegans, not just the handful who want to ride their bicycles in automobile lanes and have parking spaces removed just for their convenience.

  • Richard Robertson
  • Navajo

Still a Great Piece

Regarding the piece by Liz Swain (Neighborhood News, “Hand-Dredged History”), the equipment pictured is an excavator, not a loader. The difference is that the loader can only reach out, while the excavator can reach more and can reach down as well. The excavator is used for trenching (among other things), while the loader usually works to clean up and load bulk materials.

Still, a great piece by Liz Swain.

  • Julian Reid
  • North County


Although I’m not always enamored with the content of Barbarella’s column, I have always admired her command of the English language and writing ability. I was shocked and disappointed to see this week’s article entitled “Judgerella” (Diary of a Diva, March 10) in which she wrote, “At 7 a.m. that morning ...” Was she differentiating between 7 a.m. in the evening?

Barbarella, are you familiar with the word redundant?

  • Robin
  • La Mesa

Legs Down Inside

Daniel Powell indicates that a 200-year-old engraving is of paddleboarders (“SUP with Your Pup,” Waterfront, March 10). It’s actually people paddling outrigger canoes, which is still practiced.

If you look closely, you’ll notice that you can’t see the paddler’s lower legs, since they are down inside of the canoe, not on top of the deck as they would be on a paddleboard.

  • Gerry Rahill
  • Leucadia

Paddleboarding is done from a prone position — what surfers do 99 percent of the time in order to catch a wave. Though there were paddleboarders in the engraving, there were no stand-up paddleboarders. — Editor

This Mortal Coil

Re: Everyone’s a Critic, March 10, “Bowie’s Blackstar Closes the Curtain

The thought of a Bowie-less world is too absurd, too tragic, and as near as unfathomable a thought as I’m ever likely to have. Ground control gave us no warning, no commencing countdown, no nothing. We went to bed secure of our tomorrows and woke up to an empty house.

Men like David Bowie aren’t supposed to die. Ever. Men like Bowie? Nah. David Bowie was one of a kind, much like Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, John Lennon, Steve Marriot, Keith Moon, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Bonzo, Lemmy, and a few others that I’m no doubt forgetting as the reality of the day takes hold, as I hear the world carry on a few yards from my window, as I wipe whatever is left of my tears on the sleeve of my robe.

For a man known for changing at the speed of a chameleon, he offered great stability to millions, my father, my mother, and my best friend (all rolled into one) from another world. His impact on the arts is unquestionable, his impact on his fans perhaps greater. Time after time, decade after decade, David Bowie lifted me, lifted us through his music often without us being aware of it until whatever was the source of our disappointment had long passed.

Bowie was there before any of us, and Bowie will be there long after any of us have left this mortal coil — but you have known that since forever. Forever, huh? Forever. Forever, little wonder, you little wonder, little wonder us.

David Bowie fell to Earth a long time ago. On a Sunday night, he went home.

“Look up here, I’m in heaven,” David says.

Where else would you be, sweet Prince ?

  • Alfredo Huete
  • Napa, CA


Re: March 3 feature story, “World War I Refought in San Diego

Your writer indulgently featured an intellectual slacker whose take on the causes of World War I is wrong both on a pair of rudimentary political facts and on the scholarship about the war during the last 100 years.

The reporter shares in the intellectual recklessness by giving the claims so much play, uncritically. The criticisms in this letter only pertain to these two persons. They do not pertain to either the local Meetup.com club that the interviewee belongs to, or to other individual club members.

The interviewee is wrong in proposing that Serbia wanted to “become free of the Austro-Hungarian Empire,” because (1) Serbia had already gained its sovereignty four decades earlier (by stages, in 1867 and 1878); and (2) Serbia had not been a possession of Austria-Hungary, but rather, for 500 years it was part of the Ottoman Empire (Turkey). Yeah, one could argue that the claim contains a grain of truth, in that Serbia wanted to expand its territory (Serbia wanted to annex Bosnia, for example), and the Austro-Hungarian territories it coveted had large populations of ethnic Serbs.

Next, the interviewee thinks it’s a novel idea that Germany was not the major aggressor in this war (or the reporter makes him seem to think so). This is all balderdash. The gripe is incoherent because it recognizes the conventional wisdom that Europe was primed for war, and an accidental spark set it off.

Re: “‘Most history writing today,’ says Firl, ‘especially academic history, does a lousy job of understanding the past.’” Especially academic history writing? This insults the reader’s intelligence. If by “academic” history writing was meant history written by history professors for history professors, not for the broad public, then we can be confident that “academic” historiography is less biased than “nonacademic” historiography, not more? It is absurd to claim that 100 years after the war, no new arguments against Germany have emerged.

Lastly, the general concept that other parties to the conflict share the blame has been widely espoused for the last half century by some British historians, as an interested person would quickly learn if they looked for it; I recommend Wikipedia’s entry, “Historiography of the causes of World War I.” American historian Sidney Fay (1876-1967) had pioneered this assessment in a 1928 book that won a historians’ prize. And British historian Niall Ferguson published The Pity of War, which skewered the British foreign secretary for supposedly dragging his country into the war, back in 1999.

On the other hand, there are fresh arguments implicating Germany as a prime instigator, for example in the following two landmark books: German historian Fritz Fischer’s (1908-1999)Germany’s Aims in the First World War (1967; the German original 1961; the English edition boasts introductions by a leading German historian and a leading British historian) and British historian Paul M. Kennedy’s The Rise of the Anglo-German antagonism, 1860-1914 (1980).

In addition, World War I history buffs who feel aggrieved on Germany’s behalf and who are college educated (therefore, they are supposed to already know how to do research) and have lots of leisure time should not ignore the German language Wikipedia entries, Kriegsschuldfrage and Fischer-Kontroverse.

Your writer followed the same coddling modus operandi five years ago in writing about theory of relativity denialists (entitled: “Einstein, That Clown: Special Relativity Refuted at Bull’s Smokin’ BBQ”).

  • Dale Chock
  • Clairemont


In your February 25 cover story, “The Glamour Track Is Mountain Lion,” there is a huge piece of misinformation on the first page of the article in standout lettering: “It’s estimated that there are 4000 to 6000 mountain lions roaming San Diego County.”

The experts on that, bioligists, their best estimate is that there are maybe 3000 mountain lions in the whole state of California. So, that’s a huge piece of misinformation.

You’ve got to get it out to your readers that that was way off base.

  • Jack Seileman
  • via voicemail

We ran a correction in last week’s issue. We still regret the error. — Editor

There’s an App for That

I love your Roam-O-Rama articles and follow many of your hikes. Currently, I read the article, look at the sketched route, and try to find and trace the route on Google Earth.

One suggestion that would definitely help me, and I’m sure many of your readers: In place of or in addition to the sketched route you include at the end of each article, it would be great if you included a download of the actual route — either from Google Earth or a .kmz file that can be read my many GPS apps.

  • Jim Rosenberg
  • Alpine
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chuck March 16, 2016 @ 7:07 a.m.

Re: helping a trivial number


You do realize bicycles of some form have existed for around 200 years? Much longer than the automobile you seem to prize so much. Little hint, they're not going away either. Long after you and I are gone there will still be bikes ridden in this city. You cite only a "handful" of citizens use bikes and in comparison to cars that might be a fair estimate. So, why would you think the bicycle lobby has any more pull or impact than the auto industry?...Could it be that educated rational people from both major political parties are able to see the benefits of diversifying ones personal transportation to mitigate it's impact. Also, the most obvious reason, it's fun to ride a bike! A lot of San Diego citizens live here to get as much fun in their life's as possible, can you blame them (me). They often value projects that promote being outdoors doing active fun things more than building better roads and parking lots. Maybe our city is changing for the better, but you can't see it through that dirty windshield....



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