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Letters on Normal and City Heights

The storyline is regrettably familiar

“The Normal Heights sign is the only original neon sign I’m aware of that still hangs in San Diego,” says Scott Kessler. - Image by Matthew Suárez
“The Normal Heights sign is the only original neon sign I’m aware of that still hangs in San Diego,” says Scott Kessler.

Normal Hts. neon

Re: “We the People of Normal Heights,” cover story.

A nonjudgmental place

An update on the Normal Heights neon sign: Gary Weber and I met with Art Buckel and his sister Joy (Buckel) LeBus in May of 2011. They told us their memories of the Normal Heights neon sign. In 1944 Theodore (Ted) Buckel, Art and Joy’s dad, and Bert Vanderhayden opened T & B Auto Repair on the northwest corner of Hawley and Adams, 3426 Adams Avenue.

Ted’s son-in-law, Dick LeBus, had a sheet metal shop at the rear of 3422 Adams Avenue, where he built the sign. Martin Neon at 4714 Felton did the neon, and Joe Jackson of Jackson Electric did the electrical work and actually hung the sign one night. No permit or permission was given by the City, and probably no one bothered to ask.

The Buckel children told us this happened in late 1959 or early 1960 when they were living in Normal Heights and attending Hoover High. The late John Gibson owned Johnnie’s Barber Shop at 3506 Adams Avenue and remembered paying a monthly fee to the business association to pay for the sign but did not remember when that was or how much the sign cost.

Joy and Art also stated that there was a first Normal Heights sign before the present metal sign built by Dick LeBus, and that information has been confirmed by six other current and/or former residents. The search continues.

  • Suzanne Ledeboer
  • Normal Heights

Gratified to read Scott Marks’s review

Re: “Ten reasons Three Billboards doesn’t deserve any of its technical nomination,” movie review, March 1.

Dear Reader,

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri: The ad campaign that inspired the movie.

I was very disappointed in Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri, a film which could have been outstanding but failed because of the many absurd and unbelievable behaviors of the characters.

The last straw was when a law officer throws a citizen out of a second-story window without anyone in town showing the slightest concern. When the film garnered multiple Academy Award nominations, I began to question my judgment. Was I being too critical? The members of the Academy are film-industry professionals, after all.

So I was gratified to read Scott Marks’s review, which confirmed all of my doubts and concluded that the movie didn’t deserve any awards. Thanks, Scott, for demanding that a good story have some semblance of plausibility.

  • Andrew Crane
  • Oceanside

A ton of happy kids

Re: “Why Not City Heights?”, cover story.

“One of the misconceptions is that bad people live here.”

Oh, great question! Glad you asked.

If you ask any proud resident of City Heights what makes our neighborhood special and unique, I guarantee the restaurants and (non-existent) crime data will not rank high on the list. What would rank high on the list would be the close-knit community you get when you live in a neighborhood of families.

There aren’t a ton of young professionals here, but there are a ton of happy happy kids. You can see them at the Gathering Place, a community-lead art installation highlighting the four distinct communities in City Heights. You can see them petting goats and cows at City Farmers Nursery. You will definitely see them at one of the two brand new skate parks. You can see them running past the soon-to-open Ocean Discovery Center complex nestled in the heart of Manzanita Canyon.

Oh, the canyons? That might be the best part of City heights…the six miles of trails that my family and I hike every weekend, with trash bag in hand, along with dozens of other City Heights folks who run the CanyonLands project.

My favorite part of City Heights is that it takes someone with a real interest in the community to unlock the community. Otherwise how would you know about the amazing tamales and arroz con leche on 41st? Or Burly & the Bean? Or the wild tomatoes in Swan Canyon?

You wouldn’t. If you didn’t ask the right question, you’d miss it.

  • Jarod
  • City Heights

The storyline is regrettably familiar

Dear Reader,

Mid City Church of the Nazarene, 4121 University Avenue

Three weeks ago you ran an article about a young woman accusing a pastor of rape [“Pastor accused of sexual healing,” News Ticker].

The article has caused quite a stir in the small circles in which we live. We thank the Reader for running the piece and for giving a platform to a woman whose voice needs to be heard.

Our hearts and spirits are crushed by the news. The storyline is regrettably familiar. It makes perfect sense why people would say they never want to step foot in a church again. We felt the same way. Silence of church leaders to such violations within the church is shameful. Any shaming of victims must be stopped.

This is not just the failure of one person; it is the consequence of a broken system. We are part of a broken system, part of the problem, when our silence leaves victims standing alone. We are part of the problem when we don’t demand accountability from those in power. We are part of the problem when we don’t use whatever influence we might have to challenge leaders who are coercive, change systems that are abusive, and contribute to causes that are redemptive. We grieve for and with all victims.

This particular victim has been courageous and strong. She has inspired us to seek the same courage and strength so that we might be agents of change in our circles of influence.

  • Selden Dee Kelley III, Melissa Tucker, Matt Wilson: Pastoral Staff of San Diego First Church of the Nazarene
  • Point Loma
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“The Normal Heights sign is the only original neon sign I’m aware of that still hangs in San Diego,” says Scott Kessler. - Image by Matthew Suárez
“The Normal Heights sign is the only original neon sign I’m aware of that still hangs in San Diego,” says Scott Kessler.

Normal Hts. neon

Re: “We the People of Normal Heights,” cover story.

A nonjudgmental place

An update on the Normal Heights neon sign: Gary Weber and I met with Art Buckel and his sister Joy (Buckel) LeBus in May of 2011. They told us their memories of the Normal Heights neon sign. In 1944 Theodore (Ted) Buckel, Art and Joy’s dad, and Bert Vanderhayden opened T & B Auto Repair on the northwest corner of Hawley and Adams, 3426 Adams Avenue.

Ted’s son-in-law, Dick LeBus, had a sheet metal shop at the rear of 3422 Adams Avenue, where he built the sign. Martin Neon at 4714 Felton did the neon, and Joe Jackson of Jackson Electric did the electrical work and actually hung the sign one night. No permit or permission was given by the City, and probably no one bothered to ask.

The Buckel children told us this happened in late 1959 or early 1960 when they were living in Normal Heights and attending Hoover High. The late John Gibson owned Johnnie’s Barber Shop at 3506 Adams Avenue and remembered paying a monthly fee to the business association to pay for the sign but did not remember when that was or how much the sign cost.

Joy and Art also stated that there was a first Normal Heights sign before the present metal sign built by Dick LeBus, and that information has been confirmed by six other current and/or former residents. The search continues.

  • Suzanne Ledeboer
  • Normal Heights

Gratified to read Scott Marks’s review

Re: “Ten reasons Three Billboards doesn’t deserve any of its technical nomination,” movie review, March 1.

Dear Reader,

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri: The ad campaign that inspired the movie.

I was very disappointed in Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri, a film which could have been outstanding but failed because of the many absurd and unbelievable behaviors of the characters.

The last straw was when a law officer throws a citizen out of a second-story window without anyone in town showing the slightest concern. When the film garnered multiple Academy Award nominations, I began to question my judgment. Was I being too critical? The members of the Academy are film-industry professionals, after all.

So I was gratified to read Scott Marks’s review, which confirmed all of my doubts and concluded that the movie didn’t deserve any awards. Thanks, Scott, for demanding that a good story have some semblance of plausibility.

  • Andrew Crane
  • Oceanside

A ton of happy kids

Re: “Why Not City Heights?”, cover story.

“One of the misconceptions is that bad people live here.”

Oh, great question! Glad you asked.

If you ask any proud resident of City Heights what makes our neighborhood special and unique, I guarantee the restaurants and (non-existent) crime data will not rank high on the list. What would rank high on the list would be the close-knit community you get when you live in a neighborhood of families.

There aren’t a ton of young professionals here, but there are a ton of happy happy kids. You can see them at the Gathering Place, a community-lead art installation highlighting the four distinct communities in City Heights. You can see them petting goats and cows at City Farmers Nursery. You will definitely see them at one of the two brand new skate parks. You can see them running past the soon-to-open Ocean Discovery Center complex nestled in the heart of Manzanita Canyon.

Oh, the canyons? That might be the best part of City heights…the six miles of trails that my family and I hike every weekend, with trash bag in hand, along with dozens of other City Heights folks who run the CanyonLands project.

My favorite part of City Heights is that it takes someone with a real interest in the community to unlock the community. Otherwise how would you know about the amazing tamales and arroz con leche on 41st? Or Burly & the Bean? Or the wild tomatoes in Swan Canyon?

You wouldn’t. If you didn’t ask the right question, you’d miss it.

  • Jarod
  • City Heights

The storyline is regrettably familiar

Dear Reader,

Mid City Church of the Nazarene, 4121 University Avenue

Three weeks ago you ran an article about a young woman accusing a pastor of rape [“Pastor accused of sexual healing,” News Ticker].

The article has caused quite a stir in the small circles in which we live. We thank the Reader for running the piece and for giving a platform to a woman whose voice needs to be heard.

Our hearts and spirits are crushed by the news. The storyline is regrettably familiar. It makes perfect sense why people would say they never want to step foot in a church again. We felt the same way. Silence of church leaders to such violations within the church is shameful. Any shaming of victims must be stopped.

This is not just the failure of one person; it is the consequence of a broken system. We are part of a broken system, part of the problem, when our silence leaves victims standing alone. We are part of the problem when we don’t demand accountability from those in power. We are part of the problem when we don’t use whatever influence we might have to challenge leaders who are coercive, change systems that are abusive, and contribute to causes that are redemptive. We grieve for and with all victims.

This particular victim has been courageous and strong. She has inspired us to seek the same courage and strength so that we might be agents of change in our circles of influence.

  • Selden Dee Kelley III, Melissa Tucker, Matt Wilson: Pastoral Staff of San Diego First Church of the Nazarene
  • Point Loma
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