Sailors in a motor launch rescue a man overboard alongside the burning USS West Virginia during or shortly after the Japanese air raid on Pearl Harbor.
  • Sailors in a motor launch rescue a man overboard alongside the burning USS West Virginia during or shortly after the Japanese air raid on Pearl Harbor.
  • Letter to Editor
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Fuchida’s journey

I first met Stu Hedley (“Grenades, rockets, bombs, machine gun fire in San Diegans’ ears,” Cover Story, August 29). some time in the early 2000s on/around Pearl Harbor Day when my wife and I visited the Survivors Association to learn what we could firsthand, for an article in a local college newspaper.

Juan Hidalgo (right) in Iraq: "The enemy seems to be on drugs."

Juan Hidalgo (right) in Iraq: "The enemy seems to be on drugs."

Stu told us much the same story as recounted in your article. One thing I still recall is how when he was allowed back on the West Virginia to gather personal belongings he was glad to find his locker still intact. When he opened it there sat his clothes and personal effects neatly folded as he’d left them. Then he touched them and they crumbled to ashes. The intense heat of the burning ship had incinerated everything inside without disturbing it. After the war, Stu met former Imperial Japanese Navy Capt. Mitsuo Fuchida, who gave the command, “Tora! Tora! Tora!” to lead the attack. Fuchida originally had no regrets about Pearl Harbor because he had a low opinion of Westerners. He later learned of the good treatment of Japanese prisoners by American captors, and met American prisoners who had been tortured and forgiven their Japanese captors. This was part of Fuchida’s journey to becoming a Christian evangelist and befriending Billy Graham. Stu told me he and Fuchida became good friends during post-war friendship tours.

  • Dan
  • La Mesa

Deja Brew at University Avenue and Arnold St. will offer desserts.

Deja Brew at University Avenue and Arnold St. will offer desserts.

Disreputable condemnation

Twenty-two years ago, North Park was one hundred years old (“When one door closes, another opens”, Neighborhood News, August 27). A new “organism” which was supposed to assist with revitalization was brought to the community by a phony financial planner. When I realized he was not a real financial planner I called my girlfriend in La Mesa who is one and Don Bauder. We found out that they were disreputable. They claimed that they had revitalized Times Square in New York City. I had a friend who worked for Ed Koch at the time. Ed Koch said Hell no! It was defunded by the federal government fifteen years prior. That was twenty-two years ago! The phony financial planner embezzled from local non-profits and enjoyed taking local politicos to lunch and breakfast at local restaurants. He chose to end the music by his own hand. Back where I come from this could never happen. We would escort the “tapestry-sided luggage” people to the town edge. But I did not just get off the bus from there with hay in my hair, boys! I had to stand up for the Redwing Restaurant twenty years ago. No one stood with me. I stood alone.

  • April Ogden
  • San Diego

Former gays who lobbied against the conversion therapy ban

Former gays who lobbied against the conversion therapy ban

Born Un-straight

So, if you want to quote the right-wing talking points of homophobes in a value neutral way, without commentary or analysis, that’s unfortunately the standard style of journalism (“Does sexual orientation change go only one way?” News Ticker, August 23). But the choice of headline, either by the author, Eric Bartl, or your editors, suggests someone is about 30 years behind the times in their attitudes toward sexuality, and trying to sneakily editorialize.

The title presupposes everyone is born straight, and that when they come out that’s the “One Way” they “changed” their sexual orientation. That it was a spur of-the-moment lifestyle decision, like a new haircut or workout regimen. If you can switch once, why not twice, right? Repeat after me: No one “changes” their orientation and straight is not the default. If it weren’t for the influence of homophobes, kids who are born a certain way would feel free to grow up as gay, bi, asexual trans or anything else as they hit puberty, the way straight kids are allowed to.

That people come out later in life is due to them fearing they might lose their friends, their family or their lives, because of homophobes. Some probably don’t come out because they’re worried they’ll get sent to these camps to be tortured by homophobes. This isn’t some cola wars-style marketing battle. This is about outlawing the sexual torture of children, and someone at the Reader is either sympathetic to the torturers, or so oblivious and disinterested in the experience of a huge part of San Diego’s population as to make no difference.

  • Patrick Byrne
  • Downtown
  • Letter to Editor
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Comments

ebartl Sept. 13, 2018 @ 10:20 a.m.

Hi Dan, Thanks for sharing the locker story. Stu didn't mention that one to me. He did tell me about his relationship with Fuchida and so many other remarkable things. I wish I could write a story about them all. Eric

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ebartl Sept. 13, 2018 @ 11:19 a.m.

Hey Patrick, take it easy man. The headline was my idea and it presupposes none of the things you are imagining. It actually presupposes nothing. It asks a question based on the text of the bill at issue. The text of the bill specifically bans the sale of counseling services that would help a person seeking a change from gay to straight. It does not also specify a ban against the sale of services helping someone transition from straight to gay, thus the question, "Does sexual orientation change go only one way?" It's a very objective title in response to the bill. A perfectly relevant response to the question could be "there is no such thing as sexual orientation change" and you made that point. Say you are correct, then again, why doesn't the bill specifically ban sexual orientation change efforts in both directions? Why ban it in only one direction? A partisan talking point headline on one side would be "California's 'must stay gay' bill" or on the other side, "the ban on psychological torture bill." The article and the reasons presented from the side opposing the bill have nothing to do with children, camps, physical or sexual torture, or the way people are born. I'm not disinterested in people's experiences. I'm very interested in them. This particular article is about a particular bill that decides whether adults can choose to spend their money for counseling services to help with a change they want. An earlier version of the bill would have also banned the sale of books dealing with the same subject. I presented both sides of the issue. One side says the bill protects lgbt people from a fraudulent business practice. The other side says the bill violates the right of lgbt adults to spend their money as they choose and seek changes they want. The bill has now been dropped entirely. One thing you stated is quite outrageous. Describing the therapy consenting adults seek out for themselves as "psychological torture" seems to be a stretch, but I gave that viewpoint the benefit of the doubt and quoted Wiener's opinion on that. But it's pure fantasy to say this bill was banning the "sexual torture of children." Are you saying without this bill it's legal in California to sexually torture children? Of course sexually torturing children is already illegal. Of course none of the legislators or activists who opposed this bill support sexual torture of children. Such a horrible thing has nothing to do with this story. I can't believe the Reader would publish such a reckless and obviously false characterization.

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