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Praise for Thomas Larson, correction on Barney Kessel, rejoinder from Miranda Escoto

More love for Santee

The dairy barn — which in 1986 was added to the National Registry of Historic Places — soon became known as the “Polo Barn.”
The dairy barn — which in 1986 was added to the National Registry of Historic Places — soon became known as the “Polo Barn.”

Not going anywhere

Regarding Thomas Larson’s January 23 article, “We wish there were fewer”: I generally refrain from acronyms so, oh my word. Who turned the tragic-ometer up all the way to full blast? Larson chronicles the sparsely attended burials of babies who were abused or thrown away in heartbreaking detail. Tiny innocents laid to rest in fittingly, “The Garden of Innocence.”

Reader readers are lucky to have Thomas Larson’s prolific body of work which spans two decades. Last year’s “Little Italy’s big - massive redevelopment” was a standout among many. I’ve been fortunate to work with some good writers. I had that opportunity as a former news editor of Good Times news & entertainment weekly in my beloved Santa Cruz. Please don’t let Thomas Larson go anywhere.

  • Kimberley Monari
  • North Park

In black and white

In your column [email protected] (January 31) it is stated for the movie, Jammin’ The Blues, “... this free-form all-black jam session …”

The guitarist, Barney Kessel, isn’t black (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jammin%27_the_Blues.) “Barney Kessel is the only white musician in the film. He was seated in the shadows to shade his skin.”

  • Jan Tonnesen
  • La Mesa
Miranda Escoto has refused settlements of $12,501 and $46,000. “I don’t want the money,” she says, “I want people to know the school district covers for abusers.”

Justice, not training

I disagree that more training is the key to reducing mandated reporting failure (“Miranda Escoto tried to report abuse of students,” City Lights, January 23). After working 15 years as an Instructional Health Care Assistant at Sweetwater High School District, I believe the main causes of failing to report are fear of retaliation and the fact that teachers and staff are getting away with the crimes they are committing against students. The training video from district attorney Summer Stephan, superintendent Paul Gothold and the chief of police Craig Carter is commendable but not enough. Until the district attorney offers protection to those willing to report and prosecutes abusers, trainings are going to have the same old results; the continuance of physical, mental, emotional and sexual abuse of the most vulnerable human beings. The reality is that inside the classroom there is a culture of secrecy and a strong corrupt brotherhood that makes it impossible to report. Since 2005 I started reaching out to the chain of command for help for special education students, as I was told. I went all the way up to the Sweetwater Union High School superintendent Edward Brand. At the beginning of 2013 I went to the district attorney community liaison office of Jesse Navarro who suggested I look for legal aid when I told him about my fear of being fired. After Child Welfare did a mandated reporting training I asked the Ms. Quintanilla, the instructor, for an appointment to talk with her. When I got to her office the next day she directed me to the Chula Vista police office. I went right away but the office was already closed and I had to use the intercom to request service. The police officer that came to the front office refused to take my report. He said that special needs students must be restrained because of their behavior. Around 2016 I was offered a $75,000 settlement plus the promise of getting disability by Kaiser Permanente. Can you see how big the quid pro quo web is and how power is far more important than justice? Until someone more powerful than the school district makes justice more important, additional training will not solve the problem.

  • Miranda Escoto
  • Chula Vista
Cissy grew up on a ranch at the corner of Mission Gorge and Fanita Road. In 2016, she bought a home near Santee Lakes.

Sweet Santee

Thank you for the nice commentary about my city (“Santee – where everyone wants to live,” Cover Stories, January 30). My wife and I lived here for 13 years. We sold our house in University Heights and paid cash with the equity for our home. No regrets. Here things are spread out, plenty of parking, excellent schools for the younger families, fantastic sports and activity park with summer concerts near the river and other nice dog friendly parks. Very few homeless, they seem to prefer El Cajon. It’s an attractive mid size city with plenty of shopping and excellent restaurants. The only things missing it’s it’s own hospital and a movie complex that is in the works. The river walk goes for miles and will eventually connect to Mission Valley. Lots of hiking trails like the one above my house on Healy St.

  • Robert Schick
  • Santee
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The dairy barn — which in 1986 was added to the National Registry of Historic Places — soon became known as the “Polo Barn.”
The dairy barn — which in 1986 was added to the National Registry of Historic Places — soon became known as the “Polo Barn.”

Not going anywhere

Regarding Thomas Larson’s January 23 article, “We wish there were fewer”: I generally refrain from acronyms so, oh my word. Who turned the tragic-ometer up all the way to full blast? Larson chronicles the sparsely attended burials of babies who were abused or thrown away in heartbreaking detail. Tiny innocents laid to rest in fittingly, “The Garden of Innocence.”

Reader readers are lucky to have Thomas Larson’s prolific body of work which spans two decades. Last year’s “Little Italy’s big - massive redevelopment” was a standout among many. I’ve been fortunate to work with some good writers. I had that opportunity as a former news editor of Good Times news & entertainment weekly in my beloved Santa Cruz. Please don’t let Thomas Larson go anywhere.

  • Kimberley Monari
  • North Park

In black and white

In your column [email protected] (January 31) it is stated for the movie, Jammin’ The Blues, “... this free-form all-black jam session …”

The guitarist, Barney Kessel, isn’t black (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jammin%27_the_Blues.) “Barney Kessel is the only white musician in the film. He was seated in the shadows to shade his skin.”

  • Jan Tonnesen
  • La Mesa
Miranda Escoto has refused settlements of $12,501 and $46,000. “I don’t want the money,” she says, “I want people to know the school district covers for abusers.”

Justice, not training

I disagree that more training is the key to reducing mandated reporting failure (“Miranda Escoto tried to report abuse of students,” City Lights, January 23). After working 15 years as an Instructional Health Care Assistant at Sweetwater High School District, I believe the main causes of failing to report are fear of retaliation and the fact that teachers and staff are getting away with the crimes they are committing against students. The training video from district attorney Summer Stephan, superintendent Paul Gothold and the chief of police Craig Carter is commendable but not enough. Until the district attorney offers protection to those willing to report and prosecutes abusers, trainings are going to have the same old results; the continuance of physical, mental, emotional and sexual abuse of the most vulnerable human beings. The reality is that inside the classroom there is a culture of secrecy and a strong corrupt brotherhood that makes it impossible to report. Since 2005 I started reaching out to the chain of command for help for special education students, as I was told. I went all the way up to the Sweetwater Union High School superintendent Edward Brand. At the beginning of 2013 I went to the district attorney community liaison office of Jesse Navarro who suggested I look for legal aid when I told him about my fear of being fired. After Child Welfare did a mandated reporting training I asked the Ms. Quintanilla, the instructor, for an appointment to talk with her. When I got to her office the next day she directed me to the Chula Vista police office. I went right away but the office was already closed and I had to use the intercom to request service. The police officer that came to the front office refused to take my report. He said that special needs students must be restrained because of their behavior. Around 2016 I was offered a $75,000 settlement plus the promise of getting disability by Kaiser Permanente. Can you see how big the quid pro quo web is and how power is far more important than justice? Until someone more powerful than the school district makes justice more important, additional training will not solve the problem.

  • Miranda Escoto
  • Chula Vista
Cissy grew up on a ranch at the corner of Mission Gorge and Fanita Road. In 2016, she bought a home near Santee Lakes.

Sweet Santee

Thank you for the nice commentary about my city (“Santee – where everyone wants to live,” Cover Stories, January 30). My wife and I lived here for 13 years. We sold our house in University Heights and paid cash with the equity for our home. No regrets. Here things are spread out, plenty of parking, excellent schools for the younger families, fantastic sports and activity park with summer concerts near the river and other nice dog friendly parks. Very few homeless, they seem to prefer El Cajon. It’s an attractive mid size city with plenty of shopping and excellent restaurants. The only things missing it’s it’s own hospital and a movie complex that is in the works. The river walk goes for miles and will eventually connect to Mission Valley. Lots of hiking trails like the one above my house on Healy St.

  • Robert Schick
  • Santee
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