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Letters to the Editor from the Feb. 15, 2018 issue of La Jolla Light as La Jollans speak out on local issues:
• The time has come for 'homeless' policy changes
I am a long time resident of La Jolla. So long in fact, that I can recall when our streets were actually safe. Last week, I had a terrible encounter with a homeless man as I was walking on Girard Avenue after taking my young son to the elementary school. The man who usually sits outside CVS had taken up a new spot at the corner of Girard Avenue and Pearl Street. I was waiting at the light to cross Pearl Street with my puppy, when he began to scream at me from across the street yelling: "F—-ing b—ch with your F—-ing dog."
He screamed this five or six times and pointed at me standing at the opposite corner. He was extremely agitated and aggressive. In the meantime, two older ladies were demonstrably fearful while trying to walk around him, as was a mother and her young child, also going to school. Clearly, her son learned some vocabulary that morning that a five-year-old should never hear.
By the time the light changed, I found myself too afraid to cross the street and walk past this man, who for no discerable reason, was targeting me with his verbal assaults. As it appeared he was going to cross the street in my direction, I backed up and asked a man at the Pannikin coffee shop to call the police. At that same moment, I saw two men with badges approaching. Though they turned out to be lifeguards, they had witnessed the man's threatening behavior and called the police on their radio, going so far as to wait for the police to arrive. The police came, but the violent vagrant was not detained, and I saw the man again that evening on the street, screaming at random people and cars passing by.
I never did cross the street that morning. I chose the less dangerous path and went the other way. However, in later reflection, I felt that it was nothing short of a tragedy that in La Jolla, the routes we residents walk must be altered based on which lunatic is currently residing on which sidewalk.
Calling these people "homeless" makes them sound like victims when in reality, the fact that we as members of a community cannot walk down our streets without fear of a bum becoming violent and screaming profanities at us, clearly makes us the victims.
As many members of the La Jolla community know, encountering multiple problems with homeless people can be a weekly, if not daily, occurance, and not surprisingly, this was not my only encounter last week. As I came out of a watch repair shop, I saw an older homeless woman carrying a large paper bag. Unfortunately, her bag had gotten wet and broke, spilling all of her worldly possessions to the ground. It was very sad. Worse though, as I stopped to talk to her and offer assistance with her bag issue, she began to urinate. She was wearing a loose skirt and I saw urine running down her legs. She stepped into the street until it stopped.
These homeless people need care. Not withstanding their spread of hepatitis, their needs are complex. Many of them have mental illnesses, are drug and alcohol addicts or need medical attention. They do not need a meal or drug money handed to them as they sit on the sidewalk. They need to be cared for in shelters where professional staff can address their needs beyond just hunger.
Though homeless shelters are available for these people, they often prefer to stay on the streets rather than go to a shelter where rules must be followed, such as no drinking or drugs.
It is axiomatic that society needs reasonable mandatory procedures to deal with this homeless epidemic that just gets worse by the day. Therefore, if someone cannot handle the responsibility of caring for themselves then they should lose their freedom to do so. A very sensible solution would be to instruct our local police should pick up vagrants and take them to shelters where their needs can be assessed, even if they refuse. Clearly, this would provide them a better chance at recovery and the opportunity to live a healthier life than they will ever get if we continue to hand them food while leaving them to live in our public walkways. After many years of California's governments at every level failing to solve this problem, we also need a change in our government representatives. — Mary Trinity, Ph.D.
• Hi-Tide takes a cheap shot
As the father of two young adults who were editors of La Jolla High's student newspaper, La Jolla Hi-Tide — Rob, Class of 2006 and Allison, Class of 2008 — I (and they) are appalled that the school newspaper advising staff would encourage and publish the recent editorial cartoon depicting ignorant stereotypes. It is an example of "literary" license today — it is easier to get attention doing something easy and outrageous, than encouraging hard work, investigation and diligence.
How about getting editorial supervisors who value the traditional literary values including illustrations, rather than these Tweet-like pictures? — David Marsh
• Sighting the source of aircraft noise
I've been tracking aircraft flights over Mt. Soledad for several weeks using the counting device, airnoise.io The largest counts per week have been near 400; others closer to 250. All this depends upon the time I have at home to do the count. Most of these flights are private aircraft from Montgomery Field, flying low and loud.
Besides the continuous noise, which destroys the peace and quiet that one expects in one's home, it also increases the danger of a crash and the subsequent fires on the hillsides of the mountain. There have been more crashes lately than usual. A fire department inspector told me that a fire at Interstate 5 could destroy Soledad homes, all the way to the top in 15 minutes, if conditions were right.
Now that the Kearny Mesa advocates are planning an "Asian Quarter" business district on Convoy Street, they plan to improve Montgomery Field so that it easier to use for business flights. Heaven help us! — Roger Wiggans
• Pump House 'grafitti' is indeed a tradition
While I am sympathetic to the letter writer who recently wrote "Graffiti is destruction and not tradition" but withheld his/her name, I am somewhat in agreement. However, the surfing culture has been here in La Jolla for a long time. Novelist Tom Wolfe wrote "The Pump House Gang" about it in 1968. My son is part of it and is gainfully employed and a college student.
Yes, graffiti is difficult to look at. But surf people have a way of honoring their dead and do not mean any harm. Additionally, the death of the young man (for whom the graffiti on the WindanSea Beach Pump House was a tribute) could possibly help others. Nearly 150 people die every day in this country from opioids and if one person can look at that graffiti and rethink their lives, then I am supportive of the tradition.
There are many older members of our community who you can reach out to and ask if these young people could repaint the Pump House, and it would be done. I find the young people in our surf community to be both energetic and thoughtful, and not malicious in any way. — Edward Chopskie
• There are different ways to mourn a tragic loss
This letter in response to "graffiti is destruction and not tradition." Your letter speaks for itself. My only question is: When was the last time you organized or participated in a paddle out? — Kevin Hughes
• Who's really 'trashing' high school track?
The La Jolla High School track gates were open last Sunday while a girls lacrosse team practiced. I stepped in to observe the condition of the track, now that it is no longer open to the public. Imagine my surprise at how much trash I observed. (Editor's Note: Kay supplied images of the following items on the track sidelines: Q-tips, paper, string, pens, candy wrappers, torn envelopes).
In my past running or walking on the track days, I never witnessed this much trash. It appears the true culprits are students and sporting event fans, not the community. I also noted that the tennis courts (which remain open to the public due to a funding agreement) have not been damaged by the public. All that has been really trashed is many community members' feelings about the high school being a good community partner. It is not. — Kay Plantes
In the review of "Vietgone" in the Feb. 8, 2018 La Jolla Light issue, it should have said playwright Qui Nguyen's "Vietgone" is the first part of a planned trilogy of his family stories. Nguyen's script for "Poor Yella Redneck," the second play in his family trilogy, will have a reading during the Pacific Playwrights Festival, 1 p.m. Friday, April 20 at South Coast Repertory. Tickets are $18. scr.org
• What's on YOUR mind?
Letters published in La Jolla Light express views from readers in regard to community issues. To share your thoughts in this public forum, e-mail them with your name and city of residence to email@example.com or mail them to La Jolla Light Editor, 565 Pearl St., Suite 300, La Jolla, CA 92037. Letters reflect the writers' opinions and not necessarily those of the newspaper staff or publisher.