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Our Readers Write: Fighting racism; airport issues; schools and more

Demonstrators march from La Jolla Cove toward Windansea Beach on June 12 to support Black Lives Matter.
(Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

Letters to the editor:

Village Merchants Association mask distribution was in poor taste

As a former president of the La Jolla Village Merchants Association, a District 1 voter, business owner and resident of La Jolla, I found it extremely disturbing that LJVMA took advantage of the [June 12] Black Lives Matter protest as an opportunity to distribute face masks in a distasteful attempt to promote The Village and its merchants instead of actually standing behind and truly supporting the movement to end systemic racism in our country, state and city.

This is a time for LJVMA and the merchants to take a critical look at the ways we each continue to engage in our white-privileged ways and to identify what we need to grow, understand and empower the black community.

Alisha Hawrylyszyn Frank

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Don’t blame the victims

I’m writing in response to Stanley Back’s appalling dog whistle of a letter, “Choose heroes carefully” (La Jolla Light, June 15 online, June 18 in print).

Back writes, “I would like to see if any newspaper would dare print the rap sheet of some that people tried to turn into heroes.”

Black Lives Matter didn’t “choose” George Floyd, Eric Garner, Michael Brown or any of the other black victims of police violence to be the faces of the movement — the police who killed them did. George Floyd was slowly strangled to death face down on the pavement while crying out for his mother. If your reaction to that is “I wonder what his rap sheet looks like,” then you need to do some serious soul searching.

There is no rap sheet that justifies summary execution.

Brian Keating

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Acts of helpfulness are unforgettable

At 11 p.m., I took out the garbage and locked the front door. I accidentally threw my keys and the garbage into the dumpster. I could see my keys but I could not reach them.

To make a long story short, five teenagers from my apartment complex got my keys out of the dumpster. I did not know them and I am very grateful to them!

I called my mom to tell her the story and she reminded me of what had happened to her.

Sometime between 1952 and 1960, my parents went camping on the La Jolla beach. It was dark and they were sitting by the campfire and my mom noticed that she had lost her wedding ring.

The next day my dad drove into town and bought a screen to sift the sand to find my mom’s wedding ring. My parents sifted the sand around the campfire site for hours.

A 9-year-old boy sat down next to them and asked what they were doing. My parents told him and asked him not to disturb the sand where they had worked.

With one scoop of the little boy’s hand in the sand, he found my mom’s wedding ring!

My mom hugged him tight and my parents thanked him and asked what he would like as a way to thank him. The boy said, “I would like a little car.” My parents gave him $9. That is all the cash they had with them at the time. The little boy was thrilled.

My mom is 90 years old and my dad died five years ago. He would have been 98. My dad told me this story many times. They never forgot about that little boy!

Lisa MacDonald

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San Diego airport’s location and management make no sense

Anthony Stiegler has once again put together a good commentary on airport noise and the expansion plan in the June 18 issue of the La Jolla Light.

In September 2016, I could not believe the noise overhead in Bird Rock in the early morning and late night due to flight path changes. From that time on, the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority has continued to expand this trend, which now affects not only the beach area but the inland takeoff and approach areas, as well as downtown San Diego.

You don’t fly to Paris and land a few feet from the Champs-Élysées. You don’t fly into London and plan to alight on the Mall. No. There is fast transit from the airport into the city so that the living areas are able to function and be livable. Denver is an example of an airport that coexists with the city by being 30 minutes outside the city and providing fast transit to the city.

So why must residents and visitors to San Diego arrive next to the harbor, the beach and downtown? The airport belongs out of town with fast transit so we can preserve the city for living, not dying in the stench and traffic that the airport encourages.

Who in their right mind would take the cultural and historical center, the downtown, the waterfront and the beaches of a city and pummel them with noise, pollution and traffic? This is what has happened to San Diego in the past four years. It is a travesty. And yet the SDCRAA continues with this nightmare scenario.

Gillian Ackland

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Much to do to prepare for the next school year

COVID-19 has radically changed the concept of traditional education in San Diego. Parents and students understand that being physically present in a classroom isn’t the only option for learning.

Now that Gov. Newsom and local public health officials have allowed schools to reopen, each of the 42 school districts and nearly 130 charter schools in the county are responsible for developing and implementing their own reopening plan. Local public health determines the conditions for school to reopen based on guidance from the state on what health protective measures need to be implemented, such as facial coverings, social distancing and screening for COVID-19 symptoms before coming on campus.

The San Diego County Office of Education is here to support school districts and charter schools in following state and local guidelines and has created materials to support districts and schools in reopening. San Diego Unified schools will reopen in the fall with a focus on health and safety, according to a vote by the San Diego Unified Board of Education. Students will have a choice of attending class either on campus, online or a combination of both. The official date for back to school this year is unchanged: Aug. 31 for all schools on a traditional calendar.

While schools are permitted to reopen, it takes significant modifications to begin working with students on campus. Reopening schools requires a great deal of planning and preparation, along with many expenses that would not have been needed before the pandemic. School leaders are looking forward to reopening schools and must do it in a safe way so we can accelerate learning, promote instructional continuity and address social-emotional and mental health needs.

If you find that your child is having difficulties adjusting to changes in the way schools will operate, please reach out to your school principal, vice principal or counselor.

The San Diego County Office of Education is committed to supporting school districts, schools, students and families with resources to improve their mental and emotional wellness during this transitional period or anytime. Our goal is to support the removal of barriers that impact student success.

To learn more about the service the county office provides, please go to sdcoe.net/student-services/student-support/Pages/mental-health.aspx.

Mark Powell
Member of the San Diego County Board of Education

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What’s on YOUR mind?

Letters published in the La Jolla Light express views from readers about community matters. Submissions of related photos also are welcome. Letters reflect the writers’ opinions and not necessarily those of the newspaper staff or publisher. Letters are subject to editing for brevity, clarity and accuracy. To share your thoughts in this public forum, email them with your name and city or neighborhood of residence to robert.vardon@lajollalight.com. ◆