Letters to the Editor
Bird Park history holds errors
Thank you for the brief article on the history of Bird Park [see “Once upon a time in North Park,” Vol. 4, Issue 15].
It contains many important errors that should be corrected.
The idea of a park, 20 years ago, was the City’s, and they commissioned Wallace Roberts & Todd [WRT] … to design the park.
WRT brought me on as the public artist, and I indeed did come up with the idea of a bird for the six acre lofty site, but designing, laying out and building the park was a team effort, with WRT as the lead. Wick Alexander was not a part of the design team, though he was later commissioned to hand enamel the interpretive signs, including the one you picture.
About eight years ago, the City commissioned ONA Landscape Architects to upgrade ADA [Americans with Disabilities Act compliance], art and landscape wear, and inconsistencies, which are being considered now with the love and attention of the North Park community and Balboa Park staff. For more information please contact Marlene Williams of The Friends of Balboa Park.
—Robin Brailsford, via email
Does Chick-fil-A cartoon distort facts?
I cannot believe any editor with minimal intelligence would print such cartoons that totally distort the situation [see “Opinion” cartoon, Vol. 4, Issue 16].
1. First of all, Chick-fil-A has never discriminated against any customer, gay or otherwise. So why would you indicate such? [This is] a total distortion of the facts.
2. The owner, like I and at least 50 percent of the U.S. population, does not support gay marriage. We treat gays and non-gays with respect but do not agree that the definition of marriage should be redefined. Why contaminate the term “marriage” with something we’re opposed to? Choose a unique, better word.
Please help me understand your point of view. Or simply is everyone with opposing views (i.e. 50 percent of [the] U.S. population) bigots, ignorant, lack understanding and love? I suppose when your children do something wrong in your viewpoint, and you oppose it, you lack love and understanding.
—Bud Wegner, via email
Editor’s note: the cartoon served the purpose of starting a dialog on the recent Chick-fil-A controversy, which stemmed not only from comments made by the fast-food chain president, Dan Cathy, but also from the company’s $5 million in donations to organizations known to discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals. Please see Philadelphia Gay News Publisher and national LGBT activist Mark Segal’s editorial in today’s issue for further understanding.
The meat of the issue
By Mark Segal
So Jon Stewart and his crew at “The Daily Show” spoofed the anti-gay talk of the CEO of Chick-fil-A. Columnists everywhere and officials in Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia and New York City have called for everything from a boycott to impeding the fast-food chain’s plans to open new restaurants.
All of this outcry [is happening] because the head of a national company stirred the pot about the issue of marriage equality. But, let’s get beyond his actual words. Is the fact that he expressed his opinion cause for a full-fledged boycott or prohibiting the chain from opening new locations?
The answer is no, for two very good reasons: 1) freedom of speech and 2) the likelihood of such a boycott failing. An effective boycott takes organization, and this one wouldn’t be successful.
But there’s a bigger danger at stake, one the media, our straight allies nor Chick-fil-A are discussing, and one that journalists and elected officials should have researched by now. Through the fast-food company’s charitable organization, WinShape Foundation, the chain has donated some $5 million to various anti-gay organizations, including, most disturbingly, Exodus International and similar groups that have claimed they can “cure” homosexuality.
These groups make claims that are completely devoid of medical merit. And they use various forms of torture to support their fictitious theories. They systematically tear down individuals by making them hate themselves for being LGBT. They tell them that society does not accept them, how they will be without family and end up lonely, how they may die from AIDS. Some groups even deliver electric shocks while showing their victims pornography. So I’ll not be skipping Chick-fil-A because of its owner’s hate speech and philosophies; I’ll avoid Chick-fil-A because of the violence its charitable foundation supports against LGBT people.
How to save on back-to-school shopping
By Jason Alderman
On the fun-o-meter, I’d probably rank back-to-school shopping right above getting a flu shot and preparing income taxes. Never mind the hassle of figuring out what our kids need for the coming school year and dragging them to the mall, it’s just so expensive.
Many years ago my wife and I learned our lesson and started setting aside money each month for the inevitable – and unexpected – expenses that crop up each fall. By trial and error, and sound advice from fellow parents, we’ve developed a back-to-school budgeting checklist.
First, calculate how much you can afford to spend on school-related expenses without blowing your overall budget or racking up debt. Scoring bargains won’t help your bottom line if you end up paying interest on unpaid balances.
Next, make a comprehensive list of anticipated expenses for each child and build in a cushion for unexpected costs. Try these strategies:
- Examine previous years’ bills and compare notes with other, more experienced parents.
- Ask the school which supplies they expect you to buy. Pool resources with other families to take advantage of volume discounts and sales.
- Spread clothing purchases throughout the year so your kids won’t outgrow everything at once; plus you can take advantage of off-season sales.
- Review school dress codes so you don’t waste money on inappropriate clothing.
- Before buying new clothing or accessories, look for “gently used” items in the closets of your older kids, friends and neighbors, at garage sales, thrift and consignment stores, and sites like Craig’s List.
- Find out how much extracurricular activities (athletics, music, art, etc.) cost. Account for uniforms, membership dues, private lessons, field trips and snacks, among others.
- Compare the cost, convenience and nutritional value of school lunches and snacks versus food you prepare yourself.
- Learn your school’s policy on immunizations and see what’s covered by your insurance, or which ones you can access free at health fairs or community clinics.
- Factor in public transportation, school bus or carpool expenses.
- Although shopping online can save money, time and gas, don’t forget shipping and return costs, which could undo any net savings. If your kids are old enough, put them in charge of online comparison-shopping.
- Clip newspaper and online coupons. Many stores will match competitors’ prices even if their own items aren’t on sale. Plus, many consolidation websites post downloadable coupons and sale codes for online retailers.
- Mobile shopping apps let in-store smartphone and mobile browser users scan product barcodes and make on-the-spot price comparisons, read reviews, download coupons, buy products and more.
Some parents wrestle over whether or not to take their kids on shopping trips. I think it’s worth the effort so they can hear and absorb your decision-making process and understand what’s available to spend. My kids are probably sick of hearing me say, “I’m going to buy this brand of underwear because it’s cheaper, which will give us more money to buy a better-quality jacket.”
Bottom line: back-to-school shopping can be tedious, but if you plan carefully, you can save time, money and aggravation.