Letters to the editor – July 31

Posted: July 31st, 2015 | Featured, Letters to the Editor, Opinion | No Comments

Bankers Hill Community Group rejects proposed “density bonus”

The Bankers Hill Community Group reviewed and discussed the Land Use draft element of the Uptown Community Plan Update at their July 20, 2015 meeting.

After discussion, the following motion was made: “The Bankers Hill Community Group opposes the City’s proposed ‘Density Bonuses’ presented in the draft Land Use element of the Uptown Community Plan Update.”

The motion was overwhelmingly approved.

The Bankers Hill Community Group (BHCG) respectfully requests that the Uptown Planners’ comments to the city reflect the views of the BHCG.

We look forward to working with the city staff and Uptown Planners to create a new community plan which respects the unique character of Bankers Hill.

—Ben Baltic, president, Bankers Hill Community Group

Save Hillcrest

The letter to the editor by Mr. Ben Nicholls [Volume 7, Issue 13 or at] is what one would expect of entrepreneurs. During the last few weeks, I saw excellent business places going out of business. It was crushing to see good guys leaving us.

My explanation for this, after being in the area for decades, is that too much change, too much in the way of high-rises and high density and super development have almost destroyed Hillcrest and surrounding neighborhoods. Where small and family homes existed, a builder is permitted to create a high rise putting intolerable strain on the infrastructure and destroying the charm and beauty of a block. One by one, Hillcrest’s streets are being destroyed for the sake of insatiable greed and gain. To what purpose? This happened to Greenwich Village and its surrounding areas in New York. Creative people move out in search of lower rents and affordable conditions. What else can they do?

I walk down the familiar streets of Hillcrest and a great sadness envelops me. Pernicano’s is empty. Surrounding streets are polluted by high rises. Buck bucks rein supreme. Gone are the small shops, the movie theaters of bygone days, the independent coffee shops, many of the smaller book shops — the slicksters, con men and phonies run around as if they have done something smart. The Five & Ten department store on Fifth Avenue is long gone. Who remembers the Otento and the wonderful Bob Gelink, or George Whitehead and the Chicken Pie Shop and many like them? These were the giants of this neighborhood.

What have you got now, Hillcrest? Sound and fury signifying nothing. Bragging about what? Your own suicide?

Let’s stop the b——t for once. Let’s save what’s left of Hillcrest and for that matter, of North Park, University Heights and Mission Hills before the big slick con men sell us the Brooklyn Bridge. Wake up! Stop the nonsense! Save what we have left before everything becomes a phony façade a la Los Angeles.

Max Steel, Mission Hills 

About Talmadge, Kensington coverage

The latest Uptown News arrived before the downpour and I was thrilled to see all the interesting stories. I thought you did an excellent job of explaining the “Trying times in Talmadge” [Volume 7, Issue 15 or at].

I’m sure you can understand our disbelief that one citizen could contact the mayor’s office and get something changed without any notification to our council member, planning group or residents. We were agog that the crew arrived one morning and it was a done deal the same day! So thank you for your thorough coverage. My hope is now that more residents know of this, we can get it changed back or an alternate solution can be promulgated.

I know several people have suggested the city put a left turn signal at Euclid and El Cajon Boulevard so those wishing to get onto Fairmount wouldn’t have to come through Talmadge. It would be faster for everyone, and safer, I’d bet. I never realized how many people use Euclid to get to Fairmount until I drove up from University Avenue on it and noticed that at every cross street there were signs saying not to block the intersection. Then it dawned on me: They get so much traffic on that street in the morning that cars were blocking people who live on the cross streets for getting out via Euclid. That can’t be good!

Also glad to see the story about the return of Kensington Video [same issue. also see] Appreciated the information about the turn-around in their plans. I’m looking forward to visiting it!

I noticed Ben Nicholls stirred up a hornets’ nest with his density suggestion for Hillcrest. At least it shows people are interested! I don’t get into Hillcrest much anymore, but heard that Babette Schwartz card shop is now gone; I’m guessing due to high rent. What a shame if that doesn’t pop up somewhere else; I bought all my birthday and other cards there, it had such a rich selection. We can only hope the space doesn’t become yet another restaurant!

Keep up the good work. I always look forward to our community newspaper.

—Tom Luhnow, Talmadge

Re: 47th and Monroe Avenue left-hand turn

Thanks for article; I will have cameras installed this week for this intersection. I own the apartments on the corner.

Mark Daddario, Talmadge

Loved Andy Hines’ column

On “Theater responds to concerns, and community breaks into song” [Volume 7, Issue 15 or online at].

Love the article, particularly the history of the theater. I lived in North Park in the 1950s and early ‘60s and went to the North Park Theatre almost every Saturday —walked from my house then. Fast forward many years, I am the long-time happy owner of an apartment building on 30th Street; and am in love with the North Park renaissance, as are all my tenants.

Also, awesome job on the part of the new theater owners for working with the community. They had great ideas, particularly the one about parking in the parking structure, and now the parking structure is meeting budget for the first time. I think theater owners and managers are doing a model job of working with the community and becoming an important asset to North Park.

—Diane Strum, North Park

What wrong with TargetExpress?

On “TargetExpress to open in South Park in the fall” [Volume 7, Issue 14 or online at].

Really? Is this the biggest issue facing our neighborhood? What kills me about these fake-outrage NIMBY (not in my backyard) hipsters is their “down with corporate America” stance. I suppose they won’t purchase clothes, a TV or a car unless it’s made in South Park either?

—Tom Andrus, Uptown resident

Coverage about Pear Pearson

On “Pear Pearson: Master builder and master businessman” [Volume 7, Issue 13 or online at].

What a great story. I enjoyed learning about the origins of the beautiful homes in my neighborhood and plan to walk the ‘hood to check them out. Thanks to the family for saving all Pear’s documents.

—Sarah W. Scalo, Uptown resident

Thank you so much to Katherine Hon and the Uptown News for the wonderful research and articles of our great-uncle, John Pearson, and our grandfather Pear Pearson. How exciting it is to see them brought back to life for a bit, and to relive their history and contributions to the North Park community and San Diego. They live on in the many fine buildings they constructed in many corners of San Diego. We are grateful to Katherine for the many hours of research and the crafting of the fine articles about the Pearson brothers.

Many thanks from the grandchildren of Pear Pearson.

—Kari Koskinen

‘He didn’t do enough’

I agree with Terry Cunningham, he “didn’t do enough” [see “HIV/AIDS activist honored as Local Hero,” Volume 7, Issue 14 or at]. I first met Mr. Cunningham in the early ‘80s as I had volunteered at the San Diego AIDS Project. We were taught men were not HIV “infected,” they were HIV “positive.” Men were not “dying” of AIDS, they were “living” with AIDS. It is “get tested,” not so much for the sake of prevention, but get tested so you can get on meds as soon as possible.

For 30 years, it has been cute slogans and semantics.  It has never been about behaviors that still take place in bathhouses sanctioned by the city and its politicians or about the Grindr app for “bare backing.”

The readers of this paper may not know, but some young gay men will infect themselves with HIV on purpose. They are called “bug chasers.” The HIV infection rate is again rising in the community and people, fundraisers, are still talking about “fear and stigma and homophobia.” HIV will continue to be a problem until we deal with the “community’s addiction to crystal meth” and deal with the emotional and psychological issues that lead to self-destructive behaviors.

—Kevin McCarthy, San Diego

Save our redwood forests

Thanks to early conservation efforts, vast areas of prehistoric redwoods have been protected from logging where they survive in our state despite generations of an industrial economy. These redwood forests are now under threat and help is needed if we want these ancient trees to continue into the future.

Poachers are encroaching into protected government and private land to steal the burls from these trees. By removing their protective layers of bark, these ancient redwoods lay exposed to disease and pests killing them quickly over time. The burls are sold to lumber mills or craftsmen and this beautiful decorative wood is ultimately used to create high end consumer goods. With the small number of rangers available to patrol the vast acreage of the forest, the risk of getting caught is limited. Worse yet, if convicted, current penalties can be easily incorporated into the cost of doing business with minimal impact on the profitability of this enterprise.

The California Federation of Women’s Clubs is asking for support of California Senate Bill 288 that increases penalties of burl poaching to include up to one year of imprisonment and imposes stiff fines on poachers in the hopes of making those who would kill our redwoods think twice before seeking this avenue for enrichment. While this does not resolve the problem of catching poachers, it will reduce the spin of the courtroom doors for those convicted of this offense.

We ask that Californians contact their State Assembly representative to stand with the California Federation of Women’s Clubs to protect our redwoods by passing Senate Bill 288.

Jennifer Nickel, Legislation & Public Policy state chairman of California Federation of Women’s Clubs

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