Parking is focus for Balboa Park
The Judge tentatively ruled against the Plaza de Panama project on a technicality, finding that a parking lot in the middle of the plaza does have a “beneficial use” for the few people lucky enough to find a parking space there [see “SOHO suit against City tentatively wins in court,” Vol. 5 Issue 3]. Todd Gloria is right, there is a “… need to reclaim precious parkland from cars and give it back to the people for their enjoyment.” The best thing for visitors to Balboa Park would be a pedestrian-only Plaza de Panama, like the east end of the Prado.
—Sharon Gehl, via sduptownnews.com
As I suggested in a message to Todd Gloria, a better spot for a parking garage would be where the existing underutilized parking lot is located at the end of Eighth Drive. … A parking garage could be built on that site with sub levels that would allow entrances and exits from both Sixth Avenue and Seventh Avenue on the loop that turns into Date Street [see “SOHO suit against City tentatively wins in court,” Vol. 5 Issue 3].
Depending on how high they go with the garage it should provide ample parking. For those who do not want to walk to the plaza they can run shuttles, trolleys, a tram, a monorail, build a foot bridge with moving sidewalks or any combination of these things to transport people. Some like a tram could even attract people as a touristy thing to do. Unfortunately, my idea fell on deaf ears. The reply I got was full of excuses of why they couldn’t do it that really didn’t make sense to me.
—G. McGinnis, via sduptownnews.com
Removing constraints for public schools
Thanks for the article Andy. In my opinion, ironically, it is the very fact that parents do have choices now that is making it so difficult for neighborhood schools to excel – these choices are pulling away the parents most likely to contribute to their school (time and money) [see “Hidden in the heart of North Park: Thomas Jefferson Elementary,” Vol. 5, Issue 2].
I live in North Park, too and we probably know a lot of the same families – families who are dedicated and highly motivated to see their children’s schools succeed. If we all just went to the North Park neighborhood schools, those schools would undoubtedly improve, yet it is hard to resist some of the charter school options that are already vastly superior.
Perhaps we (as in society) should be asking why, given the same economic constraints, can the charter school a few miles away manage to keep class size at 20, but my neighborhood school is at 27? Why does the charter school have a professional art teacher, PE teacher, performing art teacher, and language program, but neighborhood schools have hardly any of those extras anymore? I’ve asked those questions, and the answer given is because charter schools aren’t held to the same regulations and constraints that regular public schools are. Well then, time to remove those constraints. But unfortunately that is a bigger can of worms that will take more than a group of parents to address.
—Shula, via sduptownnews.com
Garcia captures Latino culture
I am impressed with the creative artwork display of Juan Luis Garcia [see “Latino Film Festival 20th anniversary poster revealed,” Vol. 5, Issue 3]. Sometimes the best ideas come when we are in that moment of disappointment or despair. I feel the last inspiring Latin Film Festival movie poster was for the 15th annual (2008). This year, Mr. Garcia has truly captured the true Latino culture with the image of camera as a piñata.
—Kalin, via sduptownnews.com
Asking questions on gun control
The Black Panther party, Malcolm X and many other repressed groups and individuals represented the need of the right to bear arms as one of its core principles. Especially when the government passed the Mulford act to thwart the Black Panther’s neighborhood and policing the police program.
Let’s answer the difficult question about guns: what problem regarding gun deaths are you trying to solve? Were you a person that advocated gun control after the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, Virginia Tech, Columbine and Aurora or were you a person that wanted tighter gun restrictions due to the number of suicides or murders per year involving guns? According to the CDC, in 2011 there were 11,101 homicides from discharge of firearm and 19,766 suicides from discharge of firearm. Were you outraged about guns when that (insert minority here) was murdered on Tuesday? Or was it the suicide on Wednesday that aroused your inner gun control spirits?
Due to the current political conversation going on, it would seem plausible for one to assume that most Americans are concerned with mass shootings. In 1994, Bill Clinton signed the infamous assault rifle ban into law. The assault rifle is, after all, that big gun that allows murderers to kill innocent people by spraying multiple bullets in a crowd with one pull of the trigger. If you are familiar with guns, you might have been privy to my trickery. The assault rifle is a large gun, but all assault rifles do not allow a shooter to spray bullets with one pull of the trigger. Assault rifles are not synonymous with machine guns.
The assault-rifle ban was largely based on having a similar appearance to a military-grade, fully automatic weapon. Even though the federal ban on assault weapons flourished with symbolism, that is, misguided symbolism, it lacked meaningful substance. For example, a semiautomatic weapon was graduated to the illegal status of assault weapon if it had a detachable ammunition magazine and any combination of a pistol grip, a flash suppressor, telescoping stock, or bayonet mount. The problem is there isn’t anything in particular about the above features that make a gun unfathomably lethal.
Equally, if not more important, than what type of gun is being fired is who is actually doing the shooting. In order to operate a machine capable of inflicting death, one should be thoroughly evaluated and able to distinguish which scenarios it would be necessary to inflict such a punishment. Since the shooters of 39 of the 62 mass shootings in America had previous signs of a possible mental illness, determining who is mentally fit to own a gun and how doctors communicate that information so it appears on background checks is worthy of discussion and a solution.
In terms of the second amendment and its purpose, some of my privileged, misguided and white conservative friends seem to think they’ll actually need to use their guns to protect themselves from the American government. The irony is that they are citizens of a government that has historically and disproportionately tilted the American dream in their favor. I am curious to ask when was the last time government forces “randomly” pulled them over, denied them their right to vote, or met the side of a police baton from the hands of a police offer that did not view them as citizens. Blacks in America, especially during to the civil rights movement, needed guns to literally protect themselves and their communities from the government and not to mention the KKK, which is something that my liberal, rid-the-world of every gun friends should think about.
—Anthony Conwright, via email