Guidelines: Letters to the Editor
August 8, 2022
I, too, have a response to council member Quirk’s request for comments regarding his July 15, 2022 email correspondence assigning his recommendations to solve homelessness to one set of data collection.
Cherry-picking data like this just continues the path to willful blindness. This is not a good look for our leader with whom we, as his constituents, have entrusted responsibility and public voice.
Many agencies and institutions in San Diego County are investing rigorous examination of the factors that can prevent housing instability and to rehouse youth, seniors, individuals and families and to strengthen the weaknesses in our systems. The County is taking these data and dispatching resources rapidly.
For more points of data and local implementation strategies, take a look at the new ‘Homelessness Hub’ at UCSD’s Department of Urban Studies, the graduate research on homelessness prevention at University of San Diego School of Business, the County of San Diego’s Office of Homeless Solutions and Equitable Communities and its partnership with Aging and Independence to prevent senior housing crises, 2-1-1 San Diego/Community Information Exchange and its policy brief ‘Housing Instability in San Diego County and the non-profit agency, Serving Seniors and its recent report and initiative ‘Senior Homelessness: A Needs Assessment’.
I would discourage anyone in our community to give much regard to the nine points in council member Quirk’s conclusions until he can dig much deeper into the local efforts. His position needs to be more authoritative and less authoritarian.
Advocate for the Homeless
June 21, 2022
Our children are being used as sacrificial lambs to the altar of the Second Amendment absolutist’s cult. Gun rights are seldom used for self-protection and mainly used for mass destruction, especially with assault rifles.
AR-15s, the civilian equivalent of the M16 military weapon, are semi-automatic and can hold up to 100 rounds of bullets that shatter the target. Because there were nearly 400,000 assault weapons in the hands of American citizens, a law was passed to ban them in 1994. A decade later that law expired and today there are nearly 20 million AR-15s in the hands of civilians. The sole purpose of these weapons is mass killings. These are often used in school massacres. Surely, they can be banned without affecting normal gun rights.
It is claimed by the ARA that the only defense against the bad guy with the gun is a good guy with a gun. As the Uvalde massacre clearly proved, good guys with guns waited outside, despite numerous calls for help from children who were being slaughtered by an eighteen-year-old. At age 18 you cannot legally buy a beer, but you can buy an assault rifle. One can easily change this age requirement to a higher level, to buy a gun.
To compare an eighteen-year-old, like the killer in Uvalde to an eighteen-year-old soldier, is totally inappropriate. A soldier is vetted in many ways by the military. Even after a gun is issued, it is kept in the armory and not for use at the soldier’s discretion.
It is also advocated by some gun right enthusiasts that we should arm our teachers, rabbis, priests, and grocery clerks. If this reasoning is followed, every public place would end up being a fortress, where every intruder would be viewed with suspicion.
The biggest propaganda victory for the NRA has been its slogan that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people”. Apply this to any other tool, you’ll realize how ridiculous this propaganda is. For example, “Cameras don’t take pictures, people take pictures.” Next time you want to take a picture of our beautiful Del Mar sunset, go click, click with your fingers without the camera and send the picture to the NRA supporters.
Where there are more guns available, there will be more gun violence.
Maneck S. Wadia, PhD
July 17, 2022
Dan Quirk’s “rumination” on homelessness, widely distributed by email last Friday, was simplistic and myopic. A commentary in the LA Times on Saturday tells a compelling story of how deeply complex homelessness is, all the failures of government, and the many layers of humanity it takes to get someone off the streets. (Steve Lopez, “He Was Homeless and in Hospice. His recovery is a lesson in what it takes to save a life.“) A few days ago, there was this much longer piece that is devastating to read: “Pregnant, homeless, and living in a tent.”
One common thread running through so much of homelessness is the fact that children are born and abandoned or taken away from abusive or neglectful families, placed into foster care, and start a cycle of dysfunction that often culminates in homelessness when they grow up. Some statistics (data!) say that 50% of foster children who age out of the system in California are homeless within two years. I work for California CASA, and know something about this crisis.
For Data Dan to tell us that Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, Georgia, and Alabama have the answer is just ridiculous. All 5 of those states have terrible U.S. stats for child mortality, maternal mortality, child abuse, poor education, poverty, etc. Louisiana is #50 or close to it in most measured categories. And of course now that Roe is overturned and these states have all rushed to ban abortion, imagine the influx of yet MORE unwanted children into foster care systems.
Dan is just obsessed with data, I guess, but maybe he can’t imagine what real people go through in real life. Beyond data, we need insight, compassion, and a deep dive into the problem. Governor Newsom’s Care Court Shelter program is an example of a solution that might actually address this problem. Data Dan seems more interested in blaming those “who consistently reject offers of shelter and supportive services and engage in destructive social behavior.” That is a skewed and simplistic perspective that we, as a humane and caring community, should reject.
Editors note: Also on homelessness, in the June Sandpiper: Care Court Shelter, by Dwight Worden.
April 10, 2021
The statement in your editorial that, “… our electricity supply from SDG&E is currently less than 40% renewable, so charging your car with dirty energy defeats the goal of zero emissions”, is misleading in several ways. Of course, 40% renewable is a whole lot better than 0% renewable for gas at the pump, but you miss other advantages that make electric cars much more efficient and environmentally friendly than their gas counterparts.
First, electric cars burn less “fuel” because power plants run at roughly 38 – 60% thermodynamic efficiency versus 20 – 35% percent for cars. Second, electric cars don’t burn gas or emit exhaust when parked in the daily traffic jam on I-5. Third, electric cars use regenerative braking to capture energy that goes completely to waste in gas cars.
Yes, we need cleaner, more renewable energy from SDG&E, but electric cars are a big step in the right direction right now.
Joel F. Martin, Ph.D.
Editors’ note: We agree with all of Dr. Martin’s points. The point we were trying to make is that charging your EV with 100% renewable energy from CEA is an attractive option if you don’t have rooftop solar.
April 5, 2021
William Forrest’s account of his cello practice during Covid19 was a delight to read.
His youthful optimism, self-discipline, and love of music shined through every sentence. To steal words from another kind of artist of a much earlier generation, it “has given my heart a change of mood and saved some part of a day I had rued.” (In remembrance of Robert Frost’s, “A Dust of Snow.”)