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Letters to the editor – April 2016

Posted: April 1st, 2016 | Featured, Letters to the editor, Opinion | No Comments

A lifetime of art

[Ref: “#ArtYouEnjoy,” Vol. 16, Issue 6, or at tinyurl.com/hhulhjs]

I enjoyed reading your story and learning about [her] family. I met Phylicia a week ago. I am a multimedia artist; I am 73 and still creating and producing my artwork. We moved from Julian to the city of San Diego almost two years ago. I have no studio now but I still am an artist, I lost my beret but I still paint, I donated all my art equipment to Julian High School because I thought I was finished with that part of my life.

But here I am turning our little home into an art studio … my jewelry room is the “Gold Room” named for my grandmother Yehuda Gold. And my dining room is now my paint studio, which I call “My Little Blue Room,” and that has a story too. I reign from Taos, New Mexico, and my husband Monte is a saint for putting up with me!

I am very impressed with Adelman Gallery and am hoping they have room for my art. Thank you Lee, I felt very comfortable with Phylicia; she had a very important meeting and still treated me very special. That made me come home with a warm feeling. Our daughter is a nurse and she treats us the same way. She told a doctor once, “You have lots of patients, I only have ONE MOTHER.” Shalom.

—CoCo Leraas, via sandiegodowntownnews.com

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A different perspective

[Ref: “Glimpsing into Downtown’s future,” Vol. 17, Issue 2, or at tinyurl.com/zwab4bv]

I’ve lived here for just over a year and can’t help but laugh at this assessment. First off, name a single bellwether employer that has agreed to move Downtown … wait that silence is the fact that the only “business” Downtown is law firms, hence the monstrosity of a courthouse I see from my office window. Also failed to acknowledge that most young professionals can’t afford their own places so they are bunking up in Downtown because wages in San Diego are terribly low for the cost of living.

So I beg to see real proof of this migration.

My Lyft driver just told me yesterday how he regrets moving Downtown because there is nothing to do beyond restaurants or bars. Perhaps a government initiative to bring real business and culture Downtown would be a wise proposition. I’ve lived in major cities around the country and San Diego is the only one where the exodus for work is away from the city …. you’ll never attract millennials with that strategy and they’re flocking to the cheaper, better living of the beach communities.

You guys really do live in a fantasy bubble out here, like you have to be a recent transplant to see how poorly run this county is … and don’t get me started on the worst public transit system in the country.

—William Arrington, via website

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Forgetting a timeless restaurant

[Ref: “Gaslamp restaurants stand the test of time,” Vol. 17, Issue 2, or at tinyurl.com/hdoys6s]

When talking about Gaslamp restaurants that have stood the test of time, how could you leave out Lou & Mickey’s?

—Mark Augarten, via website

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Not a fan

[Ref: “Tiny shelters that can,” Vol. 17, Issue 2, or at tinyurl.com/jzn5668]

I am a resident of Sherman Heights, unlike much of the volunteers of this project, and I am NOT in agreement with this plan of a village of tiny houses!

—Rene Guzman, via website

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Historical question

[Ref: “Gaslamp Landmarks: Watts-Robinson Building,” Vol. 17, Issue 2 or at tinyurl.com/j5jq2xe]

Who is Watts?

—Joan Miller, via website

Jake Romero, from The Gaslamp Historical Foundation, responds:

Mr. Watts refers to Nathan Watts, son of Henry Watts. Henry Watts held the mortgage on half of the two-story brick structure that was on the site before the Watts Robinson Building (The Johnson Building). Henry Watts was founder of Watts Holdings. It was Mayor David C. Reed (1880s) who loaned Watts the money to improve the property. Watts died in 1889 and his son Nathan took over ownership and management of the building in 1890, occupying a room in the building as a real estate agent. 

In 1912 at 45 years of age, Nathan demolished the 26-year-old Johnson Building to make way for his Watts Building. So in truth, the building was known only as the Watts Building until the group of attorneys, which included Mr. Robinson, purchased the building in 1952. Unfortunately, I have no information in our archives on the “Robinson” law firm, if there even was one.

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Against the tiny shelters

[Ref: The tiny shelters that can,” Vol. 17, Issue 2, or at tinyurl.com/jzn5668.]

No one doubts your organization’s desire to help solve the homeless problem in San Diego. There are so many well-intentioned folks that want to help, but we really must look seriously at the reasons for this problem and work together to find permanent, healthy solutions.

As a resident of one of the most impacted by the street population, tax-credit low income, apartment properties in Downtown, I can attest to the heartbreaking reality of life on the street for the homeless, as well as the attendant effect on those attempting to share the public spaces — such as sidewalks and transit stops — with that population, while living our own economically challenged life. I cannot believe that to continue the “shelter” model is good for either the homeless or for any adjacent community.

Like it or not, human nature is such that people who are suffering the tragic circumstance of homelessness need support, guidance, healthcare, and education, as well as decent permanent housing, to overcome the condition, which cannot be resolved by creating “encampments” that reinforce the perceptions of helplessness, rather than deal straight on with the specific needs listed above.

We should not fool ourselves into feelings of being “helpful” so long as the bigger issues persist. We have a city government that is finally coming to terms with the real issues of homelessness, and need to put our talents and efforts into taking substantive action on the “big picture” issues, else, our actions amount to no more than the ineffectual Band-Aid approach that “transitional housing” has proven to be over the past decades. That approach has contributed to the acceptance of homeless as unavoidable in our society, rather than something to be repaired, and most importantly, prevented.

We need a more comprehensive approach and “all hands on deck” to achieve it.

—Inez Bradley, via sandiegodowntownnews.com

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A homeless man offers feedback

[Ref: Vol. 17, issue 2, or at sandiegodowntownnews.com]

The two front-page articles on the homeless situation are important, as it has major impact on both real estate values and new construction.

We homeless (you featured an article about me in the Dec. 2014 issue [see, “Homeless for the holidays,” Vol. 15, Issue 12, or at tinyurl.com/jq4qn8b], believe the “annual count” misses over 90 percent of us, but David Schwab’s article clearly indicates a 21 percent poverty rate (one in five) in San Diego County, and an estimated cost-of-living that is “more than three times … the minimum wage.”

Homelessness is a rotation, like a roulette wheel, and when the ball falls on you, you go from being one of the 330,000 “Class 12” Homeless — those who would become homeless by merely missing a paycheck due to illness — to a sidewalk “Class 1” Homeless. From there, I know of no one in 30 years who has ever “escaped” homelessness, just changed from one category to another.

Fine issue, and thanks.

—Dr. John Kitchin, publisher, San Diego Homeless News, via email

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