Filner's a man of action
I appreciate Bob Filner's approach ["Editorial," Nov. 14]. I tried for more than two years to get help from my representive, Duncan Hunter, and his staff to get my deceased uncle (a World War II POW who died in POW camp in the Java Sea area) his rightfully earned POW medal and a Purple Heart.
I was introduced to a staff member for Congressman Filner. He invited me to the local office in Chula Vista. A very nice young lady reviewed my substantiating documents and helped me fill out some further paperwork. Congressman Filner took my case for action, and in six months our family was receiving my uncle's earned medals for World War II, including a POW and a Purple Heart. He was also behind the National Cemetery at Miramar.
Bob is a supporter of the common man. I feel he will be a similar person as San Diego mayor.
Howard Gillins, San Carlos
Freedom Rider rides again
About your Nov. 14 editorial on Bob Filner's election: In recent reportage of the mayoral election, it was frequently mentioned that Filner was a Freedom Rider. Reporters assume a tacit understanding on the part of the reader of what that means. For people old enough to have been around during the Freedom Rides, they may recall the shocking photographs of John Lewis and Jim Zwerg beaten within an inch of death and the Greyhound bus in flames. There was the tardy response from the Justice Department and the president's reluctance to get involved, fearing a distraction from his Cold War agenda.
But younger readers often have only a vague idea of what happened. They confuse the events with the Montgomery bus boycott, an essentially peaceful event. They think Martin Luther King was the instigator or that the participants were all a bunch of white people from up north.
The real story is much richer and may shed light on the character and behavior of our new mayor. What distinguished the Freedom Rides from other direct actions of the Civil Rights movement was the impatience, if you will, that they brought to the task. The organizers and participants possessed not only amazing courage in the face of pathological hatred, but also organizational intelligence that many of them went on to use in their later lives, as Congress members, for instance. The New York Times at the time praised their courage but called their action "provocative" and advised them to halt and go home.
Here in San Diego, we are mellow. We don't do "provocative," although pathological behavior, in the form of throwing a rock at the home of a prominent labor leader, seems to get a pass. I, for one, am glad that Filner, at 70, when he certainly deserved a rest, did not go home.
In 1962, when I was a 16-year-old Unitarian member of Non-violent Action Group in Washington D.C., I joined other students, mostly from Howard University, on a brief excursion up Route 40 in Maryland to get a cup of coffee at the then-segragated Howard Johnson's. We sang all the way there and all the way back. I can still hear us. My advice to Bob? Start every staff meeting with a song.
Laurie Macrae, Golden Hill
Excellent Kreep story
I'm a visitor in town from Vancouver. B.C. I happened to pick up CityBeat and read your article on Gary Kreep [Cover story, Nov. 14]. I would just like to commend you on your article. It was a fantastic read— well-researched and provided a real insight to an outsider into the behind-the-scenes politics in your great country. Excellent.
Andrew Sixsmith, Vancouver