April 23 2014 09:25 AM

Our readers tell us what they think



In our April 2 "The Short List," we reported that artist Brennan Hubbell is the grandson of artist James Hubbell. He is his son. We're very sorry for the error.

Deadbeat dads

I intently read Joshua Emerson Smith's story about the minimum wage in the March 19 issue. Why is it that single moms are always the emotional tug on this issue?

I am tired of reading about single moms who do not receive support from the men who caused them to become moms. Are these moms using legal means to get deadbeat dads to provide child support and, if they are divorced, to provide alimony? If not, then they should not be having society stand in the place of those deadbeat dads either through food stamps or WIC or taking the position that their employers should pay them more than what the market says their job function is worth.

What happened to the trait that families help one another in times of distress? If a single mom has an extended family, should not that family pitch in to help out that single mom?

The state's already staked out a position by raising the minimum wage without any reference to all the deadbeat dads. Why do deadbeat dads always get a pass? Maybe you should dig deeper into this societal travesty so these bums can be held accountable for their cowardly conduct!

Also, I loved Edwin Decker's ranting and ravings in the same issue ["Sordid Tales"]. I guess the Muslims agree with him, because they've banned the film Noah from being shown in nations where they control the levers of power. Decker's iconoclasm is his defining attribute!

Lou Cumming, La Jolla

Vassiliou's ‘dying craft'

When I read your story on typewriter repairman Mitchell Vassiliou ["Art & Culture," March 19], I said, "Hey, I know that guy!" I work at a church, and we had an old typewriter sitting in a storeroom that I paid Mitchell to spiff up for us. But the real value of the article is that it highlights someone who is practicing a dying craft.

Also, my dad and I engage in that old-fashioned practice of handwriting letters, and I'm always on the lookout for interesting articles or news items to mail to him, and this definitely qualifies. How ever did you think to write about a typewriter repairman?

Thanks for writing this. I enjoyed it. But I do feel a bit guilty that I'm not typing this on that old typewriter.

Kathi Lohry, City Heights

Investigation needed

I was excited when I saw on CityBeat's March 26 cover "Fest or fizzle." Finally, I thought, a newspaper with the courage to expose what is really going on and who is responsible.

But, alas, while the article gave a fairly detailed description of the Balboa Park Centennial Inc.'s (BPCI) plans and told which of those may survive, there was no mention of what happened to the money that appears to have been misspent or, worse, who the responsible parties were, what is going to be done about the disappearance of millions of dollars of taxpayers' money or why someone's salary was more than doubled to enable giving what is left of the money back to the city where it should automatically go.

A former mayor behaves inappropriately and his misdeeds are publicly aired ad nauseam as he is drummed out of office. An individual steals a cookie-money jar from some Girl Scouts and is sentenced to months in jail and required to repay what he took.

BPCI appears to have committed a criminal act, their chairperson resigns and there is no mention of any formal investigation, or prosecution, if warranted, nor are any other board members' names printed.

Won't someone please explain who these people are and why they are being let off the hook?

Louisiana Dalton, North Park 

Editor's note: We turned Ms. Dalton on to Voice of San Diego's comprehensive story on the BPCI debacle.

The ‘living legend'

Kinsee Morlan's article on the to-be-or-not-to-be Balboa Park centennial celebration is outstanding ["Art & Culture," March 26]. CityBeat has delivered another fine piece of investigative reporting— one with some heart-tugging notes about community organizations (e.g. Pascat, Native Americans) eager to know whether they will be included. The original 1915 fair featured an array of ethnic groups—a real portrait of California—and should do so again in the 2015 event.

BPCI's Gerry Braun, a former muckraking reporter for the Union-Tribune who looked into shenanigans among elected officials, pulled a reported $8,000 a month to serve as a nebulous liaison with the community. But that figure may actually have been $13,000. What is it about folks in San Diego who insert themselves into leadership positions in the arts and then don't deliver on the mission—but take home BBB (Bacon Beyond Belief )?

Between 1994 and 2007, we produced three documentaries about Balboa Park, each of which received an Emmy Award. The one-hour network special for PBS, Balboa Park: The Magic City, was a day in the life of one of the world's great urban spaces, folding in historical material from the 1915 and 1935 fairs. The late Lionel Van Deerlin narrated, and there were numerous eyewitness accounts on camera.

The half-hour program Postcards from the Fair focused on the 1935 fair and its significance as a civic jobs savior at the height of the Great Depression.

The half-hour "workhorse" production Balboa Park: A Living Legend focuses on both the 1915 and 1935 fairs. It, too, used archival black-and-white and color footage shot during the fairs. In 1994, after obtaining permission from the then-San Diego Historical Society to use the footage, we went to Deborah Szekely for underwriting to restore the decaying nitrate film at our L.A. lab and remaster it, while dubbing to Beta SP for long-term uses. The restored footage has since been used by KPBS and others.

A couple of years ago, to help the community prepare for the centennial, we donated DVDs of Balboa Park: A Living Legend to every branch library in the city and county systems and to several schools. They are reportedly in constant use. Most recently, we sent a DVD of this program to Mayor Faulconer and the Committee of One Hundred. We will gladly do this for any nonprofit educational institution upon receipt of a request on letterhead.

Balboa Park is a living national treasure, a major achievement, and it, and the San Diego city and county population, deserve a big birthday party. Here's hoping.

Jack Ofield and Helen Erawan Ofield, Lemon Grove

More ideas for Balboa Park

Regarding your April 2 editorial about how to fix the Balboa Park centennial celebration: I like your idea of past, present and future. The big mistake was trying to create a celebration that had a primary goal of attracting tourists. Balboa Park is San Diego's treasure, and Balboa Park 2015 should be our party, right down to the flavor of the sheet cake.

One idea I had would be to create a "soap box" in our Plaza de Panama public square where, during certain hours, people could stand on it and talk about whatever they want. Great way to engage the public in civic discourse, and cheap, too. Another idea would be to hold a huge chalk festival and invite our best chalk artists to transform the plaza's blank concrete canvas with art. I know that there are many more ideas out there. Thanks for getting the ball rolling.

Felicia W. Shaw, Azalea Park

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