Nov. 25 2015 12:35 AM

Our readers tell us what they think


Thank you for your article on our homeless vets [“Political will and homeless veterans,” Nov. 11]. I do think the problems run much deeper and are more systemic.

I do think it is essential that we talk more about the “negative externalities” that homelessness wreaks, not only on the homeless but also the community.

And I am sincere in my belief that until both sides give up the shield of anonymity, we will not see the problem(s) each side has in this critical matter, nor the opportunities that can help solve it!

Alan Bennett, San Diego


Kudos to editor Ron Donoho for covering “The homeless death toll spikes” in CityBeat on Nov. 4, with an excellent analysis of the situation. The conventional news media in San Diego have rarely, if ever, written about the deaths resulting from homelessness, so it’s good to see the alternate media do so. Several hundred eventually lost their lives over the years to build Petco Park, when their homes were torn down and they had nowhere to go. Without the rubber tents, this year could be even worse. Many homeless are found dead in dumpsters every year, too, a victim of direct or indirect suicide. Homeless lose the will to live, being insulted hundreds of times daily, despised, hated, victimized by hate crimes, given tainted food and gawked at like a zoo exhibit—the human animal on the sidewalk. Once you’ve lost the will to live, you no longer care and will not seek shelter from rain, or see a doctor when sick or get out of the way of a truck. I call that indirect suicide, the most common end to being homeless. I criticize the nonprofits for their failure to change anything. Thanks.

Dr. John Kitchin, San Diego Homeless News


Your CityBeat story about Judy Garland-related local events [“A dark End of the Rainbow,” Nov. 11] brought back some lovely memories.

In the early 1950s I lived in Long Branch, New Jersey (the real Jersey Shore), and was a true theater buff. It was only an hour train trip to New York City, so I got to indulge my passion regularly.

I don’t remember the exact date, but I was in the theater district in NYC without a plan and came to the Palace Theatre. It was the last night of Judy Garland’s most successful run and on a whim I asked at the box office if there was even a slim chance of getting a ticket. Aha—the clerk was delighted—they had kept aside a first-row ticket for a friend who was unable to use it. It was mine!

The show was, of course, incredible. I was in a fan’s daze throughout. Naturally, the audience was wonderfully supportive, and Judy did a few encores. Then she announced that she would do only one more number. The proverbial hush fell over the house, she quietly sat down at the edge of the stage, facing me, and without taking her eyes off me for the entire piece, sang “Over the Rainbow.”

I’m still “out there” with you, Judy.

Ona Rita Yufe, Chula Vista


Amy Wallen’s story, “Hot Air: Are homesharing sites a cancer? Or is it just my neighbors?” from Oct. 7 is well written.

But your ending stated, “Sharing. Now, that’s what neighbors should do,” is a good thought, but there is another side of the vacation rental market that wasn’t discussed in your article that is much different than the two cases you’ve mentioned.

In both cases you mention you as the resident with an Airbnb tenant, and your neighbor who has tenant(s) who are partying and you know the homeowner. Which no one I know objects to.

A third situation that is becoming entrenched and threatens to change R1-A zoned properties, and possibly weaken the job market for those who work in the hotel industry, and could literally destroy the idea of neighborhoods zoned for residential use. I am talking about residential properties being bought by corporations or numbers of investors who will never live on the property but will rent them out to large numbers of vacation renters. These are mini-hotels.

I have three I can see on a cross street, and on my street, south of me are eight more. Our street is about seven blocks long and a man who has recorded and tracked these hotels on our street has good evidence that there are about 20 total (on ONE street).

They are quickly taking over R1-A zoned neighborhoods. The problem is a major La Jolla and Bird Rock developer is building what has been dubbed McMansions. These are large, sometimes five, six, seven or up to 10,000-square-foot homes on small city sized lots (5,000- to 6,000-sqare-foot lots).

Because most families or retired couples (or pretty much very many average residents) can’t afford a mortgage of $3 million to $5 million dollars and because the size is huge, meaning large numbers of people can sleep there, it is fast becoming a cheap buy in for a very profitable operation of running a hotel in a residential neighborhood. I am speaking of the area north of Pacific Beach called Bird Rock, which is zoned primarily R-1A (as I’ve checked with city zoning).

The two I can see from my property have routinely 10-20 people each weekend. These groups are more often than not large groups generally celebrating something. One time it was advertised on the car parked in the garage as specializing in bachelor parties. I saw one such “gathering” of a group’s caterer pull up in the driveway and unload a truckload of food.

As I mentioned earlier, if this continues and becomes a larger problem (which it will), it will start to impact local hotels and local hotel workers. Hotel workers’ jobs are part of the economy and a major income for many families. As the major hotels lose business in the next 10-15 years, it will also take away jobs from people in the hotel industry.

What is a resident definition in order to qualify for a zoned property which is R1-A? I think it is that the property is the residence of someone who lives there. Whether it is the owner or the tenant. The resident uses the property as their address for the DMV, schools, voting, tax bills, etc. The people staying in these mini-hotels and the legal corporate owners have another residence that is their official residence and it is not the house they are using to conduct a business.

I hope you will consider the other side of the issue. When you say, “Now that’s what neighbors should do,” I don’t think you meant they should be weekenders who are from out of town and aren’t even neighbors at all…but a corporation running a business in our neighborhoods which is not what a residential neighborhood should have to put up with.

Avalee Cohen, La Jolla, CA


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