Your full-page ads for American Apparel need to go. The ads put prepubescent models in compromising poses, wearing inadequate clothing. My experience as a counselor for abused children in San Diego County for the last 10 years, dealing with only a tiny fraction of the children whose bodies, minds and hearts have been violated in ways that will never fully heal, leads me to believe that the ads you are printing are immoral, irresponsible and depraved. I appreciate “independent” media; I know you don't make the ads, and I know you need to make money somehow, but I don't think I am exaggerating when I say that these ads are blatant child pornography. Progressive politics is one thing; exploitation is another.Matthew Watkins,North Park
Radio ga ga
While it's interesting to see that UCSD is neglecting its First Amendment responsibilities [“Cover Story,” Nov. 21], CityBeat has done some of its own neglect concerning the airwaves, specifically the two pirate FM stations we used to have.
Free Radio San Diego (96.9 FM) never really recovered from its 2005 FCC raid (which CityBeat wrote about), though they did move to another location for a time in 2006. The loss of Sparky's Bar in North Park has also been a blow to fundraising for the group. While Wikipedia claims that 96.9 is back on the air, I've never heard it; instead, I get the static-ridden signal of a low-power Christian station. Fortunately, FRSD still runs its web stream at www.pirate969.org.
The other, more mysterious pirate was 106.9 FM, which transmitted in mono and did no programming of its own. Instead, they simulcast Radioactive Radio, an activist Internet radio collective on the outskirts of North Park. It was never clear if 106.9 (which at one point called itself “Teenage Mutant Ninja Radio”) was a clandestine element of Radioactive Radio, a side project of the technical people at 96.9, or just somebody who wanted to run a pirate station but was microphone shy. That station closed down in 2006 after a FCC warning; Radioactive Radio is still on the air.
As a side note, there was a very-low-power station up near Mesa College on the 96.9 frequency that seemed to only run old comedy bits and snippets of the Vietnam War pirate “Radio First Termer,” but I didn't hear much in that area after 2004.
With the end of KLSD, San Diego radio has gone back to the dull crud that only a Clear Channel-dominated market could produce. It's sad that regular radio can't create the sorts of interesting programming heard on 96.9 or 106.9, and I hope that somebody retakes those frequencies (or even some of the dead spots on the AM dial) before broadcast radio bores itself to death.Dave Christie,Casa de Oro
It's about crime
As one of the organizers of North Park's protest of smoke shops selling illegal drug paraphernalia, I take issue with the tone set by the lead-in to your article [“The Front Lines,” Nov. 28] about the recent action by San Diego's Drug Abatement Response Team (DART). It's about crime and the impact on our neighborhoods of shops selling supplies for the use of illegal drugs, particularly for crystal meth and crack cocaine.
One of our participants lives just one lot away from one of these stores and sees drug deals occurring in its parking lot. According to the Comprehensive Report of the Office of the San Diego City Attorney, May 12, 2006, “These stores attract drug users and dealers to the store's location to make drug transactions thereby creating substantial negative secondary effects.”
Allowing sales of supplies for illegal drug use creates an atmosphere of tolerance for illegal activities and enables drug addiction. The existence and concentration of these shops in our business district impedes the revitalization efforts of our community and affects the quality of life in our neighborhoods. That's why we have been protesting the shops. We appreciate the work of DART and the city attorney to enforce the law and to protect our community from illegal drug paraphernalia and associated activity.Beth Swersie,Past president,North Park Community Association
There goes the 'hood
I enjoyed reading your Nov. 28 article about the city attorney's crackdown on smoke shops. I'm writing you today because the article didn't really address the core issues behind the city attorney's issuance of the letters to the owners of San Diego's smoke shops. Fact is, these shops, which peddle paraphernalia for the use and sale of illegal drugs, including meth and crack cocaine, bring users and dealers with them. The presence of these shops sends the wrong signal to any young person who is aware of what's being sold inside.
What's more, these shops impede the growth and revitalization of neighborhoods like North Park by encouraging crime in their vicinities. Spikes in crime bring property values down, which discourages future investment by would-be homeowners. There are a lot of folks like me who have invested heavily in North Park because we see such great potential for our neighborhood. There are a lot of folks like me who are unwilling to see our neighborhood's betterment delayed or derailed by stores that cater to those who have succumbed to or are profiting from addiction.Chip McAllister,North ParkEditor's note: After our story was published, City Attorney Mike Aguirre told us that the focus of his efforts was on paraphernalia for smoking crack and meth, not for smoking pot. However, the cease-and-desist letter he sent to smoke shops ordered them to stop selling “illegal drug paraphernalia,” as defined by state law. That definition, which was included in the letter, explicitly includes marijuana.