I'd like to comment on the article “Us vs. them” by Kelly Davis, published on Sept. 7. The article features a photo of Carl DeMaio “pitching pension reform” in front of a Clairemont Vons. Ms. Davis quotes several sources who strongly feel that this pension issue should be settled at the negotiating table, rather than end up on a ballot. Yes, putting this issue on the ballot may cost money; however, shouldn't taxpayers have a right to be included and vote on decisions involving millions of their tax dollars?
This article is informative, but I wonder why not a single word was mentioned about the dozens of union blockers, who have invaded the entire 921 zip-code area for almost two months. Every petitioner in front of every single Walmart, Home Depot, Vons and just about every other store in this area has been confronted by these blockers. Blockers arrive on the scene where the pension petition is being presented to the public, then commence to disrupt the process in any way possible. People signing petitions have been interrupted, blockers have held up signs warning people to “read before they sign.” Tactics have ranged from shouting at and following petitioners who have packed up their tables and tried to move to a different location. Blockers have, without permission, videotaped and photographed petitioners with their cell phones.
Sometimes, police have been called by store owners to settle the ruckus.
Ms. Davis would only need to show up at Walmart in Clairemont and hold out a clipboard featuring the pension-reform petition, and she would meet these union blockers face to face. Why the voter intimidation? Carl DeMaio himself was surrounded by these union blockers on one of his recent outings.
Although the article was somewhat informative, CityBeat hasn't given the reader a full picture of what is really happening out there by omitting this two-month-long, citywide debacle of union blockers doing their best to keep voting taxpayers from signing the pension-reform petition and getting it on the ballot.
Vivian Marlene Dunbar, Spring Valley
Avoid these bad words
As a fellow scooter fan (mine was a Buddy 125), I enjoyed the sentiment behind Edwin Decker's Oct. 5 column, “Scorned by the Sons of Lame-archy.” However, at GLAAD we believe that a couple of your fictional gay-biker-group names used terms that were unnecessarily offensive. The satire of the column was not lost on us, but we believe the jokes could have used different words to get the same point across.
Specifically, “homosexual,” “faggy” and “sodomites” were particularly offensive.
Please use “gay” or “lesbian” to describe people attracted to members of the same sex. Because of the clinical history of the word “homosexual,” it's aggressively used by anti-gay extremists to suggest that gay people are somehow diseased or psychologically / emotionally disordered—notions discredited by the American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric Association in the 1970s. Please avoid using “homosexual” except in direct quotes.
Please also avoid using “homosexual” as a style variation simply to avoid repeated use of the word “gay.” The Associated Press, The New York Times and The Washington Post restrict use of the term “homosexual.”
GLAAD considers “fag” and “sodomites” to be defamatory language. The criteria for using these derogatory terms should be the same as those applied to vulgar epithets used to target other groups:
They should not be used except in a direct quote that reveals the bias of the person quoted. So that such words are not given credibility in the media, it is preferred that reporters say, “The person used a derogatory word for a lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender person.”
GLAAD hopes you can find away to be satirical without resorting to offensive and defamatory language.
Adam G. Bass, senior media strategist, Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD)