In his Dec. 14 news story, “Prison presents,” about what items inmates are able to receive from a mail-order catalog, Dave Maass imprecisely grouped inmate “specialty purchases” such as TVs and radios, which do not have a weight limit, with the quarterly packages that are limited to 30 pounds and typically contain hygiene and food products. We're sorry for any confusion it might have caused.
Look closer at schools
About Aaryn Belfer's Nov. 23 column, “School cuts mean hacking off limbs above the tourniquets [“Backwards & in High Heels”]: Thank goodness you did not touch the superintendent's office air conditioner. This was the first facility air-conditioned in the district and the only one deemed necessary for proper education to take place. Thank you for saving this most necessary comfort zone.
If you want to get serious about school finances, consider looking at a few sites and consider the purposes and cost of some of the expenditures. I would suggest beginning with a quick look at the Patrick Henry High School football stadium and its field and track. It's currently receiving its third field and track. In addition, the field is named in honor of a principal who did not insist that football players attend class.
You have barely scratched the surface of the real problems.
E.A. Platten, Allied Gardens
War editorial missed marks
CityBeat's Dec. 21 editorial on the Iraq War, “(One) war is over,” lacked just one thing: Perspective.
You cite the 4,474 war dead and $800 billion cost, but where in your pages was it reported that during that same period, three times as many U.S. service personnel were killed in accidents worldwide? Where is the outrage over the number of pedestrian deaths in the U.S. each year (5,000), or people who die from infections contracted during hospital visits (90,000 a year)? The list of ways people die is nearly endless, as is the staggering cost to the economy.
In your implication of Bush, you also completely ignore the role of Democrats in the invasion. The idea that Bush alone conjured a complete fabrication and bamboozled everyone into believing it is belied by the facts. Many prominent Democrats and intelligence agencies were fully complicit. That is, until the public turned against the war; then many of those Democrats ran for political cover and hid behind the idea that Bush had fooled them all.
Finally, CityBeat unequivocally states that the war was a mistake. This might be true, but how can it be known for sure in the absence of an alternative outcome? The only pre-war calculation available to policy makers involved probabilities of various foreseeable outcomes, and given Saddam's post-Gulf War record, the possibility that Iraq (sans invasion) would have turned out like peaches and cream is, to say the least, remote.
Roger Moshgat, Bankers Hill
Jan's the man
About your Dec. 7 editorial, “Seizing the initiative”: I have dealt with a lot of local politicians. Some of them are great, some of them not so much. But when I think about politicians who are honest, few come to mind so handily as does Jan Goldsmith.
City attorney Goldsmith has, for the most part, been a straight-shooting public servant—from his time on the bench as a Superior Court judge to his time as the city's chief counsel. His office is approachable, and he's been very approachable as a person.
I feel that people who have a record of honesty and integrity should be given some benefit of the doubt. Now, if this was someone like Carl DeMaio, I think everybody would have the right and reason to not only raise their eyebrows but also to holler and protest. I just think that equating people like that to someone like Goldsmith in the same article is a disservice to a man who has done his job with an outstanding amount of professionalism even amid some contentious times.
People like Goldsmith are the reason to not lose hope in our elected officials; oftentimes, he's the adult at the table. I mean, could you imagine if this was Mike Aguirre?
Will Rodriguez-Kennedy, Mission Valley
Sanford's not so generous
About your story on the “Wings of Freedom” sculpture proposed for the end of Navy Pier, “Iconic landmark or static sticks?” [“Seen Local,” Dec. 14]: You might also mention the history of the “generous donor” for this silly project, one T. Denny Sanford.
He founded First Premier Bank. It's famous for offering credit cards to highrisk folks—a $250 credit limit, with $276 in first-year fees, so the proud credit-card holder was below water the minute they signed up. And the interest rates were so high that most were in debt for years.
Congress finally shut this practice down with targeted legislation. But “generous” T. Denny came right back, now offering $300-credit-limit cards with an interest rate of 79.9 percent—really. The highest rates in the country.
So, perhaps this a monument to his “freedom” to screw poor consumers? Perhaps the more appropriate monument would be a pool of sharks—loan sharks?
David Lundin, Pacific Beach