In our Nov. 13 issue, in our “Outside the Lines” story about artist Shepard Fairey [“Prop-art”], we incorrectly identified Duckywaddle's art gallery owner Jerry Waddle as Tim Waddle. We apologize for the error.
And in our Nov. 20 issue, in our “Front Lines” story about medical marijuana activist Steve McWilliams and his upcoming trial, we incorrectly reported that the officers who raided a Hillcrest marijuana-growing cooperative in July, 1999 were from a city-county narcotics task force. In fact, there were San Diego Police officers. We regret the error.
It should also be clarified that half of the pot plants uprooted during a raid on the home of McWilliams and Barbara McKenzie last month belonged to McKenzie, according to McKenzie herself. The U.S. government, it its case against McWilliams, claims all the plants were his.
There were alternatives
That was a great story on the lead paint industry [“The Front Lines,” Nov. 13]. Readers might also be interested to know that the lead industry's own consultant and expert, Dr. Robert Kehoe, insisted as early as 1930 that lead paint was a grave danger to young children.
Also, it's important to note that there were plenty of safe alternatives to lead paint, especially for interior uses, early in the 20th century, and many of them were sold by the same companies that were selling lead paint.
Richard Rabin, Arlington, Mass.
Reading and shooting
How does Alan Bersin's plan to militarize our schools [“The Front Lines,” Nov. 6] fit into any definition of school “reform”? During his first year as superintendent, I was told that the key to the district's reform efforts was the “literacy block,” the first three hours of each school day and I, as a principal, was to be in the classroom during that time with “no excuses, no exceptions.”
I will always remember how any ideas I had to offer as an educator at my school or as a parent at my son's school or as a grandfather at my grandchildren's schools were rendered null and void.
Wanting to be included in what was happening was considered by Bersin as attempts to circumvent his mission to “support teaching and learning in the classroom.” In essence, people like me were relegated to second-class citizenship.
As one who dedicated pretty much every second of his 37 years in our school system to encouraging positive human relations, watching such human intercourse die on the vine, in the name of reform, has pained me to no end.
And now you're telling me that, although contributing to the mission of the school system is off limits to the citizenry, there's going to be an open invite extended to the military? This baffles me because in an attempt to find something positive about the direction in which my beloved school system is heading, I have held out hope that, because of the district's persistent declaration that all its efforts were devoted to “student achievement,” it would stick to its policy of withholding student lists from the military in order to protect family privacy.
So I have to ask you, now that the district is planning to surrender civilian autonomy to the armed forces, how does this benefit our children?
You see, I just don't understand why there is a need for a task force to make sure that military recruiters have access to our children. Have you not seen the military shows on ESPN? Have you not seen the multitudes of slick “Army of One” and “The Few and the Proud” kind of commercials on TV? Are you not aware of Play Station 2's popular Navy Seal Game? Have you not stopped by San Diego High at lunch time when the marine corps sets up its table, its recruiters sharply dressed, wearing spit-shined shoes and warm, fetching smiles? How much access to our children do these people need?
Are you saying that if we make it easier for recruiters to use the military's aptitude test (ASVAB) in our schools to obtain detailed personal information on students that you are acting in their best interest in a world that has gone absolutely bonkers, crippled with fear? Are you saying that if we explore establishing an academy that would train students for military careers that you are in accord with, and willing to sacrifice our children for, a president who is itching for a war?
Are you saying that by considering expanding Junior ROTC so that it is firmly in place in all our high schools that it doesn't bother you that the military discriminates against gay people, that it denies them the right to be themselves with its “Don't ask, don't tell” policy? Is this why there is no longer a committee in the school district like the one I served on that conducted workshops at nearly every school and department in an effort to make life a bit safer for gay students?
How are our students to learn to think critically and truly strive to “Be All That They Can Be” when they are bombarded with images throughout our society that glamorize the warrior life, when we can so easily allow the Pentagon to militarize their political and social consciousness?
In closing, let me get this right: School “reform” is now about reading, computing and shooting? This community deserves more from you than your letting Alan Bersin orchestrate an assault on our schools like a military coup.
Ernie McCray, Golden Hill
The facts of lead
Re: Your story about the lead paint industry [“The Front Lines,” Nov. 13]. Thank goodness someone is airing the facts. The Wall Street Journal sided with the paint industry, saying this whole thing is just frivolous. Many wrote letters to the editor but none were printed. When I asked why they did not print mine, which simply rebutted their points, I was given a formatted e-mail response.
Thanks, and keep them coming.
Shara Godiwalla, National Center for Healthy Housing, Columbia, Md.