I'm pleased that recent CityBeat stories exposing injustices at San Diego Square (low-income housing for seniors in Downtown) have encouraged reader response, including the letter from Square resident Mark Smith in your Sept. 21 issue. I too am a resident of that building and I believe it's important to bring our issues to the public. Thanks to Kelly Davis' series of articles in this paper, we have been given a voice.
Mr. Smith finds fault with the building's Resident Association, but in his letter, he also questions something closer to my heart, the parking prohibition that denies resident use of the on-site lot.
He is correct: Upon moving in, tenants are advised that parking is not available, despite 29 mostly unused spaces in the lot. Not having a car, he is not bothered by the absence of parking. He's happy that he can get around the city rather easily, using the several forms of public transportation just outside our door. But I do own a car. Without it, I'd be held hostage to MTS routes. I also have a bum knee and find walking difficult. Must I choose my friends or doctors or restaurants or entertainments based on how close they are to a bus line? He writes that because I knew about the parking ban upon moving in, it's my responsibility to find parking elsewhere if I insist on keeping my car and my independence.
If Mavourneen O'Connor, the building's developer, builder and owner, had legitimate reason to deny parking, I'd accept that I can't park in my own backyard. But she and Mr. Smith overlook the city permits and the initial proposal letter from her own attorney that clearly indicate parking is for residents.
Why must I park elsewhere? Does Mr. Smith think it's OK that Ms. O'Connor openly defies city rulings and bans parking simply on a whim? Car or no car, Mr. Smith might find some compassion for those of us who do have vehicles. Come to think of it, I recommend the same to Ms. O'Connor.
Lynne Walker, Downtown
Editor's note: After this letter was submitted to CityBeat, Housing Development Partners announced plans to buy San Diego Square, as reported in last week's issue.
Edwin Decker's Oct. 5 column, “Scorned by the Sons of Lame-archy,” was one of the most enjoyable I have read in years. My wife and I read and laughed for a good hour.
I ride a newer Vespa painted “Portofino Green,” a color that my female friends like but one describes as “girlie.” My typical cruising is on the coast highway in North County, a breeding ground for the wellheeled Harley riders who try to disguise their corporate backgrounds with artificially aged denims and two-day-old face stubble. Although there are a few genuine bikers up north, and I hope I don't get mixed up and give one of them trouble, I usually have a good time with the Angel wannabes.
My favorite thing is to drop my hand in the Harley wave when I see and hear a big bike coming the other direction. Usually, the Harley guy only sees a two wheeler giving him the “secret” sign and will return the salute—or at least start to until they realize that I'm on a girlie-colored scooter. At that point, their usual reaction is similar to someone accidently putting their hand in a pile of dog feces as they jerk back in disgust and glare at me as they go by. The other thing I like to do is to catch and pass them in the traffic that can snarl those big lumbering hunks of iron but I can jet around in my little scooter. That really makes them mad, and as soon as we get to an open stretch of road, I'm usually passed at high speed, and I hope the Encinitas police will have a radar car up ahead. I've also had quite a few experiences like yours at lights, but I still look at them and smile.
My last bike was a '69 BSA Lightening. It was really great to ride and look at, but too much trouble and expense. I love being able to jump on my Vespa and “scoot.”
It's a different feeling and experience than a motorcycle, one I think I actually prefer. But there's a '91 Honda GP500 TT café racer for sale at a local bike dealer that gets my blood pumping and would never be described as “girlie.”
Nah, I'm sticking with the scooter.
Dick Hemmen, Carlsbad