The Mess We Have

Joe Deegan's story about the lack of restrooms for trolley riders ("Pressing Need," "City Lights," December 13) presents an opportunity for some entrepreneurial spirit to make a killing at piddling. I know there are cities where private companies put up public restrooms, garlanded with adverts and designed for easy cleaning. The ads pay for the service, or they have coin slots, which tend to keep the riffraff out. San Diego Metropolitan Transit should try that. Or, if you're a guy, "trucker bombs" work well. Wide-mouthed sports drinks, like Gatorade, are easier to use than liter soda bottles.

But it's a damn shame that just adds to the shame of one of the worst-planned "rapid transit" systems in the world. I complained about this years ago when the Tijuana trolley was in the planning stages -- it should have been elevated over all major intersections, or it should have been run up the center divide of the freeways. The rides should have been kept cheap. I've ridden the subways in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and London, UK -- they're so much better planned and operated than the mess we have in San Diego.

Dale Jennings

via email

Buffett Built

I am Don Bauder's biggest fan. He is the Upton Sinclair (a true muckraker) of San Diego, and we are fortunate to have him (the Union-Tribune's loss). His philosophy should be, "If you can't say anything 'bad' about anyone, don't say anything at all." So why write about Charles Brandes ("Brandes Defies Market," "City Lights," December 13)? Ho-hum! No-one "badder" to write about?

He goes on to say "Buffett built a company, Berkshire Hathaway, that takes positions in stocks that he believes have intrinsic values the market has overlooked." Actually, having been born and raised in Providence, Rhode Island, I know that Berkshire Hathaway was founded there in the 1800s as a textile manufacturing company by the Chace family, who to this day are one of the largest shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway stock. They owned mills from the Berkshire Mountains of west Massachusetts to Hathaway, Rhode Island, hence the name.

When textiles moved south, another Providence company, Textron, also began in the textile business and, under the tutelage of Royal Little, was to become the first "conglomerate"; that is, a company whose sole purpose is to own other companies (Bell Helicopter, Cessna, etc.). Mr. Callaway of golf fame was formerly of Textron but couldn't convince them the golf industry had a future.

Mr. Buffett built Berkshire Hathaway into a conglomerate.

Lee J. Juskalian


Don Bauder responds: I don't disagree. What we're haggling about is the word "built." The company was founded long before Buffett was born. Buffett built it into the behemoth it is today.

Comments from Reader Website


Published December 12

Posted by Lemac on 12/13/07, 2:50 p.m.

I'm not knocking Jay Allen Sanford's writing, what I am saying is that I've seen plenty of really great local shows come to San Diego and never see a write up on them, which suprises me. Instead, I get reviews of shows from when I was a tot or not born (which, from time to time can be interesting, for sure, but I hear those from mom and pop too) OR what the buffet line was at Gwen Stefani's concert tour. Would just like to see more current shows/music/artists get recognized.

Music Review

Published December 12

Posted by John Paul Osborn on 12/15/07, 8:15 a.m.

Bill Farkas cuts through issues like a warm knife through butter. He is simply an awesome commentator. As a juvenile justice advocate for the last half dozen years, Bill is one of just a handful of people in the news media willing to take a risk to expose the incredible injustice being done to children in the justice system and in prison today. I only wish that there were more folks like Bill.

Posted by Ed on 12/15/07, 1:28 p.m.

Glad to see his CD Sea of Mass Confusion is getting some of the pub it deserves. He's been putting out great protest songs long before it became "vogue" to climb on the band wagon. Saw Bill at the Music for Peace Festival at Mira Costa College last year and found his show really inspiring. Too bad they don't play his kind of music on the radio here in San Diego. Might do a few folks some good to exposed to the truth about what's going on in this country. Let's lobby 102.1 FM to play it. They say they're "Rock without Rules". I'd like to see them prove it and play some artists like this.

City Lights, by Don Bauder

Published December 12

Posted by Jim Fawcett on 12/12/07, 2:08 p.m.

I don't care what anybody says, Ben Graham's and David Dodd's 'Security Analysis', is still the bible for investing. Any business school that doesn't require all of their MBA students to read it should be stripped of their accredation.

Reply by Don Bauder: Agreed. Always keep in mind: over the years, value stocks whip growth stocks. That's important for people to keep in mind when there is a growth stock bubble, as there was in the mid- to late-1990s. It led up to a crash that was as bad as 1974 and almost as bad as the 1930s crashes.

Posted by Scammy on 12/14/07, 3:13 p.m.

Newspapers are simply fumbling the ball. Like many businesses, they first suffered from MBA attacks, when real newspaper people were shoved aside by bean-counters who were ignorant of journalism. "Journalism schools" shoved aside street-smart reporters with a lust for truth. Readers were slow to catch on, but when they did, a critical crack developed in the reader demographic. Drunk on the transitory boost "infotainment" gave the business, the critical base of discriminating readers "weakened," and with it went their buying power. Finally, the bean-headed managers paid more attention to their golf-swings than their web sites, which they turned over to geeks who were even less tuned into the potential of the Internet than they were. Wringing their hands over "giving away" their product, the newspaper-cum-Internet sites abandoned even the most basic tenets of pricing theory.

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