No Rosarito Cover-Up

I am the U.S. public relations representative for Rosarito Beach, and I would like to express our concerns about this week’s “Greetings from Tijuana” cover story (August 7).

While much of it is accurate (if sensationalized), what is very troubling to us is the strong suggestion that law-abiding U.S. citizens are getting killed randomly in Baja, and government officials are covering it up. Much of that allegation is conveyed in the section of the story about the May discovery of four bodies here in Rosarito, all of whom had been shot.

Because an initial report stating all four were Americans was later clarified to three Mexicans and one American, your writer suggests a cover-up was involved. I am familiar with this case, which involved victims with extensive criminal records on both sides of the border. There was absolutely no cover-up, and we’ve had both the San Diego Union-Tribune and the Los Angeles Times down here reviewing details of the case. We would have welcomed your writer as well, but he seemed content to repeat dubious Internet information that fit his storyline rather than investigate the incident. I don’t believe he even bothered to contact us.

The story implies that visitors are frequent crime targets down here. The Baja State Secretary of Tourism has not received one report of a violent crime against a tourist this entire year. Could a few have gone unreported? It’s possible. But both statewide and in Rosarito, we’ve taken steps to make it easier to report incidents. We want to know when they happen, and we want good follow-up — not cover-up.

Personally, I am more than a PR person for Rosarito. I am one of 14,000 expatriates living in the city. I surely would not take part in a cover-up that could endanger U.S. citizens, myself, friends, neighbors, and family members included.

Ron Raposa
Public Relations
Rosarito Beach

Proximity To Problems

Re “Greetings from Tijuana” (Cover Story, August 7). It was a very valuable and cogent assessment of the problems facing Mexico and those of us who live in proximity. I want to congratulate the author for his courage and clarity. Quite brilliant.

Barbara Henriksen
La Mesa

Too Cynical, Too Cute

The sharp contrast of the August 7 cover picture, featuring a beautiful señorita in a “Bienvenidos” art-style from the past (“Greetings from Tijuana”), with the photograph and story inside, was, at best, a slick seduction of your readers’ hope for a bright and encouraging treatise on the allure and enchantment of our nearest foreign neighbor. At worst, it was cynical; a clear suggestion that, if you think there is anything beautiful, romantic, reaffirming, or even remotely culturally fascinating about the people and history of Mexico, you just haven’t been paying atten tion.

We have been paying attention. We are all aware of the turmoil, pathos, corruption, and criminal acts by people attempting to overcome the daily despair of grinding poverty, failed government, and lost hope. It is a story worth telling, and it was well told by Mr. Hemmingson. At the same time, the presentation, no matter how journalistically cute, will undoubtedly be found offensive by the people of Mexico and by those of us who find Tijuana, indeed all of Mexico, to be a place fascinatingly rich in language, history, culture, and art. The people of Mexico, and Tijuana in particular, struggle mightily with their current circumstances. We should admire their struggle and perseverance and present their stories in a straightforward and respectful manner. They deserve better than cynicism.

Wayne Beachley
via email

End The Whining

I moved to San Diego in the early ’80s and cannot remember a time since then that the Chargers have not been whining about the inadequate facilities and/or finances San Diego provides (“San Diego Is Chargers’ Problem,” “City Lights,” August 7). What will it take to get them gone? How can we make the whining stop? Just get them and their ____ing “More! More! More! More!” outta here.

Relocation suggestions: Dubai. Saudi Arabia. The Sultanate of Brunei. Here are the deep pockets the Chargers need, where they can order up a new solid-gold-plus air-conditioned megastadium for each home game, none smaller than the State of Rhode Island and all trimmed with duty-free luxury-goods shops, where they will be paid daily in baskets of diamonds with fur coats and Lamborghinis hidden underneath, where all day every day the skies will rain down free goods, goodies, and greenbacks thick enough to block traffic.

And while Chargers, Inc., is over in Deepockets Dubai, gilding yachts and designing baby sealskin–upholstered luxury boxes, we mortal San Diegans will get back to the humdrum business of using City funds to replace rusted-out sewer lines and combat greenhouse gas emissions and sort out the pension mess.

It’s easy to forget that sports teams, like hookers, can get so greedy they just price themselves out of the market. After all, we’re not talking pharmacies, car repairs, groceries here, but mere bits of incidental, easily overpriced and overrated weekend frippery no community can honestly say it “needs.”

So I say “bye-bye, to the Chargers pie/ Drive your Chevy to the levee/ and head out for Dubai…”

Hey, San Diegans: Heads up! Listen! Hear it? That’s the sweet sound of birds singing! We can finally hear “warble warble” and “tweet tweet tweet” now that those damned panhandlers forever whining “more! more! more! more!” are finally out of here!

Jill Van Cleve
via email

Upstart Crows

There is much to be said about crows, and writer Joe Deegan described crows and their biologic cousins, ravens, in an informative fashion (“Crow Nuisance, Crow Delight,” City Lights, July 31). Both Deegan and the bird-watcher he interviewed for the story, Terry Hunefeld, missed the poig nant truth about the invasion of Corvus americanus to San Diego’s coastal region, the not-so-pleasant fact that will come home to roost, so to speak. By their very nature, crows and ravens are “Darwinian darlings” and will eventually displace songbirds along California’s southerly coast. Crows’ adaptive qualities — large size, intelligence, protective strategy, omnivorous diet, and aerial agility — assure their biological longevity, long after countless bird species vanish.

In addition to possessing good eyesight, loud voice, and adaptability, San Diego’s invaders have learned to abide with humans and their trappings. In fact, it’s humans’ trashy ways that give crow populations the ability to increase exponentially. But their best source of protein, by far, is other creatures. Songbirds and small mammals by the millions are being destroyed every year by crows, who rob nests of eggs, devour nestlings, and, when possible, prey on the young of bird and mammal species.

As a longtime environmental activist and avid conservation ecologist, I was extremely disappointed that Mr. Hunefeld shared the “spectator’s distance” characteristic of bird-watchers and most scientists, who feel that humans should not interfere with nature’s way. Staying out of the natural process is no longer an option: humans have jeopardized the planet’s health, permanently disturbed species’ ability to migrate, and destroyed most of the natural habitat of every creature on Earth.

I would remind both Deegan and Hunefeld about the Ninety Percent Tragedy: Populations of nearly every major species native to America (including their habitat for refuge, forage, and nesting) have been reduced by at least ninety percent. All but a tiny fraction of San Diego’s native wetlands, forests, meadows, estuaries, and river habitats remain for nature’s critters. Plant and animal species have been sacrificed primarily for human self-indulgence. Urban lifestyle that provides fast food and other edible waste draws clever crows to Southernmost California. The variety of songbirds that nest in our temperate coastal climate assures that the metallic screech will continue to fill the air.

Hopefully, San Diegans will not wait until the song of spring is usurped by the raucous call of crows. I would ask bird-watchers, and especially the Audubon Society membership, to intercede on behalf of threatened songbirds. Before it’s too late.

Robert LaRosa
The Nature School
San Diego

Why Welk?

Olivia Cassidy’s “Roommate from Hell” (July 31) was one of the best yet. Glad she and her cats got out alive!

Ollie: I have written to PBS before, complaining about their pandering to the bequest hopes from centenarians (“Remote Control King,” April 6, 2006). I am 72 years old. My favorite “oldies” are Rolling Stones, Doors, the Who, Korn, Boingo, Dead Kennedys, and Clash. Sometimes they drag out Clapton or Garcia, who I enjoy, too. But when are they going to bury Lawrence Welk? Eeew!

Dale Ann Thompson
San Diego

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