Listen To Louie’s

Re Louie’s Suds n’ Sun (“Use Me, Then Lose Me,” “City Lights,” December 18). I hope the Reader keeps covering this story. I graduated from SDSU in 2006 and will always fondly remember Louie’s. It was a place to meet with friends, classmates, and even professors, on occasion. Convenient, safe, and well-managed, Louie’s was a great place to go hang out after classes. I know SDSU is trying to remake its image, but there’s something to be said for tradition. I do hope that Aztec Shops gives a fair evaluation to any proposal Mr. Holton should hand in when the bidding process opens.

Chris Vercammen

Nothing Kicked Back

I found your article interesting (“I Get a Kickback Out of You,” “City Lights,” December 18), but I do feel that, as a concierge myself, the kickbacks are not quite what you have made them out to be.

I have worked for a Del Mar hotel for one and a half years now, and I can tell you firsthand that my hours are not those that most people would enjoy keeping, and tips are minimal. My salary is a mere $10 per hour. We work very hard for our money.

What I have experienced with restaurants has never been cash for referring guests. These restaurants will host a tasting for us so that we can experience the foods ourselves prior to referring a guest. Many restaurants will then offer discount coupons that we can pass along to the guests, as well as our knowledge of the food and service at that point.

There are no kickbacks whatsoever with the exception of a tasting that is much appreciated and a newly gained relationship between concierge and restaurant. Why wouldn’t a concierge then send business to that restaurant? I personally feel this is a very acceptable practice and fail to see that there is anything wrong with it.

I have never been offered money in exchange for sending guests to restaurants. I appreciate the article you have written but truly have not experienced concierges that are accepting money or restaurants that are offering it. I certainly would hate to see this article give concierges a bad name. We work hard to give it a good name and reputation.

Name Withheld
via email

Much Kicked Back

I’m referring to the story of the concierge kickbacks (“I Get a Kickback Out of You,” “City Lights,” December 18). It’s not just happening with restaurants. I work in a spa, and it’s rampant. A guy came in — he wasn’t a concierge, he represented concierges or something. He was very shady. And he spoke to us all as a group and told us how much it was for each service — $5 for this or $10 for that. It wasn’t a percentage, it was a flat rate, like this much for a massage and that much for a facial. And at the front desk of the spa, there is a record book that records each and every service that was referred by a concierge, who it was and how much they’re going to be paid. It’s really rampant in more than one industry downtown.

Name Withheld

Bard In The Summer

The article in the “Blurt” section entitled “What I Did Last Summer” (December 18) was about me! I’m Gordo! Now, I did the article with Ken Leighton and previewed it before he submitted it to run! What I want to know is, who put the caption “Johnny Cash doesn’t inspire Gordo” under the photo? I stated, “While I was in jail, I looked to certain people for inspiration, other musicians who went through a similar experience like I was going through, people like Merle Haggard and Tupac Shakur.” They did lengthy jail time sentences. Not comparing myself to them at all musically, but from a “behind the bard locked in a jail cell” perspective!

Now, Ken asked me, “What about Johnny Cash?” I replied, “No disrespect to Johnny — I love his music — but he was in jail for, like, 2 to 7 days. That don’t count. You have to do at least 30 days to really feel those walls close in on you!” Now, the article itself is correct, but how the hell did the person that put the caption up come up with “Johnny Cash doesn’t inspire me”? Because Johnny Cash does inspire me!

I feel as if that was a trashy low blow, something the National Enquirer would write and not the Reader! With all due respect, I feel that was b*******! And I’m really pissed off about it! I just got out of jail! Hello! I shared my story with you, the Reader, and this is how you slander and misquote me! My fans were very perplexed and some upset, even. I would never pick a fight with God or Johnny Cash. Why the hell would you folks do that to me? I feel the press has an obligation to tell the truth and accurately report the story! There were a million other captions this person could have used, like “What I did last summer” or “Embalmers front man serves 180 days in county jail!” etc., etc., etc., but to put me on blast like that! To drop me off on Front Street! That’s so amateur and weak! I expect an apology!!!!!!! I know no one is perfect and these things happen. The right thing to do is get at me with an apology and learn from this, like a real journalist, reporter, editor, as a magazine as a whole. Get the story right.

It might be a joke to some or they might be trying to outdo themselves with a supercreative or controversial quote, but in this case I feel the person went way out of their way to get it completely wrong!!!! I realize the article online is different, but the point of the matter is, captions are like headlines! They’re everything! That’s what gets people’s attention! He or she should be more wary about what they run! Especially when it’s not the truth and when the caption is very misleading, like in this case.

Get at me!!!! I demand an apology and expect to speak to the person ASAP.

I just got out of jail and don’t appreciate this at all!

P.S. You ever been to jail? Its f***** nuts!!!!!

David Gordo Ortuno
Embalmers Voice/Lead Guitarist/Songwriter
And Lifelong San Diego Local and Devoted Reader Fan!

The Reader apologizes to Gordo and wishes him a Merry Christmas. — Editor

Charges Should Be Brought

Thank you for publishing the story of Francisco Castaneda and his harrowing treatment at the hands of the Department of Homeland Security’s ICE division (“Go Directly to Jail…and Die,” Cover Story, December 11). By all written accounts, Mr. Castaneda was a quiet, polite individual who was subjected to unbelievably inhumane, insensitive, and criminal neglect by officials in charge of his detention. All those who sought to deny him adequate health care, and those who deliberately delayed and prevented that care, should be charged with second-degree murder — depraved indifference to human life.

Warren Cooper
via email

Writing In Circles

I have to comment on Frank’s letter from last week (December 11). I had just assumed this section was for politics or corrections in stories.

For a person (male especially) to say he looks forward to Barb’s column and claiming to read it twice is bizarre. To say she doesn’t brag or is condescending also strikes me as odd, since I feel she does both.

I enjoy the “Crasher” column most, but I would never get excited by a Reader’s early arrival. In fact, I’ve been on vacations, missed a few weeks of “Crasher,” and it was all good. Not sure what the letter writer means about Board’s “limits” or “bad grammar.” I don’t see bad grammar in the column. If I did, I would assume that’s an editor’s fault besides. I also don’t see “Crasher” ever listed in “Typo Patrol.” I would say that Barbarella can write circles around Mr. Board. But ya know what? Her column is boring, and it’s always about the same thing (her sisters, her dad, David, crying for no reason). I’m not sure why anyone would be interested in the same thing all the time. Unless it’s her shrink.

John Brizzolara can write circles around both of them. He just never talks about what to do on Friday, and it can be dull. His column is often just him meandering around his apartment or lamenting the latest with his son. Not interested.

Give me Duncan hating everything and Board not “boring” me. I’d much rather have the black dot and black guy at a party he played basketball with.

J. Ferry
Mira Mesa

Refreshingly Scary

In this article the author keeps using the term “vacancy rate” for one project (“It’s Getting Ugly Downtown,” Cover Story, December 4). Actually, the correct terms for condos are “pre-sales” or “unsold units.” The interesting part of the article was the possibly knowledgeable buyer, second-year law student Jordon Harlan. While his candor was refreshing, his analysis was scary. Attributing the entirety of his payments for the next 36 months to the required price increase to justify staying in the unit completely ignores the rental value. Is he going to live in his car in the USD parking lot after foreclosure? Then he goes on to whine about his huge investment. He has none; he borrowed more than the unit cost, using the extra to paint, buy furniture, and a little buffer. Other than his reputation, seems like a negative investment to me. Was the bank stupid for making such a loan? You bet. Harlan, I own my house free and clear, so who do I go to to recover my lost value? So, Harlan, man up, move your free furniture to your rental, and suffer the foreclosure.

John Gonnerman
via email

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