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Letters

Correction

In the May 1 cover story, “How UCSD Spent Over $500,000 on a Home Remodel That Never Happened,” the Reader quoted Carmen Lucas as saying that on a La Jolla dig several years ago, Museum of Man archeologist Rose Tyson had been “beating a clod of dirt to death in her hand” when she let go a scream that “I will never forget. Tyson realized she was holding in her hand the full skull of a 5000-year-old inhumation.” Author Thomas Larson contacted the Museum of Man for comment while researching the story but received no response. Rose Tyson and Carmen Lucas both say that Tyson was not the woman Carmen Lucas was referring to. Tyson’s official title is curator of physical anthropology at the Museum of Man. The Reader apologizes for the errors.

Shock Value

As a fan of the Reader and an American Muslim, I was intrigued by this week’s cover story (“If I Did That Over There,” May 15). Bill Manson’s interviews with an assortment of personalities, cultures, and beliefs made the article fascinating and educational. I wanted to ask him why he chose Dannesh Kassamali’s quote, “If I did that over there, they’d cut my hands off” as the title. I feel as though it was a bit misleading and did not tie into the entire article, as well as many of his other statements. Hopefully this shocking headline did not turn away people from the abundant information and entertainment the Reader provides.

Roya Afshan
via email

Bill Manson responds: I did not choose the title or know about it before publication.

Automatic Thinking

My husband, Charles G. Abdelnour — former city clerk of the City of San Diego — is not a Muslim as the author incorrectly wrote and just assumed because Chuck is an American of Arab descent. He is Lebanese and was baptized into the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church of North America. The roots of the Orthodox Christian Church trace directly back to first-century Antioch, the city in which the disciples of Jesus Christ were first called “Christians” (Acts 11:26). Do most Americans just automatically think that because you are an Arab you are also a Muslim? This shows great ignorance about Arabs and about the Muslim faith. If he were a Muslim, I would be proud of him practicing a faith that is rooted in goodness. He is, however, a Christian and the kindest man I have ever met. Bill Manson should have done better research for the article and I think is guilty of stereotyping Arab Americans. Shame on him.

Christine Brun Abdelnour
via email

Inspiration

Just really not able to transcribe the feelings at this point because I don’t type well, but wanted to say, you go guy!!!! (“If I Did That Over There,” Cover Story, May 15) I forwarded this story to my daughter’s friend who is an Iraqi Christian making his life here the last ten years and is 18 now and also to another friend I hope to inspire.

Kim Henson
via email

No Turkish Delight

I as woke up to get to my classes, I saw the Reader my roommate left on the table with the title “If I Did That Over There, They’d Cut My Hands Off” and then my homeland’s name, Turkiye, as many others call Turkey.

I was shocked and thought what could this story be about? Mentioning an act I’ve never witnessed, heard of, or ever thought about happening in my country, with the names of other countries like the Philippines or Somalia, where the culture is so different, the only thing that is common is believing in the same book.

Some sense of anger started to rise up. How could they put something on the face of a paper, something that is not even close to reality? How could they use such strong words, to me obviously, without any proper research done?

I could not read the story that morning, being in my first year of my Ph.D. program. I got carried away thinking that I need to say something. I’m glad I said to myself, first read the story, then send an email, since the big fonts on the front page reflect nothing about the stories told.

I’m greatly disturbed by the title you chose to advertise your story. It is not that the sentence itself was not used by the people you interviewed; it is because on the front page, the words put together are so out of context with what the stories inside are telling. It is unfortunate and so sad that the Reader, a paper that circulates well, still resorts to these titles without considering the impact on people. I don’t think the Reader needs these kind of provocative titles to get their copies picked up, and I’m deeply disturbed by the thought of people who did not actually pick it up and read it through and went on their ways thinking that this unacceptable act is performed in these countries mentioned.

Gulin Erdogan
via email

Waxworld

I read your article online titled “Boards Go Green” (“City Lights,” May 15). I collect surf wax. I have over 2500 bars dating back to the 1950s from all over the world and a great website to show for my passion, surfwaxmuseum.com. Check it out — basic, but to the point.

Casey Mills
Keizer, Oregon

Big Fumble

This is the first letter I’ve written to the Reader, though I’ve thought about writing many times. I am particularly incensed about the fact that the Reader didn’t do a cover story about an event that got major nationwide coverage that occurred locally in San Diego, namely the drug sting at SDSU. Instead of some in-depth report that peels the issue back from a local angle, you have a political cartoon by Neal Obermeyer (May 15) that is accurate in its depiction but is still sarcastic and tongue-in-cheek and an article in your “Blurt” section that shows a photo of MC Chas Lomack, as if he’s the face of the problem. What is that about? Why are there no photos available that show the fraternal organizations where the activities took place? Where are the frat boys that got caught up in this? I don’t see any photos of them anywhere it seems, not even in USA Today, where I first saw that this had gotten national attention. Yet, I see MC Chas Lomack — dreadlocks and all — who though involved seems to be the only supporting visual you saw fit to show in your paper regarding the event. It’s an insult to the intelligence of your readers, and you seriously dropped the ball. Better luck next time.

Storm Cloud (manifest)
via email

The View From Disneyland

Only in city hall doublespeak is a $50,000 salary increase for councilmembers not a pay increase but a salary adjustment (“Little Pay, Big Deal,” “City Lights,” May 8). It’s only a pay raise when it’s for policemen, firemen, janitors, etc.

Don’t they live in a wonderful world? Sort of like Disneyland-on-the-Bay.

Ron Engelhart
Clairemont Mesa

Basher Basher

I cannot believe the Reader’s choice for its May 8 cover story (“Confessions of a Phony Navy Wife”), let alone its publishing. The image alone, of a Navy “basher” distastefully wearing a sailor’s uniform, is downright disrespectful to all in the military. I cannot believe some of the cover story’s claims either. Publishing a story that makes false claims of the Navy backstabbing and bringing “out the bad in people” tarnishes the Navy’s image and discourages those interested in enlisting. It leads me to believe that the Reader does not support our troops, even though it is published in a military town and it is circulated to all San Diego bases. I have been in the Navy for nine years and seen a lot of poor choices people make — none of which were influenced or encouraged by the Navy.

ENS Enicnas
USN

Recognize The Truth

I just finished reading Maggie Young’s story (“Confessions of a Phony Navy Wife,” Cover Story, May 8), and it really moved me. I was in the Navy too, and much of what she said is so true. While reading it, it brought back a lot of memories and issues that I was dealing with. It was a great story, and thanks for expressing it.

Joey
via email

Something’s Missing

Clearly there is much more to this story than the writer admits (“Confessions of a Phony Navy Wife,” Cover Story, May 8). It is a little disappointing that her story was not better scrutinized.

GEB
via email

Sea Plus

She may think she had a tough time living aboard ship (“Confessions of a Phony Navy Wife,” Cover Story, May 8). I was a single first-class petty officer living on a nuclear submarine. My bunk and locker space was about half of hers; plus, the last year I was at sea we had 315 days at sea.

Clancy Sloan
Senior Engineer

Badly Dressed

The phony Navy wife is just another example of someone blaming someone else for their own problem story (“Confessions of a Phony Navy Wife,” Cover Story, May 8). She enlisted on her own and then didn’t like sleeping aboard ship, so she committed fraud with a phony marriage. She took the taxpayers’ money so she could be more comfortable. It’s a good thing she didn’t join the Marines and have to live in a foxhole. And I question her cover picture. Not only does she dishonor the uniform, she is wearing a good conduct medal. I doubt she earned anything for good conduct. She should be in a prison jumpsuit, both for her fraud and for wearing a medal she didn’t earn.

Bob Werner
via email

Maggie Young responds: A good conduct medal is earned after a sailor does three years of consecutive good behavior. I went to Captain’s Mast January 9, 2007, three days after my three-year mark. I wore my good conduct medal to be funny and ironic. My fraud charges were dropped because technically I broke no rules. There is nothing in any Navy regulations or the Uniform Code of Military Justice that states you must marry for a particular reason.

Please Pass The Listerine

Just wanted to say this is a good article calling the military out on some of their imperfections (“Confessions of a Phony Navy Wife,” Cover Story, May 8). I have been a wife of a service member now for 15 years and have volunteered my time to the military.

Their commands know, as they have people who report to them and talk. The commands cover it up because it will look bad for them and their future commands, but this is not to say there aren’t some good ones out there, because there are. You have your officer’s wives shipping alcohol to Iraq in bottles of Cepacol or Listerine. They set up rules about no drinking at certain times, and yet their enlisted personnel have noticed the commander coming in through the gates a little too intoxicated. So if there is bitterness from this gal, I don’t blame her at all.

One of the biggest complaints in the military is how they receive their promotions. There is always a big secret as to why you were not promoted. I know as civilians if we are doing bad, they call us on it and say, hey, improve here and here and maybe we will give you that promotion. This is not the way it works with the military. My husband, who has been a victim of this, has served for 17 years (has been overseas nine times; has never done anything that I know of with regards to his career). The reason I believe him is because any time I run into a commander, colonel, or captain, they speak very highly of him, and he has received very nice letters, etc. He is a good man, not perfect but a hardworking man. My husband has had several people review his service record to see if anything is wrong, but because Washington doesn’t tell him anything or anyone anything, they don’t know what to improve on. Of course, I don’t get too involved in his military regulations, but it would be nice to know why sometimes guys that have actual stuff on their service records get promoted and others like my husband do not. So needless to say, he does get a little bitter about the military now. He still loves the uniform, but he does have a little hatred. Not to say if they sent him to Iraq he wouldn’t go, but those are the kind of guys that the military needs able to lead and instead they keep some chumps in the service, like the ones looking out for themselves and not willing to help the young recruits that are now coming. Instead, after their first four years in the service, they want the hell out, so in a sense, maybe the military does bring out the bad in a person.

Name Withheld

Where’s The Honor?

I am a usual reader of your publication and truly enjoy the weekly cover stories. But in particular the “Confessions of a Phony Navy Wife” (May 8) had an extra kick for me.

Being a native son of both Tijuana and San Diego for over 30 years now, I have seen firsthand what life in the U.S. Navy does to many of the enlisted.

Life in the Navy (or any of the military branches) is a hard one and takes a great deal of sacrifice for the individual who decides to join up. My own grandfather, who fought in World War II, sacrificed much of his own sanity, and I know he left much of his inner peace over in the European theater. I also currently have a brother in the Army, on his second tour of this most recent Middle East conflict, and I know that he’s simply frustrated with it all! Or, in his words, “What the f**k is the point anymore!”

He has gone through so much worry! He constantly struggles to pay rent for himself, his wife, and kids and also wonders where he’s going to get enough money to feed them all. Both Ms. Young’s feeling and my brother’s is that the military does indeed screw you over. I’m reminded of the phrase “To be the Man, you have to beat the Man.” I mean, you are given such a lousy salary that it’s hard to simply exist, for Christ’s sake! So what is your only option? Play the system!

Right is right and wrong is wrong, but the world is more shades of gray than simply black and white anymore. I think that Ms. Young did nothing wrong, and getting ahead sometimes takes kicking ass. I do, however, commend her for being forthcoming when she finally did get caught.

I am truly happy that she has been able to get her story out there for people to see what people in our military are often forced to endure and what price they pay for “our freedom.”

There is no reason why any of our military personnel need to be homeless or be on food stamps! Even worse is the way the Walter Reed Army Medical Center issue came to light, or how lacking medical/mental services are to those servicemen and servicewomen who have a true and dire need of them.

We instead should honor those few who step up and take up the call to arms (for whatever the reason may be) and simply thank them for all of their sacrifice, never forsaking them or their families; at the very least, making sure they have enough money to buy food and be able to afford decent housing.

Thank you for such a well-written article, and I hope to see more of Maggie Young’s publications in the near future.

Gerardo G. Aguiñiga
Coronado

Our Thoughts In Print

A generally well-written piece about a very significant military — not just Navy — issue (“Confessions of a Phony Navy Wife,” Cover Story, May 8). The system of rewarding marriage with tremendous pay is well known in the service and often discussed in the ranks but rarely in formal writing. The many extremely defamatory responses in the May 15 letters section are unwarranted but not surprising. Hopefully Ms. Young will not be shaken but will continue writing and consider law school afterwards.

Good luck.

Name Withheld By Request

The Truth Hurts

I think she is just telling the truth about Navy life for young sailors (“Confessions of a Phony Navy Wife,” Cover Story, May 8), and sometimes the truth hurts. But instead of dealing with the issues, senior enlisted would rather punish the one telling the truth. Is it correct to cheat on your spouse overseas? No, but they do. What is the solution — how do we correct or stop this type of negative behavior? I wish her good luck!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Name Withheld
USN

Hot Air Balloon

Duncan Shepherd, in his review of Flight of the Red Balloon (Movie Review, May 8), maintains that a film consisting of artistically designed camera shots can be engaging. Apparently he doesn’t require that these visual exercises actually tell a story. After waiting an hour and a half for some sort of meaningful event, I decided that the dramatic high point of the movie had to be the tuning of the heroine’s piano. Flight of the Red Balloon is an empty, tedious, colossal bore.

Andrew J. Crane
via email

A Trip To Roam

I enjoy reading every one of Jerry Schad’s installments of “Roam-O-Rama.” I lived in the San Diego area for 21 years before moving to Orange County in 1995 and twice a month, on average, spent at least a Saturday (if not a full weekend camping) in the mountains or desert. I am familiar with most of the places he covers and long to get back down there at every opportunity. Orange County does not have the expanse of backcountry that San Diego does, but I enjoy checking out all his descriptions of interesting spots in this area as well.

And thanks to the Reader and Jerry for continuing to make the “Roam-O-Rama” available online.

Steve Grant
via email

The Treasure That Is Tim

Regarding Jennifer Cooke’s “King of the Casbah” story (May 1) featuring visionary Tim Mays, owner, businessman, organizer, a fan of music, and many other credits to his name. He has a legacy to be admired.

Also let it be known Tim is partly responsible for creating the metal underground scene in San Diego as far back as 1984. To my recollection, as a promoter, Tim Mays took on uncharted territory that had been neglected, unorganized, and abandoned. He managed to bring signed metal bands to San Diego — bands that were not mainstream friendly, bands that catered to the underground masses. It was a movement that most San Diegans never knew existed or didn’t care. The fact is, Tim Mays cared, the hardcore punk scene cared, and the metal scene cared. There were plenty of venues that opened their doors as well. Adams Avenue Theater, Wabash Hall, Palisades Theater, Carpenters Hall, Jackie Robinson YMCA, Club Mirage, Rio’s nightclub.

One legendary metal event took place at the famous California Theater downtown on the evening of April 18, 1985 — Venom from England and Slayer from L.A., with local metal act Bible Black opening the show. This was Tim Mays, Goldenvoice Presents. I still have the flyer and ticket stub that bears the name. To everyone’s amazement, the theater was packed, including the balcony. Of course, this wasn’t a sold-out show. Remember, this is the underground, but whoever attended on that rare evening took part in metal history in San Diego, and there would be more epic shows to come throughout the entire decade.

Adding to this phenomenon there were other promoters here in San Diego very involved within the ’80s. They all contributed and put San Diego on the metal map and established a very strong, unified underground music scene. Harlan from Fineline Entertainment, Skintite promoters, Sodomatic Productions, Goldenvoice Presents from L.A., and visionary successor Tim Mays. The dedication among the entire underground was incredible: fans that spread the word through fanzines, tape trading, letter writing by mail, making flyers, self-promoting, selling tickets, etc. All the independent record shops were very supportive to the cause.

With all of this happening and the word was out, every touring metal band signed or not wanted to play here, and they did indeed. How many people would know that a little unknown band called Metallica played at the Backdoor venue at SDSU on March 9, 1985, with Armored Saint. There were maybe 400 metal maniacs in attendance.

Another rare moment here in San Diego to reflect upon and very important to those who were there who stuck it out through thick and thin through the ’80s and beyond, promoters like Tim Mays that had a vision and persevered and enjoyed it all because he was also a fan of this music. A time in San Diego history that shall never be forgotten.

Tony D. Metal
Spring Valley

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