Mystery Money

Thank you, Mr. Bauder, for keeping it real (“City Lights,” December 16).

It is extremely disappointing that Mayor Sanders is willing to give invisible public funds for a Charger stadium rather than rebuild a community.

Wake up, politicians! We’re not going to the games because of the stadium. Attendance is low because, well, the Chargers get their asses handed to them almost every other game. In this economy, who in their right mind would drop a few bucks to watch a team lose? Here’s a hint: invest in a team.

Have they failed to learn from Petco Park and the San Diego Padres???

The situation disgusts me.

Looking forward to your next article. Though, I hope to see good news at some point from you.

May Lan
via email


The Mel Shapiro whose photo appeared in last week’s “City Lights” was the UCLA professor of theater rather than the local political activist who was quoted in the article.

Hope Votes

Don Bauder’s December 16 City Lights article contained good points. He discussed the mayor’s plan to divert $700 million from the Centre City Development Corporation to the Chargers. The City of San Diego elected a fiscally conservative Republican as mayor who receives a City pension while also being paid as mayor. He plans to promote “managed competition” for City services while also making plans to give millions in taxpayer money to a private enterprise — the Chargers. Yes, that’s crazy!

As suggested in this article, I believe that CCDC has lost its usefulness when its funds can be manipulated and diverted to private businesses. It no longer serves the citizens of San Diego, and it should be dissolved.

“Managed competition” was also addressed. The “outsourcing” that the City has embarked upon may not yield the desired results. As stated in the article, the City has not done well negotiating outside contracts. For example, 30-year-old Qualcomm Stadium still loses money. If politicians cannot break even with a 30-plus-year-old stadium, I hate to think of the cost to taxpayers for a new stadium. At minimum, an “independent” auditor should be hired by the city council to monitor outsourced contracts and evaluate costs and service levels. It’s also critical to identify jobs that leave San Diego County, which in turn increases unemployment.

It gave me hope to see the people of San Diego vote against Proposition D. In my opinion, that was a vote of distrust for the mayor and councilmembers. While Mayor Sanders threatened to cut fire and police, I was concerned that the $102 million in sales taxes would be diverted to nonessential services such as the Chargers and an overpriced city hall. I would be glad to cough up the money if I could be sure that it would be spent properly. San Diego politicians need to take steps to prove that their intentions are honorable. In the case of the mayor, he only needs to take one step — resign.

Ron Harris
San Diego

If They Can Do It

Don Bauder, like the Union-Tribune, often notes that the private sector employs defined contribution retirement plans — 401(k) — rather than the defined benefit plans provided by the city and state. A much more persuasive argument would be to point out that in 1984, 26 years ago, the federal government abandoned its defined benefit plan, the Civil Service Retirement System, and replaced it with a 401(k)-like plan known as the Federal Employees Retirement System. Where federal employees earned fixed benefits based on years and salary and paid no Social Security, since 1984 they now have an employer-matching savings system plus Social Security, exactly as a typical private-sector plan. If the federal government could do it 26 years ago, can it not be done for local and state government employees?

John Sanborn
via email

Hipper Than Who?

Barbarella is so cool and hip (“Diary of a Diva,” December 16). I don’t mind if she goes to a kid’s party and, obviously, being cool, she isn’t likely to enjoy it. Still, I would still read her if she weren’t hip. Even if she were a poseur, I’d still read the column. She is cooler than Henny Youngman — he had two children, a son Gary and daughter Marilyn.

Joe Abbinanti
via email

Kid Opinion Rankles

I usually read Barbarella’s column (“Diary of a Diva”) to get a different viewpoint of how other people live: specifically, the Mini Cooper–driving, Hillcrest-condo-living, pet-pig-having, cheese-nibbling yuppies whom I have encountered but never interacted with much, aside from serving wine, cheese, and bread to their bloated red faces when I was a caterer or a server.

I’d serve delicacies (where I come from, we call fish eggs and smelly cheese “bait”) to these rich, tuxedo-wearing douche bags for $9 an hour until at the end when they’d give us hardworking, underpaid servers a round of applause instead of a tip, so I know the depth of you assholes.

Your opinion of children has been getting under my skin since the time you met your sister and her kids at the coffee shop, but for your last two submissions to be solely devoted to bagging on children and their parents for being so inconsiderate as to inconvenience you is completely infuriating.

I, too, hate things that are noisy, needy, and underfoot (such as pet pigs, for example), and I also enjoy my peace and quiet. But as a proud parent of three small kids, I know that you can have both the joys of parenting and the peace of solitude, with balance. So just know that while I will go through my life surrounded by amazing people whom I have created and who will love me unconditionally, I hope that you choke on moldy milk and fermented grapes at a gay pride parade, you snobby WASP. And if I ever see you out and about, I may just slap that smirk so hard that those chopsticks fly out of your bun.

Later, hater.

Name Withheld
via email

This Is Us

In response to your “Off the Cuff” (December 16) respondents who gave their opinions of the tea party, of which I’m a member. All six had no knowledge of what we are about. Our mission is to have a government that doesn’t tax and spend us into bankruptcy, as San Diego politicians have done. We want small government, legal immigration only, leaders who are not corrupt and preserve our rights and freedoms as written in the Constitution. We want Americans to be self-reliant. The left wants a reliance on big government constituency. If Christina Sanchez thinks the tea party is about “hate and ignorance,” then she may be the ignorant one!

Rob Schick

Real Chemistry

This is a factual correction for the December 9 “Roam-O-Rama,” “The Green Flash,” by Jerry Schad. He says the green flash is “a complex optical chemistry involving refraction, dispersion, and scattering of sunlight through the atmosphere.” I don’t think chemistry has anything to do with any of those things. I think they’re talking about optical physics, not chemistry.

Ocean Beach

Jerry Schad responds: Of course, r². It’s all physics. The word “chemistry” was used metaphorically. Physics rules!

Get Light Right

Two issues not discussed (“Best Buys,” December 9).

First, the use of LEDs means you are not burning the old amount of electricity. Good on you for that. A reduction of 12 percent in electrical usage is supposed to help prevent the need to build additional electricity-producing plants in California. They will be built, but they’re trying to build a new energy grid, and a delay will hopefully allow the new grid to be more modern and accommodating to new suppliers of electricity. So if you’re reducing 12 percent, you’re doing your part.

Next is that San Diego electricity has four tiers of billing. The cheapest two tiers top out at 15 cents. The last two tiers finish at 30 cents per kilowatt-hour. By using LEDs, you are using significantly less “end-of-the-month electricity,” which is surely billed at the double rate.

Fascinating stuff, the coldness to the lighting changeover is interesting in itself. The deadline to eliminate incandescent bulbs is getting closer, and many people think it is an intrusion on our liberties. That issue aside, it still requires a bit of experimentation to get the appropriate light for the area using the appropriate type of bulb. Some bulbs will never be replaced again, so getting it right could be a big help.

via email

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Hey Tea Party idiots. You want the same thing most Americans want. But like brainless Sara, "Do you love your freedom," Palin, you hijack mainstream ideals, pretend they're new, and belong to the Tea Party. My impression of the Tea Party is young dolts with no education, and old dolts just awakening from a 40 year political slumber.

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