Letters

Chargers On UHF

Please let all NFL football fans know that they have more choices (“Sporting Box,” October 7). TV Azteca is a UHF station. They broadcast a game every Sunday at 10:00 a.m. Just tune your TV to UHF Channel 21. The channel is free over the air. It originates in Mexico City, but they have a repeater in Tijuana. The signal can be received in San Diego. The Union-Tribune refuses to provide any information about the channel. In week one, they showed Atlanta vs. Pittsburgh. Week two they had Pittsburgh vs. Tennessee. Week three, Dallas vs. Houston. Week four they had Jets vs. Buffalo. I watched LT run for over 100 yards. I have been watching this channel for more than five years.

Jim Dougherty
via email

Freedom Of The Network

Don Bauder’s article about the network marketing industry (“How a Pyramid Topples,” “City Lights,” October 7) paints the whole industry with one very large tar brush! I am not disputing the information he imparts on the two-bit players but the more general statements he makes about the industry in general. Yes, there are crooks and thieves in network marketing, just as there are in every aspect of business and society. To malign a multibillion-dollar segment of commerce on the basis of a few is uninformed at best and malicious at worst.

He speaks about companies that are highly reputable and have been operating successfully for decades — Usana, Herbalife, among others. The granddaddies of them all, Amway and Mary Kay, have been around probably longer than Mr. Bauder has. Newer and no less reputable, Nu Skin, Arbonne, Isagenix are some of the top network marketing companies in the world, with billions in sales. The products these companies offer are often far superior to their competitors in the traditional corporate world.

He states that few who get involved make it big. One only has to look at the traditional corporate organization chart to see the real pyramid structure! There is the CEO, president, a handful of VPs, directors, managers, and other workers and customers. The difference in multilevel marketing is that no one, other than your own effort, determines your success! In corporate, a manager or VP determines your raise, your vacation time, your sick days, your working hours, etc. Your j.o.b. (journey of the bored) controls your life. In network marketing, all that is in your own hands.

Like any other business, multilevel marketing companies come and go. Those that are worthy and have the right product and leadership, thrive. Those that don’t, fail, and usually within the first year or two. This industry is no different than other corporate America. One has only to look at the news headlines — the financial and mortgage meltdown; Enron; City of Bell — thieves, scammers, on every level. When they fall, they fall big! As in all life, one has to do his due diligence — company, product, leadership — before deciding which coattails to latch onto! The reputable network marketing companies are thriving in this economy — because people are sick and tired of being sick and tired — and are ready to take control of their lives!

Nedda Viscovich
via email

Not James

One of your writers perpetuates a big local myth, saying that “Diego” means “James” (“Who’s Looking Out for These Ladies?” Cover Story, September 30). Ha, ha ha! The mystery of how this bit of misinformation persists in our community ought to be a good thesis topic in communications or cultural anthropology. Anyway, the Spanish for “James” is “Santiago.” “James,” by the way, is a corruption of “Jacob” (in Latin, “Iacobus”). If that seems unlikely, look it up.

“Santiago” literally means “Saint Iago,” “Saint James,” of course; yet the Spanish for “John” is plain “Juan,” not “Sanjuan.” While it would be nice to know the reason why Spanish has acquired this aberration in naming, that mystery need not distract us here.

There can be no doubt about the translation equivalents of Christian names, because they’re the names of saints. We could be sure, for example, that “Juan” equals “John” if for no other reason than that the author of the fourth gospel is named “John” in English and “Juan” in Spanish. Therefore, to find the names of the 12 apostles in Spanish, you can look up “los doce apóstoles” on the web — accent mark not necessary. (Or look up “la Biblia” or go to Wikipedia’s article “Apostle [Christian]” and click on the link to its Spanish-language counterpart.) Don’t forget, there are 2 apostles named James. The 12 apostles are named in the Gospel of Mark 3:13–19. (You can look up Mark 3:13–19 in the Vulgate Bible online, i.e., the Bible in Latin. You’ll find “Iacobus” in its accusative case form, “Iacobum.”)

You will then ask, what is “Diego”? Fair question. “Diego” is Spanish for Latin “Didacus.” Take note of Saint Didacus parish church in Normal Heights. Take note of a local historic site, Mission San Diego de Alcalá. Junípero Serra named that mission for San Diego (i.e., Saint Didacus) of Alcalá, a Spaniard who died in 1463. (You can look up Didacus in the Catholic Encyclopedia.) A web page at the University of San Diego (a Roman Catholic institution) states, “University Ministry honors the patron saint of our city and our university by referring to the Sunday collection as the Saint Didacus Fund.” Not the “Saint James Fund.”

Dale Chock

Bill Manson replies: According to my reading, it’s no local myth. “Diego” does mean “James,” and “Didacus” is a later, church-inspired retroactive redesignation of the name “Diego.”

The name “Diego” was originally the Hebrew name “Ya’akov” (given to Abraham’s grandson, twin of Esau). “Ya’akov” became “Iakobos” in Greek, became “Iacobus” in Latin, later “Iacomus,” and then, in the evolving French language, was shortened to “Gemmes,” and finally to “James” in English.

The Spanish shortened the Latin “Iacomus” to “Iaco” and then “Iago,” then probably to “Tiago” (a shortening of “Santiago,” “Saint Jacob”), and thence to “Diego.” So “Santiago” and “San Diego” are kissing cousins.

So the two paths, from Latin to French to English on the one hand, and from Latin to Spanish on the other, explain the wide difference in the evolved names “Diego” and “James.”

Of course, plenty of people argue, as you do, that “Diego” is the Spanish form of the Latin “Didacus” (which means “instructed”; think “didactic”). But the best explanation I can find is that although the church did indeed associate “Didacus” with the name “Diego,” it did so retroactively, to give “Diego” a bit more gravitas. (“Ya’akov” was a wordplay on the Hebrew word for “heel” that came to mean “may he protect,” according to Gerald Erichsen, a Spanish-language specialist, because in the Book of Genesis, Ya’akov was holding the heel of his twin brother Esau when the two were born. You can imagine medieval church dignitaries preferring the idea of an “instructed” one for Saint Diego over a name that basically meant “heel.” Saint Heel doesn’t have quite the same vibes.)

So I still say we live in the town of Saint James, and I bet Sebastián Vizcaíno, when he put up a tent here, held a Mass, and then changed the name of the bay from San Miguel to San Diego, on November 12, 1602, would have thought “Gemmes,” “Jacques,” or “James” before he thought “Didacus.”

Trustworthy And True

As the proud new president of the board of Save Our Heritage Organisation, it is exciting to see SOHO featured on the cover of the latest Reader as the subject of Bill Manson’s article “Who’s Looking Out for These Ladies?” (September 30). Despite the somewhat skeptical tone at the beginning, I was glad to see all of the author’s concerns and potential criticisms of SOHO adequately put to rest by the end with his conclusion that SOHO is in fact as strong, diligent, and effective an advocate for historic preservation as ever before — contrary to what a small but loudly outspoken number of ill-informed detractors might say.

Also, thanks to Mr. Manson for having closed the book on the persistent Casa de Bandini vs. Cosmopolitan Hotel controversy once and for all by allowing SOHO’s executive director Bruce Coons to explain for the record why it was appropriate to restore the building to its earlier 1870s period. However, had Mr. Manson only mentioned that Bruce is a recognized expert in the Mexican Period, an owner of the 1837 Alvarado adobe, and a collector of museum-quality artifacts and archival materials from this period, it would have been much quicker and easier to dispel any myths about him being a culturally biased “Anglophile.”

Overall, Mr. Manson did an excellent job of illustrating the invaluable and often singular role that SOHO plays in protecting the unique, diverse, and irreplaceable historic buildings and sites throughout the San Diego region. Hopefully his article will inspire more people not only to support SOHO but to get personally involved in saving the historic architecture and cultural places that matter to them.

Jaye MacAskill
President
SOHO

Sign Of Life

I have wondered how to approach expressing my concern for the life of the sign painted on the rear of the endangered California Theatre. After reading the article in the Reader entitled “Who’s Looking Out for These Ladies?” (Cover Story, September 30), I realized it is time to express my concern for saving this advertisement for Agua Caliente 5 & 10.

The sign holds strong memories for me of a time that’s long gone but that shouldn’t be forgotten.

My father, Pat (the Hat) Troiani, managed the greyhound racing during John Alessio’s reign and eventually managed the 5 & 10 off-track betting in Mexicali, Mexico. This sign exemplifies the evolution of thoroughbred wagering.

Now called satellite wagering, Agua Caliente and the men who were innovative in creating enduring betting strategies need to be included in the value weighed when deciding the future of this historical element.

Jana Troiani Lyerly

All The Answers

Many questions in “Who’s Looking Out for These Ladies?” (Cover Story, September 30) were not adequately or fairly addressed.

“Has SOHO gone soft?” “Has SOHO been too genteel in its protests?” “Where’s the human chain surrounding the place, shouting, ‘Hell no! We won’t go!’ ”

Engaging in PR stunts of that nature doesn’t save buildings. A more insightful question would have been, “What is SOHO’s strategy for saving historical resources?” The answer goes to when SOHO first came under the stewardship of Bruce and Alana Coons. One of their top priorities was to build SOHO’s financial strength so that the legal option could be utilized whenever necessary, so that SOHO no longer had to choose which resources it could afford to save.

With fiscal leverage in hand, SOHO considers negotiation to be its most effective tool. They have gained a reputation of being reasonable, demonstrating skill in creating alternatives and solutions to demolition, and turning adversaries into preservation partners.

SOHO’s finesse at negotiation and problem-solving helped save the Hotel Del, the Old Police Headquarters, Temple Beth Israel, the War Memorial Building, the Historic Warehouse District, and much more.

“Too ready to cut deals with developers.” This is usually said by those entrenched in an all-or-nothing position, which all too often leads to losing a resource. Bruce Coons repeatedly stresses, “It’s all about saving the resource. It’s just about the resource.”

San Diego Hotel. “Neither SOHO nor the city could fight the feds, or so they said. One way or another, they let it slip away.” Slip away? You didn’t mention that the demolition of the San Diego Hotel faced an unprecedented unity among preservation groups and local agencies to stop the General Services Administration of the U.S. government from leveling this landmark.

Joining forces with SOHO was the City of San Diego, Centre City Development Corporation (CCDC), the City of San Diego Historical Resources Board, the San Diego Housing Commission, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. This powerful group of organizations worked hard to fight the United States federal government and the General Services Administration.

Accurately, you said the hotel provided affordable housing for 11 percent of homeless citizens — a very important reason why CCDC and the City were part of the communitywide opposition. This was a significant loss of needed affordable housing.

You also failed to mention the political climate of the time: the unprecedented power leveraged by the Bush administration following 9/11, giving the feds power to ignore court decisions. It was the same with the border fence project, which SOHO took to the Supreme Court. But the feds via Homeland Security pulled rank.

Yes, the condition of such important landmarks as the California Theatre and Red Roost/Red Rest Cottages is deplorable. But they still stand because of SOHO. And because of that, they still have a chance.

The Ford dealership building. SOHO has pointed to this building’s significance for years. SOHO provided the City information on the building’s importance six years ago and again recently. But even before that, the Ford building was featured in SOHO’s Art Deco Treasures of San Diego Tour in the 1990s.

SOHO was always assured the resource would be brought before the Historical Resources Board for full review. But then the City made a decision that the Salvation Army qualified for an exemption from this review because it’s a religious organization. The City did this without telling anyone. With the process cloaked and notification withheld, the building came down. SOHO, with its long track record of problem-solving and making preservation partners out of adversaries, was shut out of the process.

The landmark was denied opportunity to live on.

The statement about SOHO allowing Warner’s Ranch to crumble is completely false. After working on this for years, funding for Warner’s was secured with SOHO’s help. Earlier this year the site was stabilized, and it is being restored right now.

The debate about whether Old Town San Diego State Historic Park should be about accurate history or about plastic umbrellas, white vinyl patio chairs, and margaritas may never go away. But to justify one perspective only to discount another by labeling someone an “Anglophile” is not right.

Adobes are a passion for Bruce Coons. And Bruce is known for his love of the Mexican period more than any other. This talk in the article about him being an “Anglophile” is unfounded. It was Bruce’s passion that led him to buy an 1837 Mexican-period adobe home, which he completed with Spanish and Mexican early California art.

Bruce Coons’s strong interest and concern for the Mexican period and for adobes goes back a long way. At 10 years old he was the youngest member of the San Diego Historical Society. By 11 he was doing his first archeological dig through the young historians program. He spent a lot of time in Old Town well before it became a state park. Bruce Coons knows Old Town and its history.

There are some strong comments by Vonn Marie May in the article. The bitterness of those comments should be viewed in some context. When SOHO decided to hire a full-time executive director, Bruce Coons was chosen. Vonn Marie had wanted and expected the position. Board members from that time have told me what followed was her severe case of sour grapes, a bitterness that continues to manifest through comments in articles such as this one.

That Bruce Coons was hired as a consultant for Delaware North is not unusual. This is common practice in preservation groups throughout the country, to hire leading experts as consultants — professionals and experts from within a group. SOHO members are frequently hired for preservation projects. Vonn Marie was herself hired as a consultant for that same project. In fact, her team’s own report suggested an even later period of restoration. So enough of this “Anglophile” nonsense.

“Does SOHO need saving — from itself?” As California’s oldest continually operating preservation group, SOHO has learned, evolved, and grown. SOHO is a local partner of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Its national and international influence is demonstrated when calls come in from other cities, states, and Mexico seeking help and advice on preservation issues.

SOHO operates/manages eight historic properties, publishes an award-winning magazine, produces educational and advocacy films, conducts workshops and lectures, and continues its popular historic architecture tours. Many of the great historical buildings in San Diego today are here because of SOHO.

In 2009, when asked about the organization he helped found 41 years ago, Robert Miles Parker said, “This is something I normally don’t say about anything, but I am incredibly, incredibly proud.”

Dan Soderberg
Vice President
SOHO

Hardly Notice The Gunfire

Re “You Want Silver or Lead?” (Cover Story, September 23). Very well done story. Accurate and to the point. I live in Culiacán, Sinaloa, and I know that everything you printed is real and then some. We sleep to the sounds of gunfire and wake up to the news of eight to ten people murdered by sicarios, wrapped in blankets or inside garbage bags. The gruesome way these people murder has become normal.

The sad part is that we’ve become desensitized as a society in this part of the country. Also, the age of these teenage killers is something we can’t get used to. We suffer for the families of the victims that are killed just because they’re in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Your quote from my cousin Norma Corona Sapién is exactly the way she used to talk about the problems in our society in those days. Norma was killed for her beliefs as a human rights activist. The story about the Venezuelan man who seduced Palma’s wife is also related to Norma’s assassination because this man was a friend of five Venezuelan students who were Norma’s law students who were tortured and killed in order to get information on the Venezuelan guy. Norma investigated this crime, and when she got too close to finding out what happened, they got rid of her.

Maria Spielberger
via email

A Holy Ha-Ha-Ha

Concerning Walter Mencken’s “Holy War?” piece (“SD on the QT”) in the September 23 issue: Tom Cantor can be a charming guy, and his views on religion are hilarious. There is nothing charming or funny, however, about his wholly owned company Scantibodies Laboratories, Inc. At its original “ranch” in Ramona and at a much larger facility opened recently in Tecate, SLI produces monoclonal antibodies in mice.

The process involves injecting the abdomen of each suitably prepared mouse with the desired cell line and letting it grow inside the animal, distending the belly with ascites fluid. Before it dies, it is killed by snapping the neck, and the fluid is sucked out with a needle. Many thousands of mice are “harvested” this way each month.

SLI produces lots of other grisly products. Pallets of human plasma arrive weekly from centers around the country to be processed in the Santee lab. It’s getting too expensive, though, so Tom is opening his own plasma center in the East County, where the poor can sell their blood to him. All of this and much more is stored in a giant megafreezer right behind his ridiculous museum.

Tom’s got nothing to hide: check it out at scantibodies.com.

Damon Cook
via email

Elemental

In your crossword puzzle in the September 23 edition, you had 40 across as “Element #18.” Element 18 is argon. However, in the next edition of the Reader, the completed puzzle had platinum as the answer. Platinum is element 78.

Cole Macy
via email

Wandering Brethren

I am grateful to the Reader for publishing the uncensored, unedited dialogue between John Pertle and myself about biblical principles. Hopefully, anyone who chooses to read these letters will search out the truth for himself from an accurate translation of the Bible.

I must also thank Mr. Pertle for motivating me to be more diligent in my own studies. He has obviously been well trained in his doctrine, so it is essential that we recognize its inconsistencies with the Scriptures in order to ascertain the truth.

For instance, in “Letters” (September 30) Pertle maintains that believing in Jesus Christ is the only act required of us to receive eternal life.

But in Matthew chapter 8 we find that the devil’s demons also believe Jesus is the Son of God. James said in chapter 2 of his letter that the demons believe and tremble. There is no one who believes in Jesus more than Satan; after all, he spent 40 days with Jesus in the wilderness.

Are Satan and his demons to receive eternal life in heaven solely because they believe? It seems that something else must be required. John wrote in I John chapter 1 that if we “walk in the light” the blood of Christ will cleanse us from all sin.

“Walking in the light” involves more than simply believing. Hence, James told us in chapter 2 that we cannot be justified by faith only. It is our obedience to God (our works) that perfects our faith; otherwise our faith is just as dead and meaningless as that of the demons.

In his reference to Acts 16:31, Pertle failed to mention what happened immediately after Paul and Silas told the jailer that he must believe to be saved. In the very next verse, they spoke the Word of the Lord to him, and he perfected his faith by being baptized that same hour of the night.

Telling a partial truth is the same thing as not telling the truth at all.

Of course, the idea of “irrevocable eternal life” is also at odds with the Scriptures. Remember, James told his believing brethren in chapter 5 that if one of them wandered from the truth and became a sinner, he could lose his soul.

Jesus warned the Ephesian church in chapter 2 of Revelation that they were in danger of losing their salvation because they had fallen. Similar warnings about the judgment of believers who fall away from Christ are given in Hebrews chapters 4, 6, and 10, Galatians 5, and II Peter 2.

Evidently, the question is not whether the Father, by His Grace and love, sent us His Son, or whether Jesus was the atoning sacrifice for our sins, or even whether we must believe in Him to gain eternal life.

The question is this: Does our Creator require us to do His will in accepting His gift of salvation, or can the disobedient also receive this gift? Hebrews chapter 2 says they cannot.

Jesus declared in John chapter 3 that we cannot enter the kingdom of God unless we are born anew of water and Spirit. This is why Peter wrote in I Peter 3:20 and 21 that, just as Noah and his family were saved through water, baptism now saves us.

Jim Crooks
Oceanside

Alternate To Oligarchy

Don Bauder’s excellent reviews of standard political corruption suggest the recognition that the political system has to operate this way in order to stay in power. It would be interesting to review an alternate to oligarchy. Call it representative democracy based on nonpolitical, voter (instead of special-interest) involvement.

A possibility for review would be a proposition for a public-funded election and deliberative polling (Stanford–Carnegie Mellon) system to encourage nonpolitical candidates with successful careers to serve but one term. This allows continuous improvement to law. It would also help voters to get involved looking over equally present backgrounds and stated objectives. Reps would then be dealing with voters and other reps in order to solve problems and negotiate (versus manipulate) solutions resulting with law that has measurable objectives instead of self-serving “policies.” Voters who fail to participate in, say, biweekly input/output would lose their voting franchise until they did.

For those who feel this is idealistic, I suggest a review of political campaigns.

Walter C. Tice
Pacific Beach

Duncan Loves Violence

You ought to replace this Duncan Shepherd, the movie critic you’ve had for so many years. The guy is so far off base. He recommends and puts stars on some of the most bizarre, unbelievably immoral movies, and he never rates anything that’s halfway decent and gives them a star. It’s time for Duncan Shepherd to fade into the sunset and get somebody that’s much more objective and realistic as far as his rating of movies. Duncan Shepherd has outlived his usefulness. I know Jim Holman is a very moral man and a very good Christian, but it’s time for him to replace Duncan Shepherd. Mao’s Last Dancer, for example, gets one star, and it was one of the best movies around. All of these garbage movies, with murder and violence and twists that are so stupid, he puts stars on them — two and three stars.

Ken MacKenzie
Del Mar

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Comments

Re: "Not James"

Whether it's "James" or "Didacus", the more research one does, it becomes apparent that this question of namesake is likely a minor issue. The first issue you'll encounter when using multiple texts for reference, is that Vizcaíno's date of entering (and by some accounts, naming) San Diego vary. I've read November 10th, November 12th, December 17th, it goes on and on. Regardless, there are issues in any case with any date.

November 12th is the most common date referenced, presumably because the feast day for Saint Didacus is on November 12th. Unfortunately for historians, when Didacus was canonized in 1588, his feast day was celebrated on November 13th by all Catholics (other than Franciscans) because the feast day of Pope Saint Martin I was occupying the actual day of the death of Didacus. That date wasn't officially changed until 1969, when the Catholic Church moved St. Martin's feast day to sometime in April. I believe that the priests attached to Vizcaíno's expedition were Carmelites, and as such, would have celebrated the feast of Saint Didacus on November 13th.

A more plausible explanation might reside behind the name of Vizcaíno's flagship, the San Diego. I can find no reliable data for when the San Diego was built, which could lend a further clue as to the name origin, but the timing seems to be in favor of the ship being named after a freshly canonized Catholic. However, since there was no Spanish translation of the bible used by any order of Catholics in 1602, Saint James would have more likely been Saint Iacomus in any reference, leaving - in this case - Saint Didacus as the probable root of San Diego. Presuming that Spanish priests, on their own, decided to offer their own translations out of Latin is quite a stretch.

The only reasonable justification for using Didacus as a possible translation for James would be so as to not confuse him with any of the other Saint James, but I suspect not because the Spaniards commonly referred to him as "de Alcalá" which would automatically differentiate. Santiago is, indeed, Spanish for James in translated Bibles, but Spanish etymology isn't so simple as it is in other languages. In English, one word often means several things, where in Spanish you can find several words (all with different origins) that mean the same thing.

The problem is in trying to figure out what those words meant in 1602.

11/13/10

Well, the correspondent who hates Duncan's movie reviews will be happy this week, since Shepherd apparently has written his last column. Say it isn't so! In my heart, I know it is! I am bereft! OMG!

I am very sorry to see Duncan Shepherd leave the Reader after 38 years. He wrote the most convoluted and self-referential reviews I have ever read, and his black spot rating system was idiosyncratic, but I read him every week. That he concludes with words of gratitude for the remarkable editorial freedom he has always enjoyed under publisher Jim Holman was proper and graceful. That he ends with a quote from Tennyson and the vain wish he were still seeing (better) movies in a big old movie palace in Minneapolis in the late '60's just breaks my heart.

Ave atque vale, Duncan Shepherd.

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