Get A Kidney, Give A Liver

Your story about organ donation highlighted the tragic shortage of human organs for transplant operations (“Gift from the Grave,” Cover Story, September 8).

There are now over 110,000 people on the national transplant waiting list, with over 50 percent of these people dying before they get a transplant. Most of these deaths are needless. Americans bury or cremate 20,000 transplantable organs every year.

There is a simple way to put a big dent in the organ shortage — give donated organs first to people who have agreed to donate their own organs when they die.

Giving organs first to organ donors will convince more people to register as organ donors. It will also make the organ-allocation system fairer. Everyone who is willing to receive should be willing to give.

Anyone who wants to donate their organs to others who have agreed to donate theirs can join LifeSharers. LifeSharers is a nonprofit network of organ donors who agree to offer their organs first to other organ donors when they die. Membership is free at www.lifesharers.org or by calling 1-888-ORGAN88. There is no age limit, parents can enroll their minor children, and no one is excluded due to any preexisting medical condition. LifeSharers has over 14,700 members as of this writing, including 1765 members in California.

David J. Undis
via email

EMTs Or QBs?

I enjoyed watching the Chargers’ first game of the season (“Reward the Few, Screw the Many,” “City Lights,” September 8). Philip Rivers epitomizes “true grit.” He never gives up, and the come-from-behind wins are especially exciting. I was, however, disappointed when he overthrew Vincent Jackson in the end zone. Vincent Jackson is on my fantasy football team.

However, I don’t enjoy them enough to reduce library hours, jeopardize public safety, and increase sales taxes in San Diego. The Chargers and the city council continue to discuss a new stadium while the majority of San Diego residents would lose more than they would gain from such an enterprise. Qualcomm operates at a loss, and a new stadium would operate at a bigger loss.

Handing over $500 million to the Chargers is no different than awarding City employees unaffordable pension increases. It would add to the City deficit and impact critical services in the future. It’s a perfect example of San Diego government politics — reward the few, and screw the many.

I just ordered the book that Don Bauder recommended — Paradise Plundered: Fiscal Crisis and Governance Failures in San Diego. It cost $19 on Amazon.com. By the way, I would continue to watch and enjoy the Chargers if they moved to L.A.

Ronald Harris
Scripps Ranch

Sorry, But I’m Lost

I would like to comment on your “Unforgettable: Long-Ago San Diego.” The first installment was September 1, and the current installment is September 8. It’s all about Sebastián Vizcaíno. It would benefit by a few maps. I’m reading this and trying to figure out where in the heck these things happened.

For instance, in the beginning it says that they were hoping San Diego would be a port for the galleons to stop on their way back from Manila laden with silver and gold and Persian rugs, silks, jewelry, barrels of wine. Where the heck do you get that stuff in the Philippine Islands? That makes no sense. Where’s that stuff come from? They have that stuff in the Philippines?

And where were they on their way back to? They were looking for a halfway stop on the way back. Way back to where? Where were they going to?

Then, the same thing in this current episode. Where did this stuff happen? Was it the Gulf of California? Was it the Pacific coast? Where? If you just had some little, simple maps that show where these things are. Like, where the heck is El Puerto de la Muerte? It would be a lot more interesting if someone could visualize where these things are.

Name Withheld
via voice mail

Jeff Smith responds: Manila had become the center of Spain’s commerce with China, India, and Japan. Beginning in 1566, galleons sailed west from Acapulco, by a southerly route, to the Philippines. They would return to Mexico laden with treasure. They left in early July and used a northern route across the Pacific. When they approached the Pacific coast, in late December or early January, they needed a port where they could repair the ships, heal the sick, and have protection from pirates. There was no such port on the California coast, and many died as a result.

In part II, “La Paz” is on the Baja peninsula, same as today. Cabo de San Jose, in part III, is at the tip of Baja (near Cabo San Lucas).

Hey, That’s Rude

I’m calling about your cover “I’m Coming to Rescue You from Protestant Hell” (September 1).

I’m Protestant, I’m a Christian, I read your paper (not everything), but I don’t really appreciate that.

via voice mail

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