Taking pen to paper

The Right to Mow

I just finished reading your January 22 cover story, “One in the Gut. One in the Head.

I have to say that I think Mr. Vilkin was railroaded. He was on his own land. It really doesn’t matter whether Mr. Upton liked it or not! His opinion does not matter in the least. Upton was a renter, and therefore had no stake in what was done on an adjoining property.

The only mistake Mr. Vilkin made was not getting a cease and desist order from the start of Upton’s harassment. He should have called the police every time Upton spoke to him in an threatening manor. A paper trail is a wonderful thing.

I know of what I speak. My neighbors of 20 years went nuts one day and attacked me physically for mowing my yard. It was 11 a.m., so not too early. We had been friendly for 20 years, no problems, even gave them tomatoes from my garden, cookies at Christmas. I don’t have a clue as to what set them off. What I do know is that they called the police out to the house, and were told I have every right to mow my yard.

My point is that people have the right to do anything they want to their own land. If you don’t like it, tough! If you are a renter, move! Land owners don’t care what renters like or don’t like. They have made their home there, and you are ultimately transient.

Mr. Upton’s death was senseless, but if he had stayed on his rental property and minded his own business, he could be bitching at another neighbor right now.

  • Kathy Stevens
  • North Park

Dad Was a Hothead

Re: January 22 cover story: “One in the Gut. One in the Head.” The article’s brief quotes from interviews/testimony raise reasonable doubt to Mr. Vilkin’s guilt.

Deputy’s testimony: “Upton said his landlord and the owner of another adjacent property had enough money that they could ‘financially destroy Mr. Vilkin.’”

If this type of substantial threat is being made in the presence of a deputy, then what type of threat is being made in the deputy’s absence? The threat is very calculating and deliberately nasty, while he’s aware it will not result in arrest. Further, the threat gains nothing, only serving to terrorize Mr. Vilkin, raising doubt as to Mr. Upton’s character.

Observe Mr. Upton’s response to the deputy’s recommendation for Mr. Upton to seek legal injunction (court order) to stop Vilkin’s trimming, that “it would take too much time and the clearing would be done by the time he got a court order.” Mr. Upton casually dismisses taking a legal route to solve his conflict. Indeed, if a legal route does not serve Mr. Upton, perhaps an extralegal route will (intimidation, threat, and assault).

Son James corrects himself regarding his father’s “upsets” with Mr. Vilkin. He backtracks, adding later, “He never got upset, he got frustrated.” Why the need to reverse direction and polish his father’s image? Because Dad was a hothead.

Mr. Vilkin took the prudent and lawful step to seek the authorities’ aid in preventing a conflict —he called the sheriff’s department. He sought a state licensed civil engineer to legally mark the property boundary — a legal step to clarify the property right by marking the state registered legal description. He sought to educate himself as to the correct legal limits of defending himself. The shooting took place well within Mr. Vilkin’s lawful property. Mr. Vilkin makes several clear-cut actions to be lawful.

Mr. Vilkin is in a foreign country speaking a foreign language — a challenging and stressful situation. His cultural background and experience may very well prime him to expect violence over property disputes. The crumbling Soviet Union was the wild west.

Mr. Vilkin suffers distinct disadvantages as both an accented foreigner and a property-owning capitalist, before a popular jury.

We have reasonable doubt.

Please let me know how to contribute to Mr. Vilkin’s appeal. He will be in my prayers.

  • Robert Noel Miller
  • Rancho Santa Fe

Aha Moment

Reading Mary Beth Abate’s restaurant review of StreetCar in North Park, I had one of those aha moments.

I had stopped in and tried one of their chocolate doughnuts a few weeks ago, and was deliciously surprised. There was a nice doughy, cakey complexity to the confection, and it was very filling. Stiff competition, I thought, for the doughnut shop across the street, and also the nearby Heaven Sent Deserts.

But when I tried what I thought was their dark Southern fried chicken ($8 a la carte) I found it overly crispy and not particularly flavorful. “I could do much, much better,” I told a nearby diner.

After reading Abate’s description of the light- versus dark-colored chicken, it appears that I was given the lighter Korean double-fried chicken, not the darker Southern fried, as I had ordered. No dipping sauces were provided either, so I thought I got what I ordered. After reading the review, I thought aha! They must have substituted the twice fried by accident (it was a busy Saturday afternoon for them, judging by the 25-minute wait for my order to be completed).

I also tried a waffle, which was tasty, but cold, and not worth the wait, or the price, (with 15 percent tip, my order totalled $19 for the doughnut, waffle and chicken, no drink). Still, the doughnuts were consistently good, and I probably will go back for another one, and maybe give their coffee a try next time round.

Thanks for the helpful review.

  • Paul Gordon
  • North Park

Type 2 Ignoramus

Dear Glucose Terrorists:

My first problem with your “Type 1 Terror” article is this: Should I use Font 1 or Font 2 to write my comments? I would hate to confuse or mislead people by choosing the wrong typeface.

As a fat, lazy, type 2 ignoramus, I have trouble understanding how someone could not understand simple things. Like how the number 1 comes before the number 2. Or why someone familiar with type 2 wouldn’t realize a type 1 exists by simply counting. Or how an individual with type 2 diabetes wouldn’t know to monitor their blood sugar regularly and take the medications their doctor prescribed. Obviously, any advice a type 2 diabetic could provide on diabetes is flawed and totally useless.

As your article implies, managing type 1 diabetes must be much harder than managing type 2, since there are fewer medical techniques that work.

Yes, much more complicated than having 2 different injected medications, different pills, and several dietary precautions. After all, managing more things is obviously less difficult than following the simple routine of monitoring your blood sugar, consuming carbs if it’s too low, and injecting insulin if it reads high, and following other appropriate medical advice provided by your health care provider.

There wasn’t any mention about family history in your article about diabetes. In my case, my paternal grandfather, my dad, and I all have (or had) type 2 diabetes. My mom’s side is clear of this history. The risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes run in families.

But back to the theme of your article. As a type 2 ignoramus, I can barely use things like the internet to respond to your impressive journalistic efforts. I can’t even sign this letter properly, since I can’t spell my name properly. But I do know venting helps keep my blood pressure from going through the roof.

As you can tell, I take my insulin with a side of sarcasm.

  • Iggy Noramus
  • via email

Our Share of the Profits

This letter is in response to Don Bauder’s January 17 online News Ticker article, “What about That Spanos Money?

Here we go again! Do the City of San Diego residents want to spend $750,000,000 on the Chargers when our infrastructure is deteriorating? Would we rather have ten home games per year instead of running water, storm drains, sewage facilities, paved roads, parks and libraries?

Sorry, Chargers. As much as I enjoy football, I do not want our city’s infrastructure to deteriorate. I want to feel confident about water and sewage systems. I want to have access to parks and libraries. I want my car to run smoothly over San Diego roads.

If the Chargers can present the residents of San Diego with a reasonable business proposition that will not impact the aforementioned, I will consider it. This should include a partnership where the residents can be part owners of the Chargers, and share in the profits.

What a silly suggestion, as this will never happen. Spanos and Fabiani do not want to share. They want to take our hard-earned money and line their pockets with it.

It would really impress me if Mayor Faulconer would stick up for himself and the residents of San Diego by expressing the above, and demanding that the Chargers present a business proposition that will also benefit the residents of San Diego.

  • Ronald Harris
  • Scripps Ranch

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