Hamburgers, mayors, and historians

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What Did They Do to the Meat?

I read with interest your comments about the Habit, the hamburger restaurant. I agree with the author 100 percent about the meat — the hamburger patty has not much taste at all.

I want you to know I became a Habit fan over the last year or so, and the meat used to be much, much better. It had flavor. I don’t know what they’ve done. I’ve written a letter to the corporate office, and to the one in La Mesa about exactly what you wrote about: the flavorless meat. They must have a new purveyor because I don’t really have any particular desire to go back.

I’d say I’ve gone to the Habit at least a dozen times in San Diego County and Encintas — Mission Valley, and all those. In the last few months it has changed in regards to the meat. Sometimes a person thinks it’s just their taste buds, but the people I’ve gone with have felt the same way that you and I did. So, I appreciate your honesty in reporting that. Especially since it’s an unbiased opinion and not just mine, or the two or three people I always go with to the Habit.

I’m going to cut out this article and send it to them. I’ll leave your name off, but I want them to know that me and my friends are not the only ones who noticed a change in the meat. I presume they’re trying to save money or something, or they don’t know their purveyors are giving them a less-tasty, less-quality beef.

Thank you, Mr. Henderson. Appreciate it.

  • Louise
  • via voicemail

Thumbs Down to Mayor Morrison

I would like to commend you for putting this important story in the news, especially now that it’s Christmastime and people are going to be selling puppies all over the city at Walmart, swap meets and, of course, puppy stores. Hats off to the Southern California Companion Animal Defenders for getting in front of these puppy mill stores and protesting.

Dogs are being put to sleep so often at the county animal shelters. In San Diego in particular there are a lot of dogs coming in from Mexico and other states. One statistic that I heard is that a healthy dog is put to sleep in America every three minutes. It’s a very serious problem.

On that note, I’d like to give a thumbs down to National City mayor Ron Morrison who condones these puppy stores in his community. He’s either unaware or unconcerned with the millions of dollars that cities and counties in the state of California spent caring for and housing these thousands of homeless pets.

I have a message to anyone looking for a special breed. There are breed rescuers of every kind: German shepherd, cocker spaniel, chihuahua ... whatever breed you’re looking for, you can find a special group that rescues that breed. And most shelters have purebreds in those shelters.

Keep in mind, the people who breed pups don’t really care about dogs. And people who buy from pet stores don’t really care about dogs either. Don’t breed or buy while shelter pets die.

  • Vivian Dunbar
  • San Ysidro

SDG&E Somehow Won

I appreciate the San Diego Reader for running a story on a decision from a state appeals court on the Carlsbad Energy Center, thus bringing the concerns about this project to the attention of consumers.

The decision by the California First District Court of Appeals to allow the Carlsbad Energy Center to move ahead with construction is deeply concerning. We can’t afford a new costly and long lasting gas-fired power plant, especially when cheaper and safer clean energy options are available. Clean energy proposals weren’t even given a chance to compete before CPUC approved the project. California has always been a leader in clean technology, so I would have expected the CPUC as well as the court to have a more forward looking viewpoint towards renewable energy.

SDG&E somehow squeaked out a win on this one, but I hope this isn’t over yet. We deserve fair consideration of clean energy proposals that protect our pocketbook, our health, and our environment.

  • Stephen Van Dien
  • Carlsbad

Amateur Historian

Some errors were let through in the latest installment of Unforgettable: Long Ago San Diego, the one about a series of would be conquerors of Mexico who set out from the southwest United States in the 1850s. To begin with, “rastaurador,” “Negrette,” and “Melendres” are misspellings of restaurador, Negrete, and Meléndrez. In addition, restaurador does not mean “renewer” (renovador), rather “restorer.” The town of Tijuana was not called “Tia Juana” by Mexicans, but by Americans, during the following century.

Presumably, some of these errors come from the sources, in which case the errors remain uncaught due to a lack of knowledge that an amateur historian of San Diego would like to have.

Below, more errors are noted. But factual errors are not all I would change about this article.

The writer provided deep character studies of the foreign protagonists, which is fair because they were the creators of these events. But he should have done the same for at least one of the Mexican actors, Meléndrez.

In this article, every one of the Mexicans is a stick figure, just a name who makes a declaration here and wages a battle there. Nor does the writer offer any explanation about the conditions in Mexico that attracted these marauders.

I also suggest that this writer make more frequent use of sources less than 30/40 years old, so as to avoid mistakes by former historians and, of course, to also include newly discovered information.

Unforgettable: Long Ago San Diego has been in the same hands for many years now. In 2016, the rules of Spanish spelling are still unlearned, Hispanic names are unlearned, knowledge by which one could recognize errors in quaint American sources.

One Mexican defender was called “Colonel Francisco Negrette.” Negrete is a Spanish surname which is not rare, and Spanish spelling does not allow tt. A Latino American would not have a name ending in ette unless that name’s origin was, say, French or Italian. Another point of fact about his name is that his surname was really del Castillo Negrete. And that is a single surname, admittedly an unusually long one among the Spanish.

Another Mexican defender was called “Melendres.” While it’s true that in Mexico some surnames are spelled with s in place of the historically correct z, and vice versa, in this man’s case, the name was spelled Meléndrez.

Here’s a factual error: the use of the word anyway in “Yáñez wanted the execution of Raousset to ‘send notice to all would-be filibusters that Mexico would not allow intervention under any conditions.’ William A. Walker (1824–1860) went anyway.” As your writer himself writes — giving dates to the day! —Walker invaded Mexico the year before Raousset’s execution. Indeed, as the writer himself records, Walker fled back into the U.S. three months before the execution!

Here’s a half-truth: “By age 21, Walker had degrees in law and medicine and had a legal practice at Marysville, California”. At age 21 — in 1845 — this American, Walker, was not practicing law in northern California. The United States did not annex California from Mexico until the Mexican War, 1846-1848. The Gold Rush started in 1848!

The writer’s own source, Scroggs, tells us (this is online) that Walker arrived in California in June 1850. Marysville was founded the same year.

Here’s a loose end: “The filibusters left La Paz with both governors and all the public records.” By the end of the article, the fate of the public records was left hanging. A historian, of all people, should think of that tidbit and want to give the answer.

There’s this offhanded introduction: “Guadalupe Melendres: a local ‘bandit,’ Walker wrote, who ‘refused to be liberated’ by the American regime.” Certainly, it is Walker, not the writer, who is defaming Meléndrez, and who got the man’s name wrong. Unfortunately, not one word is devoted to informing the reader what and who Meléndrez really was.

Guadalupe was, in fact, the name of his father, and of his family’s ranch in Ensenada. Antonio María Meléndrez tragically died just four days after his 25th birthday (1830 June 24 – 1855 June 28). His father was rancher José Guadalupe Meléndrez. Between December 1853 and May 1854, forces led by private citizen Antonio Meléndrez battled and harried Walker’s invaders until its remnants fled back to the U.S.

However, he was intrigued by enemies, including his comrade in arms, a Juan Bandini of San Diego. The Mexican army arrested and executed Meléndrez. His contribution to Mexico gained attention in the 1980s

(Sources: Walther, Adalberto. 1988. Antonio Ma. Meléndrez: Caudillo y Patriota de Baja California. Published by the Universidad Autónoma de Baja California. Walther, Lourdes et al. 2002. Adalberto Walther Meade: Vida y Obra de un Historiador. UABC.)

  • Dale Chock
  • Clairemont

We can quibble about this and that:

I sometimes use modern spellings and references — “northern” instead of “Alta” California, for example — so as not to confuse a general reader.

I consult older sources for concrete details. The closer we come to today’s sources, the more the boots have left the ground.

But there’s no quibbling about my egregious error regarding when Walker left for Mexico. Thank you for that correction.

  • — Jeff Smith

Deny Access

I’m sure I won’t be the only one to say “bulls—t” to the registered sex offender father who wants access to the kids at his son’s school. In my opinion he shouldn’t even have access to his son.

  • JB Reynolds
  • via email

Higher Minimum Wage Would Backfire

As great as it is that these people are getting out and protesting for a cause they find so important, I don’t think they understand the reality of what they are aiming for with trying to raise the minimum wage so drastically.

This semester I am enrolled in an Economics 101 course at CSU Channel Islands. Throughout this course, we have learned a lot about the negative drawbacks of price controls, minimum wage being in that category. In California, we have already began gradually raising the minimum to $15, which typically will have no effect on our economy. These people want to see a larger change then that, which would most likely backfire on them.

Large changes in minimum wage would most definitely lead to much higher rates of unemployment due to bankruptcy. There is no way companies would be able to keep up with such high costs to pay their workers.

  • Kirsten Reilly
  • Coronado

Go Big in 2017

The Reader is a wonderful rag. However, I am a little visually impaired, and I’m wondering if you would consider this request in the future. Maybe in 2017 you could enlarge your print. Even with a new glasses prescription it’s very difficult for me to read the small print. I wish you all a merry Christmas and a happy new year.

  • Brandy Brannon
  • via voicemail

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