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This week in the comments section, readers debated issues related to homelessness, Earth Day, school bonds and the impacts of the strong mayor form of government.

Here are five we are highlighting:

Jake Vogelsang on “Police Official: ‘What in the Hell Is Wrong With Us?’“:

As a resident of Golden Hill and someone who spends a lot of time walking the area and downtown, I really appreciate Mr. Long’s comments on the enablers. I see it most often on Friday night. People with good intentions who otherwise wouldn’t be anywhere near downtown drive in with a van or truck and set up a “soup kitchen.” They hand out food in white Styrofoam containers and plastic water bottles for a couple hours and then leave. The next morning I go out to walk my dogs and it looks like it snowed in some areas, as the food containers from the previous night blow about the neighborhoods. I have also seen people place boxes of clothes and food under stop signs at corners, rather than donate to an organization. Apparently people feel like they are going direct to the needy. What actually happens is after a few days the box has been picked over, clothes traded for clothes sometimes right on the spot and all the garbage left behind for the actual residents of the neighborhood to deal with.

I would encourage anyone who truly wants to help to do so, but please think about what you are doing first. Educate yourself on the issues at hand, figure out the best ways to help and then get involved with an organization with a plan. Simply dropping off supplies or providing one meal may seem like it helps, but in the end you may just be helping to perpetuate the problem. There is a tipping point with what is acceptable; both for the homeless and the rest of us in this city. I know that I for one often get frustrated with the behavior of some of the homeless I see in Golden Hill. Some of their behavior is simply not acceptable. But then again neither is some of the behavior I see in the people walking by ignoring them or casting judgment upon them.

Bill Luther on “San Diego Schools’ Budget Panacea: Just Sell More Land“:

Mission Beach demographics seem to be changing. More and more owner-occupied residents with their children are just beginning to move back into my community. The closest elementary school is Crown Point Elementary; way too far to walk to school. Lose this land and Mission Beach will lose forever the opportunity to have a local elementary school in the community. It will be simply too costly to reacquire a site.

I do not know [what] income (if any) is currently generated, but I suspect it might be less than market. I would suggest the school board look into leasing the site to a private school. Then, should the demographics change in my community to warrant re-opening a public elementary school, we can’t be told there is no place to build one, the land is too expensive.

Jean Gray on “Secretive Poway Report Praises District’s Bond Deals“:

I read this and it makes me glad we chose not to live in Poway. The deeper you dig, the uglier the billion-dollar bond looks. While the schools may be great, paying for this one for 40 years when you know that district is going to keep looking for more money in 5-10 more years … Not sure it’ll be worth the ever-increasing tax burden.

Greg Levin on ” Give the Mayor a Lift at Council“:

I always thought this was strange when I worked at the city. Especially when you consider 90 percent of the open session dialogue is between mayoral staff and the City Council. As a mayoral staff member, I always thought [this] played into the notion that council could direct mayoral staff from the dais versus direct their request to the mayor (or his proxy) and getting a response on that from the mayor (who for example, might use his/her electoral independence to tell the council to pound sand). Instead, staff typically makes an awkward glance to the highest-ranking mayoral staff in the room and then demurs “we’ll look into it” or “I will discuss that with the mayor.”

In the end I think this has more to do with the personality of the elected mayor. Sanders preferred to have communications handled by PR staff and, to the extent possible, things were tightly coordinated. There was very little freestyle interaction with the council. It will be interesting to see Filner’s approach evolve.

Michael Frey on ” Chase: They’re Pushing Events, Like Earth Day, Out of Balboa Park“:

EarthFair may not be perfect to everyone, but it does serve a purpose by exposing individuals to possibilities and information that they might otherwise never learn about. We attend EarthFair almost every year and we have learned to take our patience and open minds with us in order to enjoy the day with thousands of others.

It is obvious that events like EarthFair were part of the initial intended purpose for Balboa Park and it’s a tragedy to allow this purpose to be circumvented by the actions of a select few over the enjoyment of the tens of thousands of approving individuals that attend this event every year.

Comments have been lightly edited for typos, spelling and style.


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Dagny Salas is the web editor at Voice of San Diego. You can contact her directly at dagny.salas@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.550.5669.

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Dagny Salas

Dagny Salas was web editor at Voice of San Diego from 2010 to 2013. She was an investigative fellow at VOSD from 2009 to 2010.

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