Letters to the editor: Feb. 14, 2013

Lessons from Twin Peaks

As parents, let’s remember all of our children are capable of dumb pranks. Unfortunately, this 12-year-old’s email threat was very serious, and thankfully the Poway authorities moved in quickly.

Let’s use this recent event as a teaching moment. Now is the time for all parents, especially those with guns in the house, to talk about gun violence, responsibility, how to deal with emotional problems, bullying, etc. Every day we should “parent up,” connect with our kids and other parents. By doing this, we can keep Poway safe for all.

Jocelyn Scott, Poway

Writer was a victim

I have to write regarding last week’s column by Amy Roost.

Amy, you are in no way responsible for getting raped; the scumball who raped you is. You could have been stark naked and he still would have had no right to rape you. You were the victim just like those children at Newtown. The guy who raped you had used a knife and a part of his anatomy as his weapons of choice just as the killer in Newtown chose to use guns. Workers at rape crisis centers would probably cringe when you stated that you were partially responsible.

All men and boys need to know they have no right to use their body as a weapon. All women and girls need to know that no man or boy has a right to use you as his victim and prey.

Kathleen Chavez, Poway

A brighter future ahead

I nominate columnist Dick Lyles for the title of world’s most pessimistic man. I am continually amazed at Mr. Lyles’ jaundiced view of our country, our leaders, our politics, our morals, our schools, our diversity, and even our young people or, more precisely, our own sons and daughters.

It seems that any path other than the one Mr. Lyles has traveled to his own view of success, or any lifestyle other than the one he has chosen to live, is inferior, morally corrupt, intellectually deficient, not worthy of respect, and doomed to failure. That is simply rubbish.

For my part, I chose to stand with those who look to and work for a bright future. I chose to stand with my own daughters — 25, 23 and 20 years old, all of whom came of age in very tough times, in the aftermath of 9/11, in a time of war, in a time of harsh and polarized politics, in the worst recession since the Great Depression; and all of whom are working hard to educate themselves and build successful, independent lives; all of whom are energetic and excited about their futures; and, all of whom, most importantly, view the world and this country with optimism and excitement for what lies ahead. And it’s not just my own kids. Their friends and peers — your children — are no different.

Sorry, Mr. Lyles, I choose to stand with them and their energy and optimism, and not with you and your truly exhausting pessimism.

Jim Crosby, Poway

Lyles wrong about single moms

In his Feb. 7 column, Dick Lyles, our favorite old fart, said, “although some single moms perform heroically and raise healthy kids prepared to face the challenges of adulthood, most don’t.”

Dick, you do not back this up and I believe most reasoning adults believe you are wrong.

In the first place, this is not a new problem. I’m nearly 70. I was, in part, raised by a single mom. Three of my best friends from childhood were raised by single moms. One of my three friends was raised by her grandparents. The other two were raised by their divorced or never-married mothers.

My friends now have six children among them, most with college education, good successful careers, happy children. The friend who had the most challenged childhood has had possibly the most successful career. While raising her own child, she got her GED, then a bachelor’s degree, then a master’s in biology, and is a published poet. Another friend is the beloved wife of a pastor, mother of two, grandmother of five. The last, the one raised by grandparents, is mother of three, grandmother of four.

I want to know, Mr. Lyles, where you got your egregious “most do not.” This is offensive to all who have had this tough road to hoe. This is, by the way, a road which you, nor any of your gender, will know anything about.

Kate Baker Tilton, Poway

Letters appearing only in the News Journal:

What’s taken so long?

The new laws of gun control are a topic that could have been put into play a long time ago.

I know all of these mass shootings have been happening recently, but there have also been multiple shootings like these in the past. Why haven’t we taken control on this earlier?

This topic is very controversial because lots of people have opinions that differ. The government and politicians need to at least take some people’s thoughts into consideration before making a final decision.

Yet, I think it is right for only some weapons to be illegal or legal and for only certain people to obtain certain weapons. It only makes sense because if the wrong guns fall into the wrong hands, it could all go downhill.

Nicolas Ballecer, Carmel Mountain Ranch

Likes Facebook page

Regarding the Jan. 31 story “Police putting crime updates on new Facebook page”:

Crimes have increased and searching for ways to solve it has become harder, so I think this is a useful way to use Facebook since everyone is on it. This way people in our community will be informed so we can take precautions and at least try to avoid all these crimes. I just ask for it to be realistic and completely honest so I know what’s going on around my community so my family and I can find ways to protect ourselves.

Lore Barrera, Rancho Bernardo

New mayor a ‘bully’

Regarding the article in the Feb. 7 News Journal concerning the delay in repairing the concession stand in Rancho Bernardo Community Park. There is no way city workers can do the job for free.

All you need to know about Filner is to have read the editorials in the newspapers that have been written about him. Filner has been on the government dole almost for his entire working career and was a congressman for the last 20 years or so. We all know how ineffective Congress has been and I believe their current approval rating is about 14 percent.

He was a bully in Congress and has continued his behavior since becoming mayor. He has had several confrontations with the City Council so nothing he does, or will do, will surprise me.

Jim King, Rancho Bernardo

Letters appeared only in the News Chieftain:

Enjoy view while it lasts

The Feb. 5 City Council meeting brought about the end to the hillside MDRA. This 28-year-old ordinance was of one the last bastions that kept what remains of the hillsides and hilltops in Poway relatively unencumbered by housing developments.

The hillside MDRA guidelines contained numerous subjectively interpretable criteria and the elected City Council provided the last checkpoint to make sure no one was pulling a fast one.

This process used to be a conversation between developers, their ex-city staff facilitators (well paid for their knowledge of how to game the rules), the younger city staff, and the elected City Council. Now all that remains between an unchecked hilltop housing explosion is an overwhelmed, undermanned and outmaneuvered city staff.

To add insult to injury, this decision by the City Council (3-2) raises a $700 barrier that effectively eliminates potentially impacted resident’s input in these types of projects. This is your new cost to petition your elected government, on these types of developments, to hear your voice on issues that matter to you. The time when you could see the details of a project five weeks in advance, and let the City Council know your opinion, are over. Replaced with an insurmountable fee and 10 days after the staff’s decision for a fruitless and technical appeal.

So take note, and the time, to enjoy your views of the hills, what little remains of them, as they surely will not be there for your children.

Peter De Hoff, Poway

Titan fans are the best

I just wanted to express my gratitude toward our Poway High School Titans basketball fans. Every Wednesday and Friday night those kids are at the games cheering on the Titans no matter what. They are the most committed fans I’ve seen or heard in a long time.

My only concern is the administration doesn’t see it that way. I really wish they would see what amazing kids we have in Poway. I don’t support rude sports behavior by any means, as a matter of fact I’m that crazy mom that feels bad when the other team is losing. Although, I do support “good clean fun.” Each week the students make signs for particular players and wave them proud. They are respectful and fun. It’s infectious to be in the gym. PHS basketball coaches must just love it. I know the other parents do as well as the players.

Please PHS administration, these are awesome kids and we should all be proud these kids are a part of our school and community. I know I am. I know I’m proud that they spend their Friday nights at PHS gym rather than running the streets smoking and drinking and doing things they shouldn’t.

Go Titans!

Amanda Newby, Poway

Short URL: http://www.pomeradonews.com/?p=32948

Posted by Staff on Feb 13 2013. Filed under Letters to the Editor, Opinion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

15 Comments for “Letters to the editor: Feb. 14, 2013”

  1. Amy Roost

    Dear Kathleen, Thank you for your words of reassurance. "Responsible" may have been a poor choice on my part. The comparison I was trying to draw was b/w rape and guns. Even if we teach our children well, rapes and gun homicides still occur. Knowing that there this evil, what can we do ourselves or as a society to lessen the chances of becoming a statistic? My take away from my rape was that I made mistakes that evening that I would not make again, and so doing it decreases the liklihood I'll be raped again. In other words I learned from my careless behavior. Call it what you want, but I would not behave the same way if I had to live that night over again and to that extent, I share the onus of what happened. I think it's just as important we teach our daughters about the lessons I learned as it is to teach them that boys/men shouldn't prey on women. Not to do so would be denying the harsh realities of the world we live in.

  2. Dick Lyles

    Dear Jim,
    Nothing I wrote suggested you shouldn’t stand by your daughters. Quite the opposite. The best way you can stand by them in the context of this issue is to let them know the consequences of their decisions. My point was that they should have all the facts about what they’re up against before choosing a path where the odds are working against them. I commend you for standing by your daughters.

  3. Dick Lyles

    Dear Kate,
    How disappointing that you can’t express your thoughts without the use of demeaning personal attacks using derogatory comments drawn from the gutter. I’ve found that when people can’t debate the issue intelligently that they almost always launch their diatribes with personal assaults.
    In fact, your comments are upside down. I cited numerous studies and articles from the Center for Disease Control and other sources. You used only personal anecdotal data. Although your assertions may be true for you … which I allowed in my article … they are not true for the general population. The evidence I cited supports that reality.
    I commend your success and that of your friends, but your experience falls far outside the norm.

  4. Clariece

    It's rare I jump to Dick's defense but he's correct in his assessment of single parent homes.

    While many single parents had jobs, there were 7.4 million children living with single moms who were unemployed or not in the labor force. Children of never-married mothers were twice as likely (59%) to have their moms unemployed or not in the labor force as children whose mothers were divorced (29%). Nearly 6 out of 10 children living ONLY with their mother were near (or below) the poverty line. (Census report, 1997.)

    For children living in female-householder families, the poverty rate was 47 percent in 2010, an increase from 45 percent in 2009. The poverty rate was 57 percent for Hispanic children in female-householder families, 53 percent for Black, non-Hispanic children, and 36 percent for White, non-Hispanic children. For children living in male-householder families, the poverty rate was 29 percent in 2010, not statistically different from 2009. (www.childstats.gov 2010)

  5. Tom Yarnall

    Mr. De Hoff, I have a home that is built on a ridge overlooking the valley. From my back balcony I have a 180 degree view. I can see south to the ridge-line overlooking Poway Road and the line that isolates me from a view of Lake Poway to the north. The east ridge-line isolates me from the Hwy 67 corridor. My front gives me a westerly view of the area beyond Pomerado Road. It is beautiful, especially at night..
    No one is more concerned than I about hillside litter.
    Based on fact, rather than fiction, I support the Council's decision to get out of the loop. There have been 19 applications in the past 7 years for hillside permits and all have been approved by the Council with little or no discussion. I think that has been typical over the past 28 years. The council adds no value to the process except in burdening citizens an extra, unnecessary fee and taking 3 or 4 weeks to review an application;
    I believe there are already too many government regulations that only hinder a citizen's right to be free.I don't want to have the government tell me what to eat, how to educate my kids, how to manage my health and many other things that are an infringement on my personal responsibilities. I get more government than I want to pay for.
    I believe it is disrespectful for you to declare " Now all that remains between an unchecked hilltop housing explosion is an overwhelmed, undermanned and outmaneuvered city staff." Since there has been little discussion during these reviews it surely is obvious the city staff has done a very good job insuring a permit meets the letter of the law and the intent of the law. There is no reason to think they won't do so in the future.

    • PeterD

      Sounds like a nice place :-).

      The fact that few projects were rejected is a sign that the system in place was working. I have been to meetings where proposed projects were discussed and questions asked. The review was real. The council review was put in place, that same review system that has given you your views today, because the previous system without council review had been demonstrated not to work. Demonstrated as in homes popping up on the hillsides that were counter to the ideas why Poway became a city in the first place. Now the city council has chosen to move from a system that worked back to one that has been proven, in Poway, not to work.

      In that council meeting, other suggestions were put forward to make the process less costly/burdensome, but still retain council review. Those were rejected. The true purpose of the decision was to remove from public review hillside and hilltop housing projects. The people who argued for the removal of the rule were a developer, the deputy mayor’s brother in law (also a developer), and an ex-city staff facilitator, (who complained, oddly enough, that he was making too much money going to council meetings to watch them approve hillside MDRAs. I guess he’ll make it up in future volume) Those arguing to keep the council review rule in place we're a person who lived on a hillside, a person with a view of the hillsides, a person who has been around Poway long enough to know why the rule was put in place to begin with, and me.

      Over the years, the city staff has been cut to the bone and does an amazing job with the resources they have on hand. In the past, the staff had an easier time drawing the line on how interpretive ordinances were understood. In the event of a disagreement between a developer and the staff in a rule, the staff had the option to say that their understanding of the wishes of the city council were as they had previously laid them out and if they went against that, the project could be delayed. And that council was elected so they were the voice of the residents. And now, without that backup, the staff’s job is even harder and a new balance will be reached.

      And it was a ~5 week delay, and instead of one $700 fee paid by a developer and free comment by the public, it's now $700, per resident, to bring up any issues with the project.

  6. Guest

    Gee; talk about hills and views, perhaps you should move down accross the street from the Poway National Little League fields. Not only do you get nice bright lights that block your view, you also get all the noise from the cheers and speaker systems. Welcome to the division of Poway, the north and the south.

    • Joe St. Lucas

      Now, now. The spending of millions of public money to primarily support a private organization (since they have priority on the fields above everyone else) was debated ad nauseum years ago and the concerns of the nearby long time residents were ignored even when a privately paid for independent noise study showed that the noise levels were higher than the cities paid-for study. Now imagine if that project was able to be approved without ANY council meetings. There's plenty of ridgelines in the southern part of Poway, see the agenda item "http://docs.poway.org/weblink8/0/doc/55497/Page1.aspx", page 2, for a map of what's considered ridge.

  7. PeterD

    The video cameras that sit on top of Mt. Woodson, ~5 miles away and ~2000 ft UP, can see those light when they're on. (free web access to the current and archive images) So while those lights there are exponentially brighter for you, and anyone close to them, they have an impact across a large swath of Poway. Though you can't hear the noise up in the hills. Guess the local government's position would be for you to fork out the cash to get thicker windows and better insulation. :-)

    I thought the North/South divide was Twin Peaks, and the other was Hills/Valley. Although, come to think of it, I guess the Industrial Park does not count as prime residential real estate.

  8. Tom Yarnall

    PeterD, it sounds as if you have monitored council business for many years and have seen times where the council had in depth discussions regarding hill side permits. Do you remember a time when they required a change in the specifications of a home to meet the intent of the regulations related to hillside homes? Your opinion seems to differ from the facts in recent years, I have not attended Council meetings and I would appreciate it if you could enlighten me.
    You can be sure the fee for the council review is paid by the customer and the builders/developers just pass the expense on to them. The 5 weeks for review is not necessary or fruitful for any one. Eliminating the time to preparing for the review will save the " cut to the bone" City Staff UN-necessary time and expenses.
    It's amusing and illogical how you and others always demean John Mullin for being a contractor. Don't you think it would be in his best interest to vote against the change, so he could tell a builder " if you don't let me paint your house I will give you a hard time during the review". Now, if you are suspicious, you should try to discover the intentions of the two who voted against the measure and why they want to maintain control. You won't discover anything illicit there either.


    • PeterD

      I have been to more council meetings that I think healthy or wise.

      I don’t want to give the impression that when a hillside MDRA was presented that there is some great back and forth between the council and the staff. Nor that I have seen more than a handful of them. Although, given that the last year brought something like a 500% increase in hillside MDRA’s, I suspect that sample size will soon increase a great deal.

      At these meetings, there is an impressively detailed staff presentation with simulated views and information as to how the new home will essentially be camouflaged on the hill. I’ve heard some minor Council originated questions about lighting and other details. But, it is my understanding that, prior to the start of the council session, the city manager takes each councilor aside and gives a report and takes questions. So what you hear in the public session is either a repeat of what was heard, or, more likely, very little at all. I am not sure if the hillside simulation is a requirement anymore. That I know of no hillside MDRAs (or any MDRA’s) being rejected means little, as the number of items I’ve seen is too small. Should you truly care to find out the actual number, I would suggest contacting the city manager. She is a nice person and very responsive.

      The extra cost of this requirement amounts to something around 0.1% the cost of a project for a new hilltop home in Poway. I would submit that the 5 weeks of extra time is what mattered more. Although if you want to insist that a 0.1%, or smaller, portion of the project cost matters, it’s (still) a free country.

      I don’t see why you’re so concerned about the Deputy Mayor being a contractor of some sort. I always thought that the biggest potential conflict of interest for the Deputy Mayor is that he is a director for a lobbying company that lobby’s the State of California on issues relating to building subcontractors. Though, now that you mention it, his lobbying activities probably don’t pay the bills and I guess that he successfully runs a painting contractor company of some sort.

      Regardless, I don’t see a conflict of interest at work in any of the votes. It’s pretty simple and basic politics, one of the Deputy Mayor’s support groups are building contractors. Removing the elected official’s review of these types of projects was important to them. By making the permitting less stringent, the building process will be faster and more money will be made putting up more homes on the hilltops. This issue was one of the first items that the Deputy Mayor brought up when first elected, so it was support well spent.

      I only mentioned one of the speaker’s relationship to the Deputy Mayor because the speaker did so in the publicly available letter he wrote to the council. This is in the record at the city website and you don’t even have to go to the council meetings to read it. Nor should it be much of an issue as having a relative, by marriage or otherwise, in an elected office, should not preclude you from directly participating in your government.

      I suspect that if, as you have suggested, an elected council person was demanding some sort of bribe from a constituent, then, at the very least, that elected officer could be removed by the vote of the people. That said, I think I know the council and relevant staff well enough that what you have suggested would never happen. Such a repugnant suggestion implies a superficial and biased caricature of an understanding about the motivations of the actual people who are involved in the process, either through their near volunteer status, or through their direct employment. I would humbly suggest that you tear yourself away from your expansive hillside view and attend a council meeting or two, so you may develop a less distorted view about the people that operate your local government.

      It is all moot, however, as the decision is made. You, however, may have a front row seat to the results of the process because, as you look out from your home across the valley, to the left and up in the hills, there’s ~400 acres of Poway land up for sale. And the seller’s even mention how the land is subdivided for building. Put up just after the time this whole process initially started. Perhaps you may find yourself in front of the council after all. Forking out the $700 for your voice to be heard.

    • Tom Yarnall

      Wow PeterD, you spent about 800 words saying little of consequence.
      I don't think I would like to get in a one on one conversation with you for fear it would be one way.
      Not once did I imply there was a conflict in interest by any one. I merely pointed out if there were, that person would surely have voted against the measure in order to maintain some control over the process. Unlike you, with your continuous demeaning back door references to the Deputy Mayor, I hold no malice towards those who voted on the measure and am criticizing no one. I believe they all did, what they thought, was in the best interest of the citizens of Poway.
      The Council will continue oversight of city business and if there is trend towards your Chicken Little “the sky is falling” attitude I am sure they will respond.
      It’s government waste and unneeded regulations, whether here, in Sacramento or D.C.,we should all be concerned with.
      My last word.

  9. Joe St. Lucas

    "Don't you think it would be in his best interest to vote against the change, so he could tell a builder " if you don't let me paint your house I will give you a hard time during the review"

    Geesh, that just seems out and out unethical!

  10. Tom Yarnall

    By golly Joe, I think you've got it. You do have a firm grasp of the obvious.
    The naysayers want you to think Mayor Higginson, Councilmen Mullin and Vaus had a sinister or unethical objective when they voted for the measure. That usually happens when there is no rational reason to oppose a practice except with a "what If" antidote.
    I believe Higgenson, Mullin and Vaus did what was in the best interest of the citizens. It is refreshing to see public officials recognize an inefficient process and do something about it, although just a small contribution to the huge government waste that is prevalent in today's environment.. More power to them

  11. Tom Yarnall

    Ms. Tilton, I comment those single mothers and grandparents who have been successful in raising the children. I am sure there was a lot of heart breaks and frustrations along the way, but they were able to overcome them.
    I am intrigued by you being surrounded by so many single parents. Could there be something in the water?
    Seriously don't you feel their job would have been easier and more fruitful had the children have a father who could share in the responsibility's of raising them. Don't you think life would have been a bit more meaningful if they had a loving father to share in their maturation and be there to help them face life's many obstacles? Don't you think any future grandchildren would be happier having a doting grand father to share their secrets and special occasions?
    Finally, do you really think what Dick Lyles wrote has no merit and is disrespectful?
    It is very difficult to go to a daughter/ father dinner without a father.

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