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Opinion

Letters/Opinion: September, December 2019, January 2020

September 2019:
Bike lanes, underpasses and StreetScape

I read Mayor Blakespear’s editorial with great interest. It seems the Mayor now is beginning to understand that a truly safe bike lane completely separates cyclists from cars.

Conspicuously absent was any mention of StreetScape, the design of which is deeply flawed when it comes to cycling safety alone.

Perhaps the Mayor can extend some of her bike safety commitment to Encinitas and Leucadia and accept the railtrail Cardiff extension offer. The rail trail is not only attractive in design, but it is safe utilization of space and it leaves auto traffic on 101 undisturbed.

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Another project that should take precedent over StreetScape is the proposed train track underpasses. These underpasses create safe neighborhood connections across the tracks and encourage foot traffic to 101 and the beaches. The underpasses also facilitate riding bikes to school and shops. The underpass projects need to be pushed to the head of the construction line.

There are a number of options available to make our community more green and pedestrian and cyclist friendly. Our city council along with community input should vigorously explore options beyond the current Streetscape proposal.

Eileen Natuzzi, MD, MPH, FACS

Encinitas

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Physically protected bike lane on Hwy 101 — what could possibly go wrong?

Those of us who ride bicycles to meet some of our commuting and other transportation needs — the real “poster children” in fighting transportation-related air pollution and global warming — have severe reservations about what is falsely being touted as an “upgrade” from the current Class II bicycle lanes along Coast Highway 101 in south Cardiff. In truth, bike lanes that have served cyclists well for decades are to be eliminated and replaced by a combined sidewalk, jogging path, vehicle loading/unloading zone (surfboards, beach umbrellas, coolers, strollers, etc.), and dangerously cluttered path suitable only for casual, pedestrian-speed cycling. We need safe and efficient facilities for motorists, for serious bicyclists, and for slower foot traffic, and we can achieve this with a bit of thought and better planning. Dismissing the valid concerns and interests of transportation cyclists as “the 0.5 percent of the population” is not a constructive argument.

Citizens of Encinitas, please speak up against this poorly conceived plan and demand that we do better. We should explore traffic calming and reduced speed limits and, at a bare minimum, sharrows and prominent “Bikes May Use Full Lane” signage. Narrowing the unused center divide, reducing travel lane width to the legal minimum of 10 feet, and narrowing the proposed multi-use path (which is deceivingly being touted as a Class IV bikeway), just might give us enough road width to preserve our bike lanes.

Leucadia

5G cell tower threat in Encinitas: We have each other’s backs

On Aug. 21, the Encinitas City Council passed an urgency ordinance that will allow 5G in every corner of the residents’ lives — home, school, and work. The residents of Encinitas should be outraged because no attempt was made to protect them from 5G towers that are going to literally be in their front yards. The FCC, EPA, and FDA admit they do not have a single study proving 5G is safe. 5G is virtually untested but for recently declassified experiments by the CIA in the 1970s where the millimeterwave was found to be harmful. Here is the message I would like my friends and family in Encinitas to share with their mayor and city council members.

Encinitas is an environmentally-minded community. We care about the land, the water and the air. But our most precious resource is our residents. We have each other’s backs. And we will have each other’s backs through this unquestionably dangerous imposition of 5G in our community. Instead of protecting the residents, the city chose to hire telecom attorney Jonathan Kramer. Mr. Kramer is not hired by municipalities to protect the residents, but rather to help telecom in its quest to expand. If you do not give us substantial setbacks and preferably an outright residential ban, here’s how we will have each other’s backs:

We will track radiation sickness symptoms among our fellow citizens. We will purchase the best measuring devices on the market and when we find towers that are over the limit, we will call in experts to quantify the levels of radiation in irrefutable ways. We will be holding the city and the carriers accountable to the fullest extent of the law. If Jonathan Kramer told the council members you are immune because of Section 704 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, he failed to tell you that Section 704 protects you only so long as the carrier stays within the safety limit. And we know from investigating super-4G/5G that staying within the safety limits is not possible. Thus you have exposure and you need to know that we are watching, and we are putting you on notice.

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Who do you work for, City Council? Do you work for telecom? Do you take money from telecom for your campaigns? Or do you work for the people who elected you and the people who can work to defeat you in the next election? If you fail to have our backs and amend this ordinance, we promise you we will not only have each other’s backs, but we will have your seats on City Council.

Susan Foster

Susan Foster is a medical writer from Rancho Santa Fe and an Honorary Firefighter with the San Diego Fire Department. She has advocated for the firefighters to keep cell towers off their stations for two decades. Foster advocated for a 300’ setback for all fire stations in San Diego County from 5G towers, passed by San Diego County Board of Supervisors on Aug. 7, 2019.

December 2019:

Providing a safe parking lot for homeless people should be supported

Thanks to Barbara Henry and your editors for covering our city’s effort to help the homeless (Dec. 6).

The increasing number of people living on our streets, in cars, in neighborhood parks torments me. I want to help, but don’t know how. I think about where we live, in the Encinitas highlands, and how lucky—blessed we are to live here.

Having volunteered at a homeless shelter, I can tell you that many of “those people” are the same as you and me. For many reasons—bad luck, mental illness, loss of a job, accident, high cost of housing—they’re on the street.

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It could be me or my children.

So, when I heard about this program to provide a safe place for these families to spend the night, along with counseling, bathrooms, guidance and a modicum of dignity—wow, I was so relieved and grateful. Finally, we are doing something.

This is such a difficult and complex problem and it is not going away, so starting to take meaningful action should be supported.

As John wrote in his First Epistle, 3:17-18:

“But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.” (1)

(1) King James Version, 1611, published by the American Bible Society. Page 1056.

Dadla Ponizil

Encinitas

Jan. 17, 2020 issue:

Communist crimes against humanity: Not as well known?

My name is Matthew Hagan. Recently, at my school, San Dieguito Academy, there has been vandalism in the form of Nazi swastikas. Many are rightly upset about it. But when hearing about this incident, I couldn’t help but feel there was a double standard. At school, I’ve seen students draw hammer and sickles in class. Kids will bring toy fists painted with communist symbols. A third of millennials support communism, according to YouGov polls. It seems that if the vandalisms were of communist iconography instead of Nazi iconography, people wouldn’t notice as much.

Why is that? I know that we get told that communism is a failed ideology, but I don’t think it’s emphasized the human suffering it caused. In Europe, it led to the Soviet Union, a brutal dictatorship that would starve anywhere from 3 to 12 million Ukrainians in the Holodomor famine of 1933, and killing millions more dissidents in the Stalin-led purges, and countless human rights abuses and Soviet crackdowns against reform in the Eastern Bloc, such as in Hungary and Czechoslovakia. In Pacific Asia, Mao’s Chinese communist regime saw 30 million people die in his “Great Leap Forward.” China’s ally, the Pol Pot regime in Cambodia, started a genocide in the country during the 1970s that would see death for one Cambodian in four, and that’s not even mentioning North Korea, or the hundreds of thousands of Laotians and Vietnamese killed by communists. But that’s just the prominent examples. In Central Asia, the Soviet Union killed up to 2 million Afghan civilians, and communists started a brutal civil war in Nepal. Communists destroyed societies in Latin America (Cuba, Peru, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Colombia), Africa (Ethiopia, Madagascar, Somalia, Angola and Mozambique, and several other countries as well.

Despite its supposedly egalitarian principles, communism has shown itself to be absolute cancer to society. To many, the hammer and sickle and the red star are as much symbols of violence and destruction as the swastika, including some whom I know. My grandfather was born in Hungary, lived under Nazi and Soviet occupation, and left during the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. My neighbor is the son of Afghan immigrants who fled during the Soviet war.

So why is it that communism, while certainly frowned upon in modern society, is nowhere near as universally loathed and recognized as an evil ideology in the same way Nazism is? In my opinion, the main reason is that people are ignorant of communist crimes against humanity.

More people know about the Holocaust than the Holodomor. So if the next notable act of public vandalism is a hammer and sickle, and we don’t hear our leaders go on and on about rejecting hateful ideologies, ask yourself, why?

Matthew Hagan

Time to act is now

Every day there is news of climate catastrophes that may be linked to climate change. Every day we hear the same excuses from world leaders and legislators: It’s a hoax; we can’t do anything unless China and India do something; climate has changed before; there’s no scientific consensus.

Unless we act, history will show a lack of moral leadership that caused one of the greatest human failures.

But there is hope and a path forward. Scientists agree that climate change can be stopped by ending the burning of fossil fuels. A fee on carbon does exactly this in addition to generating jobs and encouraging energy innovation. If you want to be part of the solution, join a group like Citizens Climate Lobby, a nonpartisan group that is working on getting Congress to pass carbon reduction legislation.

Susan Kobara

Carlsbad


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