Readers comments 8-2-19

Village South

Dear Editor:

I was motivated to attend the July 29 public meeting, said to be presenting the Village South Specific Plan, after reading Kathryn Dunn’s July 26 COURIER article.

What specifically caught my eye was the statement that the plan included 1,140 residential units. I thought that number had to be a typo…an errant “1,” for sure. Turns out it was not a typo and also the meeting was not a presentation of the Village South Specific Plan.

It was a presentation of two proposed development scenarios created by consultants, which seem to be totally disconnected from the actual specific plan.

I came away with the feeling that the consultants were unaware of the “Village South Specific Plan, Planning Goals and Guiding Principles” (available on the city website) adopted by the city council more than a year ago.

I wonder why the city council released these proposals when they are contrary to their own specific plan and guiding principles?

This meeting attracted an overflow crowd. My sense is that not one person in attendance thought either of the two scenarios presented is acceptable and keeping with the character of the Village.

At one point the presenting consultant said “don’t expect the density to be as shown.” So, why propose it, as shown? But even the less dense “Tier 1” scenario, 736 residential units, is, to me, unimaginable. A couple hundred and up to over 700, 650 to 850 square foot rentals; little boxes stacked three and four, maybe five high! “Tenement” comes to mind. And parking! The proposed parking in both scenarios is wholly inadequate.

Are the consultants unaware of the parking dilemma that exists in the Village? Certainly the city council is aware. The scenarios potentially replicate the problem in the plan for the south.              

It is my opinion that any Village expansion scenario with a high density residential element and/or inadequate parking is a bad plan.

Jack Sultze



It’s rarely either/or

Dear Editor:

As a Jewish-American and lifelong Democrat, I was angered and upset at the anti-Semitic language that Rep. Ilhan Omar used earlier this year. She spoke two centuries-old slurs that I have heard many times over the course of my life: that Jews control everything in the world through money (“It’s about the Benjamins”); and that we have “divided loyalties,” and, thus, are not 100 percent loyal to the country where we were born or to where we immigrated.

I saw in the news that she apologized for the first of these, but did not apologize for the second. I’ll note that the “dual loyalty” slur is a close kin to “you don’t belong here, go back to where you came from,” which President Trump directed at Ms. Omar and three other duly elected members of the US Congress.

So maybe Rep. Omar should reflect on this. Unless and until Rep. Omar apologizes in full for these slurs, I will continue to hold her in low esteem.

That said, Mr. Trump is once again using the highest office in the land to sow division, attack racial minority elected officials, and crank up his base. He and his apologists have justified his attacks on these four Congresswomen, in large part, as his effort to combat anti-Semitism. What a joke!

Speaking for myself, I don’t need or want Mr. Trump to defend or protect me in this manner. I know when I am being used, and I assume the vast majority of American Jews know this also.

I believe he is speaking mostly to his Evangelical base, who strongly support Israel, and by extension, seem to be sympathetic to the Jews. As I understand it, the basis for Evangelical support for Israel is the belief that the existence of the Jewish state is a prerequisite for their end of days prophesies to become reality. (“Keep the lights on until Armageddon, thank you very much”).

If Trump was really concerned about anti-Semitism he would speak and act forcefully to combat the white supremacists and racist groups who represent, without a doubt, the greatest threat of domestic terrorism. (Remember Pittsburgh, remember Poway, remember “fine people on both sides” of the neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville). He won’t do this, however, because these extremists support him politically.

So, for me it is puzzling, and sad, to read of a letter signed by many local Democrats which glosses over Rep. Omar’s anti-Semitic statements. I believe that in life and in politics, it does not have to be 100 percent “either/or.” Two things can be true at once. Rep. Omar can, and should be held accountable for her racist/anti-Semitic comments, and Mr. Trump can and should be condemned for his cynical racist attacks on these four elected officials. Plus, there is a vast difference between the impact of some hateful remarks by a first-term congresswoman, and the unceasing racist, divisive words and policies of the so-called “leader of the free world.”

Final note: if President Trump and his followers think all this will result in American Jews voting for him in greater numbers in 2020, I believe they are mistaken. American Jews voted in higher percentages for Hillary Clinton in 2016 than any other ethnic/religious group.

Again, speaking for myself, I know when I’m being used as a prop, and I can’t wait to vote for the Democratic presidential candidate that will run against Mr. Trump and his racism.

To vote for President Trump would be, for me, a betrayal of the values Jews are taught and hold dear. One example: “Welcome the stranger, for you have been strangers in other lands.” Another example: Separating children from their parents at the border, and holding kids in cages is antithetical to all I was taught about the ethics of the Jewish people.

Mark Levine




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