Tribulations for pedestrians, too
Re: Letters: Pedestrian traffic tribulation [Volume 7, Issue 7 or bit.ly/2vMaJqm]
The people of La Mesa do walk on our streets as individuals, twosomes, threesomes, joggers, individuals with dogs, parents pushing strollers, and so forth. And yes, they are hazarding themselves and vehicles by walking in roadways.
Does J. S. Anderson not walk in our community? If this citizen of our city does walk, he would know that there are lovely areas which do not have sidewalks. Moreover, many sidewalks are partially blocked by trees, shrubbery and more often, utility poles and boxes, as well as the necessary fire hydrants. Some curb cutouts at driveways are so sharply cut as to be a tripping hazard and unsafe passage for a senior citizen, baby stroller or wheelchair.
The city of La Mesa takes better care of the streets than sidewalks, and walking in the roadway on a non-busy street provides a reasonably safe walking surface. Those who walk frequently know that the pedestrian must watch out for vehicles, which may mean not crossing where curves or hills block sightlines, making it better to walk on the “wrong” side. The narrow hilly areas are enjoyable for walking, which requires sharing the road.
The benefits of walking are well documented: Physical and mental health, time spent with children, friends or man’s best friend, the dog. A quick web search of reputable sites shows that walking may improve blood pressure, weight management, and depression. Pedestrians keep an eye on the neighborhood. They reduce environmental negatives by walking to the library, post office, stores and coffee shops, and patronize local businesses.
Where sidewalks are unavailable or hazardous, the street can be shared. In short, the people of La Mesa are the city’s most important asset, not a tribulation.
—K. Russell, La Mesa
Thank you, senators
There are several progressive action groups in San Diego County that represent thousands of people. Three of these groups – Standing Up for Women, San Diego Indivisible, and Together We Will San Diego – sent a letter of thanks to Senators Murkowski, Collins and McCain for their vote to block the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. This is what we submitted:
We are fighting to keep our civil rights, human rights, and our dignity. Some of us are Democrats, some are Republicans, some are Independents, and some are aligned with other parties. What brings us together is a desire for a government that administers to the health, safety, and well-being of its people — a government that does not betray the people who need the most assistance, and a government that does not craft bills in the dark. A government by the people, for the people, at every step of the way.
We thank you, Senators, for sharing our values and beliefs regarding the bills to repeal the Affordable Care Act. We deeply respect your desire for bipartisan efforts to improve the Affordable Care Act, and hope that you are successful in influencing the debate on health care for the American people.
—Emily Green, La Mesa
Cover charge for Oktoberfest
Charging a nominal fee of say, $10 for adults and $5 for children might be a better test of whether Oktoberfest is of real value to the La Mesa Community. In El Cajon, the German-American Club charges a nominal fee, plus the cost of a genuine German dinner, beverage and entertainment provides a more authentic experience. Security presence is built into the cost.
The restaurants and bars seem to be the true benefactors of La Mesa’s Oktoberfest. Why should the over-taxed, hard working citizens of this great community subsidize a private enterprise? Watering lawns and maintaining your property is a more direct method of maintaining home values than the Oktoberfest as recently suggested by a local restaurateur. The past disastrous experience of the city’s involvement speaks for itself.
For a City Council member to say the city should “give back to the community” and not just provide police, fire and public works, gets into the political mud of what government, at any level, should provide with limited resources. When it takes six months to get a simple building permit to replace a deck and railing, maybe the city should get back to its basic services.
Utopia has proven to be a failed experiment. Disneyland is not free.
—Carlos Miller, La Mesa
City should provide public restrooms
At the turn of the 20th century, the outhouses and chamber pot were being replaced with the flush toilet! It was a major advancement in public health. Modern sanitation had separated drinking water from contamination of human feces and feces-spread diseases.
In 1848, there were major epidemics from feces-borne diseases in American cities. In Philadelphia and Cincinnati, hundreds of thousands died from typhoid, dysentery, cholera. The greatest cause of infant mortality was diarrhea and feces-borne diseases. Today we can add hepatitis A to the list.
In 1920, the United Kingdom began building public toilets in their major cities. In Finland, public toilets were built which automatically disinfected after each use. In the U.S., subways, train stations, bus stations installed public johns. Public toilets are a boon to mothers with children and old men with prostate problems who no longer have to urinate in the bushes. The World Health Organization states that public health requires that human waste is separated from human contact.
But La Mesa seems to still be in the Middle Ages. Where are our public toilets? If one is near the library, or buys a Starbucks coffee, or a Big Mac at McDonald’s, one is welcome to use a toilet there. Otherwise, “No Public Toilet” signs abound. If one is not near the library, or has no money to make a purchase, urinating or defecating in the bushes is what is left.
City Hall and some businesses have built protective fences and gates. For the cost of building these structures, the money could be used toward public toilets. The maintenance of the toilets would be offset by the cost of sending the homeless to the ER with feces-borne diseases. An Aug. 1 report shows 295 cases — 202 have been hospitalized with hepatitis A, and 10 have died.
Some bewail that having public toilets will attract the homeless. Folks, the homeless are already here. Let’s treat them as human beings who must defecate and urinate, as we all do, and provide them with a loo, a john, a restroom, a public toilet.
It is a modern convenience from which we will all benefit!
—Carol Biederman, La Mesa