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Letters to the editor – Aug. 28, 2015

Labor costs to blame

Anthony’s Fish Grotto, one of East County’s oldest restaurants at 54 years, mourns the loss of our friends and colleagues of 40 years, Sanfilippo’s Pizza restaurant. The Filippo family has supported the community, provided jobs for hundreds of young people and served as examples of the ethos of hard work, dedication to quality and care for the guest.

Sadly, those core values wither under the assault of legislation promulgated by our elected officials, most of whom have never owned a business or faced the pressure of meeting a payroll. Small businesses have begged California Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins to a least give us breather between each cost-increasing new regulation — to little avail. Her agenda is simply more important than the Filippo family and tens of thousands of other small, family-owned businesses. How else can you explain a minimum wage increase followed by sick pay increase followed by another minimum wage increase followed by further increases in the cost of health care? Not only are the costs overwhelming, but the recordkeeping requirements are daunting for small, family-run businesses.

La Mesa is losing a little piece of its history in the closing of Sanfilippo’s Pizza, a loss not created by their hand but by the indifference of politicians with no understanding of what it takes to run a small family business.

—Craig Ghio
Owner, Anthony’s Fish Grotto

Enough with the cartoons

Are political cartoons necessary in the La Mesa Courier?

In the inaugural edition of this newspaper on June 3, 2011, founding editor Pam Crooks published an article by Elizabeth Berg with the title, “The Real Jewel of La Mesa: Its People.” Other La Mesa residents echoed this when asked what they love about living in our town in the “Faces of La Mesa” column.

Since the Courier was founded as a friendly, small-town paper, it seems more appropriate to leave divisive cartoons to the large newspapers where they have their place.

—Anne-Marie Roach

From the editor

La Mesa Courier began publishing editorial cartoons on its new opinion page last summer after the paper became part of San Diego Community News Network. Opinion pages and editorial cartoons have long been part of the SDCNN tradition under publisher David Mannis.

Mannis believes newspapers serve an important role in sparking critical thinking and dialogue about important issues in the world, and editorial cartoons are one way of promoting that kind of thinking. The editorial cartoons we publish do not necessarily reflect the opinions of our company, our staff or even the majority of our readers, but they do lead us to consider ideas we may not have considered. They challenge our thinking in ways that may sometimes be uncomfortable.

Unfortunately, some of our readers have been offended by certain cartoons, and a couple readers have gone so far as to ask that we stop delivering the paper to them. I think that’s an overreaction. If you disagree with something you see on the opinion page, please keep in mind that it is only the opinion of the author or the cartoonist. We encourage readers to share their own opinions in letters to the editor, which we are happy to publish on this page.

I agree with our publisher that editorial cartoons and opinion pieces are an important part of any newspaper, even a small community paper like La Mesa Courier. That said, I also agree with Anne-Marie Roach’s opinion that a community newspaper like La Mesa Courier should be a place we can escape from the national and international debates that typically flood radio and TV news. What makes this newspaper special is its focus on stories and issues that are specific to our East County community.

Our current arrangement allows us to publish editorial cartoons from Creators Syndicate, a national service that makes editorial cartoons available to newspapers across the country. Ideally, we would publish editorial cartoons developed by a local artist and focused on a local topic, but we simply have not been able to find someone who does that. That leaves us with our current situation: publishing cartoons that speak to broader national issues.

If you know a local artist who is interested in doing local cartoons, send them our way. Or if you have other ideas, please share them with us. We want to make this newspaper the best it can be for the community.

—Jeremy Ogul
Editor, La Mesa Courier

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