Your disdainful recent editorial concerning the Marine Corps helicopters was disgusting. It reflected a dismaying disconnect from the sincere sentiments of many San Diego County residents who are genuinely concerned about the issue of helicopter overflights in their neighborhoods.
I have experienced more helos in the past several months than I did in an entire year in Vietnam in 1964-65. During the war, it was understandable. In formerly placid east San Diego County, it is simply not acceptable.
Living just east of Lake Jennings, the helos’ turn-point to Yuma, my house frame and roof shake several times a day as helos pass overhead as low as 2,500 feet above sea level. On several occasions, my rib cage has vibrated in resonance with the helo engines.
The reality is that the helos present excessive noise, vibration and a degree of danger. Less than two weeks ago, two Marine Corps helos engaged in a low-level aerobatic maneuver in our Blossom Valley neighborhood , not at all amusing for those of us on the ground who moved here for peace and quiet, not daily air shows.
In that the cause of so much community misery is helos flying from Miramar to bases where they perform operations, the question that begs to be answered is: Why are the helos not based at their operational points instead of in the middle of a major metropolitan residential area?
One might expect ivory tower pundits and politicians, who do not experience daily helo overflights, to be lacking in appreciation of the depth of community disgust. Nevertheless, reaction to this issue is mounting as we who are affected grow increasingly frustrated at the paternalistic pandering that we are being served by elitists.
Challenge for a New Century
At the turn of the 20th century, the world was a dangerous place for women and children.
Women had no access to family planning. Unsafe, illegal abortion was the only means of controlling their fertility, and preventing the birth of children they were unable to care for. Infant mortality was unthinkably common in this age when prenatal care and children’s health care were sorely underdeveloped areas of medicine.
It was in 1912 that Planned Parenthood founder, nurse Margaret Sanger, roamed the streets of New York City early one morning, after she had spent the entire night caring for a woman who self-induced yet another abortion. Sanger had been called to this woman’s aid before, but this time was unable to help. The woman died before sunrise. Sanger spent the early hours in a contemplative trance as the city woke. She wondered how she could prevent future tragedies like this. Her goal was to promote contraception and help create a world where every child was planned, loved and wanted.
At the dawn of a new century, the United States has come a long way. Yet, we have further to go to realize Sanger’s mission. With legal abortion, women no longer must risk their lives and health to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. But we have not yet acculturated the concept of prevention and family planning. In the United States, half of the pregnancies that occur are still unplanned. Many of these pregnancies end in abortion.
It is critical to the lives and health of women that abortion remain safe and legal, but we must also work to reduce the need for this service. Education and family planning are the most effective means of preventing unplanned pregnancy. In this new century, let us rise to the challenge set forth 100 years ago, and work toward increasing access to family planning. A world of wanted children would make a world of difference.
President and CEO, Planned Parenthood
I am deeply troubled and appalled by a recent pitch by a supporter of Proposition 26 (“School Districts Pin Hopes On Prop. 26,”) asserting “local school officials are hoping that voters will support a March ballot measure that could help them fix crumbling asphalt playgrounds, patch leaky roofs and create new classroom space.”
Proposition 26 would not “fix crumbling asphalt playgrounds ” It would change the two-thirds majority vote to a 50 percent plus one requirement, making it almost automatic that all school bond measures pass. In the last few years with a two-thirds majority requirement, 63 percent of the school bonds passed. If these bonds had required only a simple majority, 97 percent of the bonds would have passed.
By making it so easy to ramrod a bond through, taxes for property owners would soar. The bond proponent did not address how increased property taxes could financially affect struggling families, possibly creating economic hardships for 25 years.
For the major portion of the 120 years that the two-thirds majority requirement for passing bonds has been in effect, Californians have been able to house and educate their students at a high level. It is entirely appropriate to place a two-thirds majority requirement to levy a 25-year tax on property.
Proponents also compare a bond initiative to electing a political representative by a simple majority vote. But an elected representative’s term is two years , the politician can be replaced or recalled.
However, once the bond is passed, the tax is levied for 25 years. There is no recall. It is therefore imperative that the requirements for school bonds be more stringent.
Sarah J. O’Brien