Editorials

The opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of East County Magazine.

READER’S EDITORIAL: MUCH NEEDED PEDESTRIAN CROSSWALK FOR KID’S SAFETY CREATED AT JOHNSON ELEMENTARY SCHOOL IN EL CAJON

By Robert Gehr

September 22, 2020 (El Cajon) -- Finally, a new crosswalk has been added to Madison Ave. at the west entrance to Johnson Elementary School (Cajon Valley School district), thus creating a safer environment for children and adults to cross a very busy street. In this writer’s opinion, it’s long overdue.


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READER'S EDITORIAL: ACTION NEEDED TO CUT CARBON USE, ADDRESS WILDFIRES FUELED BY CLIMATE CHANGE

By Susan Tamura, San Diego
 
September 15, 2020 (San Diego) -- With California wildfires in the forefront, it is readily apparent that climate scientists' predictions of drier conditions in the West are coming to pass.  Wildfires and their smoke are not new to us; it's their ever-increasing magnitude that will test our resilience.

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READER’S EDITORIAL: ROAD MAP FOR LA MESA

An open letter to La Mesa’s Mayor and City Council

By Dave Myers

August 24, 2020 (La Mesa) --  I am a 27-year resident of La Mesa and also a retired San Diego County Sheriff’s Commander with 35 years in local law enforcement. In May of this year, all of us saw and experienced the horrific scenario that started out as a peaceful BLM demonstration taken over by criminals without police intervention and rapidly devolved into a nightmare of looting, violence, and the burning of downtown La Mesa.


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READER’S EDITORIAL: FROM PROTECTING VOTING RIGHTS TO HONORING VETERANS, THE POST OFFICE IS AN ESSENTIAL SERVICE

By Brian Trautman

August 21, 2020 (San Diego) -- The capacity of the United States Postal Service (USPS) to provide mail services that generations of Americans have relied on has been severely weakened by the Trump administration. The assault on the Postal Service has only grown stronger and more brazen in recent weeks. We know by Trump’s own admission that his targeting of the agency is by design and is intended to interfere with the federal election that is less than three months away. Due to the ongoing health risks associated with COVID-19, a record number of Americans are expected to vote absentee this November rather than in-person. Knowing this, Trump has weaponized the pandemic to obstruct mail services and suppress the people’s vote, particularly in battleground states. By making it more difficult for Americans to exercise their right to vote, he is disenfranchising tens of millions of voters. The other part of Trump’s calculation is that by stripping the Post Office of much-needed resources to receive and process absentee ballots, he can exploit any hint of trouble with vote tallying this November to try and cast doubt on, and perhaps even dismiss, the election results should he lose. It has all the makings of an authoritarian power grab.


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ARAB AMERICANS ARE AN INVISIBLE ETHNIC GROUP WHEN IT COMES TO HEALTH CARE DISPARITIES

By Raed Al-Naser, MD

Dr. Al-Naser is President, San Diego Chapter, National Arab American Medical Association. He is also a pulmonary and critical care physician practicing in San Diego’s East County.

July 31, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- Race and ethnicity are becoming forefront conversations in our media, academic debates, and daily life discussions here in the United States. Each of us has an identity that defines how we see ourselves and others. Arab Americans are a historically understudied minority group in the U.S. and their health needs and risks have been poorly documented. As a physician and healthcare provider who belongs to this group, I see that Arab American identity is largely absent from national and academic conversations about race and ethnicity especially when it comes to health care disparities. The emergence of COVID-19 as a pandemic and public health crisis has exposed this reality and made it more visible and undeniable. 


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READER’S EDITORIAL: DEPUTY SHERIFFS ASSOCIATION RESPONDS TO “DEFUND THE POLICE” CALLS

By David Leonhardi

 

President, Deputy Sheriffs Association of San Diego County (DSASD.org)

 

July 23, 2020 (San Diego) -- The past six weeks have brought a major change in public safety discussions across the country. The rise of the “defund the police” movement has dominated national attention, sparking a debate over the nature of law enforcement and the scope of their duties. Criminal justice activists throughout the nation have pressured their local cities and counties to cut funding from their respective law enforcement departments due to perceived systemic problems, most notably, that of alleged racial bias in policing.1 Supporters of this movement seek to reallocate this funding to social services surrounding issues related to substance abuse, domestic violence, and homelessness, to name a few.2 


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READER’S EDITORIAL: HORSE RACING VS. DOGFIGHTING -- DOUBLE STANDARD FOR ANIMAL CRUELTY

Over 2,000 racehorses die in the U.S. every year, often after suffering drugging, abuse and injuries. Horse racing has long had ties to organized crime. So why is it still legal?

By Martha Sullivan 

Photo: Creative Commons image via FreePhoto on Bing

July 9, 2020 (San Diego) -- People are rightly outraged by brutal dogfighting, on which spectators gamble.  The media’s coverage of dogfighting is dominated by images of Black and Latino men fighting dogs for bets, and there is a pattern of demonization:  


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READER’S EDITORIAL: BORDER WALL IN JACUMBA WILDERNESS THREATENS GROUNDWATER FOR COMMUNITIES AND AN ENDANGERED SPECIES, THE CRUCIFIXION THORN

By Craig Deutsche

July 5, 2020 (Jacumba) - There have been a number of articles in large newspapers about the border wall and legal challenges. Most probably the story in California is only a detail in the big picture, although there might be several unique concerns here. One concern is that the Congressional designation of the Jacumba Wilderness in 1994 is very explicit and very restrictive in what is permitted within the boundaries.

More recently in 2019, the Department of Homeland Security waived seventeen federal environmental laws where border security was involved in Imperial County. These included the Wilderness Act of 1964, the National Environmental Protection Act, the Clean Waters Act, and the Antiquities Act of 1906. It is under this umbrella that the work proceeds. What is less clear, is whether it is possible to set aside state and county regulations that may otherwise apply.

The pipe shown in the photo runs five or six miles from several wells outside the Jacumba Wilderness Area to the construction area at the border. The pipe is 12 inches in diameter and is intended to provide water for concrete. [Aggregate for the concrete is visible in the second photo beside the equipment.] This water is drawn from a rather limited aquifer underlying several small communities in western Imperial County.


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READER’S EDITORIAL: REFLECTIONS ON RECENT EVENTS AND CHALLENGES TO PRESERVE CULTURAL HISTORY IN LA MESA

By Jim Newland, President, La Mesa Historical Society

June 23, 2020 (La Mesa) - The past few weeks’ events and experiences, including those in our local community, can only remind us of our nation’s challenging history of discrimination, violence and racism.  This is a very personal history for many that sadly continues into the present. 


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A BITTERSWEET REOPENING OF THE ICONIC JACUMBA SPA, NOW FOR SALE

By Daniel Smiechowski

June 19, 2020 (Jacumba Hot Springs) -- The East County Jacumba Resort and Spa has fallen victim to uncertain times. Owned for many years by Dave Landman, an affable character who coincidentally owns most of Jacumba and about 800 acres east to Yuma, Arizona, the Spa is currently listed for sale by Coldwell Banker. 


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READER’S EDITORIAL: WHY IS WATER SHUT OFF AT CAMPGROUNDS IN MCCAIN VALLEY?

By Ken Danielson

 

Photo, left: Google Earth image of water systems

 

Photo, right by Miriam Raftery:  Lark campground, before construction of Tule Wind

 

June 18, 2020 (McCain Valley) -- Many of you have probably visited the Cottonwood campground at the end of McCain Valley road. (Identical conditions exist at the Lark Canyon Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) park midway to Cottonwood). I’ve been camping there for more than 40 years. Even with the industrialization of the valley. it has remained a gem. 


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READER’S EDITORIAL: SMALLPOX SURVIVOR RECALLS THE SCOURGE

As COVID-19 quarantines cause disruptions worldwide, a survivor of a prior pandemic speaks out

By  Roger Coppock

Photo: A case of smallpox in 1886; public domain image via Wikipedia

June 10, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- It fell off me in the shower this morning.  I felt the brief pinch and saw it before it went down the drain.  The little piece of thin  plastic suture used to hold together a former pustule on my skin, hiding it. It has been more than a decade since I saw the last of its kind.  This may, finally, be the last of them all.

As a preschooler, I followed my late father to a research station in New Mexico along the border.  My father was an experimental psychologist who was trying to measure learning in bats.  It was a great adventure, until I caught one of the last cases of Smallpox in North America.


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READER'S EDITORIAL: TIME TO LISTEN AND TO CHANGE RACIAL INJUSTICE IN OUR NATION AND OUR WORLD

By Andy Salmonsen

Photo, left, by Henri Migala:  George Floyd protest in La Mesa May 30 drew many white participants and people of all races marching in solidarity against racism and police violence

June 7, 2020 (Jamul, California) – This week, I spoke with a good friend and fellow musician.  He is truly a great person and a good man.  I could talk about his talent, his humor, and his personality, but that is not what this is about.  I asked if I could mention him in the post and he said yes.  But as I write this, I don’t want to mention his name because that’s not what this is about, and I don’t want to detract from what really matters.  I will call him Mr. C.   Mr. C Is black.  I asked him if I should reference black people or African American and he said black was ok.   Black lives matter.  I asked him that question because I am white, and I don’t know what it’s like to be black.  I have no idea.  72% of us in the United States have no idea what it is like to be anything other than white.

The conversation was about what I thought of the situation in our nation right now regarding George Floyd, and also why had I not posted anything about how I felt.  Mr. C is really feeling this, he is protesting and he if standing up for what he believes.  I listened to him as he told me how he was feeling and how a lot of his white friends seemed to say the same thing I did, “I don’t really post.”  Mr. C and I love each other like brothers, but I think he was wondering who I really was, who was I underneath in my heart and soul?  It brought me to tears hearing his voice and his pain.


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READER’S EDITORIAL: LIVES LOST AMID PANDEMIC AREN’T ALL DUE TO COVID-19: SUICIDES RISE DURING QUARANTINE

By Bettie Wells 
 
Photo: Creative Commons by S.A. via Bing
 
May 10, 2020 (El Cajon) -- I am a mental health care professional. I have worked in the field in many arenas for 25 years. I have worked mainly in trauma-not something I picked for myself, it just worked out that way. I thought I had seen it all in my career until about three weeks ago...Suicide. 
 
As a therapist, I hear about suicide fairly often. It's an important question in a psycho-social interview. I have helped countless people work through their suicidal ideation. It's safe to say that I am not flustered by my clients needing to work though such a dark time in their lives. This last three weeks though, I have been hearing about someone suiciding on average about three times a day now. 
 
Think about that--on average three times a day, I hear about someone killing themselves. In my 25 years working in this field, I have never once experienced this much suicide happening all at once.

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READER'S EDITORIAL: WHY ARE NURSING HOMES LOOKING FOR IMMUNITY DURING COVID-19?

By Marcel Gemme

Image via Pixabay

May 5, 2020 (San Diego) - Nursing homes and other senior living facilities have been some of the hardest-hit communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.  As countless news stories emerge about outbreaks at nursing homes, the best guess that anyone has so far as to the total number of coronavirus deaths from nursing homes is 10,000.  


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READER’S EDITORIAL: THE MAN WHO WORE A KKK HOOD TO A SUPERMARKET...IS THIS WHO WE ARE WHEN WE THINK NOBODY IS WATCHING?

By E.A. Barrera 

May 5, 2020 (Santee) -- I grew up in San Diego's East County. I lived and went to school in Lakeside. Over the years I lived in Santee, the SDSU College area, Pacific Beach, Ocean Beach, Hillcrest, La Mesa, Lemon Grove, El Cajon and Julian. I currently own a home in Lakeside.


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READER’S EDITORIAL: NATIONWIDE VOTE-BY-MAIL NEEDED TO PROTECT OUR DEMOCRACY

By Al Chavarria

April 24, 2020 (Spring Valley) -- The most important element of our nation is our democracy. The right to vote is as basic of a right as we have. The right to have your voice heard in a nation of multiple voices shouting at the same time. The only way to decide on who will be our leaders is for the majority to decide and the only to do that is to vote! Simple and Patriotic, right?

So obviously with the current pandemic, the only safe way to achieve this in this coming election, is to VOTE BY MAIL. All  states need to prepare now and they should not be afraid to implement this strategy for fear of losing elections.


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READER’S EDITORIAL: PEOPLE’S LIVES TRUMP THE DOW JONES DURING PANDEMIC

By Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPH, retired epidemiologist
 
April 23, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- So Senator Jones claims America exceptionalism because our Constitution begins with “We the People,” in his recent editorial on restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Nice sentiments, but what is the reality? 
 
According to Senator Jones, “‘We the People’ established a Constitution with a Bill of Rights that enshrines the liberties that cannot be permanently taken from us. Just because we’re in an emergency doesn’t mean we hand over our freedoms to the government absolutely and indefinitely.” 
 
First, no one is talking about handing over our freedoms indefinitely. However, if we rely on our “intuitive genius” President and people like Senator Jones rather than experts on infectious diseases we may actually hand over more than our freedoms--threatening our health and our lives.

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READER’S EDITORIAL: VIEW “PLANET OF THE HUMANS” MOVIE THIS EARTH DAY

By Renée Owens

April 22, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- This year is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day! How can you honor Mother Earth while sheltering at home? Perhaps the most powerful thing you can do right now is sit back and watch a movie. Specifically, the groundbreaking documentary Planet of the Humans, just aired and free to watch on Youtube. A decade in the making, produced by Berkeley University Professor Ozzie Zehner and Michael Moore, it reveals astonishing and profound revelations about the green energy movement that I guarantee you will have never heard before.


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READER’S EDITORIAL: CALIFORNIANS MUST ENSURE INFRINGEMENTS ON LIBERTIES DURING PANDEMIC ARE ONLY TEMPORARY

By State Senator Brian Jones
 
Originally published in the San Diego Union-Tribune; reprinted with permission of the author
 
April 22, 2020 (San Diego) -- In his 1987 State of the Union address, President Ronald Reagan clarified the difference between the U.S. Constitution and those of other countries:
 
“Many countries have written into their constitution provisions for freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. Well, if this is true, why is the Constitution of the United States so exceptional? Well, the difference is so small that it almost escapes you, but it’s so great it tells you the whole story in just three words: We the People. In those other constitutions, the government tells the people of those countries what they’re allowed to do. In our Constitution, we the people tell the government what it can do, and it can do only those things listed in that document and no others.”
 
Last week, President Donald Trump unveiled new guidelines to help states begin to lift the social distancing guidelines that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended since mid-March. Given that state and local governments have acted in accordance with, or gone well beyond, federal guidance to this point, “stay at home” orders may begin to ease May 1 in some places but may continue for weeks or months in others.

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READER’S EDITORIAL: UNDERSTANDING AB5 IN CRISIS

The State that started out saying “we need to protect these workers” is now refusing to send the same workers money that Congress specifically appropriated for independent contractors.

By Barbara Bry, San Diego mayoral candidate

April 15, 2020 (San Diego) -- We all want to protect workers. But, so-called “Gig” workers (independent contractors) are often underpaid and left out of important safety net programs like unemployment insurance. This has always been the case, but historically it was a relatively small portion of the workforce.


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READER'S EDITORIAL: SHARING HOPE

By Dadla Ponizil
 
April 9, 2020 (San Diego) -- As we grind through the difficult days of the pandemic, I'd like to share some hope.  My daughter, the fashion designer, is making protective masks--dyed with turmeric and beet juice, and they are lovely.
 
In every city around the nation, feats of valor, creativity and grace are being accomplished every day. We will win this battle. This gives me hope: the power of our teamwork and solidarity. 

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READER’S EDITORIAL TERRA-GEN’S CONTROVERSIAL CAMPO WIND TURBINE PROJECT APPROVED BY DEPT OF INTERIOR OVER STRONG OBJECTIONS OF IMPACTED TRIBAL MEMBERS

Decision bypasses Campo’s tribal regulations and land use planning protections: Legal challenges are in the works

By Donna Tisdale, President of Backcountry Against Dumps

April 9, 2020 (Campo and Boulevard, California)-- Against strong opposition, including many tribal members, the Department of Interior just approved the Record of Decision (ROD) for Terra-Gen’s controversial Campo Wind project with 60-586 ft tall 4.2 megawatt (MW) turbines on Campo Tribal lands in rural San Diego County.

These turbines are taller than the tallest skyscraper in San Diego and twice as powerful as existing Kumeyaay Wind and Tule Wind turbines that already generate nuisance level adverse impacts for neighbors! To add insult to injury, the ROD was signed by the Assistant Secretary, which means we lose the right to appeal that approval.

Legal challenges are in the works.

Campo Wind is opposed by neighbors as well as by a qualified number of voting Campo Tribal members, but Campo leaders have ignored two valid tribal petitions: 1) to terminate Campo Wind ; 2) to remove their leadership for failing to hold the vote to terminate[1]. Turbines are planned far too close to homes and offices and can restrict the number and placement of new homes for current and future residents.

Campo’s elections are set for April 17th, with strong hope that leaders will be voted in who will act to better protect their people and resources, and to stop Campo Wind dead in its tracks.


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READER’S EDITORIAL: HOW I COPE DURING THESE UNPRECEDENTED TIMES

By Daniel J. Smiechowski, San Diego
 
Photo:  Invasion and bombing of Normandy, France, which the author’s mother survived during World War II (CC by SA image)
 
April 3, 2020 (San Diego) -- I understand the gravity of our situation in maintaining personal health, finances and a host of other considerations during this unprecedented time of national and global catastrophe. I have not changed one single behavior except for perhaps understanding more acutely the folly of mankind.
 
My entire life has been devoted to personal philosophical reflection, social psychology and participating in athletics, the past forty years traveling the earth in search of triathlon. A couple of weeks ago, I was at my second home in France just exiting the country before all hell broke loose. I ran in an event and placed first in my age group. It was a happy time being among friends and family, respected by the French nation. 
 

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READER’S EDITORIAL: HERE LIES STAND UP COMEDY (1966-2020)

 

By Darryl Littleton

March 30, 2020 (San Diego) -- Stand Up Comedy is dead!   Official cause of death – Coronavirus with Trump complications.  After a lengthy illness due to the politically correct sanctions, and despite recent signs of resurgence (thanks to Netflix), Stand Up finally succumbed this month from the prescription of no public gatherings over 10 people.  That dose was barely enough for a club staff, much less a show.   Not a Stand Up show, anyway.   Not a real one.


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READER’S EDITORIAL: TO COMBAT COVID-19, WE SHOULD MOBILIZE OUR MILITARY TO BUILD HOSPITALS AND ASK FACTORIES TO PRODUCE VITAL SUPPLIES

By Ammar Campa-Najjar, candidate in the 50th Congressional District
 
March 18, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) - Make no mistake: I’ve lived in a war zone.  We are at war with the Coronavirus. People are scared, unsure and know the worst is yet to come. Working parents are sheltering in place with their children, small businesses struggling to meet overhead costs. 

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READER’S EDITORIAL: ABORTION IS A 1ST AMENDMENT ISSUE

Response to Sylvia Sullivan’s “pro-choice dangerous descent” (Feb. 16, 2020) 
 
By Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPH
 
February 24, 2020 (San Diego) – Sylvia Sullivan’s Reader’s Editorial makes a number of points that reflect more a rigid ideology rather  than valid arguments on abortion, from claims of violence at clinics to medical, social and economic considerations regarding abortion. As I make clear below her editorial ignores some compelling reasons for pro-choice. However, what I haven’t seen in her editorial is that abortion should be considered a 1st Amendment issue given that almost all pro-lifers base their position on the Bible.
 

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READER’S EDITORIAL: AMERICAN BASEBALL – SIGNS OF THE TIMES

By Greg Dunne 
                                                 
February 16, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- Baseball made the front page of the Wall Street Journal this week with the Astros’ scandal about cameras in the outfield stealing signs from opponents, especially in their 2017 World Series vs. the Dodgers. 
 
I’m pretty much standing alone on my views of this scandal. I’m sure even baseball historians will say my views on this matter are absurd. When did the time-honored tradition of stealing signs in baseball become a bad thing? I guess in 2020 when the entire Astros team had to apologize for stealing signs in the World Series of 2017.
 
I’ve been a baseball fan for a long time, dating back to the 1960s when I was a kid. I have followed baseball and its history ever since, which always made the game so great for me. The history of the game was always a big part of the game as a player and as a fan. So, now that technology is helping a team steal signs, stealing signs is not the “art form” that it used to be? And now you have to be politically correct and apologize for it? 

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READER’S EDITORIAL: ON SUSAN B. ANTHONY’S 200TH BIRTHDAY, BEWARE OF MEN RUNNING IN THE 50TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT WHO OPPOSE WOMEN’S RIGHTS

“Men, their rights, and nothing more; women, their rights, and nothing less. I declare to you that woman must not depend upon the protection of man, but must be taught to protect herself, and there I take my stand. Independence is happiness.” – Susan B. Anthony

By Hope C. Justice

Photo: Susan B. Anthony, public domain image, drawing by J.E. Baker, Boston

February 15, 2020 (San Diego) – Today is the 200th birthday of Susan B. Anthony, who fought tirelessly to win the constitutional right for women to vote- a victory finally attained 100 years ago. She also fought for equal rights for women – a battle that two centuries later, has still not been won.

Alarmingly, as we see an erosion of protections for women across the nation in everything from equal pay to violence against women to reproductive health, we have men running for Congress here in California's 50th  Congressional district whose voting records indicate that they are dangerous for women. 

Two of them, Brian Jones and Darrell Issa, have long legislative records of voting against freedoms for women and touting policies that belong in the Stone Age, not the modern era. A third Republican, Carl DeMaio, is less extreme but still opposes full equality in pay and health services access. (Mercifully, there are other choices in this race, including at least two candidates who support equal rights for women.)


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READER’S EDITORIAL: PRO-CHOICE DANGEROUS DESCENT

By Sylvia Sullivan

February 16, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- This year marks the Roe v Wade Supreme Court decision 47th anniversary. While mourning the deaths of over 61 million babies, it is also time to reflect on the direction of the pro-choice movement. For years those who defended a woman’s right to abort her baby were thought to be merely confused or misinformed.

Although, some disturbing incidents occurred in front of abortion clinics between pro-lifers and those against. Pro-choice young punks kicking a little old lady as she knelt in prayer. Or spewing the vilest language at pro-life teen girls as well as spitting in their faces. Pro-choice activists cheering a plane banner that proclaimed late term abortionist, George Tiller, a “national treasure!" These incidents were believed to be from extreme fringe elements but not representative of most of the pro-choice supporters.


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