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By Joel A. Harrison


Photo: Swedish bike lane, creative commons


February 18, 2019 (San Diego) -- While the following editorial uses my neighborhood as an example, other cities in San Diego County face similar housing problems and the currently proposed one for the city of San Diego will NOT solve them.


My family has been in North Park since 1936. My mother graduated from Hoover High, class of 1941. Currently there are 17 two-story apartments and seven houses on my block. At 5 a.m. every morning I walk my dog about a mile, where I often count between 25 and 30 cars parked at the North Park public library. Sometimes I don’t see a single empty space within several blocks. If not for the library, where would they park? And now the push is to build multiple story apartments with NO parking space requirement. So, let’s look at the issues:


  1. Riding the bus. Many living in my neighborhood work in areas where buses don’t go or they would have to transfer, perhaps several times, resulting in twice to three times the commute time.  During rush hours, usually standing on a crowded bus.
  2. Let’s assume that people were willing to take the bus. I shop at Costco down in Mission Valley. Even if a bus could take me there, how would I carry things home? I like to visit the Wild Animal Park, Mt Palomar, etc. My primary care physician of almost 20 years is now in Rancho San Diego. If buses even go there. It would take transfers, and a long commute time for a 15 minute visit. In other words, even if people used public transit for work, many individuals and families would still need one car.
  3. I lived and studied in Gothenburg, Sweden for a number of years where I bicycled year-round, except if there was ice on the streets. There were bicycle lanes throughout the city. On some streets, there was the sidewalk, then bicycle lane, then high curb with car parking. On one-way streets a two-way bike lane was next to the sidewalk on the left side and car parking only on the right side. And wide streets had a park-like center with a pedestrian path and two-way bike path. When bicyclists or pedestrians pushed the button at intersections, the light changed. Sweden spends about 7% of GDP on infrastructure as opposed to US about 3%. So, the streets and bicycle paths were in excellent condition despite extremes of weather. And the traffic lights functioned to support pedestrians and bicyclists. On side streets and residential areas, though no separate bicycle paths, the streets were well-maintained and lighted. At key points on bus and streetcar routes were places to lock one’s bike.
  4. I live two miles from the Copley YMCA where I go daily to work out. I would love to be able to bike there; but dare not. I would have to watch for opening car doors, cars pulling out, cracks and potholes, and cars pulling into lane to park or turn at intersection. I also shop weekly at Trader Joe’s in Hillcrest. Though in my 70s, I could easily manage the hills to bike the two miles; but wouldn’t dare. The City did some street repair, including a designated bike lane, sandwiched between parked cars and traffic. For that section they could have easily put the bike lane where cars park, a high curb, and then the street; but they didn’t. In addition, before getting to Hillcrest, I would have to bike on University Ave or some side street with little protection from traffic and cracked streets. San Diego has paid out millions of dollars for bicyclist injured on our poorly maintained streets. I don’t intend to be one of them!
  5. San Diego has developed along with the car. Swedish cities and American cities on the East Coast are more compact. Yet, in Sweden, though many bike and/or use public transit, they also own cars for weekend shopping and outings to countryside.
  6. North Park is already a dense urban environment, small stores, homes, condos, apartments, and many senior citizens; yet, no post office and the public library is long overdue to be replaced. If a packet can’t be delivered to my home, it has to be picked up in Mission Valley where previously only a short walk to the Post Office was required. With so many apartments and tenants who come and go, there is little sense of community compared to years ago. And as mentioned above, not enough parking for tenants, let alone for visitors.


People will continue to move to San Diego, so we need more housing, so what are the options?


  1. Distribute permits for apartments, including minimum required parking spaces, throughout the city, not just within blocks of mass transit. Also require they meet energy efficiency standards with solar panels on roof and available outlets for electric cars. Start with issuing for streets where there are currently no apartment complexes, two permits for each side of the street. As explained above, the current proposed plan won’t work and will just turn some neighborhoods into urban slums.
  2. During rush hours, add small vans to the city bus system that go to these neighborhoods, allowing people to connect to bus lines.
  3. Develop Swedish-type bicycle lanes where possible. Prioritize these streets first for repairs. If the city wants to increase bicycling and walking, create the infrastructure first.
  4. If possible, find land 20 - 30 miles from city. Build modern complexes of quality apartments with reasonable rents for, say, 30,000 people with parking spaces, public parks, recreational facilities, including swimming pool, supermarket, hair salon, outpatient health center, solar powered & possibly wind turbines, and include Express Buses that go to five or more areas based on where large number of people work (with connecting buses), encourage people who work in these areas to move there. Subsidize the costs of the buses and make sure they run even in off peak hours so those needing to get to work early or stay late still can easily get to and from home.


San Diego has a long history, as documented in UCSD Professor Steven Erie’s book “Paradise Plundered: Fiscal Crisis and Governance Failures in San Diego”, where city hall has benefitted developers at the expense of the rest of us (watch UCSD presentation at: ). It’s time to stop. My neighborhood is already overcrowded. If multistory buildings without parking are allowed, it will become a nightmare. If I were younger, I would move. Though the weather is nice, I’ve lived in cold and snow and would survive. San Diego is certainly NOT American’s Finest City and is definitely on a downward spiral. Broken sidewalks, potholed streets, inadequately lighted streets, wall to wall traffic, and it will only get worse.


People are coming here in order to improve their quality of life; but as more and more arrive, the quality of life will get progressively worse, especially if the city continues its current course. While one cannot stop people from coming, City Hall could develop a plan that, at least, attempts to lessen the reduction in quality of life by distributing growth evenly and fairly, building an infrastructure of safe bicycle paths, vans that connect to bus lines, and not by completely destroying a few communities.

Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPH is a retired epidemiologist who has been writing articles over the past years supporting vaccinations for Every Child By Two, an excellent non-profit founded in 1991. Every Child By Two has changed to Vaccinate Your Family, expanding its mission to include vaccines for people of all ages. You can find Executive Summaries of his previous ECBT articles that hyperlink to the complete articles as well as his brief biography on the archived ECBT Expert Commentaries page. Dr. Harrison has studied and worked in several countries, including Sweden (where he earned his doctorate) and Canada (where he earned a Master’s degree). Having experienced both the Swedish socialized health care system and the Canadian non-profit single-payer system, over the past 30 years he has devoted considerable time to studying health economics and health care systems, concluding that, though the Swedish system is excellent, given American culture, he believes that a non-profit single payer system would be best option for the United States (see his article “The Case for a Non-Profit Single-Payer Healthcare System”. Dr. Harrison is a long-time member of Physicians for a National Health Program.

The opinions in this editorial reflect the views of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of East County Magazine. To submit an editorial for consideration, contact

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Please just agree to disagree and let's move on.

Other readers are complaining to us about the lack of civility in this thread and the hogging of comments here.

I think all that can be said, has been said.  If the bickering and insults continue I'll close the comments on this story. 

Joel, that goes for you as well as those who responded.

For the rest, instead of lambasting Joel, how about offering some constructive ideas of your own on how to solve the problems that this opinion piece raised?



Sorry, didn't notice your comment

Hi: Just scrolled down and found one more comment which I replied to; however, I think my reply was positive. I will endeavor to not comment further.

Just one last point which has nothing to do with my OpEd. Though not a Catholic, I believe the Catholic Church is a major force for good in American society, as exemplified by the three documents I listed in my last comment (see below) and probably starting with the Paplical Encyclical issued by Pope Leo XIII "Rerum novarum," that among other things addressed the condition of the working classes, rejected socialism and unrestricted capitalism. "Unrestricted capitalism!" Something many don't understand that critizing our current system doesn't automatically mean socialism or even liberalsm, words bandied about more to attack anyones elses position rather than convey any real meaning.

I am extremely distressed at the current crisis in the Catholic Church, both the children hurt, and the monies that could be used elsewhere as well as, perhaps, weakening of Churches ability to represent many positive positions.

In any case, barring any unforeseen circumstances, look forward to monthly dinner, not upcoming one; but one after it.


Yes it was since she specifically mentioned "sanctuary." It is the people who actually practice Christianity and other compassionate people who support sanctuary, unfortunately, it is often those claiming to be Christians, all to many Americans, who attack what Christianity stands for. Read the New Testament. Jesus rejects an eye for an eye; yet many Evangelicals/Fundamentalists support the death penalty. In Matthew, paraphrasing Jesus (too lazy to look up exact words): "When you gave drink to the thirsty, food to the hungry, cared for the sick . . . when you did these things to the least of your brothers, you did onto me." Yet, many Americans, especially among Evangelicals/Fundamentalists are against universal health coverage and vote to limit support for poor families, etc. And in the Sermon on the Mound, Jesus says: "blessed are the peace makers;" yet this country going back to colonial times is one of the most warlike nations on Earth. I find it fascinating how some people claim to believe in Jesus; yet, reject what he asks of them. And the New Testament makes it quite clear that when Jesus speaks of wealth, he doesn't mean material wealth; but wealth of the spirit.

So my OpEd simply pointed out that destroying a few neighborhoods won't solve the housing crisis since even if people took buses or cycled to work, few would or could nowadays, they would still need parking space for cars; otherwise it would be the death knell, among other things, for shopping centers, etc. Even if one could take the bus, how would one carry things home? And I suggested alternatives, including vans, Express buses, etc.

Very typical of people like you to ignore everything I wrote only to choose one sentence. Oh well.

Climb down off your stump, Dr.

I seriously doubt you're qualified to lecture anyone as to what constitutes a Christian. You paint with a broad brush and like most Liberals, choose to dismiss those who disagree with your opinions. Since you seem to enjoy the New Testament, I'll offer these - Romans 13:3-4 & 2 Thessalonians 3:10 but you won't bother to look them up, too lazy.

One Last Point on Refugees

The baby Jesus, Joseph, and Mary were refugees in Egypt. If Trump had been Pharoah he would have sent them back to Herod. In your case, would have been their end and you wouldn't have to defend your callous attitude to your fellow human beings, while considering yourself a Christian because their wouldn't be any Christianity. And as for "Liberal'; yikes, a word that idiots like you don't understand but use as a epithet. Either one takes Jesus at his word or doesn't and if the bulk of the New Testament says one thing, then finding something that contradicts it poses a problem, not for me as I go with the weight of the evidence. Either Jesus tells us to love one another, to show compassion and caring or he doesn't. Quite simple, dont' you think. Oops! You don't think.

Somebody's been triggered....

Quoting the Bible and actually understanding it are two things not the same. Setting a fine example here, Doc. You've verbally attacked probably the only two people who even bothered to read your words. Keep up with the hate and condescension, hope to see you on the battlefield soon.

Actually 562 people have read this editorial in the first 24 hrs

since it was posted and we didn't even publish our weekly newsletter yet, when we get our highest number of readers.  So there are far more than "two people" reading Dr. Harrison's editorial.

A reminder to all here, please keep the comments respectful and civil even if you disagree.  I have deleted the last part of JDinSD's comment becaues it violates our site rules prohibiting vulgarity and name calling.  Repeated violations of our rules can result in cancellation of posting privilages. 


Just so we’re clear

I’m to understand that it’s permissible for the author to call the commenters “Idiots”, but not for the commenters to reply in kind? Just want to make sure I understand these rules correctly as they seem a bit one sided.

No, it's not okay to call someone an idiot, either.

Sorry I missed that one in skimming the long comments here. I would have removed it, too, if I'd seen it earlier.

Thanks to Joel for apologizing.

I appreciate you both sharing your opinions.


I apologize for calling you an idiot! ! !

I apologize for calling you an idiot. Out of character for me; but sometimes I let my emotions override my reason, especially as I get older. Again apologies.

However, I stand by my understanding of the New Testament, not because I am an expert on it; but based on two courses in non-Catholic theology, and readings, including Dietrich Bonhoeffer's "Cost of Discipleship." Bonfoeffer had a doctorate in theology and his writings and life have made him one of my heros and role models. But I've also read Paul Tillich's "The Courage to Be", Augustine's "Confessions" and "City of God", Kierkegaard, etc., and another of my all time favorite books, Erich Fromm's "You Shall Be As Gods: A Radical Interpretation of the Old Testament and Its Traditions." Actually Fromm and Bonhoeffer are very close. For Bonhoeffer, being born again means your egoist self, greed, prejudices, etc. all die and Jesus lives through you, you become "The Living Christ." It isn't forcing prayers in the schools, putting crosses on every hill, pressuring people; but your being, your actions, your compassion, love for your fellow man, compassion, and caring, that shows the world what Jesus stands for. And Fromm's book goes out from the word for law in Hebrew, Halacha, which is a derivative of the verb, Lalechet, to walk. In the Bible it says "You shall walk in my ways."

And, yes, there are people who can work and don't; but numerous studies have shown that the vast majority of people want to work, want to feel they earn their keep; but when we reformed welfare, the so-called liberal Bill Clinton, single mothers were forced to take buses, with transfers, taking up to two hours each way for minimum wage jobs, and leave their kids in hands of someone willing to take them for low payment with no protections. And there was just an article in today's Union-Tribune about a young man with Cerebral Palsy who may lose his job at Walmart. Though due to the public anger, Walmart will probably keep him; but just one example of someone who wants to work; but even the wealthiest most profitable businesses, as Walmart who used to give their new employees application forms for Medicaid, have one goal, to maximize as much profit as possible, as long as they can get away with it.

So when Twiggy attacked poor people and bums and sanctuary, she was attacking everything that I and many others believe is what Judaism and Christianity are all about. And you obviously agree with her. Callng me a liberal in this context means you assume all who have the same interpretation of the Bible as I do are liberals, despite that some are LIbertarians, and many vote Republican. Liberal for you is not a political position, it is simply an epithet for anyone who disagrees with you.

Again I strongly urge you to read Bonhoeffer's "Cost of Discipleship."

And to some extent this entire exchange is absurd as my OpEd was a discussion of what is wrong about current plan to deal with housing crisis and some suggestions which, while you claim you read my OpEd, not a single comment about it???


My fault too...

I accept your apology, and offer my own in return. I think we are both old enough to know better, and when a conversation digresses to the point of insults, it has no value. To answer your previous question, I absolutely did read your OpEd, in its entirety, along with your rebuttal to Twiggy's original comment. I thought your OpEd was excellent, ripe with interesting ideas and perhaps I should have mentioned that first, in an effort to temper my comment. My comment regarding the jab a Christians, was based on the fact that I did not make any connection between Twiggy's reference to "Sanctuary" and religon. I believe there are many people that view and use the term as a political reference, a derogatory one, and that's how I took it. I am familiar with Bonhoeffer, but have never read any of his books. I will read "The Cost of Discipleship", looks interesting and I appreciate the recommendation. I'm just finishing "Martin Luther; The Man Who Rediscovered God and Changed the World" by Eric Metaxas, excellent book if you're looking for new material. Why can I not seem to get line breaks to work within this system, very frustrating.

"probably the only two people

"probably the only two people who even bothered to read your words." Really. Maybe Twiggy read my OpEd; but she certainly didn't understand it and did you read it? Or just focused on one minor part. As for understanding the Bible, you seem to be the one who relies on a couple of quotes. According to you, if someone doesn't work, they shouldn't eat, taken from one quote; but what if they can't work? Not just visible disabilities. What if someone grew up getting the sh.t beat out of them daily by a drunken father? What about someone who appears normal; but due to lack of prenatal care suffered brain damage? Jesus says: "Judge not lest ye shall be judged." He also says: "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?" 

I come from a lower middle class family, not materially well off; but I had the love of two parents and two maternal grandparents who lived close by. I received good medical and dental care, good food, and unconditional love. I worked my way through college. And I was born at end of World War II, which followed the Depression of the 1930s. For a brief moment in American history, many, though not all, felt part of a community. Especially in California, we had new roads, schools, an incredible infrastructure and I benefitted from it. I benefitted not only from a loving family; but from the men and women who had defended us during World War II, and those willing to build the greatest infrastructure the world had known at the time; but now we are a polarized social darwinistic nation. People say "what did the government ever do for me," ignoring the dams, roads, schools, military who defended us. They spew their hate over the very internet that was developed at huge expense by the government and turned over to them for free. And we pay through our taxes for a health care system, only to turn it over to those who see health care as any other commodity, minimize expenditures and maximize profit.

Maybe I'm wrong about Jesus; but not according to Dietrich Bonhoeffer, not according to Pope Francis, not according to the majority of what the New Testament says. Download Bonhoeffer's book and read it. Probably too much of an effort.

I don't know how many people read my OpEd. East County Magazine on average has several hundred thousand viewers, but only a few post comments.

As for "hate and condescension," I'm not the one who sees refugees and poor people" as not deserving. I'm not the one who arrogantly picks one verse and would allow people to starve. And I'm not the one who ignores what is said, among other things, in Matthew.

However, I would guess you support Trump and the building of the wall and probably making it almost impossible for refugees to enter this country. And I'm sure you want "to make America great again." Of course, you probably missed the part of the Bible where pride is the deadliest of the seven sins.

So, do me a favor. Don't bother to read anything I write as you won't understand and just make a fool of yourself!

I Quote Directly From New Testament, Guess it's a liberal book

First, as for my qualifications to lecture on Christianity, I am but a lay person who attended, though not Catholic, Loyola University in Chicago and took the two required non-Catholic theology courses and have friends, among who are lay Baptist ministers, Quakers, etc.; but I do like reading and not only the Bible; but other books (see below). By the way, who the hell are you to question me with a couple of quotes?

Now, I didn’t say that when possible people should not work; but many who do work, regardless of how hard they work, can’t make ends meet. Literally, as corporations and those who control them get richer and richer, many of their full-time employees have to go on Medicaid and other government programs. In other words, the taxpayers subsidizes corporations.

I did look up the Biblical sections you mentioned; but how does “we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you” function when people, regardless of how hard they work, can’t afford health care or decent housing, can’t make a living or even better what about those sick or with disabilities?

So how does: “2 Thessalonians 3:10 New International Version apply when people willing to work; but still can’t earn enough to eat, afford health care, etc. or worse for those sick or disabled? (NIV) 10 For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.” How does this apply to those who work hard and still can’t survive, those who are fleeing terror, and those who are sick or disabled? You are despicable!

And how does your Biblical passages fit in with Matthew 25:40-45? (see below)

I suggest you read Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s “Cost of Discipleship”. Bonhoeffer was a German Protestant theologian, executed at the end of the war by the Nazis. You can find free copies of the book at:

and lots of other places on internet and YouTube has several documentaries on Bonhoeffer. His book is one of the most inspirational I have ever read and own.

I would also suggest looking at a photo array in book “The Family of Man” available at many libraries and new copy for $20 including shipping on Also one of the most inspirational books I own.

And pray tell how do Mexican farmers who do work compete with US corporations subsidized by our government? And refugees fleeing terror, most of whom would be happy to work in an environment where they don’t daily fear for theirs and their children’s lives. Our government bears the brunt of responsibility for the above.

I realize that nothing I say even with extensive documentation will change the mind of someone like you who looks for every excuse to turn their backs on their fellow human beings; but I save what I write in such comments as these in order to use for future OpEds and papers. And one can always pick and choose sections from any work; but I suggest you read the entire New Testament and Bonhoeffer’s book.

Romans 13:3-4 New International Version (NIV)
3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.

Matthew 25:40-45 New International Version (NIV)
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ 44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ 45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

Matthew 5:38-48 New International Version (NIV)

Eye for Eye
38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’[a] 39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. 41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

To Twiggy: Congratulation on Getting It Wrong

Obviously you missed the entire point of my OpEd.

Low income housing. You do realize that many hard working people in San Diego, making less than even $15 per hour can’t even afford the average price of a one-bedroom apartment, that is, if they are to eat, pay electric bills, transportation, clothes, and medical? Many lack health insurance or are underinsured, especially given we are the only health care system, paid for through taxes, that is designed first and foremost to make a profit, not to benefit people. Many working class people can’t afford insulin because industry has literally quadrupled price in last few years despite it not costing any more to produce. Perhaps, you think those doing our lawns, working in restaurants, at Walmart, etc. don’t deserve to have even a minimally decent standard of living?

Illegals. If the US government wasn’t so callous and dishonest, most of the refugees would prefer to stay in their countries. Take NAFTA, for instance, a free trade agreement. The US Government subsidizes the growing of corn and soybeans, so American companies export these to Mexico. Mexican farmers can’t compete, so to feed their families they come here. I really don’t understand how one government can subsidize an industry and call it free trade. Take Guatemala. We literally overthrew a democratically elected government that was trying to help the Guatemalan people, just to make sure United Fruit continued to exploit the country. The details can be found in Stephen Schlesinger and Stephen Kinzer, “Bitter Fruit: The Story of the American Coup in Guatemala”. Available in public library and on We have literally overthrown or supported numerous governments that benefit American corporations, lying to Americans that we were fighting Communism. In other words, the US military is often just an extension of corporate power, paid for by the taxpayers.

I get sick and tired of groups claiming this is a Christian nation. Yep, crosses and churches everywhere; but little compassion for our fellow human beings, the symbols of Christianity; but symbols shouldn’t be reified, they are to remind us of certain truths, truths that call for love, compassion, and actions.

In 2008, 10 million people lost theirs jobs and 6 million lost their homes. Greedy dishonest bankers put fake numbers (income and assets) on mortgages, bundled them, sold them on stock market and collected their commissions and bonuses. These bankers made good money when “honest”; but as we have seen in American history, without a strong government as neutral arbiter greed knows no bounds. For people against government, imagine going to a sports match where the umpire/referee were bought and paid for by one of the teams. So, how did we handle the bank crisis? No one went to prison, kept their jobs, and even collected bonuses, all this money coming from the taxpayers, the people hurt by them. Could we have done diifferently? Of course, we took over Fanny Mae and those in charge lost their jobs. We could have left the banks in place; but the stock holders would have lost their investments, the upper management their jobs, and many should have at least been fined and/or gone to prison. We could have run the banks for a couple of years, broken them up, and sold them to new investors. Instead, the banks that were too big to fail not only were bailed out; but the taxpayer subsidized them purchasing smaller banks, so that now they are now too “bigger” to fail.

The stock market has now reached epic highs, corporate profits have been increasing, and, yet, workers have seen an extremely modest increase in income, though given the ever more expensive cost of health care, really nothing. So what to do if you are a corporation or multi-millionaire/billionaire and bought and paid for member of Congress, of course, redirect attention to poor workers and illegals? Keep in mind that multiple experts and studies have found that immigrants and illegals have extremely low crime rates and contribute to our economy more than they take out. One can always find a few examples of crimes and, unfortunately, peoples’ emotions are aroused by anecdotes, not hard evidence.

And if you mean by bums the homeless, I would simply point out that many are veterans who served our nation and/or mentally ill; but I’m sure you could care less.

Congratulations for furthering the goals of the corporations and wealthy by buying lock, stock, and barrel their goal of redirecting our attention and anger.

So, it isn’t a bloated bureaucracy, given that most rational people want safe food, safe streets, fair courts, etc; but a bureaucracy that isn’t working for us. It not the size; but who they work for.

Now I’ve wasted enough time as I’m sure nothing I say, regardless of how strong the evidence I can martial, will change your mind or others. Because then you would have to actually think for yourself, do the research, and admit that you have been wrong and most people avoid the psychological stress (called cognitive dissonance) aroused by admitting mistakes, regardless of how these mistakes hurt innocent people and even themselves.

To Dr. Joel A. Harrison:

Was it necessary to take a jab at Christians in your rebuttal?

Yeah normally I don't like what you say either

But why does he keep bringing us up in the middle of a story about housing?  Why are Christians the only ones expected to be good people?  I'm not even a bigoted person like JD, I just hate when people do this thing and say everyone needs to help and then place the burden on us because we're supposed to be good.

Physician, heal thyself

I’ve yet to meet a bigot, who thought they were a bigot. I suggest you reflect on some of your own posts.

Which ones?

I almost literally never comment here...all I do is post sports stories and watch you guys do most of the fighting on subjects I don't care about. Drama is great when you're not involved in it.

Should the burden be on us?

First, I kept bringing it up in response to both an attack on sanctuary and in response to JDInSD; but you are right, I should have just ignored him. However, in several responses to JDinSD I did state that he seemed to be focusing on minor part of my response to Twiggy who showed her contempt for poor people and "bums."

And I made clear in one of my comments that sanctuary was supported by many Christians and non-Christians. However, Christians are the vast majority in this country and though the majority are good people, a significant minority based on my reading of the Bible claim to be Christians but are extremely judgmental of others (despite Bible condemning judging others), dismissive and outright hostile to needs of the poor, ignore the Bible's attitude to strangers, ignore that Baby Jesus, Joseph, and Mary were refugees and had Trump been President they would have been sent back to Herod, and many of these "Christians" support Trump, someone who labels Mexican as drug dealers and prostitutes, puts a travel ban on Moslems from every country but the two the 9/11 hijackers came from, calls African nations shit countries, brags about rampant fornication, etc. So, yes, the majority of Christians in the US are good people; but a large minority aren't in my opinion and since Christians are the dominant group in the US, then what a signficant minority do and support actions and policies that go against the Bible it is a problems

As for "the burden on us because we're supposed to be good", yes, it is on us. As the saying goes: "Evil triumphs when good people do nothing." And both Judaism and Christianity, clearly stated in the Bible, call for followers to do things. Among things one can do is e-mail or write ones representatives. Write letters to the editor. Get your church or synagogue involved in helping/supporting refugees. Even better would be to directly devote time as volunteer, e.g., teaching English as 2nd Language; but I don't expect this of most and that's OK. And not allow propaganda from the Corporations and super Wealthy to direct your attention away from them, scapegoating the poor and refugees.

PBS has a great POV documentary available online for free: "Dark Money." which documents how superwealthy and Corporations undermine our democracy.  And as I"ve suggested several times, download a free pdf of Dietrich Bonhoeffer's book: "The Cost of Discipleship" and watch one of the YouTube documentaries about him.

And finally, read carefully ALL of my comments.

Yep, I probably shouldn't have responded to the comments; but I did because they just really ticked me off. My OpEd is about housing; but one can't avoid completely that some of the overcrowding and problems in San Diego do relate to immigrants and the homeless.

The burden is NOT on us.

It's on ALL of us.  YOU brought up the issue.  NOT us.  YOU do NOT get to sit around and do nothing while Christians do all the work just because it's what we're called to do.  You only want Christians to do the work?  Then you should have mentioned Christians in the article instead of bringing us up out of nowhere.  We'll gladly help you, but not if you disrespect us.  And yes, I WILL judge you for that.


It's on ALL of us???

First, I was very clear that the majority of Christians are trying to live up to the Bible. Second, I made it absolutely clear that the vast majority of Americans claim to be Christians, so though a minority, the ones who ignore the Bible are a major problem. And finally, where in the HELL do you get off claiming no one else is doing good works? How arrogant to believe you are better than others. There are Jewish and Moslem groups running soup kitchens, teaching project literacy, involved in the Sanctuary movement, involved in many other worthwhile causes from preserving the environment to opposing the US politics of furthering the goals of corporations at the expense of innocent lives in the Third World.

As for you judging me. Since you don't know me, how arrogant; but also, proof you don't always follow the Bible.

Luke 6:37 ESV / 
“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be
condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven;

Matthew 7:1-5 ESV / 
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you
will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why
do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log
that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the
speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite,
first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the
speck out of your brother's eye.

Romans 2:1-3 ESV / 
Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in
passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge,
practice the very same things. We know that the judgment of God rightly falls
on those who practice such things. Do you suppose, O man—you who judge
those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape
the judgment of God?

You are amusing ! ! !

You okay, man?

You gotta calm down and listen to what other people are saying.  We're hearing you.  You're just not listening to us and you keep repeating the same thing over and over.

>you are amusing!


"I take standup comedy very seriously." -Ariana Maddox, Vanderpump Rules

>And finally, where in the HELL do you get off claiming no one else is doing good works? 

Yeah you gotta stop swearing at me and tell me where I said this.  You keep trying to present yourself as this holier-than-thou paragon of virtue, but whenever someone tries to talk to you, you're losing your mind and swearing at them and calling them idiots.  Not a good look, especially for a doctor.

>proof you don't always follow the Bible

I like how you act like telling a Catholic (and other Christians) this is gonna send me into some epileptic shock or something.  A key ingredient you keep forgetting:  we're ALL sinners.  Yup, that means even you are too (and you're DEFINITELY sinning a LOT more than me with your behavior towards others in these comments).

Apologies for using HELL

Having lived in several other countries, how many Americans are so offended by certain words escapes me; especially since I used it to reflect my own reaction; but since it bothers you, I sincerely apologize.

As for calling someone an idiot, I did apologize; but so did he as we both were out of line. 

I wrote: "where . . . do you get off claiming no one else is doing good works?" 

You ask: "tell me where I said this."

You wrote: "Why are Christians the only ones expected to be good people?

And once again you prove we are alll sinners by passing judgment on me. Oh well.

Of course, I am a mere mortal, lose my temper, sometimes prejudge people; but the point I was making and I repeat it is when the overwhelming majority in a nation claim to adhere to one faith, then despite the actions of rest of Americans, they predominate and when a significant minority of that group continues to ignore what their faith calls for, then it does have a major effect. And I don't mean sinning, I mean supporting a consistent policy that goes against what I believe to be Christianity, then it is a problem. Sinning is an individual act or acts; but when groups form political action committees, support laws and actions, it is far more.

As for your being Catholic, I suggest you read if you have not already:

National Conference of Catholic Bishops (1986). Economic Justice For All: Pastoral Letter on Catholic Social Teaching and the U.S. Economy 

United States Catholic Conference (1981 Nov 19). Health and Health Care. A Pastoral Letter of the American Bishops

United States Catholic Conference (2000 Nov 15). RESPONSIBILITY, REHABILITATION, AND RESTORATION: A CATHOLIC PERSPECTIVE ON CRIME AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE [among other things, strong statement against Death Penalty and that goal of criminal justice is both to protect society; but also to rehabilitate people, compassion and forgiveness, not just put them in prison with no hope]

All three in my opinion quite inspiring and can be found online and downloaded for free.

And this doesn't make me one bit better than anyone else; just, perhaps, better informed. Not only have I read the above; but also Thomas of Aquinas and Augustins Confessions and City of God; but many many years ago. I did attend Loyala University of Chicago and during my lifetime have had several good friends who were Catholic Priests. In fact, when I was in Sweden, taking first class in Swedish, their was a Catholic Priest in the class, an American from San Francisco, who I became extremely good friends with. Used to go to Rectory to talk and get coffee and cakes, went to restaurants, and movies with and even attended Mass once in a while. I especially like High Mass on Christmas Eve; but I have also gone with Afro-American friends to Baptist Church, and even been in Mosques. By the way, where did I specifically mention Catholics? Just said Christians. You seem to be extremely defensive?

However, as I've already written, it was a mistake to react to Twiggy; but when she wrote against low income housing and illegals and bums, then attacked sanctuary, being a flawed human, I reacted.

I should also remind you that sanctuary protectiing people was and is part of Christianity and other religions.

So, I think I've answered your question that you did, indeed, ask why only Christians should be held accountable, something I did not claim.

Now, this ends. This is not the place to list what I have or have not done in my life. My OpEd was written both to protect my neighborhood and others like it; but also to offer possible solutions that could benefit others as well, that would be fair to ALL. And I support local sanctuary. One way or another the refugees are either fleeing violence and/or miserable lives and they are our fellow human beings. If we don't want them coming here, then we should get our government to stop intervening against any politics that benefits their respective peoples at the expense of our ever more greedy corporations. I suggest you read Schlesinger's Bitter Fruit about Guatemala, available at SD Public Library and inexpensive copies on Amazon as just one example.

There is a Jewish saying: "If I am not for myself, who will be? But if I am only for myself, what am I?"

Yep, I read Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Moslem, Buddhist, Atheist, etc. Each has pearls of wisdom and each is fascinating in seeing how people live and think. 






Can you stop telling people to read?

I don't like reading.  Unless it's Doug Fairbanks' biography.  Reading is boring.  Would rather play video games or watch TV./sports (inb4 you go on some weird rant about the "state of today's youth" and that I'm "sad" or something)

"how many Americans are so offended by certain words escapes me;" Gee man I don't know maybe it's because you're being wicked unnecessary and rude to literally everyone speaking to you?

>And this doesn't make me one bit better than anyone else;

>just, perhaps, better informed. LITERALLY just admitted you're better than everyone else.  Right there.

>You seem to be extremely defensive? 

Gee.  I wonder why.  It's not like I have someone being unnecessarily hostile towards everyone here or anything.

>So, I think I've answered your question

You haven't.

>I should also remind you that sanctuary protectiing people was and is part of Christianity and other religions.

Whoa.  Mind blown.  Thanks, I hear that every week.

It's a fair point that someone should read before commenting.

If people don't want to read a story, or a comment, fine, but it's not unreasonable for a writer to expect people to read something first before criticizing it.

That said, if commenters want people to read their remarks, keeping them short will get more reads.


Can I Stop Telling People To Read???

@ LizA

This is a waste of time; but being old, why not?

You respond to my stating I’m not better than others, just, perhaps, better informed. Well, I’ve had friends who were professor of chemistry who I often asked questions of. I’ve had friends that are computer scientists who can not only program better than me but understand the intricate workings of a computer much better than I do. And I’ve had friends who are medical researchers who I often ask questions of. On the other hand, I’ve known people who are far less educated than me who I consider better than I am. I knew a couple who belonged to a group who promoted adopting children with disabilities. They adopted a sweet little girl with Down Syndrome. The husband ran a business out of the home and to add her to their health insurance was quite costly and, at the time, the schools didn’t have programs for the little girl, so they found a good private school. They weren’t well off. I’ve known people who work regular jobs who devote a day per week to working in a soup kitchen, to teaching English as a Second Language, to aiding the homeless, etc. And I’ve know a number of people who were in the Peace Corps or Job Corps. Though I am much more educated than most of them; I consider them better people than me. So, once again you twist what I said. Being intelligent, being well-educated, says nothing about a person’s character. It’s just a fact. However, most of those who I’ve known that were lesser educated than me, when I explained things, often found that they either partially or completely agreed with. Not always; but most of the time. While I devote a lot of time and effort into reading, they devoted a lot of time and effort into helping their fellow human beings and some, who volunteered at the Humane Society, animals. I won’t say what I have or have not done in my life; but not as much as the above.

As for my being unnecessarily wicked and rude to literally everyone. Unfortunately, my exchange with JDInSD did get out of hand on both our parts and we both apologized for it.

However, though I explained it, you refuse to accept that when I said “what the hell are you talking about” it was simply my way of expressing an emotion on my part, something that could have been done by tone of voice. Years ago I complained about an issue I won’t get into now; but when I said to a representative that I felt like I had been treated like shit, she took offense at my language. My choice of language was more important to her than the issue. I was right and the company did apologize. As I wrote, having lived in five different countries, Americans often react more to choice of language than the actual issue.

And you continue to refuse to take responsibility for your own statements.

You write: >So, I think I've answered your question
You haven’t.

My question was: “where . . . do you get off claiming no one else is doing good works?" 

You wrote: “Why are Christians the only ones expected to be good people?” and “YOU do NOT get to sit around and do nothing while Christians do all the work just because it's what we're called to do.  You only want Christians to do the work?

If the above isn’t claiming that only, or even mainly Christians are the only ones, I guess our understanding of the English language differs quite a bit.

I don’t know you nor your background. Perhaps, growing up a Catholic you learned the lessons contained in the three documents I listed. One doesn’t have to read entire documents to get the main points; but years ago I was discussing some aspect of Jesus with a Baptist friend who I worked with and he told me in no uncertain terms that what I said wasn’t what Jesus said, so the next morning I brought my Bible to work, showed him the page and quote. He wasn’t happy. So, I don’t know how much you know of Catholic doctrine or understand it; but I do know that I find the more I read the more I learn as well as question things I might have held previously. And as John Maynard Keynes, a famous economist. once said when questioned about changing his position on a certain issue, he said that when he gets new information and finds it valid he changes his position. He then asked the journalist what he did when new information contradicted what he believed.

Since you make clear you don’t like to read, then should I assume that includes that you haven’t carefully read both my OpEd and the exchange of comments?

A study was done a while back that found that over 80% of people who commented on blogs only read the title or, perhaps, a few lines.

Why do you find it so offensive that I recommend things to read? Even if you don’t like reading it is my way of showing that I take my opinions seriously. I devote considerable time and effort and, as I mentioned above, sometimes have had to change a long held belief/position. And, some people appreciate reading recommendations. JDInSD actually wrote in a comment he intends to download Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s book and read it; but the public library has a DVD on Bonhoeffer’s life and YouTube has several documentaries. You might find them worthwhile watching. Bonhoeffer is literally one of my all time heroes. Is it so wrong to share this opinion with others?

As I wrote, I’m old and have time on my hands, though it is obvious that nothing I say will change your mind; however, hopefully there are others monitoring this exchange who might find my arguments have validity AND I save exchanges of comments for possible use in future OpEds, including controlling my emotions.

Why do you keep thinking I'm offended by things?

You keep saying "I apologized, I apologized, I apologized." Okay?  Guess what?  You still did it.  My math teacher once said to us "you need to get over this thing of sorry makes everything better.  It doesn't."

*mic drop*

>wicked and rude

As a Masshole, this made me laugh.

>you didn't read my OpEd :((

Nah.  I'm a sports reporter, I only care about sports.  Why's it so offensive to you that some people don't like to read?

In all seriousness dude, and I'm REALLY trying to be nice to you here:  you need to do what Miriam said.  Let this go.  Not everyone is gonna agree with you, not everyone wants to read, not everyone wants to take orders from you.  There's, what, 25 comments on this?  You need to take a step back and just...move on.

>you refuse to take responsibility for your own statements

which ones?  Honey, you've been the one swearing at people and calling people idiots and brushing them under the rug with "but I apologized!!!!"

Thanks for proving my point

This really is amusing.

You stated all people are sinners and claim to be a Catholic, so my understanding of confession is not just to confess, be absolved, and go on doing the same thing; but by confessing, by taking responsibility for ones acts, doing ones best to not repeat them. So, given that all people are sinners, your math teacher missed that an apology can be a sinner's recognition of their sin which is the first step in not repeating it. 

You keep stating I called people "idiots"; but I used the word once, when it was pointed out to me, I did not and intend to do my best to not repeat it. One word among literally thousands just in my comments and you obsess on it and ignore what else I wrote. And you focus on me; yet myself and JDInSD both apologized for getting overly emotional. So why focus just on me?

As for "you need to do what Miriam said," Miriam said: "Joel, that goes for you as well as those who responded." "Those who responded," I guess you missed that one. That includes YOU!

And thank you for making it absolutely clear that you neither read my OpEd, nor all the comments, proving my point that someone like you finds a few words or phrases, ignoring everything else, and obsesses on them.

So when you write:  My comment "You refuse to take responsibility for your own statements . . . which ones?"  I cut and pasted from two of your comments the answer. Guess you missed that one as well.

So DUDE, HONEY, feel free to post another inane comment that confirms your need to vent and, yes, attack people, without even carefully reading what they said. So, I won't say what I think of you, keep it polite; but I'm sure you can guess.

Now back to the real world.

How did I prove your point?

>So, given that all people are sinners, your math teacher missed that an apology can be a sinner's recognition of their sin which is the first step in not repeating it. 

Wooooooooooooooooooooosh.  Ever hear of "forgive, but don't forget"?  Yeah you apologized, but you calling the guy an idiot and being aggressive to everyone else is STILL THERE on the page.  We can all see it.  Things don't just magically go away just because we apologize.  People still remember your wrongdoings.

>As for "you need to do what Miriam said," Miriam said: "Joel, that goes for you as well as those who responded." "Those who responded," I guess you missed that one. That includes YOU!

Ahhh so it's everyone else's fault but yours.  Got it.

> So why focus just on me?

Because you're still obsessing over people disagreeing with you 30 comments later instead of just leaving your computer, going outside and just letting.  It.  Go.

>Guess you missed that one as well.

I guess so.  I mean, I don't really care to read 9,000 paragraphs of anecdotes and Bible verses I hear every week at church.  Come to think of it, this is the first thing you've posted that wasn't a massive block of text, so I had the energy to read it.

>So DUDE, HONEY, feel free to post another inane comment that confirms your need to vent and, yes, attack people, without even carefully reading what they said. So, I won't say what I think of you, keep it polite; but I'm sure you can guess.

Yikes, do you own a mirror? 

>So, I won't say what I think of you, keep it polite

Gee.  Whatta saint.

Look dude, I'm REALLY, REALLY trying to be nice to you.  We ALL are.  Just let it go.  Go outside.  Breathe.  You'll be much happier if you just let this die and stop arguing with people.  I'm gonna leave you now, man.  Get the last word in if you want, but I won't read it.  God bless.

You continue to prove my point

Disagreeing is not being aggressive. But since you have made it clear you didn’t read most of what I wrote, commenting on it is just plain intellectually dishonest. And you continue to ignore that we both were out of line, just focusing on me. JDInSD apologized as well. Duh!

“People remember still your wrong doings”. Yikes, I hate to be someone you know as you would just keep reminding them of something they did.  Also, “people” how arrogant to believe you speak for others. The one person I called an idiot, only once, who also attacked me, not only apologized but wrote a nice comment about my OpEd and that he intended to read the book I suggested, Bonhoeffer’s Cost of Discipleship. Not exactly an example of holding a grudge, reminding me of what I did? And I look forward to future exchanges with him where we both will dialogue appropriately.

As for “this is the first thing you've posted that wasn't a massive block of text, so I had the energy to read it.” Exactly. You really don’t know what I wrote; but assume that it was all just attacking other people. Again, both arrogant and intellectually dishonest. Before responding to what people write, I make sure I read everything. One can always focus on a snippet and blowing it out of proportion.

And you keep pointing out that I post comments; but once Miriam requested we stop, you didn’t, so I just followed your lead, you went first, and you once again posted a second comment while reminding me what Miriam asked. Yikes!

Reminds me of a famous phrase by François de La Rochefoucauld, a 17th Century Frenchman:

L'hypocrisie est un hommage que le vice rend à la vertu.
Hypocrisy is an homage that vice pays to virtue.

Yep, I’m showing off.

And your claim to not need to read my citations from the Bible because you hear them all the time at Church just shows that one can hear something and not understand it, given your comments on this blog.

Right now I have nothing better to do. I spent the morning, probably four hours reading. I’m awaiting some documents that colleagues have promised me that I need for some articles I am writing, articles that will have reference lists of probably 150 or more documents, i.e., books, reports, scientific journal articles. I take what I do seriously; but while awaiting the documents I can only do so much and this is quite amusing.

And I mirrored your inane use of DUDE and HONEY because they are evidence of your inability to enter into a reasonable adult respectful dialogue.

One last time, it was you who claimed that only Christians were supposed to do good, something I made clear was not the case; yet, you ignore this as well.

So, I apologize to Miriam for posting again; but only in response to your hypocrisy of posting first after awareness of what she wrote and then again after I responded. Don’t you even understand simple logic?

Please don’t keep trying to be nice because if that’s what you are doing in your illogical exaggerated comments I would love, find it even more entertaining, to see what you are like when you aren’t being “nice.

Now it’s time to go to the gym and when I return, to read some more, then play with my dog, throwing a frisby; but thanks for the comic relief!

Bloated Bureaucracy

Yes, San Diego is a bloated bureaucracy, patronizing money & power, allowing higher density and low income housing. We don't have governance, we have out of control representatives that ignore all of the congestion on freeways, streets and city proper. Their mentality - more of the same. San Diego governance is a draw to illegals and bums. We call it "sanctuary".