Letters to the editor – May 26, 2017

Posted: May 26th, 2017 | Editorial, Featured, Letters to the editor | No Comments

Applause for ArtZine

[Ref: “ArtZine,” Vol. 8, Issue 9 and Issue 10, or online at and]

Thank you for your new column, ArtZine. Given funding cuts for our arts, it is all the more crucial that we shine a strong light on our arts and the artists of our community. Bravo!

—William “Bill” Kelly, via email

Thank you for including HYPE at The Studio Door in the premiere ArtZine article. The Studio Door is proud to share newsprint with Alexander!

Also, on behalf of the participating artists, thank you for announcing more details on PROUD and PROUD at Pride. The Studio Door and our collaborators are excited to share these thought provoking works.

—Patric Stillman, via 

Location of AIDS memorial

[Ref: “Opinion: Where our AIDS Memorial belongs,” Vol. 8, Issue 10, or online at]

I completely agree, Morgan. The memorial belongs in Hillcrest, and it belongs right where you suggest. Let’s make this happen.

—Luke Terpstra, chair emeritus, Hillcrest Town Council

When I first heard about the memorial, I thought “wonderful.” San Diego needs a public remembrance to all our friends and family lost to AIDS. A children’s playground? A residential neighborhood away from Hillcrest? Makes no sense to me. I’m in favor of something in Hillcrest for sure. My only caveat is that it be quiet and peaceful and have a bench.

—Jody Sims, via

I agree that Olive Street Park is not the place for an AIDS memorial but neither is a small median on Normal Street. Like the cancer survivors park at Spanish Landing (, the AIDS memorial should be a place for reflection and contemplation that just can’t be accommodated on a busy street. Reference the AIDS memorial groves at Golden Gate Park and at SFSU in San Francisco.

How about Marston Hills/Richmond Street canyon? It is already park land, an undeveloped canyon added to Balboa Park. It already has primitive trails and two points of access from Richmond Street, as well as access from the bridle trail overcrossing/Upas Street.

Developing this little gem a little more with benches and some meaningful public art would be the quiet meditative space right in Hillcrest that helps us to remember those we have lost and those who are surviving.

We deserve much more than a simple monument in a median. Please consider advocating for this alternative.

—Garrick Wilhelm, via email

I agree with your every word, Morgan! You express the feelings many of our community share. What are they thinking? Or are they thinking?

—William “Bill” Kelly, via

Spot on, Morgan. It makes absolutely no sense to locate the San Diego AIDS Memorial anywhere other than Hillcrest and I find it actually quite insulting that there would be any reasoning used as justification for quietly tucking such an important reminder away, as if it were an embarrassment, or additionally, to have any other purpose than reflection and to stand as a reminder for those that might otherwise easily forget.

—Eric Arts, via

I agree wholeheartedly with your proposal for locating the memorial on Normal Street. Design will be difficult on that narrow strip but should be possible with dignity. The proposed site on Olive Street is absurd.

—John Boyle,
Hillcrest, via email

It wasn’t long ago that Normal Street was just that, a normal street. But in 2012, the Hillcrest Business Association, along with the High Heel Race Committee (a team of dedicated neighborhood volunteers), raised money to build the Hillcrest Pride Flag and LGBT historical monument. Since that time, the Pride Flag and the small plaza surrounding it have become a gathering space for the neighborhood.

Over the next few years, you’ll start to see the expansion of Pride Plaza and I hope that it will include the proposed San Diego AIDS Memorial.

Normal Street (and the proposed park that will soon exist there) has become a statement of a “new normal” of acceptance and tolerance in our city. Over the last five years, Pride Plaza has become the gathering space, in joy or mourning, for the LGBT Community.

Siting the AIDS memorial here would be recognition of the history of Hillcrest as a safe space in the story of the LGBT community. Since Pride Plaza was created, it has hosted vigils for the Orlando victims, a celebration of the passage of marriage equality (can you believe it was so recent?), remembrances for neighbors who have died (some who raised money for the flag), and, in just a few short months, it will host the return of the Stonewall Rally to kick off Pride weekend. Siting the AIDS memorial on Normal Street is fitting for this place that has been, and continues to mean, so much to the community.

One of the worst tragedies of the AIDS crisis is that its victims were hidden and shunned by the wider society. Remembering this should tell us that it’s not right that their memorial be hidden away in a corner of Bankers Hill where nobody will see it. Their monument should instead be placed at the center of the community, in our heart, for all to see and for all to remember.

—Ben Nicholls, executive director, Hillcrest Business Association, via email

On creating community

[Ref: “Back Out With Benny: Our bars, connecting and community,” Vol. 8, Issue 10, or online at]

What an interesting and insightful explanation of the importance of bars in the gay culture. It was the Stonewall uprising (not riot) after all that gave birth to the modern gay rights movement. As an ambassador from a different world, I have always been made to feel welcome and accepted.

You are correct to emphasize the positive aspects of these environments. And God knows they are wonderful places to let your hair down and have a good time as well. I just hope that we play at one of the places where you get to relax.

—John Durkee, via

More on the history of our LGBT bars

[Ref: “Out of the Archives: The history of our bars,” Vol. 8, Issue 6, or online at].

Great article! I was 18 years old in 1988. Fresh out of boot camp in San Diego and stationed at the Anti-Submarine Warfare base on Point Loma. I came from the backwoods of North Carolina and San Diego was a complete shock to me.

The first gay bar I ever went to was Crackers. Later became a regular at WCPC, Wolfs, Bourbon Street, Peacock Alley, and a country bar that I can’t remember the name of. I grew up in those old bars and it was some of the best times of my life.

—Tony, via

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