Posted: October 14th, 2016 | Editorial, Letters to the editor, Opinion & News | No Comments

Charity in the right place
[Ref: “Hearts on your sleeve,” Vol. 7, Issue 20, or online at]

Great article and congratulations to my good friend Big Mike and his new partner and business.
—Nigel Mayer, via

Life in Azalea Park
[Ref: “Azalea Park: Still gay after all these years,” Vol. 7, Issue 20, or online at]

Just wanted to thank you for running the “Azalea Park: Still gay after all these years” story by Catherine Spearnak on the front page of the latest Gay San Diego. Our story is ongoing and it’s great when it is remembered outside of the community.
Ms. Spearnak did a good job on capturing the first efforts with the cleanups, the infusion of new neighbors with the Pride outreach and the current success that we have with young people like Jake Banfield-Wier and Brandie White simply being attracted to our neighborhood based on seeing a property in a neighborhood that they liked.

Many thanks again!
—Linda Pennington, via email

Thank you for the great story about Azalea Park. When I think about our neighborhood, it really is a story about resiliency and the ability to visualize and create an environment that is inclusive and artistic.
We are the only neighborhood in City Heights that has a coffee place, mosaics, murals, and we are home to the city’s only water conservation garden. These are not small feats, but due to years of planning and visualizing a stronger and healthier community, much of it under the leadership of Linda Pennington.
In a city where so many people have been priced out of an affordable, gay-friendly neighborhood, Azalea Park is a great option. We have many great neighbors, gay and straight, with lots of new families moving in. And we look forward to many great years in this wonderful neighborhood.
Your friend in Azalea Park,
—Ricardo Moran, via email

Kudos for what matters
[Ref: “Back Out With Benny: Racial justice is an LGBTQ issue,” Vol. 7, Issue 20, or online at]

Thank you, Benny. You are 100 percent correct. We created the problem. We ARE the problem. We need to correct it. It’s time to speak up and take action.
—Cathy Hemphill via

Wow Benny! This is beautifully put. Thank you for your eloquence and honesty.
—Michael Kimmel, via

Thank you Benny! As a person of color myself, I’m exhausted, and I feel like I keep on talking about the problems of our society, and no one listens.
Benny is right, white people need to help us and fix this monster. Thank you for speaking up, and I hope more and more white people begin to do the same!
—Rick Cervantes, via

Really moved by this piece Ben. Thank you! I could say a lot about this but really, I just want to reiterate this simple and powerful point you made: Because this [racial equality] is an LGBT issue.
People of color are a part of our community and we can’t say we believe in equality unless we believe in full equality for everyone. We don’t do social justice work in silos. We all need to work together to make this world a better place.
—Cara Dessert, via

[Excerpt from column] “I am almost certain that if my skin had not been white, I would have been (rudely) approached and told to take my bag to the counter at once or leave.”
You have no way of knowing that. In fact, if I was working at that store I’d be more hesitant to say something about the bag to the black customer for fear of being accused as racist.
—Aaron West, via

Feedback on Pride
[Ref: “Analysis: Where is our pride?” Vol. 7, Issue 20, or online at]

Thank you for your report. You have covered everything very well. What we need now is for this process to move forward in a quick and deliberate way towards answers and to correct the course of OUR community Pride. It looks like this is happening with some members of the Pride board and the committee that was chosen by protestors on the sidewalk after the meeting on Sept. 21.

Please move forward to reinstate the Community Advisory Council with a new and robust mission statement and reinstate Stephen Whitburn to his position.
—Luke Terpstra, former Pride volunteer and coordinator; Hillcrest Town Council, chair emeritus

Thanks for your reportage. I am a bit out of the loop of all this so I appreciate your excellent summary of what’s been going on.
—Michael Kimmel, via

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