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Emerald’s campaign violations ruled inadvertent; nevertheless she’s fined $3,000

April 29, 2010 Leave a comment

SAN DIEGO (Press Release)–San Diego City Councilmember Marti Emerald said Thursday she is  pleased with the unanimous decision by the San Diego Ethics Commission clearing her on charges that she deliberately violated the city’s Ethics code.  She described as fair a $3,000 fine for what were described as inadvertent violations.

The Ethics Commission staff accused Councilmember Emerald of deliberately concealing two campaign debts after her November 2008 election win. The bills totaled $50,000.

“This was the whole reason for our Ethics Commission hearing,” said Emerald. “We reported to the Ethics Commission more than a year ago that we made two accounting errors and worked with staff to correct them. But the staff later claimed the mistakes were deliberate and refused to negotiate with us. We had no choice but to take our case directly to the Commission for an Administrative hearing.”

After two days and 10 hours of testimony, the five Ethics Commissioners agreed with Councilmember Emerald. During televised deliberations, seen live on City-TV, all five Commissioners spoke directly to the issue of concealment, with each one stating that there was no evidence of intent to conceal. Instead, the Commissioners concluded the violations were inadvertent errors. The Commissioners also said the Emerald Campaign Committee cooperated fully with the investigation.

“I’m just glad this matter is resolved,” Emerald said.

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Preceding provided by City Councilmember Marti Emerald

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UCSD Student Senate refuses to divest from Israel

April 29, 2010 Leave a comment

By Roz Rothstein

Roz Rothstein

LA JOLLA, California–Pro-Palestinian forces at UCSD failed early Thursday morning to persuade the student Senate at UCSD to divest their funds from companies doing business with Israel.

At 1:30am (the debate began at 6:00pm Wednesday event), the student Senate passed an amendment that watered down the resolution so much that it no longer had any obvious connection to Israel.

The Senate then voted to refer the newly amended bill to committee where three students from each side and two senators were to discuss and revise it.  But school is almost over, and the new Senate will be taking over, and unfinished bills terminate.

However, the campus divestment campaign  once again caused divisiveness and pain on campus.

The groups who orchestrate this effort to delegitimize Israel are fervently determined to succeed, no matter what the consequences are for the student body.

The UCSD Jewish and other pro-Israel students put up a vigorous defense, but the determination and hostility of the other side had created a difficult situation.

They featured videos of anti-Israel Jews like Heddy Epstein and Anna Baltzer to give the impression that Jews, too, denounce Israel ,even though the Jews they work with  represent only an atypical, marginal percentage of Jewish views.

Israel’s actions were once again judged without any context.  The 62-year-old Arab wars against Israel, the immediate threats posed by Iran and its proxies Hezbollah and Hamas, and the terrorism Israel constantly faces were simply whitewashed away, giving the impression that Israel’s self-defense measures were not done for self-defense, but for malicious reasons.

The pro-Israel and especially Jewish students felt marginalized and frustrated.  Some admitted they are reluctant to wear outside signs of their Jewishness on campus. 

Nonetheless, these students rose to the occasion, and new pro-Israel leaders were created because necessity is the mother of invention.

The undecided senators should also be commended for trying hard to be fair and listen to both sides.  Several said that they simply did not know enough to weigh in on as complex and long-standing an international issue as the Arab-Israeli conflict.  They should be commended for their common sense.

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Rothstein is CEO of StandWithUs, a nine year-old, international, non-profit Israel education organization that ensures that Israel’s side of the story is told on campuses and in other venues.

Roseville has its La Playa Trail marker again

April 29, 2010 3 comments

San Diego City Councilmember Kevin Faulconer is surrounded by Cabrillo Elementary School students of 1934 and 2010 as he unveils La Playa Trails plaque in Roseville. Photo: Matt Awbrey

 By Donald H. Harrison

Donald H. Harrison

SAN DIEGO—The intersection which Jewish settler Louis Rose called 1st and Main Streets back in 1869  as of Thursday, April 29, bears a plaque  recognizing it as the place where the community of Roseville began.  Today Roseville is a section of Point Loma, a neighborhood in the City of San Diego.

The plaque at what is today the renamed northeast corner of Rosecrans Street and Avenida de Portugal by the Union Bank building was unveiled by San Diego City Councilmember Kevin Faulconer, whose 2nd Councilmanic District includes the 30-block-long, 8-block-wide Roseville community.  He was accompanied by five octogenarian alumni of Cabrillo Elementary School who, back in their student days in 1934, participated in a similar ceremony. They included Edwinna Goddard, Bernice Hollerbach, Mary Correia Martin, Angie Vierra Mauricio and Rita Bellatori. County Supervisor Greg Cox participated in the speech making.

Both the 1934 ceremony and this one 76 years later included the dedication of a time capsule to teach future generations.  The problem was that following widening of Rosecrans Street decades ago, the location of the time capsule became a mystery.  So to make up for it, members of the La Playa Trail Association decided to include in the current time capsule materials of relevance then and now. 

For example, there was a copy of a press release and photo from the 1934 dedication and an invitation to the 2010 event.   There were books about the Kumeyaay Indians who have lived in San Diego since before the times of recorded history, about Point Loma’s history since Portuguese explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo waded ashore in 1542 and claimed the area for Spain, and various articles, photographs and historical pamphlets about Point Loma’s rich history.

“History is rich along La Playa Trail,” commented Patti Adams, past chair of La Playa Trails Association, emceeing the event.   Markers including the one dedicated on Thursday are engraved with the image of a carreta—a Spanish ox cart—and an Indian, the latter acknowledging that “the Kumeyaay people, who lived here long before anyone else sailed into the bay, used it as their path to the beach,” according to Adams.  This one also bore the legend:  “La Playa Trail–An ancient Kumeyaay path that became the oldest commercial trail in the Western United States… La Playa Trail Assn. 2010.”

As author of Louis Rose: San Diego’s First Jewish Settler and Entrepreneur, I had the opportunity to tell the assemblage that Rose had grown up in Neuhaus-an-der-Oste, a river near Germany’s Elbe River, on which there was a continuous volume of commercial shipping.  When Rose immigrated to the United States, he settled first in New Orleans, along the banks of the Mississippi River, another important commercial river. 

When he arrived in San Diego in 1850, he wondered why the city was located below  Presidio Hill instead of the banks of San Diego Bay.   The answer was that Spaniards had chosen Presidio Hill because it could be defended, was near the freshwater San Diego River, and had two Kumeyaay settlements nearby with residents who could potentially be converted to Christianity.  When   Mexico became independent of Spain, the soldiers who lived in the Presidio moved down the hill to the area that we today call Old Town and that’s where San Diego sprung up.

Rose and his wagon train friend James Robinson assembled land along the bay, Robinson dying before they could complete their plans to build the town. When at last Rose laid it out four years following the end of the Civil War, another town – Horton’s Addition—was being built along another portion of the bay. Alonzo Horton proved himself to be the more astute and energetic developer.  Today his area is downtown, and Rose’s area is one of the nicest residential and boating neighborhoods of San Diego.

With the five participants of the 1934 ceremony leading –and schoolchildren from three current classrooms at Cabrillo Elementary School following—the three stanzas of the Cabrillo School Song then were sung:

“My name is Juan Cabrillo/and I sail the seven seas/ My ship is strong and beautiful’/ I sail whenever I please/ Of all the shores that I did see/ on San Diego Bay/ Point Loma points the way,” it begins somewhat historically.

“Hail to Cabrillo!/ The school we love the best./ Rah! Rah Cabrillo—the finest in the west/ Oh, we work so hard and play so hard/ To win the games for all/ The other schools do very well/ But we’re the best of all.

“We work so hard and play so hard/ To win the games for all/ The other schools do very well/ But we’re the best of all!”

County Supervisor Cox, indicating the five members from the 1934 ceremony, said that their presence “tells me what Point Loma is all about: family, history, and continuity… I am very proud to be here as part of this historic event today…”

Noting that the new monument will have a time capsule, he predicted unlike its predecessor, “this one looks pretty substantial: I don’t think anyone will lose the time capsule in this monument.”

City Councilmember Faulconer revealed that in 1934, Point Lomas charged 10 cents per person to attend the ceremony dedicating the old marker, so as to pay for it.  “I’m glad to see that today it is already paid,” he said.

Another of six markers along La Playa Trail had been dedicated in 2006, but whereas this one is on a sidewalk, the one in the Midway Section of town (near the Sports Arena) was along a center strip on a busy highway.  “We were dodging cars,” Faulconer recalled. This monument, a safe distance from the road, likely will attract “Point Lomans and City of San Diego residents alike who care about their history.”

Adams said that one of the next projects expected to be completed  will be historic murals on the side of Gus’s Subs and Pizza at 1166 Rosecrans Street near Byron Street. 

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Harrison is editor of San Diego Jewish World

Talking to a wall? It could be useful

April 29, 2010 Leave a comment

By Rabbi Baruch Lederman

Rabbi Baruch Lederman

SAN DIEGO–“V’nikdashti bsoch Bnei Yisroel”  “I shall be sanctified among the Children of Israel” (Lev 22:32)

It is our mission in life to sanctify G-d’s name and spread Torah values. Sometimes we don’t think our good actions are having effect. Try as we might, we feel as though we are talking to a wall. We are left frustrated.

The truth is, talking to a wall could be a good thing, as the following true story submitted by Eddie (Nachum) Rosenberg, illustrates:

Rav Neta Weiss was a noted maggid (lecturer) in old Jerusalem. Every Shabbos afternoon he would deliver  a drasha (sermon) in a shul in the Old City. One Shabbos it was scorching, fry-an-egg-on-the-sidewalk hot.

The time came for him to leave for his weekly drasha and for a split second, he thought of not going to the shul.

Surely no one would even be there on such a sweltering day. At that moment, he thought of his parents. He thought  of how they always did their jobs with good faith, be they pleasant or unpleasant.

Fortified, he trudged forward in the stifling heat, convinced it was a waste of time. When he reached the shul and entered, what do you think he found?

He found an empty shul. His first thought was to sit a spell to rest up, then head back home. Then he thought about  his parents. He thought of their consistency. He remembered how they took a quiet pride in every task they did,  even those that seemed mundane.

Rav Neta gave his drasha because that is what he did. He gave weekly drashas.

Fully inspired, fully charged, Rav Neta gave his full drasha with his best effort. He spoke with passion, and emotion.  He spoke with wit and wisdom, with drama and flare. He bellowed, he whispered, he cried. He spoke for over an  hour – to an empty room. All this work for a drasha no one heard. He was literally talking to the wall.

As he was about to leave, he heard a sound of sobbing coming from behind a partition. He walked over and found  a young man. With tear stained eyes, he explained to the Rav that he was not from a Torah observant background.

In fact the only reason he was in a shul at all was because he was walking in the neighborhood and found the heat to be  unbearable. He ducked into the shul to escape the dreadful heat. While he was there, he laid down and fell asleep.

He was awakened by Rav Neta’s drasha. At first he listened passively, then he was entertained, then he was enraptured.  Indeed he was awakened in more ways than one; for something in the core of his soul stirred. He wanted to do teshuvah  (repentance), he wanted to return to Hashem. His desire was as intense as it was heartfelt.

Rav Neta befriended the young man. One thing led to another. The young man learned more and more till eventually he  became a fully observant and learned Jew. He went on to marry a wonderful woman. Their children and grandchildren  led observant lives fully dedicated to Torah and Mitzvos.

[The foregoing true story is documented in Meoros HaShabbos, Vol 4, P 17.]

Dedicated by Linda Holman in honor of all of our mothers on Mothers Day.

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Rabbi Lederman is spiritual leader of Congregation Kehillas Torah in San Diego

Comedian Carol Liefer to reminisce at LFJCC May 10

April 29, 2010 Leave a comment

 LA JOLLA, California (Press Release) — Comedian Carol Liefer, who has been a guest performer on various television comedy shows, will discuss her autobiography, When You Lie About Your Age, the Terroriosts Win: Reflections on Looking in the Mirror, at 7:30 p.m., Monday, May 10, at the Lawrence Family JCC.  Admission is $14 for visitors, $12 for LFJCC members.  Tickets may be purchased online at www.lfjcc.org.

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Preceding based on information sponsored by the San Diego Center for Jewish Culutre

San Diego’s Historic Places: Lindo Lake in Lakeside

April 29, 2010 4 comments
 

Lake Lindo~Lakeside, California

By Donald H. Harrison 

Donald H. Harrison

LAKESIDE, California –Lindo Lake’s name is a combination of English and Spanish meaning “Beautiful Lake” and no doubt exercise enthusiasts, water fowl admirers, picnickers, horseshoe pitchers, antiquarians, and automobile racing fans would agree that the description is apt.

The water surface area is divided into two basins—the slightly larger west basin (12.16 acres) being more developed than the rustic east basin (11.34 acres). On the west basin one can find a restored boat house serving as a reminder of the elegant, four-story Lakeside Inn, which was built in 1887 and demolished in 1920 after a court ruled that the Gay family, which owned it, did not also own the eponymous freshwater lake.

Between 1904 when John H. Gay purchased the hotel and the 1920 court decision, the entire lake was treated as a special preserve for hotel guests, who generally arrived from San Diego by the San Diego-Cuyamaca Eastern Railroad. One can imagine properly-dressed ladies with parasols sitting demurely in row boats as their beaus manfully propelled the crafts across the water.

Boating no longer is permitted on the increasingly shallow lake, but the boat house can invoke that era when used as a dance pavilion for private parties or as a picturesque wedding venue.

Automobile racing—for which the park surrounding the lake once was renowned—also is a sport of the lake’s past. For those fascinated by the dawn of the automobile age, Lake Lindo has a special spot in history. Here on a 60-foot-wide track the barnstorming Barney Oldfield set another of the automobile speed records he regularly posted in exhibition races across the nation – driving his “Green Dragon” in April 1907 for the distance of one mile in 51.8 seconds.

Here’s a math problem to test the concept made popular by a current television show: just how smart are those fifth graders are at the Lake Lindo Elementary School across Lakeside Drive from the east basin of the lake? If Oldfield covered a mile in 51.8 seconds, what was his speed, measured in miles per hour? The answer (with a help of a computerized calculator) is below.

Oldfield’s exhibition here, held on the weekend of April 20-21, 1907, pitted him against Bruno Seibel driving the “Red Devil.” This “match,” as it was called, had the overtones of a modern-day basketball “competition” between the Harlem Globetrotters and the luckless Washington Generals. Oldfield enjoyed building suspense for local audiences across the country, often promoting best-of-three automobile heats in which he would lose by fractions of seconds in either the first or second race, but come roaring back to victory in the climactic third race.

Whether the competitions were fixed or not, seeing automobiles cover distances at speeds greater than a mile per minute was a thrill for the early 20th century crowd.

No more boating, no more automobile racing—but, nevertheless, the lake certainly does not lack for exercise opportunities. In 2009, the County of San Diego utilized $200,000 from its park fund (paid by surrounding land developers) to install 17 exercise stations on the “peninsula” of Lake Lindo. Besides a stationary bike and a perpetual stair climber, the equipment includes an elliptical trainer and a power rower – all designed to provide “a full body workout through balance improvement and circuit training,” according to a bulletin of the County’s Park and Recreation Center.

Whereas many parks feature exercise stations located at intervals from each other, consultations with members of the Lakeside Planning Group persuaded county officials to group the 17 pieces of equipment together in an outdoor gym-like setting.

Randy Ford, the county’s district park manager, explained that the “idea was to create a community setting,” a place where people wouldn’t feel isolated. “They feel confident that they are safe, and on the peninsula they have a great view shed of the lake and the boat house.” From his vantage point in the community center complex on the shore of the lake, “I can see baby strollers, moms with kids, and even teenagers exercising,” he said during a telephone interview.

Walking around the lake is an ever-changing experience in terms of the waterfowl one might encounter. Different species of geese and duck are common, as are coots, herons and egrets.

Exercising, walking—this sense of Lindo Lake as a healthful place—is reinforced from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. every Thursday when the north parking lot by the community center is transformed into a Farmer’s Market where the emphasis is on organic foods.

If all this sounds a bit too idyllic to be true, there are causes for worry below the surface – literally. Water from the lake seeps through the ground making it difficult, almost impossible, to maintain the water level, which Ford estimates is never deeper than 2 ½ to 3 feet.

The natural freshwater lake originally was fed by two tributaries to the San Diego River: Quail Creek and Los Coches Creek. In the late 1940s, the Chet Harritt Dam was built across Quail Creek, forming Lake Jennings behind it. Los Coches Creek—which means “the Cars,” Creek, reminding some locals of Barney Oldfield, was realigned to make way for urban redevelopment.

This left Lindo Lake without a natural source of fresh water, except for rains and urban runoff. “We used to purchase water from Lake Jennings,” said Ford, “but recently we weren’t able to because of the water shortage.” Noting that there had been winter rains during January of 2010, he added: “The rain has been a blessing to us.”

Long-term, however, sufficient rain can’t be counted upon, and Ford said one proposal is to dredge the lake so that the water is centralized in the west basin, where levels could be more easily maintained. The east basin would be allowed to dry up under the proposal.

The lake is a pleasant attraction throughout the year, but one day that ranks among Ford’s favorites at the lake is Memorial Day (the last Monday in May) when the Veterans of Foreign Wars stage a giant celebration and military helicopters fly right into the park.

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Fifth graders: the answer to the question is that Oldfield’s speed was 69.498 miles per hour.

Jewish license plate~Caleb

April 29, 2010 Leave a comment


When she saw this license plate, our license plate spotter, Melanie Rubin, was reminded of the spy who accompanied the biblical Joshua into Canaan.  We have no comment on the first two initials, nor on the license plate frame, but seeing the name “Caleb” reminds us that many times in our history, Jews have encountered what looked like overwhelming odds only to nevertheless prevail.  The story is told in the Book of Numbers, Chapters 13 and 14.

This license plate has been added to our online collection.  If your car has a Jewish license plate, or you spot one that does, please send us a photo of it  at sdheritage@cox.net for posting.