Posted by on Oct 18th, 2012 and filed under Viewpoints. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Just Wants to Say ‘Thanks’
Thank you to the young man who helped me in the parking lot at Ralphs [on Oct. 9]. When I got to my car he was waiting to alert me to a flat tire, then had me follow him across the street to the gas station, put air in the tire for me so that I could get home to put my perishable groceries away. When I offered him money, he said that he didn’t do it for money, that it was his good deed for the day.

Following that, I took the car to Just Tires in La Crescenta where I was treated with kindness and courtesy and given a ride home so that I wouldn’t have to wait the hour and a half it was going to take to repair the tire. Thank you, too, to my neighbor who then took me to pick up the car.

It was a day that just made me feel good and reaffirm that there are still so many good people in the crazy world in which we live.
Virginia Sturmer
La Crescenta

By the Numbers
In the business world, employees and executives are judged on their performance – in other words, how well they do their job. They must prove that they can handle their responsibilities and how effective they are will show up in their personal performance statistics and in the company. Statistics are the cold hard facts and measure production. They are a company’s safeguard against those who would try to persuade others of their worth by smooth talk, promises or attempts to blame others as to why things are not functioning well.

The same applies to voting. When one is voting for someone, he or she needs to look at what this person has actually accomplished while on the job, in what ways has he truly bettered conditions, what are the statistics … the cold hard facts. In regular companies, if you don’t do your job, you wind up getting fired.

Although 60% of the jobs lost following the 2008 financial crisis were in mid-wage occupations such as construction, manufacturing and office management, relatively few of those positions have come back, according to the National Employment Law Project. Instead, most of the jobs created during the U.S. economy’s feeble recovery – 58% – have been in low-wage professions including retail sales, food preparation, home health and customer service. This is not a very good statistic. Production is the foundation of a country’s prosperity.

I spoke with an attorney friend of mine a few years ago and he told me that he would often times suggest to his clients to opt for binding arbitrations as opposed to jury trials so there would be some guarantee of settlement. He told me that juries were too often unpredictable and individuals would too often make their decisions not on the facts, but their emotional feelings. He lost an important case one time and decided to survey some of the jurors afterwards to determine their reasons for voting the way they did. Some of the answers were shocking such as: The defendant looked like an honest type of person, or the other guy seemed really certain of what he was saying, and so forth.

With another election coming up in November, my message to my fellow voters is vote only on a person’s statistics, how much better have they made things, not his looks, charisma, his advertising campaigns or his catering to special interests for more votes. With the current mess our country is in, I think the statistics speak for themselves. If I hadn’t turned things around on my job in four years, I surely would have lost it.
Donald P. Robinson
La Crescenta

Bone to Pick?
[Regarding Jim Chase’s ‘Mutt-friendly Montrose,’ My Thoughts, Exactly, Oct. 4], I’m one of those who wheel their dog on Honolulu. He’s a 9 lb. Maltese, almost 13 [years old] and has a bad leg. Now he has two bad legs due to a recent injury. He still loves to “walk” down the avenue, only now I have to push him. These strollers are a god-send as far as I’m concerned.

Not all are just pampered pets.
Jane Leggett

Hails CV Weekly
As it would be, it took spraining my ankle to afford me the time to read the Sept. 27 issue of your newspaper from beginning to end and to write this. I came across Sue Kilpatrick’s letter noting your third anniversary, and it reminded me of three years ago when our growing family (a toddler and another one five months in incubation) moved to the area, closing escrow the week of the fires, wondering whether we made the right decision.

I remember, in the midst of renovations and preparing to welcome the baby during the subsequent months, that the CV Weekly showed up in our driveway for a while. Since then, I’d pick one up if there were copies available, but never sitting long enough to read it completely or subscribe.

I grew up reading the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, a large newspaper in a small market where every local news story had direct impact or familiarity to the reader in terms of location, subject, or issue. Prior to moving to La Crescenta, my husband and I lived in a small rectangular-shaped unincorporated portion of Pasadena just north of San Marino. I never quite knew where we fit in terms of community involvement or politics and felt quite disengaged – our taxes went to Pasadena USD, for example, but our local sheriff station was in Temple City.

Now fast forward three years, and my older child is a kindergartener at Monte Vista. I had a career in non-profit working for an amorphous “community”; I recently started working for the state and I guess you can say I work for all the people of California. In reflecting on each article or column I read in the Sept. 27 issue, I found a desire to grow within this community in which I live, in which my children will form these defining years of their lives.     Our next door neighbors grew up on parallel and perpendicular streets to ours and attended Monte Vista, etc. themselves before getting married and sending their children to the same schools. Two other neighbors who have since passed shared stories of the days these homes were first being built. My son plays AYSO Region 88 with a coach who played in Region 88 as a child himself. Will we get to this point of belonging? I hope so, and I hope along the way I can contribute as well.

With the globalization of 24-hour news and free-for-all-who-can-barely-type commentary, and the fiasco of Journatic and mass media conglomerates’ attempts at community news, your publication is more valuable than ever. To have local news reporting done by a local reporter, who knew?! The history of the past in Mike Lawler’s column and the Then and Now photos can instill sentimentality in readers despite not having any roots. And just reading about local residents reaching compromises with school officials over solar panels — it was refreshing to read what was not another NIMBY story but a resolution reached around a table in a teachers’ lounge.

Anyhow, that was my long wayward way of telling you that my $52 will be in the mail tomorrow!

Thank you for all your hard work.
Vanessa Lee
La Crescenta

Homage to Columbus
Of late it has been fashionable to paint Christopher Columbus as an arch-villain, a genocidal killer of indigenous people, a destroyer of cultures. He did none of these things. While he was obviously not a paragon of virtue, he was a force of his times; and it is the political correctness of our times that has tended to obscure his tremendous achievement.

Columbus’ discovery of a New World was like an intellectual bombshell in the mind of European culture, cracking open the medieval mindset, made ready by the quickening ferment of the Renaissance. After him, hundreds followed with new discoveries and exploration, events that required the same amazing courage and fortitude as he had to sail into nothingness.

After him, the idea of new cultures and peoples fired the imagination of Europeans to an outpouring of confidence and optimism.

After him, the religious dogmas and certitudes of the times suffered an irreversible blow, by the one-two punch of Martin Luther’s religious protests and the circumnavigation of the globe by Magellan’s armada that proved the Copernican thesis.

After him, the cultural and economic centers of Europe shifted to the Atlantic countries which did the lion’s share of the exploration of that New World.

After him, there was no returning to the old stasis, and the modern age (as we know it) was ushered in.

To re-fight the battles of history is pointless. Historical revision is necessary when new facts come to light. It is important to give credit and respect to cultures that have been “run-over” in the onslaught of history; telling their story is of equal importance, if only to redress the record. But to deliberately manipulate the meaning of history (especially the facts) to satisfy a passing trend or moral indignation is anachronistic, intellectually dishonest, and – ultimately – ridiculous.

Instead of issuing moral judgments on the events of history, it is far more important to understand and discover why it was so.

Why has European civilization dominated the world since Columbus? That is the main question and the answers have nothing to do with moral, racial or ethnic superiority. It has more to do with the individual “arcs” of each culture’s history and it’s collision with other “arcs” (thank you, Jared Diamond).

Why were there no imperial fleet and army of the Aztec or Inca empires that sailed to the conquest of Spain to take prisoner its king? Why did the diseases of the New World seem to have little effect on Europeans, while the diseases of Europe were catastrophic to the indigenes of the Americas? What was the structure of Aztec and Inca society that allowed a tiny band of determined men to overthrow them? What were the “arcs” of these particular cultures that determined their way of thinking, and kept them in their own terrestrial sphere of influence? Why did the Chinese emperor send off a fleet for a round-the-world voyage of discovery in 1421, only to have it – and its findings – destroyed upon its return, never to venture out again? Why were the mounted cavalry of the Plains Indians of North America unable to repulse the movement westward of settlers from the USA, when a similar cavalry army of nomadic peoples came out of Mongolia in the 13th century and almost swept the European states into the sea?  Why did the “arc” of European culture have the Reformation, the Enlightenment, the scientific and economic revolutions, when no such benefits occurred in the Muslim world? What is the intellectual and material arc of Euro-American civilization that has brought us to this great level of wealth and power, with the ideals of liberty, justice, cultural inclusiveness and tolerance, bred into the way that we think (even that nobly intentioned – but rebarbative – political correctness)?

Yes, Leif Ericsson discovered America in 1000 ad. Yes, the Chinese may have discovered America in 1421. But those discoveries went un-sustained, and their histories dissolved into myth, principally because of the “arcs” of those particular societies. In the clash of cultures, one can only say that the stronger one prevails (and what is it about the stronger one that makes it strong?). It’s the way of things.

After Columbus, everything changed…for better and for worse. That is why he is so important, and why we celebrate his day of discovery as a metaphor of who we are, and why our culture is.
Stuart Byles
La Crescenta

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