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The Paper - Escondido San Marcos North County
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National Politics Interfering with Local Politics?

Recently, again a major political party endorsed one of the San Marcos School Board candidates. Is this an effort to introduce partisan politics into a local race that has nothing to do with the political platform of either party? School Boards simply are not the place for partisan politics. We should support school board candidates based on the candidate’s effectiveness, positive leadership and ability to work hard and get things done. The voters in the San Marcos Unified School District are very fortunate – they need no "input" from outsiders to tell them how to vote. This election is a no brainer. In the last three years the Academic Performance Index of SMUSD increased an astonishing 70 points. Two current Board Members, candidates Sharon Jenkins and Beckie Garrett, have received numerous endorsements from local SMUSD parents and other people who work with them and know how talented they are. I can guarantee you that not one of these people would say they support Sharon or Beckie because of their party affiliation. Why let any political party turn this into a partisan race? Let’s keep this a race based on the candidates.

/s/Barbara Fischer
San Marcos, CA.

Lots of Folks Loved Kent Ballard’s story, “The Final Flight

(Editor’s Note: What follows is not one Letter to the Editor, but a series, collected by one of our readers who had alerted his list of correspondents as to the story that Kent Ballard wrote. I should also mention that we have never had such an overwhelming response as we have had to this story:

From: Michael A. Murphy,

I sent the link to the article and got many positive responses from people who really liked it. Some comments follow:

Tom T: I more than liked this.

Brian D: I forwarded this to a buddy whose Father I met last year near Dayton. His Father was a P47 Jug Combat Pilot in Europe in WWII. We sat in his den at home looking at his scrapbook as he told us the stories behind the pictures. I'll bet my friend Ed will share this with his Dad.

Bobbie T: Wow Mike, wow.

Barry S: Gasp! Absolutely amazing and wonderful and, and ... words fail me.

George M: This one's a real tear jerker.

Dennis A: I wonder if this is just a nice story that Mr. Ballard wrote or if it's true? He never names the "old Navy pilot" in the story, if true, very important part of the story. My father who is no longer with us mentally (Parkinson's disease), fits in this story a few places. Long story there...

Doug A: Mike, this is almost more than I can stand! (But in a good way). My dad was a Marine Aviator in the Pacific in WWII. He flew Dauntless dive bombers and later F4-U Corsairs in dive-bombing missions. Something I'd always wanted to do with him was go to Oshkosh together, but now he's 92 and isn't willing to leave the side of his ailing wife. He doesn't get around well anymore either, and requires a walker. This thing really choked me up, and I'm debating sharing with him. His own mortality is all too real to him these days though thank God he has no diseases to deal with himself. Just a broken-down body that he can't accept because, by God, he's still 28 years old. (When I learned that is how he thinks of himself still, it explained many things!) Thanks for sending this. God bless everyone who has and is serving our Nation!

Paul S: Read the whole article - I also watered up. I had not heard of this aircraft, but there are a lot of things I have not seen or heard of.

/s/Mike "Pops" Murphy
San Diego County, CA.

The Safety of Our Children

Are you as concerned as I am, about our children walking alone in this society today? Our world has changed so much. At this time, more people are divorced. More parents are both working. We have the internet where dangerous predators are luring our children.

Just recently, the lives of two young girls in our local area were lost. They were of the age that they may be able to run from a dangerous situation possibly, but what about children who are very young? What chance do they have?

Some may argue that they have to work and that they have no choice but to send the child alone. I don’t agree. Times are not the same as they used to be, and we have to find a way to protect these children, your children.

If you cannot make certain that your child is safe with you, please do find someone who can do that job for you. Your child’s life is the one you may save. How on earth would you feel, if your child’s name was on the news or a billboard of missing children? Think of the pain that the parents of murdered children are going through, and will for a lifetime to come!

Society has changed greatly, like it or not, and we must change with it to protect these precious children.

/s/Catherine Staub
San Diego County, CA.

Another Kent Ballard Admirer

Kent, I have read all of your stories in The Paper and I believe they should be on tv or the cinema. I hope some producer from Hollywood or tv, like the History Channel, will read your stories.

I just read in a magazine that a movie is in the making of the pilot that landed his plane in the Hudson River, Miracle on the Hudson: Captain Sully.

I`m sure this is a very well deserved honor for Captain Sully. I believe your stories should have a similar honor.

Looking forward to more of your stories. Thank you!

/s/Angelo Caruso
Escondido, CA.

A Magic Castle Fan

I read The Paper every week and have looked and looked for the winners of the Magic Castle tickets. Maybe I somehow missed them. I am sorry to bother you with this but I have had my fingers crossed for weeks and I'm getting a cramp! Thanks! Peter

Peter Poirier
San Diego County, CA.

Editor’s Note: Thanks for writing! The winners were announced in the Local News Section of our September 30th issue, as follows:

Magic Castle Winners Announced

Frederick Gomez, the brilliant young writer who featured the cover story, Hollywood's World Famous Magic Castle, several weeks ago, announces the winners of passes to The Magic Castle.

They are:

1. Shannon Baker, San Diego, CA.
2. Richard Clifford, Escondido, CA.
3. Bob Ryan, Lakeside, CA.

If you missed the story, you can read it here:


lyle e davis
The Paper

A Preston Voter

Dear Editor:

Councilman Mike Preston gets my vote and he should get yours. Preston introduced the Park and Trails plan in the early 90’s that has allowed San Marcos to develop a robust Parks and Trails system that is the envy of the county. Some refer to us as “San Parkos”. Preston had the vision to preserve the land for Parks and Trails, and our quality of life is better today because of it. Vote for Mike Preston.

/s/Robert Bettencourt
San Marcos, CA.92078

Critic’s Corner

Hi, my name is John Grisham. No, not the writer either.

Once upon a time I loved reading your articles because your paper was creative and personable.

Now, not only do you repeat articles you wrote, but I think you ran out of new stories to write about, or even funds!

Do you really not have anything more to talk about other than previous articles written? Are you hoping for enough readers that you could finally find your retirement money by selling to a larger paper?

The creditability of "The Paper" will be exposed by a much larger company than your narrow minded views. Be a little more creative! To my disappointment I thought you were a reliable source. What about covering more pertinent issues? Perhaps change up the old common bad news? Instead, focus more on positive issues rather than conform to the standard negative press? You’re a small paper. Are you so desperate to earn a buck or recognition that you have to be like the rest of the press? The article you wrote about the Giant Sculptures (sic) and Where Heroes once Flew was good!

I say thumbs down to you for now until you come up with something a lot more creative. I’m just so disappointed in your last several press releases. Are there any editors and writers out there that will take on the next bold move? You know, being creative, and thinking outside of the box?

From: John Grisham
Unknown Location

Editor’s Note: We assume Mr. Grisham is referring to the “Let’s Stop the Puppy Mills,” issue, in which case he is partially correct; this story was an updated re-write of a story that originally published in 2008. Reason? Not a whole lot has changed in the puppy mill problem.

As to several of his other surmises, we take issue with:

a. We’ve had multiple offers to buy the paper; we are not interested in selling. We are in our second childhood and having the time of our lives. If we sold the paper we’d probably just sit around and grow old.
b. We have discovered at least three new writers, Kent Ballard, Frederick Gomez, and Claudia Aragon. We are delighted with their creative writing skills and stories. Mr. Grisham is free to like or not like any story we publish.
c. We have no idea what story he is referring to with “The Giant Sculptures.” We neither wrote nor published any story of that nature.
d. As to his “negative press” comments, he linked to us from the Local News Coverage of 10/14/2010. There were, indeed, six local news stories . . . all of which dealt with crime reporting - two with DUI arrests and/or checkpoints, two rapes by illegal alients, one with the Carlsbad shooting, and one with the arrest of a prostituion ring in Escondido. To us, that’s local news and we intend to continue publishing same.
e. Finally, we attempted to contact Mr. Grisham at his email address to find his city of residence, which we normally publish with Letters to the Editor. The email bounced. says there is no such user in their user base. So, we are unclear as to the motive of Mr. Grisham writing . . . or, even if there is a Mr. Grisham. Could he, perhaps, be upset with the Puppy Mill story? And, if so, why? Any vested interest?

Certainly, he is welcome to write again.

Yet Another Kent Ballard Admirer . . .

I very much enjoyed reading Kent Ballard's "The Last Flight."

How can I find the other Cover Stories he's written? I've tried to search your site, but all that keeps coming up is the Puppy Mill story by Lyle Davis (also good).

Thank you.

GM Carlsen
San Diego, County

Editor’s Note: Thank you for writing. You can find all of Kent Ballard’s stories, as well as about four and a half years worth of cover stories by going to our website index. Near the bottom you will see a heading of “Archives.” Click on that. Then find the cover stories that interest you, and click. You may then read that issue at your leisure.

To assist you, Kent Ballard’s stories are:
Death from Below
The Hairy Handed Gents
The Flood
The Last Flight
The Blind Hill
The Christmas Bullet

Kent is also working on another cover story that is tentatively scheduled for November 4th.

School Days

As a former school board member here in San Marcos, I had the honor of serving the community during a period of 12 years. San Marcos Unified has become a district that has continually improved educational opportunities for all its students. API scores for SMUSD have risen by 77 points during the past 5 years with 6 of our schools scoring over 900. This year, San Marcos High and Mission Hills outscored both Carlsbad High and La Costa Canyon and this despite our vastly different demographic makeup. In November, voters have an opportunity to continue this progress. I urge all voters within San Marcos Unified to join me and re-elect Sharon Jenkins and Beckie Garrett to the San Marcos Unified Governing Board.

/s/Pam Bancells
Former SMUSD Governing Board Member/San Marcos

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