Escondido, CA

Letters to the editor


Editor, Times Advocate:

I am a resident of Escondido (Hidden Meadows), and I would like to comment on the article written by Phyllis Knight.

I saw that you wrote an opinionated article in The Times Advocate.

Now, of course this is opinionated and you as A Christian believer have every right to write your opinion for a local newspaper.

You are quite lucky that you live in a conservative area of San Diego county where, I am sure, many people agree on what you wrote- including your topic of marriage for people of the same sex.

However, you are instilling your ‘beliefs’ on others- and yes- you can say freedom of speech; but you are still discriminating people that are of the same sex and are happily married.

Many years ago it was not acceptable that people of different races married in our great country.

This has changed, thank goodness, but is pretty much along the same lines as you being against people that love each other that are married today- you are discriminating them.

It’s quite arrogant, as well as ignorant, like most extremist/radicalized Christians, to instill their religious beliefs on others- especially within the great American government which should be equal to all.

You live in a state, the state of California, with many different backgrounds, cultures, and beliefs- so you should be accepting of that and if not move to Kentucky or Kansas where the majority of the people believe as you do.

I understand your story about the Muslim woman at Wal-Mart- but I believe that is just as wrong as to not have to ring up a bottle of wine for a customer as it is to refuse a gay couple for a wedding cake.

When Wal-Mart hired this Muslim woman, they should’ve said ‘this job requires you to ring up all products that we sell.’

You cannot simply refuse the public based on your own beliefs if you take on a job in the government or work in the commercial sector such as a place like Wal-Mart or any other business.

County/state clerks that work for the government and have to stay neutral because it’s a government position. If the government was only for Christian believers, then it would make the lives of many people in this country very difficult because you could use ‘one religion’ to justify all claims. This is exactly what the terrorist Muslim extremists are doing- except in an extremer version with murder.

Marriage is not reserved only for the religious Christians- it just isn’t. You also have Muslims and Jews that marry, and, gay couples now as well. Christians are not ‘entitled’ to determine marriage for a country as diverse as our country.

Marriage is something so that a couple can be legally recognized that love each other- a pact between two consenting adults.

I hope you understand that.

Twenty-four countries in this world were before the USA in recognizing gay marriage.

Think of all of the countries that have legalized it way before the USA; the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Canada, South Africa, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Iceland, Argentina, Denmark, France, Brazil, Uruguay, New Zealand, Britain, Luxembourg, Finland and Ireland… to name a few; not including Civil Unions and gay rights.

Are these countries all wrong then?

Please remember that not everyone is Christian like you. You are not a ‘better’ person just because you advocate yourself with being a Christian.

There are many horrible ‘Christians’ out there- and as a Christian, you shouldn’t judge to begin with- which is exactly what you unfortunately did in writing your article in a public local newspaper.

I know many good Christians that understand that love is love- no matter if you are hetero or homosexual.

Many American heroes exist, who fought for us in our wars, that are homosexual and are in committed relationships of marriage.

I wish you the best of luck with all of your endeavors.

JULIAN VAN OS, Hidden Meadows

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Phyllis Knight’s response:

I received the above email and responded immediately to the writer, which is printed below. As to the additional comments included when the writer forwarded their email to the Times Advocate, here’s my response:

I hate to point out the obvious, but I feel I must:

1. Of course I have an opinion about my beliefs. (Who doesn’t?) That’s why they’re my beliefs and that’s why they appear in “my” column. I am not aware of any reason why you, or anyone else, can’t write for the “other half of our country.”

2. It would be amusing, if it weren’t so egregious, that the “Thou shalt not judge” mantra is used to marginalize and silence Christians by those who, themselves, are judging Christians for speaking the truth and following Jesus’ commands. By the way, you state that “a good Christian never judges” – by what standard or benchmark are you “judging” me, and why are you judging who is a “good” Christian and who isn’t? (See, it never ends, and, yes, this is one of the most misunderstood and/ or misused verses in the Bible.)

Finally, for the record, as I stated in my column, when followers of Jesus share the Word of God, they are not being judgmental, but obedient to Jesus’ command in the Great Commission. If I’m wrong, I’ll let Him be the Judge of that.

My response to the email:

Good evening,

First of all, thank you for the honor you pay me in reading what I write and for finding it compelling enough to generate a response. I do appreciate the fact that your email was respectful; however, though long and detailed, it did not contain anything new or warranting of further consideration on my part to change how and what I believe.

Although I have no need nor desire to engage you one-on-one, I heartily acknowledge your right to believe as you wish, just as I have the same right. We do not have to agree. Further, just for the record, I did not write an “opinionated article” for the Times Advocate. I have been writing a Christian column for two-and-a-half years which reflects my Christian faith. The Times Advocate simply chooses to run it. If you have a problem with that, I suggest you take it up with them. I will continue to write my column as long as the Lord inspires me to do so and there are those who wish to read it. And, based on the number of positive, encouraging and supportive emails I have received in response to this particular column, I have no plans to quit anytime soon.

Speaking of “many American heroes” who have fought in our wars, my father-in-law was one who lost his life defending my right to freedom of speech, and I plan to make good use of that in his honor. Thank you for inspiring me, even more, to speak up and speak out.

Last, but not least, I would like to say “welcome to California” as I have to assume you are somewhat new to the state, based on your assertion that:

“You live in a state, the state of California, with many different backgrounds, cultures, and beliefs- so you should be accepting of that and if not move to Kentucky or Kansas where the majority of the people believe as you do.”

Since gay marriage was not legal just a few years ago, and the majority of Californians even voted for and passed Prop 8 in 2008, by your assertion, no one supporting gay marriage should have lived here prior to then, nor remained here past that time… At least not until activist judges overruled the will of the people.

In closing, again, thank you for validating my column by writing to me. I also wish you well.

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Editor, Times Advocate:

The Lilac Hills Ranch project will be heard by the San Diego County Planning Commissioners on Friday, August 7.The Planning Commission hearing comes after five years of meetings, two Environmental Review cycles, thousands of comments opposing the project and an administrative record that is now more than 50,000 pages.

It is critical that the Valley Center Community let their opinions on the project be heard by letters or emails to the Planning Commissioners before the August 7th hearing.

The Valley Center Community Planning Group and the Bonsall Community Sponsor Group have voted against the project. As explained in detail by the Valley Center Community Planning Group (VCCPG) in their April 2015 letter to the County, the key reasons the VCCPG opposes the project after years of review and public meetings are: (1) the project lacks legal Right-of-Way for roads, sewer and recycled water: (2) 30 or more eminent domain condemnation actions against private landowners will be required; (3) the applicant (Accretive) refuses to commit to completing the project (if it is started) and states in its Specific Plan that some phases of the project may never be built with the result that promised improvements and critical infrastructure may never be completed; (4) the LHR project is inconsistent with the San Diego County General Plan and with the Bonsall and Valley Center Community Plans; (5) the project fails to meet the mandatory fire and emergency response times mandated by the County; (6) the project will have significant environmental impacts on biological and cultural resources; (7) the project’s “evacuation plans are troublesome” as the evacuation plan does not discuss the “most fundamental evacuation issue……the limited number of roads for automobile evacuation of the 5,185 residents,” as well as the impact to existing VC residents; (8) that the project adds more than 5,000 people without any upgrades to the rural two-lane windy roads that surround the project which will “imperil evacuations from Bonsall and Valley Center;” (9) the project will place more than 5,000 residents and 200 frail senior citizens in a dementia care facility within a “high fire hazard severity zone;” and (10) the project will “cause significant, irreversible and in most instances, immitigable impacts to the project site, to the Valley Center and Bonsall communities” and forever change and destroy the Valley Center community character.

To put this project in perspective, the VC Community Plan has already designated thousands of housing units for Valley Center where smart growth infrastructure exists. The LHR project plans to ADD to these housing units another 1,746 units (a city the size of Del Mar) without regards to the VC Community Plan or Community Character. The Lilac Hills Ranch project will add more than 7,000,000 new car trips and more than 65,000,000 million additional miles driven on our rural roads. The project is located more than 17 miles from the nearest SANDAG employment centers; 15 miles to supermarkets, banks and community amenities; 18 miles to the nearest hospital and has no public transit. Also, the project will require more than 4 million cubic yards of grading (325,000 truckloads) and six months of blasting.

I encourage the community to further research this project at Accretive’s Lilac Hills Ranch website at and also at the community Save Our San Diego Countryside Website at Links are available at both websites to assist the community in voicing its opposition or support for the project.

JAMES GORDON, Valley Center
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*Note: Opinions expressed by columnists and letter writers are those of the writers and not necessarily those of the newspaper.

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