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Political primer for visitors to America’s Finest City

Harvey Milk

Welcome to San Diego

“Welcome to San Diego, America’s Finest City,” or so the saying goes. San Diego artists from different eras in local history have made hay with that argument, but we do live in what most consider the “perfect, beachy” place. And I guess, if the argument focuses strictly on the weather, we are just that. However, the political climate tells a different story. Not always so perfect and not so “beachy.”

As a native of San Diego there have been drawbacks to being raised in this climatic nirvana. I have, for instance, paid more than my fair share of dental bills growing up in this “perfect place.” Why? Because back in the 1950s the John Birch Society, founded by Robert W. Welch Jr., pressured the city to not fluoridate our water because, according to old John, “fluoridated water was a communist plot to take over the minds of our youth.”

Robert W. Welch Jr.

So, my whole generation of locals ended up having more cavities than the kids who grew up in Manhattan, and, to the chagrin of old John, we still ended up reading Karl Marx in college. Go figure. In 2011, the City Council was finally able to change the water situation so that the next generation of locals could spend their hard-earned money on college (they are going to need it) instead of dentistry. A cautionary note however, most of us drink bottled water in these parts anyway, owing to the taste of the city stuff.

Then of course there was Tom Metzger (a grand wizard no less of the KKK) a TV repair Nazi, from just up north of here. He and his ilk added to the not-so-perfect political environment that dominated my hometown for years. And then there was, and still is, the area newspaper, the San Diego Union. Now under the proud ownership of a hotel magnate, who guarantees to give all of us the best news his money can buy.

But that is by no means the whole story; It has taken years to get us to this “place,” years of fierce and courageous acts by hearty folks who live in this “perfect, beachy,” place. Thank you, thank you and thank you!

I look forward to Pride every year, and I love the fact that my hometown has been transformed into a place where you and I now celebrate Pride together. Just remember getting to this place has been a lot of work and so when you come across a local in your two-day adventure here in nirvana, hug ’em. Hug us. We have certainly earned that honor.



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Posted by LGBT Weekly on Jul 19, 2012. Filed under Around the City. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

1 Comment for “Political primer for visitors to America’s Finest City”

  1. You attribute a comment to the Birch Sociey about “a communist plot to take over the minds of our youth” — and you put that comment in quotation marks as though you are quoting from a Birch Society publication.

    Would you care to specify where that “quote” appears?

    To my knowledge the JBS never made that comment.

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