"Pontiff will not visit Edgemoor patients but sends blessings."
That advisory emanated recently from the halls of Edgemoor Geriatric Hospital, the county-run nursing facility for the indigent in Santee. It was prompted by a short note from the Vatican declining an invitation to the Pope during his visit to Los Angeles in September.
"Of course the residents are disappointed," remarked hospital administrator Florence McCarthy, who said the idea came to her in church. "But it was thoughtful of the Pontiff to send his blessings."
Communicating on official Vatican stationery, Monsignor G.B. Re had written to McCarthy, "His Holiness wishes you to know that he appreciates the sentiments which prompted you to write to him, but it is not possible for him to accept your invitation."
Re went on to say that he was pleased to assure McCarthy that His Holiness was remembering her and the staff and patients of the hospital in his prayers and was invoking upon all of them "God's blessings of peace and joy."
What made McCarthy imagine the Pope might accept? After all, he had already turned down offers from the Diocese of San Diego, Bishop Leo Maher and dozens of cities, towns and dioceses across the United States.
"I did tell him that our work was much like the work that Mother Theresa does--other than that she does take care of lepers and we don't," offered McCarthy. " . . . I just thought, 'Wouldn't that be nice, that our patients might be able to have a visit from the Pontiff!' "
Blitzing the Birds
San Diego's pigeon population-control program has resumed in Balboa Park: The city's pest control contractor is currently re-seeding the rooftops with corn kernels laced strategically with bird contraceptive.
The "birth control agent" is Ornitrol, a so-called chemo-sterilant that stops ovulation for six months. The city opted against the "psycho-chemical," Avitrol, which works by killing 10% of the flock and provoking a death wail that scares off fellow flock members.
"In the case of Balboa Park, if you had a population of 5,000 birds and you were killing 10% of them, 500 dead birds would probably be a bigger issue than the City Council race," said Herb Field, the urban entomolologist heading the program for Lloyd Pest Control.
Field said the success of the first round last September will remain unclear until later this year. A recent pigeon head-count indicated a drop in population from 5,000 to perhaps 3,000; but it being hatching season, pigeon chicks may be hiding in nests.
The birth control program began last summer in an attempt to protect the park's buildings from destruction by droppings. "We have material on 11 buildings," Field said last week, referring to the corn used in the current 10-day blitz. Were pigeons becoming sterile even as he spoke? "Yes! And they're all talking with higher voices."
No one has ever accused San Diego Municipal Judge Frederic Link of lacking self-esteem. His colleagues are repeating a story (one Link himself confirms) that suggests someone close to home has finally had occasion to burst Link's bubble.
Link presided last month in the preliminary hearing of California Highway Patrol Officer Craig Peyer. The evening the hearing ended, with Link ordering Peyer bound over for trial on a charge of murder in the death of San Diego State University student Cara Knott, the judge and his wife Roxanne were at home watching the television news.
A reporter was asking Karen Peyer, the accused officer's wife, her reaction to the fact that her husband would be tried for murder. His fate, she replied, now was in the hands of God.
Roxanne Link turned to her husband (with a devilish gleam in her eye?).
"A lateral handoff?" she asked.
And they say only federal judges think they're gods.
In the market for solid advice on steering clear of the new immigration law?
Donald Cameron recommends a former chief agent for the U.S. Border Patrol's toughest sector, one-time assistant regional commissioner, specialist in detention and deportation and "coastal security and control."
Himself, that is.
Cameron, of Oceanside, who retired in 1981 after 29 years with the U.S. Border Patrol, has set up what he believes is the first firm specializing in advising businesses and farmers on how best to avoid coming a-cropper of the new law.
Fake Green Cards, phony Social Security papers--Cameron has seen 'em all. In addition to fraudulent document scrutiny, D.H. Cameron & Associates offers consulting on record-keeping, compliance with anti-discrimination provisions and employee screening.
Is there anything contradictory in spending 29 years keeping immigrants out of the country, then in retirement turning one's skills to making sure they can stay?
"If I was to stay strictly in the business of making illegals legal, I would say yes, there might be some ambiguity there," Cameron said. "But what I intend to do is consult with business and industry to tell them how to avoid getting in trouble with the INS."