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Disguised Racism?

I just finished reading the in-depth article about Robert L. Pruett (“Man in Midst of Storm Has a Turbulent Past,” Feb. 27), the man who has become “the leader of those vehemently opposed to naming San Diego’s new convention center after the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.”

What a shady character! He’s welshed on his lawyer, reneged on state fines levied for convalescent-home violations, and, although “on the verge of filing for bankruptcy,” is contemplating “more travel around the world for the next few years.” His apparent lack of scruples must make him an ideal choice to spearhead a group such as Citizens to Keep the Name San Diego Convention Center.

It is my belief that this group is composed of thinly disguised racists who either freely admit their racism or hide behind ridiculously flimsy arguments. Some say their opposition stems from the City Council’s high-handedness in naming both the street and the convention center without consulting the voters. To these people, I submit that, if their intent is truly to protest the City Council’s actions, why not petition for a vote of no confidence in the City Council? Why this determined effort to eliminate King’s name? I suspect this alternative isn’t satisfactory because their agenda isn’t quite what they claim.

To the individuals whose protests are based on their objections to honoring a “Communist” and “womanizer,” I applaud their honesty while deploring their ignorance.

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When I moved to San Diego eight years ago, I wasn’t aware of racial tensions, but, after the Sagon Penn incident and the ensuing polarization of blacks and whites, I realize I was simply ignorant of such problems.

In the light of such strained relations, the significance of the convention center issue transcends the specious arguments proffered by the opponents, and in doing so becomes a more basic issue of respect both for blacks and for the sensitivities of those who feel their beliefs and feelings have been trampled on during this fiasco.

JENNIFER BOLLARD

San Diego

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