Why police can't stop street races...
Re: "Measure targets watchers of illegal drag races" (B-1, Oct. 16):
Over the last year, we have seen an increased police presence in all aspects of street racing. Though we've also seen a record year in street racing deaths -- 13 -- only two actually occurred during the large weekend night street races, and then only at one spot.
Part of the blame for the rest could be attributed to the street racers being pushed from their usual spots -- long, wide roads, with little or no traffic at the times they were racing -- to spots far less suited to any sort of racing.
While I may not condone street racing, the current enforcement effort is not working. Street racing has been going on virtually since the automobile was invented. People will do it regardless of what laws are passed. There needs to be another way. The racing at Qualcomm Stadium is a decent start, but it isn't what racers really want. What San Diego needs is a full, quarter-mile track that iswhen people want to use it. Paying lots of money to make a few passes at Qualcomm's eighth of a mile track just isn't worth it for many racers I know, let alone those who must pay to watch a friend race. Such a venue needs to be more spectator friendly to work well. MIKE CURRIE San Diego
The grandstanding proposal by the City Council and City Attorney Casey Gwinn to arrest "spectators" at street racing will do nothing to reduce this illegal activity.
When will our leaders recognize that San Diego County requires a motor sports complex where drivers and riders can use their high-performance machines in an organized and safe manner, and no longer have to play a cat-and-mouse game with the cops? RICHARD BUCCIGROSS San Diego
I can remember watching street racing on Imperial Avenue as far back as 1978. The racers only cruised on the eastbound lanes up to Massachusetts Avenue to make a U-turn and use the traffic signal as the starter's light.
They only raced down the westbound lanes where there are no breaks in the center divider. Thus, no other cars could pull out in front of the racers. As long as they did that, the police left them alone.
In Oregon, street racing also was outlawed, but old air strips and the local race tracks wered for legal street racing with safe spectator areas. WAYNE D. McFEE Aumsville, Ore.
...how they might...
If the local authorities have known that the "Imperial Avenue Drag Strip" has been in use for a long time, why haven't they put some speed bumps there to prevent the 100-mph races? Once the callous racers tear out their front ends for the first time, that would be the end of it.
If the racers' cars were impounded for a good month or two, maybe they just might avail themselves of the legal drags at Qualcomm. L.A. ROCKWELL Chula Vista
...and why they must
Re: "Police are exaggerating 'street racing' deaths" (letters, Oct. 16):
Randy Edwards' attempt to define street racing on his terms was shameless. His denial that street racing was the cause for the many recent tragedies, based on whether they occurred at one of his locations or at his chosen time demonstrated a complete lack of maturity and responsibility.
It doesn't matter to surviving relatives what time or place an illegal, fatal race took place! Edwards and his kind must stop endangering the innocent and law-abiding public! BILL BURNS Oceanside
Re: "Suspect in street race is charged with murder" (B-section, Oct. 11):
George Waller Jr. pleaded not guilty to murdering two innocent teen-agers in a street race because "there were no intentional acts involved." These street racers know exactly what's involved. They know what they are doing and the dangers involved -- hence the attraction of the whole ordeal.
Embarrassingly, I have an 18-year-old son who believes this activity is cool despite having a friend who was burned over 80 percent of his body and will be permanently disfigured and crippled for the rest of his life due to a crash during a street race.
Worse yet are the innocent victims and their families whose lives are forever changed because someone drove a 3,000-pound vehicle down a city street with their lights off at 100 mph! This to me is an intentional criminal act and I hope that Waller receives the severest punishment possible. CEE TAYLOR El Cajon
The argument by council members Byron Wear and Jim Madaffer that "the city "must" work to provide legal alternatives to street racing" is way off base. If private enterprises want to pursue that avenue, fine. But it is not a role government should be filling.
Additionally, Wear and Madaffer's comment sends the wrong message; it will be seen by the illegal racers as an attempt to placate them and undermines the city's efforts to crack down.
By continuing to street race in the aftermath of the recent terrible accidents, the racers have shown that they have little regard for the property and lives of others.
The only message the city should be sending to the scofflaws is street racing will not be tolerated, period.
DANNY JACOBS Mira Mesa