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Plenty of thanks to go around Carlos R. Davalos | Sat, Nov 26 2011 12:00 PM

Steve Wood has a solid handshake and good eye. The Chula Vista resident also has a heart that's as big as Donald Trump's ego.
Wood is a volunteer shooter. Has been for a while. Not too long ago he started photographing for The Star-News. It's not his regular gig. It's not even part-time employment. And the one time I awkwardly brought up the idea of compensating him, he declined. 
He was happy just to be getting anything published in his local newspaper, he said. He got a charge out of knowing that years from now his work would live on in the archives of Chula Vista history. 
In this age of "What's in it for me?" considerations, that sort of selfless thinking is equally humbling and mystifying.
Nevertheless I'm grateful. Not only because Wood generously donates photographs when he can, but because he's consistently happy to be chronicling this region's history.
Thanks, Steve, for what you do.
Thanks also to columnists Tom Basinski, Kate Davies, Richard Peña and Susan Walter. They all have distinct personalities; four distinct voices that give readers four different reasons to pick up the paper. All while being extremely low maintenance.
I'd like to thank the in-house staff at The Star-News, but mere words over pay raises and generous Christmas bonuses seem woefully inadequate.
Other people for whom I am thankful include:
The UC Davis PD, specifically Lt. John Pike.
Pike is the officer who casually walked up and down a line of student protesters, dousing them with pepper spray.
His alarming use of force put into perspective the actions of other wayward police officers in recent news (lest we forget former San Diego Police Officer Anthony Arevalos who was found guilty of soliciting sexual favors from women; or Jesus Salazar who used to work for the CVPD until he was arrested for allegedly cheating at an East County casino and was also at one time booked for DUI).
Without Pike's accidental stumble into the limelight we might have forgotten that the people we hire to protect and serve are all too human and fallible and do really dumb stuff.
We also might have started developing an inferiority complex, thinking it was just our county's police force that had the bad apples in the barrels.
But no, whether it's in San Diego or Davis or Oakland or New York, there are a few rotten men and women wearing a badge giving the majority of good cops a bad name. Thanks, guys.

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