Who can and can’t read can be scary

Nothing is effective as using fear like a cudgel to motivate people into giving you their money, their vote or both.

During virtually any grand old campaign you’ll encounter a candidate who will paint a vividly black and white landscape of a city in decline because of rising crime rates. Menacing figures loom just out of sight in the shadows and around corners waiting to rob you of your personal property and peace of mind.

Only I, the candidate will tell you, have the support of the police and by increasing their budget and handing them what they want will I take the streets back from the criminals running amok in our neighborhoods.

It’s hard to ignore someone who is always promising a threat will become a crime if you’re not careful (and fail to vote for them), even if the problem is often overstated and misrepresented.

Certainly, fear of the immediate is easier to exploit than that of the future.
In 2021, the San Diego Council on Literacy published numbers that should leave some segments of the population concerned about what the future holds for them and their children.

National City, Chula Vista, and Imperial Beach adult residents ranked lowest in literacy skills among the 18 cities in the county.

Over the course of nearly three decades the cities with the highest adult literacy rates were: Poway, Carlsbad, Coronado, Encinitas, Del Mar, and Solana Beach.

In 2021, roughly 65% of the National City population was Hispanic or Latino. In Chula Vista, 60.2%. Imperial Beach had about a 51% Hispanic or Latino population. The cities north of Interstate 8, and that little speck of Coronado have majority white populations.

The regions of the county hardest hit with COVID cases? South County, including Chula Vista, National City and Imperial Beach.

Time and again there have been studies revealing correlations between education and literacy rates with employment and economic opportunities, which in turn dictates income and the ability to have comprehensive healthcare.

Settling for leadership that doesn’t place literacy near the top of its priorities may not be a crime but it ought to be punishable by voter accountability.