Health

How the Mainstream Media Failed the Public During the ‘Save the Torrey Pine’ Campaign

August 30, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

OB Torrey media
By Frank Gormlie

During the recent campaign to save the Torrey Pine on Saratoga, whenever there was a show down – or the promise of one – between those tree-hugging residents surrounding the infamous Pine and the Atlas tree chopping crews, you’d be sure to find television cameras and reporters at the scene.

The reporters – and their producers at the station – must have loved the Torrey Pine story – for all the times San Diego television viewers were shown the latest news-clips about those colorful OB residents trying to save that old tree.

However the particular station spun the story – newscasters would smile wryly as if to say, ‘oh, those cute but misguided OB tree-huggers, look what they’re up to now …’ and their viewers would then catch sight of protesting residents – with even one who climbed up into the giant Torreys – all set in conflict against the the city staffers, cops, and the tree-cutting crews … with the buzz of saws in the background.

It made for good visuals, for good stories, and many times the teasers leaped out at viewers.

We all know the media love conflicts – they thrive on them – and sensational stories or stories they can sensationalize are prime meat every night on the tube.

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A Long Hot Summer: Where’s the Love in the Anthropocene?

August 29, 2016 by Jim Miller

Geological_time_spiral-for-HOP-for-web_0

By Jim Miller

One of the more thought-provoking books I read this summer was Love in the Anthropocene, a collection of stories by Dale Jamieson and Bonnie Nadzam. As the title suggests, the tales in this volume are about what the world is becoming and will be as a result of climate change.

Interestingly the world Jamieson and Nadzam depicts is not a Hollywood-style apocalyptic landscape, but an earth largely bereft of natural environments, where zoos house the last animals, natural food is rare, cities have adjusted to catastrophic weather, and those fortunate enough to live inside the bubble of “civilization” are surrounded by vast discarded populations who are left to tough it out on the outskirts of “normal life.”

What is striking about this scenario is that it is not necessarily dystopian for the characters who inhabit it because they have simply come to accept a world we might be horrified by as “the way it is.” Put another way, for these future humans the demise of nature has been naturalized as a simple fact of life, just like the brutal inequality and the blithe replacement of the real with the simulation that defines their social landscape.

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The Sordid Saga of the Saratoga Torrey Pine – A Chronology

August 26, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

OB Torrey protest ed goodtree dist

Some of us who were involved in the unsuccessful effort to save the Torrey Pine at 4652 Saratoga Avenue, thought it necessary to develop a written account of the saga of the Torrey called “Esperanza” – or “Hope”.

A chronicle was needed telling the story of how it came to be that the city and its contractor cut down the 90-year old, 80-foot tall on Monday, August 22nd.

The following, then, is a chronology of the Torrey Pine and its removal. (Much is taken from an anonymous “Critique of Saratoga Torrey Pine Chronology”, some is from a “Fact Sheet” from the city’s Transportation & Storm Water division, the remainder from this reporter’s notes and memories.)

________________

Unusually strong storms, beginning in the winter of 2015/2016, brought down a number of widely-reported trees and large limbs around the city, and as a result, there was a city-wide heightened awareness of large trees and their vulnerability.

Late January – early Feb – Strong winds brought down a large pine tree on Talbot Street in Point Loma – that caused some damage – and reportedly a 100-year old Torrey pine tree in the courtyard at OB Elementary School fell with no damage or injuries.

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OB Town Council Gets an Earful – Complaints about Torrey Pine, Candidate Statements, and Ideas About Newport Ave

August 25, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

OBTC meet 82416 council

From expressions of anger about the recent Torrey Pine removal, to impassioned statements by Board candidates, to studied brows deep in thought on how to improve Newport Avenue, the Ocean Beach Town Council meeting last night, Wednesday, Aug. 24th, exhibited a gamut of emotions and “passions”.

Anger of Residents on How City Handled Torrey Pine

Anger at how the City handled the Torrey Pine on Saratoga came out among residents during the non-agenda public comment period at the opening of the meeting. The Masonic Center community room filled up with sixty people, at least one news camera and reporter, as acting chair Gio Ignolia attempted to guide the at times contentious forum.

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Drugs – the Human Epidemic – Part 1

August 25, 2016 by John Lawrence

By John Lawrence

Drugs SexMoney ArtworkAmericans are using drugs of various kinds at an increasing rate. Of course drugs have been around for a long time, since the beginning of time in fact.

In 5000 BC the Sumerians used opium.

The earliest record of alcohol production was in Egypt in 3500 BC. Tea in China was used in 3000 BC.

Humans have used various substances to manipulate and alter their mood levels for millennia.

In the category of drugs I include any mood altering substance such caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, cocaine, heroin, marijuana, prescription drugs such as opiods and other pain killers, amphetamines etc.

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Del Mar Races: Cruel As Ever

August 25, 2016 by Doug Porter

Martha Sullivan

By Doug Porter

There’s disagreement over how many horses have died at the Del Mar races this year. Animal rights advocates say it’s 18. The Union-Tribune says 16. The Daily Racing Form says 14. Some of the variance, no doubt, comes from the time frame from when it was reported.

Regardless of the final number–and it’s likely to increase by the time the summer season ends on Labor Day–more horses have died this year than last. Betting is down, and purses for the last two weeks of the season have been reduced by another 5% on top of the across the board 10% reduction from 2015.

Saturday, August 20th, was supposed to be the biggest day of the racing season at Del Mar, the $1 million Pacific Classic, including big name horses Beholder, California Chrome, and Dortmund. It started with another death.

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SeaWorld is Guilty of Disturbing the Peace

August 23, 2016 by Judi Curry
Thumbnail image for SeaWorld is Guilty of Disturbing the Peace

For years the residents of the Point Loma and Ocean Beach areas have been complaining of the noise and air pollution spewed forth nightly by SeaWorld. Some people that own dogs have complained that the dogs are scared nightly by the horrendous percussion sounds while trying to hide from the shaking windows and doors. Some people that have children and babies complain that it wakes them up, usually crying, and has affected their everyday life.

Sunday night, August 15th, was one of the worst incidents of noise that I have heard in a long time. The noise reverberated for over two minutes; and as soon as one could relax another wave hit. And it wasn’t just here on the Point. Looking over the comments made on Facebook, Laura stated that she heard it in La Mesa. She said it wasn’t real loud; more like thunder but it was from Sea World.

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Gas Leak in OB Monday Night Forces Evacuations

August 23, 2016 by Staff

A gas leak discovered Monday night, caused about 200 OB residents to be evacuated from their homes.

According to the San Diego U-T:

Homes in the vicinity of Bacon and Cable streets and Santa Cruz and Del Monte avenues were expected to be evacuated throughout the night until at least 5 a.m. as crews worked to locate and repair the broken gas pipe, said San Diego Fire-Rescue Department spokesman Lee Swanson.

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OB Planning Chair on the Removal of the OB Saratoga Torrey Pine

August 22, 2016 by Source
Thumbnail image for OB Planning Chair on the Removal of the OB Saratoga Torrey Pine

OB Saratoga Tree: A Torrey Pine removed today builds a stronger community tomorrow

By John Ambert

If you have not heard yet: Today, the City of San Diego proceeded to remove the 85+ y/o Heritage Torrey Pine tree on the 4600 block of Saratoga Avenue, affectionately named “Esperanza” ( translated to “hope” in Spanish) by the OB Community.

The City went forward with the removal of this tree regardless of the requests for a community forum, or for a formal review of the 3rd party Arborist assessment paid for by neighbors and community members. While I recognize and value the concern for public safety, I am disappointed there could not have been a more transparent and community engaged process. During this project, Ocean Beach community members exposed a number of issues which should be addressed for all future work.

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Torrey Pine: OB Asked for a Community Forum – Here’s the City’s Answer

August 22, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

OB Torrey cut truck
The Ocean Beach community had asked the City to hold a community forum on the health and dangers of the Torrey Pine in the middle of the 4600 block of Saratoga Avenue.

Monday morning, bright and early, came the City’s response.

Out before 6:30 this morning – Monday – yellow police tape had been spread out, a dozen police officers stood their positions and Atlas Tree Service showed up and began cutting down the Torrey named Esperanza – Hope. By 9:30 a.m. all the branches were down – including one with a birds’ nest – and all that remained was the huge trunk.

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Here’s Arborist Report that Concludes OB Torrey Pine is “Low Risk”

August 19, 2016 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for Here’s Arborist Report that Concludes OB Torrey Pine is “Low Risk”

Here below is the arborist’s report on the Saratoga Avenue Torrey Pine. This is a significant report, as not only was it paid for by members of the Ocean Beach community, but the risk assessment performed by Mastor Arborist Bradley Brown, cites the tree at issue as “low risk”.

The report includes 3 pages of text and 2 pages that have the standard matrix that arborists use.

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Community Forum With City Representatives on Torrey Pine Requested

August 18, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

The folks working to save the Torrey Pine on the 4600 block of Saratoga have requested a “Community Forum” on the tree with city representatives to discuss the new arborist’s report and other information – before the city makes any move on the historic Torrey.

John Ambert, in his communication with city officials in which he attached Mastor Arborist Bradley Brown’s risk assessment, make the following:

We are requesting a community forum with City representatives to review the information presented and discuss the path forward, prior to any future work activities.

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Community-Funded Arborist Report: The Ocean Beach Torrey Pine Is “Low Risk”

August 17, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

An arborist report just released to the City by those OBceans who have been attempting to save the Torrey Pine on Saratoga, states :

“The mature Torrey pine in front of 4652 Saratoga Avenue presented low risk at the time of my assessment made on Monday, August 15, 2016.”

The Tree Risk Assessment by Bradley Brown, a Board Certified Master Arborist, was sent to members of the City by John Ambert, chair of the OB Planning Board. It included pages of matrices that arborists use, plus a 2-page written report, with photos.

The Ocean Beach community funded Arborist Brown’s services, and specifically, he was hired by the residents and supporters on Saratoga, via a GoFundMe page put up by the group Friends of the Peninsula Trees.

Brown also stated in his report:

“I observed no significant defects or secondary disorders in the subject tree. … The trunk base showed no signs of significant mechanical damage or discoloration. … The tree appeared healthy and vigorous.”

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‘Not So Fast’ – Some Ocean Beach Residents Are Saying – ‘We’re Not Ready to Give Up on Torrey Pine’

August 15, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

OB Torrey Hope 81516

‘Not so fast,’ some residents of Ocean Beach are saying – to any giving up of saving the historic Torrey Pine on Saratoga Street. There’s been some momentum against the sentiment expressed in a press statement sent out over the weekend from one group of residents saying that they’re ready to let the City chop down the tree called “Hope” (Esperanza).

There was some dissent within the group when it was decided to send out the statement. And that stance has led to the group enlisting the services of a second arborist just recently.

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Reprieve for Ocean Beach Torrey Pine Holds for Now – Residents Continue to Mobilize – Demand Time for Independent Analysis

August 12, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

OB Saratoga 4600 block google

This morning – Friday, August 12th – around 7 a.m. on the 4600 block of Saratoga Avenue in the heart of Ocean Beach, there were no signs of Atlas Tree Service trucks or crews, no signs of of any city officials or police barricades and patrol cars, and the ubituious ‘no parking’ signs were nowhere to be seen.

In stead, about 2 dozens residents and supporters were sitting or milling around, some of them giving interviews to the nearly half-dozen TV stations and reporters. These folks were responsible for the City’s last-minute temporary reprieve issued yesterday evening – backtracking on their plans to chop down the giant Torrey Pine across the street from where people were sitting this morning.

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City Declares a Temporary Halt to the Removal of the Saratoga Torrey Pine

August 11, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

Just got off the phone (7:38 pm Thurs.) with Katie Keach, contact person for the City on the issue, and she confirmed that the City is indeed “temporarily” delaying the destruction of the Torrey Pine – “Esparenza” – on Saratoga in OB. Keach stressed that the City still stands by its assessment that the tree needs to be removed, and the delay is only “temporary”.

Just this evening – mere hours after the City sent out a notice it was proceeding with the removal – the City backtracked and sent another notice out to the media stating:

“The City of San Diego has temporarily suspended plans to remove a failing tree from 4652 Saratoga Avenue in OB that had been slated for Friday morning, August 12th. The work had been scheduled for Friday morning.

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Here’s City’s Announcement of Taking Down Torrey Pine

August 11, 2016 by Source

Here’s the announcement – without our comment – by the City that the Torrey Pine on Saratoga will be chopped down on Friday morning, August 12th.

Thursday, Aug. 11, 2016

Contact:
Katie Keach at 619-847-8274 or kkeach@sandiego.gov

Unsafe Tree to be Removed

Tree Cannot Be Saved, Must Be Removed to Protect Homes

San Diego – The City of San Diego today alerted community members that a failing tree would be removed from 4652 Saratoga Avenue in Ocean Beach on Friday, Aug. 12, starting at 7 a.m.

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City and Atlas Plan on Chopping Down Saratoga Torrey Pine Friday, Aug.12th

August 11, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

OB Torrey protest ed goodtree dist

The City of San Diego and Atlas Tree Service are planning on chopping down the Torrey Pine – “Esperanza” – on Saratoga Friday morning, August 12th.

A representative from the City informed John Ambert, head of the OB Planning Board today, Thursday, of the plans for Friday.

The City believes it has the proper documentation that proves the tree is unstable and is dangerous. This despite the fact that the residents who have halted the cutting so far are moving on hiring an independent arborist and Torrey Pine specialist. In fact, a GoFundMe has been set up to help finance a 3rd party evaluation.

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The Abortion Fight Goes On – Right Here in San Diego

August 11, 2016 by Source

Forced birthers intimidate and shame women at health clinic

Abortion story 1

By Anne M. Haule /San Diego Free Press

The shouts of the “religious” zealots ring in my ears as I help escort patients from their cars to the front door of a local family planning clinic that provides abortion services one morning per week.

Armed with earplugs to hand out to patients who don’t wish to hear the abuse, I take the elevator up to stand by the door of the clinic.

Today the zealots are carrying large signs with graphic photos of bloody aborted fetuses and words claiming that Jesus saves and babies are not body parts. The good news is the “preacher” with a voice louder than the decibel limit who bellows out the scripture is not here today.

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Saving the Saratoga Torrey Pine – a Waiting Game

August 10, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

OB Torrey protest shift 3 ed1

Organizers Have Created Tree Watch Shifts – Zapf and Mayor Are No-Shows

Directly across the street from “Esparenza” – the name protesters have given the Torrey Pine target for chopping – is a small group of local residents sitting in chairs, eating, talking, reading.

They’re the current shift on Saratoga Street doing a “watch” for any signs of Atlas Tree Service crews or equipment. If they are sighted, then the call goes out to dozens of residents and supporters to gather at the Torrey Pine.

They were there today, Wednesday, by 7 a.m. – some having breakfast and coffee. They told this reporter that an Atlas “scout” truck drove by to check them out and just drove on.

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Another Landmark Sails Away as Local Restaurant Families Develop “Monopolies”

August 9, 2016 by Judi Curry

PL Red Sails Inn

Many of us have heard awhile ago about how Anthony’s Fish Grotto has to move out of their prime location along Harbor Drive by the end of 2016. What I hadn’t heard was that the property was taken over by the owners of the Brigantine restaurant network, the Morton family.

I became appalled when I heard this not too long ago – and I was even sitting at a window seat at the Grotto – and I honestly think that I could see the Brigantine on Shelter Island from that window.

Now just more recently, I have heard – and it’s verified by an employee – that the Red Sails Inn on Shelter Island is closing on August 31st and will be revamped and sold.

And guess who is buying it? Yeah, the same owners of the Brig.

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Extreme Weather Change: Devastating Heat

August 9, 2016 by John Lawrence

Extreme Weather WatchThere’s been an extreme weather change.

Two Middle Eastern locations hit 129 degrees F, the hottest temperatures ever recorded in earth’s history.

The temperature in Mitribah, Kuwait surged Thursday, July 21 to a blistering 129.2 degrees (54 Celsius). On Friday, the 22nd in Basra, Iraq, the mercury soared to 129.0 degrees (53.9 Celsius). At the same time, a heat dome in the US sent temperatures soaring to over 100º in much of the country.

A study published in the journal Nature Climate Change last October cautioned that by the end of the century temperatures may become too hot for human survival due to climate change.

Hottest Temps Ever Recorded

Last year was the hottest year ever globally — or it was until 2016 got off to a sweltering start. NASA announced that the first six months of this year have been the hottest since 1880, which is when people started keeping reliable records.

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Ocean Beach Residents Push Back Against City Plan to Chop Down Torrey Pine – Over a Dozen OBceans Gather Monday Morning

August 8, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

OB Torrey protest 8-4-16 circle best

Local Residents Gather at Torrey Pine Monday Morning – So Far, Atlas Is a No-Show

This morning – Monday, August 8th – around 7 a.m. – a dozen local residents of Ocean Beach gathered near a Torrey Pine on the 4600 block of Saratoga Avenue. They were waiting for the Atlas Tree Service trucks and crews to show to carry out the threat of chopping down the huge, sprawling tree – the last one on that side of the block.

An Atlas truck did make a stop around 8 a.m. – scouting the situation. By 9:30 this morning about 25 people “and lots of dogs” had come by the scene. Around 16 were still there, she said. Last week there was drama on Saratoga Avenue …

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Beach Community Group Condemns the City’s Push to Destroy a Critically Endangered Heritage Tree, the 3rd This Year.

August 8, 2016 by Source

OB Torrey Pine Friends of Pen Tree logo

From Friends of Peninsula Trees

Friends of Peninsula Trees, a tree conservation organization based in Ocean Beach and Point Loma, is leading the charge to condemn the City’s plan to cut down a Torrey Pine planted on Saratoga Avenue almost a century ago, the third of its kind destined for the chain saw this year. Recognized as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, Torrey Pines are found wild in only three places in the world, including San Diego.

Despite this, and the existence of a City Ordinance that protects Torrey Pines from being destroyed, the Atlas Tree Service – a tree removal company contracted by the City – arrived in the morning of August 4th on Saratoga Avenue, determined to chop this iconic Heritage tree.

Friends of Trees rallied to stay the execution of the pine, named Esperanza (“hope” in Spanish), along with neighbors and other fellow San Diegans from as far away as Alpine. When asked City personnel were unable to provide documentation of an independent botanist’s assessment of the tree’s health.

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City to Chop Down Another Torrey Pine on Saratoga – Locals to Protest

August 3, 2016 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for City to Chop Down Another Torrey Pine on Saratoga – Locals to Protest

It was announced at Wednesday night’s OB Planning Board meeting that the City is planning on chopping down another large and old Torrey Pine on the 4600 block of Saratoga Avenue.

The announcement immediately caused a stir in the packed audience (the packed house was for the presentation on the new 7-Eleven planned for OB) – and a number of people said they would be out there on that block on Thursday morning to protest.

On Tuesday, August 2, John Ambert – head of the Planning Board – was told in an email from John Ly of the Mayor’s office that regretfully, the tree was coming down this week.

The signs are already up. Signs limiting parking on that block have already been posted up and down the block.

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Nuclear Shutdown News for July 2016 – San Onofre Whistleblower: Utility Ruined its Own Nuke Plant.

August 2, 2016 by Michael Steinberg
Thumbnail image for Nuclear Shutdown News for July 2016 – San Onofre Whistleblower: Utility Ruined its Own Nuke Plant.

By Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the decline of the nuclear power industry in the US and beyond, and highlights the efforts of those who are working to create a nuclear free future. Here is out July 2016 report.

San Onofre whistleblower: Utility put profits above safety, ruined its own nuke plant.

A radiation leak at San Onofre nuclear plant in southern California caused its two reactors to shut down in in 2012, and resulted in its permanent closure the following year.

On July 19 the Times of San Diego reported on a press release by Public Watchdog, a nonprofit policy group, detailing allegations of a former employee at San Onofre. Southern California Edison is the controlling owner of the nuke plat, with San Diego Gas & Electric being a minority owner of the wrecked nuclear plant.

The whistleblower, Vinod Arora, is a former Edison fire protection engineer who worked at San Onofre.

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Outside Spaces, Hacienda del Sol, Cocktails, and Eternity – 2016 Summer Chronicles 7

August 1, 2016 by Jim Miller

By Jim Miller

roadrunnerAs I noted last week in my reminiscence about my Ocean Beach hideaway, the contemplation of outside space is sometimes intensified when put in sharp contrast with a small inner space.

And the quality of immensity that comes with this is, à la Bachelard, a kind of meditation –

“Far from the immensities of sea and land, merely through memory, we can recapture, by means of meditation, the resonances of this contemplation of grandeur.”

So if the sea provides local access to immensity on the coast, the Anza Borrego Desert is the home of our immensity of land. Vast, varied, and full of wonder, the largest desert state park in the United States covers 600,000 acres from the Lagunas to the lowest point of the floor below sea level. While lovely during the periods of spring wildflower bloom, one might best experience the solitary heart of the desert during the peak of the scorching summer heat.

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San Diegans Voice Concerns to State Officials About Air Quality, Environmental Justice, and Climate Change

July 29, 2016 by Source

By David Harris / San Diego 350

SD350 members David Harris, Eddie Junsay, Nicola Peill-Moelter, Roland Bleu, Michael Brackney and others participate in the energy tableWhat do you get when you bring together 120 environmental activists and residents from environmental justice communities in a room with a dozen state regulators?

If you’re lucky, dozens of ideas for incentivizing renewable energy, improving public transit, and protecting neighborhoods from toxic industrial fumes.

This is exactly what happened on July 14th when the California Air Resources Board (CARB) sponsored a workshop on climate change at the beautiful new Cesar Chavez campus in Barrio Logan.

Local residents, whose voices are rarely heard by policy makers in Sacramento, came out in force to speak out about air pollution from local industry, the need for better transit options, and the impacts of climate change on communities already impacted by poor air quality.

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On Love and Meritocracy – Part 2

July 28, 2016 by John Lawrence

There is No PhD in Love. Instead, there’s a ‘filtering out’ system

Love in San DiegoHere’s Part 1.

The educational system promotes “progress” in western terms that produces gadgets and labor saving devices while employing smaller and smaller numbers of highly educated people to do so.

Those people who have a high capacity to love or care for others are devalued as lesser human beings if they do not have high IQs and advanced degrees from prestigious institutions. They aren’t promoted in terms of the educational system.

There is no PhD in love.

The meritocracy is seen as deserving of billions of dollars. Highly educated professionals attain the highest reaches of government from which they declaim on the virtues of people like themselves.

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San Diego Web Thin Case Leads to Another 10 Minute Acquittal in Medical Cannabis Trial

July 22, 2016 by Source
Thumbnail image for San Diego Web Thin Case Leads to Another 10 Minute Acquittal in Medical Cannabis Trial

By Terrie BestSan Diego Americans for Safe Access

The thin-as-air manufacturing case against medical cannabis patient and collective operator, Shaun Smith swept so quickly through trial that before we knew it, Attorney Michael Cindrich had queued up his third cannabis-related not guilty verdict in four months.

The Cindrich winning streak started with defendant John Mazula in El Cajon, moved north to LA and then touched down in San Diego County’s Vista yesterday – surely making waves in District Attorney’s office and changing the landscape for medical cannabis patients.

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