Ocean Beach Hero Dissed by U-T Editorial

February 11, 2016 by Frank Gormlie
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Geoff Page’s Stand for the Torrey Pines Mocked by Editorial

An editorial in today’s San Diego Union-Tribune was critical of OB’s “Torrey Pines Hero”, the “Man of the Hour” – the guy who brought to a halt – temporarily – Tuesday’s cutting down of two of the trees – Geoff Page.

The editorial took Page to task and mocked his compassion for standing up for the Torrey Pines on the 4600 block of Saratoga in Ocean Beach.

Page had physically blocked work crews from cutting down one of the Torreys, demanding that the workers, the arborist, the city – somebody! – produce the required permits for what they were doing. Page insisted that the work permit as well as the street control permit be shown upon request – as is required.

After hours of delay, the permits were brought to the site. Page and other locals who had gathered in support of him and in opposition to the city’s action relented and walked away. Crews finished cutting them down – and some crew members posed in front of the stumps as if they were trophies.

In raising the cry of “how many damaged trees” are out there and need cutting down, the U-T editorial took on Page by name. Here’s their reference:

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Fukushima, Chernobyl, Santa Susana, San Onofre… and Rocky Flats

February 11, 2016 by Source

Our controversial nuclear legacy and questions about health, truth and future risks

By Nicole Hoepner

sdfp onofre back upSleeping dragons. Stirring the thin blankets of secret cold-war facilities, nuclear power plants and feebly stored radioactive waste.

We quietly sneak around their massive shadows. We tell our children fairy tales of mankind’s control over technology, over nature.

The story of The Atom That Is Keeping Us Safe, but then the unexpected happens and unspeakable horrors awaken and unleash their terror.

People in Southern California have such a sleeping dragon right in their neighborhood: the San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant. Although shut down, it is home to 1,631 tons of radioactive waste. The waste (a witches brew containing plutonium, uranium and cesium, which will be harmful for over 250,000 years) is stored in ill-designed temporary caskets.

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Local Ocean Beach Man Temporarily Blocks Cutting Down of Torrey Pines

February 10, 2016 by Frank Gormlie


It was not a tense stand-off yesterday at the cutting of Torrey Pines on the 4600 block of Saratoga Avenue , but for several hours it was a stand-off – as a local OB man physically blocked the work crew.

Geoff Page, a local resident and contractor, stood in the way of work crews from Atlas Tree Service, until, he insisted, they or the City produced permits for what they were doing. And he wasn’t going to budge until they did.

As soon as he took his position, work on cutting down the two Torrey Pines targeted by the City completely halted, and both the tree service crews and the crane service crews took a several-hour break.

Both Geoff and Atlas called the police. Four to 5 officers did show up. They explained that they were there to “control the peace”.

About twenty residents appeared or came out to the scene over the course of a couple hours – some to come to Page’s support, others to mingle and talk to the media or other neighbors.

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Ocean Beach’s Famous Torrey Pines on Saratoga Avenue Being Cut Down

February 9, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

OB Torrey Pines Saratoga cut

OBceans Are Being Asked to Call Zapf’s Office – 236-6622 to Complain

The City of San Diego has determined that at least two of the 80 year old Torrey Pines on Saratoga Avenue in Ocean Beach must be cut down. And the city wheeled out Atlas Tree Service and they have been cutting the trees down bit by bit, limb by limb.

The Torrey Pines, a protected species, are at least 75 feet in height.

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Tsunami of Opposition Meets Move to Oust Coastal Commission Head of Staff

February 8, 2016 by Frank Gormlie
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Showdown Looms for Feb. 10th-12th at Commission Monthly Hearing

A virtual tsunami of opposition has met the move on the California Coastal Commission to oust the head of its staff, Charles Lester. The move – called “a coup” by environmentalists – is an attempt by the pro-development clique of commissioners to remove Lester who is the Executive Director.

And the move is in the middle of a key decision by the Commission on the fate of a huge development project near Newport Beach of million dollar mansions.

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Quality Of Life Coalition Calls on SANDAG to Place Vision on Ballot

February 8, 2016 by Jim Miller

quality of lifeBy Jim Miller

In a recent interview, Naomi Klein discussed the reality facing anyone interested in promoting meaningful climate action.

The “structural problem” we face, according to Klein, is that people can “simultaneously understand the medium to long term risks of climate change” and still believe it is in their “short term economic [or political] interest” to continue business as usual.

This is precisely the situation concerned San Diegans face when dealing with the San Diego Association of Governments’ (SANDAG) limited vision when it comes to taking the actions needed to address the pressing threat of climate change at the local level.

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Calling on SANDAG to Invest in Better Transit, Safer Streets, Good Jobs and Clean Air

February 5, 2016 by Source

EHC Monique

Will SANDAG’s proposed sales tax increase serve your community’s needs?

By Monique López / Environmental Health Coalition

We all need to move. How we get from place to place is deeply connected to our quality of life.

Unfortunately, not all communities have the same access to healthy, safe, reliable and affordable transportation options, such as public transit and biking and walking paths.

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Local Gardens: A Healthy Way to Build Communities

February 3, 2016 by Source

Community garden Jaxport via Flickr

By Jill Richardson / Common Dreams

Mark Winne, an author and anti-hunger activist, often says that the most important word in “community garden” isn’t “garden.” I saw this firsthand not long ago.

Standing in the sun between several small garden plots all morning, it may not have looked like much was going on. A few people stood in a circle, chatting. Occasionally, one would leave, or another would arrive. Several others were nearby, working in their garden plots.

Some of the people were black. Some were white. And two — a mother and child — appeared Southeast Asian.

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Pinyon-Juniper Forests: BLM is a Ranching Industry Tool

February 2, 2016 by Source

Public lands ranching is destroying the Western United States

Cattle watering station near Cave Valley, NVCattle watering station near Cave Valley, NV (Photo: Max Wilbert)

By Will Falk/ San Diego Free Press

Public lands ranching is destroying the Western United States. It has pushed native plant species to the brink of extinction. It causes soil to erode so quickly the land cannot keep up. Livestock are poisoning and depleting water supplies, killing perennial stream flows, and are making it increasingly difficult for surface water to accumulate.

Stockmen and the animals they raise have devastated populations of iconic American animals like bison, elk, pronghorn, and sage-grouse.

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The Lessons of Porter Ranch

January 29, 2016 by Source

Porter Ranch image

By Nicola Peill-Moelter, Ph.D. / SanDiego

The massive leak at the Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility is a stark example of why natural gas is a significant health and safety risk and not a bridge fuel to our clean energy future. The facility, the second largest in the U.S., stores vast amounts of natural gas at high pressure in underground wells once used for oil extraction more than fifty years ago.

On or about October 23rd a rupture in a 60-year old injection well pipe a thousand feet underground initiated the leak. At its peak the leak had an estimated rate of one-hundred twenty-five thousand pounds of methane per hour. To date, the cumulative emissions from this single source is equivalent to 25% of the state’s annual methane emissions from major sources like agriculture and landfills, equivalent to the annual climate pollution of almost half a million cars.

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Living and Working In Poverty in San Diego : Excerpt From “Sunshine/Noir II”

January 28, 2016 by Source

homeless photo Photo by quinntheislander (Pixabay)

Grim Reality in “America’s Finest City”

By Susan Duerksen

“Living in poverty” is one of those shorthand terms that rolls easily off the tongues of news anchors and politicians before they turn to the next topic. We all tend to glaze over the full meaning of the phrase, the grinding day-to-day misery of hunger, worry, discomfort, exhaustion, and despair.

In the city of San Diego, the proportion and number of people living in poverty edged up in 2013. It should have gone down. Instead, 7,000 more people in the city live in poverty now, in addition to the 202,000 who remain in that dire situation from the previous year.

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Ocean Beach Therapist Opens Her “Office” at the Beach

January 28, 2016 by Matthew Wood
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Beachfront Therapist is Ready to Listen

By Matthew Wood

It’s Thursday afternoon, which means Gina Smith is at her normal post by the beach … waiting to talk.

The licensed therapist has made the grassy area at Veteran’s Plaza her office hours of sorts, bringing two chairs and a sign that says the “Listener Is In.”

“It’s a play on the Lucy, Peanuts thing,” she said. “I thought it was cool and fitting.”

Listening is exactly what Smith, 66, wants to do. She moved to OB in September of 2014 after coming to visit her son and newborn grandchild.

“I came to OB and was like, ‘Wait, did I step in a time warp?’” she said. “I love the community and the people.”

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Nuclear Shutdown News – January 2016

January 25, 2016 by Michael Steinberg

san onofreBy Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the decline and fall of the US nuclear power industry, and beyond, and highlights the efforts of those who are working to create a nuclear free future.

San Onofre May Be Contaminated

On the last day of last year San Diego’s NBC 7 TV ran a story “Portions of San Onofre May Be Contaminated.”

The San Onofre nuclear plant unexpectedly and permanently shut down in 2013. Southern California Edison is the major owner, with San Diego Gas and Electric its minority partner.

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San Diego Commons at the Crossroads: the Sell-Off of ‘Excess’ Properties

January 20, 2016 by Source

“Why didn’t you ask the neighbors and the community what they might think?”

By Jay Powell / San Diego Free Press

This past week San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced as one of the key highlights of his State of the City that he is bringing forward “the first comprehensive vision for San Diego’s parks in more than 60 years” and promised that “ground would be broken on 50 new or upgraded parks during the next five years. “

Actual budgets are always a reality check on visionary pronouncements. By April we should know if and how this vision will be reflected in the upcoming Fiscal Year 2017 budget. There is a need for yet another kind of reality check.

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Large Crack Along Sunset Cliffs Bluff Poses Danger

January 19, 2016 by Staff
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A large crack has appeared along a bluff at Sunset Cliffs and poses a huge danger to people on the top of the Cliffs as well as those on the beach, rocks and or in the surf below.

The fracture – described by CBS8 as 5 feet wide and 250 feet long – is located at the south western boundary of Sunset Cliffs Natural Park. The crack in the bluff is right above a beach often visited by Point Loma Nazarene University students, surfers and park visitors.

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Stone Fruit, Roses and the Wet Winter Garden

January 18, 2016 by Source

boots rain 1_5_16 Photo: Anna Daniels

By Susan Taylor

San Diego has had so much rain that while gardeners can continue to start cool weather crops we can also give the soil a break and think about other garden projects. The ground, beds and pots are all saturated so we can leave them alone for a bit.

This is the season to prune roses and stone fruit trees (plums, peaches and so on). AND, it is also time to plant new roses and fruit trees as well. Nurseries are flooded with bare root roses and trees. Bare root means that the plant was grown to be transplanted and is packed carefully for purchase and planting into your space!

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Emergency Shelter for San Diego’s Most Vulnerable

January 18, 2016 by Source

homeless children Screen shot: KPBS Homeless Babies and Toddlers Endure Tough Long Days on San Diego Streets (video)

By Jeeni Criscenzo / San Diego Free Press

Using school data, we can prove that close to 10,000 families in San Diego County are homeless and are not included in the Point-in-Time Count (PITC) that is conducted every year throughout the country to determine how to allocate HUD funds for homelessness programs.

[C]lose to 10,000 families in San Diego County are homeless and are not included in the Point-in-Time Count [used] … to determine how to allocate HUD funds for homelessness programs.

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Suburban Sprawl Continues Creep Across Desert

January 15, 2016 by Source
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By Shaun Gonzalez / Mojave Desert Blog

The revival of the housing market has renewed a perennial threat to desert wildlands – urban sprawl. Developers are considering plans for large new suburban developments across the southwest, years after such large developments mostly stalled when the housing industry began to crash in 2006.

At a time when most of our efforts have been focused on protecting public lands from industrial-scale development, urban sprawl underscores the need for local efforts to protect open space under private ownership.

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European Refugees Are Better Off than San Diego’s Homeless

January 13, 2016 by John Lawrence

calais jungleBy John Lawrence

Amy Goodman did a recent show about the refugees living in a camp in Calais, France. She walked around the camp interviewing several refugees all of whom spoke good English.

Most of these people were sleeping in tents similar to the ones you see on the sidewalks of San Diego. Some had built simple structures.

As she walked around, I began to notice some facilities that they had there which are nowhere to be found for the San Diego homeless. First I noticed a dumpster. There’s no dumpster for San Diego’s homeless. The trash just gets left on the street.

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Reader Rant: ‘It Would Be Disastrous if SeaWorld Proceeded With Hotel Construction and Workers Hit Another Pocket of Toxic Waste’

January 12, 2016 by Source
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Debate Continues on Whether SeaWorld Can Built Hotel on its Present Site

By B. Ross

The area for the old, Mission Bay landfill that CK cites, in the article written to refute the OB Rag’s estimate of its area, is not accurate. Besides, the estimates for the size of the landfill are based on aerial photographs from that era. The City destroyed the majority of the records related to the landfill, which makes it impossible to prove either analysis correct. The study of the dump site was undertaken in 2005, so why point to 2002 data?

The Reader, San Diego UT and other sources in 2006 showed an area that is bigger than what CK shows and smaller than the map from the OB Rag story.

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An Author Walks Among Us – A Review of “Casualties”

January 8, 2016 by Judi Curry
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This is a review of a novel by Elizabeth Marro

The title of this article is truer than the reader knows.

I first met Elizabeth Marro – “Betsy” – while we were walking our dogs down the streets of Ocean Beach. As dog owners are wont to do, we began talking and I found out that she was an author; was aware of some of my articles for the OB Rag.

She told me she was writing a book, and I offered to read it for her when she was finished with it. It wasn’t long after that that she sent me her draft, and I loved it. I told her that when it was ready for publication to let me know and I’d do a review of it for her and was anxious to see if she had made any changes.

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Sea World & Mission Bay: No Place to Play?

January 7, 2016 by Doug Porter

seaworld2A group called Save Everyone’s Access has filed suit, seeking to halt construction of SeaWorld’s Blue World Project. The proposed addition to the waterpark would incorporate a 50-foot-deep, 1.5-acre-wide, ten-million-gallon tank to house killer whales and a 40-foot below-grade viewing area for visitors.

According to a story by Dorian Hargrove in the Reader, the group is asking a judge to order the park to study the potential environmental impacts related to toxic waste buried in the area back when it was used as a city landfill.

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The Most Hated Man in America – Uber Capitalist Martin Shkreli – Is Arrested

December 30, 2015 by John Lawrence

The Poster Boy for Corporate Greed

ShkreliBy John Lawrence

Martin Shkreli, CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, who bought the drug, Daraprim and then raised the price from $13.50 to $750. a pill was arrested on December 17 by the FBI on fraud charges having nothing to do with his price gouging with Daraprim.

Shkreli seemed to back off on his 5000% increase for a life-saving drug after he received a lot of negative publicity but later said that he wished that he had raised the price of the drug even more. A silent chorus went up all over America, “He’s getting what he so richly deserves!” It does seem like Karma, doesn’t it?

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Sunset Cliffs: 2015 Turning Out to Be Most Dangerous and Deadly Year

December 29, 2015 by Frank Gormlie

sunset cliffs bench newBack in mid-October we published a chronicle of deaths and serious injuries that have occurred at or around Sunset Cliffs in Ocean Beach and Point Loma over the last 10 to 11 years, from 2005 through 2015.

Now with this most recent death of a man visiting from the Mid-West who fell off the cliffs while viewing his mobile device, this year – 2015 – looks to be the worst in terms of deaths and injuries.

This tragic death made national and even international news. What didn’t make the news was how dangerous and deadly our beautiful cliffs can be.

Back in mid-October, we summarized the incidents and came up with an average of 3 deaths and serious injuries per year, from 2005 to the present. We found that 2015 was already one of the worst years of these incidents.

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SeaWorld Supporters Take on OB Rag and Frank Gormlie

December 22, 2015 by Staff
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There is a small group of SeaWorld supporters (apologists?) who have directly taken on the OB Rag and editor Frank Gormlie. They have a blog and posted a recent article calling out Gormlie by name in a headline refuting his claims about SeaWorld.

About a month ago, Gormlie wrote an article entitled “Why SeaWorld Can’t Build a Hotel at its Location on Mission Bay“, citing the proximity of the old Mission Bay landfill which is known to contain toxic materials.

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“Relax into Now” Workshop

December 16, 2015 by Judi Curry
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“Relax into Now” Workshop – December 17

Two Brighton Avenue neighbors named “Mary” are teaming up to bring a new kind of event to OB.

They came up with – “Relax Into Now” – an interactive evening of “playful paths to the present” through movement, rhythm and sound. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it.

The concept was born on the massage table as therapist Mary Owen and client Mary Tolena played with workshop ideas. Mary O teaches yoga, and Mary T’s passion is creating group experiences with rhythm and drumming. They have envisioned a fun, uplifting program that will create easy access to the benefits from both.

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Environmental Activists in Paris and San Diego: We Want More

December 15, 2015 by Doug Porter

climate greetingsBy Doug Porter

One hundred ninety nations reached an agreement in Paris this past weekend, theoretically setting the world on a path towards reducing carbon emissions. The San Diego City Council is poised to bless the long awaited Climate Action Plan. People took to the streets of Paris and the byways of Balboa Park over the weekend to affirm their commitment to seeing the challenges of climate change acted upon.

At last!–or so we’re told–there are processes in place to help save the planet, or at least, humanity’s position at the top of the food chain. The truth, however, is much different that the hype. Consider these deals “hope” without the “change.”

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Ex-SeaWorld Employee Gives Chilling New Details About Orca Mistreatment

December 11, 2015 by Source
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By Ameena Schelling/ The Dodo / December 8, 2015

The past few years have seen a stream of former SeaWorld employees speak out about their time at the company. Now another employee is stepping forward — and revealing even more details about just how poorly the parks’ animals are treated.

Sarah Fischbeck joined SeaWorld San Diego as a water quality diver right after high school in 2007. During six years with the company, she worked jobs across the animal departments, performing maintenance on tanks and cleaning them, and regularly diving with the animals.

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SDG&E: Solar’s Fake Friend

December 11, 2015 by Source
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By Hutton Marshall/

San Diego Gas & Electric, our friendly neighborhood energy provider whether we like it or not, continues to prove that their claims to support clean energy are merely superficial. Especially in regards to solar energy, the most efficient, environmentally friendly energy source available to homes and businesses, SDG&E continues to favor policies that diminish the critical financial incentives that allow San Diegans to generate their own clean energy.

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Widder Curry Predicts “Fall” of OB Sushi

December 8, 2015 by Judi Curry
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Editor: A local OB restaurant is in the news, but not for good reasons. The operator of OB Sushi was just convicted of seafood fraud for serving fake “lobster rolls” – along with 7 other operators of sushi restaurants across San Diego.
Well, our own Widder Curry predicted all of this – not necessarily the fraudulent lobster – but the poor quality of the food – and service – in her most recent review – before the news broke. Here it is:

Restaurant Review – OB SUSHI SUSHI – Gets a “C” From the Widder Curry

Recently, my friend David and I decided we were hungry and ventured down Newport Avenue to grab a bite to eat. The first sushi restaurant we passed was crowded and noisy so we decided to walk a few stores down to the “OB Sushi Sushi” house. I noticed as we were greeted by a friendly person at the door, that the restaurant was in the process of changing hands but it was open, was clean, and we were hungry.

The first thing I felt was the extreme cold of the environment.

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