Environment

Reader Rant: The Case of the Shrinking Park : Where Is the Park Promised to Mission Beach in New Large Development at Former School Site?

February 12, 2016 by Source
Thumbnail image for Reader Rant: The Case of the Shrinking Park : Where Is the Park Promised to Mission Beach in New Large Development at Former School Site?

Mission Beach Residents Upset With Loss of Park, Size of Proposed Buildings and Loss of Alleys

By Mike Meyers

There is a current proposal to build 63 three bedroom condos and a park on the former school property by the developers McKeller/McGowan from La Jolla. The property was acquired by auction in May 2013 from the San Diego School District for $18.5 million. The property located in Mission Beach is 2.23 acres. (see attachment A)

Voting by San Diego Planning Commission and City Council will be within the next two months. The elementary school closed in 1973 to students. It has been used by the school district as instructional coaching to teachers and as administrative office until 2011.

The site will include 20 buildings overall. Each unit will have 3 bedrooms and 2 parking spaces. There are different numbers of units in some of the buildings, there will be 10 buildings with 3 units each. 7 buildings with 4 units each. All the buildings will be 3 stories high at thirty feet.

The developers have somehow divided the property which means the city required park has been reduced in their opinion. Plus both parts use the same architect and building style. The northern part call Mission Beach Residences with 51 units and south part is called Santa Barbara Place Residences with 12 units.

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Want to Know How Much Water Your Neighbors Use?

February 12, 2016 by Anna Daniels

City of San Diego residents—look at your water bill

By Anna Daniels / San Diego Free Press

Click for larger imageWe were told last year that our water rates in the City of San Diego would go up on January 1st of 2016. That prompted me to look a little more closely at the most recent bill which includes December and January.

This year’s bill for the winter months, when outside watering was unnecessary, broke a hundred dollars for the first time.

Yes, the rates have gone up. But in addition to the amount due, other information on the bill caught my eye.

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Coastal Commissioners’ Voting Records on Environment – 2015

February 11, 2016 by Source

Calif Coastal Comm chart

COME INSIDE TO SEE LARGER VERSION WITH CLICK

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OB Planning Board Head on Torrey Pines: ‘Crews Had No Authorization, Gave No Notice, City Did Not Engage Community, Plus Possible Conflict of Interest’

February 11, 2016 by Source
Thumbnail image for OB Planning Board Head on Torrey Pines: ‘Crews Had No Authorization, Gave No Notice, City Did Not Engage Community, Plus Possible Conflict of Interest’

Editor: John Ambert is the Chair of the OB Planning Board. While on Tuesday, Feb. 9th, the city moved to cut down the Torrey Pines on Saratoga, Ambert spent much of the day behind the scenes trying to get answers and force the city to reconsider its action. We applaud him for those efforts and post the following memo he sent Councilwoman Zapf’s office. His points are spot-on.

By John Ambert

On-Site Permitting: The Atlas crew could not produce any permits today what so ever. No Tree work permit, no road closure permit, no authorization from the city. Absolutely nothing. If this is indeed for emergency purposes, this kind of activity must have some sort of authorization from the City to demonstrate this is a coordinated activity. Also there was no notice provided to residents or postings around the area. The city needs to do much better in this department.

Community Engagement:

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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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BREAKING NEWS: California Coastal Commission Fires Executive Director

February 10, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

calif coast comm 2-10-16

After 7 hours of public testimony – most in favor of Charles Lester – the embattled executive director of the Coastal Commission – and after an hour of closed session, the Commission just announced that they had fired Lester in a 7 to 5 vote.

This vote will go down in California history as a sad victory for developers and developer lobbyists who want a weaker staff and a more developer-friendly California Coastal Commission. Now our 1,100 miles of coastline will be up for grabs by the wealthy and those with connections.

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Local Ocean Beach Man Temporarily Blocks Cutting Down of Torrey Pines

February 10, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

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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
Thumbnail image for Tsunami of Opposition Meets Move to Oust Coastal Commission Head of Staff

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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Man’s Body Found Off Osprey Street in Sunset Cliffs Area

February 8, 2016 by Staff
Thumbnail image for Man’s Body Found Off Osprey Street in Sunset Cliffs Area

A man’s body was found in the water off Osprey Street in the Sunset Cliffs area of Point Loma late Sunday morning, Feb. 6th.

A photographer in a private helicopter first spotted the body about a half mile to 3/4’s of a mile off Osprey around 11:30 a.m. Police were notified and they sent their own helicopter, which at first, it appears, could not see the body.

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February Events Calendar for the OBcean of Conscience

February 5, 2016 by Staff

Hands AcossSandPic

February 10th Wednesday, 6pm –Coastal Commission Public Participation Hearing;
Scottish Rite Center, 1895 Camino Del Rio South (Off I-8); attend and speak out against the current effort to sack Coastal Commission executive director Charles Lester.

February 11 Thursday 7 p.m. Film night “Years of Living Dangerously“; We will be continuing with the Emmy award winning 2014 documentary focusing on global warming. Free of Charge :-)

Every Saturday at 10:00 a.m. -Climate Mobilization Coalition Meeting – February 6th, February 13th, February 20th, February 27th

February 12th Friday 6:30 p.m. Film Showing: “This Changes Everything” Sierra Club, 8304 Clairmont Mesa Boulevard #101, 92111.

AND MUCH MORE ….

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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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Is This Encroachment Into Our Public Space?

February 4, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

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Take a look at these photos …

This is The Joint at the intersection of Newport and Cable setting up an outside eating area.

We’ve been contacted by a reader who objects to this encroachment on more than half of the public sidewalk by both The Joint and the soon-to-be-open OB Brewery closer to the ocean.

Here is what reader “CG” says:

The sidewalk expansion of several restaurants is starting to impede pedestrians, and I noticed just recently that The Joint on Cable and Newport has staked out a large area for future tables with metal fencing with permanent posts in the cement.

The Joint is at the busiest corner of the Farmer’s Market at Newport and Cable. . They’ve clearly claimed more than half of the sidewalk without regard the other obstacles like the water meter, street light, and traffic light.

With the street light and a water meter also on the sidewalk and just opposite, I don’t see how anyone in a wheelchair can pass without asking others to move. And, I’m also concerned about the foot traffic being impacted on that corner during Farmers’ Market or just regular foot traffic on a sunny day.

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A Call for OBceans and Point Lomans to Support “the Conscience of OB”

February 3, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

Ben Franklin press

Michael Turko of the well-known “Turko Files” once said that the OB Rag “is the conscience of OB.”

We are humbled by his compliment. And we also think that if you – dear reader – peruse the following list of gains and achievements for Ocean Beach that the OB Rag was instrumental in making happen, then you, too, would agree with Turko.

And if you do agree with Turko, then we appeal to you to support our efforts to maintain an online newspaper for Ocean Beach and the Peninsula.

Consider these:

Saving the OB Library. The OB Rag was instrumental in helping save the OB Library from closing its doors when it was on Mayor Sanders’ butcher block.

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OB Planning Board Agenda – Wed., Feb. 3

February 3, 2016 by Staff

Feb. Meeting Is Last Meeting for Any Potential Board Candidates to Attend to Qualify

Here is the agenda for the OB Planning Board’s monthly meeting, which meets Wednesday night, February 3rd, at the OB Recreation Center, located at 4722 Santa Monica Ave. The meeting usually begins very close to 6pm.

Of note is the fact that this meeting is the last meeting any potential Board candidate may attend in order to qualify. All candidates must have attended at least one Board meeting before the Board’s annual election on March 2nd in order to qualify as a Board candidate. 7 of the Board’s 14 seats are up for grabs.

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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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100 Year Old Tree at OB Elementary Falls Victim to El Nino Winds

February 2, 2016 by Staff

OB Damage 2-2-16 ElemSchool 2

A one-hundred year old tree in the courtyard of OB Elementary School was a victim of the strong El Nino winds that hit Ocean Beach and San Diego on Sunday and Monday, Jan. 31st and Feb. 1st.

Fox5 covered the tragedy and this is part of their report:

“It’s so sad. The kids are just so sad to see it go….It’s part of our school, a part of our tradition,” said 2nd grade teacher Angela Wunder, who has been teaching at the school for decades.

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More Debate on Short-Term Vacation Rentals in San Diego

February 2, 2016 by Source
Thumbnail image for More Debate on Short-Term Vacation Rentals in San Diego

Editor: In the spirit of continuing the public discussion on short term vacation rentals here in San Diego and at the beach, we offer the following by our friend, John P Anderson, a proponent of short term rentals – whose views on this issue clearly depart from ours.

Some Market Thoughts on Short-Term Rentals in San Diego

By John P Anderson

The topic of short-term rentals in San Diego continues to be debated and potential rules / changes to rules will be a hot topic in 2016.

After ending 2015 with a well attended Planning Commission meeting in December it looks like the next official meeting / hearing will be in late February or March at the City Council. It is sure to be a long hearing, with hundreds of San Diegans attending and providing commentary both for and against short-term accommodations in San Diego neighborhoods.

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Got Damage From the Storm?

February 1, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

OB damage 2-1-16 02

Just about every neighborhood has a tree or large branch down.

Check these out. Palm tree down on Bolinas – …

Got any photos of wind or sea damage to share? Send them in to obragblog@gmail.com

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Televangelist Morris Cerullo Plans Biblical Disneyland in Mission Valley

January 29, 2016 by Source
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Controversial televangelist’s massive project up for review

By Ken Williams / Mission Valley News

A controversial Pentecostal televangelist who recently purchased the San Diego Resort Hotel complex in Mission Valley has proposed a massive mixed-use redevelopment project that would include a religious retreat, underground catacombs, a Jerusalem-style Wailing Wall, an outdoor amphitheater and bazaar, a TV studio, and timeshare units for his followers.

Morris Cerullo — the 84-year-old televangelist who proclaims to be a faith healer and miracle worker — bases his global ministry at 3545 Aero Court in San Diego’s Serra Mesa neighborhood. The proposed Morris Cerullo Legacy International Center would be built at 875 Hotel Circle South on 18.1 acres located off Interstate 8 in Mission Valley.

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Councilwoman Zapf and Her Cameras at Issue at OB Town Council Meeting

January 29, 2016 by Source
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Report from the Ocean Beach Town Council Meeting – Wednesday, January 27 – 2016

By Activist of OB

The first meeting of the Ocean Beach Town Council (OBTC) for the new year was highly attended (Hooray!) by both community members and local media.

What motivated the crowds? Perhaps New Year’s Resolutions to be more involved, perhaps the Girl Scout cookies being sold in the back of the room, heck….even District 2 elected City Councilmember Lorie Zapf was physically present! Wow!

Zapf Surprised at Turnout and Media Presence

Councilmember Lorie Zapf approached the front of the room and voiced her surprise by all of the media present, nervously laughing as she commented that she told her family she was just going to an OBTC meeting.

I said to myself “Yep, Welcome to OB, Lorie Zapf”.

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The Lessons of Porter Ranch

January 29, 2016 by Source

Porter Ranch image

By Nicola Peill-Moelter, Ph.D. / SanDiego 350.org

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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Push-Back Against Pro-Developer Coup at California Coastal Commission

January 27, 2016 by Frank Gormlie
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Showdown at Commission Meeting on Feb. 10th

Things are really heating up at the California Coastal Commission, the independent state agency that is the guardian of the 1100 mile California coastline. Nothing is at stake except what’s left of the pristine nature of our coastline and the future ability of Californians to have access to it.

What’s going on – and there’s no way to mince words about it – is that there is a movement afoot on the 12 member board of commissioners to engineer a coup – to fire Charles Lester, the executive director of the Coastal Commission’s staff.

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Rebuild San Diego: Snake Oil or Cure for Local Infrastructure?

January 27, 2016 by Doug Porter

post-office-potholeBy Doug Porter

This week local politicos will be making the rounds, led by Mayor Kevin Faulconer and City Councilman Mark Kersey, promising to repair San Diego’s infrastructure. Potholes big enough to be named, geysers from broken water mains regular enough to be a tourist attractions and crumbling sidewalks unsafe at any walking speed are facts of life in America’s Finest City.

Smiling faces from city hall will be front and center in the media, pitching Councilmember Kersey’s “Rebuild San Diego” ballot measure promising three decades worth of improvement with no tax increases. If it sounds too good to be true, that’s because it probably is.

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You can’t ‘take back’ public lands. They already belong to all of us.

January 26, 2016 by Source

The extremists occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge are missing the point.

By Jamie Williams / Washington Post / January 25, 2016

(Jamie Williams is president of the Wilderness Society)

The extremists occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge may have thought they were “taking back” seized land on behalf of local ranchers. In reality, these gun-toting intruders are attempting to seize land that belongs to all of us. Their actions are nothing less than an attack on the property and the rights of the American people.

The misguided protesters believe that this treasured wildlife refuge, a sanctuary for more than 300 bird species, should be handed over to a small group of rule-breakers to exploit and profit from as they wish, at the expense of the public and of future generations.

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A Beach, Burb, and Billionaire “Citizens’ Plan” for San Diego’s Urban Neighborhoods

January 26, 2016 by Source

Photo by Doug Porter Overlooking tailgate park and MTS building Photo by Doug Porter

Editor: Some months ago Attorney Cory Briggs and others rolled out the “Citizens’ Plan for the Responsible Management of Major Tourism and Entertainment Resources,” better known as the Citizens Plan. They are hoping to have this on the November 2016 ballot as an alternative to the current tourism/development scheme, which is dominated by hotel industry’s financial interests.

By Bill Adams / San Diego UrbDeZine

They’re calling it the “Citizens’ Plan” initiative. Like all such initiatives, the name is misleading. Said citizens are an alliance of a billionaire and a few advocates for a limited selection of public interests. Not included are the citizens who are most impacted nor the economic interests of the City’s working populace. Citizen Kane Plan might be a more appropriate name for the way it attempts to manipulate public opinion into believing it is a grassroots plan.

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