A Bank Too Big to Jail

March 26, 2015 by John Lawrence

Attorney General Eric Holder will leave office with a perfect record of not having busted a single senior banker

hsbc-logo2By John Lawrence

The bank, HSBC, has been involved in criminal enterprises from dealing with terrorists and drug dealers to advising clients how to escape paying taxes. Yet no HSBC banker has gone to jail.

Dealing with drug dealers is nothing new for HSBC, also known as the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation. They have always been associated with drugs. Founded in 1865, HSBC became the major commercial bank in colonial China after the conclusion of the Second Opium War. That’s the war in which European powers forced the Chinese to legalize the drug trade.

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News from OB and Around the Point

March 25, 2015 by Staff
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Stabbing In Saratoga Park Saturday Night A young, unidentified man was stabbed Saturday night, March 21,

New City Planner for OB Community Plan – Rumored to Go Before Coastal in August Ocean Beach has a new planner from the city

When is the OB People’s Organic Food Co-op’s Election? There will be an election for the Board of Directors for the organic market on Voltaire Street.

VOSD in OB The online publication the Voice of San Diego is planning on taking over the Masonic Center

Beers & Bikes Wheel in OB and Point LomaBikes & Beers will literally wheel into Ocean Beach, Mission Bay on March 28, as the 2nd annual

City Council Approves $750,000 to Restore Crystal PierThe City Council unanimously voted to finish a $1.2 million dollar restoration project


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The Spring Garden Thing!

March 25, 2015 by Source

By Susan Taylor

The flatlanders in San Diego had somewhere between 1-2 inches of rain recently and I hear the call of school gardens asking, “Can we plant something?” Of course we can, so let’s get going.

On a recent stroll along the boardwalk towards South Mission Beach, I dipped into the tiny streets between the boardwalk and Mission Blvd and saw so many interesting growing things.

One idea I’ve already tried is to take a hanging succulent cutting, let it harden off for a couple of days and here’s what’s next–wrap a handful of soil around the root (to be) end and then add some coir or even a paper towel. Moisten the whole wrap and nest it into the crotch of a tree branch.

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OB Woman’s Club to Hold Rummage Sale – Sat., March 21

March 20, 2015 by Staff
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The Ocean Beach Woman’s Club is holding their annual rummage sale on this Saturday, March 21 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. They’re located at 2160 Bacon Street.

The Club is accepting items to sell today – Friday – from 4 to 7 p.m. at their Club house. They’d especially appreciate quality items to sell, like new and almost-new things like furniture, jewelry, housewares, books, small appliances, electronics, kitchenware, sporting goods, tools, kids items and gardening equipment. Larger items can be picked up by calling (619) 222-1008, leave a message and your call will be returned.

Proceeds from the yearly sale will go towards their OB community projects as well as for maintenance and improvement of their Bacon Street house.

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What It’s Like to Own and Run a Flourishing Marijuana Dispensary

March 20, 2015 by Source

Marijuana-Dispensary-Near-Woodland-HillsNorthern California owner: It’s “quite different from the view from the outside looking in.”

By David McCullick / Alternet

The view I have from behind the counter of my Medical Marijuana (MMJ) dispensary—the Sonoma Patient Group in Santa Rosa, California–is quite different from the view from the outside looking in.

Many law enforcement types, city and county elders, and much of the general public have a very pre-conceived notion of what it is we do, how we do it and who we do it for.

If you are not privy to what actually happens in a dispensary, you might be inclined to believe what you read and hear from those that do not visit them, …

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Around the Village of Ocean Beach

March 19, 2015 by Frank Gormlie


New and Gone Businesses and Other Observations Around Town

Occasionally, with camera in hand, we take a casual jaunt around the Village of OB, and make note of new businesses that have opened up recently, as well as businesses that are gone, and other pertinent or impertinent observations.

There’s has been some movement – although not much – at the corner of Sunset Cliffs Blvd and Voltaire Street where the new Sunset Plaza is being built. The sidewalk has been closed off, some gravel has been pored and a new mobile office is now on site. And when we paid a visit, digging and moving equipment was being delivered. Want to see where it’s all going? See this.

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A Housing Market Divided

March 19, 2015 by Source

Deregulation won’t solve California’s seemingly intractable affordable housing crisis on its own.

content_California-housing-affordability-vs-USBy David Dayen / Capital & Main

Housing markets get discussed in the media mostly through the channel of prices. Rising prices are considered good for the economy. They can connote increased sales, which would lead to more construction and real estate-related jobs. They also give homeowners more equity in their homes, and the consequent “wealth effect” – studies show personal spending jumps when people perceive an increase in their wealth – can benefit the economy.

But there’s a darker side to rising home prices. They harm affordability, particularly for first-time homebuyers.

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Conversion to Renewable Energy is Going Too Slow to Avoid Catastrophe – Part 5

March 18, 2015 by John Lawrence

Chris Tse via Flickr

Talking About Capitalism and Climate Change

By Frank Thomas and John Lawrence

In a title not usually expected at a scientific conference, University of California San Diego geophysicist Dr. Brad Werner presented a paper entitled Is the Earth Fucked? at the Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) in December 2012.

Dr. Werner explained that the title represented the expression of depression by scientists working in the field of the public’s inability to respond to what scientists are telling them about global warming.

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What We Lose with a Privatized Postal Service

March 17, 2015 by Source

zzpostofficeAmerica’s founders recognized that commerce requires a common infrastructure.

By Katherine McFate / Other Words

Did you know that when you ship a package through Federal Express, the U.S. Postal Service often carries it the last mile?

Last year, the Postal Service delivered 1.4 billion packages for FedEx and UPS. In fact, it delivers the last mile for almost a third of FedEx packages. The 618,000 Postal Service workers also delivered nearly 66 billion pieces of first-class mail — that’s more than 100,000 pieces per carrier.

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More On Civic San Diego: The Push-Back Begins and Just Who Are the Stakeholders?

March 17, 2015 by Source
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Editor: Our online media partner, the San Diego Free Press, has of late been shining a spotlight on Civic San Diego. In doing so, it has been providing much needed observation, commentary and discussion on the activities of this separate organization, a nonprofit that is unaccountable to the voters of the city, but that is in charge, apparently, of San Diego’s future.

Here inside is Doug Porter’s Pushback on Civic San Diego Accountability: Here Comes the “Uncertainty” Ploy published on March 16th and Anna Daniels’ Civic San Diego and Its Stakeholders published today, March 17th.

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San Diegans Mobilize for Government Action on Climate Change

March 16, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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On a hot afternoon last Sunday, March 15th, 250 San Diegans rallied and marched – and called on the US government to act on the climate change crisis.

About 150 demonstrators had gathered by 2 pm at the San Diego Civic Center Plaza, as the band the Swamp Critters encouraged them through song to come out and protest. Organized by a loose coalition that involved OB’s People’s Food Store Cooperative and the OB Green Store, as well as the Sierra Club,, and a couple of Democratic clubs – from Pt Loma and La Jolla, the protest was part of a series the coalition plans leading up to next November.

After a few speakers, the group pushed out of the Plaza, down 3rd Avenue and Broadway, taking the short walk in the streets to the Federal Building. A few police cars escorted the peaceful march the few blocks that then gathered for a second rally. Once in the shade of the massive Federal Building, another band welcomed the crowd. A dozen people got up and danced to the music of Captain Viejo before a few more speakers thanked and exhorted those present to continue the struggle.

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The Battle Over Trans-Pacific Partnership: Elizabeth Warren Strikes Back Against the Wolves In Sheep’s Clothing

March 16, 2015 by Jim Miller

stop-tpp-700By Jim Miller

Just as the folks in the New Democrat Coalition (NDC) were gearing up to marginalize the progressive wing of the Democratic Party leading up to the 2016 election, Elizabeth Warren struck back with what even CNN reported as “a push to kill major trade negotiations” being championed by President Obama and previously supported by Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton

And it’s a very good thing that Warren has elevated the debate over the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) to the national media because proponents of this deal have done everything they can to keep the details secret.

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The Morphing of Civic San Diego and the Need for City Council Oversight

March 16, 2015 by Anna Daniels

diceFocus on March 18th Public Safety and Livable Neighborhood Committee Meeting

By Anna Daniels / San Diego Free Press
This past October, Reese Jarrett, newly hired President of Civic San Diego (CivicSD), appeared before the Public Safety and Livable Neighborhood Committee of the San Diego City Council. The committee chairwoman, District 9 council member Marti Emerald, directed a number of pointed questions toward CivicSD staff, followed by additional questions from District 4 council member Myrtle Cole.

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Ben-Moshe Family Purchases ‘Newport Avenue Antiques’ Building – to Be Replaced by Wine Testing Room

March 13, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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The Ben-Moshe family has bought yet another Newport Avenue property to add to their generous collection of downtown OB storefronts – this time, it’s the ‘Newport Avenue Antiques’ building, located at 4836 Newport. The Ben-Moshes – through their IAC Management, LLC – purchased the 7,500 square foot parcel for $1.3 million in cash.

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Ocean Beach: Support Your Community Plan – Go Vote on Tuesday, March 10

March 6, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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Early next week, OBceans have a chance to show their support for the Ocean Beach Community Plan, a document that represents the blueprint for development and public facilities in OB, a plan that has been in existence for nearly 40 years, recently updated – and that has weathered an attack by the influential San Diego Planning Commission.

If you’ve followed the the twists and turns of the Community Plan Update process of last year, then you know of what I speak.

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Faulconer’s First Year: Mostly Doing Nothing, But Looking Good While Doing It

March 4, 2015 by Doug Porter
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By Doug Porter

Unlike the women performing on the field at Chargers’ games, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer is getting paid for his cheer-leading efforts.

The local daily paper ran a puff piece on Sunday, celebrating Faulconer’s first year in office, reporting on the “nearly unanimous praise” for making San Diego a “vastly different place than it was under the tumultuous tenure” of he-who-cannot-be-named-without-contempt.

Largely airbrushed out of history was former interim mayor Todd Gloria, whose reward for leadership following the fall of Filner was to get booted out of the position of City Council President, lest he actually accomplish any items proposed during his tenure.

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Oil Trains: Death and Destruction on the Rails

March 4, 2015 by John Lawrence

Department of Transportation Predicts Oil Train Derailments Will Become Increasingly Common

train derailmentBy John Lawrence

On Monday Feb 16, 2015 an oil train carrying millions of pounds of crude oil derailed in Boomer, West Virginia. The accident was the latest in a spate of fiery derailments in Canada and the U.S. as vast quantities of oil are being moved across these nations through sensitive environments and large population centers.

A couple days earlier on Feb. 14, there was a crude oil train derailment south of Timmins, Ontario. It took almost a week in subzero temperatures for the fires to burn out. Both the West Virginia accident and the oil train derailment and fire in Ontario involved recently built tank cars that were supposed to be an improvement over a decades-old model in wide use that has proven susceptible to spills, fires and explosions – the Dot-111.

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Ocean Beach Planning Board Agenda for Wed., March 4th

March 3, 2015 by Staff
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Here is the agenda for the Ocean Beach Planning Board’s March 4th monthly meeting. They meet at 6pm sharp in the OB Recreation Center, 4726 Santa Monica Avenue.

The Board will receive an update on the Pacific Beach pipeline project – which will replace water and sewer main lines near OB.

The Friends of the OB Library will give a presentation to the Board which will include an update on the library expansion status, and current plans for fundraising.

A Candidate Forum will then be held during the meeting, where those seeking election or re-election will have an opportunity to address the community.

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The Lobbyists at Your Dinner Party

March 3, 2015 by Source

Every purveyor of food and drink wants the government to advise Americans to consume more of what they produce

new_food_pyramid_2012By Jill Richardson /Other Words

Remember the old food pyramid?

Until “MyPlate” replaced it a few years ago, the U.S. government’s official dietary advice for Americans fit neatly into that triangle.

The government recently moved toward updating those standards again. And the result isn’t nearly as digestible. In classic bureaucratic form, the Department of Health and Human Services cooked up a 571-page draft report for Americans to comment on.

The actual updated dietary guidelines will come later. Here’s what we know about the draft

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Peninsula Community Planners: City Puts the Kibosh on Cañon Pocket Park

March 2, 2015 by Source
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City Planner Defends Carleton Row Homes and Condemns Cañon Pocket Park

By Tony de Garate / Special to the OB Rag

City Planner Addresses hot-button issues

Yes, there are structures in Point Loma taller than 30 feet. However, those buildings were properly approved by the city’s Development Services Department and do not violate the landmark height limit initiative approved by San Diego voters in 1972.

Similarly, there was nothing irregular about the city’s approval of Carleton Row Homes, a four-unit condo project at 3015-21 Carleton St. blasted by its detractors as a deceitful proposal and currently under appeal to the San Diego Planning Commission

But recent grassroots improvements to a vacant lot supporters call Cañon Pocket Park, on the other hand, were improper. And the city’s Park and Recreation Department will fence off that quarter-acre space west of the Avenida de Portugal cul-de-sac if anyone organizes a similar activity in the future.

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Midway Planners – Hampton Inn to Be Renovated to 4 Points Sheraton

March 2, 2015 by Source
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By Tony de Garate / Special to the OB Rag

Driving down Camino Del Rio West, the northern edge of the Midway community dominated by a hodge-podge of low-cost eateries, auto repair shops and adult entertainment venues, you may not even know the Hampton Inn, with its 208 rooms, meeting facilities and business center, is there.

That may change this fall when the Hampton emerges from a three-year renovation re-branded as a Four Points Sheraton.

Every room will be renovated, but the hotel will remain open because only 30 percent of the rooms will be removed from inventory at any time, said Victor Ravago, the hotel’s general manager and board member of the Midway Community Planning Group.

The project includes the addition of a bar and full-service restaurant. It’ll be the first cocktail service at the lodging since the 1980s, when it was known as the Lexington Hotel, Ravago said at the planning group’s monthly February meeting.

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Joining Spirit with the Billions of Us Human Beings

March 2, 2015 by Ernie McCray
[caption id="attachment_123238" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Lao Tzu humanity quote (Image: Flickr – Hartwig HKD)[/caption]

By Ernie McCray

I was driving and turned my radio to 89.5, KPBS, and there was a conversation going on about “7 Billion Others,” an exhibit that’s opening in the U.S. for the first time – at San Diego’s Museum of Photographic Arts (MOPA): February 21 to September 13.

I liked what I was hearing and googled around and found, on the MOPA website, 45 questions written for visitors to the exhibit to answer so that they can find in themselves that spark that resides in us all and connects us to the journey of human beings featured in the video project.

My answer to the first question was: Ernest Charles McCray; age 76; retired school principal; widower; American as in United States of America.

Here are my replies to the other questions, based on what first came to my mind:

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Golden Hill’s 25th Street Nightmare Gives the Lie to Faulconer’s Infrastructure Fantasy

March 2, 2015 by Jim Miller

IMG_0452By Jim Miller

A little over a week ago I was amused to see the Turko Files run a couple of segments “exposing” a disastrous Golden Hill renovation project on 25th Street that I had covered nearly six months earlier in late August of 2014. The KUSI angle was, appropriately, how bad the endless construction has been for local small businesses who have suffered through the scatter-shot planning and surreal whack-a-mole approach to getting the job done more“efficiently.”

Neighborhood residents might recall how Mayor Kevin Faulconer claimed his administration would change the game back in April of 2014 when he opined, “It’s a mindset that’s changing, and it says do it all at once. It’s taken awhile and it’s been frustrating for us, it takes more planning. So now, we do all of the projects at once – pipes, streets – so you don’t have to come back six months, two years later.”

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The Origins of Institutionalized Racism – a System to Control Blacks … and Whites

February 27, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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100 Years Before Lexington and Concord, Bacon’s Armed Rebellion of Whites and Blacks Forced Plantation Elite to Create System of Racial Slavery

By Frank Gormlie

Since the turmoil last year in Ferguson, Missouri, swept in a new civil rights movement, once again America is faced with the reality of its system of institutionalized racism. For Americans with conscience, understanding this system is key to changing it, and it cannot be understood without understanding its origins which trail back, of course, to colonial America.

Confronting a system that predates the very formation of the Republic itself necessitates understanding its raison d’etre – its reason for being. Why is there such a system that has a solid foundation and that has existed all this time, and is so deeply ingrained? Why is there institutionalized racism? If one accepts such a premise, that there is such a thing, then the most obvious answer is that it exists to control blacks, African-Americans. And to control other minorities, Mexican-Americans, Native Americans.

Yet this system is not meant to only control blacks – and other peoples of color – but it also is meant to control white people.

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News and Notices for Ocean Beach and the Peninsula

February 26, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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Mission Beach to Get New Lifeguard Station and Ocean Beach Doesn’t

South Mission Beach is about to get a new lifeguard station. And meanwhile, Ocean Beach continues with its own aging lifeguard tower and deteriorating restrooms. The Mission Beach Precise Planning Board was briefed on the new development at their meeting on Feb. 17. City engineer Jihad Sleiman told the group:

“The lifeguard tower was constructed in 1974 as a temporary facility. It is deteriorated, small, old and no longer serves the needs of the city lifeguards and the beach going public on this mile-long section of beach.”

He explained that the new station will have a rescue vehicle facility to store rescue craft, trucks and first-aid kits, and will also have separate men’s and women’s restrooms and a main observation tower on the third level. He called the new tower “an orientation landmark on the beach.” The total lifeguard tower replacement cost: $4.9 million. Construction is expected to start within the next few weeks and be completed by summer 2016.

The main lifeguard tower in OB is from the 1980s but is in very bad condition. The restrooms are an embarrassment. Various groups have been lobbying for its replacement for a while now. Perhaps with a new city councilperson, the efforts can be rejoined.

Robb Field Skate Park Now Is 15 years Old

The OB Robb Field Skate Park turned 15 a week ago on Thursday, Feb. 19. On Feb. 19, 2000, the park opened with a celebration with more than $25,000 in prize giveaways. And it was a dedicated group of volunteers who did the fundraising and development of the iconic skate park.They worked with then-Councilman Byron Wear and his staff. Some of the key volunteers were

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Part-Time Professors Protest Full-Time Screw Job

February 26, 2015 by Staff

Ocean Beach Professor and Reader Writer at Protest at Grossmont College

Part-time professors and lecturers at college campuses get screwed full time. That’s the message of protests held across San Diego and the rest of the nation on Wednesday, February 25 that were called to raise local and national consciousness to the plight of these part-time teachers who do a lot of the teaching at centers of higher learning.

And local writer, Dave Rice, was there and reported on an event held at Grossmont College in El Cajon for the San Diego Reader. Rice wrote how these adjunct professors and part-timers “often find themselves shuttling between two or three campuses in order to pick up enough classes to eke out a living.”

Dave quoted Ian Duckles, a part-time instructor, who spoke to a gathering of more than a 100 people assembled in front of the student services building at Grossmont College.

“The position that I have is defined as a ‘temporary, part-time instructor. A full-time professor is teaching about five classes a semester. I teach seven or eight, and yet somehow I’m classified as a part-time instructor. I don’t think that accurately reflects the amount of time I spend in the classroom.”

Duckles has 4 part-time positions and it takes quite a lot of time driving back and forth between those jobs at Cuyamaca, Mesa, and Miramar Colleges, and USD.

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Why We’re All Becoming Independent Contractors

February 26, 2015 by Source

By Robert Reich

photo courtesy of flickr

GM is worth around $60 billion, and has over 200,000 employees. Its front-line workers earn from $19 to $28.50 an hour, with benefits.

Uber is estimated to be worth some $40 billion, and has 850 employees. Uber also has over 163,000 drivers (as of December – the number is expected to double by June), who average $17 an hour in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., and $23 an hour in San Francisco and New York.

But Uber doesn’t count these drivers as employees. Uber says they’re “independent contractors.”

What difference does it make? …

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Nuclear Shutdown News for February 2015

February 25, 2015 by Michael Steinberg

No nukesBy Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the continuing decline of the US nuclear industry, and the people working for better energy alternatives.

As I was gathering information for this issue, one word kept popping up: Entergy.

Entergy is a gigantic energy corporation whose highrise headquarters renders the skyline of downtown New Orleans. Among its holdings are 11 nuclear power reactors, making it the nation’s second largest nuclear power company, after Chicago’s Exelon.

At the turn pf the century Entergy went on a nuke plant spending spree, buying up a half dozen aging reactors at bargain basement prices, as nuke plants go.

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Conversion to Renewable Energy is Going Too Slow to Avoid Catastrophe – Part 4

February 25, 2015 by John Lawrence

Extremely Slow Progress Converting to Renewables in Face of Huge Increase in CO2 Emissions: What Are the Trends?

rising sea levelsBy Frank Thomas and John Lawrence

Part 3 can be found here

Parts 1 and 2 address the psychological denial mechanisms and economics behind the world’s ingrained obsession with increasing GDP rates, despite their environmentally cancerous impact. Naturally, developing countries want the same material benefits from boundless GDP growth and unlimited resource development that advanced countries have long been exploiting.

This abets the idea that, as long as people make money from despoiling the atmosphere and climate, the Market should have its free reins forever. The Market is assumed to be the best arbiter of our planet’s ecological stability, but that is patently false. In reality, the Market exploits the environment and now it is becoming clear that increasing population and economic growth fueled by fossil fuels do so as well.

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Vacation Rentals Roil Beach Neighbors – Issue to Be Taken Up by City Council

February 24, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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Councilwoman Zapf to Hold Hearings in April

Neighbors of some housing units that are used as vacation rentals in the beach areas are upset. And the new city councilwoman for the district is getting an earful from residents in Pacific Beach and Mission Beach. Her office has received multiple complaints from constituents about beach homeowners who have made their homes into full-time rentals and their unruly visitors.

Not coincidentally, PB and Mission Beach are the 2 neighborhoods with the highest concentrations of Airbnb rentals. Zapf told the Voice of San Diego that she heard the concerns of residents at a recent PB town council meeting almost “near tears” in accounts of the “constant rotation of people coming and going”.

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