Economy

San Diego Second Worst City for Renters in Nation

March 24, 2017 by Frank Gormlie

According to an annual list of best and worst cities for renters by Forbes real estate research company, San Diego ranks the second worst city in the nation. Just behind Miami as the worst.

Marcus & Millichap calculated their results based on data collected from monthly rental costs in 2016, rent changes, and vacancies. Importantly the percentage of shared income that goes into paying for rent is a big factor.

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What’s Happening on the Mean Streets of Ocean Beach

March 17, 2017 by Frank Gormlie
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It’s not easy being a small businesperson, shopkeeper, store or office owner on the commercial streets of Ocean Beach. Rents are high in this popular, sunny, beach outpost from the rest of the world.

The commercial streets, Newport Avenue, Voltaire Street and Point Loma Avenue are tough for the unwary business enterpriser who takes a gamble opening up any kind of establishment on them. That’s why small businesses are always coming and going, and why empty storefronts remain vacant for months.

The commercial streets of OB are some mean streets and here’s what’s happening on them in mid-March 2017.

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San Diego Volunteers Raise Roof Beams for Emergency, Very Affordable Housing

March 17, 2017 by Anna Daniels

Amikas Emergency Housing Expo March 15 – 26

By Anna Daniels /San Diego Free Press

The super bloom of wild flowers in the most inhospitable of places–the Anza Borrego desert– has captured the attention of San Diegans, who are flocking to get a glimpse of this short lived phenomenon.

Closer to home, an equally remarkable blossoming takes the form of the cluster of cabins that has sprung up like wild flowers at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in North Park. San Diego has been the most inhospitable of places for enacting solutions to our growing humanitarian crisis of homelessness. Volunteer activists from Amikas have stepped into the leadership vacuum, displaying what can be done to address the immediate housing needs of the most vulnerable among us.

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$20 Dollar Bill Not to Be Used for Buying Elections

March 10, 2017 by Staff

This twenty dollar bill came our way and we just had to share it.

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How San Diego’s Downtown Housing Supply Boom Is Making Rent Less Affordable

March 10, 2017 by Source

By Murtaza Baxamusa / UrbDeZine

Having invested a billion and a half dollars of public funds in downtown redevelopment, it is worth asking if it helped or hindered in solving the affordable housing crisis that San Diego faces.

From the catalytic start of downtown’s boom with the construction of the ballpark to the unceremonious demise of tax increment financing under Governor Brown, there has been a lot of change.

Census data shows that from 2000 to 2015, downtown’s housing stock doubled. About half of downtown’s current stock of 25 thousand housing units has been built during this time frame. About 5 thousand renter-occupied housing units were added to the stock. Of the total housing stock almost 18 percent (over 4 thousand units) are vacant, compared to 9 percent vacancy back in 2000. This indicates a greater share of investor-owned units or second homes that are not occupied.

In terms of affordability, downtown is at a tipping point.

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Cities and States Prefer Public Banks To Wall Street

March 9, 2017 by John Lawrence

Public Banking

Profits Can Stay In State, Provide Local Funding

By John Lawrence

Alarmed by the corruption and greed of Wall Street, many US cities and states are studying the feasibility of establishing public banks. Public banks are owned by cities, states or other jurisdictions and serve to keep funds local instead of being deposited on Wall Street. The funds are then used to support local economic activities like small business loans and student loans.

Washington state has already cut its ties with Wells Fargo because they funded …

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News and Notes for Ocean Beach and Point Loma – Early March 2017

March 7, 2017 by Frank Gormlie

Newport Ave Re-Paving Begins Thursday, March 9

The long-anticipated re-paving of Newport Avenue begins Thursday, March 9th. Beginning at 8am, the work crews will re-pave the normally-busy commercial street from Abbott to Sunset Cliffs Blvd. Workers will grind down the old asphalt 3 inches, and then pour in 3 inches of the fresh smelly, gooey, stinking-hot new asphalt (ever worked with it? it’s pretty bad stuff).

Gas Leak Tuesday at Sunset View Elem

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Making It Easier to Build Won’t Generate Affordable Housing

March 3, 2017 by Source

Downtown San Diego’s Experience Has Given Us Lessons

Affordable

By Murtaza Baxamusa / Rooflines, the Shelterforce blog

It is often convenient to blame city planners for the affordable housing crisis. After all, those affected have no other public forum to vent their concerns, least of all toward those who are profiting off of the crisis on a project-by-project basis. Sadly, this blame is often misguided, because planners do not produce housing.

A case study of the profit-maximizing, decision-making that is driving the affordability crisis is downtown San Diego. Construction cranes are up all over, …

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Amazon Go: The End of Jobs?

March 3, 2017 by John Lawrence

By John Lawrence

AmazonAmazon Go is the latest job destroyer by virtue of the fact that it is a grocery store with no check-out lines.

High tech devices will monitor every item you put in your high tech grocery basket so you just load up and go. Your credit card will be charged the correct amount. It isn’t clear if a robot will bag your groceries or if you’ll do that yourself.

This feat of automation is only the harbinger of things to come. With artificial intelligence and robots, jobs will be automated out of existence except for a few software engineers who will design the various systems.

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Midway District Has an 81-Unit Luxury Housing and Mixed Use Project Coming

March 3, 2017 by Staff
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An 81-unit luxury housing project is coming to the Midway District of Point Loma.

Called “Driftwood”, the development will be located on a 2-acre lot – which is now empty – at the corner of Kemper and Kenyon Streets and will include 3,137 square feet of retail space. It’s next to the new West City community college campus. Midway Drive is a block away from Kemper.

Accord to SDMetro:

Driftwood will consist of stacked flats within a three-story, elevator-serviced building with interior common hallways and stairwells.

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New Modular Units at Voltaire and Abbott for Rent on Airbnb Despite Owner’s Pledge

March 1, 2017 by Frank Gormlie


When the 3 two-story modular units planed for the south-east corner of Voltaire and Abbott were approved by the OB Planning Board in early September 2014, one of the applicant-owners stated to the Board unequivocally that he planned to live in one of the units. Now that they have been built, it appears that the units – at least one of them – are listed on Airbnb – for $229 to $349 a night.

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Ocean Beach Home Hosts Sanctuary House Teach-In

March 1, 2017 by Source

sanctuary

By Dianne Lane

A couple of activists hosted a Sanctuary House Party/Teach-in at their home in Ocean Beach on Saturday, February 25th.

The impetus for the event sprang from a “Teaching Positive Alternatives to Trump Teach-In” last month in Balboa Park.

The aim is to build a San Diego network of sanctuary homes in resistance to Trump’s fascism and to corporate capitalism.

Over the next few months, a series of neighborhood house parties throughout San Diego …

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Trump’s Border Brownshirts Already Running Amok

March 1, 2017 by Doug Porter

The ‘gloves are off’ is a terrible thing to say to anybody with a gun and a badge

By Doug Porter

We’re already seeing glimpses of what ‘empowered’ agencies charged with immigration enforcement will look like in the Trump era, and it’s not a pretty sight.

What seems to be clear at this point is that some enforcement personnel in Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Border Patrol (two separate agencies, both in Homeland security) aren’t even waiting for the official go-ahead.

San Diego has been lucky–thus far– …

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OB Planning Board Agenda – Alcohol Permits and a Remodel on Santa Monica – Wed. March 1st

February 28, 2017 by Frank Gormlie

The Ocean Beach Planning Board has a few spicy items to juggle at their upcoming monthly meeting, held this Wednesday, March 1st, over at the OB Recreation Center, 4726 Santa Monica Avenue.

Alcohol Permits

One of the more juicy agenda items on the agenda is a Board review of an application for a new alcohol permit for OB’s latest beer pub – which hasn’t opened yet – Little Miss Brewing Company, at 4861 Newport Ave.

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Reader’s Rant: Will New “Smart” Led Street Lights on Newport Ave in Ocean Beach Write You a Parking Ticket?

February 24, 2017 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for Reader’s Rant: Will New “Smart” Led Street Lights on Newport Ave in Ocean Beach Write You a Parking Ticket?

By Not Amused in OB

Are “smart” led street lights coming to Ocean Beach to surveil you and write you a parking ticket? I heard Newport Avenue is slated to get new led lights.

The evening news on Channel 10 covered this, and it appears that our mayor, Kevin Faulconer , just rolled out on Wednesday a program of installing new street lights in San Diego and Ocean Beach. The mayor announced he’s expanding this program of putting in “smart sensors” which will be able to “gather and disseminate data on things like traffic, parking availability, public safety and air quality.”

And Kevin said that his city has partnered with a company from back east called Current which will install 3200 of these “Smartlight Sensors”, powered by GE.

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Peninsula Planners Vote on Controversial Move by Sunshine Liquor

February 21, 2017 by Source

By Geoff Page

A large crowd attending a planning board meeting usually means something controversial is on the agenda; attendance at these meetings is normally sparse. This proved to be true at the February 16, 2017, Peninsula Community Planning Board’s regular monthly meeting at the Point Loma Library.

Sunshine Liquor Move Controversial

The issue of a neighborhood liquor store moving from one side of Nimitz Boulevard to the other side apparently was much more controversial than the simple project description would suggest. Sunshine Liquor gained the PCPB’s approval for a Conditional Use Permit, one step in the process that will bring Sunshine Liquor to the west side of Nimitz.

The liquor store lost its lease at its former location, the small shopping center on the east side of Nimitz at the corner of Las Lomas St. and Voltaire.

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Union Density in San Diego Is Below State Average

February 21, 2017 by Source

union
By Murtaza Baxamusa / San Diego Free Press

There were about 185 thousand union members in San Diego, based on surveys by the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2016. About 110 thousand of these workers are in the private sector. There are additionally 20 thousand workers covered by union contracts in the region. The continuing employment recovery in the last two years contributed to an increase in union membership.

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Midway Planners – Homeless, Private Security and Trolley Hubs

February 20, 2017 by Source

By Geoff Page

Concerns about the homeless problem continued to dominate the discussion at the Midway/Pacific Highway Community Planning Group’s regular monthly meeting Thursday, February 15, 2017. According to the board’s chair, Cathy Stanton, this subject is a regular topic for its meetings.

The chair announced that they want to devote the entire April board meeting to a discussion of the homeless issue. She said they want to include Ocean Beach, Pacific Beach, and Mission Beach in the discussion as well as having city representatives there. Bruce Williams, representing Councilmember Zapf’s office, said they are supportive of the meeting and mentioned getting the mayor’s “homeless czar,” Stacie Spector, to attend.

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Inequality in America: Incomes Collapsing for Bottom 50% as Top 1% Soars

February 20, 2017 by Jim Miller

By Jim Miller

While most of us were busy watching the Trump administration and their crack team of “populist” millionaires light the world on fire, a new study released by Thomas Piketty, Facundo Alvaredo, Lucas Chancel, and Emmanuel Saez underlined the fact that the steep costs of our historic level of economic inequality are being borne by those at the bottom of the economic system, particularly here in the United States.

As the Market Watch story on this new research outlined:

In the U.S., between 1978 and 2015, the income share of the bottom 50% fell to 12% from 20%. Total real income for that group fell 1% during that time period.

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ResistSD! Progressive Calendar for San Diego February 16-March 1, 2017

February 18, 2017 by Doug Porter

More than two dozen ways to get involved

Progressive CalendarBy Doug Porter

Congress will be taking a break next week to listen to their constituents, except for the 200 Republican members of the House of Representatives who refuse contact with the public.

By contrast, in the first two months of 2015, Republicans held 222 in-person events.

Donald Trump is already campaigning for 2020, and as was true with his last launch event, people are being paid to be there.

So what can you do? There’s plenty of local activism to support. Check out this week’s Progressive Calendar listings below. Following those listings are upcoming events of national importance.

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Looming City Council Decision Threatens Famed Ocean Beach Marijuana Testing Lab

February 16, 2017 by Frank Gormlie
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A looming decision by the San Diego City Council could threaten the presence of a well-known marijuana testing lab in Ocean Beach that has been here for 6 years.

PharmLabs on Cable Street is reportedly “one of the first internationally accredited testing labs for marijuana in the world,” and “the premier business of its kind in the region”, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

But it’s possible that the lab will be closed by new City rules on dealing with marijuana legalization and have to move out of metro San Diego. In early February, the City Council voted to authorize medical cannabis dispensaries to sell recreational marijuana after California guidelines are completed, probably in late 2017.

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Trump’s 7-Nation Immigration Ban Excluded Saudi Arabia – the Largest Purchaser of U.S. Military Equipment

February 16, 2017 by John Lawrence

Egypt Also Excluded – Major Recipient of U.S. Military Aid

By John Lawrence

Why did Trump try to impose tighter vetting on 7 nations in the Middle East without including Saudi Arabia and Egypt? Could it be that it’s because Saudi Arabia which is a hotbed of terrorism is also an ally of the US and an enemy of Iran?

Fifteen of the nineteen 9/11 hijackers were Saudis. Osama bin Laden was a Saudi. The machete wielding attacker at the Louvre recently was Egyptian. Neither Egypt nor Pakistan nor Afghanistan were included on the so-called President’s list. Pakistan harbored bin Laden. Afghanistan is the home of the Taliban. If Trump had wanted to keep terrorists out of the US, surely he should have included these countries in his ban. But terrorism is more about U.S. alliances than it is about morality or human rights.

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The San Jose Solution for Emergency Shelter

February 10, 2017 by Source

A way to change this:

to this:

San Diego County / City of San Diego are in the middle of a serious emergency shelter crisis. The Point in Time Count numbers for 2016 for the county counted 8,692 homeless persons, with an 18.9% increase in the number of unsheltered individuals.

Numbers from the recent count will not be available until April, but are expected to be worse. San Diego has the unenviable distinction of having the 4th highest number of homeless people in the nation – more than Las Vegas, Washington DC, Chicago and San Francisco. By comparison, Santa Clara County / San Jose reported 6,556 homeless persons in 2015, and came in 9th for number of homeless people.

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It’s Time to Clean House at SANDAG

February 9, 2017 by Doug Porter

SANDAGBy Doug Porter

Andy Keatts story at Voice of San Diego about SANDAG (San Diego’s Regional Planning Agency) prompted one of those “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore” moments for me yesterday.

He’s obtained emails showing the agency’s executive director and other high-ranking officials deliberately misled the public regarding economic forecasts with significant errors overstating sales tax revenues expected for transportation projects included as part of Measure A.

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California Assemblywoman Wants to Make Beaches and Coast More Accessible

February 8, 2017 by Source

From East County Today

California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (D-San Diego) announced on Feb. 3rd a push for more affordable overnight accommodations along the California coast to help ensure that the state’s iconic beaches and shores are affordable and accessible for low- and middle-income residents to visit.

Under Assembly Bill 250, which the Assemblywoman introduced last week, the state agency in charge of preserving the Golden State’s 840 miles of coastline would be required to develop a Low Cost Overnight Accommodations Program in an effort to reverse a troubling trend in which visiting on the coast has become prohibitively expensive for many Californians.

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Top 10 Companies to Boycott Because of Trump Products or Money

February 6, 2017 by Staff
Thumbnail image for Top 10 Companies to Boycott Because of Trump Products or Money

There is a nation-wide group that is organizing a boycott of companies that carry Trump products, or are owned by Trump or have other relationships with him. It’s call #GrabYourWallet and they believe economic push-back by American citizens and others is a very valid form of protest.

Their campaign has already been going on for nearly 4 months now and it has achieved some successes. Here is how they describe themselves and their history:

The #GrabYourWallet movement tracks & boycotts retailers that sell Trump family products as well as corporate leaders who enabled the political rise of the Trump family through fundraising and/or endorsements.

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One-Third of Working Age Families in San Diego Can’t Make Ends Meet

February 3, 2017 by Source

Latest data shows more than 1 million people living in families with incomes too low for expenses

Center on Policy Initiatives

A new report from the Center on Policy Initiatives finds that a third (33%) of all household in San Diego County have incomes below the level needed to cover basic living expenses.

Women and children are most impacted, largely because employed women throughout the county earn 74 cents for every $1 paid to men. Among households headed by single mothers, 69% have incomes below the bare-bones level known as the Self-Sufficiency Standard.

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OB Town Council – Parade Winners, Zapf’s Budget Priorities and the Usual Suspects

February 2, 2017 by Frank Gormlie

By Frank Gormlie

At its monthly public meeting on Wed., January 25, the Ocean Beach Town Council celebrated the New Year and its first public event of 2017 by handing out awards to the winning floats that were in the December OB Holiday Parade.

As is true for many of the OBTC meetings, there was not one over-riding issue that dominated the meeting last week. Usually the audience is peppered with reports from the people who work for our politicians, from community groups, and from the reports of Board members – and this meeting was no exception.

Over 50 people sat in the audience, while half a dozen uniformed men stood off to the side, representing police, fire and lifeguard services. They all had their turn to address the meeting, as did reps from the City Attorney’s office and from Councilwoman Zapf’s office, Assemblywoman Toni Atkins’ office and Congressman Scott Peters’ office. Noticeably absent was anyone representing the Mayor’s office.

Winning Floats of OB Holiday Parade

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Local Ocean Beach Hostel Wins 3 Global Awards

February 2, 2017 by Frank Gormlie
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Ocean Beach’s own hostel has just won three global awards by the industry’s international association HOSCAR.

Owned and run by USA Hostels, Ocean Beach ranked best in the world in 3 categories. The 15th annual HOSCAR awards, which celebrates the best hostels around the globe just came out. The awards are based on travelers’ reviews of hostels in countries around the world, and this year’s are reportedly based on one million reviews.

The OB hostel won the following awards:

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Anti-Immigrant Sentiment and Anti-Semitic Acts Impact San Diego

February 1, 2017 by Doug Porter

immigrant

By Doug Porter

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer made a statement on Tuesday indicating his disapproval of the executive order banning immigrants and refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries where President Donald Trump’s companies do not have investments.

Though milder in tone than statements by mayors in Boston, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Seattle (some of whom have actually joined protests), Faulconer’s statement does recognize that individuals affected by the order are essential parts of the community.

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