Politics

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

August 8, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

OB Torrey protest 8-4-16 circle best

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

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

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

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

August 8, 2016 by Source

OB Torrey Pine Friends of Pen Tree logo

From Friends of Peninsula Trees

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

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

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

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Voting my Conscience for my Grandson and All the Children of the World

August 5, 2016 by Ernie McCray

By Ernie McCray

unnamedI don’t usually run scared but it frightens me to the bone when I hear so many people say that there’s just no way they would ever vote for Hillary Clinton for president.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m voting my conscience too. But I’m doing it in behalf of children, people like my little three-year-old grandson and his contemporaries.

My vote is based on what’s in front of me as possibilities, like the possibility that Donald Trump could, in reality, become the president and set the tone for how things are going to be in a society wherein my grandson is going to learn about his world. Well that’s terrifying to me – especially considering my 78 years of struggles in this country.

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Chicano Park Museum and Cultural Center Coming to Barrio Logan

August 5, 2016 by Brent Beltran

Chicano-Park-MuseumCommunity Fundraiser Set for August 13 at Bread & Salt

By Brent E. Beltrán

The Chicano Park Museum and Cultural Center is coming to Barrio Logan next door to Chicano Park. The City and museum have yet to sign a lease over the property that for years held the Cesar Chavez Continuing Education Center. But it will happen.

Activists involved with the Chicano Park Steering Committee helped create the nonprofit Chicano Park Museum and Cultural Center.

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Crystal Rose Speros Is the Ocean Beach Hero for the Week – Saves Torrey Pine Temporarily

August 4, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

OB Torrey protest 80416 in tree good
A young, local woman, by the name of Crystal Rose Speros, climbed up into the Torrey Pine the City wanted to chop down this morning – dramatically bringing any work on the tree to a half – at least for the rest of this week.

A small crowd of residents and OBceans had gathered around the Torrey by 9 am on the 4600 block of Saratoga, some willing to stay until threatened with arrest or more.

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Stacking the Deck: San Diego Homeless Sweeps, Charter School Cheats, and the Modern Jim Crow

August 3, 2016 by Doug Porter

News roundup logoBy Doug Porter

Comic Con and the All-Star Game have come and gone, but San Diego’s homeless remain, criminalized and demonized.

A report from the ACLU calls out blatant discrimination in charter schools throughout California.

And rightwing-inspired laws restricting voting in states around the country are proving to be nothing more than a shield for racism.

Today we look at some of the downsides of life in the USA these days. The deification of the market economy and the quest to drown government in a bathtub are at the root of all these stories, something the Make American Great Again crowd seems unable to grasp.

Homeless and Helpless

A perfectly reasonable story in Tueday’s Union-Tribune, focuses on the now-weekly displacement of homeless people in downtown and the East Village.

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It Behooves Progressives to Support Clinton, Avoid Neo-Fascist Takeover

August 3, 2016 by Source

Progressives must rescue the Democrats from their strategic errors – our movements will have more space to grow and better chances to enact reforms if we avert a Trumpian police state.

By Joe Wainio / San Diego Free Press

sinclair lewisHillary Clinton’s choice of Virginia Senator Tim Kaine as her running mate is a slap in the face to progressives and a strategic error. It confirms Senator Bernie Sanders’ criticisms that Hillary represents Wall Street, and is reminiscent of past tone-deaf vice-presidential choices of the mainstream Democratic establishment such as Michael Dukakis’ selection of Lloyd Bentsen or Al Gore’s pick of Joe Lieberman.

While Clinton’s decision is certain to make her path to victory in November more difficult, it behooves progressives to work for her election anyway.

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New Traffic Plan Would Permanently Scar Balboa Park

August 1, 2016 by Source
Thumbnail image for New Traffic Plan Would Permanently Scar Balboa Park

By Bruce Coons / Save Our Heritage Organization

This originally appeared in the Op-Ed pages of the San Diego Union Tribune, July 23, 2016

Balboa Park’s grand and iconic entrance across the Cabrillo Bridge offers visitors one of the most breathtaking park entrances in the country. Designed a century ago by the famous New York architect Bertram G. Goodhue, this entry is a carefully planned sequence of stirring sights and experiences that celebrates panoramic natural beauty, art, and architecture.

If ever the paid parking garage and commercial development of the park that is being promoted goes forward—complete with freeway off-ramp; a giant ditch with 42-inch-tall safety railings and massive, concrete retaining walls; dangerously narrow, sunken S-curve roadway; and paid parking structure—the cherished entry experience will not only be forever lost, it will become a garish, concrete-and-asphalt nightmare that permanently scars Alcazar Garden, Palm Canyon, Spreckels Organ Pavilion, and the historic core.

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Open Letter to San Diego Port Commission About ‘World Class Waterfront’ Development Proposals

August 1, 2016 by Source
Thumbnail image for Open Letter to San Diego Port Commission About ‘World Class Waterfront’ Development Proposals

Provided by Bill Adams / San Diego UrbDeZine

Dear Chairman Merrifield and Commissioners:

On behalf of the San Diego Environment + Design Council, we are submitting the following comments.

The San Diego Environment + Design Council is a coalition of organizations whose primary interest is to promote environmentally-sustainable land use policies that create healthy, green neighborhoods and great public spaces in the San Diego-Tijuana region. We provide an open venue for diverse organizations and interests to come together and develop recommendations to improve how our communities live, work and play.

We have reviewed the six development proposals regarding the subject 17-acre site occupied by Seaport Village. In keeping with our mission, we offer the following comments organized according to the “Programmatic Components” you included in your original February 2016 RFP. We are also aware that on July 14, you chose the Protea submission among the six finalists. The Protea concept addresses some of our concerns, and we will be commenting later regarding specific approaches and components. For now, we offer our comments below as guideposts for your final analysis process, should you choose to proceed.

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Report of OB Town Council Meeting – Get It Done App, New 7-11 Coming, and Board Elections Scheduled

July 29, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

OBTC Meet 72716 crowd
This is a brief report of the OB Town Council meeting held Wednesday, July 27th, as usual at the Masonic Center on Sunset Cliffs Boulevard. What we found out: the City has a new complaint website and App, there’s another 7-11 coming into OB, and the Town Council has set up its election schedule – half of its seats are up for re-election.

What with conflicts with a big-name concert, the continuing Democratic convention, and the heat – the gathering was a little sparse. Forty attendees were counted by the end of the meeting, but many of the city departments that serve OB did not have their usual reps present to make reports (SDPD, firefighters, life guards).

“Get It Done” Webpage for City

One of the main presentations of the evening was by Conrad Wear, representative of Councilwoman Zapf’s office, on a brand new element of the City’s website called “Get it done” that makes it easy to report problems, especially street-related issues. There is also an App available. Here it is .

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

July 29, 2016 by Source

By David Harris / San Diego 350

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

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

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

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

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Fiesta Island Debate: “One of few open and undeveloped areas within City will end if current proposed plan is implemented.”

July 28, 2016 by Source

Fiesta Island mapBy Jean Spengel , FIDO Boardmember

I would just like to reply to Ms. Swink’s editorial, ‘Improvements Needed to Expand Access’

She obviously thinks that people enjoying the beach with their off-leash dogs do not matter,- they should be replaced by other users she wants to bring into the area.

This is in spite of the fact that the 90 acre fenced off-leash area is the most heavily used space in all of Mission Bay Park.

Every day, 365 days a year, hundreds to thousands of tax paying citizens use this area to exercise with their dogs.

While there are over 40,000 acres of parkland in San Diego only about 40 of those acres (not including Fiesta Island) are available for off-leash use. That is about 1% of the public parkland.

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Washington Post: “Donald Trump is a unique threat to American democracy”

July 27, 2016 by Source

By Editorial Board / Washington Post / July 22, 2016

DONALD J. TRUMP, until now a Republican problem, this week became a challenge the nation must confront and overcome. The real estate tycoon is uniquely unqualified to serve as president, in experience and temperament. He is mounting a campaign of snarl and sneer, not substance. To the extent he has views, they are wrong in their diagnosis of America’s problems and dangerous in their proposed solutions. Mr. Trump’s politics of denigration and division could strain the bonds that have held a diverse nation together. His contempt for constitutional norms might reveal the nation’s two-century-old experiment in checks and balances to be more fragile than we knew.

Any one of these characteristics would be disqualifying; together, they make Mr. Trump a peril. We recognize that this is not the usual moment to make such a statement.

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A Vacation of Joy and Misery and Hope

July 27, 2016 by Ernie McCray

By Ernie McCray

Ernie McCray (in Arles?)

Maria and I just spent 38 days in Europe with a stop in Philly on the way home, a vacation that had a combination of both joy and misery and ended with notions of hope.

It began with a man driving us from the Madrid-Barajas Airport to our hotel, talking about politics all the while. He wanted us to know that Spaniards, as we Americans do, have a few Donald Trumps around town. He had a lot to say about our president, a man he admired “for how he stepped up and got the U.S. out of the recession.”
All that made us feel very welcomed and eager to explore the city. Then came Orlando, news that weakened our knees. Our tragedies, kind of, I think, seem even more dismal when you see them from far away, in another culture. You kind of feel that it reflects on you in some way.

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Will Trump Have Hillary Arrested If He Is Elected?

July 22, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

Donald Trump colors invert

Will Donald Trump have Hillary Clinton arrested if he is elected in November? His base sure wants it.

With loud chants of “Lock her up! Lock her up!” reverberating through the cavernous arena at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, the delegates displayed for millions of viewers the war cry of the assemblage.

Whenever Trump or Chris Christie or anyone else among the second and third-string speakers on stage called the Democratic Party nominee out for alleged “crimes”, the chant would go up.

It wasn’t easy watching Trump’s speech last night from Ohio. But I forced myself to do it. My housemates all took cover as the convention blared from the living-room widescreen.

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Reader Rant: “The community is being snookered about City’s lack of enforcement of 30-foot height violations.”

July 22, 2016 by Source
Thumbnail image for Reader Rant: “The community is being snookered about City’s lack of enforcement of 30-foot height violations.”

By Local One

I attended the Peninsula Community Planning Board meeting last night (Thursday, July 21) and listened intently to the presentations made by Mayor Faulconer’s representative and the head of the Developmental Services Department.

Boy oh boy, what a bunch of packaged lies we were fed last night. The people can see with their own eyes that the community is being snookered with regard to the lack of enforcement, and continuing DSD approval, of numerous violations of the existing MC defined 30 foot coastal height limit.

Speaker after speaker last night quoted directly from the Municipal Code in which the law is absolutely clear with regard to measuring the 30? height, but City representatives from the Mayor’s office and DSD kept insisting that the City Attorney’s office interprets the voter approved Proposition D very differently than any common sense reading of the law.

Further, the Mayor and DSD shut down the Emerson Street project based on a violation of the FAR standards, NOT the obvious violation of the 30 foot coastal height limit.

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Zapf Introduces Surveillance Cameras to OB at Press Conference But No Questions Were Allowed

July 22, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

OB cams 72116 prot
Councilwoman Lori Zapf on Thursday, July 21st, introduced the newly-installed police surveillance cameras at a brief news conference held on the greens near the OB Lifeguard Station.

With ranking police officers and OB merchants on both sides of her, Zapf led off the presser before 2 TV cameras, and a handful of protesters opposed to the cameras.

Zapf said that over a year ago, police leaders at Western Division working with her office to come up with safety measures came up with the idea to install ten cameras along OB’s waterfront.

Now they’ve all been placed, from the OB Pier to Dog Beach, and the signs went up just now, Zapf said, and the cameras can now go live.

Emphasizing the cameras were a crime-prevention tool, a deterrent, they’ll make the beach more safe, she said, mentioning that the cameras will bring relief to the tourists worried about being victimized.

Why the cameras? Zapf asked.

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

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

By Terrie BestSan Diego Americans for Safe Access

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

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

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Debate Over Future of Fiesta Island Continues: ‘Improvements Needed to Expand Access’

July 21, 2016 by Source
Thumbnail image for Debate Over Future of Fiesta Island Continues: ‘Improvements Needed to Expand Access’

Editor: This is a continuation of the debate over the future of Fiesta Island. It began with op-eds in the San Diego Union-Tribune, and we helped it along with our earlier post. Here below, Judith Swink rebuts the rebuttals.

By Judith Swink

Improvements on Fiesta Island will happen eventually because they must.

The 1994 Mission Bay Park Master Plan carried forward that intention from the previous master plans. The proposed Fiesta Island improvements will make the island more useful and inviting to a much larger number of people than just those who want to use it as it is today. It is a key tenet of both the Mission Bay Park Master Plan and the California Coastal Act that coastal recreation areas be developed to enable use and access for everyone.

A Local Coastal Program amendment in 2002, in conjunction with approval of the Sea World Master Plan by the Coastal Commission requires the City to develop Fiesta Island as proposed in the 1994 Mission Bay Park Master Plan and LCP.

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Press Conference on Surveillance Cameras in OB Today – Thurs. at 11:30 a.m.

July 21, 2016 by Staff

Here is the Press Release for a Press Conference on the surveillance cameras installed in Ocean Beach.

OB Crime Fighting Cameras Set to Go Live

What: The City of San Diego has installed cameras in Ocean Beach near the ocean and parking lots to ward off potential criminals. The cameras are on a loop that is not monitored or reviewed unless a crime is reported. This will give law enforcement a valuable crime fighting tool to provide evidence and allow prosecutors to go after criminals to the fullest extent of the law.

When: Thursday, July 21, 2016
11:30 AM

Where: Ocean Beach – at the intersection of Newport Ave and Abbott Street.

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Is This Election Good for the Fish?

July 20, 2016 by Source
Thumbnail image for Is This Election Good for the Fish?

By David Helvarg / Blue Notes – Blue Frontier /July 19, 2016

The party conventions are now underway starting with the Republicans in Cleveland to be followed by the Democrats in Philadelphia.

The stark contrasts between presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump: on immigration, education, health care, trade, foreign policy, etc. do not end at the water’s edge where you might also find a Trump resort or golf course.

The ocean has yet to be mentioned on the campaign trail although our organization, Blue Frontier, is coordinating a letter to the candidates from ocean leaders in business, science, conservation, education and other fields that will be sent to the candidates after the conventions.

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“Is the City Hard of Hearing or Just Slow?” – Residents Urged to Turn Out for Peninsula Planners Meeting on Showdown With City Over Height Limit “Loopholes”

July 20, 2016 by Source
Thumbnail image for “Is the City Hard of Hearing or Just Slow?” – Residents Urged to Turn Out for Peninsula Planners Meeting on Showdown With City Over Height Limit “Loopholes”

By Jon Linney

Is the City hard of hearing or just slow?

Four-story duplexes going up in the three-story zone of the Roseville neighborhood at Emerson and Evergreen created almost universal community outrage.

Citizens turned out to protest. TV stations, social media and print publications such as the OB Rag, The Reader and The Beacon took note.

Community advocates such as Elisa Brent, Babita Souza and this writer – organized a Town Hall meeting on June 27. Some 250 people attended and donated a third of the money necessary for a legal campaign in just five minutes.

The mayor heard. Kevin Faulconer issued a stop-work order on the project the very next day.

But that wasn’t enough, the broader issue of all the other potential height violations remained unaddressed.

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Police Cameras Being Installed in Ocean Beach

July 19, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

OB camera worker 7-14-16
The police surveillance cameras are being installed in Ocean Beach. And more than was originally planned.

CBS News8 reported that :

Monday evening, crews were seen making adjustments to the cameras where there is one, two or three cameras mounted to light poles or a lifeguard tower.

The original plan was 10 cameras but 12 were counted between Dog Beach and the Ocean Beach Pier and pointed in the parking lot or beach.

Photographer Adam Ewing stated on facebook:

The new cameras are going up. Looks like they’re starting at the Pier parking lot. If someone sees them installing the rest along the beach all the way down to dog beach.

Councilwoman Lori Zapf’s Communications Director, Donna Cleary, told the media that a news conference is planned for this week.

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News From Ocean Beach and Point Loma – Mid-July 2016

July 19, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

OB ACE wall side beach 7-16-16

* PB Skateboarder Not Expected to Survive After Being Struck Monday Night
* Woman says she was roofied, left paralyzed after drinking at Ocean Beach bar
* How to Protect Yourself From Date Rape Drug
* Pregnant Woman and Baby Injured in Car Crash
* Naked Man Arrested
* Navy pipeline project progressing to completion in 2017
* Kevin Gormly Loses Battle to Cancer
* Chichiuaua Dies at Dog Beach – Victim’s Owner Wants Changes

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Today, July 19th – San Diego City Council Will Vote on Plastic Bag Ban

July 19, 2016 by Source
Thumbnail image for Today, July 19th – San Diego City Council Will Vote on Plastic Bag Ban

If Ordinance Passes, San Diego Will Become 150th Jurisdiction in California Covered by Ban

Most of Following From Surfrider Foundation

Today at 2pm – July 19th – the San Diego City Council will vote on their Single-Use Carryout Bag Reduction Ordinance, or “bag ban”.

This will happen at 2 pm in Council Chambers at City Hall, 202 C St, 12th Floor, San Diego CA 92101. Activists from Surfrider San Diego are urging caring San Diegans to attend this hearing.

If the ordinance passes, San Diego will become the 150th jurisdiction in the state of California to be covered by a ban.

In the City of San Diego, 700 million plastic carryout bags are distributed each year and less than 3% are recycled. This ordinance will remove 665 million plastic carryout bags from distribution and San Diego will take a huge step in reducing plastic pollution at its source and ultimately protecting our ocean and beaches.

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Keep the “Conscience of Ocean Beach” – the OB Rag – Going

July 15, 2016 by Staff

OB Rag cover 7-14-16

It’s Our Summer Funding Appeal!

Michael Turko – of Turko Files – once called the OB Ragthe conscience of OB“. We love that moniker and wear it with pride.

But you know what? We’re broke. And we need help right away to keep going.

Even with our shoe-string budget, we do have costs – and occasionally we pay our writers – but right now we have practically run out of operating funds and must turn, as we do once in a while, to our readers, fans and supporters to help us ‘keep it all goin”.

At this point in the middle of July we have to steer our efforts away from being the online citizen journal for Ocean Beach and Point Loma and focus instead on fund-raising.

There’s a whole bunch of posts and articles in the works … like :

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The San Diego Convadium – Part 3

July 14, 2016 by John Lawrence

By John Lawrence

Part 1: 110 Pages of Gobbledygook
Part 2: Lipstick on a Pig

Section 35.0109 Additional Tax Imposed

Charger's ConvadiumThe Chargers want the City to create a separate Fund, the Convention Center Expansion and Stadium Fund, which will borrow money from Wall Street in the form of Bonds and be firewalled off from the City’s General Fund. So it’s like a separate entity for which the City is not responsible at all, but the City has to create it.

The BIG question is, “Will Wall Street go along with this?” The monies flowing into this fund come solely from an increase in the Tax On Transiency (TOT) of 4% (or is it 6% as stated in the proposal?).

If these monies aren’t sufficient to make the payments on the $1.15 billion in bonds that this “entity” (not the City, mind you) is responsible for, then what happens? Who’s left holding the bag?

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Did You Get Your Invite to the Rancho Santa Fe Trump “Victory” Fundraiser?

July 12, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

Trump invite RSF 7-13-16

Hey, did you receive your big invite to the really big Donald Trump “Victory” fundraiser? No?

It’s only $25,000 a seat.

It’s over in Rancho Santa Fe – Wednesday, July 13th – at some private homes, and it’s being chaired by Jenny Craig, Geniya and Papa Doug Manchester and other bigwigs apparently in the Trump column.

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Bernie Endorses Hillary

July 12, 2016 by Staff

Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders stand together during a campaign rally where Sanders endorsed Clinton in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, U.S., July 12, 2016. REUTERS/Brian Snyder - TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

“Hillary Clinton understands that our diversity is one of our greatest strengths.” – Sen. Bernie Sanders

Today, Tuesday July 12th, Sen. Bernie Sanders has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president.

At a rally in New Hampshire, Sanders said:

“Secretary Clinton has won the Democratic nominating process, and I congratulate her for that.

She will be the Democratic nominee for president and I intend to do everything I can to make certain she will be the next president of the United States.”

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Barrios Against STAdiums! to Protest Chargers Pro-Stadium Speakers

July 12, 2016 by Brent Beltran

stadium

By Brent Beltran

On Friday, July 15 from 11:30am to 1pm the San Diego Chargers will be bringing their pro-East Village stadium campaign to Barrio Logan for the Family Health Center’s Spirit of the Barrio luncheon.

B.A.STA!, Barrios Against STAdiums!, will be outside the event holding a silent protest with signs and banners opposing the Chargers efforts to build a stadium one block from Barrio Logan. A press conference will also take place.

Barrio Logan is undergoing a transition due to land speculators buying properties ,,,

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