February 2009

Will we be stimulated? Thoughts on the economic stimulus package and we the people

February 28, 2009 by Anna Daniels
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by Anna Daniels

A woman came up to the information desk where I work at the Central Library downtown and asked me how to get her stimulus funds. This is of course an excellent question- the 787 billion dollar budget for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) includes provisions for education and training, protecting the vulnerable, energy, state and local fiscal relief, tax relief, health care, infrastructure and science and “other.” In addition, California, the most populous state in the union will receive the largest amount of those funds destined to the states.

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Ocean Beach in the 1970s – How an armed police camp led to reforms in police practices

February 27, 2009 by Frank Gormlie
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In my earlier post, I described how all hell broke loose 35 years ago on February 22, 1974. It was the day that Pete Mahone tried to commit suicide by cop – a guy many of us active in OB’s progressive community knew. The subsequent armed take-over of Ocean Beach by the San Diego Police in response to the shooting led to an outrage among residents, an outrage that manifested itself into a campaign for human rights and reforms in police practices – a campaign that eventually did win some changes.

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Neighborhood Pride – Making the OB Brand A Reality

February 27, 2009 by Doug Porter
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by Doug Porter

Only a fool would deny that the economy, both locally and nationally, is in the tank. By every measure the future looks mighty bleak, with or without a stimulus. Rising unemployment, sagging industrial production, ever-tightening credit and the collapse of the housing market all add up to a very grim picture, particularly if you are a retail merchant located in Ocean Beach, San Diego, California.

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READER RANT: Why the Stupid Freakin’ Banks Don’t Deserve My Bailout Money

February 26, 2009 by Source
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Hi. I’m your neighbor, the guy in the front apartment that opens to the parking lot. And I’m a (hopefully) soon to be former homeowner. Why hopefully? Because the bank still hasn’t filed a Notice of Default, the document sent to the county recorder that starts the foreclosure process, even though I haven’t paid my mortgage since I moved out about six months ago and I told them even before that that they’d seen the last of my money. Why former homeowner? Longer story…

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Pentagon ends media ban on coffins

February 26, 2009 by Source
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Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates announced today that he is lifting a 1991 ban on news coverage of the return of the remains of fallen service members to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, although he will leave the decision about press coverage up to the family of the dead.

The controversial ban on photography and other media coverage of the solemn return of flag-draped coffins — upheld by both Republican and Democratic administrations — has generated lawsuits as well as conflicting emotions on the part of military familiies.

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Dr Jefe Answers His Critics On the Closing of Rock Paper Scissors

February 25, 2009 by Frank Gormlie
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by Frank Gormlie

(Reposted from Feb.19th) I finally sat down with Dr Jefe inside the hollow chamber once known as Rock Paper Scissors and got his side of the controversies surrounding the closing of the popular arts and crafts store. It had suddenly closed without notice earlier this month.

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Disappointing Turnout From OB at City Committee Budget Meeting

February 25, 2009 by Frank Gormlie
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There was a disappointing turnout of Ocean Beach residents and businesspeople today at the City’s Budget and Finance Committee hearing. There was literally two OB residents present at this morning’s meeting. The Clairemont library had a number of supporters, plus sitting in the back of the large room were organizers from the city-wide library coalition-in-forming.

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Blondstone vs OB Farmers Market, Part Three – Just Grow Up!

February 24, 2009 by Doug Porter
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To re-cap:

Flyers were passed out at the OB Farmers Market suggesting that the owners of Blondstone were seeking to have the market shut down by way of a letter writing campaign to various governmental agencies that resulted in increased scrutiny.

We met with Blondstone owner Shane Smith who asserted that his objective was never to shut down the Farmers Market.

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Oscar, Progressive Politics… a Sign of the Future of the Film Industry? Bravo!

February 23, 2009 by Lane Tobias
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As a writer and once upon a time film student, I found this year’s Academy Awards to be an exemplary display of the breadth of possibility that Hollywood’s insular, but nonetheless public, progressive political scene presents.

This year, the Academy rewarded actors not just for being beautiful people in rented jewelry and expensive clothing, but for the emotions they conjured and the political movements that their roles represented.

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The Campaign to Save the Ocean Beach Library

February 23, 2009 by Source
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On the corner of Sunset Cliffs Boulevard and Santa Monica Avenue resides a historic landmark, one that has served the Ocean Beach community and surrounding areas as both a valuable storehouse of knowledge and a tranquil study haven for over 80 years. This unique site is the home of the Ocean Beach branch of the San Diego Public Library, and today, it faces threats of possible closure.

On November 6th, 2008, San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders announced the tentative closure of the Ocean Beach branch due to budget cuts, along with 6 other libraries, 9 recreation centers and a gym. An astounding response from the community has led to the mayor’s decision to forego the issue and revisit it this spring.

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Cancer cluster at UCSD

February 23, 2009 by Source
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A higher-than-normal rate of cancer diagnoses in the building that houses UCSD’s literature department has been the subject of near-constant discussion in recent months, but it’s an issue that’s been on the department’s radar for years.

“We’ve been talking about this in the hallways for almost as long as I’ve been here,” said Anna Joy Springer, a creative-writing professor who’s been teaching at UCSD for six years.

Between 2000 and 2006, faculty and staff who work in the building reported at least eight individual cases of breast cancer. Of these people, two have died.

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Eye-Popin’ News from San Diego: Outrage at Border Agents and Powerlink

February 22, 2009 by Source
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BORDER AGENTS BLOCK MARCHERS
In the end, immigration activists never made it to the site of yesterday’s planned demonstration, a plaza dubbed Friendship Park that sits on a bluff overlooking the ocean at Border Field State Park. For the first time, Border Patrol agents formally sealed off access on the U.S. side to the plaza, for years a popular meeting place on the U.S.-Mexico border for families to visit through the fence.
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POWERLINK CAUSES OUTRAGE
Jody Morgan cherishes his 100-acre property in El Monte Valley, where El Cajon Mountain rises above the rural community that’s home to a dairy and horse farms. At a Lakeside planning group meeting Wednesday night, Morgan held up a photo he created of what the valley would look like if the proposed Sunrise Powerlink transmission line were built there.

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OB Farmers Market Story Continued….Blondstone: “Just Don’t Hurt Us”

February 22, 2009 by Doug Porter
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[Republished due to popular demand.]
Last week we ran a report about flyers handed out on Newport Avenue that pointed the finger at the owners of Blondstone as being behind a letter writing campaign that could lead to closing down the OB Farmers’ Market, the Holiday Parade, and other events that include craft fairs. That report prompted numerous people to comment on this site. Shane Smith and Heidi Holman, the husband-wife team that owns the store, also contacted us, asking for an opportunity to express their point of view. I sat down with Shane; this story is a result of that get-together.

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“When the people lead the leaders follow”- an Update on the Community Input Meetings on the FY10 Budget

February 22, 2009 by Anna Daniels
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by Anna Daniels

The third community input meeting on the upcoming budget was held this Saturday, February 21, at Hoover High School in City Heights. The auditorium was packed to overflowing! Fifty seven citizens provided public testimony about what services they considered essential and non-essential as well as ideas on how to save money and generate more general fund revenue. Fifty of those citizens said libraries and park and recreation services are essential because they provide kids with safe meaningful alternatives to the streets and opportunities for their future.

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Urgent Action: Needy Families Will Suffer Significant Consequences

February 19, 2009 by Lane Tobias

Through my work alongside social service and mental health professionals, I am occasionally presented the opportunity to do more than provide direct services. Today I came across a call to action for all San Diego community leaders, and in my opinion that includes anyone who takes part in the OB Rag – either as a contributor, a reader, or both.

As a result of the slumping economy and the California Legislature’s longstanding inability to agree on a viable budget, there will be a number of far-reaching consequences. One of those consequences is in direct relation to the well-being of San Diego’s poor, namely those receiving cash aid or food stamps.

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You are what you eat: San Diego Food Blogs Explored

February 19, 2009 by Doug Porter
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by Doug Porter

So many restaurants, so little time.

San Diegans love to eat and they also love to write about what they eat. There are dozens and dozens of San Diego based blogs out there on the inter-tubes talking about filling the ol’ pie hole.

I recently spent waaay too much time exploring this world and am offering up these short reviews of foodie blogs that I found of interest. In order to qualify for this list, bloggers had to post regularly, be based in and write about San Diego’s culinary offering, and have been discovered by me before my vision started to blur. I’m sure that there are many more worthy blogs out there.

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The rocky closure of Rock Paper Scissors

February 19, 2009 by Frank Gormlie
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We’ve learned that the popular crafts store Rock Paper Scissors, which shut its doors suddenly a couple weeks ago, had a very rocky closure, indeed. The store’s closure was so rocky, that many of the store’s vendors feel ripped-off and say the store’s owner, Jeff Fagan, owes them thousands of dollars. Some of the vendors are talking about suing Fagan.

Accusations are flying, anger is rising. When he closed the store, Fagan gave the vendors insufficient notice; he hasn’t paid back February rents, or even for some vendors January rents, or for some monies from December, or the original deposits. He owes his vendors thousands, tens of thousands; one estimate is a quarter million.

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Food Stamps in San Diego County – a Disgrace! – Here’s how to get them:

February 18, 2009 by Lane Tobias
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At a time when jobless rates are hovering around 8%, one in ten homeowners can’t afford their mortgage payments, and the average cost of staple foods have risen astronomically, we should all be proud to know that those of us living in San Diego County reside in a region with the lowest accessibility to food stamps in the ENTIRE COUNTRY.

According to the Food Research and Action Center, only 29% of eligible recipients receive Food Stamp benefits, good for last among the 24 largest metropolitan areas in the country.

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Our San Diego County Government – What does it do and ‘what is it good for?’

February 18, 2009 by Frank Gormlie
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by Frank Gormlie

Residents in this County, when asked what San Diego County government does, are often hard-pressed I have found, to list more than a couple of things. Uh, collect taxes they’ll respond, … uh, run the sheriffs office, uh, … and then there will be a long, thoughtful pause. And maybe they’ll add one or two other services.

Well, the County does collect property and other taxes, and it does finance the Sheriff’s Office – although the Sheriff is elected separately. But the County does so much more.

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The Origins of the Alternative Press in San Diego: The Days of “The Door”

February 17, 2009 by Doug Porter
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by Doug Porter

I started writing in the hey-day of the alternative press in San Diego. Back then it was called the underground press, partly because of the running battle between the hippie radicals publishing those papers and the local authorities, who were hell-bent to put us out of business.

Propagating viewpoints contrary to the prevailing wisdom as presented by the establishment press were frowned upon, especially here in San Diego, where a dour and ultra conservative Copley Press dominated the public discourse.In the early days, underground papers lived to publish their next issue. Street sellers were harassed …

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Roll Out the Barrels! Harvest that Rainwater!

February 17, 2009 by Patty Jones
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by Patty Jones

So, like Frank said earlier, a lot of rain fell in a short time here today. And checking OB Joe’s math got me sidetracked (I’m supposed to be figuring my taxes) and I left a response to his comment and that set the wheels in my head spinning.

Okay Joe, here’s my take on the whole acre foot deal….. The OB Planning Board says OB is 742 acres, if it rained 12″ (1 foot), that would be 742 acre feet (a volume measurement), so 1″ of rain is 1/12 of 742 acre feet, or 61.83 acre feet of water. Almost 62 acres would be covered by a foot of water. 62 acres is about the same amount of land that would be encompassed by starting at the corner of Newport and Abbott, walking up Newport, left on Cable, then left on Muir, left on Abbott and back to Newport.

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Decade at Bernie’s: no wealth creation since the turn of the millennium

February 16, 2009 by Source
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By Paul Krugman

By now everyone knows the sad tale of Bernard Madoff’s duped investors. They looked at their statements and thought they were rich. But then, one day, they discovered to their horror that their supposed wealth was a figment of someone else’s imagination.

Unfortunately, that’s a pretty good metaphor for what happened to America as a whole in the first decade of the 21st century.

Last week the Federal Reserve released the results of the latest Survey of Consumer Finances, a triennial report on the assets and liabilities of American households. The bottom line is that there has been basically no wealth creation at all since the turn of the millennium …

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Why isn’t District 2 – OB’s district – having its own Community Budget Input Meeting?

February 16, 2009 by Frank Gormlie
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Some of us active in the community of Ocean Beach have been wondering why there is no “Community Budget Input Meeting” scheduled for our District – District 2?

The San Diego City Council has just begun its process on approving a budget for FY2010, and Councilmember Tony Young and Mayor Sanders organized a series of community-input hearings in different City Council Districts, beginning Feb. 4th and ending on Feb. 26th. But not all the Districts – only Districts 3, 4, 5, and 7. None for Districts 1, 2 – the District here, 6 and 8. Half the Districts have their own meetings, and half don’t. Does this make sense?

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It just rained an inch within 4 hours in Ocean Beach

February 16, 2009 by Frank Gormlie

Using my trusty rain gauge, attached to my backyard fence, I just measured .95 inches of rain since 9 am this morning.

That’s an inch in just a four hours. Ocean Beach is one mile square. If this rainwater had been captured, how much would that be? None of it was captured, sadly, except for what fell into the few buckets and plastic containers in my yard. Did you have your buckets and barrels ready for today’s predicted rain?

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Blackwater Changes Its Name

February 14, 2009 by Source
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Blackwater Worldwide is abandoning its tarnished brand name as it tries to shake a reputation battered by oft-criticised work in Iraq, renaming its family of two dozen businesses under the name Xe. The parent company’s new name is pronounced like the letter z.

Blackwater Lodge & Training Centre – the subsidiary that conducts much of the company’s overseas operations and domestic training – has been renamed US Training Centre Inc., the company said today.

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Political Distractibility and the San Diego Coalition for Peace and Justice

February 13, 2009 by Gregg Robinson
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by Gregg Robinson

These are going to be tough times for the anti-war movement. With a popular Democrat in the White House and depression economics on the front pages, it is going to be hard to turn out people for anti-war demonstrations. Most people’s attention is going to be on their pocket books and their sympathy for Obama is going to mean they are unlikely to demonstrate against a war that he is making attempts to “carefully” end. For these reasons the anti-war movement cannot afford to be easily distracted.

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The Guns of Junior ROTC Are Silenced in San Diego

February 11, 2009 by Staff
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On February 10, 2009 San Diego Unified, located in the middle of one of the largest military complexes in the world, took the uncharacteristic step of banning rifle training conducted under the military’s high school JROTC program. Eleven schools with rifle ranges were affected in the nation’s eighth largest urban district.

Before the board meeting began, speakers representing local high schools and colleges addressed an outside crowd of 200 students, parents, teachers and community supporters. Some high schools sent so many students that two charter buses, courtesy of the AFSC, were used for transportation.

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Radioactive Waste: The San Onofre File

February 10, 2009 by Michael Steinberg
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by Michael Steinberg

Though a meltdown at a nuclear plant may be its worst case scenario, the dangers and risks by no means end there. In fact they go on every day.
Radioactive releases into the air and water are routine at nukes. As is the transportation of radioactive wastes offsite by road, rail and water. These activities are the seldom discussed everyday threats to people, other living beings, and the environment as a whole.

This report delves into what goes on at the San Onofre Generating Station in these respects.

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You Are What You Eat – Vitamins, Peanuts, Diet-Pills & Yogurt

February 10, 2009 by Doug Porter
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by Doug Porter

During the last eight years, the Food and Drug Administration, charged with safeguarding the health of the nation’s diet, has seen its budget decline and its staffing levels increasingly fall behind its workload. From 2003 to 2006, the number of food safety inspections conducted by the group dropped by 47 percent. The mentality of “letting the market place regulate itself” has reigned supreme, and we’re now just beginning to see the results. Foodies around the net have, in my view, correctly dubbed the agency “FDA=Failure to Do Anything”. Here’s one view of the FDA’s food pyramid graphic that was developed after last year’s melamine scandals.

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First Step in Normalizing Relations With Iran: Apologize for the Shah

February 8, 2009 by Frank Gormlie
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There is a new opening right now for US and Iranian relations. Mainstream media reported that on Saturday, Feb. 7th, Vice President Biden, while in Munich, Germany, for an international security conference, offered “an olive branch” to Iran – and Russia. Ali Larijani, Iran’s head of parliament, in his response address, indicated a new willingness to deal.

AFP reported:

On Iran, Biden repeated that the US was ready to talk to Tehran after three decades of frozen relations. “We will be willing to talk to Iran, and to offer a very clear choice: continue down the current course and there will be continued pressure and isolation; abandon the illicit nuclear programme and your support for terrorism and there will be meaningful incentives.”

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