In case you missed them, I’ve re-hatched a number of local, regional, national and international news stories of note. Here they are (not organized in any particular order, except by proximity to our locale):
Local Environmental Groups Sue to Halt the Poseidon Desalination Plant at Carlsbad
The local chapters of Surfrider and the Planning and Conservation League have filed a lawsuit Monday, January 14th, to block the construction of a desalination plant at Carlsbad, by attempting to overturn the conditional approval given to Poseidon Resources, Inc. to build their plant. The suit alleges that the California Coastal Commission acted illegally when it granted a permit to the proposed $300 million plant even while it knew that commissioners needed more information about how the plant would minimize harm to marine life and offset greenhouse gases. [For more of this article from the North County Times, go here.]
Schwarzenegger now supports the toll road that will cut through San Onofre State Beach.
Once neutral on the issue, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger now has come out in favor of the highly-controversial and eco-damaging toll road that will cut into the eastern part of San Onofre State Beach. He is calling for the state Coastal Commission to disregard its staff’s recommendation and approve the highway. Environmentalists are outraged. And the head of the Commission is not impressed. [For more of this article, go here.]
Steve Francis Jumps Into San Diego’s Mayoral Race – Where’s Donna Frye?
Who would have thought it? Wow! Didn’t see it coming. Steve Francis, who ran against Mayor Jerry Sanders and Councilwoman Donna Frye last time around in the primary in 2005, has just announced he is running again for the exalted position of chief manager of this sun-baked city. [To see this breaking news, go here.]
Well, this should be really interesting…two white, middle-aged, conservative Republican men … geez!
Where is Donna Frye? Why isn’t she running for mayor? Does anyone know? Francis, in a recent public remark, has said that now he wished he had endorsed Donna for mayor back then. Olive branch? Could he really sway her supporters?
Local Border Patrol Agents Fire Teargas Into Tijuana Neighborhood for the 6th Time in Two Months – Sparks International Incident
Border Patrol agents, assigned to the San Diego division of the border, have recently sparked an international incident by shooting teargas canisters over the border fence into Tijuana neighborhoods, in retaliation, the agents claim, for rocks being thrown at them by people on the Mexican side of the fence.
One of the most recent teargas attacks by US border agents was at approximately 5 a.m., Friday, January 11th, according to the Mexican government, as they objected to the attack which occurred in the Colonial Libertad community of Tijuana. The neighborhood is known as one of the more common entry points for undocumented border crossers.
Tijuana’s Channel 12 news reported that this latest incident was the sixth time that Border Patrol agents have been accused of firing tear gas or pepper spray across the border over the past two months. Colonia Libertad residents say they have nothing to do with people hurling objects complain that they are being sprayed.
Channel 12 was told by Border Patrol spokesman Gabriel Guerrero that agents were defending themselves from rock throwers and that one canister of gas, which did not go off, unfortunately landed across the border. Guerrero alleged that no one injured.
On January 13th, Reuters reported that a teenager was injured when border patrol agents fired tear gas into Mexico on January 12th. Fifteen-year-old Cristian Saldana was hit in the nose by a tear gas canister on Saturday. Witnesses reported that Saldana was hit after he threw stones at border patrol agents as they attempted to stop undocumented people from crossing into the United States. Saldana required stitches at a local hospital.
Mexico has stated that it would investigate the use of tear gas by U.S agents. [For more of this article, go here. ]
KPBS reported in mid-December that these kinds of incidents have been going on since last August 2007. [For this report,
In December 20, 2007, NPR reported that the Mexican Consulate confirmed that at least 11 residents have been treated at Tijuana hospitals as the assaults have continued. Border patrol agents told NPR that assaults on agents have increased five-fold in the area since October compared to the same time last year. [For this report, go here.]
There is some confusion in these reports, however, because most said the Mexican government was going to conduct an investigation, but the NPR report said the Mexican government was asking the Border Patrol to investigate. Perhaps both are. Or nobody is.
Old Trees Are Taking a Hit in Southern California
Not normally a subject in a political blog, trees – they’re taking hits here in Southern California. I’ve always had a soft spot for trees in my heart, ask my friends. But did you notice that in Ocean Beach, Leucadia and up in Santa Monica, older trees are being targeted for destruction.
Ten eucalyptus trees in Leucadia were cut down beginning January 15th; these trees – planted in the late 1880s along the railroad tracks in Leucadia, were considered by residents to be part of the beach community’s character. All the trees in that corridor are in the railroad right of way, and the North County Transit District brought in the crews to cut them down, as NCTD believed the ten cut presented a hazard to the public and the coastal rail line. In 2003, a eucalyptus tree fell across the tracks, prompting the district to study the trees. [For more of this article, go here.]
Now in Santa Monica, tree lovers are fighting the city over plans to remove 54 ficus trees from downtown.
The city wants to relocate them and replace them with ginkgo trees, for basically liability problems. A group called Santa Monica Treesavers lost a battle Monday when the city Landmarks Commission denied landmark status for the trees, which have been around since the 1960s. The group plans to appeal and the city has agreed to hold off with the trees removal until then. [For starters, go here.]
And finally, here in OB, did you notice that about a dozen older eucalyptus trees were leveled along the southern side of I-8 during December? That’s right, according to CalTrans, they were “structurally deficient” and had to come down. [There is no link, as this has not been reported by anyone.] The OB Rag was told by a CalTrans representative that they have contracted with private contractors to cut down about 500 diseased trees along the freeways in San Diego. 500? Whew!