Every government-owned parcel in the region should be assessed for its viability as a place where people can live or shelter safely temporarily.

By Tamea Kohler / San Diego Union-Tribune Op-Ed / June 8, 2021

Housing ends homelessness. While it’s a complex and layered issue, if we start every conversation about homelessness with the truism that if a person has a home, they are no longer homeless, other aspects can fall into their proper place.

It is easier to talk about solutions to supportive sendees, crisis response, an adequate shelter system, rental assistance, property storage and outreach, if we can agree that housing must be the backbone of all of these discussions.

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Charting a Sustainable Course for the Blue Economy

By David Helvarg and Jason Scorse / The Nation / June 8, 2021

In 2008 the United Nations designated June 8 as World Oceans Day, “a day for humanity to celebrate the ocean.” Since then, it’s had about as much to do with the ecological economic and human rights disasters affecting our seas as Arbor Day has to do with global deforestation. Because it’s so vast and poorly regulated, the ocean sector of the global economy has been largely out of sight and out of mind.

A recent study from Duke University’s School of Business found that 100 companies with combined revenues of over $1 trillion control 60 percent of the global ocean economy. Nine of the top 10 are oil companies, including Exxon, Shell, BP, and state-owned companies from Saudi Arabia and Iran. High levels of corporate consolidation and control also exist in the cruise ship industry, container shipping, and port services, and industrial fishing fleets—heavily subsidized by China, Japan, the European Union, and other nations—are killing fish faster than they can reproduce and threatening whales, dolphins, and other critical species in the process. While factory farms are horrific in their cruelty and ecological impacts, industrial trawlers that scrape the bottom of the ocean of all life combine the worst aspects of overfishing and clear-cut logging.

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By Thomas Ultican / Tultican / June 2, 2021

This January, California Democratic State Senator Anthony Portantino introduced SB237 mandating dyslexia testing and intervention.

It is similar to a spate of bills across the US requiring a privatized approach to intervening with reading difficulties. Unfortunately, contrary to their claims, these initiatives are not based on well founded research. The perpetrators base themselves on the widely disparaged “science of reading” and are part of a well financed effort taking advantage of emotionally compromised parents and students.

The bill stipulates a specific set of dyslexia testing for all students kindergarten through third grade and requires

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Editordude is leaving for Atlanta for a family wedding on Thursday and will not be returning until Monday, June 14. “Enjoy the heat while I’m gone,” he says.

There will be very little postings in the interim.

However, comments will remain open and moderated.

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By Geoff Page

The City of San Diego’s former Deputy Chief Operating Officer Robert Vacchi, also the former head of the city’s Development Services Department, walked away from his high-profile job on July 2, 2020, and no one would say why. In over a year, no one had obtained any more information about his departure or where he went. Vacchi has finally been spotted and where he landed adds to the mystery.

To refresh everyone’s memory, Vacchi’s appointment to head the DSD coincided with a flood of 30-foot height violations because of how Vacchi interpreted the law. The ultimate, most blatant violation was allowing developers to measure the 30 feet from the inside of tall planters the developers built on their project. Vacchi allowed the surface of dirt in the planters – that the developers put there – to be called finished grade. This allowed buildings 35 feet high and more.

No one with a modicum of experience with construction would call the dirt in a planter finished grade. In order to have a “finished grade,” there has to be “finishing” like fine grading earth or placing hard pavement.

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By Mitchelle Woodson, Jennifer Felner, Megan Welsh / San Diego Union-Tribune Op-Ed / June 7, 2021

Last month, a bystander’s video of Jesse Evans’ encounter with San Diego Police Department officers in La Jolla made national news. Evans’ suspected crime? Trying to meet a basic human function — urination — while Black and homeless in one of San Diego’s whitest and wealthiest neighborhoods.

The SDPD’s response? To stop Evans and engage in a violent struggle lasting nearly three minutes, punching him repeatedly. In police body camera footage, officers are heard instructing Evans to “stop resisting” arrest for public urination. Evans repeatedly states, “I just need to p—” and “I’m gonna p— my pants.”

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Killing Trees and Promising Parks

June 9, 2021 by Source

More ‘What’s Up With the Mayor’s App?’

By Colleen O’Connor

From Ted Talks to their own San Diego Government website, trees and parks are in vogue.

In fashion. In demand. In decay. And all over the internet. And popular photo op props in San Diego, too.

The City’s Mayors (Faulconer and Gloria) have promised to plant trees. And even give them away free.

There is even a San Diego.gov internet site just for trees; with tracking information on how many and where the new trees will be located. Plus, detailed directions on how to care for them. Plant them. Water them. And protect them, but you can’t sign up without internet access. And agree to a list of “must do” agreements. (Go here.)

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The Wild Life of Ocean Beach

June 9, 2021 by Source

By Steve Tatro

Newport Avenue has plenty of wild life, especially on weekend nights, but another kind of wildlife lives in Ocean Beach, and not on the streets.

There are the parrots, of course, with their sleep-cancelling squawks, screeches and screams. They are Mexican Redheads, an endangered species from northeastern Mexico transplanted northwest by smugglers.

Then there are Red-Masked Parakeets, which look a lot like small parrots, but with longer tails. They might have migrated north from Ecuador on their own, but it’s unlikely. They’re not quite as loud as the parrots, and their voices are higher.

The Western Seagulls are always around, squawking, soaring and scavenging the garbage cans. They are beautiful birds and crafty survivors, but hang on to your food if you’re eating at the beach, they’ll swoop down and steal chips, candy, ice cream cones, even hot dogs right out of your hand! Anyone who has tossed popcorn up into the sea breeze for the gulls to catch on the fly has encouraged their larcenous behavior, but it’s so fun!

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OB Community Garden Events – Saturday, June 12

June 8, 2021 by Source

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How the Wealthy Avoid Paying Taxes

June 8, 2021 by Source

ProPublica has obtained a vast cache of IRS information showing how billionaires like Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and Warren Buffett pay little in income tax compared to their massive wealth — sometimes, even nothing.

by Jesse Eisinger, Jeff Ernsthausen and Paul Kiel / ProPublica / June 8

In 2007, Jeff Bezos, then a multibillionaire and now the world’s richest man, did not pay a penny in federal income taxes. He achieved the feat again in 2011. In 2018, Tesla founder Elon Musk, the second-richest person in the world, also paid no federal income taxes.

Michael Bloomberg managed to do the same in recent years. Billionaire investor Carl Icahn did it twice. George Soros paid no federal income tax three years in a row.

ProPublica has obtained a vast trove of Internal Revenue Service data on the tax returns of thousands of the nation’s wealthiest people, covering more than 15 years.

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UC San Diego Study of Cannabis to Treat Migraines Looking for Volunteers

June 8, 2021 by Source

By Michelle Brubaker / UC San Diego Health / May 19, 2021

Alison Knigge was in elementary school when she started to experience migraines. They continued to get progressively worse as time went on, especially after the birth of her son.

“I would describe my migraines as a piercing pain. It feels like my brain is being squeezed. It causes extreme sensitivity to light and sound and horrible nausea,” said Knigge. “There have been times when I have been at a pain level of 6 or higher for approximately 25 days out of the month. They impact my quality of life.”

Migraines produce symptoms that are often intense and debilitating. They cause severe throbbing or pulsating headaches, usually on one side of the head, often accompanied by nausea and sometimes vomiting and/or extreme sensitivity to light and sound. A migraine attack can last for hours or even days.

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Public and Private Spaces in the Wake of the Pandemic

June 7, 2021 by Source

By Joni Halpern

Living through months of pandemic confinement has taught us something about what we need to live successfully in our public and private spaces. We have learned that space can make us vulnerable, or it can make us safe. Now we must envision how this lesson will play out in our lives at home and work.

To help us, we tapped the experience and imagination of two individuals whose professional lives have revolved around the question of how human beings use space to work, profit and live.

The Architect

Neil Larson, a retired architect whose long career helped shape the San Diego business environment, is a quiet man with an almost therapeutic demeanor.

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OB Planners Review Parks, Sick Torrey Pines and ‘Granny Flats’

June 7, 2021 by Staff

By Geoff Page

Parks and sick Torrey pine trees were highlights of the Ocean Beach Planning Board’s regular monthly meeting, Wednesday, June 2. During the city’s presentation about the Torreys, something was learned about the Long Branch Torrey everyone fought to save a few years ago. It was learned that fight was not even necessary.

Torrey Pines

There was a presentation by City Forester Brian Widener. He first gave an update on the second dead Torrey Pine on Saratoga Ave. Just days before the meeting, the dead tree was removed. Widener explained that the city treated the sick tree with insecticide in July 2020 but by January this year it was dead, a victim of the turpentine beetle.

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The Widder Curry (Finally) Speaks

June 7, 2021 by Judi Curry

By Judi Curry

In the past 4 days I have received 5 emails from people asking me why I haven’t written anything lately.

One wanted to know if I had a relapse of Covid. Thank you all for your concerns – I am fine, just so peeved at my fellow man that I find it hard to not rant and rave about the goings on in the world today.

Let me give you a sample – and I know the daggers are about ready to be thrown again. I suspect that the “dagger-throwers” are the ones that I am writing about in the first place.

Where to begin? Perhaps with the lowly Senators of the United States that do not have the testicles to stand up to the horrific former President of the United States – trump. What must he have on them to have them deny that anything other than a tourist excursion took place on January 6th. They were there; they saw what was happening, and still they continue to deny the role that trump played in this insurrection.

Maybe that is not the place to begin.

Perhaps it is now with the strongest person in the Senate – Joe Manchin

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Mr. Mayor: Hire a Trash Czar

June 7, 2021 by Source

More on Mayor’s “Get It Done” App.

By Colleen O’Connor

At the beginning of April, the OB Rag posted several photos of trashy streets where I strongly suggested that the Mayor hire a Trash Czar.

Those featured spots were cleaned up within days. An admirable result. It hasn’t lasted.

As even Governor Newsom has argued, “California has become too damn dirty.” And that includes the City of San Diego.

See: the new sample photos below taken this week.

Multiple ugly piles of refuse and garbage exist, and are multiplying, especially in the downtown area. The clean-up efforts are minimal and sporadic at best.

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‘Celebrate the OB Vibe’ – Saturday, June 26

June 4, 2021 by Source

On Saturday, June 26, the Ocean Beach MainStreet Association is sponsoring the ‘Celebrate the OB Vibe’ community event which will feature local artisans & makers and spotlight Ocean Beach’s local bars, breweries, restaurants, and retailers.

The OBMA says “This community event will take place throughout the business districts in OB from 10am to 6pm. The Ocean Beach MainStreet Association anticipates this event will encourage people to shop local and support OB businesses …”

There’s also array of activities throughout the day which include:

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Rally at City Hall to Demand Council Reject Proposed SDG&E Franchise Agreement – Friday, June 4

June 4, 2021 by Source

Today, Friday – with the sun directly overhead at noon – a coalition of different groups will be rallying to demand San Diego City Councilmembers reject the proposed SDG&G franchise agreement. The Council has a final vote on the 10-year contract on Tuesday, June 8. The initial vote in May approved the agreement, but a second vote is required.

The rally will be at City Hall, 202 C Street in downtown San Diego. The groups – which include public interest, racial justice, and environmental organizations – state:

The proposed franchise agreement would shackle residents and businesses in San Diego with the highest rates in the continental United State for 20 years. … A rejection of this agreement would provide time for San Diego to fully consider its options, including the option of forming an independent, non-profit community-owned utility.

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A Retraction

June 4, 2021 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

I owe an apology to L. Todd Wood.

I wrote about an article he had written in my recent OB Rag piece, “Wishing a Classmate Would Say ‘No to Racism.’”

His essay was sent to me via email by a high school classmate of mine who, as I wrote, is always trying to prove me wrong regarding race issues Black people face in America.

Apparently, my old school chum added information at the end of Wood’s writing that wasn’t the author’s.

Now, Mr. Wood wrote a lot about Black people that was alarming and concerning to me but he hadn’t written any of the things that I attributed to him after I wrote that he had brought “his rant to an end with an assessment of the benefits to our society if Blacks suddenly upped and left.”

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What Progressives Are Saying About This Dangerous Moment in American History – As The Insurrection Continues

June 3, 2021 by Frank Gormlie

Many progressive pundits, politicians, civil rights advocates and observers are calling this moment America finds itself in, a very dangerous one.

For instance, Robert Reich says:

The greatest danger to American democracy right now is not coming from Russia, China, or North Korea. It is coming from the Republican Party. … American democracy is at an inflection point.

Then there is this statement from over 100 scholars who express their deep concern regarding the assault on democracy:

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Park Advocates Demand Public Review Period for San Diego’s New Parks Master Plan

June 3, 2021 by Source

Parks and Recreation Coalition (PARC) was notified yesterday by city officials that a new Parks Master Plan would be released on June 2 with an aggressive schedule without sufficient time for public review of hundreds of pages of text and analysis impacting more than a billion dollars in future park fees.

PARC includes former city planners, landscape architects, architects, and community planners who reviewed the initial draft and helped defeat it last November at City Council. The initial plan laid out arbitrary standards that would not provide the parks needed by a growing population and without an understandable park land standard.

The new draft, being released without a strike-out, underline version to aid public review, is not addressing the key problem identified by PARC last November — the promotion of a confusing and untested “points” system to replace the easily understandable land standard in use today.

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Recall Campbell Campaign Closes Down

June 2, 2021 by Frank Gormlie

On Tuesday, the OB Rag was sent an email by the Recall Campbell campaign announcing that the effort did not reach their goal of 14,000 signatures, “not enough to force the recall of Jennifer Campbell.”

Campaign organizers stated they did garner over 10,000 signatures, however. In their statement, the campaign said:

The pandemic combined with competing signature-gathering efforts for other political races and Jennifer Campbell’s low name recognition proved to be an insurmountable challenge.

They were up against “an establishment candidate backed by deep-pocketed special interests ….” and up against the editorial board of the San Diego Union-Tribune. The effects of the pandemic cannot be overstated.

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June 2021 Events From the Ocean Beach Green Center

June 2, 2021 by Source

All events are online and free unless stated otherwise.

Every Saturday at 10:30 a.m. Climate Mobilization Coalition Zoom Meeting. June 5th. 12th, 19th, 26th

June 8th Tuesday to June 21st Monday 7 pm WFFSD Film Series: Sisters Rising

June 9th Wednesday 6 pm – 7 pm 20 Years of Helping Homeless Youth: A Doors of Change Anniversary Symposium
June 9th Wednesday 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm Immigration Updates Webinar

June 9th Wednesday 6 pm – 7 pm Electric Vehicle Association San Diego meeting
June 10th Thursday Super Power: Economically, Socially, and Environmentally Superior
June 10th Thursday 5:30 pm Introduction to Redistricting & Mapping Your Communities

June 12th Saturday 9 am – 1 pm 6th Annual Zero Waste Fair
June 13th Sunday 9:30 pm – 2 pm Post-Pandemic Hike & Picnic
June 13th Sunday 11:30 am – 2:30 pm Marcha de Silencio – Stand Up for Friendship Park

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Legacy of Fukushima Disaster Haunts Olympics

June 2, 2021 by Michael Steinberg

Nuclear Shutdown News for June 2021

By Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the decline and fall of the nuclear power industry in the US and beyond and highlights the efforts of those working to create a nuclear free world.

Legacy Of Fukushima Disaster Haunts Olympics

On March 25 CNN reported that the Olympic torch for this summer’s Olympic games in Japan was lit and then circulated by runners in Fukushima Prefecture, site of the March 20ll nuclear disaster.

Some of the runners were survivors of the catastrophe themselves, and some of those had lost family members back then.

The date of this event , almost 10 years to the day after the massive earthquake and subsequent tsunami, followed by the meltdown of three nuclear reactors

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Wishing a Classmate Would Say “No to Racism” 

June 2, 2021 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

I got an email from an old high school classmate that read: “Here’s a really good look at the problem of race in America today” in reference to an essay written by L. Todd Wood.

I seriously doubted that it would be a “good look” at racial matters as my old school chum finds pleasure, for some reason, in sending me articles that “prove” how Black people go about trying to fit into American society in the “wrong way” – and every way we try is the wrong way.

But I read the writing anyway, a bit curious as to what an ex-special forces helicopter pilot with a degree from the Air Force Academy had to say. And right-away I could see where this man was heading

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Complaints Raised About Police Take-Over of Ocean Beach Parking Lot on Memorial Day Weekend

June 1, 2021 by Frank Gormlie

There was a twitter storm over the Memorial Day weekend about the massive show of force by San Diego police in Ocean Beach and their take-over of the Pier parking lot.

Reporter and OBcean Alain Stephens sent out a number of tweets calling the police take-over of the area “inappropriate”, “abnormal”, a display of what’s wrong with modern policing, and that the whole scene did not honor Memorial Day but tarnished it. Stephens, who is African-American, also criticized the police show of force and take-over as part of a historical trend to restrict access to beaches by people of color.

Not everyone agreed with him

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Report From OB Town Council’s Forum on the Ocean Beach Pier

June 1, 2021 by Staff

By Geoff Page

The Ocean Beach Town Council held a meeting Wednesday, May 26 to talk about a single issue, the OB Fishing Pier. There was an informative presentation and a long public discussion. One surprise for many others was a public opinion that one option to dealing with the pier problem would be to remove it. Period.

The removal opinion was not just one person, although this was a small minority. But, this is why public forums are so important. Most folks were looking at the three proposals in the 2019 engineering report on the pier that The OB Rag revealed to the public for the first time. The three were: temporary repairs, a major rehabilitation, or remove and replace.

No one had considered just “remove,” and those who were of that opinion were looking at money spent on the pier,

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OB Planners: Projects to Review, Dying Torrey Pines, Park Improvements, Volley Ball Courts Dedication? – Wed., June 2

June 1, 2021 by Staff

The Ocean Beach Planning Board has a full agenda for its Wednesday, June 2 meeting.

It has 2 projects to review: ‘granny flat’ proposed at 4742 Niagara (it’s on the consent agenda and somehow includes 4743 Niagara as well, even though on other side of street – is that a typo?); and a granny flat conversion and 2 new units at 4636 Del Monte.

Plus the Board will hear an update about the dying Torrey Pine(s) on Saratoga and a presentation on housing bills currently considered in Sacramento. It will also review the tabled recommendations for OB parks and receive a request to name OB’s volley ball courts (how can a non-permanent volleyball court be named after anyone?)

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3 San Diego City Councilmembers Outline Plan for ‘Energy Independence’

May 28, 2021 by Source

Three San Diego City Councilmembers have just released a joint statement about an “energy independence plan,” in response to the Council’s approval of Mayor Gloria’s push to renew franchise agreements with SDG&E on Tuesday, May 25. Two of the three opposed the approval.

Councilmembers Sean Elo-Rivera, Joe LaCava, and Monica Montgomery Steppe call for the creation of an “Energy Independence Fund” which would help pay “to exit our agreement with SDG&E” and “allow for energy independence.” The three also propose a “public power feasibility study” as”the next step toward developing alternatives to investor-owned utilities and will provide an analysis of the viability of municipalization for the City of San Diego.” LaCava and Montgomery Steppe voted against Gloria’s proposal.

Here is their statement:

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Challenges Seek to Overturn Council Vote on SDG&E Franchise Agreements

May 28, 2021 by Source

By Rob Nikolewskia / San Diego Union-Tribune / May 28, 2021

A pair of challenges have been made to the new franchise agreement between the city of San Diego and San Diego Gas & Electric, seeking to overturn the City Council’s 6-3 vote to approve the deal that will see the utility continue providing electric and gas service for the city for up to 20 years.

Normal Heights resident and environmental advocate Jay Powell says a provision in the new agreement violates the city charter and the local law firm of Aguirre & Severson has reiterated its complaint that the council should not have held the meeting in the first place, alleging a violation of the state’s open meetings laws.

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Sempra Greased the Skids for Gloria and Council Democrats to Approve SDG&E Franchise Agreement

May 27, 2021 by Frank Gormlie

By Frank Gormlie

On Tuesday, a “super-majority” of members of the San Diego City Council voted to approve Mayor Gloria’s proposed franchise agreement with SDG&E.

Councilmembers Jennifer Campbell, Stephen Whitburn, Chris Cate, Raul Campillo, Marni von Wilpert and Sean Elo-Rivera voted in favor while Joe LaCava, Vivian Moreno and Monica Montgomery’ Steppe voted no. Campbell, Whitburn, Campillo and von Wilpert are Democrats and Cate is the lone Republican on the Council.

Curious as to whether SDG&E or its parent company, Sempra, gave campaign contributions to any of these Democrats, I dug around some. Didn’t have to go far. Matt Potter over at the San Diego Reader answered most of my questions in his December 21, 2020 piece, entitled, “Sempra’s last-minute money fueled anti-Bry hit campaign,” with a sub-head of “Tortured trail of Democrats’ campaign cash leads to SDG&E’s back door”.

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