July 2019

Appellate Court finds San Diego County Erred in Approving Subdivision of Ranchland Near Julian

July 31, 2019 by Source

Appellate Court Rules San Diego County Must Vacate Approvals of Hoskings Ranch Subdivision Plan

By Nina Erlich-Williams / Public Good PR

Late last week, California’s Fourth District Court of Appeal published a decision that reverses a Superior Court ruling in the case Cleveland National Forest Foundation et al. v. County of San Diego. The July 25th decision held that San Diego County officials acted wrongly when they approved a map for the subdivision of the 1,400-acre Hoskings Ranch near Julian.

The court found the subdivision would have set the stage to replace ranching with residential development on the property, all while allowing the property owner to enjoy tax breaks intended to keep the land in agriculture. “This decision is an important victory in the long effort to protect San Diego County’s agricultural land and open space from sprawling development,” said Cleveland National Forest Foundation Director Duncan McFetridge.

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Love Lifted Me! from Dripping With Love in a Sea of Hate

July 31, 2019 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

Love lifted me!
Love lifted me!
When nothing else could help,
Love lifted me!

Oh, how I used to love hearing Sister Lillie Walls light up Mt. Calvary Missionary Baptist Church singing that song on many a Sunday morn.

She had a silky deeply sincere voice that ranged between soprano and contralto that just settled into your bones and got you up on your feet and got you through the week until the next Sunday came along and love could lift you again.

We needed that like a junkie needs heroin. To “maintain,” as we used to say, considering we lived day to day in Tucson, Arizona, a Jim Crow town, where we, not to get into any detail at this point, were expected to, basically, stay in our “place”: out of sight.

Before I even started school I knew that wasn’t right.

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California Has Its Faults – Big Quakes Shake Up All Things Nuclear Too

July 31, 2019 by Michael Steinberg

Nuclear Shutdown News July 2019

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.

San Francisco – October 17, 1989. It was my birthday. I was four stories up in Frisco, in my brother’s place, visiting while he was in New York. Looking south, I could see the Goodyear Blimp hovering over Candlestick Park, where the Bay Bridge World Series game – Giants vs. Oakland Athletics – was about to start as Friday rush hour approached.

Suddenly, and seemingly out of nowhere, a humungus concussion jolted everything,

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Some of Southern California’s Most Iconic and Popular Beaches Have Lost Nearly All of Their Biodiversity

July 31, 2019 by Source

by Sonia Fernandez, University of California – Santa Barbara / Phys-Org / July 31, 2019

To most people, a beach is a beach. You could likely take an image of almost any urban beach in Southern California—the flat, mostly featureless expanse of sand against blue-green water and blue skies—swap it with one of nearly any other urban beach in Southern California, and chances are that only a trained eye would notice the difference. Some of these differences lie just beneath the surface, however, and are actually quite important ecologically.

Dig just few inches into the sand on many beaches in Southern California—home to some of the most biologically diverse sandy beaches in the world—and you’ll find it teeming with life such as sand crabs, clams and beach hoppers. But for about a third of the sandy beaches extending from Santa Barbara to San Diego

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Congressman Mike Levin Joins Peters and Vargas in Calling for Impeachment

July 30, 2019 by Frank Gormlie

A third member of the San Diego Congressional delegation has come out and called for impeachment of Trump. Congressman Mike Levin, D-San Juan Capistrano, released a minute and half video on Friday, July 26, calling for the House of Representatives to begin impeachment proceedings against the president.

Levin joins Congressmen Scott Peters and Juan Vargas, also Democrats who represent segments of the area, who have come out for impeachment.

In his video, Levin cites Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s findings on ten instances where Trump obstructed justice. He “also criticized Trump’s encouragement of foreign interference with U.S. elections and “contempt” for Democratic norms and institutions, such as the president and his administration’s refusal to respond congressional requests for documents,”

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Winners and Losers – the San Diego Edition Story #1: the 35th Anniversary of the McDonald’s Massacre

July 30, 2019 by Source

By Norma Damashek / NumbersRunner / July 29, 2019

We know how it’s played at the Del Mar racetrack. There are winners. There are losers. It’s a brutal ordeal for the horses but there’s a hefty payoff in the offing for a certain percentage of track regulars.

City politics has a lot in common with horse racing. But while it takes years of selective breeding and training to produce a winning horse, a winning candidate can be created through selective inbreeding, deft maneuvering, and discrete fingers on the scale.

To illustrate what this means in real time, consider the jarring juxtaposition of two seemingly unrelated stories that appeared this month in the news–practically on the same day. Read them separately and you get a hint of the embedded gentleman’s agreement that controls San Diego civic life.

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Mayoral Candidate Barbara Bry Calls for Moratorium on Electric Scooters in San Diego

July 30, 2019 by Frank Gormlie

On Friday, July 26, Councilwoman Barbara Bry called for a moratorium on electric scooters in San Diego citing safety issues and lack of permitting. Bry, representing District 1 on the Council, is running for mayor against Assemblymember Todd Gloria, who has taken a different stance on the scooter issue.

Bry, who is also City Council President Pro Tem, released a public statement, saying, “Enough is enough – scooter companies have had their opportunity.” She laid out a list of problems the scooters have caused in San Diego, according to Morgan Cook at the San Diego Union-Tribune:

… injuries, strain on city resources, private companies going onto private property to retrieve scooters, and a “scooter graveyard” where the vehicles pile up, posing a long-term environmental threat. …

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A Solar Impulse for Our Soul

July 30, 2019 by Staff

By Joni Halpern

Since 1896, Ohio voters have picked the winning candidate in all but two presidential elections – 1944 and 1960 – giving rise to the state’s renown as a “bellwether” to which candidates cannot afford to turn a deaf ear. If Ohioans are going to be so influential, maybe we could help inform their future choices by sharing some concerns from the Golden State.

Dear Ohio,

Remember the days when every presidential candidate had to tell us how great we were? Whenever they spoke to us, they had to tell us we were the greatest country in the world, we were the most powerful, we had the mightiest military, the biggest economy, we were the leader of the free world. We demanded this. “American exceptionalism” is what they called it, and we couldn’t get enough of it.

Well, no more of that. Today we have wiped our hands of world leadership, slipped off the pedestal of our inflated self-image, and begun to talk about what’s really bothering us.

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The 2020 Candidates on Gun Reform

July 29, 2019 by Doug Porter

By Doug Porter / Words&Deeds /

Where are the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates on the issue of gun reform? Gun reform was identified by the 2018 midterm voters as one of their most pressing concerns. In alpha order, here are where the 2020 candidates stand on the issue of gun reform. You can click on the candidate’s names to go their campaign website to learn more.

Michael Bennet

Gun Reform Stance: “In 2012 Bennet joined then Colorado Senator Mark Udall in asking for stricter gun control, in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. After the shooting, Bennet said, “In Colorado, we support the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms, we support the ability of people to hunt and recreate and to protect their families and homes, and we want to keep the wrong weapons out of the hands of the wrong people.” Source

Assault Weapons: “In 2013 Bennet voted against a Senate Amendment … that would have reinstated the federal assault weapons ban.” Source

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UCSD Researchers Involved in Risky Eye Study on Babies in China

July 29, 2019 by Source

by Jill Castellano & Brad Racino / inewsource / July 25, 2019

Twenty-one researchers from the University of California San Diego were involved in a study performed on babies in China that has been called unethical, risky and misleading. Experts say the experiment likely would not have passed an ethics review in the United States.

The experiment was a new surgical treatment for infants with cataracts and involved an eye incision in the hopes that the lens would regrow and work properly.

Dr. Kang Zhang, the former UCSD chief of eye genetics who resigned this month, helped design the study.

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Restaurant Review: Fiddler’s Green on Shelter Island in Point Loma

July 29, 2019 by Judi Curry

Fiddler’s Green
2760 Shelter Island Drive
San Diego, CA 92106

By Judi Curry

I have been to Fiddler’s Green many times. Their Monday night steak special brings many locals to their restaurant when other restaurants have sluggish sales.

But I had heard about their breakfast, served only on Saturday 8-12 pm and 8-1:00 pm on Sundays and decided to try it with Hugh and Hitomi. We were VERY glad that we did.

The menu was extensive, including over 20 items including Burrito’s, Biscuit and Gravy, Eggs Benedict, etc. and many different bar drinks including Bottomless Mimosas ($11); Screwdrivers, Bloody Mary’s, etc.

But what made the decision so difficult was besides having a nice menu, there were 5 additional “specials.” There was a Chorizo Omelet, a Denver Omelet, a Machaca Omelet, Pork Chops and Eggs, and Banana Pancakes. It took the three of us some time to finally decide what to order.

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Summer Chronicles #6: Mourning the Passing of Animals from Our Lives

July 29, 2019 by Jim Miller

By Jim Miller

Anyone who has ever cared for small children knows how central the role of animals is for fostering imagination and compassion in young people.

In my family’s case, our son’s childhood was awash in stuffed animals—beavers, raccoons, skunks, elephants, badgers, bears, rabbits, and a plethora of other creatures — every one of whom had a name, relatives, and a full-blown set of connections with other animals as well as with our family and friends.

His little pals would come over and learn the stories of our animal friends as would our grown-up pals. All of these animals had different voices and personalities and origin stories. It was our own domestic mythology for an imaginary chain of being.

Of course, everything was heavily anthropomorphized,

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Sunset in Ocean Beach on a Saturday Night

July 29, 2019 by Source

Jeff Stone captured this sunset on Saturday, July 27 from an upstairs window.

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Native Hawaiians and Supporters Enter Second Week of Blockade of Work on Giant Telescope on Mauna Kea- ‘The Rock’ Joins Them

July 26, 2019 by Frank Gormlie

Protesters blocking the construction of a giant telescope on Mauna Kea, Hawaii’s tallest mountain, are about to enter their second week of the civil disobedient demonstration. They were joined on Wednesday, July 24 by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson who came to show support.

Johnson – the actor and former wrestler – joined the protesters during their 10th day of the blockade of the construction road leading up to the planned site of the observatory. Native Hawaiian groups say the mountain, which already hosts 13 telescopes, is sacred, and another observatory will further desecrate the mountain on the Big Island.

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Builders Panic as San Diego City Council Head Sets Vote on Affordable Housing Changes

July 26, 2019 by Source

The City Council is set to vote Tuesday July 30 on Council President Georgette Gómez’s proposal to force developers to pay for or build more low-income housing as part of their projects. Gómez says the time for negotiating is over.

By Andrew Keatts and Lisa Halverstadt / Voice of San Diego / July 25, 2019

Council President Georgette Gómez has listened to the development industry’s vociferous opposition to her signature policy initiative and has settled on a simple response.

She’s not changing anything.

The City Council is set to vote Tuesday [July 30] on the proposal, which would force developers to pay for or build more low-income housing as part of their projects.

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Point Lomans Mobilize to Counter Port District’s Plans – Complain of Inadequate Notice of July 31 Deadline for ‘Public Comment’

July 26, 2019 by Frank Gormlie

Emails are lighting up across Point Loma as residents realize some of the plans the Port of San Diego has for the bay and for Shelter Island. And the residents most concerned are trying to get the word out that the Port needs to hear from them by time of the deadline for public comment – July 31.

As Geoff Page explained in his report of the Port District’s presentation at the most recent Peninsula Community Planning Board meeting:

The Port is updating its Master Plan and they have what they call a Discussion Document out for public comment.

The problem for many is that the end of the 90-day public comment period is July 31 and it seems a lot of people are just now hearing about this. The news in the past couple of weeks seems to have alerted people to what is happening. …

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City Turns Blind Eye as Badly Needed Housing Becomes Airbnb ‘Mini-Hotels’

July 26, 2019 by Source

Editordude: The following opinion piece by Councilwoman Barbara Bry – who is a candidate for San Diego mayor – originally published on July 22, 2019 at Times of San Diego – has been circulating among locals who her stance resonates with.

By Barbara Bry

San Diego is being inundated by a new wave of short-term vacation rentals as building owners are renting out apartments as short-term vacation units.

This is in addition to the up-to-16,000 single-family homes in San Diego that our City Auditor estimates are currently being used as short-term vacation rentals. So here we are, significantly reducing our housing stock and artificially inflating rents for San Diegans, in the midst of a historic housing crisis.

Our City Attorney has declared short-term vacation rentals in residential zones illegal according to a memo dated March 15, 2017.

It is time to enforce those laws.

This is more than a beach community issue.

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Opposition to New Target Shifts Tactics: ‘Shop Local’ and Invest in Independent Businesses

July 26, 2019 by Frank Gormlie

Opposition to the new Target on Newport Avenue in Ocean Beach has rekindled and activists have shifted gears in their approach to the behemoth retail magnet opening its doors in one of the most anti-corporate neighborhoods in San Diego.

After a slumber of over a year, the anti-Target campaign has jumped back onto the streets of OB with the main focus now of building support for local independent businesses and to prevent “further corporate takeover”.

About a dozen people showed up at Target’s opening last Sunday with the message of “protect our community” and “shop local.”

The campaign has also come up with a list of alternative local merchants to many products Target carries

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The Ocean Beach Town Council Is an Enabler of Groups that Improve the Community

July 25, 2019 by Frank Gormlie

At last night’s Ocean Beach Town Council meeting, the group handed out their annual Community Grants amounting to several thousand dollars to local organizations that work to improve the neighborhood or aid its citizens.

Here’s a list of the recipients that we are aware of:

  • OB Green Center
  • OB Library / Friends of OB Library
  • Loaves & Fishes Food Store
  • Sunset Cliffs Surfing Association
  • Groundswell Community Project
  • San Diego River Park Foundation – Native Plant Garden Beautification
  • Peninsula YMCA
  • OB Firestation
  • New Alternatives: Camp Reach for the Sky
  • OB Woman’s Club
  • Peninsula Shepherd Center – Out and about Senior transportation program
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Concerns Over Port’s Plans for Shelter Island Lead to Packed Peninsula Planning Meeting

July 25, 2019 by Staff

By Geoff Page

The big event room at the Point Loma Library was so packed that some people had to stand for the whole July meeting of the Peninsula Community Planning Board. This is a good sized room, too. Planning board meetings don’t usually draw large crowds, to understate it a bit, so when the room is as packed as it was, there is something of interest on the agenda. It was the Port District.

Some information about the Port District’s Master Plan has been in the news recently and some of what seemed to be in store for Shelter Island was what brought out the crowd.

The Port is updating its Master Plan and the 90-day public comment period ends July 31

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New Murder Mystery by G.M. Ford Set in Ocean Beach

July 25, 2019 by Staff

By Bob Edwards

An award winning mystery and thriller novelist, G.M. Ford has just published a new book, Heavy On The Dead (Thomas and Mercer, Seattle, 2019) that is set largely in Ocean Beach.

From the first pages of the book when a body is discovered next to the Santa Cruz Avenue stairs during a beach cleanup to an episode searching for a homeless man along the San Diego River, to the protagonists battling traffic on Sea World Drive at rush hour, Heavy On The Dead has numerous local references that most OBceans will recognize.

It’s tempting to go on and on about the fun OB details that permeate the novel but articles with spoilers suck, right? Just get a copy and read it, already!

The novel is the twelfth in a series of books that feature former Seattle private detective Leo Waterman. The previous books were set in the Northwest but as this novel opens, the detective and his associate Gabe have relocated to Ocean Beach

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Ocean Beach Town Council – Annual Grants Awards – Wed., July 24

July 24, 2019 by Staff

Join the Ocean Beach Town Council at their Public Meeting on Wednesday, July 24th. They will be presenting their annual Community Grants to 15 local non-profits -all worthy organizations who are contributing to the betterment of our community.

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Ocean Beach 10 Years Ago in July 2009

July 23, 2019 by Frank Gormlie

What was going on in Ocean Beach a decade ago? In July of 2009? We took a gander at our archives from that month – and discovered a treasure trove of old articles covering issues that still resonant with us today. From gentrification to fireworks, from Sunset Cliffs to the “Marshmallow Wars”, the OB Rag covered these local issues – and more. Take a look.

Fireworks are costly

As part of a group report by OB Rag writers on the 2009 Street Fair, Gary Gilmore showed us the money. He wrote:

The rockets’ red glare is gone. The echoes of the bombs bursting in air have faded. The volleys of marshmallows have been put to rest for another year. It’s time for an accounting. Where did all the money go?

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MTS to Spend $34 Million for New ‘Tap-and-Go’ Fare System

July 23, 2019 by Source

by Lauren J. Mapp / inewsource / July 15, 2019

The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System plans to spend $34 million for a new “tap-and-go” fare collection system that will replace one that some riders find inconvenient and that the agency says is outdated.

The MTS fare program has had problems for a long time.

  • Until two years ago, riders couldn’t store money on their Compass Cards, a reusable ticket for daily, weekly and monthly passes, even though the technology has existed for years.
  • The Compass Card launched in 2009 and had data security issues from the start that left users vulnerable to credit card fraud. MTS has made security improvements to the card, but it still doesn’t fully meet industry standards.
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What Makes a War ‘Good’?

July 23, 2019 by Staff

By Joni Halpern

Since 1896, Ohio voters have picked the winning candidate in all but two presidential elections – 1944 and 1960 – giving rise to the state’s renown as a “bellwether” to which candidates cannot afford to turn a deaf ear. If Ohioans are going to be so influential, maybe we could help inform their future choices by sharing some concerns from the Golden State.

Dear Ohio,

I was wondering if Ohioans could give a little thought to what makes a war “good.”

Your answer might be important as we listen to the increasing thunder of American leadership shaking their fist at passersby on the world stage. After all, wars conceived are not wars remembered.

Our lasting impression of any war is its true outcome. If people could agree about what makes one war good and others bad or even forgotten, it might help us evaluate the use of our military might. That could help us choose our next president.

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Midway Planners: Candidate Barbara Bry, Port District Master Plan and ‘Grand Central Station’

July 23, 2019 by Staff

By Geoff Page

Councilmember Barbara Bry, a candidate for mayor this year, had this to say about the situation downtown, “City Hall, quite frankly, is a mess,” when she came to the Midway-Pacific Community Planning Group’s meeting on July 17. Those are words that resonate with many people these days, but it has to be kept in mind that this is a candidate for office.

Bry came to the planning board at the invitation of chair Cathy Kenton. Last month the group hosted Dr. Campbell from District 2.

Bry spoke for some minutes explaining her background and her positions on several things. For example, she said she was against the city buying the old SDG&E building because it needed work and the city has spent, and is spending, $30 million to renovate it. Bry said she was against land use being dictated from Sacramento referring to several current bills that are intended to help ease the housing shortage.

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3 Dozen BB Attacks Over Past Month in San Diego County – Including Two in OB – Midway Area

July 23, 2019 by Frank Gormlie

There’s now been nearly three dozen attacks BB gun attacks over the last month in San Diego County – including one in Ocean Beach and one in the Midway District. Plus one target was the second storefront of a well-known OB business.

The BB gun attacks appear to be intentional and have targeted pedestrians, drivers, businesses and homes. Police are trying to figure out if they’re all related. Or maybe shooting BB guns at people and property is just a trend.

NBC7 reported on the Midway District shooting:

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They’re Cutting Down Torrey Pines

July 22, 2019 by Source

By Gaye Macy

It seems at least two Torrey Pines have been/ are being cut down on Ebers and West Point Loma Blvd. I don’t know why the City has now begun taking down Torrey Pines, whether they were asked by the community, or whether it was based on risk assessment.

From one of the NextDoor strings that followed, it seems that some people feel Torreys are dangerous and want to see them cut down. One man linked to the story of the Torrey that fell on a house during a severe wind storm last winter. Another woman suggested that not all the Torrey Pines needed to be cut down, “only the ones in backyards and near sidewalks.”

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We’re Seeing Clear Signs of How Freedom Isn’t Free

July 22, 2019 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

Like any other American I appreciate the freedoms we have, especially the freedom to express one’s self, as I can’t exist without speaking up in some manner.

But I just wish I, and my people, were fully free, free to just go about our lives, like white people, like for instance, not having to instruct our sons regarding what to do if they’re walking down the street minding their own business and a cop rides up on them with his hands on his weapon, at the ready to commit a crime where there had been none.

That’s the kind of liberty we want, simply freedoms like being able to sit down and wait on a friend to join you in Starbucks or swim at a pool or barbecue in the park without somebody calling 911.

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City Creates Safety Hazard on Canon Street in Point Loma by Not Forcing Developer to Follow Law

July 22, 2019 by Staff

By Geoff Page

What would you say if someone told you that you would have to walk over 700 feet out of your way to make it from one side of a 90-foot wide project to the other side on a sidewalk?

You would probably ask why.

If the only answer from the City of San Diego was just “because we say so,” I imagine you’d be a bit unsatisfied with that response. But that is precisely what the city has been doing to residents of Point Loma who live in the area near St. Agnes Church on Canon Street for over a year. This is a tale of how much more developers matter to the city than do regular community residents.

For a year, local residents have been complaining bitterly about a temporary construction fence on Canon St. between Evergreen and Rosecrans.

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