December 2020

Pursuing a Promised Land

December 21, 2020 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

I just finished A Promised Land, Barack Obama’s latest writing.

On the whole, laying aside my concerns about “droning” and such, abrupt departures from A Promised Land, it was an interesting and sometimes enjoyable read for me.

One way it was interesting was because as I read Obama’s words, Trump, of all people, kept popping up in my mind.

I mean like Obama would write something and I’d find myself trying to imagine Trump doing likewise.

I mean when I read Obama’s poetic description of his daily stroll to work along a walkway where, at times, he “felt the first slap of winter wind or pulse of summer heat” – all I could think of was a president who has, for four years, sat on his butt and tweeted, using words from a pre-school child’s vocabulary.

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With Just One Bid for Gas and Electricity, Advocates for Publicly-Owned Utility See Opening for San Diego

December 18, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

On Thursday, December 17, the San Diego City Council and Mayor Gloria opened the bids for the right to provide gas and electric services within the city limits and discovered that San Diego Gas & Electric was the only entity that placed a bid.

This does not mean that SDG&E will be able to continue with its century-long monopoly on the city’s power. Neither the Council nor the Mayor took any action.

Jessica Lawrence, Gloria’s director of policy, informed the Council the mayor’s staff would review the bids along with the City Attorney’s Office to determine whether the SDG&E bid has met all the requirements laid out by the city. His office will then consider what steps should be taken next. Lawrence said, “The mayor may reject (the bids), he may cancel the process entirely, he may make recommendations for award of any responsive bid.”

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Nuts and Bolts of Recall Campbell Campaign

December 18, 2020 by Staff

The folks who are mounting the Recall Campbell campaign have issued a recent update:

“The campaign to recall Councilmember Jennifer Campbell has begun. The notice of intent to circulate a recall petition will be published in early January. As required, within five days of publication, Jennifer Campbell will be served with the notice of intent.

The petition will begin to circulate – signatures of resident registered voters of District 2 will begin to be gathered – 21 days after the date of publication. We will then have 99 days to collect a minimum of 13,553 signatures.”

Nuts & Bolts of the Recall

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San Diego County’s 12 Most Endangered Historic Sites

December 17, 2020 by Source

SOHO Spotlights 12 Most Endangered Historic Sites

Save Our Heritage Organisation, San Diego’s only countywide historic preservation advocacy group, wraps up this year with its 22nd annual Most Endangered List of 12 historic buildings, sites, and landscapes.

The pandemic’s stressors of uncertainty, inequity, and loss underscore the unifying power of our shared multicultural heritage and venerated historic places. The pandemic also threatens historic buildings and places that are not now regularly used, visited, or monitored due to restricted activities.

These threatened sites also reflect and define San Diego’s authentic character, and cry out for preservation before it is too late. Key among these are the vulnerable redwood Red Roost and Red Rest bungalows, which have overlooked La Jolla Cove since 1894. Sadly, a recent fire severely damaged Red Rest and partly burned Red Roost. The pair has appeared on SOHO’s Most Endangered List for more than 25 years, longer than any other threatened historic resource.

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Feeling Nostalgic for Past Holidays, Friends and Trees

December 17, 2020 by Source

By Kathy Blavatt

This holiday season, many people seem to be appreciating simpler things. The New York Times reported Christmas Tree sales are up.

I loved seeing an Ocean Beach yard decorated with an antique truck and snowmen Christmas decorations. It pulls at my nostalgic heartstrings.

I stopped to look at a lovely fence with an ocean swell theme. Then I had to smile at the playful snowman tossing a snow-child into the air behind the fence.

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Women Come Out of Break-Ups Easier than Men

December 17, 2020 by Source

Straight Up With a Twist

By Edwin Decker

Dear Ed, [My ex and I] were engaged in 2007 and broke up at the end of 2010. Immediately after that he got [a 19-year-old girl] pregnant, got married and moved out of state . . . When he discovered my Facebook profile several years later, he blocked me. So why do men cut all communication with their exes if they’ve moved on with their lives and are happy now?

Cynthia T. (via Facebook)

Hi Cynthia, thanks for the question. So, what makes you think he has moved on? How do you know he’s not still harboring feelings? Given the science, it shouldn’t come as a surprise.

There is credible data suggesting that men have a harder time recovering from breakups in the long term.

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New Mayor and Council to Review Bids for City’s Utility Franchise Thursday, Dec.17

December 16, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

This Thursday, December 17, newly-elected Mayor Todd Gloria and the newly-seated City Council will review just from whom and what bids have been made for San Diego’s electric and gas franchise agreements.

The Council will not be making any decisions, however, on granting any franchises. There is no vote – and the agenda item is listed solely as an “informational” one.

The old franchise agreements run out on January 17, 2021. They’ve been held, of course, by San Diego Gas & Electric. The current one was granted in 1970, and SDG&E had held the earlier 50-year agreement. So, that’s one hundred years that the company has had a monopoly here in San Diego. A lot of people think it’s time for a change, where the utility company with the franchise places the residents and businesses of the city at the top of whomever it serves – not its investors.

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This Man Is ‘For the Birds’

December 16, 2020 by Judi Curry

Diego Marquez
“The Marketplace”
619-672-5911

By Judi Curry

Several years ago, my daughter bought me a very pretty, glass bird bath to attract more birds into my back yard.

For months I loved watching the birds come and drink from the bowl or take a bath when the weather was warmer.

And then, one day, a “murder” of Crows landed on the glass bowl and quickly toppled it. And from that day on I have been searching for another bird bath.

I found that many of them were built very flimsily; and knowing that not only do I have crows that have heard that the water is good at the “Curry Household” I have been providing several different hawks with the same good water so it is imperative that the bird bath be strong enough to handle several large birds at one time.

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2 Headlines That Were a Balm for the Eyes: ‘Biden Confirmed’ and ‘Former Mayor Faulconer’

December 16, 2020 by Source

By Geoff Page

I saw two headlines Monday that were a wonderful balm for the eyes and the mind. That is saying something considering what we are all seeing in the headlines, and have been seeing for months.

The first headline was “Joe Biden is confirmed as president-elect.” Now, this was not wonderful because I love Joe Biden, nor do I dislike him, it was because of the contrast between this moment and one four years ago.

I was in a hotel room in Colorado on business the night of the election four years ago. I had an uneasy feeling and as the night wore on it did not dissipate. I had to get to bed because I was going to be teaching the whole next day. When I got up the next morning, I made some coffee but I dreaded turning on the TV.

When I finally did hear the news, I stood gaping at the TV in shock and what first ran through my mind the most was the judicial system. I’m old enough to know the effect of an election on the judicial system

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Restaurant Review: Z & F Chinese Food in Point Loma

December 15, 2020 by Judi Curry

Restaurant Review

Z & F Chinese Food
2907 Shelter Island Dr., #104
San Diego, CA 92106
619-269-7668

Cooking for One Ain’t Fun – Part 2

By Judi Curry

Last week I ordered several items from another Chinese restaurant in the OB/ Pt. Loma area. Needless to say I wasn’t too happy with it, and decided that I would start looking about the area to find one that was more to more liking. I had had food from Z & F before, and decided to try them again.

The one thing I was very disappointed in at the other restaurant was the Won Ton Soup,

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Trump Family Finds New Federal Housing

December 15, 2020 by Source

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“Nomadland” – A Classic Book / Movie for Our Times

December 15, 2020 by Source

By Colleen O’Connor

Wonderful stories that perfectly illuminate an age do exist. Sometimes becoming bestselling books or blockbuster movies, but that is rare. Sometimes they also become classics.

Best examples of these contemporary, metaphorical triumphs include Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games; J.K. Rowing’s Harry Potter; Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Quartet; and possibly George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones.

Although each of the blockbusters commanded massive international audiences and still move global emotions, none have done it with the raw reality of journalist, Jessica Bruder’s book, Nomadland.

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The Electors Have Voted and Joe Biden Is Confirmed as President-Elect

December 14, 2020 by Staff

With the vote of California’s electors, President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College win over Donald Trump has been formalized.

States have been voting throughout the day, but it took California’s 55 votes to bring Biden over the 270 needed to win. As of this writing, Biden has 302 votes; he needed 270 – as if we could forget.

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Cruisin’ Through OB During a Pandemic Holiday Weekend

December 14, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

Under the new Southern California “lock-down” due to the continuing ravages of COVID, I wanted to check out how the business district of Ocean Beach was handling it. Especially during the holiday-time.

Cruising down the several blocks of OB’s main commercial avenue, Newport, and out along the waterfront, I could see many people with masks on. Most had them on, but not all.

Also, most businesses were open – although under limited capacities. Most of the restaurants had customers – there were even lines at a few. Eating was only allowed outside, of course, and there were a few folks having lunch at isolated tables.

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Forget the Election, the Real Fraud Was in the Baseball Playoffs

December 14, 2020 by Source

By Steve Rodriguez / Times of San Diego / December

I don’t want to talk about the recent election. I’m tired of politics.

It was a long campaign and I’m emotionally worn out from all the debates, and the tweets, and the rallies.

Instead, I want to discuss the past baseball season. I’m sure all of you know the Dodgers won the World Series, but in order to get to the Word Series they first had to beat the San Diego Padres in a playoff series. Sure, if you’re a Dodgers fan, you’re really happy about beating the Padres.

But there’s one thing I want you to know…those games between the Dodgers and the Padres back in October were RIGGED.

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OB Town Council Now Accepting Candidate Statements for the 2021 Board Election

December 14, 2020 by Source

By Jon Carr – Vice-President of the OB Town Council

The Ocean Beach Town Council (OBTC) Board of Directors is now accepting Candidate Statements for the 2021 board election.

If you would like to take your community involvement to the next level, here’s a great opportunity to do so.

As a volunteer OBTC Director you would help to plan and organize the many local OB events produced by the Town Council. You will also serve as an elected voice communicating the views and needs of the community to the appropriate agencies, be at the forefront of community discussions, take appropriate action on community issues and be a leader in promoting the general betterment of Ocean Beach.

There are 15 seats on the Board of Directors. OBTC members elect Board Members for two-year terms. Half of the Board stands for election every year.

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Council President Vote Will Prove Catalyst for Jen Campbell’s Recall

December 14, 2020 by Source

By Barbara Bry / Times of San Diego / December13, 2020

The vote that elected District 2 Councilmember Jennifer Campbell as the next president of the San Diego City Council has made the effort to recall her a citywide issue and has galvanized residents all over the city to join a growing coalition.

The council president is important because this person sets the council agenda that determines what and when the council votes on issues and also makes committee assignments. In short, that office wields a “choke hold” position on city matters.

The recent 5-4 vote, with District 4 Councilmember Monica Montgomery Steppe on the losing end, clearly demonstrated where the power behind-the-scenes is and who elected officials are beholden to.

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In a Sabino Canyon State of Mind

December 14, 2020 by Ernie McCray

In a Sabino Canyon State of Mind

by Ernie McCray

My mind,
in these times,
often drifts
to Tucson.
Home.
Home to me
and home
to Sabino Canyon,
grounds that are sacred to me,

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What the Census Taught Me About the NIMBY vs. YIMBY Debate

December 14, 2020 by Source

By Paul Krueger / Voice of San Diego / December 14, 2020

In 1971, a young Pete Wilson was elected mayor of San Diego on a platform of “smart growth.” I covered City Hall as young reporter in the ‘70s, and remember how Wilson’s strategy resonated with voters, who wanted to avoid Los Angeles-style sprawl by densifying neighborhoods south of Interstate 8 while limiting patchwork growth to the north.

But 50 later years later, many residents in our core neighborhoods are living with the unplanned consequences of that strategy: dilapidated, expensive and overcrowded housing, congested streets and inadequate parks and schools.

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Join the Campaign to Recall Jen Campbell

December 11, 2020 by Staff

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None Dare Call It Treason

December 11, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

Staying up late last night, I spent a good amount of time trying to wrap my brain around this Republican effort to use the Supreme Court to overturn the 2020 election.

The fact that over half of the Republican representatives in Congress and 18 GOP states attorneys general have filed “friends of the court” briefs in support of the Texas AG’s suit to overturn the 20 million votes of people in four battle ground states of Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Georgia has made me livid.

I searched for analogies and comparisons and parallels in an attempt to grok it all, to understand what it really meant, despite the frivolous nature of the law suits, and especially what it meant to the rest of us.

The Reichstag fire came to mind. So did the firing on Fort Sumter.

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Campbell Selected as Council President But Still Faces Invigorated Recall Effort Back in Her District

December 11, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

Despite a tide of public opposition, the newly-sworn in City Council voted to install Jen Campbell as San Diego’s new Council president Thursday night. The vote was narrow: 5-4 vote after nearly seven hours of public testimony. The lone Republican still on the Council, Chris Cate, got to play spoiler and voted for Campbell.

As the Union-Tribune reported:

“The vast majority of the roughly 300 residents who spoke at the meeting lobbied council members to choose Councilwoman Monica Montgomery Steppe as council president instead of Campbell.

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For Whom the Campbell Tolls

December 11, 2020 by Source

 

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Right Wing Disinformation Targets San Diego Schools

December 10, 2020 by Doug Porter

An error filled online posting, devoid of context, with misleading assumptions has led to death threats and vile messages aimed at staff in the San Diego Unified School District, according to Board of Education Vice President Barrera.

Efforts to create awareness of racism as a systemic rather than an individual problem have stoked indignation in far right circles during the Age of Trump. Authors and publications seeking to educate the public and provide previously unheard historical context have been denounced as being racist themselves and part of a left wing conspiracy.

Now San Diego has its own mini-scandal, which should be laughable, except that threats and violence from right wing extremists have become normalized.

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Virtual Holiday Gala and Auction, Food & Toy Drive Still On in Ocean Beach

December 10, 2020 by Source

From the OB Town Council:

A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices.

For a brief moment, we embodied this idea last weekend at the 2020 OB Holiday Reverse-Parade. In the midst of intense uncertainty, OBceans came together safely to continue a 41-year tradition of marking the beginning of the Holiday season in Ocean Beach.

Over 625 cars waited in line to come through the reverse-parade. We’re so thankful for this community and the ways you continue to show up and spark joy. We all need that type of communal joy, as the saying goes, now more than ever.

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Explaining the Supreme Court Lawsuit from Texas, Trump’s Gambit at a Coup, and 17 GOP-Led States Challenge Biden’s Win

December 10, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

Public Service Announcement from CNN:

Although all 50 states have certified their election results and the Supreme Court swiftly rejected an emergency request from Pennsylvania Republicans to block election results in the commonwealth, the justices are now grappling with a new controversial bid from Texas, supported by President Donald Trump and 17 other Republican-led states.

They are asking the Supreme Court for an emergency order to invalidate the ballots of millions of voters in four battleground states — Georgia, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania — even though there is no evidence of widespread fraud. Here’s what you need to know:

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America Attacked?

December 10, 2020 by Source

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More Diversified Juries on Deck for California in New Year

December 9, 2020 by Source

By Jerry Wallingford / San Diego Union-Tribune Op-Ed Page / Dec. 3, 2020

A new law that takes effect in California on Jan. 1, 2022 will make it difficult for lawyers trying criminal cases to exclude people of color, or members of other specified groups such as those related to gender, gender identity, sexual orientation or religious affiliation, from sitting on trial juries.

Historically, trial lawyers have been permitted to use a “peremptory challenge” to keep a prospective juror off of a jury, without providing a reason for the exclusion. In the 1970s and 1980s, first the California and then the United States Supreme Courts devised rules known as the Batson rules, which were intended to keep lawyers from using peremptory challenges to strike jurors because of their race.

The Batson rules have been ineffective. A recent study by the UC Berkeley Law School, entitled “Whitewashing the Jury Box,” found that California prosecutors “still disproportionately exercise peremptory challenges to exclude African Americans and Latinx people from juries.”

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Op-Ed: The Case Against Jen Campbell

December 9, 2020 by Source

By Cathie Jolley, Gary Wonocott, Greg Knight, and Mandy Havlik

The City of San Diego is headed into one of the toughest budget situation we’ve seen in decades. A city government that is already financially burdened with a pension debt and budget deficits now braces for a looming shortfall of Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) revenues as a result of the COVID-19 public health crisis that has devastated our local tourism industry.

The need for a strong, steady hand to lead the City Council has never been greater than at this moment. It will require someone with the ability to address the many challenges of recovering from the pandemic, our housing affordability crisis and navigating potential budget cuts to essential services.

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A Musing Rising from a Photo Taken a Few Years Ago

December 9, 2020 by Ernie McCray

A Musing Rising from a Photo Taken a Few Years Ago

by Ernie McCray

As usual
my mind,
as the minds
of dreamers do,
was just wandering,
musing
as I scrolled through
a picture or two
and one made me pause
for a moment or two,
one of me
smiling
all relaxed,
kind of, if you ask me,
sharp as a tack,
looking like the world
had my back
on a warm sunny
Southern California day.

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