May 2021

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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An Out of This World Moment with Steph Curry

May 27, 2021 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

The other day
I was distracted
from
the troubles of the world,
via the NBA,
in a glorious way,
watching Steph Curry
trying
to break free
underneath his basket,
looking for a quick score
instead of getting
to where he’d need to be

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Police Reform in San Diego One Year After George Floyd’s Death

May 27, 2021 by Source

By Cristina Kim / KPBS / May 26, 2021

One year ago today, George Floyd was murdered by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. Bystanders caught the murder on video and the world was able to see how Chauvin placed and held his knee on Floyd’s neck for nine minutes and twenty-nine seconds.

The result was a global movement as people from all backgrounds took to the streets to call for greater racial justice and demand that communities reimagine policing.

San Diego was no exception.

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Peninsula Planners Table Park Recommendations Until Public Input

May 26, 2021 by Staff

By Geoff Page

The subject of Peninsula parks came up twice during the Peninsula Community Planning Board’s regular monthly meeting Thursday, May 20. Two parks were discussed, Collier Park and the Canon Street “pocket” park. There were, however, problems with both.

Collier Park

Collier Park is all that is left of the Collier land grant legacy that is still just open park land. Bill Cleator park is laid out into Little League fields. Collier Park is bordered by Greene and Soto Streets and is adjacent to the Point Loma Native Plant Reserve.

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Portuguese Festa Part II: A History Lesson

May 26, 2021 by Source

By Colleen O’Connor

As a trained historian, I am sometimes pushy about the need for every family to collect, retain and write about their own history.

That is the most valuable (real time, real participants) version of history. It is no accident that “Find Your Roots” and “Ancestry.com” are popular. They are also valuable chronicles of the past, taken in the present, and preserved for the future.

The evidence is captured in all the cell phone videos, snapshots, tweets and formal portraits. Historians need these gigabytes, first-hand memories, and old fashioned black and white photos to create an honest narrative. However, even more valuable and more fascinating

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Ocean Beach Pier to Partially Reopen Friday, May 28

May 26, 2021 by Staff

Mayor Gloria and Councilwoman Campbell are announcing that the Ocean Beach Pier will partially reopen this Friday, May 28. However, pier visitors will only be allowed to go up to the cafe and bait shop. And only emergency vehicles will be able to drive onto the pier “when necessary.”

In a news release, Campbell’s office stated:

City engineers and maintenance crews have made immediate repairs to make a portion of the pier safe for public access while a longer-term strategy is developed for the future of the pier. …

Public access will be allowed up to the bait shop and café and only emergency vehicles will be allowed when necessary. In addition, the pier will need to close during very high tides. …

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A Scholarly Masterpiece: ‘William Frantz Public School’

May 26, 2021 by Source

By Thomas Ultican / Tultican

My wonderful friend from New Orleans, Mercedes Schneider, said of this meticulously researched book, “Intense, captivating, and horrible in its reality, William Frantz Public School is a story overdue for the telling – a must read for those seeking to understand New Orleans’ history and the lingering impact of White racial superiority upon the Black community and city infrastructure.” I concur. It is a captivating read.

At its 1938 founding, speakers proclaimed the new William Frantz Public School (WFPS) a “protection for democracy” and a “fortification against encroachment of those terrible ‘isms.’” (WFPS page 3)

However, racism did not just encroach; it dominated.

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Majority of City Council Goes With the SDG&E Deal

May 26, 2021 by Source

Vote came after utility made additional commitments to city

By Rob Nikolewski / San Diego Union-Tribune / May 26, 2021

It was a close vote and required some additional financial concessions and commitments by San Diego Gas & Electric but the San Diego City Council on Tuesday approved a new electric and gas franchise agreement with the utility that can run as long as 20 years.

After a grueling session in which the outcome at times appeared uncertain, the council voted for a new deal on a 6-3 vote, just barely meeting the required two-thirds supermajority’ needed per the City Charter to finalize a new franchise agreement.

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SUV Sought in Fatal Hit-and-Run in Ocean Beach Alley

May 26, 2021 by Staff

There is a video of what San Diego Police say is the vehicle involved in a fatal hit-and-run of San Diego resident Frank Thomas Neal, who was found unresponsive in an OB alley late Friday night. Neal passed away at the scene.

Police are seeking help in identifying the suspected hit-and-run driver whose SUV ran over and killed 60-year-old Neal who had fallen earlier and was lying on the pavement in the north alley off Niagara Avenue and Sunset Cliffs Boulevard.

The involved vehicle is believed to be an early 2000s-model Chevrolet Suburban or GMC Yukon with a sunroof, a raised suspension, shiny silver rims and side molding.

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City Council Must Go Bold and Not Take SDG&E’s Franchise Deal

May 25, 2021 by Source

By Bill Powers / Times of San Diego / May 23, 2021

We live in a period of unprecedented climate upheaval and economic inequality. Amidst this tumult, San Diego’s energy future is being decided. Will our city’s longtime energy provider, San Diego Gas & Electric, receive a pass to continue with business-as-usual for another generation, or will the city insist on terms that meet the challenges of our times?

SDG&E charges us the highest utility rates in the continental United States, while actively undermining city efforts to deal with the climate crisis. San Diego is also in litigation with the utility over its failure to abide by the terms of its existing franchise agreements.

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Today, San Diego City Council Takes on Gloria’s Potential 20-Year Franchise Agreement With SDG&E

May 25, 2021 by Frank Gormlie

Today, the San Diego City Council considers Mayor Gloria’s potential 20-year franchise agreement with SDG&E. This potential does not sit well with a whole lot of San Diegans.

Specifically, opponents of the deal are not at all happy with a provision that allows SDG&E to recover some of the payments the utility is proposing to make if the deal does not run its full term.

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The Year of George Floyd

May 25, 2021 by Staff

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Midway Planners In ‘Shock’ After Navy’s Presentation of 5 Options for NAVWAR Site

May 24, 2021 by Staff

By Geoff Page

The Navy gave its very first public presentation of its potential plans for redeveloping the old SPAWAR site on Pacific Highway to the Midway-Pacific Highway Planning Group, Wednesday, May 19.

The details of the Environmental Impact Statement, or EIS, were recently made public and reactions have been intense because of the density and building heights in some of the alternates the Navy’s EIS contains.

The Navy has five possible alternate plans for the site, some of which include buildings 240 feet tall and others with buildings 350 feet tall.

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Portuguese Festa: Even in a Pandemic They Kept the ‘Spirit’ Alive

May 24, 2021 by Source

By Colleen O’Connor

Want to escape all the downbeat news and losses from the COVID-19 surges and chaos of this past year?

Then cheer on San Diego’s Portuguese community for sticking with a 700-year old tradition that commemorates Portugal’s Queen St. Isable, who (during a famine) promised the Holy Spirit to give her crown to the Church, “if sent a miracle, so my people will be relieved of their hunger.”

That miracle arrived, via ships sailing into the harbor, loaded with wheat and corn.

Thus, began the celebrated Festa do Espírito Santo (Feast of the Holy Spirit), with thanks and prayers to the Holy Spirit for interceding in times of danger or calamity.

The chaotic, COVID-19 ravaged years of 2020 and 2021, certainly count as one of those “times.”

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San Diego City Council Should Deny SDG&E Franchise Agreements and Demand Public Power

May 24, 2021 by Source

By Craig D. Rose / San Diego Union-Tribune Op-Ed / May 21, 2021

While still early in its term, San Diego’s City Council will take a final exam next Tuesday. The test will include just one question:

Will you protect the citizens of San Diego against a utility intent on charging us the highest utility rates in the continental United States, while the same company undermines efforts to deal with the climate crisis?

For the balance of this article, see link inside.

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Police Investigating Suspicious Death of Man Found in Ocean Beach Alley

May 24, 2021 by Staff

San Diego homicide detectives are investigating the suspicious death of a man found in an alley north of Niagara Avenue in Ocean Beach.

Late Friday, May 21, a 60-something year old man was found in the north alley off Niagara Avenue and Sunset Cliffs Boulevard just before 11:30 p.m. When officers arrived, the man was unresponsive, and a citizen was doing CPR. Paramedics took over, but he was pronounced dead soon after. He was pronounced dead at 11:41 p.m.

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California Needs More Housing, But Local Voters Must Still Have a Say

May 24, 2021 by Source

By Carolyn Coleman / Times of San Diego / May 17, 2021

Like so many essential workers, city employees and elected officials have been in overdrive for the past year, trying to save and support our communities from the ravaging effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic recession.

California’s cities spent billions addressing the public health crisis, maintaining essential services like public safety, sanitation and transit that our citizens cannot live without, and supporting small businesses to help them survive.

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Ocean Beach Town Council Hosting ‘Town Hall’ on Future of OB Pier – Wed., May 26

May 24, 2021 by Frank Gormlie

The OBTC will be hosting a “Make Your Voice Heard: Town Hall to Decide the Future of Ocean Beach Pier” at their next public meeting on May 26th to discuss the City’s long-term plans for our Ocean Beach Pier.

They will be inviting our Local, State and Federal representatives to attend and the Town Hall format will allow participants / viewers to weigh-in directly with questions and concerns on this important topic.

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Gloria Wants to Take the City for a Ride on the SDG&E Train

May 21, 2021 by Frank Gormlie

By Frank Gormlie

In San Diego’s continuing saga over who gets to be the franchise holder for the city’s electric and gas utilities, it is staggeringly clear now that Mayor Todd Gloria really wants SDG&E to stay. Gloria is pushing the city to get on board the SDG&E train for a ride.

He and City Attorney Mara Elliott have concluded “multiple rounds” of negotiations with SDG&E, formed a tentative agreement, and he is beginning to talk with the councilmembers about a new contract. Gloria claims his new deal is “certainly an improvement over the existing franchise agreement….” That’s not saying much.

Nothing is for certain. Gloria needs a “super-majority” of votes from the Council, six of the nine members.

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OB’s Pat and Susan James Celebrated by SOHO for Preserving Wisteria Cottage and Garden Party Tradition – Thursday, May 27

May 21, 2021 by Staff

Susan and Pat James of Ocean Beach are being celebrated this year by SOHO (Save Our Heritage Organization) for maintaining the tradition of the Wisteria Cottage and Garden Party. It’s SOHO’s 38th annual People In Preservation Awards with an online award presentation. Pat and Susan will be celebrated during the online ceremony on Thursday, May 27, at 4pm, during National Preservation Month.

Here’s SOHO’s description:

On Niagara Avenue in Ocean Beach, you will find a charming turn-of-the-20th-century cottage that plays host each spring to abundant blooms of colorful purple wisteria vines.

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Open Letter to Politicos: ‘Help Save the OB Pier!’

May 20, 2021 by Source

Editordude: The following is an open letter to elected local representatives from Nicole Uneo, a well-known OBcean active in the village. The letter was originally published on OB Neighborhood Watch. Nicole encourages others to join her in writing our elected officials to help save the pier.

To Congressman Scott Peters, Assemblymember Chris Ward, Mayor Todd Gloria, and staff;

I write to you regarding the Ocean Beach Pier, which as you may know is the longest concrete pier on the West Coast. Due in part to sea level rise, coupled with large wave events from winter storms, the pier has sustained repeated damage and has been closed to the public on and off for several years.

A structural assessment report has recently come to light stating that the pier is at the end of it’s useful life, and must be either permanently closed, repaired, or rebuilt.

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Alaskan Engineer Plans to Recycle Ocean Garbage Into Plastic Lumber

May 20, 2021 by Source

By Liz Ruskin / Alaska Public Media / May 19, 2021

The cost of lumber and other building materials is sky-high, and it’s even more expensive when shipped to small coastal communities in Alaska.

Patrick Simpson of Anchorage has an idea that might help. He wants to create artificial lumber from an abundant material no one wants: Plastic ocean debris.

Simpson, an engineer, began by considering the global blight of waste plastic in the marine environment. “As I thought about it, well, why can’t we convert it into something that locally could be usable?” Simpson said.

The EPA has given Patrick Simpson a $100,000 grant to develop his idea of a mobile plastic-waste recycler that could deploy to coastal communities in Alaska and produce building materials.

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2 Point Loma Watercolor Artists Win Awards

May 20, 2021 by Source

Two local, Point Loma artists have just won awards at an exhibition at The San Diego Watercolor Society gallery in Liberty Station.

Julie Anderson won the first-place award in the competitive May 2021 Member’s exhibition “Shape Zone” held as a gallery show in May 2021.

Anderson’s painting entitled “Always the Protector” was selected by prominent local artist and juror

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Gloria’s Revised Budget Brings Back San Diego Library Hours But Still Disappoints

May 20, 2021 by Staff

San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria revised his budget, released Tuesday, which now keeps libraries open seven days a week. This is a testament to the pushback he received from City Council members and the public about his initial cut-backs in the library budget.

However, to library advocates, Gloria’s numbers are still disappointing. The new budget removed funding for a pilot program to extend morning and evening access in communities that would benefit from this the most.

Patrick Stewart of the San Diego Public Library Foundation made this statement in response:

“We thank the Mayor for restoring the Library’s budget at a time when San Diegans need its essential and free services, programs and resources more than ever, especially in those communities hit harder during the pandemic. We’re happy to see new investments in electronic resources and systemwide programs.

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The City Fiddled While the Ocean Beach Pier Crumbled – A Classic Story of Neglect

May 19, 2021 by Staff

By Geoff Page

While the rest of the news media was doing nothing more than reporting what The OB Rag had already reported on the sad state of the OB Pier, The Rag kept digging. The news stories focused on several things, the major one being that the western end of the pier will be closed to the public indefinitely.

In fact, the engineering firm’s April 23, 2021, recommendation on vehicle traffic at the west end of the pier was almost the same as the recommendation Moffatt & Nichol gave the city five years ago in September 21, 2016. These recommendations were detailed in a memo from the city’s Director of Public Works.

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Affordable Housing Should Be the Top Priority in Redeveloping the Sports Arena Site

May 19, 2021 by Source

By Laura Nunn / San Diego Union-Tribune Op-Ed / May 18, 2021

Housing is a top concern for citizens, a basic need and a public good.

At a time when the housing and homelessness crisis continues to deepen, the public is served by prioritizing affordable housing in new developments.

The COVID-19 pandemic put on display how unprepared our housing system is to meet one of the most basic of human needs. When staying home was a matter of public health, many people had no home to go to or found themselves insecure in their housing situation. When schools closed, home became the primary space for kids of all ages to learn, study and complete homework. We’ve all learned a deeper meaning to the word “home” and its importance in our life.

This past year, we saw the number of people experiencing homelessness for the first time in San Diego County double and a decline in California’s population for the first time in recorded history.

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Remembering OB Spaceman, Clint Gary

May 19, 2021 by Source

Editordude: Here is nearly a 30 year old article about OB Spaceman – Clint Gary – one of the most colorful characters to cross the stage of Ocean Beach.

By Thomas Arnold / San Diego Reader / December 23, 1993

Hey, Mr. Spaceman
Won’t you please take me along?
I won’t do anything wrong
Hey, Mr. Spaceman
Won’t you please take me along for a ride?

Whether or not the classic 1960s rock tune by the Byrds really was about him — he said it was, but he said a lot of things — one thing is certain: Clinton Beverage Cary, better known as the Spaceman of O.B., took Ocean Beach residents and visitors on a 30-year ride as cosmic artist, agent of the planet Rillispore, and belligerent town drunk. That ride came to a sad

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OB Historical Society Presentation on Early San Diego Historian and Point Loman Winifred Davidson – Zoom Teleconference Thursday, May 20

May 19, 2021 by Source

Please join the Ocean Beach Historical Society in their presentation “Anyone Talked History, Today?” about early San Diego historian Winifred Davidson. The Zoom teleconference will be Thursday May 20, 2021 at 7 pm.

Early San Diego historian Winifred Davidson is described as the woman who discovered San Diego’s Lost History. Davidson was a poet, a musician, an educator, a journalist, one of one of San Diego’s first preservationists, and a longtime resident of Point Loma.

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