Assess Government-Owned Property for People to Shelter

June 11, 2021 by Source

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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Ocean Industries Often More Polluting than Terrestrial Counterparts

June 10, 2021 by Source

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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Dyslexia Testing for Public School Students a Cloak for Privatization

June 10, 2021 by Source

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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Bathroom Access Is a Human Right Neglected in San Diego

June 9, 2021 by Source

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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