California

Gray Whale Troubles in Southern California

April 11, 2019 by Source

By Sam Catanzaro / YO! Venice / April 11, 2019

From San Diego and Los Angeles to Santa Barbara and San Franciso, major cities are commonplace along much of California’s coast. Amid the hustle and bustle of these metropolises, it is easy to forget the nature that exists in many residents’ backyards. Last month in Malibu, however, residents and beachgoers got a visual and olfactory reminder of their proximity to wildlife when a young dead gray whale washed ashore at County Line Beach, greeting beachgoers with the smell of decaying flesh.

“It smelled foul,” Cole Miller, a local actor who was surfing nearby, told Yo! Venice. “I had never seen a whale that close before, so I was in awe of how large it was compared to me. Other people poked at it, but I didn’t want to. There was dried, dirty blood oozing from its eyes and mouth. It was pretty gross, but amazing to see a creature like that right in front of me.”

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Effort to Prohibit Marijuana Home-Deliveries by California Cities Stalled for Year

April 11, 2019 by Source

By Patrick McGreevy / Los Angeles Times / Apr 10, 2019

A state bill that would have allowed cities to prohibit home deliveries of marijuana has been sidelined for the year amid concerns that doing so would further hamper California’s lagging market for cannabis.

The action comes just days after 24 cities including Beverly Hills, Riverside and Covina filed a lawsuit against the state, asking the courts to invalidate a California regulation put in place earlier this year that allows home deliveries statewide, including in cities that bar pot shops.

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Surfrider Celebrates Success Over Seawalls at Coastal Commission

April 3, 2019 by Source

By Kaily Wakefield/ Surfrider Foundation San Diego / March 15, 2019

On Thursday, March 7, members of the Surfrider San Diego Chapter Beach Preservation Committee and Policy Staff attended the California Coastal Commission Meeting in Los Angeles. The Chapter achieved two important victories for our coastline that have the potential for huge impact in the future.

As always, there were numerous items to be heard by the Commission over its three-day meeting. Of importance to the San Diego Chapter were two applications involving seawalls. One permit requested that an existing seawall serve as protection for a proposed demolition and remain in place to support a new home on the bluff top in Encinitas. The other was a permit application for the construction of a new seawall that would front three properties in Solana Beach.

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Women Surfers Push for All Sports Events on Public Land to Include Categories for Both Genders

March 28, 2019 by Source

Women surfers push beyond equal pay—even if it means letting men into the water, too

By Laurel Rosenhall / CALmatters / March 21, 2019

Women surfers scored a big win in California last year when an obscure government commission decided it would only lease a public beach to the Mavericks global surf competition if men and women were awarded the same amount of prize money. Experts said the precedent could compel equal pay at marathons, bike races, skateboard contests—any athletic events on public land. …

Now a push to go further is opening a broader debate over how to advance equality for women in male-dominated sports—and whether all-female competitions should be open to men.

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Monsanto Ordered to Pay $80 Million After Its Roundup Caused Cancer in California Man

March 28, 2019 by Source

The jury found Monsanto guilty of negligence and failing to adequately warn consumers of Roundup weed killer’s cancer risks.

Andrew Emett / NationofChange / March 28, 2019

A federal jury unanimously ruled Wednesday that Monsanto was liable for causing a California man’s cancer and was ordered to pay more than $80 million in damages. The jury found Monsanto guilty of negligence and failing to adequately warn consumers of Roundup weed killer’s cancer risks.

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Good-Bye Electoral College? Popular Vote Movement Gaining Steam

March 21, 2019 by Source

It’s not just Democrats that see the virtue in reforming presidential elections.

By Steven Rosenfeld / Voting Booth /March 14, 2019

This article was produced by Voting Booth, a project of the Independent Media Institute.

There’s new momentum around the National Popular Vote movement, where states will award Electoral College votes to elect the president based on which candidate has won the most votes nationwide—instead of today’s state-by-state winner-take-all system.

“It does have new momentum, because there was a [recent] period starting with the second Obama election when Democrats bought into this blue-wall theory” that their political party had a lock on the White House, said John Koza, a former Stanford University scientist who co-founded the National Popular Vote project in 2006.

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Plastic Straws and Socialism as 2020’s Straw Man

March 12, 2019 by Doug Porter

By Doug Porter / Words & Deeds

California Congressman Devin Nunes (Ru-CA 22) took to Twitter on Saturday complaining about a waitress asking his table if they wanted straws for their beverages, ending his comment with “Welcome to Socialism in California!”

Nunes, who spent much of 2018 running interference for President Trump to minimize the scope and impact of investigations by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, was rehearsing the GOP’s main talking point in the 2020 elections, namely slinging the term “socialism” early and often.

His pitiful plea about having to request a straw stems from the Republican tenet holding dirty energy production as a benefit while ignoring the ongoing dangers of climate change. And, of course, the Congressman will get points from the Trumpanista camp for bashing California.

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How OB Stayed ‘OB’ and Avoided Over Development Like Mission Beach

March 8, 2019 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for How OB Stayed ‘OB’ and Avoided Over Development Like Mission Beach

Originally posted June 11, 2014
There is a reason that Ocean Beach has stayed as OB and did not suffer the fate of, say, its neighbor to the north – Mission Beach.

Have you been up to Mission Beach lately? Walked or biked on the Boardwalk? Surfed the MB curls?

Did you realize there’s no community left there? It’s all time-shares, vacation rentals, and empty buildings.

But most importantly for us, it’s practically wall-to-wall 3 story expensive giants facing the ocean for – literally – miles – all along the famous Boardwalk.

And the reason OB didn’t go that way is because …

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A Road to Nowhere for San Diego Republicans

March 1, 2019 by Doug Porter

By Doug Porter / Words & Deeds / Feb. 26, 2019

A split party and a nutjob in the White House don’t bode well for the state leadership, either…

A statewide gathering of the California GOP elected Jessica Patterson as its leader earlier this week. She is representative of the demographics mostly not represented in the party these days: female, millennial, and Latinx. And she beat Travis Allen, the far-right advocate for all things Trump who placed fourth in last year’s gubernatorial primary.

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Sen. Bernie Sanders Goes All In – Will California Be His Waterloo?

February 19, 2019 by Doug Porter

By Doug Porter / Words & Deeds / Feb. 19, 2019

If you thought this was an off year, you were wrong. The 2020 election has begun in California.

Sen. Kamala Harris has the inside track, but it ain’t over until the votes are counted.

As expected, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has announced his candidacy for President of the United States. Good for him. Yay for us. His 2016 campaign inspired millions of people and transformed politics. A raft of once seemingly impossible policy proposals have become probable, should almost any Democrat win the 2020 election.

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Target to Pay $7.4 Million for Improperly Disposing Hazardous Waste in Calif. Landfills – Again

February 1, 2019 by Frank Gormlie

Good ol’ Target. As the giant mega-company was readying the former antique mall for its new Ocean Beach store, over on the environmental side, it was “disposing of batteries, light bulbs, medical waste and other environmentally hazardous materials improperly in landfills across the state” of California.

And it got busted – and now it has agreed to pay a $7.4 million settlement to California. It appears the Minnesota-based company violated a $22.5 million stipulated judgment from 2011 over similar allegations of improper disposal of hazardous retail waste.

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We’re Still Calling People ‘Illegal’ After All These Years

January 8, 2019 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

Note: I found an old piece I wrote for the San Diego Tribune in November of 1994, twenty-four years ago. The piece was about Proposition 187, a ballot measure that required me, a school principal, to rat on families who were in the country illegally. And, as I read it, I felt as though we, as a society, had been frozen in time, because what I wrote, with all the talk nowadays about caravans and building walls and such, would speak to these times:

Despite the passage of Proposition 187, my disposition remains the same. I will not, in any way, play a role in willfully hurting another person.

I have sat at the back of the bus. I’ve had someone tell me to get my “black ass” out of a hotel where there were plenty of rooms available. I’ve skaked at the rink on special “Negro” days.

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OBceans Aid In Camp Fire Relief

January 3, 2019 by Source

by Bob Edwards

Some Ocean Beach and Point Loma residents have been generous in providing assistance to the people of Paradise and its neighboring towns of Cancow and Magalia in northern California.

Early last month, two OB residents, Linda Taggart and Pam Lloyd, collected clothing and $550 in donations. They traveled to northern California to present those donations to community groups in Chico that are working on providing relief to survivors of the fire.

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Paradise Lost: The Camp Fire and Its Aftermath

January 3, 2019 by Source

Wild Fires in California – Part 3

by Bob Edwards

They say there are only six or less degrees of separation between any two persons on the planet. When it comes to California’s wildfires of 2018, there was zero to one degree of separation for me: I was either directly affected or had friends impacted by three of the four biggest blazes to hit our state in the past year.

In December the OB Rag published two articles I wrote about my lifetime of experiences with California wildfires as well as first person accounts of the Woolsey (Malibu) and Carr (Shasta and Trinity Counties) Fires and their aftermaths. (Here’s Part 1 and Part 2.)

Today’s article covers the big one, the Camp Fire, and how it affected some of my friends who live near the blaze.

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Nuclear Shutdown News December 2018: 99 Nuke Plants to Go

December 28, 2018 by Michael Steinberg

By Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the decline and fall of the US nuclear industry and beyond, and highlights the efforts of those who are working for a nuclear free world.

99 To Go

Two nuclear power plants closed permanently in 2018. Fort Calhoun in Nebraska closed for good in in October, after clanking on for 43 years. And previously, the nation’s oldest nuke plant, New Jersey’s Oyster Creek ceased running after 49 years in September.

US commercial nuclear plants were designed to operate for 40 years. These two nuke plant closures brought the remaining number of the nation’s nuclear plants still (sometimes) running to 99.

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Two Fires of 2018 Through an OBcean’s Eyes

December 27, 2018 by Source

by Bob Edwards

Last week the OB Rag published my story about experiences with wildfires that I’ve had over the 60 plus years I’ve lived in California. I did not include the most recent fires because the unbelievable conflagrations of 2018 warrant their own chapter.

This past year (really the past five months!) has seen the worst cluster of fires to ever hit California.

Since July, we have had the largest wildfire in California history (the Mendocino Complex Fire) as well as three of the top ten destructive fires to ever burn in our state (the Carr, Woolsey, and Camp Fires).

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California Wildfires – an OBcean’s Perspective

December 19, 2018 by Source

by Bob Edwards

If you have lived in California for any length of time you have probably had your life touched by wildfires. Possibly you lost your own home or you know someone who did. You could have contributed money, food, or clothes to a fellow worker or community member who was affected by a fire.

Certainly when the Santa Ana blows and smoke fills the air you have experienced ash landing on your car, a blood red sunset, or perhaps cancelled school events or exercise classes.

I have lived in California for over sixty years.

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The Climate Crisis and the Ocean

December 14, 2018 by Source

By David Helvarg / Blue Frontier Campaign / December 10, 2018

Between the devastation of Mexico Beach, Florida and Paradise California plus the 4th National Climate Assessment Report, the year 2018 may become known as the point of no denial, an acknowledgement of what Governor Jerry Brown calls, “the new abnormal.” At this point climate deniers are being recognized as little more than the willing tools of the fossil fuel industry such as the coal lobbyist now running the EPA.

The best available science reflected in the federal report prepared by 13 government agencies including NASA, NOAA and the National Science Foundation, suggests the worst possible scenarios if we continue on our present course (which we appear to be with 16 of the 17 hottest years on record occurring since 2001).

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Ode to California and the San Diego Free Press

December 6, 2018 by Source

By Colleen Cochran

It was 1975. My parents got the bright idea to escape the Philadelphia winter by taking the kids on a two-week California trip. This vacation wasn’t well-planned and cushy like the times we stayed at the Greenbriar, the Waldorf, or those hotels in Italy. The California vacation was an impromptu, free-wheeling, down-and-dirty road trip. Maybe that’s why I liked it so much.

It was an ambitious, almost insane, venture. Parents and five kids, ages toddler through pre-teen, crammed ourselves into a rented station wagon and winged a sight-seeing tour in which we drove from San Francisco all the way down into Tijuana. We stayed at whatever cheap hotel would have us.

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Memo to Democratic ‘Giga-Majority’ in Sacramento: Don’t Forget Who Sent You There

December 5, 2018 by Doug Porter

By Doug Porter / San Diego Free Press

November’s Blue Wave gives California’s Democratic legislature the opportunity to do more than simply resist the Trumpian agenda.

If they move wisely, the Golden State will serve as an example of what’s possible in an era when good governance serving the needs of all the people takes precedence over schemes designed to line the pockets of the few at the expense of the many.

Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon has a “gigamajority,” with 60 of the 80 seats in that chamber affiliated with his party. Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins shares a party affiliation with 29 of the 40 members in her chamber.

Devotees of centrist politics are twisting themselves into pretzel shapes trying to sow skepticism over what the legislature’s left leaning majority will mean.

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GOP House Leader Kevin McCarthy Under Scrutiny for In-Laws’ Awards of Gov’t Contracts Due to Dubious Claim of Being ‘Native American’

November 26, 2018 by Frank Gormlie

Congressman Kevin McCarthy represents California’s 23rd district, up north in Kern County. He’s been there since 2006 and was just recently elected the Republican’s Majority Leader in the House of Representatives. So, for a short time – the lame-duck post-Midterms period – he’ll be the top guy in the House.

But there’s been a bubbling controversy about McCarthy since mid-October when reports first surfaced that his brother-in-law won over $7 million in federal contracts on a dubious claim that he is Native American.

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Midterm Voters Rejected One-Party Rule and Created Most Diverse Congress in U.S. History

November 14, 2018 by Frank Gormlie


What happened one week ago cannot be over-stated. Yeah, those mid-term results – whose vote totals are still coming in. And despite pundit declarations there wasn’t a “blue wave”, Democrats continue to be declared winners.

Yet, we must underscore and duly acknowledge the two huge things that happened last Tuesday. A majority of American voters rejected the one-party rule we’ve had these last two years, at least on the Federal level, – and in the process created the most diverse Congress in history. Or vice-versa.

The results were devastating to Trump. That’s why – the very next day – he fired Attorney Jeff Sessions

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Post Election Questions for Progressives at State, Local and National Levels

November 12, 2018 by Jim Miller

What many had called the election of our lifetimes is over, and while any moment for reflection was immediately stolen by Trump’s purge of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the subsequent fallout with regard to the Russia investigation, there are still big, important questions that progressives inside and outside of power will face in the coming months if we hope to present a vision that does more than say no to Trump while getting trapped in his diversions.

Can the Democrats in the House and elsewhere at the national level set a bold economic agenda?

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Some Good Things Progressives Can Do Down Ballot – Vote for Measure D, Tony Thurmond & David Alvarez; Against Props 5 & 6

November 5, 2018 by Jim Miller

This is perhaps the most crucial midterm election of our lives and all eyes will rightfully be on the national scene with everyone hoping for a Democratic take-over in the House of Representatives that will put a brake on the increasingly dangerous Trump Administration. Nonetheless, there are still a number of very important things that progressives can do at the state and local level that make it worthwhile to not neglect the down-ballot races and propositions.

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The Primer on Electing Judges in California

October 23, 2018 by Doug Porter

What to do about voting for or against judges is a thing this year. I’m hoping this column will answer some of the questions readers have.

The attention paid to Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing has made a lot of people take notice of the judicial contests appearing on their ballots. At least that is what I assume is going on, having researched and/or produced a half-dozen or so voter guides since 2012.

A quick history lesson…

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October 22 Is Last Day to Register to Vote in California

October 22, 2018 by Staff

Yup, that’s right. Monday, October 22 is the very last day to register to vote here in California.

Hundreds of people gathered at Dog Beach and spelled out “VOTE!”

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Marshall Tuck: The Republicans’ Trojan Horse

October 8, 2018 by Jim Miller

By Jim Miller

In last week’s column, I wrote that “the future of public education and the heart and soul of progressive California” were at stake in the Superintendent of Public Instruction race. What makes this race so important is that it represents an attempt by moneyed interests and forces on the right to play in Democratic politics through the use of stealth and dishonesty. Indeed, if you like the way the Lincoln Club intervenes in and tries to upset the Democratic apple cart in races here in San Diego, you’ll love how the right is trying to game California’s Democratic voters in this contest.

It’s so bad, that the state party came out with this extraordinary assertion last May leading up to the primary in response to Tuck’s refusal to disavow his Republican allies:

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California 2018 Propositions 10-12 : Are They Really About Rent Control, Lunch Breaks and Cage-Free Eggs?

October 4, 2018 by Doug Porter

In the conclusion to this series on statewide propositions, we’ll look at two measures that aren’t what they seem to be and one that is what it seems to be, even though opponents claim otherwise.

Prop 10 asks voters to repeal the law prohibiting communities from regulating what landlords can charge residential tenants. Prop 11 asks voters to legalize a questionable labor policy. And Prop 12 ups the ante on the treatment of animals raised for human consumption.

If you’re wondering about Prop 9–aka the billionaire scheme to split California into three parts–you won’t find it.

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California 2018 Propositions 5 thru 8: Taxes, Tantrums, Time Changes, and Catheter Cash

October 3, 2018 by Doug Porter

money

Grannies, potholes, sunshine, and healthcare. We sure do get to vote on a lot of interesting things in California.

Prop 5 changes the way property taxes are calculated for certain classes of (mostly wealthy) people. Prop 6 amounts to a Republican temper tantrum. Prop 7 wants to settle some timely questions. And Prop 8 is a more-complicated-than-it-seems battle of the Titans.

Proposition 5 – Another Trickle Down Scheme

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Why Electing Tony Thurmond as Superintendent of Public Instruction Is the Most Important Race in California

October 2, 2018 by Jim Miller

Andrea Gabor’s After the Education Wars: How Smart Schools Upend the Business of Reform, thoroughly exposes the fact that over the last twenty years or so, “the billionaire boys club has favored a punitive, hierarchical, undemocratic, one-size fits all approach that has hurt students more than it has helped them.”

These corporate education reformers come to the table with an endless supply of money and a set of prejudices that favor:

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