California

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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California’s 2018 Ballot Propositions: An Overview of Props 1 thru 4

September 28, 2018 by Doug Porter

This is about the first four of California’s 2018 Ballot Propositions for the general election.

What the first four ballot offerings have in common are requests to use taxpayer money for things proponents would like us to believe are for the common good.

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The San Francisco Climate Action Summit: Is It ‘Better Late than Never’?

September 19, 2018 by Source

After the Climate Action Summit, Commitments Emerge Amidst Growing Disaster

Corporate execs, career politicians, and environmental activists converged on San Francisco for the Climate Action Summit.

by David Helvarg / The Progressive / September 17, 2018

The Global Climate Action Summit held in San Francisco September 12 through 14 felt both urgent (as Hurricane Florence began to soak the Carolinas and Typhoon Mangkhut battered the Philippines), and hopeful. More than 500 commitments were made to speed up the transition to carbon neutrality and to remediate the growing impacts of climate change.

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The Deafening Drumbeat of the Unfree

September 7, 2018 by Source

Hands on prison bars

By Stephen Cooper

Above the din of disturbing news – that discordant banging you’re hearing, steadily getting louder and louder, that you can no longer ignore – that’s the drumbeat of the unfree.

Dehumanized by the labels “prisoner,” “inmate,” and “convict,” even reduced to serial numbers like Victor Hugo’s Jean Valjean in “Les Misérables,” these men and women are, just like you and me, or any mortal – irrespective of flaws, frailties, even felonious acts and misdemeanors – endowed with the right to be treated with dignity, decency, and respect

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Victory! California Passes Net Neutrality Bill

September 5, 2018 by Source

By Katharine Trendacosta / Electronic Frontier Foundation

California’s net neutrality bill, S.B. 822 has received a majority of votes in the Senate and is heading to the governor’s desk. In this fight, ISPs with millions of dollars to spend lost to the voice of the majority of Americans who support net neutrality. This is a victory that can be replicated.

ISPs like Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast hated this bill. S.B. 822 bans blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization, classic ways that companies have violated net neutrality principles. It also incorporates much of what the FCC learned and incorporated into the 2015 Open Internet Order, preventing new assaults on the free and open Internet.

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A First Look at Propositions on the California November 2018 Ballot

August 30, 2018 by Doug Porter

There are eleven ballot measures for voter consideration on the 2018 general election ballot in California. Three were placed on the ballot by the legislature, the rest via signature gatherers (mostly) paid for groups with an interest in shaping the legal and political landscape.

Four propositions (1-4) ask voter approval for bond measures to borrow money to build things. In the case of General Obligation Bonds, payments are made through the state treasury from tax dollars collected on Californians. In the case of Revenue Bonds, an existing or newly dedicated source of funding is used to make payments. Voters have approved 79.49% of bonds submitted in statewide elections over the past 25 years.

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Memories of a Doctor on the ‘Front Lines’ During Chicago 1968

August 29, 2018 by Source

By Jeoffry B. Gordon, MD

Fifty years ago this week, I was in Chitown.

Having just finished my medical internship and working several years with the famous pediatrician Dr. Ben Spock on anti-war issues, I was in a white coat among the checkered blue caped and the robin’s-egg blue helmeted police and real people.

I will never forget walking along the lines of scared, sweating teenage national guardsmen with fixed bayonets,

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Prisoners Risk Their Lives Fighting California Wildfires for $2 a Day

August 28, 2018 by Source

By Huiying B Chan / Daily Kos

Wildfires continue to ravage California. Instead of hiring firefighters to put out the fires, the government is turning to incarcerated people for labor. More than 3,400 prisoners risk their lives every day to tackle the wildfires. While the average California firefighter earns $74,000 plus benefits annually, imprisoned people are paid as little as $2 a day. By relying on prison labor, California avoids spending $80 to $100 million a year.

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Verizon Throttling During Wildfire ‘Has Everything to Do With Net Neutrality’- California Firefighters

August 25, 2018 by Source

By Jake Johnson / Common Dreams

As California lawmakers prepared on Wednesday for a key committee vote (it passed) on their state’s net neutrality bill — which, in its current form, would restore the protections repealed by the FCC in December — the Santa Clara County Fire Department accused the telecom giant Verizon of dramatically cutting its data speed as [the department] recently fought the largest recorded wildfire in California’s history.

After Verizon admitted that it slowed the fire department’s data — a despised practice known as throttling —

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‘Brown’s Last Chance’ Could Be Our Last Chance To Avert Climate Change Apocalypse

August 24, 2018 by Source

By Stephanie Corkran / SanDiego350

Brown’s Last Chance is a campaign demanding Governor Jerry Brown halt the development of unsustainable, polluting, fossil fuel infrastructure and begin an immediate phase-out of fossil fuels in California.

If he’s unwilling to do so, a multitude of organizations (environmental, health, justice, community, consumer) are prepared to protest the upcoming Global Climate Action Summit.

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Surf’s Up, Cali-Bear

August 21, 2018 by Patty Jones

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