California

Surfrider and Local Leaders Push for Plastic-Free California at Ocean Beach

January 6, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

The Surfrider Foundation and local San Diego political leaders held a press conference in Ocean Beach on Saturday, Jan. 4, and pushed for a plastics-free California. A beach cleanup followed the presser.

Assemblymembers Lorena Gonzalez and Todd Gloria – who is running for mayor – and County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher joined San Diego’s Surfrider is this renewed battle against single-use plastics. And they pushed for support of a new law that, if passed, would require plastic manufacturers in California to drastically reduce production over the next decade. The new bill, Senate Bill 54

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It’s Time to Pay Attention! California Primary Two Months Away

January 3, 2020 by Doug Porter

California’s Primary is just two months away – March 3. In just over a month a supermajority of California voters will begin voting by mail for candidates and issues in the 2020 primary.

We citizens get the opportunity to vote twice in 2020. Traditional polling places will be open on March 3 (Primary) and November 3 (General election).

Our state has made it incredibly easy to perform the action of casting a ballot. What’s not so easy is deciding who to vote for, particularly once you get past the big name contests.

First off, you need to ask yourself:

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California Waters Are Acidifying Twice as Fast as Global Oceans

December 17, 2019 by Source

By Rosanna Xia / LA Times / Dec. 16, 2019

Waters off the California coast are acidifying twice as fast as the global average, scientists found, threatening major fisheries and sounding the alarm that the ocean can absorb only so much more of the world’s carbon emissions.

A new study led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration also made an unexpected connection between acidification and a climate cycle known as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation — the same shifting forces that other scientists say have a played a big role in the higher and faster rates of sea level rise hitting California in recent years.

El Niño and La Niña cycles, researchers found, also add stress to these extreme changes in the ocean’s chemistry.

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Nativity Scene Has Jesus, Mary and Joseph as Refugee Family Separated in Cages

December 9, 2019 by Source

A Southern California church flipped the lights on its outdoor manger scene Saturday evening to reveal Jesus, Mary and Joseph as border detainees, each figure isolated in its own chain-link cage with a barbed-wire top.

The nativity display from Claremont United Methodist Church, a suburban congregation east of Los Angeles,

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Bomb Cyclone that Hit Northern California Had Record 75-Foot Wave

December 7, 2019 by Source

From KTLA / Dec. 6, 2019

The bomb cyclone that pounded the West Coast last week brought with it some of the tallest waves ever recorded off the California coast.

A monstrous 75-foot wave was recorded about 20 miles off the coast of Cape Mendocino in northern California, according to the University of California, San Diego’s Coastal Data Information Program.

In the 15 years the program has operated a station in that location, the significant wave height — or the average height of the tallest third of waves that occur over 30 minutes — typically doesn’t exceed 10 feet tall during the winter.

The 75-footer was the tallest of the waves recorded in that period, which averaged around 43 feet tall.

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As We Watch California Burn Yet Again It’s Time to Say Yes to ‘Save Our San Diego Countryside’

October 28, 2019 by Jim Miller

By Jim Miller

California’s burning (again) with Governor Newsom declaring a state of emergency for Los Angeles and Sonoma Counties in the wake of twelve fires raging across the state. Smoke swept throughout the Bay Area and parts north and delayed flights into San Francisco. Schools were closed in the affected regions, and close to two million people suffered through pre-emptive power shut-offs to try avoiding yet more blazes.

In Los Angeles, residents agonized through hellishly hot fall temperatures and respiratory problems while blazes in San Diego county broke out in Valley View and Ramona, reviving traumatic memories of apocalyptic fires past for many. In San Diego county, the damage has been minor so far, but the hot, dry, windy conditions ensure that another firestorm is always just around the corner.

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California Families Go Hungry While a Third of State’s Crops Rot in Fields

October 22, 2019 by Source

By Manuela Tobias / The Fresno Bee – Times of San Diego / Oct. 19, 2019

Maximina Molina Sanchez is worried about going hungry this winter. She depends on a food bank in Huron to feed her husband and two kids. But with most agricultural workers out of jobs during the winter, demand is bound to increase, so she worries there won’t be enough food to feed everyone who needs it.

The Sanchez family is among the 22% of people in Fresno County who couldn’t afford the groceries they needed in the past year. Fresno ranks third in the country for food insecurity, according to the Food Research and Action Center.

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The World We Want

September 13, 2019 by Source


The University of California Has Been Shaped by Market Value
By Niall Twohig

One thing I noticed in my decade studying and teaching at UCSD is that we—students, teachers, and our academic programs—rarely define the principles we want to live by in our university and society. By principles, I’m referring to what critic George Monbiot calls a “description of the world as we would like to see it.”

I see a risk in not defining our principles. If we do not describe the world we would like to see, we risk accepting the world we see as the only possible world. We risk accepting what is valued in that world as what is most valuable to us.

What is valued most in our current world is market value. This value is determined by how much profit one makes when one sells one’s product on the market. All that matters in the marketplace is whether

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Southern California Grocery Contract Approved for 47,000 Workers – Strike Averted

September 12, 2019 by Brent Beltran

Kroger and Albertsons Workers Ratify New Contract That Raises Hourly Wages, Improves Benefits, and Protects Customer Service – All With Strong Customer Support

This week, members of the United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) from Ralphs, Albertsons, Vons, and Pavilions voted overwhelmingly in favor of a new contract that improves the lives of hard-working grocery workers and their families across Southern California.

Marc Perrone, the President of the UFCW International, released the following statement:

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An Homage to ‘Wetbacks’:  Marla’s Story

September 3, 2019 by Staff

By Joni Halpern

Dear Ohio,

Today Americans are asked to support government conduct that imperils adults and children who have the temerity to ask for asylum from the raging violence or desperate poverty ravaging them in their home countries.

Our country now wants to broadcast far and wide that we are no longer in the market for the “poor and huddled masses yearning to be free.” We are not interested in their sad stories of abuse, deprivation, or torture. Look us up, however, if you are among the well-educated, well-trained, healthy, affluent, select few who want to take advantage of new opportunities in an American venue.

Americans have been told this change of focus is necessary, because immigrants of a lesser god are sucking us dry, committing serious crimes, and

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Do Colder Waters Off West Coast Mean a Return to ‘Normal’?

August 28, 2019 by Source

By Deborah Sullivan Brennan/ San Diego Union-Tribune / Aug. 27, 2019

Record high Pacific Ocean temperatures recorded off the West Cost in recent years have receded to near normal, according to a report on the California Current.

That cool shift marks the end of “the blob,” the mass of warm water that dominated the West Coast, and of the El Nino event that followed. It’s unclear, however, what that means for fish and marine mammals, scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration stated in the 2019 ecosystem status report for the California Current Ecosystem.

“The big thing is that a lot of the physical conditions of the ocean here off of our coast are beginning to return to normal,” said

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NASA Lends a Hand to Southern California on ‘King Tides’

August 27, 2019 by Source

From Aero Tech News / August 26, 20190

NASA in cooperation with the U.S. Geological Survey is helping emergency planners in Southern California get a more complete picture of the increasing risk of coastal flooding by looking at the highest of tides —”king tides.”

“King tide” is the informal term generally used to describe an exceptionally high tide, which most often occurs when the Moon and the Sun are aligned and their gravitational pull on the Earth is at its strongest. King tides can be just a few inches higher than normal, but when combined with other factors, they can have damaging effects.

That’s what happened in the winter of 2018-19 when a king tide occurred

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Much Needed Prop 13 Reform Is on It’s Way with ‘Schools and Communities First’ Ballot Measure

August 26, 2019 by Jim Miller

By Jim Miller

There is a movement afoot to reform Proposition 13, with community organizations aligned with labor promoting the Schools and Communities First ballot measure. Why would anyone want to touch the third rail of California politics? The answer is simple: we can keep its central benefit to homeowners while closing an unnecessary corporate loophole that will help our schools, cities, and counties across California.

Ever since its passage in 1978, Proposition 13 has starved California’s schools and local governments of funding. While the measure was pitched as a way to keep individual homeowners from being buried by taxes, the real beneficiaries of Prop. 13 were not elderly folks or other vulnerable groups struggling to hang on to their homes, but super rich corporate property holders.

What most voters don’t know about Proposition 13 is that it gave huge commercial property owners like Disneyland the same tax break as your grandmother.

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The Billionaire Drive to Privatize Public School

August 16, 2019 by Source

By Thomas Ultican / Tultican / August 10, 2019

The New Teachers Project (TNTP) is one of several organizations that only exist because billionaires have financed them. Wendy Kopp founded TNTP in 1997. She assigned Michelle Rhee, who had recently finished a two year Teach For America (TFA) tour, to run TNTP. Along with TNTP and TFA there are also the uncertified Broad Superintendents Academy and the fake school for professional educators called Relay Graduate School forming a significant part of the infrastructure instilling a privatization mindset into the education community.

TNTP says it mission is to partner with educational entities to:

  • “Increase the numbers of outstanding individuals who become public school teachers; and
  • Create environments for all educators that maximize their impact on student achievement”
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On the Precipice: Scripps Study Identifies California Cliffs at Risk of Collapse

August 15, 2019 by Source

Originally published Dec. 20, 2017

Scripps News

A California Sea Grant-funded study provides the largest analysis of cliff erosion throughout the state and provides a new hazard index for determining which areas are at most risk

Danger – Unstable Cliffs – Stay Back

The yellow warning signs that pepper coastal cliffs from northern California to the US-Mexico border may seem overly dramatic to the casual observer. But actively eroding cliffs make up the majority of the California coastline, and sudden landslides and collapses have caused injuries and several fatalities in recent years. In addition, eroding cliffs currently threaten highways, houses, businesses, military bases, parks, power plants, and other critical facilities—all in all billions of dollars of development.

Research suggests that erosion rates will increase as sea level rises, further exacerbating these problems.

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We’re Drowning in Plastic – the California Legislature Aims to Do Something About It

August 13, 2019 by Doug Porter

By Doug Porter / Words&Deeds / August 13, 2019

Three bills being considered by the California Legislature in coming weeks seek to change the economics of recycling, which–if you haven’t heard already–is in big trouble. It’s time to watch Sacramento closely, as corporate interests seek to protect their short range profits as damage to our health and the environment escalates.

The California Circular Economy and Plastic Pollution Reduction Act, a set of identical bills that started in the Senate as SB 54 (Ben Allen) and the Assembly as AB 1080 (Lorena Gonzalez) would require manufacturers to reduce waste from packaging and certain plastic products.

AB 792 (Assm. Phil Ting) requires manufacturers use sharply escalating percentages of recycled plastic in beverage bottles over the next decade.

Earlier this month rePlanet, a major collector of beverage bottles and cans, shut its 284 collection centers in California.

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Dear Ohio: Ask About the Rabbiteye’s Future

August 8, 2019 by Staff

By Joni Halpern

Ohio is deemed one of the nation’s bellwether states, so we Californians need to give them some advice about the upcoming 2020 elections.

Dear Ohio,

I’m guessing that you, like most of us in California, have not given much thought to asking our presidential candidates about blueberries. Certainly you have not contemplated asking them about the red-state species known as the rabbiteye blueberry, which grows from central Florida to eastern North Carolina and from Eastern Texas to Southern Arkansas.

The humble rabbiteye blueberry is a hearty plant apparently unattractive to major pests. Depending upon care and environment, just one rabbiteye blueberry bush can produce about 15 pounds of blueberries in a single season. And darned good blueberries at that, filled with flavor and anti-oxidants, the latter a favorite ingredient of the “live-forever” patrons of high-end supermarkets.

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Widder’s Rant #40: California Wines Show Glyphosate Residue – You Know, That Stuff in RoundUp

August 2, 2019 by Judi Curry

By Judi Curry

Last Thanksgiving one of my daughter’s was hospitalized for an unknown stomach problem. As we tried to trace what caused the problem a very interesting development came to the forefront. But more about that in a moment.

A few nights ago that same daughter began experiencing the same stomach symptoms and that is where answers began to form. Because – in November and that eventful night last week it was determined that she had had a California wine both times.

Now that doesn’t sound so bad; California wines are well known throughout the world. But what isn’t known – and I didn’t know it until I did some research – that EVERY California wine that was tested – and some beers also, showed glyphosate residues. Granted, not EVERY wine made in California was tested, but enough were tested to find this startling information.

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California Has Its Faults – Big Quakes Shake Up All Things Nuclear Too

July 31, 2019 by Michael Steinberg

Nuclear Shutdown News July 2019

By Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the decline and fall of the nuclear power industry in the US and beyond, and highlights the efforts of those working to create a nuclear free world.

San Francisco – October 17, 1989. It was my birthday. I was four stories up in Frisco, in my brother’s place, visiting while he was in New York. Looking south, I could see the Goodyear Blimp hovering over Candlestick Park, where the Bay Bridge World Series game – Giants vs. Oakland Athletics – was about to start as Friday rush hour approached.

Suddenly, and seemingly out of nowhere, a humungus concussion jolted everything,

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Some of Southern California’s Most Iconic and Popular Beaches Have Lost Nearly All of Their Biodiversity

July 31, 2019 by Source

by Sonia Fernandez, University of California – Santa Barbara / Phys-Org / July 31, 2019

To most people, a beach is a beach. You could likely take an image of almost any urban beach in Southern California—the flat, mostly featureless expanse of sand against blue-green water and blue skies—swap it with one of nearly any other urban beach in Southern California, and chances are that only a trained eye would notice the difference. Some of these differences lie just beneath the surface, however, and are actually quite important ecologically.

Dig just few inches into the sand on many beaches in Southern California—home to some of the most biologically diverse sandy beaches in the world—and you’ll find it teeming with life such as sand crabs, clams and beach hoppers. But for about a third of the sandy beaches extending from Santa Barbara to San Diego

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A Solar Impulse for Our Soul

July 30, 2019 by Staff

By Joni Halpern

Since 1896, Ohio voters have picked the winning candidate in all but two presidential elections – 1944 and 1960 – giving rise to the state’s renown as a “bellwether” to which candidates cannot afford to turn a deaf ear. If Ohioans are going to be so influential, maybe we could help inform their future choices by sharing some concerns from the Golden State.

Dear Ohio,

Remember the days when every presidential candidate had to tell us how great we were? Whenever they spoke to us, they had to tell us we were the greatest country in the world, we were the most powerful, we had the mightiest military, the biggest economy, we were the leader of the free world. We demanded this. “American exceptionalism” is what they called it, and we couldn’t get enough of it.

Well, no more of that. Today we have wiped our hands of world leadership, slipped off the pedestal of our inflated self-image, and begun to talk about what’s really bothering us.

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Reforming California’s Dysfunctional Charter School Law

July 19, 2019 by Source

By T. Ultican / Tultican / July17,2019

Members of the California legislature have engaged in an internecine battle over charter schools. Even the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA) has expressed concern over lawless cyber charters and filed the first known complaint with the California Department of Education over A3 Education and Valiant Prep which were recently charged with stealing a stunning $50 million.

California State Sen. John Moorlach (R) is warning that 85% of school districts in California are running deficits. Governor Gavin Newsom has stated “rising charter school enrollments in some urban districts are having real impacts on those districts’ ability to provide essential support and services for their students.” The drive to privatize schools in San Diego, Oakland and Los Angeles has been fueled

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Dear Ohio: Just Close Your Eyes

July 1, 2019 by Source

By Joni Halpern

Since 1896, Ohio voters have picked the winning candidate in all but two presidential elections – 1944 and 1960 – giving rise to the state’s renown as a “bellwether” to which candidates cannot afford to turn a deaf ear.

Dear Ohio,

We’ve come a long way toward a bold new future of disregard for people who are not like us. We plod ahead like refugees in the barren desert, our feet bare and crusted, cutting a path to who knows where, steadily shedding the baggage of our country’s values in order to lighten our own burdens.

Like all refugees on the run, Dear Ohio, we might be missing some signs along the way that should have warned us of danger. But some of our fellow travelers claim the wording is inaccurate, so we are about to pass them by and move on to greater danger. One of those signs says “Concentration Camps – This Way.”

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Taking on 21st Century Indentured Servitude – Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez’ AB 5

June 26, 2019 by Doug Porter

By Doug Porter / Words&Deeds

Drivers for Uber and Lyft gathered outside Uber’s headquarters in San Francisco Tuesday June 17 to demand that the company drop its opposition to a state bill that would make most drivers employees. Promises of freedom and opportunity have proven to be false for millions of workers in industries beyond ride sharing, and now the day of reckoning is at hand.

Drivers and delivery workers in cities throughout the country have been organizing protests and filing lawsuits against companies using so-called independent contractors to avoid paying minimum wages and benefits.

Legislation (AB 5) introduced by San Diego Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez poses the biggest challenge yet to the so-called gig economy. Changing the rules of the game in the Golden State will have an impact on companies and workers nationwide. So this is a Big Deal.

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Dear Ohio: Make ‘Em Look You in the Eye

June 26, 2019 by Source

By Joni Halpern

Since 1896, Ohio voters have picked the winning candidate in all but two presidential elections – 1944 and 1960 – giving rise to the state’s renown as a “bellwether” to which candidates cannot afford to turn a deaf ear. If Ohioans are going to be so influential, maybe we could help inform their future choices by sharing some concerns from the Golden State.

Dear Ohio,

I’ve been thinking about you as we see the candidates revving up for the 2020 election. Since you are the bellwether election state, I was hoping we could continue our earlier conversation about who we are and what we want for this country.

I was reading the other day that some candidates think Ohio may not be as important in predicting election outcomes as once you were thought to be. There are some who say the efficient manipulation of social media will eventually supplant your importance as a predictor.

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‘Dear Ohio’ – Our Bellwhether Election State

June 7, 2019 by Source

Devouring the Apple

By Joni Halpern

Dear Ohio,

I’ve been thinking lately about our dear country, and about you as the bellwether election state. I was wondering if you see what I see – namely, that everyday Americans do not think they are important in themselves. Instead, they seek the notice of others, as if blind to their own image, as if they cannot feel their existence unless someone else casts an approving eye upon them and says, “Yes, you are one of us. You are real.”

Every day, some man or woman in Ohio or California or elsewhere in the country wakes up in the morning, tired from a sleepless night, and puts food on the table for themselves and their loved ones, dresses for work, gives up hours to the job, comes home, deals with dinner, and sits in front of a screen waiting to see if anything more interesting than their own life is happening in fiction or in fact.

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Highs and Lows from the California Democratic State Convention

June 4, 2019 by Doug Porter

By Doug Porter / Words&Deeds / June 3, 2019

Getting Democrats organized is like herding cats –attributed to Bill Clinton.

The really big fight at last weekend’s gathering of Democrats in San Francisco the establishment pundit class wanted you to buy popcorn for was a dud. Nonetheless, I’m sure there is and will be a major effort to sell the narrative of “Dems Divided” after each of these gatherings.

The reality is more like a group of like minded people got together to (sometimes) passionately debate ideas for moving a country they love forward. I heard there were also cocktail parties.

Los Angeles labor leader Rusty Hicks won handily on the first ballot in a three way contest for Chair of the California Democratic Party.

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Monsanto Ordered to Pay $2 Billion to California Victims for Cancer Caused by Roundup

May 22, 2019 by Source

Editordude: On May 13, 2019, a California jury awarded plaintiffs Alva and Alberta Pilliod a verdict of $55 million in non-economic and economic damages in addition to $1 billion each in punitive damages against Monsanto, for cancer ( lymphoma) caused by ingredients in their product Roundup.

The plaintiffs – through their experts – proved Monsanto made glyphosate – the active ingredient in Roundup – fifty times more toxic in its formula, making it easier for glyphosate to penetrate the skin leading to quick dispersion to the bones, where lymphoma originates.

Roundup – the herbicide the City of San Diego uses in our parks, beaches and playgrounds – is a topic for discussion at the upcoming Ocean Beach Town Council meeting on Wednesday, May 22.

By Carey Gillam / U.S. Right to Know

After less than two full days of deliberations, a California jury ordered Monsanto to pay just over $2 billion in punitive and compensatory damages to a married couple who both developed non-Hodgkin lymphoma they say was caused by their many years of using Roundup products.

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‘Build, Baby, Build’ Won’t Solve California’s Housing Crisis

May 21, 2019 by Doug Porter

By Doug Porter / Words&Deeds / May 20, 2019

Senate Bill 50, legislation aimed at easing the housing affordability crisis in California, got put into the ‘maybe, someday’ bin last week. While the bill could be reconsidered in 2020, chances of that happening in an election year are slim to none.

The presumption behind state (and local) legislation claiming to address this crisis is that we can build our way out if only a way can be found to make it viable for developers to make a profit and banks to consider such projects loan worthy.

Call me crazy…. But what if the “debate” is upside down, and –once again– an example of more than one thing being true at the same time standing in the way of what should be long term solutions.

If the shortage of housing is to be defined as people not being able to afford living on the available properties, perhaps the solution is to make it possible for enough income growth to solve the problem.

This solution is a non-starter, short of taking on the mirage of the ‘booming economy.’

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How the California Journalist’s Shield Law Failed to Prevent San Francisco Cops From Breaking into Journalist’s Home and Office

May 17, 2019 by Source

By Terry Francke / Californians Aware / May 14, 2019

As reported this past weekend, on Friday the San Francisco Police Department sent an armed detail to sledgehammer its way into a journalist’s home and office, handcuff him and cart off his phone, computer hard drive, notebooks and other documentation. The police sought to learn who had leaked their report about the death of the city’s public defender to selected local media, which disclosed that this widely admired official fell ill in the apartment of a woman not his wife and had traces of alcohol and cocaine in this system.

Those raids, following a storm of accusations against the police for allegedly releasing the report to smear their longtime nemesis, were authorized by search warrants obtained by either misrepresentation by the police or a judicial disregard for the law protecting journalists’ confidential sources.

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