California

‘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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Why Are Gray Whales Washing Up Dead Along San Francisco Coast?

May 14, 2019 by Source

By Peter Fimrite / San Francisco Chronicle / May 11, 2019 Updated: May 13, 2019

Exhausted, emaciated gray whales are going belly up along the coast of San Francisco this year at a rate seen only once — during a two-year period 20 years ago — since whaling was banned and the leviathans were pulled from the brink of extinction.

The death toll, part of a disturbing mass die-off from Mexico to Alaska, is happening largely because there is too little food in the ecosystem to sustain the behemoths on one of the world’s longest migrations, experts say.

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San Onofre Nuke Plant Still in the News

May 13, 2019 by Michael Steinberg

Nuclear Shutdown News April 2019

By Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the declines and fall of the nuclear power industry, and highlights the efforts of those who are working for a nuclear free future.

Last year’s Radwaste ‘near misses’ continue to plague San Onofre Nuke Plant – Southern California’s nuke plant shut down in 2013 after gross mismanagement and release of radiation into the environment by major owner Southern California Edison. San Diego Gas & Electric is a secondary owner.

The plant is, in retrospect, at an insane location.

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May 5, 1970 Was One of the Most Explosive Days in American History

May 5, 2019 by Frank Gormlie

Those of us long in tooth and gray in hair remember the tumultuous days of the May 1970 national student strike and the murder of four students at Kent State by National Guardsmen on May 4; those younger know the song “Four Dead in Ohio” by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young about the Kent State shootings.

The deadly clash was part of the student response to President Nixon’s invasion of Cambodia, which he announced on April 30.

But what most of us don’t realize is that the day following the Kent State killings, May 5th – was indeed one of the most explosive days in American history as literally hundreds of university, college and high school campuses blew up in response – and for that day at least, the American educational system broke down.

Angry, tearful young people across the nation reacted with an intensity and in numbers not witnessed before or since.

Emergency meetings, rallies, protests, mid-night marches, letter-writing, impeach Nixon petitions, sit-ins, flag-lowerings, leafleting downtowns, confrontations with local police and guardsmen, teargas, rocks, road blockades, memorials for the dead, fires in ROTC buildings – all of these were part of the response of thousands upon thousands of American students across the land.

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California Assembly Bill Would Sharply Limit Short-Term Rentals in Beach Neighborhoods

April 24, 2019 by Source

AB 1731, written by Assemblywoman Tasha Boerner Horvath, would dramatically curtail short-term rentals outside commercial areas in San Diego County’s coastal neighborhoods.

By Lisa Halverstadt and Sara Libby / Voice of San Diego / April 19, 2019

A bill in the state Legislature would do what vacation rental opponents in San Diego have tried but failed to accomplish: set strict limits on short-term vacation rentals in coastal neighborhoods. AB 1731, written by Assemblywoman Tasha Boerner Horvath, who represents North County

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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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