Economy

The Obstacles to Navigating San Diego’s Housing Crunch

December 30, 2016 by Source
Thumbnail image for The Obstacles to Navigating San Diego’s Housing Crunch

By David Jackson / San Diego UrbDeZine

A Population Boom and a Housing Crunch. Rising prices and short supply are making it increasingly difficult to pay the rent in San Diego. If you’ve attempted to search for a place to rent in San Diego you’ve probably encountered more than a few roadblocks and had your fair share of frustrations. The challenges multiply if you’ve tried to find something affordable anywhere near where you work.

Housing prices have soared over the last several years to the delight of homeowners and landlords, but to the dismay of renters, especially those with lower incomes. The effects are being felt most directly by low income residents and millennials. New low income housing is needed in the short term with further developments in the coming years to prevent the city’s housing crisis from turning into an economic one.

A study by the London Group published by the San Diego Chamber of Commerce highlights one of the root causes for the housing shortfall, a lack of new building permits being issued in San Diego County.

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Left Behind: Myrtle Cole’s Committee Appointments and Neighborhoods South of 8

December 30, 2016 by Anna Daniels

By Anna Daniels / San Diego Free Press

Myrtle Cole

San Diego City Councilwoman Myrtle Cole’s contentious election as Council president last week culminated with her appointments to the various City Council committees.

Few of us know that these committees exist or what they do, but by the time issues are brought before the full City Council for legislative action they have been discussed and pretty much finalized in a committee.

Cole’s appointments to the Public Services and Livable Neighborhood (PS&L) committee denies a seat at the table for those of us who live in communities south of 8. Her selection of Council members Chris Cate (chair), Lorie Zapf (vice chair), Barbary Bry, and Chris Ward is enraging, deeply concerning and unacceptable. Here’s what PS&L does:

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The Top 15 Stories from Ocean Beach and Point Loma for 2016

December 29, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

It’s that time of the year when media and press outfits turn reflective and ponder the “best” or “most important” stories they’ve published over the last 12 months. We’ve done something similar here after reviewing our archives from 2016, and have come up what we think are the “top stories” from OB and Point Loma for the year.

The “stories” are really news, photos, analysis and opinions about real issues within the communities of the Peninsula, a number of which have continued from last year. So, here they are, the top 15 stories – not in any precise order, but in some kind of semblance of importance, with the mostest at the beginning

1. Short Term Vacation Rentals

Definitely a hold-over issue from 2015, short term vacation rentals continue to spark an invigorated opposition from coastal communities – including OB. The loss of community that vacation rentals pose for Ocean Beach and other beach communities was explored here in The Loss of Community .

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The Report of OB Rancho’s Death Is an Exaggeration – Now Due to Re-open in February

December 29, 2016 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for The Report of OB Rancho’s Death Is an Exaggeration – Now Due to Re-open in February

There’s been lots of rumors and reports of the closing of Rancho’s in Ocean Beach – the well-loved veggie Mexican restaurant on Sunset Cliffs Boulevard.

Eater San Diego went as far as including the closing of OB’s Ranchos on its list of “The Saddest Restaurant Closures of 2016”. The food blog quoted Troy Johnson of San Diego Magazine:

Rancho’s in Ocean Beach. Vegan and vegetarian-friendly Mexican food that had been a staple for the community for 30 years. Salsa that renewed my faith in life. Its closing is a sure sign of the Armageddon and bistrofication of San Diego’s last affordable beach town. Hopefully Cheesecake Factory will take its place so that I can finally throw myself off Sunset Cliffs with confidence.

Well, the OB Rag can now report – with some confidence – and paraphrasing Mark Twain’s famous quote,- that –

… the report of Rancho’s death is an exaggeration.

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A Call for Mayor Faulconer to Halt San Diego’s Confiscation of Blankets and Tents of the Homeless

December 23, 2016 by Anna Daniels

Editor:We received a report of police confiscating the blankets of OB homeless at the beach, we commented recently about Park and Rec crews removing homeless sleeping material from a tree in Robb Field, and below is a post by Anna Daniels who lives in City Heights with an accompanying video of trash workers removing tents and belongings of homeless. (If you cannot view the video, go to the original store at San Diego Free Press.)

Finally, at the end of the article is a petition being circulated calling upon Mayor Faulconer to confront the nightmare of homelessness. They are demanding Emergency Humanitarian Action to stop criminalizing homeless people in San Diego. It would be very Christian of him.

Did You Wake Up this AM in a Warm Home? Thousands of San Diegans Didn’t

By Anna Daniels / San Diego Free Press

The first of two storms expected to move through the San Diego region this week arrived last night with steady moderate rainfall here in City Heights. It was sixty degrees on the porch at 6:00 am this morning. The cats had taken shelter there and were curled up in loosely strewn bedding. I was still bed warm and savoring the first cup of coffee. Then I remembered this:

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Why Privatizers Look Forward to 2017

December 22, 2016 by Source

Earth excavator

By Donald Cohen / Capital & Main

“We’re just going to throw it up against the wall and see if it sticks.”

That’s what Steve Bannon, Donald Trump’s chief strategist and cofounder of the website Breitbart, said a few weeks ago about Trump’s plan to rebuild America’s infrastructure.

That pretty much fits with what we know so far. Trump wants to “invest” $1 trillion in fixing and building roads, bridges, water pipes and other infrastructure. But by “invest” he means using massive tax breaks to convince private investors to spend the money.

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Oklahoma Residents Taking Action Against Frackers But Is It To No Avail?

December 21, 2016 by John Lawrence

FrackersEarthquake Capital of US

By John Lawrence

We have written previously about the fact that Oklahoma is now the earthquake capital of the US. It seems forcing all the waste products from fracking down deep wells has disturbed the earth enough to cause a lot of earthquakes there.

In addition to jolting the nerves of Oklahomans, it is destroying their property. In 2014, there were over twice as many earthquakes recorded in Oklahoma as in California, making Oklahoma the most seismically active state in the contiguous United States by a substantial margin.

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Air Politics (Or Is It Just Gas?)

December 16, 2016 by Source

By Bob Dorn /San Diego Free Press

Because America fell to a fascist coup d’etat only a few weeks ago it’s not too early to talk about how it happened.

First and above all others, the Democratic Party was a necessary player in this debacle. Loyalists will be outraged seeing that in print. After all, they’ll say, we need now more than ever to grow more united, to bond again as Democrats because… stronger together.

But that mother-loving phrase failed, didn’t it? It was empty of substance, like so many others the Dems put up. No one bought it.

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Trump’s Cabinet Picks: A Basket of Deplorables

December 15, 2016 by John Lawrence

Trump's Cabinet PicksA Secy of Labor Who Doesn’t Believe in the Minimum Wage

By John Lawrence

Trump has chosen fast food executive Andrew Puzder as Secretary of Labor. Puzder is chief executive of CKE Restaurants, the corporation that owns Hardee’s and Carls Jr fast food chains.

The corporation has 3300 locations in 42 states and 28 countries. Puzder has advocated replacing human beings with machines in fast food restaurants.

He famously said, “They’re always polite, they always upsell, they never take a vacation, they never show up late, there’s never a slip-and-fall, or an age, sex, or race discrimination case.”

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San Diego City Council, Day One: New Faces, Old Politics

December 14, 2016 by Doug Porter

san-diego-city-council-chambersBy Doug Porter

Love rescue me, come forth and speak to me,” lyrics from a Bob Dylan/U2 song, echoed across Horton Plaza as current and newly-elected city officials, including the mayor, city council and city attorney, streamed into the Balboa Theater on Monday, Dec. 12th.

The Voices of Our City Choir, most of whom are homeless, were there serving as a reminder of the inhumane practices that are the end result of years of neglect, greed, and incompetence in local government.

Speakers at the People’s Inaugural, representing the voices of the dispossessed and downtrodden, called out for Emergency Humanitarian Action, urging the Mayor to suspend the ticketing, arrest of, and stay away orders for unsheltered homeless San Diegans.

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Ocean Beach’s Largest Landlord Adds 10 More Units to Empire – Immediately Raises Rents

December 13, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

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Michael Mills Buys Complex of Studios on Voltaire – Immediately Notifies Tenants of 20% Rent Raise

The largest landowner – landlord in Ocean Beach, Michael Mills, just purchased a complex of 10 studios on Voltaire Street – and immediately notified the tenants of a rent raise.

Mills can now add this property to his OB empire – an empire that the OB Rag has been chronicling – which we calculate at 241 units within Ocean Beach – not including this most recent purchase.

The 2-story, cream-colored older complex at 4876 Voltaire, has 10 units – all studios. All the tenants were notified of a rent raise by fliers – a rent raise that is a 20% increase. The studios were being rented for $870, and the new rent will be $1,050.

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OB Swamped with “MamaBear’s” Graffiti and Paint in the Tidepools

December 13, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

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Seems the Village of Ocean Beach has been swamped lately – between someone dumping gallons of paint near the tide pools and a homeless woman named “Mama Bear” covering lots of surfaces with a black marker pen.

10News did a pair of news stories Tuesday, one about the paint dump and the other about “Mama Bear”.

One of the members of the OB Graffiti Task Force, Kevin Hastings, was asked about the mess so close to the ocean and precious pools of life:

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Take Your Football Stadium and Shove It, Mr. Spanos!

December 8, 2016 by Doug Porter
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By Doug Porter

These are extraordinary times, and for a passionate progressive like myself, it’s hard to look away from the Basket of Deplorables being assembled to run the country’s executive branch.

But for today we need to discuss something both local and deplorable. Another hair-brained idea to build a downtown stadium for the San Diego Chargers is making the rounds, coming out of a Wednesday sit-down between Mayor Kevin Faulconer and team owners Dean Spanos.

After getting his ass handed to him at the ballot box in 2016 (56% voted No on a stadium measure requiring two-thirds approval), Spanos is counting on a future court ruling lowering the threshold to a simple majority, and on Rams owner Stan Kroenke’s desire to have the Los Angeles market all to himself.

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News of Ocean Beach and Point Loma – Early December 2016

December 2, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

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* Rancho’s to Re-Open in 6 Weeks

* Synthetic Turf Coming to Robb Field?
* Jensens looks on track to open for the holidays
* Former O’Bistro’s Will Not Be a Cowboy Bar Afterall
* House Fire on Newport Avenue Displaces Family of 4 and Pets
* OB House Produces Food and Energy
* Irish Relay Run Ends at The Harp on Sat.
* Point Loma Homes Open for Christmas Tours
* Pizza Port Family History
* Jungle Java Changes
* Local Surfboard Maker Pioneer in Upcycled Boards
* Point Loma Nazarene Takes Top Score in Academic Success

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Trump Reneging on His Campaign Promises to Voters

December 1, 2016 by John Lawrence

His Supporters Have Been Snookered!

By John Lawrence

Trump Reneging In a 60 Minutes interview with Leslie Stahl, Trump back pedaled on his major campaign promises and a lot else. When asked what his sit-down with President Obama was like he replied,

“I found him [President Obama] to be terrific. I found him to be– very smart and very nice.Great sense of humor, as much as you can have a sense of humor talking about tough subjects, but we were talking about some pretty tough subjects.”

So no more questions about his legitimacy to be President? No more wondering whether he was born in Kenya? I guess not now that he, Trump, is a member of the club.

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The Internet of Things: Asking for Trouble

November 29, 2016 by John Lawrence

A Hacker’s Wet Dream

By John Lawrence

Internet of ThingsHackers are licking their chops over the latest push by high tech corporations including San Diego’s Qualcomm to create an Internet of Things in which everything is hooked up to the internet: your refrigerator, your thermostat, your security system, your car.

It will be a hacker’s paradise. Already hackers have carried out a distributed denial of service (DDoS) taking Netflix, Twitter, Paypal and other major websites off the air. Hackers were able to direct an overwhelming amount of traffic to a company by the name of Dyn which acts as a switching hub for internet traffic.

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Justice Can’t Wait – Rally and March Downtown San Diego – Tues. Nov. 29th

November 28, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

justice-cant-wait-2-edjustice-cant-wait-1

The Nov.29th Justice Can’t Wait rally and march in downtown San Diego is on for Tuesday, November 29th, from 5 pm to 7:30pm.

From one of several facebook pages on the event, we find:

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San Diego’s Unmet Housing Needs of 32,275 Units

November 28, 2016 by Source

Editor: The following is an opinion piece by the Rev. Richard Lawrence, a retired civil rights leader and an affordable housing advocate. It was first posted at San Diego Free Press

unmet housing needs in San DiegoBy Rev. Richard Lawrence

It is a huge mistake for the Union Tribune to throw rocks at the glass house in Sacramento, as it has recently done, while ignoring our local shrine of good government.

Somehow, the City of San Diego was able to dissolve the “State of Emergency due to a Severe Shortage of Affordable Housing” without having taken any substantial actions of any kind—most specifically ignoring the Affordable Housing Task Force (AHTF) Report of 2003.

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From Mission to Microchip: An Interview with California Labor Historian Fred Glass. Part 3

November 28, 2016 by Jim Miller

California LaborBy Jim Miller

It seems like a million years ago now, but back in my Labor Day column, I gave a shout out to Fred Glass’s seminal new labor history of California, From Mission to Microchip: A History of the California Labor Movement. As Glass notes in his introduction, his history of working people in the Golden State is much broader than a narrow chronicle of unions:

California labor history doesn’t begin and end with union membership. Forming and maintaining unions is one part of a broader story, …

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Willie’s Shoe Shine in Ocean Beach Has to Either Be Sold or Moved Now – And Why

November 21, 2016 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for Willie’s Shoe Shine in Ocean Beach Has to Either Be Sold or Moved Now – And Why

Willie’s Shoe Shine building along Newport Avenue in Ocean Beach has been forced out of its location by the new landlord. He must either sell the building or have it moved by this Wednesday, November 23rd – the day before Thanksgiving. Reportedly, he wants to sell it for $1,000. (As to why he has to move, see below for some background.)

Willie – the only African-American businessperson on Newport – has been doing business on OB’s main commercial street for nearly 50 years – first as an employee of a shoe repair shop on Newport and then later as the proprietor of his own “shop” at the corner of Newport and Cable.

Everybody knows Willie. And so, OB’s social media blew up this weekend with news that he was being forced out.

Many saw this coming. As the OB Rag reported last August:

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Tripping Down Newport Ave in Ocean Beach – What’s New?

November 17, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

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By Frank Gormlie

Every so often, the OB Rag publishes an update on what’s been happening on Newport Avenue, the main commercial street in Ocean Beach. What new businesses have opened up – and what places have closed down. The following is what we found, tripping down the Ave on Wednesday, November 16th.

New Velvet Hair Lounge

Barely 2 months since it’s been open, the Velvet Hair Lounge offers a bright, very clean-looking hair-cutting shop, sandwiched next to Stuff to Puff and the tire business on the corner of Newport and Cable Street. …

Not Much Happening at OBBean

Not too far away, the future OBBean store is still closed up, and no progress apparently can be seen from its outward front.

New Acupuncture and Massage Place Soon to Open

On the bright side, there is a new acupuncture and massage storefront which looks about to open its doors, where the old videogame store was.

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The Night that Democracy Died in America

November 9, 2016 by Frank Gormlie
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Sometime after 2 a.m. eastern standard time – in the middle of the late night, Hillary Clinton – who won the popular vote for President – phoned Donald Trump and made her concession. He had won the electoral vote.

In an historic rebellion of the white, working-class, half of American voters used democratic means to elect a man who does not understand the Constitution, who does not respect the Bill of Rights, and who does not believe in democracy.

It is an irony, then, that a radical regime was voted into power that represents the greatest threat in 40 years to what is left of American democracy. Words do matter. With the threats and promises made by our new President-elect over the course of the last year and a half, it’s clear that not since the time of Richard Nixon have the civil rights of Americans been so openly splayed out on the chopping block as they are now – or will be in a few months.

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San Diego 2016 Progressive Voter Guide

November 7, 2016 by Staff

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The editors of the OB Rag and the San Diego Free Press are pleased to present our 2016 General Election Progressive Voter Guide.

We believe this is a historic election, one that will set the course of the United States for decades to come. If there ever was an election where voting was important — this is it.

The candidacy of Donald Trump is no accident. It is a consequence of decades of building a constituency for a market-driven political economy by capitalizing on fear, bias, and ignorance.

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West Point Loma Apartments Sell for $2.15 Million

November 7, 2016 by Staff

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Lou Hirsh at the San Diego Business Journal reported that an 8-unit apartment complex at 4774 West Point Loma Blvd just sold for $2.15 million. The large building sits on a busy street, right next to a gas station at arguably OB’s busiest intersection.

The complex was sold by Marsha Swanson of San Diego, who reportedly is its original owner, and who recently did some exterior renovations. The buyers were Neel Pujara of Carlsbad and Green Storm LLC of La Palma.

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San Diego Poised to Act on Short Term Vacation Rentals

October 24, 2016 by Staff

stvr-image-aug016-ed2Residents of the coastal neighborhoods who have been fighting short term vacation rentals (STVRs) are happy right now – relatively speaking – as it appears that the City of San Diego is finally posed to act on them.

One of the key organizations in this fight is Save San Diego Neighborhoods, and they are trying to mobilize their supporters for two critical meetings coming up, October 25th and November 1st.

From SSDN website:

First, on Tuesday, October 25, the Community Planners Committee (CPC) meeting will host City Council President Sherri Lightner. The CPC meets from 7 to 9 pm. at the Metropolitan Op. Ctr. II Auditorium, 9192 Topaz Way, San Diego.

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The Financialization of America: Wall Street Doesn’t Help Homeless

October 21, 2016 by John Lawrence

MoneyThe Business of America is No Longer Business — It’s Finance

By John Lawrence

The rich today are making money not from making things, but by manipulating money. This is being done in such a way that it is driving the inequality process. It is ruining the middle class while exporting their jobs.

The tax structure of the US engineered by Ronald Reagan, Alan Greenspan and their Republican followers has incentivized the creation of great wealth in a few hands while driving the majority of people into poverty.

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Make the Convention Center Better, Not Bigger

October 20, 2016 by Source

convention center

By David McCullough / UrbDeZine

Earlier this year, a hosted panel of local decision makers was brought together to discuss future of San Diego. Much of the conversation was around the convention center expansion.

If you’ve been following the local news, you’ve noticed much of the dialog is about the benefits of a larger meeting space.

The conversation is often about the need for more space to keep Comic-Con in San Diego or the heavy regional impact, the tax revenues, or the attention it all brings to our city. At the end of the panel discussion, a younger, seemingly naive gentleman stood up to ask a question. The question was, “Why do we need a larger convention center when it seems vacant for most of the year?”

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Avoiding Privatization’s Slippery Slide

October 14, 2016 by Source

Second graders on the first day of school

By Donald Cohen / Capital & Main

Last Wednesday was a big day for In the Public Interest. We released one of our longest and most wide-ranging reports, How Privatization Is Increasing Inequality.

The report describes how the privatization of public goods and services disproportionately impacts poor individuals and families, and people of color. It pulls together issues that at a glance appear unrelated—like private prisons, charter schools and privatized water—to show that handing control of such things as education and infrastructure to the private sector is fueling an increasingly unequal society.

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OB Needs to Have a Discussion About What it Means for So Much of OB to Be Concentrated in the Hands of So Few

October 11, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

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A bunch of us at the OB Rag feel that Ocean Beach needs to have a conversation, a discussion – let’s say – about what it means to have so much of Ocean Beach concentrated in the hands of so few people.

We recently published The Ocean Beach Empire of Michael Mills, about how one man and his trusts owned 241 units in OB.

Looking at things one way – if there are 2-3 people living behind each one of those 241 doors, that’s between 480 to 720 people. If the total population of OB something like 12,000, that would put something like 1 out of every 16 to 25 residents in a Mills building.

What does that mean? What are the consequences of that?

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The How of Trump’s Little-to-No Personal Tax Payments

October 11, 2016 by Source

By Frank Thomas

taxeesIn recognition of Trump’s extremely complicated tax situation, James Stewart in a recent NY Times article asked him to just simply submit ten numbers – adjusted gross income and actual federal taxes paid over his last 5 year returns.

That seems a simple request for Trump to respect. But the legally allowed complex tax concessions given to real estate developers complicates making judgments about Trump’s moral business integrity and obligation to expose his returns.

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