Environment

Santee Citizens Halt Fanita Ranch — Public Vote Expected

October 31, 2020 by Source

By Colleen Cochran

A few weeks ago, despite the fact that many Santee citizens and citizens throughout San Diego County cried out in opposition to development in Santee’s pristine Fanita Hills, four Santee City Council members voted to approve an obscenely large testament to urban sprawl, a development called Fanita Ranch.

Those city council members, whose elections have been heavily funded by developer HomeFed, used a series of deceptive maneuvers in order to preclude citizens from having a say in whether Fanita Ranch would be built. Only Santee City Councilman Stephen Houlahan voted against Fanita Ranch, and he is the only council member who never accepts developer dollars.

Santee citizens did not take the council decision lying down. While HomeFed Vice President Jeff O’Connor and the four council members Rob McNelis, Laura Koval, Ronn Hall, and Mayor John Minto were gloating over their win, a band of Santee citizens dedicated to the well-being of their city were calculating how to turn the tables. They devised a referendum petition that would overturn the council’s decision and would instead grant citizens’ final approval authority over whether Fanita Ranch can be built.

Van Collinsworth, Director of Preserve Wild Santee.org, was the mastermind behind the referendum petition. For nearly three decades, he has been crafting strategies to thwart developer reign and enable Santee citizens to maintain control over their own city. It was through his leadership that citizens were able to fight and defeat two other large development plans formerly slated to be built in Santee’s Fanita Hills.

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‘I’ve Reported On Climate Disasters For 38 Years. Here’s What We Need To Do ASAP.’

October 28, 2020 by Source

“You no longer have to travel far to report on a climate disaster, as one will soon come to a neighborhood near you.”

By David Helvarg / HuffingtonPost / October27, 2020

Climate change is now election campaign news as we’re forced to focus on massive wildfires in the West, unprecedented numbers of Atlantic hurricanes, record-high temperatures, plus the impact of a global pandemic and a historic election in which President Donald Trump assures us the climate will soon cool and Joe Biden responds that Trump is a climate arsonist.

I’ve been reporting on the seemingly apocalyptic becoming the new abnormal for some time now.

It was during an interview with Roger Revelle for a San Diego magazine profile in 1982 that he acquainted me with the greenhouse effect caused by the burning of fossil fuels.

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Regional Water Board Vote Forces City to Consider ReWild Wetland Restoration Plan for Northeast Mission Bay

October 23, 2020 by Source

Unanimous Vote by Regional Water Quality Control Board in Support of Proposal for “Wildest” Plan from ReWild Coalition; No Guarantee City Will Choose It

In a unanimous vote following two hours of public testimony, the state Regional Water Quality Control Board for the San Diego region voted 6-0 October 14 in support of a Supplemental Environmental Project (SEP) that will enable the ReWild Mission Bay “Wildest” plan for wetland restoration in northeast Mission Bay to be considered at the same level as the city’s own plan.

Today’s decision marks the culmination of a two-year effort by the ReWild Coalition since the ReWild Mission Bay Wetlands Restoration Feasibility Study was released to the public in Sept. 2018.

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Environmental Groups Sue to Block Fanita Ranch Project in Santee

October 23, 2020 by Source

From Times of San Diego / October 22, 2020

Four conservation groups have filed a lawsuit against Santee and its city council for approving a 2,600-acre housing development in an area the groups say is prone to wildfires and home to several threatened and endangered species.

The council approved the Fanita Ranch project late last month with a 4-1 vote. The project would include 2,949 homes, more than 1,600 acres of open space, a 30-acre organic farm, and a town center with restaurants, shopping, offices, an elementary school and fire station, according to HomeFed Fanita Rancho LLC, the development group behind the project. According to the lawsuit filed Wednesday by the Center for Biological Diversity, Preserve Wild Santee, Endangered Habitats League and California Chaparral Institute,

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Ocean Plastic Converted to Oil

October 20, 2020 by Source

by SWR Staff/ Waste&Recycling Magazine / October 19, 2020

A non-profit in Hawaii has collected over 1.2 million plastic caps and lids and shipped them to Texas for conversion into oil.

Beach Environmental Awareness Campaign Hawaii (B.E.A.C.H.) co-founders Suzanne Frazer and Dean Otsuki spearheaded a campaign to educate people about the harmful impacts of plastic caps to Hawaii’s sea birds, which mistake small, colorful plastic litter as food sources. The community helped them collect more than 1.2 million plastic caps that were transported from Hawaii to California aboard a 40-foot intermodal container that shipping line Matson moved for free.

The plastic caps were delivered to New Hope Energy in Tyler, Texas, where they were first shredded into smaller pieces and then converted into oil using new technology. B.E.A.C.H. had two volunteers who live in Texas observe the process as B.E.A.C.H. co-founders Suzanne Frazer and Dean Otsuki were unable to travel to Texas from Hawaii as planned due to Covid-19.

Conversion to oil

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Are We Ready for a Biodegradable Water Bottle?

October 19, 2020 by Source

By Ronald D. White / Los Angeles Times / Oct 6, 2020

Does the world really need another brand of bottled water?

Alex Totterman believes it does, if the packaging is completely odegradable.

And his Culver City, Calif., start-up has the backing of some environmentally woke celebrities and business leaders, including Salesforce Chief Executive Marc Benioff and former News Corp. executive James Murdoch, who has invested a tiny but undisclosed portion of the approximately $2 billion he netted when his family sold most of 21st Century Fox to the Walt Disney Co.

Cove’s new water bottle, which is scheduled to get a small pilot launch in December and hit store shelves more broadly in January, is the first to be made entirely from biodegradable materials, the company contends, including the bottle cap, label and adhesive.

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Dead Trees Walking

October 6, 2020 by Staff

By Geoff Page

The community is about to lose a whole bunch of trees again, and the landscape will be very obviously altered after it happens.

I’ve walked my dogs for several years along the top of the slope, on the east side of Bill Cleator Park, between the park and Correia Middle School. There is a tall chain link fence at the top that separates the school grounds from the slope and the park at the bottom. We walk along a narrow path at the top from Famosa north to the YMCA where we descend to the park by the indoor soccer field.

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Shutting Down Nuke Plants Saves Lives

October 2, 2020 by Michael Steinberg

Nuclear Shutdown New October 2020

By Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press

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

Shutting Down Nuke Plants Saves Lives – A Case in Point

As reported in last month’s Nuclear Shutdown News, a violent storm damaged the Duane Arnold nuclear plant in Iowa, and hastened its already scheduled permanent shutdown.

In the September 8 Des Moines Journal, Joseph Mangano, executive director of the Radiation and Public Health Project (radiation.org) made the case that closing the plant will mean there will be less radioactivity caused diseases in surrounding areas.

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October 2020 Events From the Ocean Beach Green Center

October 2, 2020 by Source

From the Ocean Beach Green Center,
4862 Voltaire Street,
Ocean Beach 92107
oceanbeachgreencenter@gmail.com
619-613 5616

Events – All events are online and free unless stated otherwise.

Every Saturday at 10:30 a.m. Climate Mobilization Coalition Zoom Meeting. October 3rd, 10th,17th 24th and 31st.

Mondays 9:30 pm – 12:30 pm Volunteering at Wild Willow Farm

COME INSIDE FOR ALL DETAILS

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New Super-Enzyme Eats Plastic Bottles 6 Times Faster than Regular Enzyme

September 29, 2020 by Source

By Damian Carrington / The Guardian / Sept. 28, 2020

A super-enzyme that degrades plastic bottles six times faster than before has been created by scientists and could be used for recycling within a year or two.

The super-enzyme, derived from bacteria that naturally evolved the ability to eat plastic, enables the full recycling of the bottles. Scientists believe combining it with enzymes that break down cotton could also allow mixed-fabric clothing to be recycled. Today, millions of tonnes of such clothing is either dumped in landfill or incinerated.

Plastic pollution has contaminated the whole planet, from the Arctic to the deepest oceans, and people are now known to consume and breathe microplastic particles. It is currently very difficult to break down plastic bottles into their chemical constituents in order to make new ones from old, meaning more new plastic is being created from oil each year.

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Fish Farm Proposed Off Ocean Beach

September 22, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

A fish farm is being proposed off Ocean Beach. Okay, it’s not directly off OB but 4 miles out (see map). The research institute connected with SeaWorld, Hubbs, and a corporation from Long Beach have proposed the first open-ocean fish farm in federal waters off the southern California coast.

Hubbs Research Institute and Pacific6 Enterprise want to build the Pacific Ocean AquaFarm and earlier in September, they submitted a federal permit application for the project.

The proposed farm would be about 4 miles offshore and west of San Diego’s beaches. Hubbs and Pacific6 claim it would generate 5,000 metric tons of sushi-grade yellowfish annually and create about 75 jobs.

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The Case for a Corner of Mission Bay to Be ‘Wild’

September 22, 2020 by Source

By John Riedel

For centuries, Mission Bay was utilized by the bird populations of Southern California and along the Pacific Flyway as habitat, and by our region’s indigenous Kumeyaay communities for survival. But a great deal has changed in the bay since the arrival of Europeans, particularly in the last several decades.

The post-war 1940s and 1950s brought dredging and a wholesale, man-made redesign and reimagination of Mission Bay as a water park for the region’s swelling population. At the time it was considered progressive, popular policy to provide a manicured place for residents to play and recreate along the bayfront.

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Santee City Council’s Tangled Plot To Build Fanita Ranch

September 21, 2020 by Source

By Colleen Cochran

Over the past few decades, natural open spaces within 20 miles of the San Diego County coast have been largely devoured by development. The city of Santee’s majestic northern Fanita Hills, a 2,600-acre region, has remained intact, although it has been under a land-use siege throughout this period. Santee’s city council seats, which hold the authority to control the destiny of Fanita Hills, have been magnets for building industry contributions, and the windfall of political dollars has created sharp division between Santee residents and their elected officials on the question of whether to develop or conserve the region.

While Santee City Council members might have enabled citizens to weigh in on potential building projects, most of them deviously plotted to squash citizens’ participation. Their goal, in particular, has been to prevent citizens from attaining the power to oppose Fanita Ranch, a massive 3,000-unit housing development slated to be built in the Fanita Hills.

The development will encompass an area a quarter of the size of existent Santee. Only Councilman Stephen Houlahan has not worked to quell citizens’ voices. In fact, he sponsored an initiative that would grant them a say in Santee’s development processes.

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The Great Dumpster Fire Of 2020: What Will Be Left Amidst the Ashes?

September 14, 2020 by Jim Miller

By Jim Miller

It’s that time again. The world is burning. The sky is hazy from smoke in the Southland, Bladerunner-orange over San Francisco, and a tenth of the state of Oregon is under evacuation.

I’ll try not to write the same column that I did last year during fire season.

Or the year before that.

Or the several years before that.

With the media screaming about these fires it finally seems that the “unprecedented” angle is having its last gasp. Gavin Newsom is sick of climate deniers, and the connection between the extreme heat and the fires seems to finally be unquestioned.

As I write this on a Friday afternoon, my friends and family in the Bay Area can’t leave their homes for fear of toxic air. Family in Portland are watching a megafire come their way.

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Nukes, Storms and Hurricanes

September 4, 2020 by Michael Steinberg

Nuclear Shutdown News September 2020

By Michael Steinberg

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

Midwest ‘Derecho’ Storm Forces Shutdown of Iowa Nuke Plant

On August 8, Nagasaki Day, a violent storm with hurricane force winds knocked out power at the Duane Arnold nuclear plant, 11 miles from Cedar Rapids, IA. The Star Tribune reported that the plant “lost connection with the electrical grid and declared an Unusual Event, the lowest of four kinds of nuke plant emergencies.”

“The loss of power triggered an automatic shutdown” of the plant’s reactor, the Star Tribune reported. “It also “damaged the plant’s cooling towers, which are used to cool steam after it emits from the plant’s turbine.”

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Citizens’ Report Shows Developers Buying Santee City Council Votes

September 4, 2020 by Source

versus

Citizen Report Shines Light on Corruption

From Preserve Wild Santee

A new report, “A Money Laundering Web: Who is Buying Santee City Council Votes” traces the flow of funds from the development industry through intermediaries with the intent of purchasing favorable decisions.

The report documents substantial flows of money from Fanita Ranch and Carlton Oaks Golf Course Development interests flowing directly to Santee elected officials campaign and allied PACs.

The report reveals hundreds of thousands of dollars in “unitemized receipts” in need of explanation.

“City Council votes should not be for sale,” stated Van Collinsworth, PWS Director.

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Ocean Beach’s Dog Beach — It’s Not for the Birds!

September 3, 2020 by Staff

By Budd Titlow

I get it.

I love all dogs and I know they need a special place to romp and splash. Dog Beach in Ocean Beach — at the western end of the San Diego River Channel—is just such a place. Created in 1972, it has a long history of providing the perfect playground for pooches— with no leashes restricting their activities.

But I’m also a serious birdwatcher and photographer. Since moving to the San Diego area 2 1/2 years ago, I’ve found that the San Diego River Channel — centering around Smiley Lagoon — offers the best birding opportunities of any place I’ve ever lived.

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‘ReWild Mission Bay’ Releases Statement on Kumeyaay History of Mission Bay

September 1, 2020 by Source

The group that has been trying for years to enhance and restore wetlands in the northeast corner of Mission Bay, ReWild Mission Bay, has just released an equity statement on the history of the Kumeyaay in the Mission Bay region. We repost it below, followed by their press release. . ReWild Mission Bay is a project of the San Diego Audubon Society.

Equity

The northeast corner of Mission Bay is land that was historically occupied and used by Indigenous communities, Kumeyaay (‘Iipay and Tipai), and represents just one example of our unjust and racially-motivated public lands history in San Diego.

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September 2020 Event Calendar From the Ocean Beach Green Center

September 1, 2020 by Source

Events All events are online and free unless stated otherwise.

Every Saturday at 10:30 a.m. Climate Mobilization Coalition Zoom Meeting. September 5th,12th,19th and 26th
September 1st Tuesday 6 pm – 7pm Project Community Care Hosted by Sunrise Movement San Diego
September 1st Tuesday 7 pm – 9 pm SD Veterans For Peace General Monthly Meeting via ZOOM Hosted by San Diego Veterans For Peace
September 2nd Wednesday – 5th Saturday 10 am – 12 pm Screening and Panel Discussion of the Film “Public Trust – The Fight for America’s Public Lands” Hosted by North County Climate Change Alliance
September 2nd Wednesday 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm No Justice, No Games Petco Park 9th and J Street Vigil (please bring a candle) Let’s join our voices to ask the San Diego Padres to walk off the field in protest for the murder of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and many more due to the color of their skin.
September 3rd Thursday 6 pm – 7 pm Rooting Out White Supremacy in the US Military: A KPBS News Online Event
September 4th Friday 6 pm – 7:30 pm Intersectionality & Justice Panel Hosted by Andréa N. Agosto and Diversionary Theatre
September 5th Saturday 9 am – 4 pm Black Panthers Fundraiser Yard Sale
September 6th Sunday Rot On Sundays! Hosted by Food2Soil Composting Collective
September 7th Monday 11 am – 1 pm Protest Sea World San Diego – Labor Day

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California Fires: Want to Control Blazes? Start More, Experts Say

August 27, 2020 by Source

Why one of the most feasible solutions for worsening wildfires is doing more prescribed burns.

By Jill Cowan / New York Times / Aug. 26, 2020

As Californians brace for more bad news about what is already shaping up to be one of the state’s most intense fire seasons ever, and as we watch as firefighting capacity is stretched thin, I keep coming back to one question: What is California supposed to do?

This question isn’t new, and neither are many of the answers experts and policymakers routinely offer.

For one, they say, too many people are moving into the wildland-urban interface, the transitional zones between denser areas of human development and vegetation, which makes them more vulnerable to damage in the event of a wildfire.

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Fanita Ranch Developer Postponed Hearing Amid Santee Residents’ Concerns

August 26, 2020 by Source

By Karen Pearlman / San Diego Union-Tribune / Aug. 25, 2020

A long-awaited vote on a highly contentious East County housing project has been delayed at the request of the developer, who apparently sensed the 3,000-home development faced some headwinds on the Santee City Council.

Home Fed Fanita Rancho LLC, the applicant for the latest version of the plan for housing off Fanita Parkway above Santee Lakes, asked the city last Thursday to cancel a public hearing scheduled for Wednesday. Jeff O’Connor, HomeFed vice president of community development, said the decision to pull the item after years of planning was made to satisfy concerns about traffic and to free up Councilman Rob McNelis, who could have been barred from voting on the original submission.

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The Sports Arena Will Flood Later this Century – Is Anyone Planning For It?

August 20, 2020 by Source

Two developers submitted dueling bids for the right to revamp Pechanga Arena and the area around it. But whatever stands there in the end could be up to its ears in seawater in the second half of this century.

By MacKenzie Elmer / Voice of San Diego / August 19, 2020

The city of San Diego is choosing between flashy proposals to redevelop Pechanga Arena area, but has said little about its very real vulnerability to flooding from rising sea levels. Though the city’s planning department recently studied how sea level rise will affect its most precious assets, the threat hasn’t featured prominently in public discussion of the redevelopment plan.

Two developers submitted dueling bids for the right to revamp a 48-acre triangular stretch of land off Sports Arena Boulevard in San Diego’s Midway District.

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New Threat to Coastal Communities: Sea Level Rise Will Push Groundwater Up

August 18, 2020 by Source

By Rosanna Xia / Los Angeles Times / Aug. 17, 2020

Just north of the Golden Gate Bridge, yet a world away from San Francisco, in an unincorporated and oft-overlooked area known as Marin City, sea level rise is rarely the first worry that comes to mind.

Traditional flood maps for this predominantly Black and working-class community suggest that the area is safe until the sea-level rise reaches three feet or more.

But sea level rise is a lot more complicated than just waves breaking over seawalls and beaches disappearing.

Imagine the groundwater beneath your feet. As the ocean moves inland, it will push all this trapped water upward until it breaks the surface. Basements will heave, brackish water could corrode sewer pipes, toxic contaminants buried in the soil could bubble up and spread.

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What Should Post COVID-19 Crisis America Look Like?

August 10, 2020 by Jim Miller

The American Federation of Teachers Lays Out a Bold Vision of a Just Recovery as San Diego Green New Deal Alliance Launches

By Jim Miller

This summer I was proud to see that my national union, the American Federation of Teachers, was thinking big at its biennial convention in late July. Clearly, the activist spirit sweeping the country was in the (virtual) air.

Building on some of the work my brothers and sisters and I did here in San Diego along with others in our statewide union, the national AFT followed the lead of California and passed both a resolution endorsing the Green New Deal and a wide ranging call to move beyond the necessary but narrow bread and butter response we have seen from the national and local AFL-CIO to thinking comprehensively about how we should pivot and seize the opportunity that this crisis presents to build a better future.

The resolution in support of a Green New Deal calls on the 1.7 million members of the AFT

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The Widder Curry Wants to Know Why Feeding the Birds Is Illegal?

August 4, 2020 by Judi Curry

Don’t Shoot the Messenger

By Judi Curry

Several days ago I read a report on “Next Door” from someone stating that it was not legal to feed the birds in the neighborhood. I looked around my backyard and my 6 hummingbird feeders, my five bird-seed stations, and the plate of peanuts I put out to keep the crows at bay and I wondered if my life was going to change – again – for the worst.

I decided to do some research to find out if the information was correct. And you know what? It is! Damn!

First I contacted the “Fish and Game” department here in San Diego. I asked the nice woman that answered the phone if there was someone there that could answer my question. She said that she could. I asked her “ . . . is it illegal to feed the birds” and without hesitation she told me “yes.” Then I asked her if it was illegal to feed the humming birds and she said she would have to check.

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Millions of Dollars in Criminal Conspiracies Keep Aging Nuke Plants Operating

August 4, 2020 by Michael Steinberg

Nuclear Shutdown News August 2020

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.

Nuke Plant Multi-million Dollar Criminal Conspiracies Exposed

On July 23 Bloomberg News reported “Scandals taint efforts to save US nuclear plants.” The news service charged,” “Back to back scandals in Ohio and Illinois over the past week have given a black eye to efforts to prop up struggling US nuclear plants.”

As aging nuke plants continue to deteriorate and fail to make money, desperate utilities have been rolling out schemes to jack up prices on customers and funnel these ill gotten gains to corrupt politicos who further exploit the public to keep outdated nuclear plants spewing radioactivity into the environment from going under.

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Giant Kelp Forests Off Point Loma and La Jolla Stressed by Climate Change

August 4, 2020 by Source

By Erik Anderson / KPBS / August 4, 2020

The warming climate is putting environmental pressure on California forests that have towered over the Golden State for thousands of years.

They are not the only forests being stressed by climate change, the region’s iconic underwater forests are also facing challenges. Those forests are populated by giant kelp, and there is one located just off the La Jolla shore. The giant kelp forests off the coast of La Jolla and Point Loma can be spectacular. Biologists have compared them to an underwater forest of sequoias, but unlike the giant trees which can live for hundreds and even thousands of years, kelp grows fast and dies fast.

Scripps Institution of Oceanography researcher Ed Parnell didn’t have to walk far from Scripps Pier to find strands of giant kelp washed up on the beach. “The root system is called the holdfast, it holds the kelp plant to the bottom, right there you can see that,” Parnell said.

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August 2020 Events From the Ocean Beach Green Center

August 3, 2020 by Source

Here is the August 2020 Calendar from the Ocean Beach Green Center – 4862 Voltaire Street, Ocean Beach 92107 – oceanbeachgreencenter@gmail.com 619-613 5616

Every Saturday at 10:30 a.m. Climate Mobilization Coalition Zoom Meeting. August 8th, 15th, 22nd and 29th Keep up-to-date on climate issues and Climate Action events. To register email Jon Findley at jon@climatemobsd.org. More info: https://www.facebook.com/SDClimateMobilization

August 6th Thursday 5:30 pm – 7 pm Arab American Studies in Ethnic Studies: a racial justice issue for the Jewish community

August 6th Thursday The Peace Resource Center will be at an online vigil with Campaign Nonviolence on the 75th tragedy of the Hiroshima bombing.

August 7th Friday 4 pm First Friday Monthly Meeting Green New Deal at UCSD On Zoom –

August 8th Saturday 12 pm – 3 pm March to Free Them All- Shutdown Otay Mesa Detention Center Waterfront Park 1600 Pacific Hwy, San Diego 92101 A rally and march to bring home the injustices of immigrant incarceration as a first step to shutting down the Otay concentration camp and abolishing the carceral state.

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More Blue Is Needed in the Democrats’ Green Plan

July 17, 2020 by Source

By David Helvarg & Jason Scorse / The Hill / July 15, 2020

The House Democrats’ report, “Solving the Climate Crisis,” is the most comprehensive response to the climate emergency in the history of Congress and no doubt was closely read by the Biden campaign before the release of their plan. The Democrats have taken up the mantle for what was once a bipartisan issue, reminiscent of the McCain-Lieberman Climate Stewardship Acts of the early 2000s.

Unlike the original 2019 outline of the Green New Deal, this report takes coastal and ocean issues seriously. There are significant policy recommendations for electrifying U.S. ports, expanding offshore wind power and promoting living shorelines — like green infrastructure — in coastal areas, both to sequester carbon dioxide and promote climate resilience.

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‘You Better Hike the Stowe Trail in Santee Before Fanita Ranch Is Built and It’s Too Late’

July 10, 2020 by Source

HomeFed Corp. Plans 3,000-Unit Development in Santee

By Colleen Cochran

The threat of bulldozers spurred me to hike the Stowe Trail in northern Santee. The stretch, that leads from Santee Lakes through Sycamore Canyon on Fanita Ranch, is one of the last havens for endangered Quino checkerspot butterflies, creatures that once fluttered abundantly throughout San Diego County skies, and for endangered least Bell’s vireo songbirds.

Because I had been hearing a lot of news about HomeFed Corporation’s plans to ravage the area by constructing Fanita Ranch, a development of 3,000 units of multistory townhouse boxes, I decided I better go on that hike before it becomes too late.

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