San Diego

Was ‘Suspicious’ Fire at Fletcher and Gonzalez Home an Act of Domestic Terrorism?

January 14, 2022 by Frank Gormlie

In the early morning hours of Wednesday, the front exterior of the City Heights home of San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher and former Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez home was engulfed in flames. Fletcher and Gonzalez were awoken by their smoke alarms after 4 am, and were able to safely evacuate with their family. No one was injured.

San Diego police officials said investigators believe the fire was suspicious due in part to the early hours of the blaze and that it began on the outside of the home. The Metro Arson Strike Team — comprised of police and fire investigators — is handling the investigation. A few hours after the incident, a police spokesman released a statement that contained few additional details but confirmed that the fire was “being treated as suspicious in nature.”

The fire, which was contained to the front of the home, caused about $30,000 damage to the house and another $6,000 in damage to a vehicle parked in front of the home, San Diego Fire-Rescue spokesperson said.

Without any new updates or information from the police or San Diego news media by Friday morning, speculation circulated about the nature of the blaze. Was it some kind of mechanical or electrical failure at the front of the house? Was it arson? Indeed, was it an act of domestic terrorism?

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Key Sierra Club Committee Unanimously Endorses Greenery Revisions to City’s ADU Code

January 14, 2022 by Source

The Sierra Club’s Conservation Committee has unanimously endorsed sensible, environmentally-friendly revisions to the city’s Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) code and urges the city council to maintain shade trees and other greenery on properties slated for multi-unit ADU construction.

Committee chair Peter Anderson stated:

“The Sierra Club supports housing, especially affordable housing. But we must preserve the trees that provide shade, absorb greenhouse gas and cool our city.”

The local chapter’s endorsement adds to a long list of support for changes to the ADU code championed by Neighbors For A Better San Diego (NFABSD). The City Council’s Land Use and Housing Committee debated the issue Thursday (no news from that debate is available).

The Sierra Club committee’s 16-0 vote also registers the group’s support for revising the current Transit Priority Area boundaries to reflect the actual walking distance to the closest qualifying transit stop, and encourages “measurable incentives for ADU residents to use public transit.”

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OB Town Council Elections Coming Up – Candidate Statements to Be Submitted by Jan.24

January 12, 2022 by Frank Gormlie

The Ocean Beach Town Council is holding its elections for the Board of Directors, beginning the latter part of January and is now accepting Candidate Statements. The statements must be submitted by Monday, January 24. Voting by members takes place over the course of the week, from Thursday, January 27th to Friday, February 4th, 2022 .

From the OBTC website on the 2022 election:

There are 15 seats on the Ocean Beach Town Council Board of Directors and OBTC members elect Board Directors for two-year terms. Half of the Board stands for election every year. This year, 7 seats are up for election. If you would like to be considered for candidacy, please submit your Candidate Statement by [going here] by Monday January 24th.

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Much of Northeast Mission Bay Will Return to Marshland Under Mayor Gloria’s New Proposal

January 12, 2022 by Frank Gormlie

On the eve of his State-of-the-City Address, Mayor Todd Gloria unveiled a stunning turnabout on a major environmental issue – the future of northeast Mission Bay. And it’s sure to win him accolades within San Diego’s environmental community.

On Tuesday, Gloria released his proposal to transform much of northeast Mission Bay into marshland – which has been demanded by environmentalists for years. It is a needed change in Mission Bay which will help fight sea level rise and restore animal habitats destroyed when beginning in the fifties, the huge shallow marshland and lagoon that we now know as Mission Bay, was aggressively dredged to make way for the largest aquatic park on the West Coast (some say it’s the largest in the world!).

For years, environmentalist – led by the Audubon’s ReWild Mission Bay project – have been pushing for more acreage as marshland; t

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Navy Project Would Demolish Consolidated Aircraft Historic District

January 10, 2022 by Source

By Amie Hayes / SOHO January-February 2022 Newsletter

The Navy’s Old Town Campus Revitalization project at NAVWAR has the distinction of being the only newly added site to SOHO’s 2021 Most Endangered List. This ill-advised, gargantuan project proposes to build a dense wall of high-rise buildings at 4301 Pacific Highway (known as OTC Site One) and the complete demolition of the Consolidated Aircraft Plant 2 Historic District.

Previously known as Convair, this plant was once a massive manufacturing aircraft production complex that employed thousands of San Diegans during World War II and the Cold War.

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San Diego: ‘So Little Goes Right, So Little Gets Fixed and So Much Disarray’

January 10, 2022 by Source

What’s Up with the Mayor’s App? Problems: “Around Every Corner”

By Colleen O’Connor

Every day, in every way, San Diegans are witnessing the crumbling of their once stable neighborhoods; in their once enviable designation, “Camelot by the Bay.”

Omnipresent homeless camps; vacant store fronts; trash overflowing onto unsafe, often filthy streets; decaying parks, pools, libraries and public spaces; spikes in inflation; a buckling health care system amid a pandemic all exacerbated by new tax 17% tax hikes for water/sewer, and new bond initiatives in the pipeline.

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San Diego Makes It to the Parody Website, The Onion

January 7, 2022 by Source

The City of San Diego and Mayor Gloria were recently showcased in the parody/ satirical website, the Onion, which has a readership of 11.7 million readers on Twitter – many more than our own San Diego Union-Tribune (which many San Diegans called “The Onion” over the decades, ironically).

Here it is:

New Initiative Decreases Stigma Against Homeless By Making Majority Of People Homeless

SAN DIEGO—In an effort to decrease the widespread social shaming often associated with being unhoused, a new city initiative unveiled Thursday reportedly aims to decrease stigma against the homeless by making the majority of people homeless.

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Scamming San Diego in 4 Easy Steps

January 7, 2022 by Source

By Norma Damashek / NumbersRunner / Jan. 5, 2022

Warning: this commentary is standing on its head and starting with its conclusion:

The aftermath of San Diego’s 2020-21 Redistricting process may prove to be more destructive to good government in San Diego than any monetary loss from past Ponzi schemes and political heists.

The parties of interest in this latest con game colluded to divide and conquer the San Diego public. They were willing to shred and tear at San Diego’s civic and moral fabric for their own economic and political gain.

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Vigils for Democracy in San Diego and Across the Country, Solemn Commemoration in DC on Anniversary of Insurrection

January 6, 2022 by Staff

January 6 Vigils for Democracy – 338 vigils planned across nation

There are two Vigils for Democracy planned for today, January 6, in San Diego. The first is at 1pm in the park next to the San Diego County Administration Building. The second vigil is at 7 pm at Union Street and West F Street. Across the nation, 338 vigils are planned as of this writing.

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After Watching Jan. 6 Attack on Capitol, San Diego’s Donna Frye Has ‘Advice’ for Would-Be Politicians

January 6, 2022 by Source

By Donna Frye / Op-Ed San Diego U-T / Jan. 5, 2022

While much has changed since I last ran for office, there are some behaviors by candidates, their supporters and those who engage in political protests that must never be normalized for reasons that should be obvious to anyone with one wit of common sense. These behaviors should not require an explanation about why they are morally wrong, are mostly illegal and can result in people being hurt or killed. It should go without saying.

But after witnessing the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol and the many out-of-control political protests over the past few years, it’s a discussion that is probably long overdue. I never thought I would be writing a list of things like this, but here we are. The following guidance is especially helpful to candidates and their supporters.

  • Do not wear a fur hat with horns, paint your face and go shirtless while carrying a spear into a government office to disrupt a political proceeding.
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San Diego County Residents Cannot Find COVID Test Kits

January 4, 2022 by Source

By Anonymous Blogger

I can relate to the following article by Erik Anderson at KPBS. Within the last week or so, two of my roommates have come down with COVID. Another roommate was sent home from work because of the positives in the house.

That roommate did not have COVID symptoms but in order to get back to work, they had to test negative. Other roommates also wanted to be tested just to be on the safe side.

But, lo and behold, nobody could find those at-home COVID test kits. Several pharmacies were tried. Nothing.

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Where Are Nathan Fletcher and Todd Gloria Now That San Diego’s Pandemic Triggers Are In the Red

January 3, 2022 by Staff

We have an avid reader who raises a good point:

I’m probably missing the obvious, but I can’t figure our why Nathan Fletcher, who jump-started his tenure on the board of supervisors by literally stealing the spotlight every day with his COVID pronouncements, is now no where to be found on the issue.

His publicist won’t even respond to a request for any sort of comment, from the UT.

I’m sure other San Diegans have noticed him MIA, and would also appreciate any insight into his disappearance, as well as this new-found silence by other board members, the county health department, Mayor Todd Gloria, etc.

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Coastal Commission Approves Tiny Houses on Residential Lots

January 3, 2022 by Source

By Sheila Pell / San Diego Reader

Tiny houses on wheels, the cheapest and easiest small units to build, were initially left out of San Diego’s granny flat ordinance.

That changed in July 2020, when the city, seizing on their potential as low-cost housing, decided to allow movable tiny houses on residential lots. Even in the pricey coastal zone.

Friday, December 17, 2021, the Coastal Commission approved the changes, which regulate the number, size, location, and appearance of the homes, but with several modifications – none likely to appease critics.

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January 2022 Events From the Ocean Beach Green Center

January 3, 2022 by Source

All events are online and free unless stated otherwise.

*** Every Saturday 10:15 am. Climate Mobilization Coalition Zoom Meeting. January 8th, 15th, 22nd, 29th.

*** January 3rd Monday 6 pm King Tides Discussion Pt. Loma/Hervey Branch Library Community Room 3701 Voltaire St. 92107

*** January 7th Friday 7 pm – 8 pm Sierra Talks – The Making of Beauty & the Beast: CA Wildflowers & Climate Change

*** January 8th Saturday 1 pm – 2 pm Youth4Climate January Community Service

*** January 8th Saturday 12-2 pm, Meet up for Racial Justice Event

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Latest COVID Charts for San Diego County – Dec.28, 2021

December 30, 2021 by Source

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Sheriff Gore Manipulated Evictions for Politics

December 27, 2021 by Source

By Jeff McDonald / San Diego Union-Tribune / Dec. 26, 2021

Top commanders in the San Diego Sheriff’s Department directed their subordinates to enforce some evictions during the past year while others languished for months, according to documents and a longtime sergeant.

Sgt. David Pocklington, who retired earlier this month after 28 years with the county, said he saw political motivation in the orders given to him and deputies under his command in the Court Services Bureau. Pocklington said he believes the evictions were orchestrated to help Sheriff Bill Gore and Undersheriff Kelly Martinez.

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San Diego Residents vs. Wave of Granny-Flats

December 22, 2021 by Source

By David Garrick / San Diego Union-Tribune / Dec. 22, 2021

SAN DIEGO — San Diego’s raging battle over granny-flat regulations is headed for a conclusion this winter that seems likely to leave community leaders and resident groups frustrated. Their goal is preserving community and neighborhood character by rolling back some year-old policy changes that have made San Diego’s granny-flat rules among the least restrictive in California.

But the potential for granny flats to help solve the local housing crisis has prompted city planning officials to reject any significant rollbacks. Instead, they are proposing only modest adjustments to regulations governing granny flats, which are also sometimes called casitas or the city’s formal name for them: accessory dwelling units.

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Holding the San Diego Housing Commission Accountable for Their Efforts to ‘End’ Homelessness

December 22, 2021 by Source

By Mathew Packard / Voice of San Diego / Dec. 22, 2021

As a not so casual observer of efforts to “end” or even effectively manage the daily impact homelessness is having on our city and on the lives of those experiencing it, I am struck by the pervasive and consistent lack of accountability for those in government responsible.

The San Diego Housing Commission in their 2014 homeless action plan, Housing First, pledged to apply “the power of its federal housing resources to achieve the goal of ending homelessness.” SDHC is a driving force of the national Housing First model (transitioning homeless individuals from the streets directly into permanent housing connected to supportive housing) in the city of San Diego. This year and over more than a decade, the commission has failed to meet this obligation.

Let’s review what the SDHC has done.

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Ocean Beach and Point Loma Pushed Into Newly-Redrawn 50th Congressional District – Darrel Issa’s Former District

December 22, 2021 by Staff

It looks like Ocean Beach and Point Loma will be pushed into the newly-redrawn 50th Congressional District. Ironically, arch-conservative Darrel Issa currently represents the district. Not to worry. He just announced he will be seeking election in the new 48th Congressional District.

OB and the Peninsula are currently in the 52nd District, represented by Democrat Scott Peters. The new 50th includes many of the communities currently represented by Peters, so there is a general assumption he will go for that seat. The new districts take effect with the June 2022 primaries and continue for the next decade.

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Mayor Gloria to ‘Fight Like Hell’ to Protect His Legacy Over Sports Arena Redevelopment

December 21, 2021 by Frank Gormlie

Mayor Todd Gloria has recently pledged to “fight like hell” to save the Sports Arena redevelopment from Judge Bacal’s axe. Bacal just ruled last week that Measure E — which removed the 30-foot height limit in the Midway District — was illegally place on the ballot by the city council because of a lack of environmental review on buildings over 30 feet.

The lawsuit was brought by the nonprofit group, Save Our Access.
Gloria told KPBS:

“The revitalization of the Midway District is critical to the future of our city — not just for a new sports venue, but again, for the provision of housing that is attainable to low- and middle-income San Diegans.”

Now, don’t forget, dear reader, that Measure E contained no guarantees that affordable housing would be built.

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UCSD Professor: U.S. Close to Second Civil War

December 21, 2021 by Source

Reposted as a Public Service Message

By Ken Stone / Times of San Diego / Dec. 20, 2021

America is close to being at high risk of a civil war, a UC San Diego political scientist said Sunday night on CNN.

“If a second civil war happens in the United States, it’s going to look very different from the first, and it’s going to look more like a siege of terror,” said Professor Barbara F. Walter, whose upcoming book on the subject was quoted Friday in The Washington Post.

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Newspapers Squandered Their Monopoly-Era Profits and Now Blame Google and Facebook

December 21, 2021 by Source

by Chris Jennewein / Times of San Diego / December 20, 2021

Three decades ago, when America’s local newspapers were at their peak, I attended a dinner for publishers at a mid-sized chain. After dinner, the president rose to speak and asked everyone to clap for one publisher whose newspaper had exceeded a 50% profit margin in the previous month.

At a 50% margin, half of every dollar from subscribers and advertisers went directly to the bottom line. Sure, there was depreciation to account for, and some taxes to be paid, but overall that’s a level of profitability that would make a pharmaceutical company blush.

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Trolley Extension Has Already Changed the Lives of UC San Diego Students

December 21, 2021 by Source

By Manu Agni / Op-Ed San Diego Union-Tribune / Dec. 13, 2021

The Mid-Coast Extension of the UC San Diego Blue Line Trolley rolled into campus for the first time just a few weeks ago, but it’s already making a huge impact.

For decades, UC San Diego has been a sleepy hollow for students — up on a mesa in La Jolla, isolated from the rest of San Diego. Since the founding of campus, the way to get up to the mesa was always to meander up La Jolla hills on old roads that date back to the time of Camp Matthews and when “biotech” wasn’t in San Diego’s lexicon. More recently, this has meant spending hours in a car, stuck in crippling traffic congestion, or crawling along on a bus subject to the very same traffic.

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MTS: It’s Possible to Extend Trolley to Airport and Beaches

December 20, 2021 by Source

New trolley extension to San Diego International Airport would open up future extensions to Point Loma, Liberty Station and beach communities

By Lauryn Schroeder / San Diego Union-Tribune / Dec. 17, 2021

A Metropolitan Transit System study released Thursday, Dec. 16, has determined that the long-desired extension trolley to the San Diego International Airport is possible and can be completed within the next decade. According to a press release issued by the Metropolitan Transit System, or MTS, transportation experts from the international consultancy company Mott MacDonald presented multiple construction options to the MTS board of directors as part of its preliminary feasibility study.

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Is $2,000 a Month for 480 Square Foot ADU ‘Affordable Housing’? San Diego City Thinks So

December 17, 2021 by Source

By Paul Krueger

A new definition of “affordable housing”: $2,000 monthly rent for 480 square foot, 1 bedroom/1 bath ADU.

Building industry consultant admits it’s “absurd, from the stand-point of affordability.”

The permit application for a multi-unit rental complex on a single-family lot confirms that two of the apartments will be reserved for an affordable rental program administered by the San Diego Housing Commission.

In return for that set-aside, the city gave the developer a two-unit “bonus.” Instead of building just four units, he and his investors can cram a total of six rental units on this average-size residential lot in San Diego’s Talmadge neighborhood.

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Local Vets for Peace Raising Money for Sleeping Bags for Houseless People in Downtown San Diego

December 17, 2021 by Source

Submitted by Gilbert Field

The “Compassion Campaign” of the San Diego Veterans For Peace is again giving out free sleeping bag sets to the many homeless folks downtown who have no sleeping gear whatsoever. Each set consists of a new Coleman polyester sleeping bag and a nice nylon stuff sack to put it in when the client wakes up each morning.

Three (3) outreach trips took place in the last two weeks and they gave out 60 bag sets to folks who they personally confirmed had nothing at all to sleep under in these colder temperatures. Another outreach trip is scheduled soon, and they hope many, many more trips downtown at night will follow this winter, based on the continued support of the generous folks in San Diego.

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SANDAG Did San Diego a Disservice With New Trolley Line

December 17, 2021 by Source

The new trolley does not go to the beach or La Jolla. What it does do is to impact surrounding neighborhoods.

By Michael Pallamary / Op-Ed San Diego Union-Tribune / December15, 2021

I relocated to San Diego in 1976 to work on what was then a political hot potato — engineering the so-called “Tijuana Trolley.” I moved here because of my expertise as a railroad engineer, in Boston, where I was responsible for the field engineering and layout of many essential elements of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, one of the nation’s oldest rapid transit systems dating back to 1897.

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Final Redistricting Map – But It’s Not ‘Official’ for 30 Days

December 16, 2021 by Staff

On Wednesday, December 15, the volunteer San Diego Redistricting Commission decided by a 7-2 vote on the final map of the city council boundaries (which we previewed the other day).

The big, “dramatic” changes for District 2 are that Pacific Beach joins District 1, and District 2 takes the eastern half of Clairemont and Old Town. Unless something happens – like a comet – this will remain and be official for the next ten years. Although, the city is now in a 30-day period where residents can raise objections before the map becomes official.

Other changes:

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Save Our Access Responds to Court Ruling Nixing Measure to Lift Height Limit in the Midway

December 16, 2021 by Frank Gormlie

Editordude: “Save Our Access,” the group that brought the lawsuit to block the implementation of Measure E, the lifting of the 30-foot height limit in the Midway District, responds here to the recent court ruling in their favor.

Regarding the 30′ Height limit lawsuit

Save Our Access brought the lawsuit because of how the city asked the public to lift the 30′ height. Established law says that an Environmental Impact Report must be made that includes public participation when major changes to a neighborhood plan is made. The city failed to do that.

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Judge Bacal’s Final Ruling: San Diego Should Not Have Placed Lifting 30-Foot Height Limit in Midway On Ballot

December 15, 2021 by Staff

A voter-approved ballot measure lifting the 30-foot building height limit in the Midway District was improperly placed on the November 2020 ballot and cannot be implemented, San Diego Superior Court Judge Katherine Bacal said in her final ruling last week.

Bacal said the city of San Diego should not have asked voters to remove the 30-foot coastal height limit in the Midway area on the 2020 ballot finalizing a tentative ruling that throws a major city redevelopment effort into limbo.

The vote on Measure E lifted the height limit in the entire Midway area,

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