San Diego

Coastal Commission Agrees With FIDO and Cancels Proposed Changes for Fiesta Island Off-Leash Area

June 17, 2021 by Frank Gormlie

On Thursday, June 10, the California Coastal Commission agreed with the dog-owners’ group, FIDO, and cancelled proposed changes to what’s called San Diego’s largest dog park, the off-leash area on Fiesta Island in Mission Bay.

Staff at the Coastal Commission had apparently attempted to revive a proposal for what they termed broader public access and have the 90-acre off-leash waterfront area opened up. Staff argued that the state’s Coastal Act encouraged opening waterfront areas to as many people and activities as possible.

Yet, the proposal ran smack tab into the lobbying power of the 16,000-member Fiesta Island Dog Owners (FIDO) who persuaded Coastal Commissioners to vote 6-5 against the proposed changes, which left the off-leash area intact. That area is on the island’s southwestern tip.

FIDO contends their stance helps to preserve a treasured and unique area.

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Time to Question the Militarization of Our Children

June 17, 2021 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

When we say to a veteran or to someone active in the military, “Thank you for your service” what are we thanking them for?

I ask this question for the children’s sake, for the many teenage warriors, fresh out of high school, who find themselves off somewhere in a land, that was never mentioned in their schooling, “making a difference.”

I mean after World War II came to an end, has there been any real reason for our country to be involved in war?

I can’t help but remember a neighbor of mine, a family friend, a kid a few years older than me, coming home from Korea an emotional wreck, staring into space.

Another childhood friend returned from Vietnam in the same condition and another came back in a casket having earned a purple heart for his bravery.

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An Invite to STILL, WE RISE

June 14, 2021 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

We, being my people,
Black folks.
Folks out here
living lives of
forever trying
to just be Americans,
so to speak.
But, hey,

And STILL, WE RISE happens to be a show of poetry and jazz that I put together with some friends: actor extraordinaire,

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Assess Government-Owned Property for People to Shelter

June 11, 2021 by Source

Every government-owned parcel in the region should be assessed for its viability as a place where people can live or shelter safely temporarily.

By Tamea Kohler / San Diego Union-Tribune Op-Ed / June 8, 2021

Housing ends homelessness. While it’s a complex and layered issue, if we start every conversation about homelessness with the truism that if a person has a home, they are no longer homeless, other aspects can fall into their proper place.

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Where’s (Waldo) Robert Vacchi? Found!

June 9, 2021 by Staff

By Geoff Page

The City of San Diego’s former Deputy Chief Operating Officer Robert Vacchi, also the former head of the city’s Development Services Department, walked away from his high-profile job on July 2, 2020, and no one would say why. In over a year, no one had obtained any more information about his departure or where he went. Vacchi has finally been spotted and where he landed adds to the mystery.

To refresh everyone’s memory, Vacchi’s appointment to head the DSD coincided with a flood of 30-foot height violations because of how Vacchi interpreted the law.

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Bathroom Access Is a Human Right Neglected in San Diego

June 9, 2021 by Source

By Mitchelle Woodson, Jennifer Felner, Megan Welsh / San Diego Union-Tribune Op-Ed / June 7, 2021

Last month, a bystander’s video of Jesse Evans’ encounter with San Diego Police Department officers in La Jolla made national news. Evans’ suspected crime? Trying to meet a basic human function — urination — while Black and homeless in one of San Diego’s whitest and wealthiest neighborhoods.

The SDPD’s response?

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Killing Trees and Promising Parks

June 9, 2021 by Source

More ‘What’s Up With the Mayor’s App?’

By Colleen O’Connor

From Ted Talks to their own San Diego Government website, trees and parks are in vogue.

In fashion. In demand. In decay. And all over the internet. And popular photo op props in San Diego, too. The City’s Mayors (Faulconer and Gloria) have promised to plant trees. And even give them away free.

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UC San Diego Study of Cannabis to Treat Migraines Looking for Volunteers

June 8, 2021 by Source

By Michelle Brubaker / UC San Diego Health / May 19, 2021

Alison Knigge was in elementary school when she started to experience migraines. They continued to get progressively worse as time went on, especially after the birth of her son.

“I would describe my migraines as a piercing pain. It feels like my brain is being squeezed. It causes extreme sensitivity to light and sound and horrible nausea,” said Knigge.

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Public and Private Spaces in the Wake of the Pandemic

June 7, 2021 by Source

By Joni Halpern

Living through months of pandemic confinement has taught us something about what we need to live successfully in our public and private spaces. We have learned that space can make us vulnerable, or it can make us safe. Now we must envision how this lesson will play out in our lives at home and work.

To help us, we tapped the experience and imagination of two individuals whose professional lives have revolved around the question of how human beings use space to work, profit and live.

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Mr. Mayor: Hire a Trash Czar

June 7, 2021 by Source

More on Mayor’s “Get It Done” App.

By Colleen O’Connor

At the beginning of April, the OB Rag posted several photos of trashy streets where I strongly suggested that the Mayor hire a Trash Czar.

Those featured spots were cleaned up within days. An admirable result. It hasn’t lasted. As even Governor Newsom has argued, “California has become too damn dirty.” And that includes the City of San Diego.

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Rally at City Hall to Demand Council Reject Proposed SDG&E Franchise Agreement – Friday, June 4

June 4, 2021 by Source

Today, Friday – with the sun directly overhead at noon – a coalition of different groups will be rallying to demand San Diego City Councilmembers reject the proposed SDG&G franchise agreement. The Council has a final vote on the 10-year contract on Tuesday, June 8. The initial vote in May approved the agreement, but a second vote is required.

The rally will be at City Hall, 202 C Street in downtown San Diego. The groups – which include public interest, racial justice, and environmental organizations – state:

The proposed franchise agreement would shackle residents and businesses in San Diego with the highest rates in the

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Park Advocates Demand Public Review Period for San Diego’s New Parks Master Plan

June 3, 2021 by Source

Parks and Recreation Coalition (PARC) was notified yesterday by city officials that a new Parks Master Plan would be released on June 2 with an aggressive schedule without sufficient time for public review of hundreds of pages of text and analysis impacting more than a billion dollars in future park fees.

PARC includes former city planners, landscape architects, architects, and community planners who reviewed the initial draft and helped defeat it last November at City Council. The initial plan laid out arbitrary standards that would not provide the parks needed by a growing population and without an understandable park land standard.

The new draft, being released without a strike-out, underline version to aid public review, is not addressing the key problem identified by PARC last November — the promotion of a confusing and untested “points” system to replace the easily understandable land standard in use today.

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Recall Campbell Campaign Closes Down

June 2, 2021 by Frank Gormlie

On Tuesday, the OB Rag was sent an email by the Recall Campbell campaign announcing that the effort did not reach their goal of 14,000 signatures, “not enough to force the recall of Jennifer Campbell.”

Campaign organizers stated they did garner over 10,000 signatures, however. In their statement, the campaign said:

The pandemic combined with competing signature-gathering efforts for other political races and Jennifer Campbell’s low name recognition proved to be an insurmountable challenge.

They were up against “an establishment candidate backed by deep-pocketed special interests ….” and up against the editorial board of the San Diego Union-Tribune. The effects of the pandemic cannot be overstated.

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June 2021 Events From the Ocean Beach Green Center

June 2, 2021 by Source

All events are online and free unless stated otherwise.

Every Saturday at 10:30 a.m. Climate Mobilization Coalition Zoom Meeting. June 5th. 12th, 19th, 26th

June 8th Tuesday to June 21st Monday 7 pm WFFSD Film Series: Sisters Rising

June 9th Wednesday 6 pm – 7 pm 20 Years of Helping Homeless Youth: A Doors of Change Anniversary Symposium
June 9th Wednesday 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm Immigration Updates Webinar

June 9th Wednesday 6 pm – 7 pm Electric Vehicle Association San Diego meeting
June 10th Thursday Super Power: Economically, Socially, and Environmentally Superior
June 10th Thursday 5:30 pm Introduction to Redistricting & Mapping Your Communities

June 12th Saturday 9 am – 1 pm 6th Annual Zero Waste Fair
June 13th Sunday 9:30 pm – 2 pm Post-Pandemic Hike & Picnic
June 13th Sunday 11:30 am – 2:30 pm Marcha de Silencio – Stand Up for Friendship Park

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3 San Diego City Councilmembers Outline Plan for ‘Energy Independence’

May 28, 2021 by Source

Three San Diego City Councilmembers have just released a joint statement about an “energy independence plan,” in response to the Council’s approval of Mayor Gloria’s push to renew franchise agreements with SDG&E on Tuesday, May 25. Two of the three opposed the approval.

Councilmembers Sean Elo-Rivera, Joe LaCava, and Monica Montgomery Steppe call for the creation of an “Energy Independence Fund” which would help pay “to exit our agreement with SDG&E” and “allow for energy independence.” The three also propose a “public power feasibility study” as”the next step toward developing alternatives to investor-owned utilities and will provide an analysis of the viability of municipalization for the City of San Diego.” LaCava and Montgomery Steppe voted against Gloria’s proposal.

Here is their statement:

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Challenges Seek to Overturn Council Vote on SDG&E Franchise Agreements

May 28, 2021 by Source

By Rob Nikolewskia / San Diego Union-Tribune / May 28, 2021

A pair of challenges have been made to the new franchise agreement between the city of San Diego and San Diego Gas & Electric, seeking to overturn the City Council’s 6-3 vote to approve the deal that will see the utility continue providing electric and gas service for the city for up to 20 years.

Normal Heights resident and environmental advocate Jay Powell says a provision in the new agreement violates the city charter and the local law firm of Aguirre & Severson has reiterated its complaint that the council should not have held the meeting in the first place, alleging a violation of the state’s open meetings laws.

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Sempra Greased the Skids for Gloria and Council Democrats to Approve SDG&E Franchise Agreement

May 27, 2021 by Frank Gormlie

By Frank Gormlie

On Tuesday, a “super-majority” of members of the San Diego City Council voted to approve Mayor Gloria’s proposed franchise agreement with SDG&E.

Councilmembers Jennifer Campbell, Stephen Whitburn, Chris Cate, Raul Campillo, Marni von Wilpert and Sean Elo-Rivera voted in favor while Joe LaCava, Vivian Moreno and Monica Montgomery’ Steppe voted no. Campbell, Whitburn, Campillo and von Wilpert are Democrats and Cate is the lone Republican on the Council.

Curious as to whether SDG&E or its parent company, Sempra, gave campaign contributions to any of these Democrats, I dug around some. Didn’t have to go far. Matt Potter over at the San Diego Reader answered most of my questions in his December 21, 2020 piece, entitled, “Sempra’s last-minute money fueled anti-Bry hit campaign,” with a sub-head of “Tortured trail of Democrats’ campaign cash leads to SDG&E’s back door”.

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Police Reform in San Diego One Year After George Floyd’s Death

May 27, 2021 by Source

By Cristina Kim / KPBS / May 26, 2021

One year ago today, George Floyd was murdered by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. Bystanders caught the murder on video and the world was able to see how Chauvin placed and held his knee on Floyd’s neck for nine minutes and twenty-nine seconds.

The result was a global movement as people from all backgrounds took to the streets to call for greater racial justice and demand that communities reimagine policing.

San Diego was no exception.

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Majority of City Council Goes With the SDG&E Deal

May 26, 2021 by Source

Vote came after utility made additional commitments to city

By Rob Nikolewski / San Diego Union-Tribune / May 26, 2021

It was a close vote and required some additional financial concessions and commitments by San Diego Gas & Electric but the San Diego City Council on Tuesday approved a new electric and gas franchise agreement with the utility that can run as long as 20 years.

After a grueling session in which the outcome at times appeared uncertain, the council voted for a new deal on a 6-3 vote, just barely meeting the required two-thirds supermajority’ needed per the City Charter to finalize a new franchise agreement.

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City Council Must Go Bold and Not Take SDG&E’s Franchise Deal

May 25, 2021 by Source

By Bill Powers / Times of San Diego / May 23, 2021

We live in a period of unprecedented climate upheaval and economic inequality. Amidst this tumult, San Diego’s energy future is being decided. Will our city’s longtime energy provider, San Diego Gas & Electric, receive a pass to continue with business-as-usual for another generation, or will the city insist on terms that meet the challenges of our times?

SDG&E charges us the highest utility rates in the continental United States, while actively undermining city efforts to deal with the climate crisis. San Diego is also in litigation with the utility over its failure to abide by the terms of its existing franchise agreements.

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Today, San Diego City Council Takes on Gloria’s Potential 20-Year Franchise Agreement With SDG&E

May 25, 2021 by Frank Gormlie

Today, the San Diego City Council considers Mayor Gloria’s potential 20-year franchise agreement with SDG&E. This potential does not sit well with a whole lot of San Diegans.

Specifically, opponents of the deal are not at all happy with a provision that allows SDG&E to recover some of the payments the utility is proposing to make if the deal does not run its full term.

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San Diego City Council Should Deny SDG&E Franchise Agreements and Demand Public Power

May 24, 2021 by Source

By Craig D. Rose / San Diego Union-Tribune Op-Ed / May 21, 2021

While still early in its term, San Diego’s City Council will take a final exam next Tuesday. The test will include just one question:

Will you protect the citizens of San Diego against a utility intent on charging us the highest utility rates in the continental United States, while the same company undermines efforts to deal with the climate crisis?

For the balance of this article, see link inside.

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Gloria Wants to Take the City for a Ride on the SDG&E Train

May 21, 2021 by Frank Gormlie

By Frank Gormlie

In San Diego’s continuing saga over who gets to be the franchise holder for the city’s electric and gas utilities, it is staggeringly clear now that Mayor Todd Gloria really wants SDG&E to stay. Gloria is pushing the city to get on board the SDG&E train for a ride.

He and City Attorney Mara Elliott have concluded “multiple rounds” of negotiations with SDG&E, formed a tentative agreement, and he is beginning to talk with the councilmembers about a new contract. Gloria claims his new deal is “certainly an improvement over the existing franchise agreement….” That’s not saying much.

Nothing is for certain. Gloria needs a “super-majority” of votes from the Council, six of the nine members.

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OB’s Pat and Susan James Celebrated by SOHO for Preserving Wisteria Cottage and Garden Party Tradition – Thursday, May 27

May 21, 2021 by Staff

Susan and Pat James of Ocean Beach are being celebrated this year by SOHO (Save Our Heritage Organization) for maintaining the tradition of the Wisteria Cottage and Garden Party. It’s SOHO’s 38th annual People In Preservation Awards with an online award presentation. Pat and Susan will be celebrated during the online ceremony on Thursday, May 27, at 4pm, during National Preservation Month.

Here’s SOHO’s description:

On Niagara Avenue in Ocean Beach, you will find a charming turn-of-the-20th-century cottage that plays host each spring to abundant blooms of colorful purple wisteria vines.

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Gloria’s Revised Budget Brings Back San Diego Library Hours But Still Disappoints

May 20, 2021 by Staff

San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria revised his budget, released Tuesday, which now keeps libraries open seven days a week. This is a testament to the pushback he received from City Council members and the public about his initial cut-backs in the library budget.

However, to library advocates, Gloria’s numbers are still disappointing. The new budget removed funding for a pilot program to extend morning and evening access in communities that would benefit from this the most.

Patrick Stewart of the San Diego Public Library Foundation made this statement in response:

“We thank the Mayor for restoring the Library’s budget at a time when San Diegans need its essential and free services, programs and resources more than ever, especially in those communities hit harder during the pandemic. We’re happy to see new investments in electronic resources and systemwide programs.

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Affordable Housing Should Be the Top Priority in Redeveloping the Sports Arena Site

May 19, 2021 by Source

By Laura Nunn / San Diego Union-Tribune Op-Ed / May 18, 2021

Housing is a top concern for citizens, a basic need and a public good.

At a time when the housing and homelessness crisis continues to deepen, the public is served by prioritizing affordable housing in new developments.

The COVID-19 pandemic put on display how unprepared our housing system is to meet one of the most basic of human needs. When staying home was a matter of public health, many people had no home to go to or found themselves insecure in their housing situation. When schools closed, home became the primary space for kids of all ages to learn, study and complete homework. We’ve all learned a deeper meaning to the word “home” and its importance in our life.

This past year, we saw the number of people experiencing homelessness for the first time in San Diego County double and a decline in California’s population for the first time in recorded history.

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About Those Outdoor Restaurant Structures …

May 18, 2021 by Frank Gormlie

The OB Rag first raised the issue back in March: “Are Ocean Beach Restaurants Ready to Give Back Our Public Spaces?”

We wondered whether OB eateries were ready to give back all that public space taken during the pandemic in order to keep their doors open. We simply raised the question. …

A good number of readers’ comments suggested shutting down Newport Avenue permanently to auto traffic and allow the outdoor structures to continue. But shutting down Newport

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Navy Says ‘Build 10,000 Units and High-Rise Business Towers’ at NAVWAR Site – Public Comment Period Begins

May 18, 2021 by Staff

On Friday, May 14, the Navy recommended that the NAVWAR site in Old Town be redeveloped with 10,000 high-density residential units and high-rise business towers – and, oh yes, a transit facility.

The Navy’s “preferred alternative” in the draft environmental impact report for the World War II-era bomber plant calls for over 100 buildings, 10,000 residences and 2.5 million square feet of office and retail space. The tallest buildings would be 32 stories high, creating a new skyline in the Midway area over a 30-year development period.

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About Time Newsom: ‘California Is Too Damn Dirty’ and So Is San Diego!

May 17, 2021 by Source

By Colleen O’Connor

This is not news to anyone who lives, works, drives, or opens their eyes.

Not just San Francisco, L.A. or Sacramento are “too damn dirty,” (as the Governor said) so, too is San Diego.

And so, too, is almost every California freeway. What used to be hidden in bushes and under bridges has now overflowed to city streets and neighborhoods. Downtown San Diego is something of a petri dish. Frankly, it is filthy. As are the city’s beaches, parks, bus stops and any place where the local volunteers are not cleaning up

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OB Town Council Wants Residents to Take Survey on Future of the OB Pier

May 17, 2021 by Staff

The Ocean Beach Town Council is asking local residents to take their survey about the future of the OB Pier.

They are gathering information ahead of their town hall meeting on May 26 to discuss the Pier’s future.

In the survey, participants are asked to choose from a list of options, such as “Repair the pier enough to get it at least partially open ASAP. We can deal with long term repairs after the summer,” or “Rehabilitate the pier to get it fully open,” or “Rebuild the pier completely,” or “Other.” Participants can choose more than one option.

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