Local Democrats Support Monica Montgomery Steppe for City Council President

November 18, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

During Meeting, No One Spoke in Favor of Jen Campbell

The San Diego County Democratic Party leadership met on Tuesday, November 17, and endorsed Councilwoman Monica Montgomery Steppe for San Diego city council president.

At the beginning of the electronically-held meeting of the Central Committee, chair Will Rodriguez-Kennedy asked for public comments and 32 people expressed support for Montgomery Steppe (who was recently married). Three people believed the party should stay neutral on the issue – and importantly for District 2 residents – no one spoke in favor of Councilwoman Jen Campbell – who was a no-show.

The final vote was 42 to 11 in favor of the resolution supporting Montgomery Steppe.

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Trump Rushes To Sell Oil Rights in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

November 17, 2020 by Source

By Tegan Hanlon/ NPR / November 16, 2020

Starting Tuesday, oil and gas companies can pick which parts of Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge they’re interested in drilling. It’s the latest push by the Trump administration to auction off development rights in the pristine landscape before President-elect Joe Biden takes office.

The official “call for nominations” launches a 30-day comment period. It will also allow the Bureau of Land Management to move forward with a lease sale, which it must announce 30 days in advance. The exact timing is not clear, but it raises the possibility that a lease sale might happen just days before Biden’s inauguration.

“It’s been quite a lot of work to get to this point,” said Kevin Pendergast, deputy state director for resources with the bureau in Alaska. In a separate statement, the agency said the lease sale will be a historic move “advancing this administration’s policy of energy independence.” In a dramatic shift after nearly four decades of protections, a Republican-led Congress in 2017 approved legislation that opened up part of the refuge to oil development.

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Unprecedented Surge In Coronavirus Cases in San Diego

November 17, 2020 by Source

Reposted from KPBS as a public service.

San Diego County health officials reported another huge jump in COVID-19 cases — 833 — but no additional deaths Monday, marking an alarming surge in the disease’s spread less than two weeks before Thanksgiving.

The county’s three largest daily case counts since the pandemic began have all come in the past three days. The 833 cases reported Monday are the second most the county has announced in a day, following a record high of 1,087 reported Sunday and a then-record 736 on Saturday.

On Wednesday, a then-record 661 cases were reported in the county — surpassing the 652 cases reported Aug. 7. Another 620 cases were reported Thursday.

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School Board Elections 2020: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

November 17, 2020 by Source

School Board Results From Los Angeles, Oakland and Indianapolis

By Thomas Ultican / Tultican

Los Angeles, Oakland and Indianapolis are routinely targeted by pro-public school privatization billionaires. Local school board races that a decade ago required less than $10,000 in order to mount a credible campaign now require ten times that amount. Billionaires again spent lavishly to take control of school boards in these three cities.

The Good

For two decades Oakland has been California’s petri dish for school privatization. Eli Broad has placed four superintendents in Oakland Unified School District (OUSD). Mayor Jerry Brown between terms in the Governor’s mansion helped establish the first charter schools in Oakland.

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‘Recall Jen Campbell’ Effort Gets Off the Ground

November 16, 2020 by Source

The movement to recall District 2 Councilwoman Jen Campbell is just getting off the ground – now that the November election is over. They have a website – here, and this is what they are saying:

“Campbell’s complete betrayal of her voters is unforgivably cruel.”

Housing Crisis/Illegal Short-Term Rentals

In secret, Campbell cut a deal with Expedia and UniteHere to sacrifice thousands of homes to criminal short-term rental operators. Campbell had vowed to eliminate all illegal short-term rentals if elected.

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Battle Over Famosa Open Space Continues

November 16, 2020 by Source

By “Just a Bike Mom”

Ah, Friday the 13th. As we all sat down to work that morning, so did the San Diego Housing Commission (aka SDHC) to discuss the “exclusive” agreement for Bridge to develop Famosa Open Space.

Short story: They voted to proceed with their exclusive agreement. The exclusive agreement to develop the last plot of natural, urban, open space on the Point.

We last heard from the SDHC in spring/summer of 2019 at the Peninsula Community Planning Board meetings. They had no plans to develop the land at that time they said. Yet, their PCPB presentation included a set of “visionary” plans.

Our community spoke out. Apparently they did listen to some points,

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Open Letter to Governor Newsom: Pick Two New Senators, Not One

November 16, 2020 by Source

By Colleen O’Connor

Dear Governor Newsom:

You are wading through a recall signature collection petition. Also, a difficult COVID-19 escalation in California infections, hospitalizations and deaths; with more to come.

Add to this, the huge financial strains on the state’s revenues, due to the catastrophic fire season; the strain on the state’s health care systems; huge tourism declines; massive job losses; school shutdowns; and an iffy stimulus rescue package that could rescue states and cities.

So, here is a diversion that might help you in the interim.

California needs you and the best two Senators you can choose to take office on January 21st.

Not just one. Not just the one replacement for Vice-President elect, Kamala Harris, but a second Senator. A Senator to replace Diane Feinstein. At 87, she is ready to retire. She deserves to retire. And she needs to retire.

Feinstein and Barbara Boxer came to the Senate at the same time.

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It feels So Good Calling Arizona my Home

November 16, 2020 by Ernie McCray

It feels So Good Calling Arizona my Home

by Ernie McCray

I’m so proud
of Arizona,
my home state,
for the mood I’m in.
For something
other than
its beauty
which I’ve basked in
since who knows when,
having hiked among its
Saguaros
and along the lovely trails
in Sabino Canyon,
in the Old Pueblo
when I was a little boy
not many years old;

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New San Diego Ordinances on Regulating Surveillance Win Praise – After Successful Effort by Councilwoman Montgomery Steppe

November 13, 2020 by Staff

On Tuesday, November 10, the San Diego City Council voted unanimously to adopt two ordinances, which are intended to increase accountability within city government and law enforcement. The ordinances regulate the use, acquisition and funding of surveillance technology and establish a Privacy Advisory Board.

City Councilwoman Monica Montgomery Steppe – who led the efforts – stated:

“My council colleagues joined me in taking the necessary next step to protect the civil rights and civil liberties of all San Diegans. The city of San Diego has a chance to lead here, and I look forward to the continuous collaboration with community organizations, my colleagues on the council and our city departments to ensure that we do.”

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San Diego’s ‘Highwayman’ – Who Freely Aided Stranded Motorists for Decades – Now Needs Help

November 13, 2020 by Staff

For literally decades, San Diego’s Highwayman has pulled up behind stranded motorists and offered aid, free of charge.

Tom Weller – who grew up in Ocean Beach – has spent years upon years patrolling San Diego freeways helping people out ever since his car plowed into a snowbank in Illinois in 1966, and he was helped by a good Samaritan who told him to pass it on.

Now Weller needs some teeth, as he told NBC 7 :

“I’ve been reluctant to ask for myself. I didn’t have any trouble asking in my mission for others, but for myself, it’s very difficult. But I need some teeth.”

Now 72 — Weller needs some help himself of the dental variety. He has launched a GoFundMe in an effort to be able to pay for dental implants, since he’s unable to wear his dentures anymore because his anchor tooth broke. “It’s been a difficult time ’cause I’m losing weight, losing confidence and am at my last resort, so to speak,” Weller said.

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SDG&E Tries to Bully San Diego – Refuses to Negotiate Extension of Franchise Agreement

November 13, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

SDG&E is throwing its weight around and trying to bully San Diego. And in particular, it’s trying to bully Georgette Gomez, president of the city council.

In a letter sent to city officials Thursday, SDG&E – who has had a 100-year monopoly on our electricity and gas – said it would refuse to consider an extension to the franchise agreement for one year – something city officials are asking for in order to allow the new city council to have a say in all of it. The new city council – with 5 new members – is sworn in on December 10.

SDG&E senior vice president and general counsel Diana Day stated in the letter:

“We do not believe that a one-year extension is in the best interest of the City or San Diego electric and gas consumers.”

Setting aside the audaciousness of that statement,

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San Diego County Posts Single-Day Coronavirus Case Record

November 13, 2020 by Source

The following is reposted as a public service.

By Paul Sisson / San Diego Union-Tribune / Nov. 12, 2020
[9:34 AM, Nov. 13, 2020: This story was updated to explain that the county’s new tier map does not remove the countywide purple restrictions in areas not colored purple.]

As COVID-19 continued to threaten nationwide hospital capacity, San Diego County reported a single-day coronavirus case record Thursday.

The record actually occurred on Tuesday when the county health department was notified of 661 new positive cases, though nobody heard the news until Thursday because there was no county COVID-19 report Wednesday in observance of Veterans Day. But a day late did not change the math. Tuesday’s total bested the previous single-day record of 652 set on Aug. 7.

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California Calls for 14-Day Quarantine After Out-of-State Recreational Travel – As State Hits 1 Million Covid Cases

November 13, 2020 by Source

The state is taking aim at non-essential travel amid an uptick in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations across the country.

By Courtney Teague / Patch Staff / Nov 13, 2020 8:53 am PT|Updated Nov 13, 2020 9:12 am PT

Gov. Gavin Newsom and state public health officials issued a travel advisory Friday morning, November 13, asking anyone arriving in the Golden State after recreational travel to self-quarantine for 14 days. This comes after California just reported a “sobering threshold” of 1 million coronavirus cases.

This advisory includes Californians returning home after traveling outside of their home state and visitors from elsewhere who are arriving in California. Travelers are asked to interact only with their immediate household. The advisory does not apply to those who are traveling for work, school, medical care, health, safety and security, and economic services and supply chains, state officials said in the advisory.

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Public Comments Due Thursday by 4 pm on Housing Commission Selling Famosa Property

November 12, 2020 by Source

The Agenda for the November 13, 2020, meeting of the San Diego Housing Commission (SDHC) Board of Commissioners includes actions for consideration regarding the Housing Authority-owned property at the corner of Famosa and Nimitz Boulevards.

The Agenda was posted publicly on Friday afternoon, November 6, on SDHC’s website, www.sdhc.org, in the “Governance & Legislative Affairs section.

Fred Kosmo, Acting Chair of the Peninsula Community Planning Board shares more details:

“I reviewed the Agenda, and in particular the SDHC is considering selling the Famosa property to Bridge Housing Corporation for $800,000 aby 4:00 pm on Thursday, November 12, 2020.”

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Jen Campbell Does Not Deserve to Be San Diego City Council President

November 12, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

For the first time – probably ever – there is an ongoing public battle over who will be the next Council President of the San Diego City Council. Councilwomen Jen Campbell and Monica Montgomery Steppe – both Democrats elected in 2018 – have publicly declared their desire to become the next Council president.

Usually, the race for a position that controls the Council’s agenda and is in charge of committee appointments is under the radar, behind the scenes. As the Voice of San Diego recounts, “That process has broken wide open now, and interest groups are lined up behind the two visions.”

On December 10, the five newly-elected council members will be inaugurated and their first order of business is choosing a president.

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Results of Ballot Propositions in ‘Not-So-Blue’ California

November 12, 2020 by Doug Porter

By Doug Porter / WordsandDeeds / Nov. 10, 2020

Results for the dozen propositions on the 2020 general election ballot haven’t been finalized, but at this point it’s a safe bet to assume not much will change when it comes to the pass/fail question.

There are two types of electioneering for ballot measures, massive ad/publicity campaigns and door-to-door canvassing. Even though California is an expensive ad buy, thanks to its size and population centers, flooding public consciousness with messaging has always been the preferred technique for big bucks campaigns.

By the time election day rolled around, I’m sure many Californians took it as gospel that Uber drivers thought the labor rules written for them by their bosses were a swell idea.

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OB Rag Writers on Their Fears about Trump’s Attempts at a Coup

November 12, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

Concerns and fears of what the lame duck autocrat Trump will do next as he and most Republican leaders refuse to acknowledge Joe Biden’s election victory engulf voters who upheld democracy on Tuesday, November 3. Fears of some kind of coup and transition stalling tactics by Trump and his sycophants are on the minds of many Biden voters.

So, I queried OB Rag writers and columnists on their thoughts about all of this – and they’re not pretty. Their worse fears paint a dark future for our country.

Judi Curry is afraid that Biden won’t have all the information he needs for a smooth transition, but worse, that Trump’s refusal to accept defeat could lead to a”civil war” because “all those Trump supporters will use all the guns and ammunition they have purchased just for this moment.” Judi fears that “Trump won’t leave peacefully and dire methods will have to be used to get him out,” while COVID continues to increase because of Trump’s refusal to listen to medical personnel. Writer Joni Halpern believes, “The President is mentally ill and has no ability to engage in reasoned or principled decision-making.”

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Former San Diego County KKK Leader Tom Metzger Dies

November 11, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

Notorious KKK leader and former longtime Fallbrook resident Tom Metzger died last week, according to a post on his White Aryan Resistance website.

Metzger, who was 82, died Nov. 4 in the Riverside County city of Hemet, according to the post, which said he is survived by his partner, Mary Arnold, as well as six children, nine grandchildren and a great-grandchild. His cause of death was not released. A member of the Ku Klux Klan since the 1970s, he later left the KKK and founded the White Aryan Resistance group,

Metzger lived in Fallbrook for more than 40 years,

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OB’s Mariner’s Cove Set for Redevelopment

November 11, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

OB Dist 3 MarnCov 01

It looks like Mariner’s Cove – that complex of 500 two-story apartments along West Point Boulevard – will get a “redo” with the addition of 272 more units. The large-scale apartment redevelopment project will be presented to the Ocean Beach Planning Board at its early December meeting. The complex’s 31 acres is actually part of the District 3 OB Planning Area.

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It’s Official – San Diego County Moves Into Purple Tier

November 10, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

Sadly and grimly, the state’s update Tuesday has pushed San Diego County into the Purple Tier – the most restrictive tier in California’s color-coded system of coronavirus-related tiers.

California updated its coronavirus Blueprint for a Safer Economy website just before 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, November 10 and moved the county into Tier 1, also known as the Purple Tier.

San Diego County has been suffering rising cases of COVID-19 as demonstrated in the region’s adjusted case rate, which was 8.9 for the week leading up and including Halloween. If any county goes above the 7.0 threshold for two consecutive weeks, it is moved into the most restrictive tier, which became San Diego County’s reality on Tuesday.

Tier 1 means there is a “widespread” risk of contracting COVID-19, according to California Public Health officials. Tier 1 mandates the following:

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This Electoral Map of the Presidential Election Is Far More Accurate than Traditional Ones

November 10, 2020 by Source

Did you realize traditional electoral maps are very misleading? They look a lot redder than blue, even though Democrat Joe Biden won the White House.

That’s because those maps generally assign one of those colors per state, based on the total vote, according to the New York Post – which makes a lot of sense.

But huge swaths of the country have little population, making it appear that the vast majority of the US votes Republican, when in fact, the nation was nearly evenly divided this year — with Biden sitting at around 74.5 million votes and President Trump at 70.3 million as of Saturday evening.

A different map of the 2020 election shows that when you visualize the vote by population, you get a completely different picture.

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City Council Okays Part of Faulconer’s ‘Complete Communities’ Plan – Rejects Parks Section Due to Unanswered Questions

November 10, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

On Monday, Nov. 9, the San Diego City Council voted to approve the housing section of Mayor Faulconer’s “Complete Communities” plan but rejected the section on parks because there were just too many unanswered questions.

In a 7 to 2 vote, with Vivian Moreno and Mark Kersey dissenting, the council approved the housing section which would give incentives to developers to build more housing units if they agree to boost transit options near a project or if they add amenities like parks or promenades nearby.

Councilwoman Vivian Moreno supported all the proposals but wanted any decisions on the plans to wait until the new city council,

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Council President Gomez Pushes Decision on Electric and Gas Franchise to the Next City Council

November 10, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

San Diego City Councilmember Georgette Gomez – fresh off her defeat to Sara Jacobs for the 53rd Congressional District – is still Council President and on Monday, Gomez sent out a memo about the city’s electric and gas franchise that pleased many.

She announced that she will not place the franchise agreement on the council docket, which, significantly means the current council will not have a final decision on any agreement. The incoming council – with five new members – will rightly make the decision on the lucrative deal. The San Diego Union-Tribune quoted Gomez:

“Granting these franchises is a momentous decision for the City Council that should not be rushed, especially when a new Council and a new Mayor are about to be inaugurated. Unfortunately, the ambitious timeline and process initially presented to the Council and the public was not followed and, at this juncture, this is the most appropriate path forward.”

Gómez also requested Mayor Kevin Faulconer to write up a one-year extension to the existing agreement , held by San Diego Gas & Electric and which ends in two months. SDG&E has had the monopoly for a century. The five new council members will be sworn into office December 10 – along with Mayor-elect Todd Gloria.

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News from Ocean Beach and Point Loma – November 2020

November 9, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

Ocean Beach, Point Loma, West Clairemont and the Midway Voted Against Measure E

OB, Point Loma, West Clairemont, and a few other neighborhoods, including the Midway District voted against Measure E. It won overall, 57% to 43%.

It’s Official! Jen Campbell Is Running for City Council President

District 2 Councilmember Jen Campbell is running for President of the San Diego City Council.

Joel Allen Named New Football Coach for Point Loma High

Winstons Closing Temporarily

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Florida’s Crystal River Nuke Plant Shows Folly of Nuclear Power

November 9, 2020 by Michael Steinberg

Nuclear Shutdown News

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 who are working to create a nuclear free world.

We’ll use the case of the Crystal River nuke plant in Florida to illustrate the increasing folly of nuclear power.

The US introduced nuclear power to the US public as “too cheap to meter,” with the Atoms For Peace program in the 1950s, after the horrors of atomic weapons the US used to decimate the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was exposed. The federal government employed heavy subsidies and post WWII patriotic zeal to encourage reluctant electric utilities to begin building nuclear plants.

The Crystal River nuke plant began construction in the 1960s and its reactor began generating electricity in the 1970s.

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America, Who the Hell Are We?

November 9, 2020 by Ernie McCray

America, Who the Hell Are We?

by Ernie McCray

Whew!
Wow!
What a ride!
I was about
to explode inside!

I mean
as a dreamer
I had thought
this election
was going to be taken
in a landslide,

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Hey Trump – ‘You’re Fired!’

November 7, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

Celebrating crowd outside White House, November 7, 2020.

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Measure E Likely to Face Legal Challenge

November 6, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

Measure E – which just passed – will likely be challenged in court.

The measure, if allowed to stand, will eliminate the 30-foot height limit in the Midway District and open the way for massive redevelopment and high rise in the area. As of Thursday night, 57% voted yes and 43% no.

The group, Save Our Access, has filed a civil action against the city which seeks to block the measure from being implemented. The group, in a petition for writ of mandate, challenges the legality of Measure E in a significant claim that the City of San Diego failed to follow the law as required by the California Environmental Quality Act to study its environmental impact before placing the measure on the ballot. Save Our Access vs. City of San Diego is filed with the central division of San Diego County’s Superior Court, and has been on hold pending election results.

Save Our Access founder John McNab said on Wednesday, the group, which led the campaign against Measure E, would likely proceed with the legal action.

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As US Coronavirus Cases Reached a New High, Trump’s Presidency Reached a New Low

November 6, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

As the US reached a new grim Covid-19 record Thursday –more than 120,000 virus infections in one single day – the Trump presidency reached a new low with Trump’s horrific threats and claims of fraud and a stolen election uttered in the White House briefing room Thursday.

Despite the gains of candidate Joe Biden in the presidential election, Thursday, November 5 will be looked upon as a dark day in American history and a new low for Trump himself.

During his inflammatory and falsehood-filled address from the White House, Trump once again claimed he had won. He asserted “This is a case when they are trying to steal an election, they are trying to rig an election,” Trump said. “If you count the legal votes, I easily win,” he said. “If you count the illegal votes, they can try to steal the election from us.” Trump offered not one scintilla of evidence in his claims of fraud and theft.

He also claimed he “won” the states of Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Georgia, citing his substantial early leads in the vote counts there. Untrue.

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Joe Biden Will Be the Next President of the United States

November 6, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

Joe Biden will be the 46th president of the United States. California Sen. Kamala Harris, will become the first woman, first African American, and first Indian American to serve as vice president.

With insurmountable leads in Pennsylvania and Georgia, Biden is projected to win enough states to garner the all-important 270 electoral votes. Biden could also very well win Arizona and Nevada, states he does not need to become President.

A record turnout has included postal ballots which continue to skew heavily in Biden’s favor in the remaining undeclared states. He is also making preparations to address the nation tonight, Friday. More American voters voted for Biden than any other American presidential candidate in history. As of this writing, Biden has won 73,796,494 votes (50%) and Trump won 69,938,568 votes (48%), which is 4.7 million vote lead for Biden. Pundits think the total popular vote for Biden could reach 5 million, 6 million or more, and perhaps a 5-point spread.

Although voters did not repudiate Trump and Trumpism on Tuesday enough for Democratic hopes, Biden will still win.

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