Sustainability 101: When Should Passengers Intervene on the Bus?

Picture this:   You’re on the bus and you see a mother with three beautiful school-age children and one adorable toddler in a stroller. The children are well-behaved, the toddler is babbling excitedly, and the mother is yelling at the children, especially the toddler, even covering his mouth, threatening to slap his face if he doesn’t sit still and be quiet.

What would you do?   [Read more…]

The Starting Line— Why Building the Carlsbad Desalination Plant is a Good Thing for San Diego

The San Diego County Water Authority gave the nod yesterday to a thirty year water purchase deal that will clear the way for a privately constructed desalination plant to operate in the north county.

Frankly, I don’t see this as a controversial decision. I’ve read the arguments pro and con. I think the desal plant is a good idea. Let me explain why.   [Read more…]

Desde la Logan Livin’ La Vida Logan: Estrella del Mercado Apartments Finally Open!

By Brent E. Beltrán

On October 1, 2012 the latest addition to the renaissance of my much maligned community, Barrio Logan, finally opened up. The 92 unit Estrella del Mercado apartments is a beautiful, affordable housing community built by Chelsea Investment and Shea Properties.

This project has been in the works for over two decades and with the mid-December opening of the Northgate Gonzalez Market will reach the end. The site was initially going to be built by private developer Sam Marasco and the nonprofit MAAC Project (which built the nearby Mercado Apartments in the 1990’s). But, due to whatever legal, economic and political schemes and squabbles Marasco and city hall were up to, the project fell apart. Devastating a community that always ended up with the short end of the stick. Eventually the city of San Diego sued Marasco to get the land back. The city won in court and in 2010 gifted the land to the new developers who moved with lightning quick speed to get the project done.   [Read more…]

Riding the Rails in the West – The State of Amtrak

Part 1: Are We There Yet?

By JEC / Special to the San Diego Free Press

Its 6am – still dark with a morning fog when we board the Pacific Surfliner in San Diego. While there is a train leaving at 6:35 am, Amtrak urges passengers booked on the Coast Starlight to take the first train out at 6 am, likely based on experience with frequent delays. But today’s train leaves on time with a few dozen blurry eyed passengers. We were bound for Chicago via Oakland.

Days before we departed, I had mentioned to my doctor I was about to leave on a train trip, from San Diego to Chicago via Oakland. He looked up, surprised, “what, you can do that, take a train from here to Chicago?”

  [Read more…]

San Diego For Free: Walking – It Does a Body (and Mind) Good

A weekly column dedicated to sharing the best sights and activities in San Diego at the best price – free! We have a great city and you don’t need to break the bank to experience it.

Walking – It Does a Body (and Mind) Good

Address & Neighborhood: Anywhere
Best For: Ramblers, wanderers, cubicle dwellers, homebodies, lost souls
Free times: Anytime

In every walk with Nature one receives far more than he seeks.
– John Muir

One of the most simple and enjoyable activities that is good for both body and mind is walking. Living in San Diego affords the opportunity to stretch your legs anytime of year, indeed any day.   [Read more…]

Anti-Nuke Events Proliferate as the Holiday Season Approaches

It may be the season for shopping for consumers. It may be a time to recharge for political campaigners. But for the anti-nuclear activists in the region it’s time to intensify their efforts. Inside are a half dozen programs, protests and events compiled by the Peace Resource Center for the coming days. Remember to make your holiday season about more than a trip to the mall.
  [Read more…]

The Starting Line – Congressman Darrell Issa’s Plan to ‘Save’ the Internet

Reddit’s AMA (Ask Me Anything) feature, where people of influence open themselves up to questions posed by Redditors, can get pretty wild. Conversational threads, where remarks build upon other comments and spark new lines of inquiry, can spin off into areas far removed from their starting place.

Yesterday Congressman Darrel Issa climbed to the virtual dais on Reddit to explain (as much as you can in the AMA format) and get feedback on his proposed legislation that would bar ‘new regulations or burdens on the internet for two years’. This broad shouldered bit of legalese really is all about keeping Federal regulators from doing anything (good or bad) for the duration of the 113th Congress.
  [Read more…]

Celebrating the 30 Foot Height Limit As It Turns 40

The room was packed, standing room only the other night as the OB Historical Society led all of us in a celebration of the 40th anniversary of the 30 foot height limit. The downstairs community room of the Methodist Church on Sunset Cliffs Blvd. opens its doors every month to the OBHS presentations, and the night of November 15th was no exception as Society president Pat James welcomed the crowd.

Nearly 50 OBceans and friends had come to hear speakers and presentations on this historic fight four decades ago to preserve San Diego’s coast, and I saw many people in the audience who had waged their own battles to save OB over the years.

After a few brief announcements, Pat introduced the main speaker, Alex Leondis, who was one of the main organizers in the effort to place the thirty-foot limit on coastal construction onto conservative San Diego’s ballot – way back in the early 1970’s. The initiative did pass in 1972 – marking this year as its 40th birthday.   [Read more…]

The Starting Line – Grover Norquist, Pink Unicorns and A Ray of Hope

As (largely untrue) reports fly through the blogosphere and interwebs about reports of movement between the Congressional political blocs on various aspects of the impending ‘fiscal cliff’ crisis, the man at the center of it all, Grover Norquist is certainly having his moments in the spotlight.

Steve Inskeep of NPR gave Norquist air time this morning to prattle on about how it really isn’t true that Republicans are lining up to jump ship and break their pledges not to raise taxes. He likened talk of accepting tax increases in exchange for spending cuts by Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina to believing in a pink unicorn.   [Read more…]

California’s Looming Transportation Funding Crisis

by Robert Cruikshank/California High Speed Rail Blog

The passage of Prop 30 has stopped the bleeding at California’s K-12 schools, at least for the time being. The $6 billion in revenues it raises won’t fully backfill the nearly $10 billion in cuts made to K-12 education since 2008, nor will it restore the huge funding cuts made to the community college, CSU and UC systems in that same time. But it’s a start.

Transportation funding faces a crisis too. It has been slashed over that same amount of time, and even before that, revenues weren’t keeping pace with basic road maintenance needs nor were they sufficient to fund the level of mass transit that the state desperately needs.   [Read more…]

For California Prison Realignment Hype, Scary Tales Deserve Skepticism

by Mike Males and Barry Krisberg/California Progress Report

Over the last 30 years, California has created an oversized, overcrowded prison system entailing billions of dollars in taxpayer expense, endless safety and health crises, a dismal record of rehabilitation, and increasingly proscriptive court orders to regulate almost all aspects of prison operations.

One major reason for this crisis is that a number of counties were over-relying on the state system by sending thousands of lower-level property and drug offenders to prison. California’s legislature and governor had no choice but to cut prisoner numbers.   [Read more…]

Dancing on the Playing Fields

The other day I turned a game on just as some dude was standing over a quarterback he had sacked and before I could sit down he commenced to prancing around like James Cagney portraying George M. Cohan in Yankee Doodle Dandy or, to the young crowd, like Chris Brown doing the James Brown. Then I saw the score and this guy’s team was about 30 points down.

  [Read more…]

Thankful for What?

By K-B, et al

With Thanksgiving upon us last week, I was curious about what inspired gratitude among the givers of thanks, so I sent the following message to some people I knew and some I didn’t.

Hi, folks,
I’m collecting answers to the following question for a column — if you have a moment, please respond: What are you thankful for?  (And, yes, dear darling sister, I know “for” is a preposition, but occasionally vernacular is the better part of grammar.)

In retrospect, I admit it was a cowardly question, because I had no certain answer of my own. Whatever teetered on the tip of my tongue felt trite or self-absorbed or even boring (a horror for wearers of my family genes). I was seeking inspiration in other folks’ gratitude — and I found it.   [Read more…]

Time for a Change at Chargers Park

Norv Turner is the convenient scapegoat, but not necessarily the problem.

I have generally tried not to be overly, publicly, vocal about sharing my opinions on what’s happening with the Chargers over the last few years. I have a platform to share my views with a wider audience than most, and yet I’ve been reticent to use it. And I’m reticent to use it now, because it will merely look like I’m piling on. Or sour grapes. Or something.

But enough is enough. Something’s gotta give out there in Murphy Canyon. This team has been in a sort of death spiral for several years now, and it’s painfully obvious that the current regime is incapable of preventing the Titanic from going down.

  [Read more…]

Readers Write: San Diego Community and Workers Stand Up and Speak Out Against Walmart

This article was submitted to us via our Facebook Page.

On Friday, November 23, 2012, the day after Thanksgiving, the biggest shopping day of the year, community members and workers protested outside of several Wal-Mart locations throughout the country.

In San Diego the community focused on ten locations including one located in the College Grove shopping center.  As shoppers came into the store community members greeted them with stickers for shoppers to wear inside the store that read “We Support Wal-Mart Workers”.  Many of the community were very supportive and one shopper said “she would wear the sticker proudly and ask management why they retaliated against it’s own employees”.   [Read more…]

The Starting Line – Sorry Republicans, Being Nice to Latinos Won’t Save You from Extinction

Tax fighter and former libertarian Richard Rider took the virtual podium at conserve blog SDRostra this weekend to ruminate about and refute the notion that the Republican Party is headed for extinction.

He starts out by comparing the GOP’s defeat with Barry Goldwater with its most recent losses, noting that, despite predictions of doom and gloom, the party did rise again. In the 1964 election LBJ received 61.1% of the national popular vote

And I agree with Rider that one electoral loss, no matter how lopsided, does not equate with the death of a political party.   [Read more…]

The Starting Line – San Diego Congressmen Get Campaign Contributions for Domestic Drone Support

Chances are you’ve never heard of the “drone caucus” in the US House of Representatives, officially known as the House Unmanned Systems Caucus.  Yet they are considered among the most powerful groups on the Hill. And participating in the caucus is a sure way for Congressmen to enrich their campaign coffers.   [Read more…]

Christmas on Earth? Try Buying Nothing

Here we go again: the day after Black Friday was filled with the now all-too-familiar news of shopping mayhem.

There was the man who threatened to stab his fellow shoppers for pushing his kids outside a Sacramento K-mart, the melee of frenzied Georgia shoppers mauling each other to get at a stack of cell phones in a Walmart, the trampling that followed after a man brandished a gun in a line outside a Sears in Texas, the gang fight in a Michigan mall, arrests of hysterical consumers in Florida, the vicious brawling over lingerie, etc. etc.

This ritual has come to define us as much or more than Thanksgiving.   [Read more…]

Twinkies’ Twisted Tale: Junk Food Devoured By Junk Bonds

All the late night talk shows laughed it up over the supposed demise of Twinkies, Ho Hos, Ding Dongs, Wonder Bread etc as the news came out that Hostess Brands was going bankrupt. But delve beneath the surface and you will find something more akin to a Shakespearean tragedy than talk show banter. It’s a tale involving two unions, one private equity fund, two hedge funds and a whole cast of former CEOs. There is sacrifice, greed and betrayal. 18,000 workers will be losing their jobs while some vulture capitalists will be walking away with millions. Another vulture capitalist will itself have been devoured in the process.   [Read more…]

Walmart Retaliates Against Black Friday Activists

By Adele M. Stan / Alternet / Nov. 22, 2012

As Black Friday approached, the honchos at Walmart, the largest employer in the United States, found themselves at a loss to respond to a nationwide rebellion within the ranks of their near-captive workers — people who work for an average wage of $8.81 per hour, according to The National Memo, often in areas where Walmart is the only game in town for a job if you don’t have a college degree (or even if you do). And so it seems they started making stuff up, and pulling strings — in at least two locations — to get local police to do their bidding.   [Read more…]

4 Fascinating Things Marijuana Legalization Has Already Taught Us

By Kristen Gwynnn / Alternet / Nov. 18, 2012

Unroll the tapestries, twist up a joint and crank up the Bob Marley jams! The stoners have token — excuse me, spoken — and dope is now legal in two states.

That’s the kind of ridiculous banter pundits have employed to discuss a historic moment in US democracy: the legalization of marijuana in Washington and Colorado.   [Read more…]

Michigan Republicans Offer a Tax Credit for Fetuses After Cutting Tax Credits for Children

By Lauren Kelley / Alternet / Nov. 23, 2012

“Come January,” reports the New York Times, “more than two-thirds of the states will be under single-party control, raising the prospect that bold partisan agendas.” That’s one way of putting it. In Michigan, where Republicans hold a super-majority in the state legislature, we can see how that may play out in the redder states, as lawmakers toy with the idea of a $160 tax credit for fetuses starting at 12 weeks of gestation.

As The Guardian reports that the bill is designed “to recognize that mothers have additional bills to pay.” I think we can all agree with that, but the rationale is hard to swallow in a state that last year cut tax credits for children — actual breathing, eating kids.   [Read more…]

The Dove and the Cockerel: Chapter 11

“Clarence, Clarence…Clarence!” barked Charlie. “Look at me!”

Clarence responded obediently and robotically. His eyes were red and bloodshot. He had been unable to wipe his nose and a sheen of snot covered the space over his upper lip. “What’s going to happen to me?” he asked no one in particular, in a quiet trembling voice.

“That is entirely up to you m’boy. It depends on how well you can pull yourself together here and tell me about your friend in jail last night,” said Charlie in a serious voice.

“What friend?” asked Clarence.

“The guy you told me about. The one who killed a cop, Clarence,” Susan interrupted.   [Read more…]