San Diego For Free – Power-Pact-Duo in South Bay: U.S. Olympic Training Center and South Bay Power Plant Implosion

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 county and you don’t need to break the bank to experience it.

US Olympic Training Center

Location: 2800 Olympic Parkway, Chula Vista, CA 91915-6000

Free Hours: Guided tour on Saturdays at 11 AM (walk-in only). Self-guided audio tour daily from 9 AM to 5 PM and the audio is provided through cell phone at 619-215-9070

Best For: Athletes, wannabe athletes, future Olympic hopefuls, armchair Olympians

Website here. Go here for tour info.   [Read more…]

The Starting Line – They’re Coming for Your Guns and Other NRA Falsehoods

The national conversation over gun regulations continues to dominate the news cycle. The Senate Judiciary Committee hearings yesterday saw astronaut Mark Kelly directly confronting the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre over the shooting of his wife, former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

Giffords (D-Ariz.) was the first witness called yesterday, and at the end of the day it was her seventy two word statement that still echoed in the halls of Congress:

 Speaking is difficult but I need to say something important.

Violence is a big problem. Too many children are dying – too many children. We must do something.

It will be hard. But the time is now. You must act. Be bold. Be Courageous. Americans are counting on you. Thank you.

  [Read more…]

Public Hearing Today on Gregory Canyon Landfill in Escondido

A public hearing is being held today – Thursday, Jan. 31 – at 6pm on the Gregory Canyon Landfill, and it will be at the California Center for the Arts in Escondido.

The site proposed Gregory Canyon Landfill would negatively impact a sacred site of the Luiseño tribes of Pala Indians. San Diego County’s environmental impact report for the landfill admits that these impacts cannot be fixed. The proposed landfill site is also on a natural aquifer and near the San Luis Rey River, both important sources of drinking water for North County.

Landfills are an outdated way of handling waste. With higher recycling rates than ever and improved waste reduction strategies, the county does not need another place to bury its trash.

The hearing is at the California Center for the Arts, at 340 North Escondido Blvd. in Escondido.   [Read more…]

Parties Cry Foul at Public Uitlities Commission’s Investigation of San Onofre Nukes

By Women’s Energy Matters

Parties to the California Public Utilities Commission’s (CPUC) investigation of the San Onofre nuclear generating station outage are crying foul over ongoing procedural delays and a narrow Scoping Memo issued Tues. Jan. 28th.

Women’s Energy Matters, the Coalition to Decommission San Onofre, United Public Workers For Action and Michael Aguirre charge that both seem designed to force southern California customers to pay even higher rates in the next couple of years to fund Edison’s reckless plan to restart one of its severely damaged reactors —instead of getting immediate refunds for the year the nuclear plant has been offline. Parties ask CPUC to stop paying for these lemons now, and plan for permanent replacement resources instead.   [Read more…]

Devouring Bob Filner

by Norma Damashek/NumbersRunner

Predictions of doomsday have officially fizzled. This past November voters elected the liberal Democrat Bob Filner as mayor of the city of San Diego and — happy to report — the world (as we know it) remains intact.

 On the other hand…if you pay close attention you might catch a glimpse of the prescient ghost of that other Bob. It looks like, even here in San Diego, the times they are a-changin’…

In fact, our city seems pretty much the same as ever.   [Read more…]

Sex in San Diego: An Open Letter to Men Looking for Women in the Online World

It happened again today. I “met” a man online that sounded like a nice person. He had many of the attributes I am looking for in a companion, or so he said, and I agreed to meet him for lunch in a well-known restaurant in North County. (He lives in San Marcos and it was a good halfway place for us to meet.) We were both early; another nice attribute. He obviously had been there before, not because the waitress recognized him, but because he knew his way around the restaurant and we sat at “his favorite table.”

We chit-chatted as we made our selection from the menu and then he asked me the question that I have been asked four times already in my online dating experience: “I said on my profile that I was 72; I am really 82. Do you think I could pass for 72?”

Well, guys, I am tired of being nice. So I told him the truth.   [Read more…]

The Inexact Cartography of the Heart: Going Home

When neighbors in City Heights talk about going home, that home may be as close as Los Angeles or Tucson, or as far away as Vietnam, Eritrea or the Philippines. My neighbors have family in Mexico and make an annual December pilgrimage to Mexicali or Oaxaca so that their children can spend Christmas with their grandparents, their abuelos.

Distance, which translates into time and money, and unstable political circumstances in one’s home country are limiters on whether the wish to return home for a visit is ever realized. But beyond those considerations, can you go home if your home no longer exists?   [Read more…]

The Starting Line – San Diego: Have a (Great) Beer While You’re Waiting for the Marijuana Dispensary to Open

Our fair city finally got national recognition for what it does well yesterday when a writer who actually drinks beer put San Diego at the top of a “Non Fiction” list of the best beer towns in America. And our new mayor got schooled yesterday in what it really takes to be a game changer when it comes to medical marijuana.

Columnist Steve Body, who pens The Pour Fool column for did a little research into the business of compiling best beer cities and was shocked to discover that even big time media outlets weren’t using any sources with backgrounds in the field.

In other news, Mayor Filner walked back an earlier promise to get the City of San Diego out of the business of prosecuting medical marijuana dispensary owners yesterday.

MORE Inside: Immigration Reform, ‘Yes We Cannibus’, DeVry University Sued…   [Read more…]

Desde la Logan: Casa Galería Brings Art and Culture to the Historic Barrio District

In an old Victorian house located on Island St. in the barrio of Sherman Heights sits San Diego’s newest art gallery. Casa Galería, located at the historic Founders’ House, is managed by the Historic Barrio District Community Development Corporation (HBD CDC). The HBD CDC is a nonprofit organization committed to addressing the needs of the communities of Sherman Heights, Logan Heights, Grant Hill, Memorial and Stockton. The Historic Barrio District presents itself as a Mecca of art, culture, history and activism that promotes community pride, economic opportunities and a healthy environment for all of its residents.

The HBD CDC’s latest project, among their many, is Casa Galería. Casa Galería is a community space dedicated to cultivating and celebrating Chicano/Latino arts and culture in San Diego’s historic barrios. The gallery will provide a space for local and international Chicano/Latino artists to showcase their art and will embrace visual, literary, musical, textile and craft artists by presenting quality work that will engage the residents, neighbors and the San Diego community at large.   [Read more…]

Obama and Me

Obama and me;
I dreamed of us recently,
how we came to be,
him in 1961
in a world
of ukuleles,
warm ocean breezes,
lazy days
and crashing waves
where people greeted each other
with Aloha;
me in 1938
in the Grand Canyon State
under a blazing sun
that spun
100 plus degrees
and gave birth to folks
who loved rodeos
ten gallon hats
and pointed toe boots
and yelling Yee Ha!

I dreamed of how
handsome he is actually
and how guapo I might look virtually
if I had Photoshop fluency
to any degree.
……..   [Read more…]

State Hits Walmart Contractor with Wage Theft Ruling

from Warehouse Workers United/Frying Pan News

The state of California has ordered a Southern California warehouse that processes merchandise for Walmart and other retailers to pay 865 workers more than $1 million in stolen wages.

The California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement issued the citations Monday, Jan. 28 against Quetico, LLC, a large warehouse complex in Chino, California. Back wages and unpaid overtime total more than $1.1million and in addition the state issued about $200,000 in penalties.

“Quetico is strict when it comes to enforcing its rules with workers so it is only fair that the state enforce the laws that the company broke,” said Abraham Guzman, a warehouse worker who has been at Quetico for about two and a half years. “I am satisfied that the law will now be followed and workers have won justice.”   [Read more…]

The Starting Line – ‘Future Facts’ Fail to Sway Judge in Balboa Park Plaza de Panama Ruling

A San Diego judge has issued a tentative ruling that could halt city plans for building a parking garage in Balboa Park and associated renovations of the Plaza de Panama. Oral arguments will be heard in front of Superior Court Judge Timothy Taylor on Friday, whose preliminary written decision reflected a clear reluctance to derail the project.

At issue is the legal interpretation of a single phrase, “reasonable beneficial use.” Since the plans included removal of a section of the historic Cabrillo Bridge, the Save Our Heritage Organisation sued, citing (among other things) San Diego’s municipal code, which says the city cannot touch an historic structure unless it’s ruled to have no reasonable beneficial use. In approving the project, the City Council said this was the case as part of the approval process.

INSIDE: The Battle Against Generic Biologics, Sick Stuff About Gun Nuts, and the Death of Football?   [Read more…]

With a New Captain, San Diego Democrats Forge Ahead Into New Era

Francine Busby takes the helm of the San Diego Democratic Party after eight years of solid growth under Jess Durfee.

The San Diego Democratic Party enters a new era following the 2012 elections, and for the first time in nearly nine years the party will have a new leader. Jess Durfee announced in December that he would be stepping down as the Party’s Chairman, opening the door for a new authority to step forward.

That new leadership emerged in the form of a familiar name to San Diego area Democrats: Francine Busby, the former challenger for the 50th District Congressional seat held at the time by Brian Bilbray.

“I felt it was time to bring new ideas into the Party and to continue to evolve as the electorate evolves,” said Durfee. Busby, he said “is the best possible successor to take over for me.”

Ten Years ago there was no Party infrastructure, and Republicans held a 90 thousand voter advantage in registered voters and four out of five Congressional seats. Today Democrats have a 20 thousand voter advantage and hold three out of five Congressional seats. It’s been a long, hard slog, and Busby’s goal now is to continue that growth through new ideas.   [Read more…]

The Non Zero-Sum Society: How the Rich Are Destroying the US Economy

And why Walmart, McDonald’s and every hospital in the country should be unionized

As President Obama said in his inaugural address last week, America “cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it.”

Yet that continues to be the direction we’re heading in.

A newly-released analysis by the Economic Policy Institute shows that the super-rich have done well in the economic recovery while almost everyone else has done badly. The top 1 percent of earners’ real wages grew 8.2 percent from 2009 to 2011, yet the real annual wages of Americans in the bottom 90 percent have continued to decline in the recovery, eroding by 1.2 percent between 2009 and 2011.

In other words, we’re back to the widening inequality we had before the debt bubble burst in 2008 and the economy crashed.   [Read more…]

The Military Prepares for Warmaking but Not Its Medical Consequences

By Kathy Gilberd

Many observers say that the military medical system is broken. Military doctors and other medical professionals are too few to handle the multitude of physical and psychological illnesses and injuries engendered by two wars and other “engagements,” repeated deployments, and intense and rigorous training that injures many even before they are sent to combat zones.

Soldiers are often denied access to medical care or pressured to avoid reporting injuries by military command units anxious to keep available troop numbers high. And recent changes to the medical discharge and retirement system, intended in part to speed processing of medical separations, have actually slowed the system down, with many ill or injured service members waiting well over a year to be retired or returned to duty.   [Read more…]

Restaurant Review: Bully’s Del Mar

1404 Camino Del Mar 
Del Mar, CA 92014 

Once again a date with a 72 year old man – that turned out to be 82 after we played “Truth or Consequences” – he wanted me to tell him the truth – did he really look 82 ? – took me to North County for breakfast.  I had been to Bully’s many times but not  to the one in Del Mar; La Jolla when there was one in La Jolla, and to the one in Mission Valley.  Bully’s is known for their Prime Rib, but I could not stomach the idea of Prime Rib for breakfast so ordered something else. More on that later.

The menu is extensive – Appetizers, Salads and Soups, Prime Rib, Steak and Ribs, a variety of “Surf and Turf” combinations;  Shellfish, Fish and Chicken, and for the lunch crowd Sandwiches, Eggs and Omelettes – their spelling , and Lunch Entrees.   There are also 4 items on their Dessert menu as well as a “Daily Selection”. (It is interesting to note that on their takeout menu and their menu on-line there are no prices listed.)   [Read more…]

Digging Tunnels Under the 30 Foot Height Limit – Part 1

Height Limit Critic Sparks Debate But Important Exemptions Need to Be Acknowledged

This is the first part in a two-part series on the latest debate about the 30 foot height limit.

New Year’s confetti and the champagne glasses used celebrating the end of 2012 – a year that marked the 40th anniversary of the 30 foot height limit in San Diego – had barely been cleaned up when the assault on that height limit began. It all started in a January 3rd Voice of San Diego article questioning any positive attributes of the 30 foot limit.

Not exactly like a “D-Day” type assault, but more like a tunnel being dug – a tunnel designed to undermine the coastal height limit of 1972, writer Andrew Keatts questions the basic character of the height limit, declares that its essential rigidity will be necessarily and periodically questioned by a city yearning to break free, and gives voice to its critics. The critics believe that because of the 30 foot height limits, all kinds of problems plague San Diego, with rents and property values at the coast being too high.
  [Read more…]

The Starting Line – The Battle for America’s Youth: Guns, God and High Stakes Testing

“Who knows? Maybe you’ll find a Bushmaster AR-15 under your tree some frosty Christmas morning!”

The New York Times kicked off a series of investigative articles yesterday examining the gun industry’s influence and the wide availability of firearms in America.  First up in the investigation: a look at industry/NRA marketing aimed at young people.

Threatened by long-term declining participation in shooting sports, the firearms industry has poured millions of dollars into a broad campaign to ensure its future by getting guns into the hands of more, and younger, children.

The industry’s strategies include giving firearms, ammunition and cash to youth groups; weakening state restrictions on hunting by young children; marketing an affordable military-style rifle for “junior shooters” and sponsoring semiautomatic-handgun competitions for youths; and developing a target-shooting video game that promotes brand-name weapons, with links to the Web sites of their makers.

Inside: Guns Get Religion, Filner Gets Spun, McCain Flips (or is it flops?)   [Read more…]

The Battle for the Soul of the Democratic Party Continues

In the wake of President Obama’s electoral victory and inauguration much of the political analysis has been about the continued chaos inside the Republican Party. With some establishment conservative figures openly questioning whether it was good for the party to continue to be dominated by the hard right, some in progressive circles have been downright giddy, as they have watched the circular firing squad proceed. While this is surely entertaining sport, the more important battle may be happening inside the Democratic Party.

As Politico recently observed, “almost as soon as the echo of Obama’s inaugural address fades and he instantly becomes a lame duck, Democrats are going to have to face a central and unresolved question about their political identity: Will they become a center-left, DLC-by-a-different-name party or return to a populist, left-leaning approach that mirrors their electoral coalition?”   [Read more…]

Wall Street: From Too Big to Fail to Too Big to Jail

After the financial meltdown of 2008, the Bush administration shoveled tons of money into Wall Street as did the Federal Reserve. TARP, the Troubed Asset Relief Program, was a $700 billion carte blanche gift to Wall Street to prevent an imminent meltdown. This was engineered by Henry Paulson, Bush’s Treasury Secretary.

But that was miniscule compared to what the Fed ponied up. A lawsuit by Bloomberg News forced the Fed to reveal that it had given $7.7 trillion to banks all over the world to prevent the looming crisis. And the Fed is still at it with its policy of Quantitative Easing (QE).

But while the banks have been bailed out and are still being given monthly money cards, they have not been held to account for the behavior that caused the financial crisis in the first place. No banker has gone to jail despite the massive fraud and corruption that they perpetrated and in fact are still perpetrating.   [Read more…]

SD For Free: Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines

When: 11:10 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 28

Ever been to a professional golf tournament? Ever been to the Torrey Pines golf course?  The answer to both questions for me is no, but I intend to change this Monday.  Due to inclement weather over the weekend, specifically heavy fog, the tournament was delayed from finishing on Sunday and tournament organizers announced free admission for Monday’s conclusion.  Quite a discount from the $40 regular price for a daily pass to the event.

Additionally, parking will be free Monday at the Torrey Pines gliderport (Lot A) until the lot is full per the tournament twitter account .   [Read more…]

Field of View: 40th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade – Then and Now

Tuesday, Jan. 22, saw the 40th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade, in which abortion was officially legalized.

Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest celebrated the anniversary with a fundraiser dinner that highlighted the past and present of the organization’s history, including it’s pro-choice fight for safe and legal access to reproductive healthcare.

Abby Silverman-Weiss, a local attorney and champion of reproductive rights, was honored as the 2013 Defender of Choice.

“Tonight is a tremendous sense of belonging and empowerment,” Silverman-Weiss said.   [Read more…]

PSA: Carbon Monoxide Alarms Now Required in Apartments and Homes

As of January 1, 2013 all California apartments with an in-unit fossil-fuel powered appliance (fireplace, stove, furnace, water heater, etc.) or attached garage are required to have a carbon monoxide alarm installed. This requirement is from the Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention Act (Senate Bill 183) and was applicable to single-family homes as of July 1, 2011.

I was motivated to write this article after moving into an apartment earlier this month which has a gas dryer, gas fireplace, gas stove, and gas furnace all in-unit but was not equipped with a CO alarm as required. I imagine this is not uncommon across the county and wanted residents to be aware of the danger and the steps they can take to protect themselves.

more inside….   [Read more…]

The Dove and the Cockerel: Chapter 20

Now, as Tyrone maneuvered his way through the light rain, Sheila sat in the passenger seat chewing her thumb nail, staring out the window of the Dodge Caravan. She rocked back and forth, quietly humming the song Elizi had sung to her their last night together.

“What d’ya think Leonard’s gonna say?” asked Tyrone.

“I guess we’ll find out when we tell him,” said Sheila, annoyed to be disturbed.

“Should we go to the club tonight?” asked Tyrone.

“That’s where he said he would be. Just drive, OK?” snapped Sheila.

Tyrone bit his lip; he was never really sure how to act around Sheila when she got this way. He did know it was best to do as she said. Tyrone continued the drive to their budget motel on Pacific Coast Highway. The rain had changed to a heavy mist.   [Read more…]

Reporting Factory Farm Abuses to be Considered ‘Act of Terrorism’ If New Laws Pass

By Katherine Paul and Ronnie Cummins / Alternet

How do you keep consumers in the dark about the horrors of factory farms? By making it an “act of terrorism” for anyone to investigate animal cruelty, food safety or environmental violations on the corporate-controlled farms that produce the bulk of our meat, eggs and dairy products.

And who better to write the Animal and Ecological Terrorism Act, designed to protect Big Ag and Big Energy, than the lawyers on the Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force at the corporate-funded and infamous American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

New Hampshire, Wyoming and Nebraska are the latest states to introduce Ag-Gag laws aimed at preventing employees, journalists or activists from exposing illegal or unethical practices on factory farms. Lawmakers in 10 other states introduced similar bills in 2011-2012. The laws passed in three of those states: Missouri, Iowa and Utah. But consumer and animal-welfare activists prevented the laws from passing in Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York and Tennessee.   [Read more…]