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

by on January 30, 2013 · 1 comment

in Business, Columns, Economy, Encore, Food & Drink, Government, Politics, The Starting Line

Credit: Sea Rocket Bistro

Credit: Sea Rocket Bistro

By Doug Porter

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 Seattlepi.com 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.

NONE of the people who authored these lists were any more than semi-casual beer fans. None had written extensively about beer at all, except for one guy who had written a detailed exploration of funky brewpubs in which fighting or arm-wrestling were the main events, for which the production of beer served as a slightly-exotic adjunct.

I searched twenty-six pages deep into google and found NO lists written by anyone professing to be an avid beer freak. I don’t blame the people who wrote these tragically misguided/uninformed lists. They’re just writers trying to patch together an income in a hideously difficult profession. I DO blame their editors, to whom credibility and any hint of acumen clearly meant nothing – beer as a page-filler along the lines of padding out short columns with “Fun Facts and Anecdotes”.

Then he set to work, compiling a ‘non-fiction’ list, taking into account things like national recognition for local breweries and the actual number of people engaging in the making of craft beer and not including things like civic amenities and near-by tourist attractions. He acknowledges all such lists are bound to be subjective, but at least this one was compiled by an actual known craft beer drinker.

Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding!  San Diego, we won!  Here’s what he said:

Number One: San Diego, California: With superstars like AleSmith, Green Flash, Coronado, Port, Lost Abbey, Alpine, Stone, Societe, Ballast Point, Iron Fist, Mike Hess Brewing, the remarkable and venerable Karl Strauss Brewing, and the emergingAutomaticBrewingCo., and Rip Current, it’s inarguable that SDCA has more sheer brilliance per square mile than any other American city. Hosting Stone, Port/Lost Abbey, Alpine, and AleSmith alone would have made the SD area Top Dawg but both the numbers and quality seal the deal.  According to the state of CA, the metro area surrounding SD currently has 39 pending brewery licenses. Obviously, quality breeds quality and the future for this SoCal vacation paradise is so bright they have to brew wearing shades. San Diego is simply the best brewing city in America.

In other news (like that segue?), 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.

Following a closed meeting between hizzoner, city councilmembers (except Kevin Falconer, who was absent) and the city attorney, Filner’s office released a  statement saying the City Attorney will not drop the lawsuits and the City will not be calling off enforcement of current code.  A new zoning ordinance will be presented to the City Council at an upcoming meeting.

Here’s the money quote from the Mayor’s release:

“I will be working very hard in the next 30 days to bring an ordinance to the City Council that ensures that the zoning law allows for reasonable regulation of medical marijuana dispensaries in the City of San Diego. As I’ve said before, I want those who legitimately need medical marijuana for the relief of pain to have access to it legally. That is the compassionate thing to do.”

Very Short Notice: Commission to Holding Hearing on Power Plants

savemissiontrails.orgAfter months of lobbying by activists, the California Public Utilities Commission has announced it will hold a public forum on the Quail Brush and Pio Pico Power Plants proposed for San Diego at 6 p.m. on February 1, 2013 at the Al Bahr Shrine Center Auditorium in San Diego. A pre-hearing rally is scheduled for 5:15.

The Environmental Health Coalition and other groups are urging people to attend the hearing to oppose the construction of additional fossil fuel power plants in the region.  The Proposed Decision by the CPUC denying permits for the facilities would prevent the emission of over 900,000 annual tons of greenhouse gases (GHGs)by denying purchase power tolling agreements.   The most significant of these plants are Pio Pico, estimated to release 685,000 annual tons of GHGs and Quail Brush with over 200 annual tons.

They say San Diegans would be saddled with at least $1.2 billion in construction and finance costs for Pio Pico and Quail Brush in exchange for 23 permanent jobs. In contrast, a San Diego Energy District plan to accelerate the adoption of distributed roof top solar would create thousands of clean energy jobs that keep funds circulating locally.

The energy industry has lobbied heavily to get the CPUC Proposed Decision reversed.

“Yes we cannabis!”, But Not Until 2016

The Sacramento Bee reported on a meeting of marijuana advocates last weekend:

Inspired by victorious measures to legalize marijuana in Colorado and Washington, California activists are readying a new ballot push to expand legalization in the Golden State – but not until 2016.

Drug policy groups, pro-legalization lawmakers and other marijuana advocates say they don’t favor holding a California vote on legalizing recreational pot use in 2014, when there will be a smaller electorate than in a presidential year and likely less money and enthusiasm for a pot measure.

The note of caution punctuated cries of “Yes we cannabis!” at a weekend marijuana conference in San Francisco, where advocates lined up to call for a 2016 California initiative to legalize possession and cultivation of marijuana beyond medical use.

Along the Path to Immigration Reform

border patrolDespite the optimism in the tone of media reports about recent moves by Congress and the President to put meaningful legislation addressing immigration issues on the table, they are plenty of potential pitfalls ahead.

First, there’s the House of Representatives, where the GOP majority come from mostly white districts.  From Daily Kos:

Granted, any legislation is probably DOA once it hits the House anyway, because let’s face it, there are House Republicans who are two steps shy of requiring suspicious-looking brown people to sew a sombrero on their clothes. But do you think they would even consider anything less than a commission—that would include the nutcase who imagines headless corpses littering the desert—having the final say on when our borders are secure? No way.

The bottom line is, we don’t know—and Republicans certainly aren’t saying—exactly what power this commission would have. But they were certainly quick to disagree with their Democratic counterparts who said it would only have an advisory role. And without a real pathway to citizenship, any legislation masquerading as immigration reform would be meaningless.

Then there’s this, voiced by Pedro Rios, director of the American Friends Service Committee-part of a coalition of groups working for reforms:

 “The devil is in the details,” he said. “In what exactly does that mean the applicants will have to go through?”

The president suggested that those seeking citizenship would go be required to undergo a background check, pay taxes, pay penalties and go to the back of the figurative immigration line.

“It won’t be a quick process, but it will be a fair process,” Obama said.

According to Rios, there is no such line for the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants.

He said there is no legal way for illegals to get started.

And then there’s this, from the Center for Investigative Reporting on corruption and misconduct within the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency:

Turf battles, internal dysfunction and other troubles have left U.S. Customs and Border Protection grasping to get a handle on corruption and other misconduct within its ranks, according to an internal study that has been kept secret for more than a year.


These woes and more are highlighted in a study conducted by the Homeland Security Studies and Analysis Institute, which acts as a think tank for the Department of Homeland Security. The 80-page unclassified report, reviewed by the Center for Investigative Reporting, highlights nagging problems, some of which date back to 2002. 


Since Oct. 1, 2004, 147 agency officers and agents have been charged with or convicted of corruption-related offenses, ranging from taking bribes to allow drugs into the country to stealing government money. About a dozen of those cases came to light in 2012.

Given that all the proposals for reform are predicated on enforcement, corruption and poor performances within the agency charged with border security could prove to be a major stumbling block.

All is not lost, however. Consider this desperate plea yesterday from Rush Limbaugh:

“Yesterday we had to get rid of our guns. Today we gotta grant amnesty… They’re running the no-huddle offense on us. We don’t even have time to catch our breath. They’re running play after play after play.”

DeVry University Practices Targeted in Lawsuit

devry A former manager with DeVry University has filed suit in San Diego chock full of interesting claims.  Karrinna Topete worked at DeVry from 2007 to 2012, when she was fired for what she believes was retaliation for reporting the alleged unlawful conduct to the company’s human resources department. From the Huffington Post:

 Attorneys for Karinna Topete, a former manager at DeVry in California, claim she witnessed school officials violating internal company policies, as well as state and federal laws and regulations and that she was a victim of sexual harassment.

 The lawsuit argues the DeVry campus’ leadership would issue bonuses to admissions counselors who exceeded enrollment quotas, and that officials would “bribe” students — in one instance, providing gift cards — in exchange for positive performance reviews from students, according to court documents.

 Topete alleges DeVry officials sought to evade federal regulations by sending admissions employees to community college transfer fairs to pressure enrolled students to sign up for classes at the for-profit institute. She also claims in the lawsuit that the DeVry Director of Admissions ordered her not to provide “informational materials or referrals to persons of Iraqi national origin or Middle-Eastern appearance.”

Auto Insurance Rates Set on Economic Status, Not Driving Record

 A mystery shopper program sponsored by the Consumer Federation of American reveals that many insurance companies care more about drivers’ economic status than their driving records. High income drivers with poor driving records consistently got better rates quoted than low or moderate income drivers with spotless records.

The study compared identical policies in twelve cities using the websites of the five largest auto insurers – State Farm, Allstate, GEICO, Farmers, and Progressive – who together have over half the private auto insurance market.

 Using two hypothetical characters the group compared premiums offered to two 30-year-old women. Both had driven for 10 years, lived on the same street in a middle-income Zip code and both wanted the minimum insurance required by whichever state the group was researching.

 The imaginary woman who wasn’t married, rented a home, didn’t have coverage for 45 days but has never been in an accident or ticketed with a moving violation was compared to a married executive with a master’s degree who owns her home and has always had continuous insurance coverage. But she’d been in an accident (again, hypothetically) that was her fault and caused $800 in damage within the last three years.

 The results were somewhat surprising, although there were differences across the five insurers. Farmers, GEICO and Progressive always gave a higher quote to the safer driver than the woman who’d caused an accident.

 Across all 12 cities in the study, State Farm was the only company offering a better rate for the good driver.

 On This Day:  1798 – The first brawl in the U.S. House of Representatives took place. Congressmen Matthew Lyon and Roger Griswold fought on the House floor.  1917 – The Original Dixieland Jazz Band recorded “The Darktown Strutters’ Ball.” (considered to be the first jazz record)1972 – In Northern Ireland, British soldiers shot and killed thirteen Roman Catholic civil rights marchers. The day is known as “Bloody Sunday.”

 Eat Fresh!  Today’s Farmers’ Markets: Carlsbad (Roosevelt St. btw Grand Ave. & Carlsbad Village Dr.) 1 – 5 pm, Encinitas Station (Corner of E Street & Vulcan in parking lot B) 5 – 8 pm, Mission Hills  (Falcon St. btw West Washington & Ft. Stockton) 3 – 7 pm, North San Diego at Sikes Adobe Farmstead  (I-15 at Via Rancho Parkway. 12655 Sunset Dr., Escondido.) 11 am – 2 pm, Ocean Beach  (4900 block of Newport Ave. btw Cable & Bacon Sts.) 4 – 8 pm, San Marcos – Cal State San Marcos  (333 S. Twin Oaks Valley Rd., Parking Lot B) 3 – 7 pm,Santee  (10445 Mission Gorge Rd. abandoned school parking lot) 3 –7 pm, Temecula (40820 Winchester Rd. Promenade Mall, parking lot btw Macy’s & Penny’s) 9 am – 1 pm

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Doug Porter

Doug Porter was active in the early days of the alternative press in San Diego, contributing to the OB Liberator, the print version of the OB Rag, the San Diego Door, and the San Diego Street Journal. He went on to have a 35 year career in the Hospitality business and decided to go back into raising hell when he retired. He won awards for 'Daily Reporting and Writing: Opinion/Editorial' from the Society of Professional Journalists in 2013 and 2014. Doug is a cancer survivor (sans vocal chords) and lives in North Park.
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avatar Andy Cohen January 30, 2013 at 11:22 am

“According to Rios, there is no such line for the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants.

He said there is no legal way for illegals to get started.”

He’s right. There isn’t. That’s why they call it immigration REFORM. The intent is to create those pathways. They’ve been talking about this model for several years now. The pathway to legal residency has to be created for the 11 million undocumented people currently here, and that’s what this process will do. Criticizing the current reform efforts (which is in its infancy stages, mind you) by pointing out that there is no infrastructure to accomplish what it hopes to accomplish is a circular argument, and counterproductive.

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