By Doug Porter
That’s right. A group calling itself Friends of the Children’s Pool has denounced Mayor Filner’s decision to restrict nighttime access to the La Jolla Beach for the duration of seal pupping season, which ends May 15. They even staged acts of civil disobedience Wednesday night when a dozen ‘supporters of beach access’ showed up and crossed the rope barrier. One individual received a citation for refusing to leave after sunset.
The Mayor’s decision to issue an emergency order to close the beach came in the wake a video that “captured people breaching the rope barrier at night, kicking, punching and sitting on top of the mother seals and their pups, and driving them from their resting places.”
“The behavior was shocking, reprehensible and certainly not a reflection of how most citizens in our fine City believe animals should be treated,” said Mayor Filner.
His actions drew an immediate response, via an unsigned opinion piece published in the La Jolla Patch on Wednesday:
The Friends of the Children’s Pool are opposed to this drastic overreaction by the Mayor. We feel that when Constitutional rights are to be restricted, a careful analysis and a compelling government interest should be provided. Likewise, such restrictions of Constitutional rights must be the least restrictive of the various options. Clearly, closing a public beach to all forms of access at night is not the least restrictive option available and in light of the current 24/7 police presence is neither consistent with City law nor the State Constitution.
Yesterday evening 10News aired new videos depicting late night harassment of seals at the beach. One showing three people chasing mother and seal pups into the water; another shows a man with a flashlight who crossing the rope meant to keep humans away from the seals. He walked around taking photographs and chasing seals into the water for nearly 10 minutes.
This is some sick stuff. Of course, “Friends of the Pool” denies any connection with these fools. But it’s indicative of a conflict that has been going on for years now.
From La Jolla Friends of the Seals, a group sticking up for the marine animals:
Historically this beach was used by seals but as they were hunted to near extinction they disappeared from La Jolla and most other locations. After the passage of the Marine Mammal Protection Act in 1972, the seals started to re-appear at CPB in the 1980’s. For the last decade people who have wanted to extirpate the seals from CPB and “return it to use by people” have made it their mission to violate City, State and federal law by deliberately attempting to flush the seals from the beach.
We’ve drones flying around killing people and the justifications are classified, the government has been asserting its right to know everything about everybody at all times since 2001, the entire planet is endangered by climate change and these folks want to whine about not being able to use ONE beach in a State with a 1000 mile coastline at night…
Really? Get a life, people.
A Solar Surprise at the CPUC Closed Session
The closed door ‘stakeholder’ meeting with members of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) at Scripps Institution of Oceanography yesterday came off as planned, despite protests and a court case seeking an injunction.
The CPUC announced that nothing on the agenda of the public meeting on Thursday, which will decide the fate of a proposal to build the Quail Brush and Pio Pico fossil fuel peaker plants, would be discussed at the private meeting on Wednesday.
The meeting was set up so that there would never be more than two commissioners in a room with each group to avoid violating the state’s open meeting laws. The media was not allowed to cover the event, and a list of invitees, posted at KPBS, appeared to heavily favor groups and individuals with a pro-fossil fuel outlook.
Environmental and neighborhood groups creatively protested the event by erecting a large solar energy display on the beach, right outside the windows of the CPUC meeting room. From ScoopSanDiego.com:
“We came together today to let the Commission know that the real stakeholders affected by these dirty power plant proposals aren’t in that closed-door meeting,” said Nicole Capretz of Environmental Health Coalition. “The real stakeholders are outside breathing the dirty air and emissions created by fossil fuels – and paying for it in their energy bills. San Diego wants to see more clean energy like solar and efficiency efforts to ensure a better future for everyone.”
Combined, the two fossil fuel plants would increase power plant emissions by over 32 percent and overall greenhouse emissions by 2.3 percent in San Diego County. These are the equivalent of adding almost 160,000 additional vehicles to San Diego’s roads each year. In contrast, local climate mitigation and adaptation planning efforts are working to reduce greenhouse emissions by about 15 percent by 2020 to meet statewide goals.
The public meeting of the CPUC this morning is expected to draw a large crowd including Mayor Bob Filner urging the Commission to deny the power plant proposals.
Outreach on these events has been a collaborative affair including Environmental Health Coalition, SanDiego350.org, Preserve Wild Santee, Sierra Club and Save Mission Trails.
There is No Truth to the Rumor…
..that labor leader Lorena Gonzalez’s campaign for the 80th district assembly seat vacated by Ben Hueso has been endorsed by Carl DeMaio. But it is true that from Nathan Fletcher, now ensconced at Qualcomm, and Lani Lutar, former head of the local taxpayers association have announced their support for Gonzalez.
Congressman Darrell Issa’s Sequestration Conspiracies
You gotta give him credit. Every time you think he might be starting to sound like a reasonable human being, Issa zigs far enough right to keep the wingnuts happy. This week’s entry comes in the form of a video, released under the auspices of Darrell’s House Oversight and Reform committee. That’s right, your tax dollars support this drivel:
Steve Benen, from the Maddow blog, points out the obvious:
A Democratic source this morning alerted me this morning to several recent headlines from the area Issa ostensibly represents:
* A rally was held in San Diego last week to “demonstrate the impact of sequestration on low income seniors.” An administrator at a local facility said, “[B]ack in D.C. what they’re talking about are cuts from White House tours and the president’s golf game but in the meantime real seniors who are hungry are not going to have food.”
* A major employer in San Diego announced a series of layoffs, effecting 185 workers, which became necessary “as a result of the cuts being brought about in the federal budget because of sequestration.”
* The sequester is set to shutter an air-control traffic tower in San Diego, which local officials believe will “jeopardize aerial firefighting in a region prone to wildfire.”
The list goes on. Sequestration is causing serious problems at San Diego‘s ports, ship yards, and the local economy in general.
All of this is happening in Darrell Issa’s own hometown, and he’s focusing his attention on White House tours? I can’t remember the last time I saw a congressman so indifferent to the effects of a policy on his own community.
Escondido Agrees to District Based Elections
The city of Escondido has signed a consent order replacing its at-large system for electing members of the City Council with a district-based system. This settlement came as the result of a lawsuit challenging the at-large election system, asserting it violated the California Voting Rights Act of 2001 and the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965 by discriminating against its majority Latino population.
Although Latinos constituted a significant plurality of Escondido’s population, they were not represented on the Council, which is notorious for pushing legislation that many feel discriminates against Hispanics. A 2006 attempt by the city council to enact an ordinance that would punish landlords from renting to illegal immigrants ended up in Federal court with the city abandoning the plan and paying opposing lawyers fees.
In 2011 Escondido Mayor Sam Abed proclaimed that he was willing to spend whatever it took to stop district elections.
According to the 2010 census, Latinos make up 49 percent of Escondido’s population. Yet since it incorporated in 1888 only one openly Latino council member has been elected.
The State Building and Construction Trades Council initiated the effort to get the Escondido City Council to switch from an at-large system to a district-based system back in December 2011, when it requested that the City make that change voluntarily in order to comply with federal and state voting rights laws. When the City refused, the SBCTC, together with several residents who are members of the affiliated Building Trades sued the City on December 20, 2011, seeking a Court Order requiring that the City change.
Water Recycling Gets the Go Ahead
On Tuesday the San Diego City Council’s Natural Resources and Culture Committee took a big step forward by asking city staff to begin planning for a system to recycle used water into drinking water.
This action comes after years of delay, denial and misinformation from opponents of the concept have kept recycling off the table. Finally, a one-year “indirect potable reuse” pilot project utilizing 9000 lab results found that the product that would go into the city’s water supply would be of higher quality than what is currently available.
A large part of resistance to the idea of recycling city water can be attributed to the old San Diego Union-Tribune, which was relentless and vocal in its opposition. They ran an editorial a number of years ago saying your golden retriever may drink out of the toilet with no ill effects, but that doesn’t mean human beings should do the same.
The paper called it the ‘infamous toilet to tap plan’, blaming it on ‘water department bureaucrats’ who were supposedly prodding the city council to adopt a ‘very costly boondoggle.’
Former Mayor Jerry Sanders also opposed the plan, which is why it’s taken years to even get this far.
Time have changed, and that ‘costly boondoggle’ may end up saving the City nearly $1 billion dollars in sewage treatment plant overhauls. From SanDiego6News:
“The general public I think has recognized that indirect potable reuse is now something that is not only possible but is the right way to go,” committee Chairman David Alvarez told reporters. He said polling shows nearly two-thirds of San Diegans opposed IPR nine years ago, but now about three-quarters support the idea.
Tweet of the Day:
Over 1,057,000 people have been killed by guns in the USA since John Lennon was shot and killed on 8 Dec 1980. twitter.com/yokoono/status…
— Yoko Ono (@yokoono) March 20, 2013
On This Day: 1790 – Thomas Jefferson reported to President George Washington as the new secretary of state. 1972 – The Supreme Court ruled that states could not require one year of residency for voting eligibility. 1984 – Part of Central Park in New York was renamed Strawberry Fields in honor of John Lennon.
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