By Doug Porter
Old Town residents are scrambling to save aging California Pepper Canopy trees from removal along a corridor bordering State Historic Park and the City Golf Course.
Back in late August Mayor Kevin Faulconer and other city officials staged a press conference in Old Town to announce a major infrastructure project.
The Mayor proclaimed the Juan Street Replacement Project to be “…a perfect example of the city’s one dig philosophy….” In addition to replacing the water main, the street would be repaved and sidewalks would be replaced.
This is a story best told with pictures.
Residents were cautiously enthusiastic about the work as they were shown diagrams indicating the basic landscaping including existing trees would be preserved. The city launched a Facebook page to keep them apprised of its progress.
Now they’ve learned about changes to the Juan Street Project which will include removal of nearly all the graceful trees lining the street. Residents are mobilizing for a special meeting of the Old Town San Diego Community Planning Group.
The trees along the street have already spray painted with big red “x” indicating they are to be cut down.
I visited Juan Street yesterday afternoon, and the reasoning behind the tree removal is obvious: roots are causing the adjacent sidewalks to buckle. Removing the trees is the easy way out.
Residents believe fixing this sort of problem could be addressed in other ways.
They’ve asked that the Community Forest Advisory Board be consulted and are hoping for a big turnout on Wednesday, March 25th, 3-5pm, at the CalTrans facility on Taylor Street (at Juan St.) in the Gallegos Room.
Construction notices given to residents along Juan Street say the project will be completed by December, 2015.
Concerned Old Town residents might want to take a side trip up to Golden Hill before they get their hopes up. A similar project, launched with a press conference lauding “one dig,” is a near disaster.
Streets are torn up, small businesses are suffering and traffic accidents attributable to the construction are all still happening more than six months after promised completion date.
The Che Cafe Lives
Supporters of UCSD’s historic Che Cafe were on hand at 5:30am this morning, looking to block a threatened forcible eviction.
Nobody from the university showed up.
Yesterday supporters of the campus co-op released documents and emails obtained by a public records request that they believe buttresses their case against the university administration.
The Cafe Che collective released a statement including the following:
The Collective maintains, as it has from the outset of this dispute, that any eviction attempt founded on the notion that its facility supposedly does not comply with UC and California State Fire Safety Code is entirely without basis or merit. In carrying on with eviction proceedings despite a clear lack of legal basis, the university administration has intentionally misled and betrayed the trust of not only the Ché Café, but of the students, faculty, alumni and community members who expect transparency and good faith from public institutions such as the UC.
Assembly Proposals Aim at Racial Profiling and Use-of Force
Local assembly member Shirley Weber has introduced a pair of bills aimed at reducing racial profiling and increasing transparency and accountability in use-of-force incidents involving law enforcement.
AB 953 would revise the definition of the term racial profiling in accordance with recommendations made by the US Attorney General. The bill also requires law enforcement departments to collect, analyze, and report data on individual stops in order to identify and eliminate unjustified racial bias.
AB 619 would require that the State Attorney General report annually on use-of-force incidents involving law enforcement and to make the information available on the California Department of Justice website.
“In recent months, the deaths of unarmed black men and other people of color by police have forced us to confront some ugly truths about the persistence of racial bias in law enforcement,” Weber said, via press release. “One of our best defenses is information. Currently, this information on these incidents isn’t provided publicly in a comprehensive way.
The bills will be heard later this spring in the Assembly Public Safety Committee. The ACLU of California, The Youth Justice Coalition, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, and PICO California are joining in sponsoring the legislation.
GOP Climate Denier Insanity
In the state of Florida, government employees have been told about certain words that are now forbidden. One employee now admits he must have ‘missed the memo.’
From the Guardian:
An employee of Florida’s environmental protection department was forced to take a leave of absence and seek a mental health evaluation for violating governor Rick Scott’s unwritten ban on using the phrases “climate change” or “global warming” under any circumstance, according to a complaint filed against the state.
Longtime employee Barton Bibler reportedly included an explicit mention of climate change in his official notes from a Florida Coastal Managers Forum meeting in late February, during which climate change, rising sea levels and the possible environmental impact of the Keystone XL Pipeline were discussed.
On 9 March, Bibler received a formal reprimand for “misrepresenting that ‘the official meeting agenda included climate change’”, according to a statement from Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (Peer), a nationwide non-profit that champions public employees’ rights and providers resources and guidance to whistleblowers using its network of members across the country.
On This Day: 1955 – Tennessee Williams’ play “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” debuted on Broadway. 1965 – The first teach-in against the war on Vietnam was held at the University of Michigan. 1989 – The Exxon Valdez spilled 240,000 barrels (11 million gallons) of oil in Alaska’s Prince William Sound after it ran aground.
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