By Doug Porter
There was good news and bad news for SeaWorld at Thursday’s meeting of the California Coastal Commission.
SeaWorld prevailed in its quest to nearly double the size of its killer whale enclosure, to be marketed as the Blue World Project, despite an ongoing campaign by animal rights activists urging a no vote from the panel.
The bad news was the condition barring the theme park from acquiring any further orcas by way of breeding, artificial insemination or transfers. When the current batch of 11 whales reaches old age there will be no replacements, meaning the $100 million or so SeaWorld was getting ready to throw at the project looks not-so-good. I smell a lawsuit a’coming.
Protesters Declare Victory
From the Orlando Sentinel:
A coalition of animal and environmental protection organizations had proposed the conditions. Animal-welfare activists declared victory shortly after the vote.
“The California Coastal Commission did right by orcas,” PETA said in an emailed statement. The commission’s vote, PETA said, “ensures that no more orcas will be condemned to a nonlife of loneliness, deprivation, and misery.”
PETA had encouraged people to email the commission in protest of the tank expansion. The agency received 200,000 emails, overwhelmingly against the project. It received about 50,000 letters and postcards that SeaWorld had collected in support.
Supervisor Cox Votes No
From the Times of San Diego:
…Commissioner Dayna Bochco of San Francisco, a San Diego native with major environmental connections, proposed an amendment to prohibit any breeding of orcas, their artificial insemination or their trade or transfer among other parks. Another condition is a cap of 15 whales at the San Diego attraction, which now houses 11.
Bochco’s amendment to Condition 1 passed 11-1, with only Greg Cox — a San Diego County supervisor — dissenting.
Shortly after the decision, SeaWorld issued a statement saying it was “disappointed” with the condition on breeding and “will carefully review and consider our options.” “Breeding is a natural, fundamental and important part of an animal’s life,” the statement said, “and depriving a social animal of the right to reproduce is inhumane.”
SeaWorld will be permitted to accept orcas rescued by government agencies. The parent company’s stock was down in early trading.
Chaos, Confusion and Crying on Capitol Hill
It was ‘get out the popcorn time’ Thursday as the GOP side of the House of Representatives degenerated into anarchy following the announcement by Congressman Kevin McCarthy that he was withdrawing his bid for Speaker of the House.
From the Los Angeles Times:
The scene at Thursday’s meeting was chaotic, as some lawmakers cried and others simply rushed off, stunned to find the House Republican majority – the biggest in generations – snared by another internal crisis. It came fewer than two weeks after Boehner’s own sudden resignation announcement.
McCarthy’s withdrawal averts a nasty leadership fight, but it leaves unanswered the question of who might step in to unite the party. With no road map in sight and no apparent front-runner for leadership, Boehner said Thursday that he would remain speaker until the House elects his replacement.
Rep. McCarthy made the decision following a email from a Chicago GOP donor threatening to expose an alleged affair between the congressman and Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.)
From the Huffington Post:
McCarthy has brushed off the affair allegation. After announcing that he would not seek the speaker’s post on Thursday, he was asked about Wednesday’s cryptic letter from Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.), which asked that “any candidate for speaker of the House, majority leader, and majority whip withdraw himself from the leadership election if there are any misdeeds he has committed since joining Congress that will embarrass himself, the Republican conference, and the House of Representatives if they become public.”
“No. No. Come on,” said McCarthy. His decision to withdraw, he said, was to ensure that fellow GOP members didn’t have a tough vote. “For us to unite, we probably need a fresh face,”he said.
Meanwhile a cast of characters–not unlike the pack of GOPers seeking the presidency–has emerged and been submerged by nay-sayers.
The most humorous one (to me, at least) is Rep. Darrell Issa, who’s still fuming about his picture being removed from the hearing room of the House Oversight Committee.
Riverside’s Democratic Congressman Mark Takano took the liberty of posting a Craigslist job notice for Republican Speaker of the House.
CivicSD: It Ain’t Over…
…‘till it’s over. Gov. Jerry Brown bowed to intense lobbying yesterday and vetoed a bill allowing citizen appeals to the San Diego City Council on tax-subsidized large redevelopment projects under the auspices of Civic San Diego.
Here’s the money quote from the mayor in the Union-Tribune:
Mayor Kevin Faulconer thanked the governor for his veto, and said his action reaffirms “the ability of cities to control how their neighborhoods grow.”
Meanwhile, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, who authored the legislation, has launched a petition on NationBuilder to show support for oversight on CivicSD. She’s vowed to come back next year with another, slightly modified bill.
Here’s her statement released to the media:
“It appears the Governor would prefer to wait for this dispute to play out in a courtroom, but that’s not good enough for me. I respectfully disagree with the Governor’s position that this is only a local issue — I’ve been fighting for almost a decade to ensure the citizens of San Diego are afforded the same voice in their future as every other city in California.
Today’s action is a minor setback, but we will prevail. The downtown interests and developers who have shut out workers and communities for the last 40 years can hire an army of lobbyists if they like, but I will not be deterred from doing what’s right. I now know what my first bill next year will be, with some minor changes.”
Stuck in Traffic
Voice of San Diego tells us that Mayor Kevin Faulconer will be sending an alternate to the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) vote on a 35-year plan for all transportation projects in the region.
It’s only a $200 billion plan. And he had a prior commitment/media opportunity.
…transit advocates and environmentalists who applauded the city plan hate the $200 billion regional transportation plan Faulconer won’t vote on, which allows greenhouse gases to increase by 2050. They want it to spend more on transit, and less – or nothing – on highways.
They sued over the plan’s environmental report and after winning two rulings, it’s now before the state Supreme Court.
Faulconer announced he supports the $200 billion spending plan, although he won’t vote for it. His alternate, Councilwoman Lorie Zapf, will vote on the $200 billion regional spending plan instead.
Upcoming Events in San Diego
Good Food Community Fair 2015
This year’s theme is Water-Wise San Diego. The open house will be a celebration of artisanal food and craft drinks, cooking demos, art and music, discussion panels with local farmers, fishermen, chefs, food producers, breweries and much more. Special Programming will focus on good, clean and fair food in a time of drought.
Democratic Debate Watch Events
Official Democratic Party: The Alamo Mexican Cafe,
2543 Congress St, San Diego Sign Up & Info
San Diego City Council District 9 Candidate Forum
Wednesday, Oct 14th 5-7:30 pm Free
Lys Garden Chinese Restaurant 3
4350 54th St., San Diego
Sign Up & Info
**Childcare will be provided** Translation available in Spanish, Somali, Vietnamese, Karen and Amharic**
Moderated by: DeJuan Hoggard (OneAmerica News Anchor)
San Diego City Council District 9 is one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the city. There are multiple candidates in the running to succeed Councilmember Marti Emerald and it’s up to us to ensure that the next Councilperson is a champion for progressive values. We need a candidate who will stand up for working families, bring good jobs and housing to our neighborhoods and protect our health, environment and rights.
Sunshine Noir ll Book Release Party
Friday, October 16th, 6pm Free
1815 Main St, Suite B, San Diego
Sign Up & Info
Come celebrate the release of City Works Press’s 10th Anniversary book–SUNSHINE/NOIR II: Writing from San Diego and Tijuana as the final celebratory event of the San Diego City College International Book Fair. There will be readings, music, art, tacos, and MORE!
Columnist Note: I probably should mention that several San Diego Free Press editors and contributors are included in this book.
San Diego Wage Hearing
Saturday, Oct. 17th, 10am
4855 Seminole Dr.
Sign Up & Info
A Wage Board will be formed locally to investigate the reality of living on the current minimum wage and to make a determination, based on the testimony they hear, as to whether or not San Diegans need a raise.
The wage board will hear testimony from workers, economists, academics, students, and labor leaders. The stories will be real and will provide an honest picture of the current life of poverty pay in the San Diego region.
20th Annual October 22;
National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality,
Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation
Thursday, October 22, 6pm
City Heights/Weingart Library and Performance Annex
3795 Fairmount Ave
Sign Up & Info
October 22nd is a day that people around the nation have mobilized every year since 1996 for a National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation. It is crucial that we bring forward a powerful National Day of Protest in cities and towns across the U.S. to challenge the ongoing violence against the people. This October 22nd, stand with thousands across the country to express our collective outrage, creativity, and resistance in response to the crimes of this system.*******WEAR BLACK, FIGHT BACK!******
On This Day: 1888 – The United Hebrew Trades was organized in New York by shirt maker Morris Hillquit and others. Hillquit would later become leader of the Socialist Party. 1919 – The Cincinnati Reds won the World Series. The win would be later tainted when 8 Chicago White Sox were charged with throwing the game. The incident became known as the “Black Sox” scandal. 1964 – The Rolling Stones announced they had cancelled a planned tour in South Africa because of an anti-apartheid embargo by the British Musicians’ Union.
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