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Comments made by heteromeles

People Or Seals? San Diego City Council Revisits Children's Pool Controversy

Personally, I'm glad the City Council is dealing with this, not us. They and their staffs are much more familiar with the situation and the ramifications (see Marine Mammal Protection Act, for example) than is someone like me who is just following the media reports.

The one thing I'm actually very concerned about is San Diego's culture of environmental harassment. It doesn't matter whether it's doctors and lawyers mountain-biking through vernal pools, or people harassing seals on camera, we live in a community where people who should know better deliberately become environmental vandals, causing long-term damage in the pursuit of momentary pleasure. When this scofflaw attitude is coupled with the city's general policy of enforcement without education, we get problems. San Diego is filled with rare and sensitive species, and I'd love to see more discussion of whether it's possible to use other means (environmental education, perhaps?) to help convince people to respect boundaries and give wild animals and plants a place to live too.

October 28, 2013 at 2 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Critics Challenge Cal Fire's Massive Wildfire Mitigation Plan

Good supplementary material here about how people living near wildlands can protect themselves from fire.

The key thing here is that, when the Santa Anas (and other strong winds) blow, things like fire breaks do nothing to protect homes. Live embers can blow miles in the wind. Safety begins at home, with properly protected homes and properly designed landscaping. It's also important to clear near homes, and to give firefighters space to protect your house.

There's some good information at
Greg Rubin's recent book on landscaping with natives also contains a lot of excellent information on making a fire-resistant landscape that still looks good.

Beyond that, massive vegetation clearances and prescribed burns, like those proposed by CalFire, are worse than useless in southern California. We need to get those off the menu of acceptable projects. The critical thing is that fire is different here. Prescribed burns make some sense in ponderosa country, but they're unnecessary, often actively harmful, in chaparral country.

August 14, 2013 at 12:38 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Supreme Court Rules DOMA Unconstitutional, Prop 8 Petitioners Have No Legal Standing

Great news!

I hope Carl DeMaio now takes this chance to get married, along with everyone else who has been waiting.

June 26, 2013 at 9:22 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Tell KPBS What Matters To You This Election

To be honest, the most important thing in politics (especially with KPBS) is to decrease the amount of pointless noise coming out of my radio, my TV, and my computer. While I was an NPR junkie for over a decade, the amount of pointless noise masquerading as political news coming out of all NPR stations is such that I've pretty much stopped listening to anything except the news at the top of the hour.

I've also stopped contributing. I can't directly defund NPR and their news choices, so instead, I have to hurt KPBS. Maybe I'll contribute again next year. Maybe not.

It started getting bad around 2004, with presidential year politics. Then it was every two years. Now it feels like I'm in a continual echo chamber, and no matter where I go, I get the same crap over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again. So the radio's off, facebook is about to be unfriended, and I'm going elsewhere for my news.

If you want to increase the amount of political coverage, I'll be blunt: I hope you go out of business, period. The only way I'll listen is if you get rid of 75% of the punditry and spin and focus on getting more primary news out.

Yes, I'm active in local politics. Thing is, there's a lot of OTHER THINGS happening in the world right now (wars, famines, earthquakes, economies collapsing, major politicians dying), but when that all gets pitched so that some half-informed pundit can regurgitate fifteen minutes blogosphere crap yet again, I turn off. Right now, I'm getting most of my news from the BBC, and while I enjoy listening to it on KPBS at night, if things get much worse, I'll listen to it on the internet straight from London and have done with you guys entirely. Oh, and I'll watch to the commercial stations to find out what happened in San Diego, because the political discussion has drowned that out too.

And saying this does not make me happy at all. Mostly, I feel like a long-term relationship with a formerly trusted friend is ending badly, due to that friends' increasing addiction to talk radio.

September 2, 2012 at 6:07 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Plug Pulled On San Diego Power Plant

I walked by the site today, and after seeing it, I'm quite glad that this project isn't going forward.

While I understand the advantages the city sees, the site has some massive disadvantages. Basically, because it is in the MCAS Miramar flight path, next to the 805, Miramar and Nobel, train tracks, and both a business park and high-density residential, any emergency in the plant could quickly turn into a disaster.

If the plant caught fire or exploded, it would
--stop traffic on the 805, Miramar, and Nobel Drive, impeding emergency vehicles coming in AND people trying to evacuate
--likely cause a blackout, making traffic even worse (remember the last blackout?)
--likely cause a brushfire on Miramar, and (depending on which way the wind was blowing) set fire to businesses, houses, and apartments across the freeway.

Things that could go wrong with the plant:
--explosion and/or fire. It's a natural gas plant.
--plane crash. Takeoff is one of the most dangerous times in any flight.
--earthquake. It's 3.5 miles from the Rose Canyon Fault, and in the highest risk zone for coastal San Diego.

Finally, I don't think that the Marine Corps or the FAA has weighed in, but given that a power plant will cause turbulence above it through hot air release, I suspect they will have serious issues. They may also put severe height restrictions on the plant. Given the kerfuffle around that building by Montgomery Field and the 163--didn't that end up with an expensive lawsuit against the city?--we really don't need to go through this. Again.

Leave the site as open space, and find another place. This site is too risky.

June 25, 2012 at 10:21 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Student Debt Increasing At San Diego Schools

I think rocketing tuition costs are horrible for our society. By channeling kids to majors where they can recoup their investment (bus. ad. instead of political science, nursing instead of biology, pharmacy instead of chemistry, molecular biology instead of ecology), all we're doing is insuring that we have poorly informed citizens, a society that is incapable of dealing with mounting environmental challenges, and a bubbling job market where students who train for today's "must have" majors emerge in over-saturated jobs markets with massive debts and too much specialization to quickly retool.

Our future is more than nursing homes and 401ks, and Keynes only said we are all dead in the long run because he had no children. As a society, we have to invest in our future. What we're doing now will only make our long-term problems worse.

November 14, 2011 at 1:06 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

What Do You Think Of Proposed Wings For Navy Pier?

There are many iconic waterfront structures. The Saint Louis Arch, the Milwaukee Art Museum, the Sydney Opera House, the Statue of Liberty...

Thing is, people can get INSIDE all of them. They do things in and around them.

If these really are massive statues, they're far less useful than they could be. Why not make a sail-shaped building? Do something with the site. Leave the big useless sculptures for some place with more money and fewer needs.

November 9, 2011 at 2:04 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

U.S. Demand For Drugs Fueling Violence In Mexico

I don't do drugs, but I think there's a big reason to legalize drugs: regulation decreases societal costs. After all, much of the cost and misery associated with drug smuggling results from the lack of legal infrastructure.

--A drug dealer can't sue over breach of contract. They have to resort to violence.
--A drug user can easily get poisoned by drugs, whether it's through pesticides in marijuana or adulterants in their meth or coke. The products aren't standardized, so the consequences of product tampering end up in emergency rooms, and victims can't sue, they can only resort to violence for reparation.

--The cost of drug treatments is borne by the public, while the cost of things like smoking cessation are in part borne by the tobacco industry.

--Marijuana growers can't grow openly, so instead they destroy the back country, and make it dangerous for those of us who like to hike. I can't go in parts of the San Bernardino National Forest, Organ Pipe National Monument, or other areas without carrying a gun.

Therefore, even though I don't use drugs, I'd much rather see them legalized, taxed, and heavily regulated. It's been done with weapons, alcohol, and cigarettes, and it's high time we did it with drugs too.

May 16, 2011 at 9:33 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

SDPD Rogue Officers Cause Embarrassment

Responding to the "we need to pay police officers more or they will rape people."

Can I please beg for some context? While I don't want to pay police not to rape me, I'm willing to pay more taxes to have a police DEPARTMENT that doesn't rape people.

We pay ridiculously low local taxes compared to other cities in the state. For example, our business fees are the lowest in the state, and yet we don't have businesses rushing to set up here.

We either have the choice of doing more volunteer policing, which means the cameras come out to record crimes (and police) or we pay the police DEPARTMENT enough money for it to do its job properly. Part of that job includes maintaining internal discipline.

Thing is, we can't get something for nothing, and if you're one of those who oppose tax increases, you are now getting what you're paying for.

And yes, I'm on a low, fixed income. This will hurt me too. Pony up.

May 13, 2011 at 9:23 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

KPBS Strengthens News Service

I like the BBC overnight, but I've got to admit, I can't figure out why Weekend All Things Considered will be moved to 2:00 pm. The only thing 2:00 pm news is good for is putting kids to sleep.

Every other place I've listened to NPR, the weekend news started at 5:00 pm, and Prairie Home Companion either came before (3-5) or after (6-8). 4:00 pm is (for me) a wasted time, because I'm usually doing something, and by the time I get to where I can turn on the radio, it's over.

Considering the dearth of decent news programming on San Diego weekends (TV, radio, or whatever), I hope that KPBS will eventually get a clue and move Weekend All Things Considered closer to the dinner hour. You don't have any competition on the TV for 5:00 pm news, and you could haul in a big audience.

May 12, 2011 at 5:48 p.m. ( | suggest removal )