Remarks Before the Board of Supervisors on Lilac Hills
The San Diego County Board of Supervisors has, at last, opted to reject the long-running Lilac Hills Ranch proposal. Called "unsafe" by the county's chief fire safety officer, and recommended for denial by county staff in a highly unusual move, Lilac Hills was one of the region's most persistent "zombie projects." Initially denied in 2009, and again in the defeat of Measure B in 2016, Lilac Hills was a loser with the courts, voters, and fire and public safety professionals. Hopefully the cycle of approving reckless sprawl developments in fire-prone areas is reaching an end. My remarks before the Board of Supervisors are here.
The Environmental Agony of the Trump Administration
When Ryan Zinke, the most corrupt Secretary of the Interior of our modern era, moved to redraw the boundaries of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments in 2017, it was an unprecedented act of desecration, and a terrible harbinger for our nation's conservation heritage that will only become more destructive should Donald Trump win re-election. Prior to Trump, no president or administration had ever moved, erased, altered, or otherwise violated the boundaries of parks or monuments to facilitate oil, gas, and fossil fuel extraction interests. But now, that wrecking ball has come to Carrizo Plain National Monument.
Democrats for Equality Unanimously Vote to Support ReWild
Thank you to the membership of San Diego Democrats for Equality for voting unanimously in favor of the ReWild Mission Bay project following my presentation to the club in June. Since 2014, ReWild Mission Bay has focused on working with the city to ensure the greatest volume of natural wetlands are restored to the northeast corner of Mission Bay at the mouth of Rose Creek, first codified as a priority by the city in the 1994 Mission Bay Park master plan, and upheld in the plan's 2002 amended version. We're thrilled to have San Diego Democrats for Equality aboard!
The Flying Gravel of Gold Coast Drive
One afternoon in 2018 I was canvassing in Mira Mesa, and I stopped by a house on Gold Coast Drive. I asked the homeowner if there was anything he was concerned about, and he led me to his front yard where we were both hit by flying gravel as a car drove by. "This is my problem," he said. That summer at a meeting to learn more about a proposal to rebuild Gold Coast Dr. and Parkdale Ave., the city's chief engineer noted with amazement how bad Gold Coast is. So many of the roadbeds in Mira Mesa, built quickly and on the cheap in the early 1970s, failed long ago from an intrusion of water, bad drainage, and loose soils – no doubt aggravated by building upon seasonal vernal pools.
New ReWild Mission Bay Piece in Times of San Diego
Thanks to Times of San Diego for running a piece I co-wrote with San Diego Audubon conservation director Andrew Meyer about the opportunity for San Diego to do our part locally to curb the mass bird extinction crisis by enabling greater habitat for wildlife affected by climate change. Additional thanks to San Diego media for covering the ReWild Mission Bay campaign over the last year, and our effort to improve water quality, increase climate resiliency, sequester carbon, preserve habitat, and enable greater public access to our bayfront as our growing coalition continues to demonstrate strong support for wetland restoration and park revitalization.
Union-Tribune Runs Del Mar Mesa Preserve Opinion Piece
My opinion piece on zoning changes to facilitate the construction of a multi-story, multi-structure office complex on an 11-acre parcel of land surrounded on three sides by the city-owned Del Mar Mesa Preserve appeared in the Oct. 2 edition of the San Diego Union-Tribune. Located far from transit, this needless project will result in a loss of habitat that will affect the preserve and its role as a wildlife corridor, enable an increase in invasive species, and further bite into our city's vanishing wildlands while doing nothing to advance our Climate Action Plan. Read more about this regrettable, unwelcome monument.
Revisiting My Grandfather's Labor Legacy
On Labor Day 2018, in the midst of my San Diego City Council campaign, I posted this essay about my grandfather's labor legacy with the United Steelworkers. A year later, I shared it again, in part because my family found long lost photos of my grandfather following my dad's death in December 2018. It serves as a nice reminder that weekends, child labor laws, health care, collective bargaining, paid sick leave, overtime, and so much more came about in the American workplace because workers demanded it as part of the labor movement. Good to remember on Labor Day – or any day.
The Crisis of Broken Streets in Mira Mesa and District 6
Thanks to Times of San Diego for running my Feb. 2019 piece on the disgraceful state of Gold Coast Drive in Mira Mesa in the wake of that winter's rains, which laid bare the city's legacy of infrastructure neglect. Plans are slowly moving forward to rebuild Gold Coast Dr. and Parkdale Ave., in part due to our campaign making it an issue in 2018, but the emergency is now. The city should declare Gold Coast and Parkdale, along with other broken District 6 streets like Port Royale, Perseus, and Jade Coast emergencies now that they've been further reduced to shock-breaking holes and soupy gravel unsafe for cars, transit, or bicycles.
Thank You for Your Supporting Our 2018 San Diego City Council Race
Even as 2018 recedes into the rearview mirror, I can't begin to express how proud I am of our campaign team, and how grateful I am to everyone who hoisted a sign, knocked on a door, made a call, told a friend, or made a contribution. Our opposition outspent us by an 8 to 1 margin, yet we won over 21,500 votes in a record showing for a Democrat in a D-6 race, and forced the GOP incumbent to spend even more to defeat us than he spent to win the first time around four years earlier. My final vote total exceeded even that of the winning council candidates in the D-4 and D-8 races. We came up short, but we kept it close. That's because of you, our D-6 communities, and our neighbors. I am not discouraged.