A 91-year-old driver struck and killed San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce vice president Melissa Bonney Ratcliff, 45, on La Jolla's Girard Avenue on Oct. 7.
A 91-year-old driver struck and killed San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce vice president Melissa Bonney Ratcliff, 45, on La Jolla's Girard Avenue on Oct. 7.
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NATASHA JOSEFOWITZ

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Free service may save elderly drivers', others' lives
by NATASHA JOSEFOWITZ
Oct 21, 2014 | 300 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A 91-year-old driver struck and killed San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce vice president Melissa Bonney Ratcliff, 45, on La Jolla's Girard Avenue on Oct. 7.
A 91-year-old driver struck and killed San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce vice president Melissa Bonney Ratcliff, 45, on La Jolla's Girard Avenue on Oct. 7.
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Natasha Josefowitz writes the column 'Doing It Better' for the San Diego Community Newspaper Group. I was surprised last week when I renewed my driver’s license after five years that I was not asked to actually drive. All I got were vision and written tests. After all, I’ll be 88 on Halloween. A 94-year-old friend of mine just got her license renewed without any tests. I just lost another inch, so now I’m now under 5 feet tall, and when I sat down for my test, the table was up to my nose, and the computer was floating somewhere above me. I was given a pencil and told to mark the circles with the rubber tip. I could barely make out the text and flunked. When I complained I had trouble with the computer, I was told that those in my age group could have the paper test. That was much better, and I only missed one. I now have a new driver’s license, good for another five years. I will be 93. On Oct. 7, a 91-year-old woman meant to go forward on Girard Avenue but instead backed up and killed San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce vice president Melissa Bonney Ratcliff, 45, and had no idea what she had done. A friend of mine happened to be standing there and asked her if she was OK. She said she didn’t know what happened and hoped no one got hurt. She had no idea that she had just killed someone. As we age, we become less focused; this is normal. We get confused; this is normal. But it is not reasonable to continue driving under these circumstances. We all tend to do more than we are qualified to do; our strong desire for continued independence causes us to deny the truth. I assume that due to lack of DMV personnel and the agency's budgetary constraints, very few people must take the behind-the-wheel test when renewing a license. I suggest more self-monitoring for us older drivers. Try driving with a younger friend whom you trust to evaluate your driving without worrying about your feelings. If they have concerns, take them to heart. If you squint to see street signs, have trouble turning your head over your left shoulder to bypass your blind spot, run red lights, stop at green lights, drive too slowly, have dents and scratches on your car or get confused in familiar surroundings, stop driving. These are signs of impending accidents. You may save your own life and somebody else’s too. If you have a parent, grandparent, or friend who you believe is unsafe behind the wheel, ask to have a serious conversation. It can be difficult and even traumatic to get someone to stop driving. This task often falls to younger family members who must ask a parent or grandparent to give up their car keys. This might cause a confrontation with an older driver who is reluctant to give up independence. In this case, the DMV can be asked to give the person a driving test. For many people, taking public transportation is difficult, and taxis are expensive. There is a free transportation solution for older adults available with a one-time membership fee of $20; it is donation-based, your choice. On the Go, at (858) 637-7320, picks seniors up at the time they’ve requested (they usually need a few days' notice) and delivers them free of charge to their destinations, so seniors can stop driving without giving up their independence and possibly save lives – theirs and others. Do it.
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A portrait of Karl Marx sits at the top of the Che Cafe's muraled exterior. An Oct. 21 eviction ruling may mean the Che will vacate as early as next week. COURTESY PHOTO
A portrait of Karl Marx sits at the top of the Che Cafe's muraled exterior. An Oct. 21 eviction ruling may mean the Che will vacate as early as next week. COURTESY PHOTO
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Judge rules in favor of UCSD, paving way for Che eviction
Oct 21, 2014 | 1206 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A portrait of Karl Marx sits at the top of the Che Cafe's muraled exterior. An Oct. 21 eviction ruling may mean the Che will vacate as early as next week. COURTESY PHOTO
A portrait of Karl Marx sits at the top of the Che Cafe's muraled exterior. An Oct. 21 eviction ruling may mean the Che will vacate as early as next week. COURTESY PHOTO
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A San Diego Superior Court judge ruled in favor of UCSD Oct. 21 in the eviction hearing involving the campus landmark Che Café, saying the university owns the property and that the eviction notice it sent last summer was sufficient. Asked for a comment after court on Oct. 20, the music-venue collective’s lawyer, Bryan Pease, said Judge Katherine Bacal would issue a written notice of the decision to be delivered to the collective, after which the Che would have five days to vacate. He added that he thought it was likely the university would write that notice on Oct. 21 and that Bacal, who heard final arguments in the case on Oct. 16, could sign it later in the day. It's possible, Pease theorized, that the Che could be out of the site as early as next week. The Che was served with the eviction notice in June after allegedly losing its co-op status in a Graduate Student Association vote. The university terminated its month-to-month lease and gave the collective 30 days to vacate, which it failed to do. Pease told the court on Oct. 16 that the Che is challenging the association's vote to decertify the co-op, arguing that the governing master space agreement does not give them the authority to do so. He argued that, while the association can vote to certify, no authority to decertify had been granted to the body. Representatives from the co-op previously stated they believed they were in an extended holdover period after their term-specific lease expired in 2008 and had occupied the space on a month-to-month basis while lease negotiations took place. Pease told Bacal that the decertification vote was believed to be a way for the university to bypass dispute resolution and a chancellor’s review, which is why the collective proceeded to file a lawsuit. On Oct. 21, Bacal ruled that while dispute resolution is not required, it must be exercised for it to be enforced. She said the Che had the burden of proving that it sought dispute resolution but that there was no evidence that it had tried to obtain it. On Oct. 16, Pease addressed the issue of why the Che, despite being certified by the Associated Students and graduate student group, had not pursued an extension of its lease when it expired in 2008. “They’re students,” he said, “and they’re not as sophisticated as a savvy administration that was misleading them and providing contradictory information… and also, there are different entities within the master space agreement, which were the Associated Students and the Graduate Students Association, that are separate from the collective. So under the lease, it was actually those student governments that were supposed to initiate this process, or at least it was unclear who was supposed to initiate or how you were supposed to initiate it.” The university’s legal team, led by Daniel Park, argued that the collective made no effort to obtain its certification or initiate dispute resolution during the allotted ten-day period after the decertification vote. Furthermore, he said, the university was acting within its rights as a landlord with a tenant who had a month-to-month lease and that, in fact, no reason was required by law to evict the Che. Bacal ruled that the certification/decertification issues were irrelevant to the decision. The Che had filed a legal challenge to the graduate student resolution, but, with Bacal presiding over those proceedings as well, it's not clear that they will take place at all. The Che’s suit alleges that the university “colluded” with members of the graduate student group to decertify the collective, alleging that students were not given a reasonable opportunity to participate in decisions involving the survival of the venue. This is not the first time the Che has faced extinction. Pease said he believes the cafe faced an unlawful detainer suit in the 1990s and was saved by student action. On Oct. 21, a collective member said the latest ruling was not the end of the road for the Che and that the collective will continue to push to be part of the campus. The nonprofit collective opened in 1980 and has booked such high-profile acts as Nirvana, Jimmy Eat World, Billy Corgan, Bon Iver, Bright Eyes and Green Day and has been used as an art exhibit space and a restaurant. In 2012, it fell behind on its insurance payments and had to raise $12,000 immediately. – NBC San Diego
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