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    San Diego named most scenic West Coast city in Expedia poll
    by CYNTHIA ROBERTSON
    Jul 18, 2018 | 9797 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    The golden hour after the sun sets at the South Mission Beach Jetty. / Photo by Thomas Melville
    The golden hour after the sun sets at the South Mission Beach Jetty. / Photo by Thomas Melville
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    San Diego is known as America’s Finest City, but what exactly makes it the finest? The climate is often the answer, which does ring true. A poll by Expedia.com asked more than 1,000 Americans to name the most scenic West Coast cities. San Diego won the top spot. Lily Rogers, writer of “21 of the Most Scenic West Coast Cities,” an article for the Expedia Viewfinder blog, explained that she had pulled from two questions on the survey for her article. First, the people were asked which region of the country they most wanted to visit. The majority chose the West Coast. Second, an open-ended question was included asking them which destination on the West Coast was the most beautiful. San Diego in general was named most often, with some answers calling out particular places like Del Mar. The questions on the survey implied that the people had been to their suggested location before. Other areas such as Sunset Cliffs or La Jolla were not specifically called out by those polled, explained Rogers. “San Diego County houses so much beautiful coastline, visitors can tailor their experience to their likes. That’s one of the things that make it so special,” said Rogers, herself a San Diego resident. Rogers has many favorite places along the coast, including Harbor Island. “The view of the skyline and the sailboats bobbing in the water shows San Diego in its prettiest light. It’s so quintessentially San Diego – a beautiful space reaching right down to the water,” Rogers said. Having Sunday brunch at the Bali Hai on Shelter Island is a San Diego must for Rogers. “Those views of the bay from the huge display windows are unforgettable,” she said. Rogers’ other favorite San Diego coastal scenery icons include the vantage point from Centennial Park in Coronado, sunsets at the Ocean Beach Pier, and La Jolla Shores. Edna Gutierrez, public relations manager at San Diego Tourism Authority is not at all surprised by the poll’s results. “With 70 miles of breathtaking beaches, the question is ‘why not San Diego?’” she said. “The diversity of San Diego’s offerings is what sets it apart from other destinations and this is not the first honor San Diego has garnered.” Gutierrez explained that in March of this year, Family Vacation Critic named Coronado as one of the Best Beaches for Families in 2018. In October 2017, San Diego ranked No. 1 for Best Beach Destination and Year Round Perfect Weather, according to the readers of Travel + Leisure magazine’s “America’s Favorite Cities” issue. In that same month, Conde Nast Traveler reader’s choice awards ranked San Diego in the Top 10 Best Big Cities in the U.S. Just a month earlier, Sunset.com had listed San Diego as No. 1 in its list of 20 Best California Beach Vacation Spots. “Word of mouth is very powerful, but also the San Diego Tourism Authority’s marketing initiatives and programs position San Diego as an ultimate destination,” Gutierrez said. “The San Diego brand story is now being told across multiple media plant-rooms, channels, storytellers and influencers around the world,” she said. Gutierrez explained that potential travelers need tangible reasons and iconic imagery that clearly communicate why San Diego is a must-see destination. “For these long-haul markets, we promote San Diego as California’s Beach City,” said Gutierrez. But what ultimately garners San Diego the top spot for the most scenic city on the West Coast? Gutierrez stated that it was the people who help make San Diego iconic. “There is a symbiotic relationship between those who live and work here, and those who visit. San Diegans are the ultimate face of San Diego and maintaining that friendly vibe will ensure visitors want to come back,” Gutierrez said. For Rogers, that friendly vibe in SoCal culture is perfectly embodied at the Ocean Beach Pier. “You’ll likely see in one snapshot: hula hoopers and skateboarders in their swim suits, beach cruisers, buskers, surfers, colorful beach umbrellas, strolling beachgoers enjoying frozen yogurt, open-air bars, and fishers on the pier,” Rogers said.
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    City Council approves short-term vacation rental regulations
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Jul 17, 2018 | 21602 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Council members Barbara Bry and Lorie Zapf, representing Council Districts 1 and 2, both hardest hit by the preponderance of short-term vacation rentals, held a well-attended press conference in the backyard of a private home in Crown Point on Friday, July 13. They talked about what they liked, and didn’t like, about the mayor’s proposal attempting a compromise between the rental industry and distraught homeowners claiming their quality of life is being diminished by short-term rentals catering to tourists despite the objections of long-term residents. / Photo by Dave Schwab
    Council members Barbara Bry and Lorie Zapf, representing Council Districts 1 and 2, both hardest hit by the preponderance of short-term vacation rentals, held a well-attended press conference in the backyard of a private home in Crown Point on Friday, July 13. They talked about what they liked, and didn’t like, about the mayor’s proposal attempting a compromise between the rental industry and distraught homeowners claiming their quality of life is being diminished by short-term rentals catering to tourists despite the objections of long-term residents. / Photo by Dave Schwab
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    On Monday, July 16, San Diego City Council nixed Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s short-term vacation rental proposal by a 6-3 tally, then voted 6-3 for a more-restrictive proposal favoring residents and allowing primary-residence-only rentals with a six-month maximum. The landmark counterproposal was co-authored by Council members Barbara Bry of District 1 and Lorie Zapf of District 2, whose coastal districts have a preponderance of short-term rentals. Dissenting votes were cast by Council members Scott Sherman, Chris Cate and David Alvarez. A “carve-out” of Mission Beach in the mayor’s proposal was defeated. Existing Mission Beach rentals will also not be grandfathered into the city’s new ordinance. Mission Beach has the highest number of short-term rentals — upwards of 40 percent — along the beachfront. A cornerstone of Faulconer’s proposal, the so-called “plus one” provision allowing people to rent out their own residence, and one additional place, was also denied. In its place was inserted a condition allowing one more additional dwelling unit on the same parcel as the owner’s primary residence. The City Council, however, left the door open for future discussion of granny flats and duplexes possibly qualifying as short-term rentals. Under the new ordinance, short-term rentals will have to have licenses that will be non-transferable. In the aftermath of the City Council vote, some speculated its net effect will be to end renting out of all second homes or investment properties as short-term vacation rentals. Both votes came after five hours of public testimony for and against Faulconer’s proposal. The City Council deadlocked after similarly long public debate on short-term rentals last December.  Those favoring stricter regulations were elated, especially its originators. “The primary-only solution puts San Diegans first and protects our housing stock from investors while preserving the roots of the home sharing economy,” said Bry. Noting the other California cities, including San Francisco, Pasadena and Hermosa Beach, have passed similar regulations to reign-in short-term rentals, Bry added, “We have the obligation to preserve our housing stock prioritizing housing San Diegans.” “I wasn’t elected to serve the interests of out-of-town investors, I was elected to serve the needs of my constituents,” said Zapf. “This makes the most sense for our communities. “This is not the perfect solution, but I have been working on this for the last four years, and the City Council must provide some relief for the residents in my district. This final plan will fund enforcement to penalize bad actors, so we can preserve the quality of life in our neighborhoods,” she said. District 3 Councilmember Chris Ward, whose stance on rentals changed since December, said the vote “demonstrates a clear commitment to prioritizing the needs of our neighborhoods” characterizing it as “a starting point” that “leaves the window open” to possible future amendments. Faulconer was conciliatory following the vote. “I introduced my compromise proposal to help the City Council find enough common ground so they could pass comprehensive short-term rental laws, and with the additional amendments made today, we’ve finally achieved that goal,” he said. “The most important thing is that we have an established set of rules that protect neighborhood quality of life through increased oversight and enforcement. I want to thank the City Council for working collaboratively with my office to get this across the finish line.” The HomeAway/VRBO platform was displeased by the Council outcome issuing the following statement, “HomeAway is extremely disappointed in the City Council’s decision to ignore the mayor’s compromise and effectively ban short-term rentals in the City of San Diego. This outcome will not only negatively impact the local economy but will deny many San Diegans their private property rights. We plan to evaluate next steps in the coming days to determine an appropriate path forward.” At least one Peninsulan was pleased by the vote. “I think the City Council got this one right,” said David Dick, a Peninsula Community Planning Board member. “Absent-owner, short-term rentals are inconsistent with the rights of property owners who have purchased properties in communities and neighborhoods. “I share the concern that the ordinance may not withstand a legal challenge. And I’m sure the interests aligned with Airbnb and VRBO will put up a substantial, well-funded fight. But that’s a battle for another day. For now, the City Council is on the right track,” Dick said. District 7 Councilmember Sherman hinted the short-term rental battle may not be over. “This is not a compromise,” Sherman said. “We’re abusing our discretion by restricting property rights, punishing people who can least afford it. What’s next? Banning dogs barking next door, or month-to-month rents?”
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    Sail into summer with the top trends for fun in Mission Bay
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Jul 11, 2018 | 24794 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Learn to sail on a Hobie from Mission Bay Aquatic Center.
    Learn to sail on a Hobie from Mission Bay Aquatic Center.
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    The still-popular waterskiing is available at Mission Bay Aquatic Center.
    The still-popular waterskiing is available at Mission Bay Aquatic Center.
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    Tabitha Lipkin, who is an anchor for Fox Sports San Diego, also enjoys occassionally flying above Mission Bay.
    Tabitha Lipkin, who is an anchor for Fox Sports San Diego, also enjoys occassionally flying above Mission Bay.
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    Hot Tub Cruisin has become a favorite of millennials.
    Hot Tub Cruisin has become a favorite of millennials.
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    Cruise the water on a jet ski from Mission Bay Sportcenter.
    Cruise the water on a jet ski from Mission Bay Sportcenter.
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    The pride of Mission Bay Sportcenter’s fleet is its 47-foot charter Malarky luxury Catamaran accommodating up to 12 passengers.
    The pride of Mission Bay Sportcenter’s fleet is its 47-foot charter Malarky luxury Catamaran accommodating up to 12 passengers.
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    Alexis Hurey and Courtney Kessler head out for an adventure on standup paddle boards from Mission Bay Sportcenter.
    Alexis Hurey and Courtney Kessler head out for an adventure on standup paddle boards from Mission Bay Sportcenter.
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    Try the new trend of wake surfing with Freedom Boat Club.
    Try the new trend of wake surfing with Freedom Boat Club.
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    In San Diego, summertime fun in the sun means on the water too. In Mission Bay, water-sport rental companies fulfill every need and nuance in aquatic recreation, furnishing an almost inexhaustible array of watercraft.  Patrons can rent everything large and small from boats and jet skis to paddle boards, kayaks, aqua cycles, bicycles and peddle boats. There are even floating hot tubs and airborne flyboards using pressurized water pumped through hoses to propel users skyward.  Locals and tourists alike can indulge their every whim taking full advantage of San Diego’s activities-based, water-sports culture. Following is a rundown of bayfront recreation companies and the rentals and services they provide. Adventure Water Sports (Two locations) 2211 Pacific Beach Drive 858-581-9300 1710 W Mission Bay Drive 619-226-8611 adventurewatersports.com Adventure Water Sports’ motto is: “Don't waste your valuable time driving around and towing someone else's equipment or driving 5 mph. Rent from us and just hop on, and go.” For watersport enthusiasts, and the industry catering to them, it’s Christmas in July, noted Andrew Points, Adventure Water Sport’s general manager. Asked what’s hot now in rentals, Points said, “Everything is hot right now. In summer we sell out of everything. We’re always busy.” What’s the most trendy watercraft to rent?  “Wave runners, jet skis,” answered Points, adding the personal water craft, rent for $110 an hour with all-day special rates available.  “People can ride them in Mission Bay at full speed in a pretty big area,” said Points, adding the most difficult thing about renting jet skies in the mid-summer peak season is making a reservation. “Right now we’re booked the whole day,” said Points advising prospective clients “to book at least a day, maybe even a couple of days in advance.” Adventure rents ski boats ranging from 19 to 24 feet as well as a pontoon boat. Stand-up paddle boards rent for $25 an hour, $35 for two hours and $60 for four hours. Patrons must be 18 to rent. Mission Bay Aquatic Center 1001 Santa Clara Place 858-488-1000 mbaquaticcenter.com Last year, Mission Bay Aquatic Center rented to 30,000 patrons helping them experience surfing, sailing, wake boarding, wake surfing, stand up paddling, waterskiing, rowing, kayaking, and windsurfing first-hand. The company has taught tens of thousands of others how to safely enjoy water sports during its 45-year existence hosting lessons, parties, picnics and classes for all manner of watercraft. MBAC director Kevin Straw said post-July 4th is the peak of their summer beach-rental season. “Especially when the holiday falls in the middle of the week, as it did this year, with people taking time out before and after to do stuff and travel,” he said.  Straw noted MBAC, operated jointly by UC San Diego and San Diego State University, utilizes three buildings at Santa Clara Point in Mission Beach. “We operate a kids program and the water sports camp for university students, which is open to the public including community members as well as tourists,” said Straw. “We are primarily an educational facility, with a rental program whose goal is not just to rent people equipment, but to teach them how to use it properly and safely.” Added Straw, “When you rent a paddle board or a kayak from us, it comes with a lesson before you go out, which differentiates us.” Concerning what’s trending with rentals at MBAC, Straw replied: “We’re finding that sailing has become more popular for youths this summer. We also have educational programs where people learn about marine sciences as well as STEM activities.” MBAC sees a full spectrum of ages in its programs and equipment rentals. “We have a wide variety of people from all over the Southwest from as young as 6 to as old as 80 out there on the water,” Straw said. “It’s a great way to get out there on Mission Bay and find out what San Diego has to offer, that you don’t see in other places.” Mission Bay Sportcenter 844 W. Mission Bay Drive 858-203-3421 missionbaysportcenter.com Billing itself as the largest public water-sports facility in San Diego, the services provided by MBSC include boat rentals, tours/classes and jet board and jet ski rentals. The company also rents power boats, sailboats, hot tub cruises and jet packs. MBSC even offers paddle boards with LED lights for night tours. “One of our main attractions is jet skis,” said MBSC manager Matthew. “Jet-pack rentals are also popular, as are our hot-tub boats.” MBSC has something for every individual, group or family. Added Matthew, “Paddle-boards and kayaks are always good family fun – and a big hit.” MBS also has kid-oriented “lily pads,” two-inch thick, 20-foot long by six-foot wide floating rectangular foam play pads. For the more adventurous, MBSC has water-propelled flyboards. “You put on wakeboard boots and a jet-ski pack with hoses that sucks up water and propels you several feet into the air turning you into Ironman, Superman, Aquaman or the Rocketeer,” Matthew said. The pride of Sportcenter’s fleet is its 47-foot charter Malarky luxury Catamaran accommodating up to 12 passengers. It can be rented for corporate or group events, weddings, whale watching, etc. “The Malarky is our one piece of equipment that goes out on private tours,” said Matthew. Hot Tub Cruisin 1010 Santa Clara Place 619-905-5100 hottubcruisin.com Speaking of luxury, it’s tough to beat cruising around Mission Bay in a hot tub for relaxing in style. Hot Tub Cruisin’s pontoon-style hot-tub boats were the first ever to ply Mission Bay. The company, which operates out of Mission Bay Sportcenter, just celebrated its fourth anniversary. Pontoon-style craft seating up to 10 are rented out for a flat rate of $215 an hour for up to four hours. There is a sound system on board connecting to musical devices, as well as an optional propane grill, a 50-quart under-seat cooler, a six-quart “in-hot tub” cooler, dry storage for personal belongings and additional deck seating. The company’s initial rollout has been so successful, plans are in play to expand and franchise,” said co-owner Taylor Rhodes. “We now have a second boat, and we’re looking to add a third boat, and another location, while simultaneously building out our boat-sales model,” said Rhodes, adding custom hot-tub boats can be made to order from scratch. “We’re looking to build them for personal use and franchise partnership,” he added. Rhodes said the target market for Hot Tub Cruisin is “young adults, tourists, corporations, groups and university students.” “We’re really hitting the spectrum here,” he added. “What we’ve found is that everybody wants to rent hot-tub boats, whether it be for a 5-year-old’s birthday party or an 80-year-old’s retirement.” Rhodes said their hot tubs are “accessorized” furnishing water slides, hooks and floats for kids, as well as offering barbecuing opportunities on-deck. “It’s a unique way to cruise around on the bay,” he concluded. Freedom Boat Club 2630 Ingraham St. 888-781-7363 freedomboatclub.com This year's hot water sport in San Diego is wake surfing - wake boarding's safer and more thrilling counterpart. Wake surfing brings all the fun of surfing out on the water, but with no paddling out and a perfect wave that lasts as long as you want. Here's how it works: you go out in a boat with your friends or family and create the ideal surfing wave in the wake of the boat. Surfers use a specially designed smaller wakesurf board and use a rope to get in place behind the boat, then let go a free surf for as long as they keep their balance in the wake wave. Since the boat is only going about 10.5 mph, and you're not strapped into the board, its much safer than wakeboarding and falling into the water is much more gentle on the body. Dan Hasbrouck, president of Freedom Boat Club, has added wake-surfing boats to the fleet on Mission Bay. As a member of Freedom Boat Club, members have access to this boat as well as more than 27 boats at two locations. Training is part of every membership. He can teach members to wake surf in 20 minutes and Freedom Boat Club members are loving this new sport.
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    Suds, sand and summer fun at annual Over-the-Line Tournament
    Jul 10, 2018 | 5392 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Second Chance Beer Co. and OMBAC have teamed to debut a new, limited-release collaboration beer, “Over-the-Line Lager.”
    Second Chance Beer Co. and OMBAC have teamed to debut a new, limited-release collaboration beer, “Over-the-Line Lager.”
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    The 65th annual Old Mission Beach Athletic Club’s summer classic Over-the-Line Tournament will be over-the-brim this year sporting its own festive brew. Second Chance Beer Co. and OMBAC have teamed to debut a new, limited-release collaboration beer, “Over-the-Line Lager.” It will be the hops of choice for many participants in the three-on-three beach softball tourney known for its risqué team names and freewheeling spirit. OTL will be held on back-to-back weekends July 14-15 and 21-22 on Fiesta Island. More than 1,200 teams will hit the sand at sunrise on July 14. The first three game days will start at 7:30 a.m. and continue until sunset, concluding on Sunday, July 22 with the Men’s Open Championship.  Games will be three innings only for the first weekend of the tournament and four innings during the second weekend. The tournament will follow a double-elimination format for all participating teams in all nine divisions.    OMBAC provides complimentary bus transport, as traditional parking fills the island early, usually closing it to traffic by 10 a.m. The “OmShuttle” goes to and from the island during the first three days of OTL. OmShuttle runs from Fiesta Island to the Sun Runner lot on Sea World Drive and from Fiesta Island to the Linda Vista trolley station. Over-the-Line Lager, brewed with German pilsner malt and light floral hops, is the perfect tournament complement, said Marty Mendiola, Second Chance brewmaster and co-founder. “This light, session lager is the perfect beer to seize, sip and enjoy with a bat in your hand and toes in the sand,” Mendiola said. “You can enjoy a couple of pints or cans while playing OTL, or while watching the spectacle still keeping your eye on the ball.” “It’s about time San Diego’s signature sport had its own beer brewed right here in the capital of craft,” agreed Tom Doyle of OMBAC. “Over-the-Line Lager was brewed for just that reason, and we were proud to collaborate with Second Chance. They know the sport and our mission. We can’t wait for everyone to taste it.” Over-the-Line Lager will be available in 16 ounce cans, kegs and drafts at the tournament, and has been available at Second Chance Beer Co. Tap Rooms in North Park and Carmel Mountain, as well as a limited number of bars and stores across San Diego, since June 18.  The origin of the homegrown OTL beach sport dates back to 1954 on the sand of Mission Beach where a group of beach volleyball players, awaiting an open court, grew antsy and began brainstorming ideas to pass the time. OTL was the result.  The bat-and-ball sport, trademarked by OMBAC, is a variation of softball that uses rope, a softball bat and a rubber ball. Three-person teams pitch, bat and field. The game is played on a sand court resembling a triangle attached to an open-ended rectangle. Every summer since 1954, thousands of players and spectators from around the globe have taken over Fiesta Island in mid-July for OTL. OMBAC asks OTL participants to observe the no B’s rule: “No bottles, bikes, babies or bowsers.” Second Chance is a San Diego independent craft brewery. The company partners with a variety of local and national non-profits ranging from animal rescues to breast cancer and organ-donation awareness. OMBAC is a nonprofit organization that focuses on amateur sports, youth athletics, and local charities. OTL is the group’s main fundraising event. Past recipients of OMBAC’s fundraising and donations have included UCSD Cancer Research, Jr. OTL Scholarships, Wounded Warrior Foundation, Huntington’s disease, Bikes for Kids, Jr. Lifeguard Foundation, Cancer Walk, Marine Family Christmas Fund, Alpha Project, Meals on Wheels, Hospice, Pacific Beach Youth Group, San Diego St. Patrick’s Day Parade, San Diego Blood Bank, OMBAC Rugby, OMBAC Lacrosse and OMBAC Water Polo.  Play ball What: 65th annual World Championship Over-The-Line Tournament. When: July 13-14 and July 20-21. Play begins at 7:30 a.m. ending at dusk. Where: Fiesta Island in Mission Bay. Info: ombac.org.
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    Volunteers remove 1,493 pounds of trash from beaches after 4th of July
    Jul 06, 2018 | 19060 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Surfrider volunteers hosted four cleanups in collaboration with I Love a Clean San Diego and San Diego Coastkeeper from 9 a.m. to noon. at Fiesta Island.
    Surfrider volunteers hosted four cleanups in collaboration with I Love a Clean San Diego and San Diego Coastkeeper from 9 a.m. to noon. at Fiesta Island.
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    Surfrider volunteers hosted four cleanups in collaboration with I Love a Clean San Diego and San Diego Coastkeeper from 9 a.m. to noon. at the Ocean Beach Pier.
    Surfrider volunteers hosted four cleanups in collaboration with I Love a Clean San Diego and San Diego Coastkeeper from 9 a.m. to noon. at the Ocean Beach Pier.
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    More than 525 volunteers gathered at four popular beaches on July 5 to assist with the Surfrider Foundation San Diego’s annual post-Fourth of July “Morning After Mess” beach series.  By midday, Surfrider volunteers had recovered more than 1493 pounds of trash and recycling, which otherwise would have been washed into the sea adding to the already critical pollution problem devastating the world’s oceans.   Surfrider volunteers hosted four cleanups in collaboration with I Love a Clean San Diego and San Diego Coastkeeper from 9 a.m. to noon. at the Ocean Beach Pier, Fiesta Island, Crystal Pier in Pacific Beach and the Oceanside Pier. These cleanup sites were chosen because of the high concentration of beachgoers and notorious reputations for post-4th of July trash. San Diego Chapter Coordinator, Mitch Silverstein, said: “The more people visit the beach, the more trash ends up on the beach. But it doesn't have to be that way! Most of what our volunteers pick up could be avoided if we chose reusable items instead of single-use ones. Start simple- reusable bags, reusable water bottle, reusable coffee mug. Those three items will cut your waste footprint drastically, and they'll help keep our streets and beaches clean.” Few holidays generate more trash on San Diego County beaches than the Fourth of July.  Unfortunately, the majority of this litter is made up of single-use plastic, which exacerbates an already critical pollution problem devastating marine life in the world’s oceans.  This year’s Morning After Mess recovered over 8,000 cigarette butts, more than 1,535 plastic food wrappers, and a variety of obscure items including a garage door opener and a head massager. For more information on the Surfrider Foundation San Diego, visit www.surfridersd.org.
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    News
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