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    Congestion charge may solve Peninsula traffic woes
    Dec 18, 2014 | 1061 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    AMC’s television show “Hell On Wheels” is a favorite in our household. The wife likes westerns; I like history. The series traces the rough-and-tumble challenges of constructing the Transcontinental Railroad across America from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean in the mid 1800s. Those of us who live on the Peninsula are experiencing our own hellacious road work and traffic problems across our zip codes. The current “cone zones” on the point are a major pain in the place that meets the saddle. It’s an inconvenience but a necessary one to replace old water pipes with new ones. Eventually, the road work will be finished but with several new multi-story residential projects under way, traffic congestion is probably going to get worse. Add increased bicycle usage with the new “three-foot bicycle boundary law,” and driving on the Point has become running a gauntlet. Worst yet, road crews haven’t even started work on Rosecrans. Here’s a solution that other cities have used with success. London, Stockholm and Milan have enacted “congestion charge” zones to put the brakes on overcrowded roads. Before you scoff, know that during a seven-month trial, Sweden reduced its traffic flow by 20 percent, improved their air quality by 10 percent and saw a significant increase in public transportation usage. England has several posted congestion zones where hefty fees are charged on “most motor vehicles” between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. Mondays to Fridays. These zones are enforced through the use of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR). In 2011 President Obama was fined nearly $100 after driving through a London congestion charge zone in a presidential state car during a visit to Buckingham Palace. Beijing, with severe traffic congestion, is now also considering congestion zones. Speeding is another red flag problem on the point. Newly installed flashing radar speed signs (Catalina and Canon Streets) “raise the speed awareness of oncoming drivers” but with “little effectiveness.” Some residents have suggested adding speed bumps and or more stop signs. City engineers say adding stop signs, speed bumps and closing streets (for cut-through traffic) negatively impact neighborhoods and often move problems to new locations and should be seen as last resorts. Studies have shown that some motorists actually increase their speeds to make up for the inconvenience of stopping and that more than 50 percent don’t even stop! The intersection of Catalina, Hill and Santa Barbara streets is a good example. “Traffic calming” measures and programs seem to work to reduce speeding. Example: Bird Rock, in La Jolla, found that by removing stop “conditions” at key intersections and replacing them with “roundabouts,” traffic speed was reduced “midblock to low-30s and speeds at intersections to 15-20 mph.” They also added curb extensions, tree plantings and other landscaping to help reduce the visual width of blocks resulting in a “traffic calming” effect. Historically, the last time we’ve seen speeds and congestion in our area this bad was in 1915, when “the fastest race-car drivers in the world” competed on the dirt roads of Point Loma as part of a promotion for the Panama California Expo, which celebrated the canal opening connecting the Atlantic Ocean with the Pacific Ocean. - Mike Ryan, Vice Chair, Peninsula Community Planing Board
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    SDUSD Subdistrict C: Mike McQuary's resume says it all
    Dec 18, 2014 | 350 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    MIKE McQUARY
    MIKE McQUARY
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    The baton of leadership was recently passed from Scott Barnett to Mike McQuary in San Diego Unified School District’s (SDUSD’s) Subdistrict C, which includes all coastal schools west of Interstate 5 between Point Loma and Del Mar. “We’re the second largest school district in the state and the 18th largest in the nation,” said McQuary of SDUSD, which he added has responsibility for 130,000 students and 15,000 school district employees. “The district has a $1.2 billion budget with 1,000 vehicles, of which 500 are school buses, serving 200 schools on 187 school sites,” noted McQuary, a lifelong educator. Subdistrict C includes 18 elementary schools, five middle schools, four senior high schools and a dozen atypical/charter schools. McQuary’s resume reads like a Who’s Who. He’s been a teacher, a principal, a union member and now a school board member. He acquired his elementary and secondary teaching credentials at San Francisco State and has taught in inner city schools in San Francisco, rural schools in Tulare County and suburban schools in Santa Cruz County. He’s the father of three and the grandfather of five. His two daughters have master's degrees. His son is a soldier who’s done tours of Korea, Kosovo and Iraq. McQuary also was president of a local teachers union, has been a member of several administrative bargaining teams and has taught courses at the college level (College of the Sequoias and Fresno Pacific College). “I know what a good school looks like, and I’m excited to be a player (in making that happen),” he said. McQuary and Barnett have been working together for months to ensure a smooth transition in the school district leadership. “We wanted to make sure that I could catch all the balls that got thrown in the air,” said McQuary of Barnett’s tutelage. “There’s a few projects we’re (Subdistrict C’s) still working on, he’s (Barnett’s) still a player and we’re teaming together: It was a great handoff.” McQuary applauded Barnett as a “singular voice on the board” and for being passionate about his role, noting “he’s accomplished a great deal.” McQuary pointed out SDUSD continues to face a funding dilemma, given that the state of California, during its current fiscal crisis, has slashed education funding. “We’re getting 50 percent less funding from the state than 10 years ago and have about the same number of students,” noted McQuary, adding, “Any business would be challenged to take a 50 percent cut and do the same job.” Funding cuts have forced the SDUSD board to “make tough decisions,” said McQuary in carrying out the district’s “Vision 2020,” a long-term strategy for moving the district forward. “We’re implementing that (Vision 2020) with excellent instruction in every classroom and quality schools in every neighborhood with the high expectation of being the best school district in the United States,” McQuary said, adding the district’s vision needs to be extended even further. “We need to make sure students in the district are globally competitive, making sure students are multilingual and multicultural,” he said. McQuary pledged to “work to make a difference” as a school district board member. “We need to take the funding we get and spend it more wisely as well as having greater transparency and accountability,” he said. Subdistrict C’s new leader said SDUSD also needs to redouble its efforts to involve the public in its decision making. “We need to be more collaborative in talking to stakeholders to ensure we have ground-up, school-based decision making, ensuring parents and students in our community have the opportunity to state their concerns, McQuary said. McQuary said the school district ought to extend its efforts out more into the community, suggesting the district should work together with organizations like beautifulPB, which is in the process of implementing an ecodistrict to make the beach community more environmentally sustainable and more pedestrian friendly. For McQuary, leading a school district is all about collaboration. He said his administration will “be an opportunity for all the community players to work together, form partnerships and do collective planning.”
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    School district, YMCA sign NTC pool pact
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Dec 18, 2014 | 321 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    An Olympic-size swimming pool at NTC would alleviate the dearth of facilities at area schools.
    An Olympic-size swimming pool at NTC would alleviate the dearth of facilities at area schools.
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    Though a Request for Proposal (RFP) on Peninsula YMCA's bid to construct and operate a new pool at NTC LIberty Station is stalled, the San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) board recently passed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that could help clear the way for the YMCA to develop a pool in Point Loma and elsewhere. Earlier this year, the city issued an RFP for an organization to come in and develop, operate and lease out the proposed 20,000-square-foot aquatic center in Building 619 in NTC (the former Naval Training Center), which was previously a child-care center. The San Diego County YMCA, which operates about 29 pools countywide, was the only responder to the RFP. It had originally been thought that SDUSD and the YMCA might compete for the RFP to build/operate a new NTC pool. The MOU now essentially makes it a joint venture. The MOU signed between the school district and YMCA establishes the framework for implementing the development of pool and recreational facilities at a dozen or more identified sites/school clusters citywide including NTC Liberty Station. The district and the YMCA anticipate conducting site visits within 90 days of executing the MOU. The new MOU is a step forward, but problems remain with long-term lease conditions, said Vince Glorioso, executive director of the Peninsula YMCA. “Problems with terms of the lease really have it on hold right now,” said Glorioso, adding the the NTC building where the pool would be built is federally owned, which complicates matters. “Terms have to be worked out now with the federal government because they own the property,” Glorioso said. “We need to work with the Department of the Interior to find an avenue to lease the property longer.” Glorioso said the new MOU with SDUSD to jointly pursue an NTC Pool project “pursues a vision the district has for pools at schools with a list of potential sites.” The new MOU, said Glorioso, calls for a partnership between the two entities. “These would now go to individual agrements per site,” he said. “So now the district is determining what (sites) they see as their highest priority, and the YMCA is doing an analysis to determine where pockets of service are deficient, areas that are underserved.” Because the NTC pool site is federally owned, Glorioso said there’s some question in terms of how this lease would be held. “It would actually be a concession agreement, not a typical property lease,” he said. Earlier this year, the YMCA’s proposal was not accepted and deemed non-responsive, and the RFP was canceled, noted Glorioso. Funding for SDUSD and YMCA to jointly explore creating new pools city- and countywide comes from voter-approved Proposition Z, passed in 2012 to fund capital improvement projects at district-owned schools. In an effort to provide a quality school in every neighborhood, the district is using Proposition Z funds to repair, renovate and revitalize district schools. Bond projects include classroom technology; safety and security upgrades; Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) upgrades; new/renovated facilities for College, Career and Technical Education facilities; temporary classrooms replaced by permanent classrooms; air conditioning; ADA upgrades and improvements to athletic facilities; turf fields; and other capital improvements at district and charter schools throughout the district. Currently, the district has only one swimming pool (at La Jolla High School) which was built with private funds. There is a significant need for swimming pool facilities to serve district sports teams as well as for neighborhood recreational uses. In recent years, there have been significant cuts in the operational hours of municipal pools. Pool operations and maintenance require significant ongoing funds, which San Diego Unified does not have and is unlikely to have in the foreseeable future. The pool RFP states the city is seeking a concessionaire to provide an aquatic center on the former NTC site for the use and benefit of the general public. The proposed site design calls for an aquatic center complex with a 50-meter pool, a 25-meter instruction pool and a family area with interactive water-play elements. The pool plan also includes locker rooms, offices, restrooms, storage and a concession stand. RFPs for the proposed new Liberty Station pool were required to include a conceptual plan for the property along with any proposed changes or additions to the existing facilities. Among other things, proposals had to offer a preliminary site and floor plan; a program plan providing a description of planned programs/activities and/or services, including hours of operation, proposed fees and charges; a financing plan; and assurances that the applicant can provide the necessary fixtures and equipment needed to provide aquatic center services. Concern has been expressed by some that, regardless of who ultimately builds and operates the new NTC pool, that it would not be big enough. Some have said the pool should be 50 meters, not 25 meters, in order for it to be truly considered a world-class aquatic complex with the capability of hosting competitive events. The city’s NTC Pool RFP is being handled by the city’s Real Estate Assets Division.
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    Noted wildlife photographer has seen it all; now you can too
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Dec 18, 2014 | 315 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Wildlife photographer Tom Mangelsen says man-versus-lion shoots on Africa's Serengeti Plain are "cool." COURTESY PHOTO
    Wildlife photographer Tom Mangelsen says man-versus-lion shoots on Africa's Serengeti Plain are "cool." COURTESY PHOTO
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    He's taken some four million photographs of animals in their natural states – and wildlife photographer Thomas Mangelsen’s new book, “The Last Great Wild Places,” is a compendium of the finest work from one of the most prolific and award-winning nature photographers of our time. “It’s a 40-year retrospective,” said Mangelsen, 69, who was in town recently at his Images of Nature Gallery at 7916 Girard Ave., one of eight Mangelsen galleries nationwide. “It includes all my classic images from the beginning to very recently.” The Grand Island, Neb.-born photographer, the son of a 5-and-dime store owner, grew up on the American plains hunting and observing wildlife. His hands-on approach in part explains his uncanny ability to capture candid wildlife photographs. “I rely heavily on my experience to put me in the right place at the right time and watch for the right moment,” he said. Like the picture on Eastern Africa's Serengeti Plain of a pride of lions sauntering toward him on a dirt road. “I was in a Land Rover early in the morning, and lions, 20 or 30 of all different age groups, were coming out of the marsh towards the road,” he said. “I realized this was kind of a cool shoot because you could see all their legs coming right at us, the whole man-versus-lion thing.” Noting he didn’t get his first camera until he was 23 (extremely late for a photographer), Mangelsen added his avocation “just started out as fun and grew into a profession.” He's captured rare moments and vast panoramas during photographic shoots on all seven continents, from shots of Arctic polar bears to images from the deep jungles of South America to pictures of the tigers of India to shots revealing the diversity of wildlife in the American West. Mangelsen talked about his art, wildlife conservation, climate change and future destinations, saying there’s a method to his madness in choosing locales. “I try to choose new places every year and go back to old haunts I’ve become familiar with and fell in love with, like the Serengeti,” he said, adding he’ll be returning to the Serengeti in early 2015. “The more you go back to a place, the better you know it,” said Mangelsen, adding he also returns to spots he feels have great potential for getting shots he missed or would like to get. “The Earth is a big place. I’ll never live long enough to get to all of my bucket list,” he said, adding, “It keeps getting bigger.” But Mangelsen’s interest in wildlife extends well beyond photography. He’s become a passionate conservationist who’s befriended others campaigning for preservation of wildlife and their habitats, like Jane Goodall, who wrote a foreword to his new book. “Twenty-five thousand elephants a year are being poached, mostly for trinkets,” Mangelsen said, adding the same fate is befalling a thousand or more rhinoceri a year, slain for their horns, which are purported to have aphrodisiac qualities. Mangelsen pooh-pooh'd this as “just a stupid myth.” Global warming is something Mangelsen has observed firsthand. “I’ve seen city-block-long glaciers in Antarctica that are half the size they were five years ago,” he said, adding one of his favorite photographic subjects – polar bears – are disappearing from much of their current habitat in the Arctic because ice is disappearing. “They (bears) have to have ice to hunt seals who haul out, who are 90 percent of their diet,” Mangelsen said. “If the ice is gone, seals are gone, the polar bears are gone. It’s very simple.” Speaking of polar bears, Mangelsen spoke of a wildlife shoot he was on with the late Spence Wilson, who operated the downtown theater The Cove, which many La Jollans of today remember. “Spence saved our lives,” he concluded, noting Wilson’s observational skills as he stood watch with the Navy for enemy subs during World War II. “I was with a National Geographic crew photographing a polar bear mother and her cubs, and a whiteout snowstorm just came up out of nowhere,” Mangelsen said. “I didn’t see them. Spence did and waived his arms (to warn us). There was a polar bear coming, stalking us very intently, and we grabbed our gear and pulled the (truck) ladder up just before the polar bear got there.” Asked when — or even if — he’ll retire, Mangelsen, who lives near Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, answered, “Just when I die,” adding, “I’d like to die in the field.” To order Mangelsen’s new book, or for more information about him or his galleries, visit www.mangelsen.com.
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    Navy eyes relocation of fuel pipeline to enhance mission
    Dec 18, 2014 | 362 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Peninsula planners cite a potential public safety threat amid the Navy's proposed pipeline relocation.
    Peninsula planners cite a potential public safety threat amid the Navy's proposed pipeline relocation.
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    The Navy has released a draft environmental assessment of its fuel pipe relocation project in Point Loma, to which the Peninsula Community Planning Board has responded with a list of concerns. The Navy says relocating a section of its 17.3-mile fuel pipeline between Naval Base Point Loma and Marine Corps Air Station Miramar from the coastline to Rosecrans Street is essential, as about 4.5 miles of it are in need of repair or relocation to address deficiencies. The Navy said the seismic safety of the pipeline also needs to be enhanced to support its present and future fueling missions. To address erosion issues along the La Playa waterfront from McCall to Talbot streets, the Navy proposes having the pipeline relocated within the Rosecrans Street right of way. The relocation proposal has sparked fear from some residents and planners because they say the pipeline relocation project could pose a serious public-safety threat, adding to parking woes and area traffic congestion, since it is likely to be disruptive. In her written comments to the Navy command on behalf of the planning board, chairwoman Julia Quinn noted there are inconsistencies in the plan document, like a discrepancy in two different sections of the document, one of which says the pipeline relocation will entail 5 miles and the other saying only 3.5 miles. “This inconsistency in project descriptions has ramifications on the impacts to transportation/circulation along Rosecrans Street and needs to be addressed in a revised DEA that is circulated for public review,” said Quinn, adding the document “does not address how access along Rosecrans Street and intersecting roads will be maintained during construction, which is required for the public to determine impacts to transportation/circulation in our community. “The planning group, and the community at large, share other concerns about the pipeline project,” said Quinn. “The DEA states access to a significant number of residential and commercial properties will be impacted during project construction but does not address how access will be maintained to these existing residences and businesses during construction to ensure minimal disruptions to the traveling public as well as emergency response (fire and paramedics) during the construction phase,” she said. “Delays in emergency response vehicles could result in loss of life and property and is an impact that has not been addressed in the DEA.” Quinn said the lack of a fleshed-out traffic control plan in the DEA is a glaring omission. “The DEA should contain the traffic control plan at this time to justify the conclusion in the DEA that impacts to transportation and circulation will be less than significant,” Quinn wrote in her letter on behalf of the board. According to the assessment, the first portion of the pipeline repair and relocation under the proposed project would occur on the portion of pipeline that runs from Naval Base Point Loma to Lytton Street, “where the majority of anomalies have been found during past inspections.” However, the assessment does not identify the precise locations of identified anomalies. If the Navy pipeline realignment is approved, the project would be put out to bid and awarded during fiscal year 2015. The project is anticipated to have a two-year timeline, finishing sometime during 2016-17, the Navy said.
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    News
    NTC, OB bike stations approved and ready
    Though the Peninsula won’t be included in the initial rollout of bike share beginning Oct. 30 in downtown San Diego, six locations in Liberty Station, and four in Ocean Beach, are approved and read...
    Dec 18, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend
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    Sports
    PLHS players, coach named to fall honors teams
    Three Point Loma High senior athletes and a coach received the highest all-San Diego Section California Interscholastic Federation honors, and others were named to All-League Teams as awards were a...
    Dec 18, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend
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    Opinion
    Flu shots: No, thanks -- better safe than sorry
    Last November, little Marysue Grivna reportedly survived the prospect of a rare disease long enough to play a game of tag. Four days later, the 10-year-old Tampa girl fell ill with Acute Disseminat...
    Dec 18, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend
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    Arts & Entertainment
    2014: the theater year in review
    Exclusive of highly touted turkeys, it’s a fact that created critters were among the most impressive things seen on San Diego stages in 2014. Most jaw-dropping of all were the multitude of puppets ...
    Dec 18, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend
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    Business
    At OB's Mixte Communications, everything is new
    An Ocean Beach entrepreneur has a new company name, a new storefront, a new brand and a new direction. “Empowering nice companies” is the mission statement of Mixte Communications, formerly Jamie O...
    Dec 18, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend
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    Obituaries
    Adele Shank, UCSD playwright program founder, dies at 74
    Adele Edling Shank, who developed and led UCSD's playwriting program, died Nov. 27 in San Diego. She was 74. Pioneer of a writing style called hyperrealism, Shank joined the UCSD faculty in 1981 as...
    Dec 11, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend
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