This month, construction has begun on Santee’s Castlerock Community (Update: Now called Weston). This area is just next to my home. I am just walking distance away, and I wanted the opportunity to photograph the hills above Santee before they were carved and changed forever. Continue reading
Ban Plastic Shopping Bags
I have used my last plastic shopping bag. As 2016 approaches, one of my goals is to stop using or allowing retailers to use plastic shopping bags for my groceries and items.
The Hundred Billion Dollar Boondoggle
Right now, Californians are well on their way to making a huge mistake. The Los Angeles to San Francisco high-speed rail line indeeds sounds great on paper. The idea that in just a few hours, you can head from the South to the Bay Area with stops in the Central Valley, sounds appealing. Yet, time after time, history shows us that this expensive mass-transit project will not work.
The Big Dig:
Originally supposed to be a $5 billion dollar project and ended up over $20 billion dollars. If you think California has an accurate idea on the final costs of building this project, then I have some beachfront land to sell you in Bakersfield.
Will there be enough people using high speed rail to pay it’s own way, or will taxpayers indefinitely be subsidizing it similar to Amtrak? Will the rates be affordable enough to justify a train ride and eliminating one vehicle on the road?
Mass Transit Only Works In Certain Areas:
Only in regions where travel by car is irrefutably difficult does mass transit truly work. Communities like New York and Chicago are examples where it has worked. But larger regions with more urban sprawl such as Southern California have made mass transit practical for only a small subset of the driving population.
High Speed Rail is not without environmental concerns, including one of the canyons they wish to build to bypass the freeway in the Bay Area.
Cedar Creek Falls Sucks
This is quite something to say about what is the most picturesque waterfall in San Diego County. After the closure of Cedar Creek Falls, I hoped that something could be done to reign in the partiers, jerks, and immature people clogging the falls every weekend. After my first visit with the Cleveland National Forest’s permitting system, I was very disappointed.
So What Has Changed?
Virtually nothing has changed except for a guy who may check for your permit at the San Diego Country Estates parking lot. Descending the trail to the Falls, there were a lot of people. 75 permits are supposed to be released per day, and you can name several people on the permit. This was a weekend, and near the opening of the permitting system, so I wasn’t too concerned with the foot traffic.
As I approached the falls, I realized nothing had changed. There was no Forest Service presence to be found anywhere. People continued to cliff dive, which is strictly against the rules. In fact, people were steading themselves with one hand, holding onto the No Diving Sign, while scaling their way up to dive.
Across the pond at the bottom of the fall, the tree in the alcove still had the swinging rope attached for more diving.
As my friends and I left, we encountered numerous people openly drinking out of beer cans to the falls. This was a day that would get into the high 90s, and I even felt a little heat exhaustion heading back up the switchbacks. Yet, there were more people, worrying about having a party than being safe, endangering themselves and others.
In fact, I overheard a conversation to my right where the people claimed they had continued visiting Cedar Creek Falls during the “closure.” I have no doubt they were telling the truth, and by the absentee display of the Forest Service, no doubt they easily got away with it.
The half-ass measures put in by the Forest Service haven’t changed a thing. Cedar Creek Falls is a beautiful place overrun by a bunch of clowns and partiers who are making the place an unpleasant and potentially unsafe location to see. Their ignorance of this pre-closure helped provide the atmosphere that resulted in a death and very serious injury. It simply doesn’t have to be this way.
Cedar Creek Falls Hall of Shame
I could post a ton of these images, but you will get to the point. Cleveland National Forest, you can do better!
You may not have heard about the crap power plant that the City of San Diego wants to put in next to their equally lousy garbage dump. It is titled the Quail Brush Power Plant. So why is everyone in Santee so pissed off about it?
Most people don’t realize that nearly the entire property north of Mast Blvd up to Medina Drive is actually San Diego City Limits. From what most Santee residents can tell, this exists for nothing more than an opportunity to build legacy infrastructure that they don’t want blighting the rest of their city. This is the reason that they have sought to expand the Sycamore Canyon Landfill since Miramar will be projected to close in 2022 and the Gregory Canyon landfill proposal is running into a little more resistance than expected (common sense?)
The flimsy excuse used for the Quai…Actually I will just call it the Screwing Over Santee Power Plant is that it is needed to account for times when their renewable energy is not generating power.
Perhaps San Diego should have a chat with their neighbors in Chula Vista who have enjoyed this oceanfront property since 1960.
<sarcasm>I am stunned that the residents of Chula Vista are not fully appreciating this architectural masterpiece.</sarcasm>
San Diego thinks it is fine to build 11 100 foot stacks that will be seen anywhere there is a view of Santee (You know, Mission Trails, the most popular Regional Park in the entire county.
The effects of this completely unneeded power plant are disproportionately felt by the residents of Santee. It will be less than a mile from one of the City’s two high schools. The air pollution from this plant will be downwind from the San Diego River and Santee Lakes (you know, where you like to go to catch fish…hope you like more mercury in your diet). It will likely also contaminate other reservoirs in East County as well. Don’t believe the crap proponents are trying to pass off that it is environmentally progressive. That is the health equivalent of low-tar cigarettes.
Not only do these unnecessary projects (like the Sunrise Powerlink) blight our county, but guess who bears all the financial risk? It’s not Sempra Energy, it will be paid for by SDG&E rate-payers. The operating company, Cogentrix, isn’t going to live and die by the “success” of this project but East County residents will. I won’t even link to their lousy website, which has a view of North Fortuna Peak in Mission Trails Regional Park, although you might want to hike it now before the 11 smokestacks are operating, the dump is already bad enough.
So what should be done?
The City of San Diego Planning Commission needs to reject the request to initiate an amendment to the East Elliot Community Plan to redesignate a portion of a 22 acre parcel from open space to industrial.
The City of San Diego needs to take serious consideration of transferring all City Limits East of the Sycamore Landfill (they can keep it) to the City of Santee where the local residents affected can actually have a say in the matter.
Utilities, public agencies, and private companies need to come together to actually build a real environmental future. I am not a betting man, but if I were, I am thinking these plants aren’t going to be part of the blueprint. The person or persons who can develop the technology to harness long-term electrical storage generated from renewable energy, as well as increase the capacity of our solar technology to store more of the Sun’s energy (you know, that thing that has been powering the Earth for 4 billion years) is going to be lending money to Bill Gates’ family someday.
Will this happen? Will all of our knowledge, intelligence, and ambition give us the opportunity to chart the power needs of this entire planet in the near future? My instinct says yes, and it also says that it will only happen when that is the only option. That has to come with saying No, saying No again, and saying No once more after that. Only then will the creative power of humanity remove us from the carbon era.