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    Scientists, wildlife groups and fishermen discuss local Marine Protected Areas
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Mar 25, 2017 | 2051 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    The coastline of Bird Rock, which is in the South La Jolla State Marine Conservation Area. / Photo by Thomas Melville
    The coastline of Bird Rock, which is in the South La Jolla State Marine Conservation Area. / Photo by Thomas Melville
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    Stakeholders heard what's going on with baseline studies of existing fish and other marine species in Marine Protected Areas along the Southern San Diego coast including La Jolla and Pacific Beach on March 20. The public meeting at Marina Village Conference Center was held by California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Ocean Protection Council and Ocean Science Trust. It drew scientists, fishermen and other consumptive ocean users, as well as grad students eager to hear about progress being made with MPAs. Required by the 1999 Marine Life Protection Act and in effect since Jan. 1, 2012, MPAs were created to help repopulate dwindling fish and other marine species. Known as “underwater state parks,” MPAs set aside sensitive ecosystems via creation of no-fishing zones to allow marine life and habitats an opportunity to recover and thrive. Some fishermen and other consumptive ocean users have been critical of the MPA concept. They questioned its viability, arguing it crowded their commercial interests while threatening the local marine-oriented economy. MPA supporters countered that they are absolutely essential to allow fish and marine species adequate time to recover from commercial fishing, as well to help restore degraded marine ecosystems. “We're here to provide you the key findings of the baseline monitoring work being done on our South Coast MPA region,” said Becky Ota of California Department of Fish and Wildlife. “We're here to provide this information as a spring board into what needs to happen for further monitoring of MPAs as a whole.” Marine ecosystems change over time, and baseline monitoring to determine existing conditions of ocean species is a critical first step in documenting the status quo of San Diego ocean conditions. Scientific data gathered during South Coast MPA baseline monitoring will guide future ocean management practices regionally. Baseline monitoring analysis will also improve understanding of fish, lobster and other key marine species, while tracking their numbers, size and movements. La Jolla has two adjoining MPAs at the South La Jolla State Marine Conservation Area and South La Jolla State Reserve, which together cover 7.51 square miles, stretching from Palomar Avenue to Missouri Street in Pacific Beach. They are two of 36 new Marine Protected Areas adopted by the California Department of Fish and Game Commission as part of the Marine Life Protection Act. Additionally, the historic Marine Protected Areas at La Jolla Shores, stretching to the Scripps Pier, was also retained. Scripps Institution of Oceanography marine ecologist Ed Parnell and diver Danielle Muller of Southern California Coastal Ocean Observing System, gave slide presentations. The goal of MPA monitoring, noted Muller, is for biologists to know “how many plants and animals there are, and where they're at.” She added ocean conditions – winds, waves and currents – as well as topographical features on ocean bottoms, help guide researchers' studies. She added the location and movements of many ocean species are “driven by the temperature and salinity of the water.” In his talk, Parnell detailed his studies on the local spiny lobster, a species important to the local commercial fishing industry, located in and around La Jolla MPAs. “We wanted to study the lobster populations, comparing their numbers in protected MPA areas versus unprotected areas outside MPAs,” said Parnell noting lobsters were caught, tagged, released and recaptured in metal commercial traps. Parnell said studies thus far have shown that lobsters tend to be larger, and grow faster, as you head north up the coast from San Diego. Parnell suggested the north-south size differential of lobsters might be attributed to fishing outside MPAs, which depletes the number of larger-sized lobsters allowed to be legally taken by commercial anglers. To learn more about South Coast MPA baseline monitoring, and to access data, visit oceanspaces.org/scsotr.
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    America's Schooner Cup returns to San Diego in April
    Mar 22, 2017 | 19854 views | 0 0 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    America's Schooner Cup 2016 winner Lively leads Rose of Sharon into San Diego Bay. / Photo by Cynthia Sinclair
    America's Schooner Cup 2016 winner Lively leads Rose of Sharon into San Diego Bay. / Photo by Cynthia Sinclair
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    Historic ships from throughout the country’s history will be showing off in San Diego Bay for the 29th running of America's Schooner Cup on Saturday, April 1. Hailing from Southern California and the Pacific Northwest, more than 12 schooners are expected to take the starting gun. The schooners range in length from 35 to 150 feet. Spectators may watch the start and finish off Shelter Island. No registration is necessary for those viewing from Shelter Island. Spectators should arrive at 11:15 a.m. Three groups of schooners will each start between 11:30 and noon. The race runs from Shelter Island, out of the bay and back and typically takes 2-3 hours. For those who want to be part of the action, three vessels will be taking a limited number of guests: - Californian – California's official state Tall Ship – a great option for those who want to participate in the race – sdmaritime.org; - Bill of Rights – a 136-foot replica of a 19th century coastal schooner – another lively option for those who want to participate in the race – schoonerbillofrights.com; - San Salvador – a replica of Juan Cabrillo's ship that first visited San Diego in 1542 – a fun option for spectators – sdmaritime.org. The race is hosted by Silver Gate Yacht Club, with all proceeds going to the Navy/Marine Corps Relief Society – a nonprofit whose mission is to help Navy and Marine families. The event will be supported by Star Clippers, a worldwide cruise ship company featuring tall ships.
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    Status of short-term vacation rentals in limbo
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Mar 20, 2017 | 13857 views | 1 1 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    The city's Smart Growth and Land Use Committee is scheduled to take up the vacation rental issue again March 24.
    The city's Smart Growth and Land Use Committee is scheduled to take up the vacation rental issue again March 24.
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    The tide in the battle by beach residents seeking to restrict – or exclude – short-term vacation rentals in single-family neighborhoods may have turned with an about-face at the city attorney's office. Immediate past City Attorney Jan Goldsmith had maintained rules and regulations governing short-term vacation rentals were vague and needed clarification. New City Attorney Mara Elliott has taken a completely different tack with her March 15 issuance of a memorandum of law advising the City Council on the housing issue. "The city has a ‘permissive zoning ordinance,’” said Elliott's memorandum. “This means that any use that is not listed in the city's zoning ordinance is prohibited.” Elliott's memo subsequently pointed out, “Short-term vacation rentals are not specifically defined, expressly permitted, or listed in any of the zone use categories, including residential or commercial." The city attorney's memo came at a key time, just before the city's Smart Growth and Land Use Committee is scheduled to take up the vacation rental issue again March 24. Last November, following five hours of public testimony, a motion by then-City Council President Sherri Lightner, which some feel would have largely banned short-term vacation rentals in single-family neighborhoods, was defeated by a 7-2 vote. Lightner’s proposal would have restricted a homeowner's ability to rent to transients for less than 30 days in most single-family zones, with renters or owners of single-family homes also not able to rent out a room or space for less than seven days without proper permitting. An alternative motion brought by then-Councilmember, now-Assemblyman Todd Gloria was subsequently passed in November by the same 7-2 margin. His counter motion requested city staff do a fiscal analysis to determine the cost of greater stvr enforcement citywide, asked staff to draft and return with a comprehensive ordinance better defining and regulating short-term vacation rentals, as well as remanding the matter back to the City Council's Smart Growth and Land Use Committee for further consideration. Reacting to Elliott's pronouncement, 1st District Councilmember Barbary Bry said: "I was pleased to read the memo issued by City Attorney Mara Elliott confirming that short-term vacation rentals do not fall under any permissible use in the municipal code and are therefore prohibited in the city of San Diego. I look forward to working with my colleagues on the council to determine the best way to allow property owners to participate in home sharing.” Pacific Beach resident Ronan Gray, a spokesperson for Save San Diego Neighborhoods, a grassroots group opposed to short-term vacation rentals in single-family neighborhoods, called Elliott's comment a “game changer” in beginning to address noise, trash and other recurrent problems with short-term rentals. “Suddenly, these mini hotels that have been popping up are now illegal,” Gray said. “We bought our homes expecting to be living in residential, not commercial areas. This type of use is clearly commercial.” Gray added: “When you turn a home into a hotel – nobody wants to live there, it's just a constant stream of strangers and tourists. That's not what our neighborhoods are for.” Gary Wonacott, president of Mission Beach Town Council, located in an area where large numbers of short-term vacation rentals are present, said the beach community has taken a centrist approach to dealing with the issue. “While the MBTC membership has, on multiple occasions, expressed concern for the increase in the number of short-term rentals in Mission Beach in the past decade, and has voted for a minimum number of days allowed for a short-term rental, the Mission Beach community has historically embraced vacation rentals,” Wonacott said. “It is now a matter of working with the city to ensure that the final ordinance implemented by the city incorporates the features in the Mission Beach plan that tailor the requirements to the culture of this unique and special community in San Diego,” Wonacott said.
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    PSJ13
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    March 22, 2017
    I love this part: "the Mission Beach community has historically embraced vacation rentals,” Wonacott said.

    What community? There is no community in Mission Beach. That's the point! It's been taken over by STVRs. I think be "community" Wonacott is referring to the companies and absentee owners who run these former residences - now turned mini-hotels. Take a walk through MB. It's trashed - a shell of a community. A blighted tourist trap that used to be a neighborhood.

    Sundaes fundays at Kate Sessions Elementary in Pacific Beach
    Mar 16, 2017 | 9333 views | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Principal Joseph and Miss Emerson were turned into human sundaes at Kate Sessions Elementary on March 6.
    Principal Joseph and Miss Emerson were turned into human sundaes at Kate Sessions Elementary on March 6.
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    Principal Joseph and Miss Emerson fulfilled a promise to their students at Kate Sessions Elementary at a morning assembly on March 6 in front of the student body, faculty, and parents. The duo had promised the students that if they met the PTO's fundraising goal of $15,000 at the jog-a-thon they would allow the children to turn them into human sundaes. The students not only met the goal but exceeded the it and raised $16,400, which funds the library, music, art, and Spanish programs at the school. One by one, the students added more layers of ice cream, chocolate syrup,and cherries to the human sundae to the delight of the cheering crowd.
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    Smooth sailing ahead as Arts District at Liberty Station celebrates 10th anniversary
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Mar 16, 2017 | 14989 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Now through the rest of the year, the foundation is planning activities to honor the past, including an enhancement of Arts District signature events – monthly free Friday Night Liberty art walks, Salute the Season holiday events and seasonal block parties.
    Now through the rest of the year, the foundation is planning activities to honor the past, including an enhancement of Arts District signature events – monthly free Friday Night Liberty art walks, Salute the Season holiday events and seasonal block parties.
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    The 10th anniversary of Liberty Station's Arts District is being celebrated throughout 2017 with a host of programs and activities on the former Naval Training Center's 100-acre campus. Now through the rest of the year, the foundation is planning activities to honor the past, including an enhancement of Arts District signature events – monthly free Friday Night Liberty art walks, Salute the Season holiday events and seasonal block parties. New anchor events will include a free summer concert series, a Saturday night cinema series, art installations at Liberty Station and temporary art exhibits throughout the grounds. The Arts District has “unfolded” over the past decade thanks to the leadership of the NTC Foundation, a nonprofit established in 2000 by the City of San Diego. Empowered to make the proposed Arts District a reality, the group has accomplished exactly that. But it hasn't been easy, admitted the foundation's executive director, Alan Ziter. To see how far the district's come, Ziter noted you have to look back at how it all started. “What was given to the NTC Foundation by the city were 26 abandoned Navy buildings, all in various states and conditions – and no money – and they said, 'Go ahead and make an arts district out of this,' ” said Ziter. “So the NTC board in 2000 really had to assess what could fit in these first 16 buildings, what they could be used for, how much it would cost to renovate them, and who could make a home here.” Today, with 16 of 26 historic buildings completed in Liberty Station, the Arts District is home to more than 80 tenants including dance companies, galleries, creative businesses, museums, and nonprofits. More than 500,000 people visit the Arts District annually, adding $41 million of economic impact and 706 jobs to the region. Two Arts District tenants, artist Lauren LeVieux and the San Diego Dance Theater, praised the Arts District as a venue of opportunity. “For two years in Barracks 15 Studio 203, I have asked myself how to turn part of an outdoor breezeway built in the 1920s into my art,” said Lauren LeVieux. “I wanted to create art there, show art there, and I wanted my studio to be art. “Countless paintings completed, 24 First Friday Events, two tree lightings, two block parties, and two Halloween parties have brought people of all types to see my work … During my two years at Liberty Station, collaboration opportunities have come my way. Among them, a chance to work with San Diego Repertory Theater and develop custom art to complement a play,” LeVieux said. “Later I was invited to curate a series of group shows in the Command Center at Liberty Station in order to get the resident artists’ work into a common space where the variety and quality of artwork could be visible … I also had a chance to set up a table in the Public Market every Tuesday morning,” LeVieux added. “Being part of this artistic community has really evolved the programming that we offer,” said Matt Carney, executive director of San Diego Dance Theater. “In the past we would mostly just produce our own shows by our artistic director and resident choreographer. “Now we are helping to promote and produce a community of artists from San Diego and beyond. An example of this is our 10-day dance festival, Live Arts Fest, where we produce 10 evenings of dance showcasing a different group each night.” Noting that redeveloping Liberty Station has been a challenge given the architectural limitations imposed by the historically designated former Naval base, Ziter talked about Arts District changes yet to come. “Ideally we'll have a 300-seat performance venue, as well as more art installations,” he said, adding, “The key thing here is the money. Historical building are expensive to renovate.” Ziter said funding to renovate Arts District buildings comes from a number of sources, including historical tax credits, private donations, financing a mortgage and fundraising. “Going forward, we'll be looking for development partners,” said Ziter. “We would talk with any developer who has a compelling idea that aligns with our mission of creating a vibrant arts district.” Arts District activities To learn more and view a calendar of Arts District 10th anniversary season activities, visit www.ntcfoundation.org/celebrating-10-years.
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