Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Hazmat-suit Wearing San Diego Protesters to Urge California Coastal Commission to Halt Offshore Fracking 

Highlight dangers of dumping fracking chemicals into the ocean

SAN DIEGO, California— As the California Coastal Commission meets in San Diego, hazmat suit-wearing protesters with SanDiego350 and the Center for Biological Diversity will urge commissioners to halt fracking to protect the state’s precious oceans, wildlife, and beaches.

Protesters want the Coastal Commission to stop oil companies from fracking offshore wells and dumping dangerous fracking chemicals directly into California’s ocean. Offshore fracking involves blasting water and industrial chemicals into the sea-floor at pressures high enough to crack geologic formations and release oil and gas.

"Every offshore frack job increases the toxic threat to California's fragile ocean ecosystems," said Miyoko Sakashita, the Center for Biological Diversity's Oceans Program Director.

“Our beaches and coastal cities are some of the gems of San Diego tourism,” said Peg Mitchell, Fracking Campaign Leader for SanDiego350. “We can’t afford any risks to our local economy, nor can the marine life sustain any further damage to their waters”.

Protest against offshore fracking outside California Coastal Commission meeting

Wednesday, August 13, 2014 at 10 a.m.

Catamaran Resort, 3999 Mission Blvd., San Diego

Oil companies have fracked hundreds of wells off California’s coast, and about half the oil platforms in the Santa Barbara Channel discharge wastewater into the sea. The oil industry has federal permission to annually dump more than 9 billion gallons of wastewater, including toxic fracking fluid, directly into the ocean off California’s coast.

A recent Center for Biological Diversity analysis of 12 frack jobs in California waters found that at least one-third of chemicals used in these fracking operations are suspected ecological hazards. Drawing on data disclosed by oil companies, the Center also found that more than a third of these chemicals are suspected of affecting human developmental and nervous systems.

Because of the dangerously high pressures involved, fracking also increases the risk of a catastrophic accident like the 1969 oil spill that contaminated hundreds of miles of shoreline from Santa Barbara to the Silver Strand here in San Diego., an all-volunteer organization, is concerned about climate change and its very real effects on our livelihoods, well-being, and the future for our children. We work to increase awareness of climate change and advocate for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. We are loosely affiliated with, the international climate organization, whose work inspires us.

Coastkeeper Releases New Animated Map Showing Correlation Between Region’s Water Supply Sources and Drought

Map illustrates severity of and growing risk in current water supply sources

SAN DIEGO, August 12, 2014 – How does the severe drought in California and the Southwest impact San Diego’s imported water supply? Today, San Diego Coastkeeper, which protects drinkable waters in San Diego County, published an animated map that overlays drought conditions and an outline of watersheds from where the region imports water. The map shows the increasing severity of the drought through the last year as it relates to the watersheds from where San Diego imports water.

“It’s devastating to see this illustrated visually,” said Travis Pritchard, San Diego Coastkeeper program manager. “The watersheds from where San Diego draws its water are nearly 100 percent impacted by drought.”

The map’s color-coded portion depicts the severity of drought throughout California with data from the US Drought Monitor, a joint venture between the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the United States Department of Agriculture and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

To see the drought’s impact on our water supply sources, Coastkeeper overlaid the outlines of the Colorado River Basin and the Sacramento River Basin combined with the San Joaquin River Basin, which flow into the Bay Delta. The maps show the past year, using one map a month. For consistency, the drought maps are captured on the last Thursday of each month.

For more information on San Diego Coastkeeper, please visit

SAN DIEGO COASTKEEPER: Founded in 1995, San Diego Coastkeeper protects and restores fishable, swimmable and drinkable waters in San Diego County. Visit us online at

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

District attorneys urge passage of bills adding new enforcement tools against human trafficking

SACRAMENTO – District attorneys from San Diego and Riverside counties today urged passage of two bills in the fight against human trafficking (HT). The measures – SB 473 and SB 939 – authored by Senator Marty Block (D-San Diego) would elevate the crime of human trafficking to the same level as other gang offenses and sex crimes. Both are subject to a final vote by the Legislature this week.

SB 473 would treat human trafficking crimes committed by gang members with the same severity as 33 other gang offenses; SB 939 would streamline prosecution of human traffickers by allowing multiple offenses from different jurisdictions consolidated into a single trial.

“Human trafficking is among the most despicable and odious of crimes because traffickers treat victims as property to be used and sold,” Block said. “Winning the human trafficking war is a priority for me because trafficking cases filed in San Diego federal court have increased by more than 600 percent over the past five years.”

SB 473 would add human trafficking to the list of 33 crimes that define a criminal street gang under the California Street Terrorism Enforcement and Prevention Act. The anti-gang laws include strict penalties, but the statute has not been updated to include gang involvement in human trafficking. Inclusion would affect probation and parole conditions, augment law enforcement tools, and affect the way cases are handled by all stakeholders in the system.

“Senate Bill 473 takes direct aim at gang members who would victimize young women in communities across the State of California by adding human trafficking as offenses that can be used to establish a pattern of criminal gang activity,” said San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis. “”In short, it will help prosecutors build our cases against gang members who, until now, have been slipping through a loophole in the law.”

Supporters include Crime Victims United of California, the California District Attorneys Association, the Child Abuse Prevention Center and the California Sheriff’s Association. It is on the Assembly Floor Monday. It has received no “NO” votes in the Legislature.

SB 939 would streamline prosecutions and reduce court costs and the trauma experienced by victim witnesses who testify in human trafficking cases that cross multiple jurisdictions. The measure would permit the consolidation of serial human trafficking, pimping and pandering charges into a single trial if all the involved jurisdictions agree. Victims of these crimes are frequently taken to multiple cities and counties for labor and commercial sex exploitation. Prosecution involves trials in each of the multiple cities and count where the crimes occurred, with victims testifying in each of the trials. Current law already allows for the consolidation of other serial sexual offenses occurring in multiple jurisdictions. The Senate is expected to vote on concurrence in Assembly amendments Monday. It will then go to the Governor. SB 939 has not received any “NO” votes in the Legislature.

“Human trafficking is the fastest growing crime in California, and SB 939 will be a tremendous asset to prosecutors statewide and make it easier and more efficient to prosecute these types of cases,” said Riverside County District Attorney Paul Zellerbach. “At the same time, this bill will also provide human trafficking victims more protections under the law.”

Support for SB 939 includes California Against Slavery as well as Crime Victims United, the California District Attorneys Association and the California State Sheriffs Association.

Block added that human trafficking is highly lucrative and that stemming these crimes will take the use of multiple tools on multiple fronts. “Gangs and other perpetrators are using victims as their ATM machines,” Block said. “In San Diego, the human sex trafficking trade brought in $97 million in revenue as of 2007, more money than drug trafficking, according to a new Urban Institute study. We need to fight this on all fronts.”
Proudly representing the cities and communities of San Diego, Del Mar, Solana Beach, and Coronado

San Diego Coastkeeper Announces its Annual Seaside Soiree 


Proceeds from September 10 event will protect fishable, swimmable and drinkable waters in San Diego County 

SAN DIEGO, August 8, 2014–– On September 10, San Diego Coastkeeper hosts its annual Seaside Soiree to raise money and celebrate swimmable, fishable and drinkable waters in San Diego County. This year marks the 17th annual Seaside Soiree where guests, supporters, board members and staff gather to celebrate the importance of protecting San Diego’s underwater treasures and healthy waterways. Tickets are available online.

Taking place at the Scripps Seaside Forum in La Jolla, participants will mingle inside and outside and enjoy an oceanfront view with a spectacular sunset. The event, which runs from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m., promises a roaming buffet, cash bar, auction and opportunity drawing, interactive educational booths, fishy dance moves and fun.

SeaWorld presents the Seaside Soiree with additional support by The Waitt Foundation, San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, Regency Centers Corporation, Patricia A. Meagher and David C. Ritter, Micah Mitrosky & EDCO. Underwriting by the Cohn Restaurant Group. Sponsorship and underwriting opportunities still available.

Tickets can be purchased from San Diego Coastkeeper’s website. VIP Tickets are $250 and include free parking, hosted drinks and recognition during the event. General admission tickets are $100. To reserve a table or sponsor the event, contact Megan Baehrens at or (619) 758-7743 X103.


San Diego Coastkeeper
Founded in 1995, San Diego Coastkeeper protects the region's bays, beaches, watersheds and ocean for the people and wildlife that depend on them. We balance community outreach, education, and advocacy to promote stewardship of clean water and a healthy coastal ecosystem. For more information, visit San Diego Coastkeeper online at

September 3: Good Neighbor Dialogue to Explore Homelessness in Border Town

Other Good Neighbor Month festivities include Soup’s On, Good Neighbor Day 

SAN DIEGO, August 8- Father Joe’s Villages and its partner agencies joins forces with the University of San Diego’s Trans-Border Institute to present Good Neighbor Dialogue—Homelessness in San Diego: What Makes Good Neighbors? At the free event, a panel of experts will discuss the impacts of homelessness on the bi-national region. Speakers include St. Vincent de Paul Village Executive Director Ruth Bruland, Trans-Border Institute Director Dr. Everard Meade and the San Diego Police Department. Moderated by KPBS’ Mark Sauer, the Dialogue will take place from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on September 3 at the University of San Diego’s Joan B. Kroc Center for Peace and Justice.

“San Diego’s location in a border region makes us unique from most large cities in the U.S. and that reality presents both opportunities and challenges. At the Good Neighbor Dialogue, we will discuss the key homelessness issues and their impacts on the region as a whole,” said Diane Stumph, interim president and CEO of Father Joe’s Villages. “What a great kick off to Good Neighbor Month, which encourages neighbors to help neighbors in need.”

The Good Neighbor Dialogue is part of Father Joe’s Villages Inaugural Good Neighbor Month, which includes a variety of events to raise awareness about homelessness, encourage neighborly acts and provoke important dialogue around key homelessness issues.

In addition to the Good Neighbor Dialogue, highlights in this year’s Good Neighbor Month include Good Neighbor Day and Soup’s On, along with an Internet pledge to encourage San Diegans to do something for a neighbor in need.

Good Neighbor Day on Saturday, September 20, encourages San Diegans to conduct a kind gesture for a neighbor in need. The organization and its Good Neighbor Day participants will share many of these stories via social media.

Soup’s On is scheduled for Friday, September 26, at the Headquarters at Seaport Village. For $10, patrons will enjoy soup served in special bowls collected and hand painted by Toussaint teens, children in arts program, community members and local celebrities.

Father Joe’s and partner agencies are asking San Diegans to take a pledge through the website to commit to being a good neighbor and share how they will do it—volunteer, donate clothes and goods to St. Vincent de Paul Village or any number of other acts. Proceeds benefit the programs of St. Vincent de Paul Villages.

More information on donation of bowls for Soups On and sponsorship opportunities can be found by contacting Mike O’ Malley at or 619-260-2143.

For more information visit the Good Neighbor webpage.


As Southern California’s largest residential homeless services provider, Father Joe’s Villages and partner agency St. Vincent de Paul Village have been empowering people to achieve self-sufficiency for over 62 years. What started as a small chapel serving San Diego’s impoverished has grown into a cutting-edge provider of innovative housing programs and services. Father Joe’s Villages and St. Vincent de Paul Village prepare up to 3,000 meals and provide a continuum of care to nearly 1,500 individuals every day—from infants and adolescents to adults and seniors. This includes over 200 children and over 200 military veterans. As industry thought-leaders, the two agencies offer innovative solutions to address the complex needs of the homeless, regardless of age, race, culture or beliefs. The organizations’ primary goal is to transform lives and end the cycle of homelessness. To this end they provide housing, healthcare, food, clothing, education, job training and child development in an internationally modeled “one-stop-shop” approach. The organizations’ mission is made possible only through the efforts of compassionate staff, dedicated volunteers, and generous public and private donors. For more information, please visit: