Tag: public policy

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What the Past Means to the Present

Strange sometimes are the things tucked away—and forgotten. Our gas stove is acting oddly, with the clock resetting and occasional, but different, error codes flashing from the control panel. Surely something is in the process of failing; perhaps a fuse or circuit.

Appliances were new when we rented the apartment five years ago, and the owner’s manuals came with them. We stuffed the folder containing each in the cupboard above the range, which is from where I retrieved the lot today. How foolish of me to expect meaningful troubleshooting that reveals what are the codes. Instead, the manufacturer instructs to call for service should one of them appear. Oh yeah? Thanks for nothing.

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Defying COVID-19 Mandates

Today, international news media report that uncharacteristic—and possibly unprecedented—protests are underway across China (See BBC, Guardian, Sky NewsThe Times). Citizens are reportedly taking to the streets because of the government’s zero-SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 policy, which  has brought sweeping, but irregular, lockdowns across some of the country’s regions.

Going on for nearly three years, the restrictions, which include literally locking residents into high-rise apartment buildings as means of combating Coronavirus outbreaks, are as oppressive and severe as the first massive quarantines implemented in late January 2020. While the rest of the world moves to living with an endemic disease, China maintains a pandemic public health policy.

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Down the Drain

I sit and wonder on Friday evening before Election Tuesday what will be the outcome for the Midterms. For months, gleeful pundits predicted a Red Wave, as an angry and dissatisfied electorate boots Democrats from local political offices all the way to the halls of the U.S. Capitol. If the prognosticators prove right, red will better describe the bloodbath than resurgent Republicans.

Even in deep Blue California, Red rises enough that Joseph Biden stumped for candidates in San Diego County—last night and today. Supposedly, Democratic Rep. Mike Levin risks being unseated by Republican challenger Brian Maryott in the 49th District. If a Dem incumbent can’t defend against a Repub upstart in the Bluest state, the Jackass party is just that before the Elephant in the room (these folks really need better mascots/symbols).

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An Oddly Welcoming Warning

What if this wasn’t a Halloween decoration but a declaration to “Keep Out” of the graveyard—that there is no place available for any more, ah, residents. C`mon, who wouldn’t want the Grim Reaper to turn away guests? Put out one of those signs seen at the parking garage when all the spaces are taken.

Someone might argue such could be the situation because of SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19—meaning the Grim Reaper has an oversupply of recently deceased. Morbid, don’t you think?

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Is Today’s Classic Tomorrow’s Stigma?

For years, I have seen this truck parked along an alley located somewhere on the West side of Park Blvd in University Heights (not saying where, exactly). How long before old Fords like this one are taboo? San Diego’s three-summer climate is amazingly kind to vehicles of all varieties—like: Alfa Romeo Spider, battery-converted lowrider, Bel Air, Chevy cruiser, Mini, Nineteen-thirties-era Buick, red Rolls Royce Convertible,  or vintage Volkswagens. They last forever.

But California’s upcoming ban on sales of gasoline vehicles is sure to turn classic into stigma, because these presumed polluters won’t be tolerated by the socially-compliant masses enthralled by Climate Change doctrine. Their fervor is religious, uncompromising, and dogmatically committed to their truth (none other viewpoint is ever considered). Hey, just saying.

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Who You Gonna Call?

If electric cars are the wave of the future, and California calling for a ban on gas-guzzlers by 2035, is the power grid ready? The question demands an answer during the Labor Day weekend heatwave underway and officials advising citizens to conserve energy between 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. PDT. On the list: “Avoid charging electric vehicles“. Need more be said on the topic than that?

The Featured Image comes from Leica Q2 on Jan. 1, 2022. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/640 sec, 28mm; 10:15 a.m. PST.

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Membership Matters

Tonight I contemplate the polarized, partisan divide about voting, enlightened by an experience while shopping during late-afternoon. I had gone to Costco for kitty litter, which cost $2.30 more for 42 pounds than a few months ago. At least the manufacturer raised prices without shrinking size—surely such action is inevitable.

As I approached self-checkout, a new procedure greeted. An employee asked each customer to show the back of his or her Costco card—for photo identification. In some instances, the staffer also asked to see a driver’s license. I inquired why, when making my presentation. Answer: To prevent people from using someone else’s membership, which is not free ($60 to $120 annually).

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Homeless Corner No More

Our Smart & Final shopping trips dropped from once or more every seven days to none over several weeks—until today (the store stocks a different, and pricier, cat food that’s not our preferred brand). Look what we missed, although I can say from driving by over the weekend that the SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 testing site is a rather recent addition.

I am accustomed to seeing indigent folks hanging out on that corner; uh-oh, somebody won’t be happy about losing their spot. Perhaps the test site is meant to reach the many homeless who are frequent fixtures in that area of San Diego neighborhood North Park (along University Avenue between Mississippi and Texas streets).

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Let the Kids Breathe!

Seriously, San Diego Unified School District?  SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 mandates are back, starting yesterday. Students are required to muzzle up—uh, wear masks—once more. Because of the time of year, you might ask “Who cares?” Some kids are taking summer classes, then there are the year-round schools like Alice Birney Elementary.

Granted, Omicron BA.5 rapidly spreads. But the virus is unstoppably contagious—and that’s without factoring the science too often ignored by policymakers: Because of its small size, SARS-CoV-2 easily passes through most face coverings, like those that youngsters wear.

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Does Anyone Care Enough to Comply?

While my household has ample supply of masks, including environmental and medical N95s, I have absolutely no plans to cover up should mandates return—and looks like they will; in Los Angeles County, at least, and possibly here in San Diego, too. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention returns both areas to the SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 high-risk category, which could lead to resuming face-covering requirements.

As of yesterday, according to official public health data that excludes Long Beach and Pasadena, 1,107 people are hospitalized in LA County—up from 606 about thirty days earlier. One-hundred twenty-nine are in intensive care, or about 11 percent of capacity. Daily Coronavirus deaths: Four, which is down from six on June 14. And that’s a health emergency enough to bring back mask mandates?

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The One That Remains

Two days ago, I shared with you a palm pair on Oregon Street in North Park; the shorter of the two had been marked by city contractors for removal. More by chance than planning, my wife and I walked by the location this afternoon; the tree infested with South American Palm Weevils is gone.

The other must be healthy because it still stands, as you can see from the Featured Image. Vitals: f/1.7, ISO 100, 1/8000 sec, 28mm; 3:50 p.m. PDT. I used Leica Q2 to make two street shots, choosing the cropped top to include the magnificent, sprawling shadow.

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The Fourth on Fifth Avenue

For an errand, this afternoon, I walked from my neighborhood of University Heights to Hillcrest and back. To celebrate Independence Day, the city put out American flags. The Featured Image captures two on Fifth Avenue beside one of the many controversial, and new, bike lanes.

San Diego is in the process of transforming select streets to connect a regional bikeway. The idea is to gain, ah, independence from carbon-emitting vehicles by encouraging more pedal power. Oddly though, hybrid electric or motor bikes are suddenly everywhere, which makes me wonder about the strategy. One reason: Those riders tend to avoid the bike lanes and flow with traffic; the partially powered two-wheelers are too fast-moving.