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The Ross Retort Selected Archive

Political commentary in the Carmel Valley News & Del Mar Village Voice. Winner of Society of Professional Journalism & San Diego Press Club awards in several categories, including Non-Daily Column writing.

6/11/04  Society of Professional Journalism Award

Two great communicators died Saturday, Ronald Reagan and my mother, Betty Ross. Their physical lives ended long after their brains gave up the ghost.



As the current City Council comes to the end of its first term, streams of angry citizens are arguing that far too much of the people’s business is conducted  behind  closed  doors.



Environmental activists slung so many piles of dirt at friends and potential friends in a flurry of emails during this past campaign season that even the master of meaning, McKluhan, could not discern what it means to be an environmentalist in San Diego, anymore.


By all accounts they are male, white and snuggly plugged into the halls of power. None are elected. Collectively  and  individually  they  are centerfold material for the ruling clan.



Four-year-old Jackie was not the youngest kid schlepped to the polls by mom last Tuesday. But, he was one of the first to experience voting on a Game Boy.


The Feds are back at City Hall, sifting through records for the third time since the 2000 elections--another humiliating event for the class of Y2K who said they would make city government more accountable.


New York City and the City of San Diego changed places in the fiscal emergency room, according to one of the nation’s four bond credit rating services.


It is the last place where I expected to hear chatter about San Diego’s municipal employee pension fund fiasco—the seething debacle that certainly will send the city into the financial abyss by 2009 if allowed to continue on the current road to insolvency.


.. the specter of a 10-acre Home Depot in Sorrento Valley is an economic as well as an environmental hair-raiser. Where Home Depot goes, other big boxes follow, threatening to change another San Diego institution from a beehive of technology incubators to another Outlet Mall. 


What a  difference a catastrophe makes in the political life of a city.

Before 600,000 acres, including a chunk of suburban Scripps Ranch, went up in smoke, San Diego’s Mayor Murphy was politically invincible. Everybody liked Dick, or so it seemed.


And then the red-tiled roof security blanket was ripped off this

dozing population last weekend when the 45 mile long fire trail called Cedar connected the city of San Diego with rural Julian. We should never think the same way again.


Legendary film director Elia Kazan died this week at age 95􏰀. He was one of those vexing sorts, 􏰁a reminder that big lives do not fit within tightly drawn comfort zones􏰀.


And so it was dismaying that this month, two icons for such cooperative work, the County's proposed 2020 General Plan process, and the community plan that guides development of the Meadows Golf Resort, are in trouble.


Manchester has applied for a city permit to bury him and four family members in a plot of flat grass covered land on the highest point of The Meadows golf course, overlooking chaparral covered canyons and the ocean- the ultimate nineteenth hole.


It is the little school district that could have, should have and did, in a community that insisted, resisted and made it happen.


These plans melt into mush if state fiscal policies are not in tune with the new vision, design guidelines are unclear or unenforceable, implementation mechanisms are weak and financing of infrastructure is nonexistent-all poison pills in the City of Villages.


Despite the Mayor of San Diego's best effort to put on a happy face during his State of the City sermon last Monday, he had to feel the bottom dropping out from beneath his feet as the aftershocks radiating from the state's gargantuan $35 billion deficit earthquake hit home.


Socialist Henri Queuille, French Premiere for a Year just after World War II, quipped that "politics is the art of postponing decisions until they are no longer relevant."



I am disgusted with Augusta􏰁, the Augusta National Golf Club, to be exact, a Georgia cultural cul de sac where powerful men secretly grovel for inclusion in an exclusive golf club petrified of pink􏰀.

11/12/02   San Diego Press Club Award

And so, while my buddies in San Diego were walking precincts, this early Sunday morning six Carmel Valley/Del Mar day-trippers would begin a 26.2 mile jaunt through the friendly streets of New York's five boroughs..friendly streets of New York's five boroughs.



But the City of San Diego􏰂s most sparkling gem, La Jolla, is about to pop out of its setting.􏰀 A hibernating but festering secession movement that has sporadically surfaced for at least fifty years has awakened, again􏰀.


Much to the surprise of community leaders along the State Route 56 corridor, a little-known state-wide ballot measure on the November ballot would fund the missing northbound connectors from State Route 56 to I5.


We have enough problems with hate in the country without inventing more to advance a narrow

political agenda or to elect anyone to office.


08/10/02 is puzzling why this crucially important industry, represented by its trade group Biocom, decided to flex some new-born political muscle on behalf of a commercial developer who wants to build two buildings bigger in what is shaping up to be a gun fight against the neighbors in Torrey Hills, many of whom are members of the tech tribe.


t was clear to anyone paying attention to these abusive proceedings that neither the City Council nor the Planning Commission were prepared or qualified to make decisions based on health and safety issues 


San Diego Poice officers cried Pay Day May Day last week when their pleas for more cops and competitive pay got the cold shoulder from San Diego’s City Manager and City Council during this year’s contract negotiations between the city and its four employee labor unions.


The sky was so clear that I swear from 25,000 feet I caught a glimpse of Kathryn Burton’s six precious acres of Torrey Hills open space lying somewhere in the vicinity of another hard won habitat preserve, Carmel Mountain with its connections to the magnificent Los Penasquitos Canyon and Los Penasquitos Lagoon.


The commission appointment process, where politicians seeking a political leg-up turn themselves upside down for attention and those already in charge mete out thanks for election time support



But, the really big gap meets drivers who wish to head north at El Camino Real, where they must exit, cross several signals and turn right to enter I-5, which yes Virginia, is metered.

01/25/02    San Diego Press Club & SPJ Awards

Super Bowl Sunday evening, KPBS will take a break from its usual edgy polar bear mating programming to air a do-not-miss documentary called the Culture of Hate-Where Do We Go From Here from Emmy Award winning film maker and Carmel Valley resident Lee Harvey. 


Calling all intravenous drug addicts—the City of San Diego invites you down to mid-city to trade in your old needles, two at a time, for clean needles and syringes so that your current out of control disease does not bring you and the people you have casual sex with two worse deadly diseases, AIDS and Hepatitis C.


But why the Sorrento Hills Y is in danger of getting hosed by the City isn’t a laughing matter, and the community will deserve some real answers if we lose this great amenity because of bureaucratic myopia. 


And so, when the County Board of Supervisors committed the political crime of the decade by kidnapping a highly valued member of our coastal supervisorial district family and sending a country cousin back in exchange, I reacted like a vulture hovering over carnage—it looked and smelled bad, but such a tasty morsel for a columnist.

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