Cut to the Chase

Welcome to this archive of articles by SDET editor and activist, Carolyn Chase. Most of these articles were published in her weekly column in the San Diego Daily Transcript in the Opinion and Comments section - just look for the title "Cut to the Chase."

Click one of the icons below to go to a list of articles on the named topic, or check the list below for all articles.



Pub. Date Title Subject
SDDT 2/04 Political Litmus Tests
I've often pondered why anyone would run for public office. There’s a lot of overtime, as well as personal risk and overhead, to put in mildly. So what's it all about? Power, plain and simple.
SDDT 4/03 Choosing a City Attorney
The City Attorney's Office is low profile but high impact, having the legal authority to affect nearly every decision of the City Council.
SDDT 4/03 Here at Home
To the extent that wars can be noble, in terms of lofty goals, the Iraq war qualifies. It is also racked up its long list of pain and horrors, following up the initial shock and awe.
SDDT 3/3/03 Operation End Extremism
… That's what we really need right now: a movement to end extremism. Let's go see what this is about. The moment of hope began to fade when I tuned into the fact that it was a Senate Committee. Environment and Public works – an odd place to go after extremism, I think. But wait. It turns out the extremism they mean are environmental protections. The extremists they mean, it seems, include me.
SDDT 2/24/03 Irrational planning... on rails
The politics at issue here are the politics of big-money and good-old-boyism involved with so-called “Light Rail Transit” (LRT) planning in our region. There's nothing really “light” about LRT in terms of either the costs or time it takes to deliver.
SDDT 2/17/03 Great cities, great planning... and San Diego
The following are comments presented to the Land Use and Housing Committee on February 12, 2003, concerning General Plan Update Work program for the Planning Department. The group's purpose is to update the General Plan and Community Plans to become consistent with the Strategic Framework Element, aka “City of Villages.”
SDDT 12/02 A Christmas Story

Her letter was headlined “A Prayer for Success.” It read, “Christmas is not such a happy time when your rent is scheduled to increase at the beginning of January 1 – and your income has not increased proportionately.” This is a story as old as the story of human habitation…

SDDT 11/02 Balancing Progress With Preservation
The following is a condensed version of remarks from a speech I made to a San Diego Chamber of Commerce audience, entitled “Balancing Progress With Preservation.”
SDDT 10/14/02 Reinvent planning

How did they plan great cities before we had fancy computers to draw colorful maps? Are cities planned better since? These questions were brought into focus recently when I attended a meeting where developers were presenting their ground-truthing for the County's General Plan 2020 update.

SDDT 9/25/02 In pursuit of good growth

What do soccer moms, bored teenagers and weary commuters have in common? They are identified as just a few of the "victims of sprawl" in "Suburban Nation," a book by leading new urbanist designers and implementors: Andres Duany, Elizatbeth Plater-Zyberk, and Jeff Speck.

SDDT 9/1/02 City of Parks or City of Parking?
I do not disagree that this "Strategic Framework Element" for the General Plan contains some good language. But good language that is not enforceable and sets no standards is just that: pretty prose and nothing more.
SDDT 8/5/02 Housing Hysteria
Unprecedented discussions about San Diego’s unaffordable housing have taken place since a July 2001 City Council direction that staff create proposal for a "flexible inclusionary housing program with incentives."
SDDT 6/12/02 Plan before power
Bills are being pursued in the State legislature ... to give more land-use power to the San Diego Association of Governments by establishing it as the official, state-mandated regional government.
SDDT 5/27/02 Protect What Merits Protection
On May 1, 2002, Watt Commercial Properties had workers chop down three mature jacaranda trees in downtown San Diego.
SDDT 5/6/02 Traffic Olympics, Part 2: what's the opportunity?
We’re about to enter the Olympics of traffic congestion folks. You think you’ve got traffic now? You ain’t seen nothing yet!
SDDT 4/21/02 Merge Mash Madness, Part 1: The Mess
How will the construction of the new "bypass" lanes at the 5/805 merge impact already out-of-control traffic through the merge?
SDDT 2/25/02 Fired Up
The history of California’s beautiful landscapes has been greatly shaped by the awesome power of fire.
SDDT 2/6/02 Questioning Questions
You learn about people by the questions that they ask – how they are framed reveals much about the framer. This was brought into great focus recently during a presentation I was asked to give at a recent LEAD event.
SDDT 1/31/02 Who Gives?
I spent some volunteer hours over the holidays pouring over political campaign donor reports – wondering and learning – who gives?
SDDT 1/22/02 Justice Matters
District Attorney is up for re-election with a field of three healthy challengers in the March 5 primary.
SDDT 12/17/01 Leadership with Sprawl Vision
While most people would find solace in some swatches of remaining rolling hills and open space, each of those remaining private undeveloped areas of any size has plans and projects already permitted and/or in the pipeline.
SDDT 12/3/01 911: Reduce our Risk

At the beginning of the nuclear age, utility companies wouldn't go near the nuclear power business because no insurance firm would accept responsibility for accidents. Nuclear proponents lobbied and Congress passed the Price-Anderson Act of 1957. It was to be a temporary, ten-year measure to "encourage the private development of nuclear power."

SDDT 11/19/01 Political transition needed
"For the first time since the oil age began, the world has the technology to wean itself from petroleum coming from the politically volatile Middle East," says Lester R. Brown in his new book, "Eco-Economy: Building an Economy for the Earth."
SDDT 10/29/01 Lower costs doesn't equal more affordable
This is a Cut to the Chase "special edition" in the sense that it's a rebuttal to a commentary by Steve Doyle, President of the San Diego Building Industry Association. For those of you who didn't seen it, I include it, followed by my response.
SDDT 10/15/01 Being in a time of war
The list of things we think but cannot say is longer than ever. The list of "worry thoughts" that occur to us and must be endured is also rising. Many Americans have never directly experienced how to "be" during a homefront war.
SDDT 9/24/01 Public Education

Fifty years of lopsided spending [by SANDAG] on transportation has both failed to deliver reasonable traffic conditions and greatly contributed to the region's environmental degradation especially the fragmentation of open space and water pollution.

SDDT 9/10/01 Flat-Earth Thinking in Our Time

I'm fed up with big-airport boosterism. Study after study after study has piled up on putting a new international airport in the San Diego region. These studies provide easy targets for "Golden Fleece" awards from the San Diego County Taxpayer's Association.

SDDT 8/27/01 It takes a region
The foreseeable problems identified by RGEC - continued declines in quality of life due to sprawl, loss of open space, funding and infrastructure deficits, pollution and traffic - are unlikely to be solved until some accountable regional decision-making body is established to enhance the current limitations and biases of the SANDAG "agency-by-memo" structure.
SDDT 7/16/01 Santee Folly Square
Is there anything in this project that makes it oriented toward the trolley - other than the name? I think not. When you look at the site plan, it's dominated by parking, parking, parking. It's basically one-story, big-box, car-oriented retail: a poster child for "infill sprawl."
SDDT 6/18/01 Pollitics
Higher taxes or higher traffic? Which would you choose? The problem is, we are getting both.
SDDT 6/1/01 Guidelines for Future Development
The city of San Diego Planning Department is all honked-up in its production of an amendment to the General Plan, something blandly called the Strategic Framework Element.
SDDT 5/7/01 Management Breakdown at SANDAG

Debate rages over instituting a new form of regional government in San Diego. Why? If a recent San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) Board hearing is any indication, our current version of regional government simply isn't up to the complex task of deliberating and resolving the critical issues concerning growth management.

SDDT 4/23/01 Local EARTH Awards on April 26
In celebration of Earth Day 2001, San Diego EarthWorks has announced this year's winners of the EARTH (Environmental Action & Restoration That Helps) Awards. The EARTH Awards recognize San Diego businesses, government agencies, community leaders, and non-profit organizations that are making a positive difference for the environment.
SDET 4/01 Sea Whirled

First, the Chargers, then the Padres. Now, it's Anheuser-Busch/SeaWorld looking for their special treatment from City Council.

SDDT 3/23/01 Building for the future
Construction has been completed for phase one of the San Diego Jewish Academy, a 22-acre "green" school campus located on a 40-acre site in Carmel Valley.
SDDT 3/12/01 Great Streets
What are the key issues in dealing with the impacts of growth on our local streets and intersections?
SDDT 2/23/01 Regional questions

If regionalism is the answer, what's the question? And who's asking it?

SDDT 2/12/01 Regional Reflection

Carolyn reports on the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) annual retreat.

SDDT 1/26/01 In the dark

The Golden State has lost its glow -- literally. We are now the "Brownout State" and who can you call? Carolyn comments on the energy mess.

SDDT 1/12/01 Pollution Culture
The State Regional Water Quality Control Board in an attempt to further regulate and change the practices that have led to persistent water pollution has finally issued a new Municipal Stormwater Permit.
SDDT 11/17/00 Sustainable jobs
Short-sighted business interests persist in fighting environmental limits as overly costly and burdensome. Far from costing jobs, effective environmental policies can stimulate the creation of jobs ...
SDDT 10/27/00 Political sizing
What's a voter to think if most candidates are saying that they will be the one to actually do something about cleaning up our beaches and bays?
SDDT 10/23/00 Doable Dream
When you think about public transportation, innovation is not one of the top ten words that will usually come to mind.
SDDT 10/16/00 Open Secrets
The absolute most excellent site just showed up on the internet.
SDDT 10/9/00 Let the Voting Begin
Has anyone else noticed that advertisements are getting more and more absurd?
SDDT 9/25/00 Pointless pollution
Polluted runoff is considered by the state to be the leading cause of receiving water quality impairment.
SDDT 9/5/00 Driving Technology
Support Cleaner Cars for California (ZEV Program up for review)
SDDT 8/25/00 Taking our temperatures
SDDT 7/16/00 Who Wants It?
City of San Diego General Plan and Growth Shell Game
SDDT 7/14/00 Energy Prophets
Problems and solutions of energy deregulation
SDDT 8/7/00 Biotech vs Biology?
Sorrento Valley Rd /Torrey Pines State Reserve
SDDT 7/28/00 Exactly what's wrong
Mission Bay / Jet Ski Politics
SDDT 7/21/00 Process over performance
Just part of why our transportation systems are uncompetitive.
SDDT 7/10/00 Ask the Mayoral Candidates
Politics, Environment and The Mayor
SDDT 7/3/00 Market Failure
Affordable housing
SDDT 5/15/00 Blame Game
Wetlands vs. Roads
SDDT 5/8/00 Friendly Polluters
Mission Bay, Sea World and water pollution
SDDT 5/1/00 Penciling Out
Energy, Politics & SDG&E
SDDT 4/24/00 Rationale for Regionalism
Smart Growth & regionalism
SDDT 4/17/00 Do Your Part
Pollution solutions/energy
SDDT 4/10/00 Smart growth showdown
Assumption of Smart Growth
SDDT 4/3/00 Sprawlitics
County rezone of agricultural preserves
SDDT 3/27/00 Oil victims -- again
Energy, transportation
SDDT 3/20/00 Rational choices
Subsidizing "bad behavior"
SDDT 3/13/00 Putting up 
What would a great transportation system be like?
SDDT 3/6/00 Ambush week
Election politics
SDDT 2/28/00 Free To Be Stupid 
Election politics
SDDT 12/21/00 Blueprint for Los Angelization
Transportation planning -- NOT
STTD 2/14/00 Clean Energy Quest
Energy alternatives
SDDT 2/2/00 Uncommon sense
Transportation + Politics = Traffic
SDDT 1/28/00 Rhetoric vs. Reality
Election politics
SDDT 1/21/00 Sprawl schools
Schools vs. affordable housing
SDDT 1/17/00 Sloppy or Sleazy?
Election politics
SDDT 1/10/00 Building Green
Green homes
SDDT 12/27/99  Calendar Coincidence
SDDT 12/20/99  From Ho-Ho-Ho to Hot-Hot-Hot
Global warming -- humor
SDDT 12/10/99  Motions of Compliance
Congestion mismanagement
SDDDT 12/6/99 Congestion Politics
Transportation planning -- BAD
SDDT 11/26/99  Influences Past and Future
Growth/sprawl -- the Top 10 influences in American cities
SDDT 11/22/99  Growth Politics
Urban planning/sprawl -- Fanita Ranch
SDDT 11/12/99 Road to ruin 
Public weighs in on bad roads
SDDT 11/5/99 Evolving capitalism 
Natural Capitalism: The Next Industrial Revolution
SDDT 10/29/99 Sign of new times 
BIG signs not needed
SDDT 10/20/99  Solving Sprawl
How and why about sprawl
SDDT 10/18/99  What Fuels These Mortals Be
Oil overdependence & fuel economy
SDDT 10/11/99  Sludge Fund
Mission Bay Park, pollution & $$
SDDT 10/1/99  Ways to Go
Solutions & the paradox of suto-mobility
SDDT 9/24/99 Remember Bliss 
Designing for people, not cars
  Cool Companies 
Energy & bottom-line results
  Green Power Makes Cents
  EV Does It
Electric cars -- the single biggest thing an individual can do
  Personal cooling
  Civic Infrastructure
Public participation
SDDT 7/19/99 More of the same
SDDT 7/12/99 Clearing some air
SDDT 7/5/99 Permitting Pollution
Jet ski pollution
SDDT 6/28/99 Getting with the program
Recycled products purchasing co-op
SDDT 6/21/99 Preventing Pointless Pollution
Stormwater pollution prevention
SDDT 6/14/99 Interesting Times
Environmental revolution?
SDDT 6/7/99 Political Infrastructure
Thinking regionally
SDDT 5/31/99 Civic Salad
Smart growth
SDDT 5/24/99 Building Leadership
Green building
SDDT 5/17/99 Everyday decisions
Consumer's Guide to Effective Environmental Choices
SDDT 5/10/99 Beyond Sentiment
Energy victims
SDDT 5/3/99 Still Smarting
Smart growth
SDDT 4/26/99 Pollution Politics Persist
Water pollution
SDDT 4/19/99 Make the Connections
Earth Day
SDDT 4/12/99 Business Matters
ISO 14001 environmental management
SDDT 4/3/99 Planning to fail
Fees for smart growth
SDDT 3/29/99 Grow Getters
Smart growth?
SDDT 3/22/99 Course correction 
Business & Sustainability
SDDT 3/15/99 Better not Bigger
Myths of growth
SDDT 3/8/99 Driving Evolution
Green cars & trucks
SDDT 3/1/99 Growtesque
Dysfunctional growth
SDDT 2/22/99 Global Growth
Population growth
SDDT 2/15/99 Minds over Matter
How much stuff do we have?
SDDT 2/8/99 Lanes to nowhere
Congestion & sprawl
SDDT 2/1/99 Special Studies
Mission Bay Park
SDDT 1/25/99 Grow Up San Diego
Population growth
SDDT 1/18/99 Mismatch?
What kind of growth?
SDDT 1/12/99 Political Species
MSCP lawsuit
SDDT 1/5/99 Extinction Politics
Endangered Species Act & MSCP
SDDT 12/7/98 Sustainable Water Future
State water blueprint
SDDT 11/30/98 Giving Thanks
Carmel Mountain Preserve
SDDT 11/23/98 Cut taxes, save the world
Harnessing the market for the environment
SDDT 11/16/98 The Next Industrial Revolution
Business & environment
SDDT 11/9/98 Ballot Box Reality
Review of election results
SDDT 11/2/98 The Devil in the Details
Congress & the environment -- NOT
SDDT 10/26/98 Sprawl Wars
 Responsible growth?
SDDT 10/19/98 Political Truth: Just Say Moo
SDDT 10/12/98 Politically Confused
Governor & environment -- NOT
SDDT 10/5/98 Congressional Attachments
Congress & environment -- NOT
SDDT 9/28/98 Short-Attention-Span Politics
Who has time for politics?
SDDT 9/21/98 Public Trussed
"Poor" Bill Clinton
SDDT 9/14/98 Sprawling America
Suburban sprawl growth
SDDT 9/7/98 Cultural Evolution
Building vs stopping projects
SDDT 8/31/98 Don't inhale or Keep on Breathin'
Alternatives to diesel
SDDT 8/24/98 Trickle Down Housing
Affordable housing
SDDT 8/17/98 Putting a Price on Mom
Ecology, economics & growth
SDDT 8/10/98 Trip to Tomorrowland
Disneyland & trarnsportation planning
SDDT 8/3/98 Urban road warriors
Cars & wealth
SDDT 7/27/98 Car Redux
Grwoth & traffic
SDDT 7/20/98 21st Century Infrastructure: Builders Wanted
Science, environment & growth
SDDT 7/13/98 Driving Taxes
Vehicle licence fee cuts
SDDT 7/6/98 Planning Happens
Planning & growth
SDDT 6/29/98 Port Misauthority
Port of San Diego
SDDT 6/22/98 A Tale of Two Developments
Growth & development
SDDT 6/15/98 Political education
Transit connections missing
SDDT 6/8/98 Out of Balance
Politics & environment
SDDT 6/1/98 Who's Doing What
Politics & environment
SDDT 5/25/98 The Price Is Not Right
Price distortions & environment
SDDT 5/15/98 Get out of gridlock
Sharing the road
SDDT 5/8/98 Quite a vision or Growing Up?
Urban growth/open space
SDDT 5/1/98 Growth vs. evolution
SDDT 4/27/98 Time for a New American Dream
Voluntary Simplicity
SDDT 4/20/98 Act Locally for the Earth
Earth Week highlights
SDDT 4/13/99 Cut Polluter Pork
Cut pollution subsidies
SDDT 4/3/98 Smart Taxes
Tax pollution,reward enterprise
SDDT 3/30/98 Trash tangle
Where does the trrash go?
SDDT 3/23/98 Water Efficiency
State water systems
SDDT 3/16/98 A bay in the hand is worth a bunch to Busch, or
Givin' away the bay
Mission Bay Park
SDDT 3/9/98 Support South Bay's natural infrastructure
Wildlife refugs
SDDT 3/2/98 Going, Going, Gone
Endangered biodiversity
SDDT 2/23/98 All Wet
Local flooding issues
SDDT 2/16/98 Meet the Enemy
Population growth
SDDT 2/9/98 Jolly Trolley Folly
Transit effectiveness?
SDDT 2/2/98 Phase This, or Dumb or Dumber?
SR-56 & growth
SDDT 1/26/98 Prescription for Decongestion Needed
Freeway congestion
SDDT 1/12/98 Fields of Dreams, or People Politics
The ballot initiative process
SDDT 1/12/98 Growing the Future
Our addiction to growth
SDDT 1/5/98 New Year, New Hope
Political justice?
SDDT 12/29/97 In with the new
Year-end summary
SDDT 12/22/97 Responsibility Relief
Regulatory relief politics
SDDT 12/15/97 Pipe Dreams
California's water supply
SDDT 12/8/97 Tyranny of Choice or The Terms of the Deals
Downtown dealmaking
SDDT 11/31/97 Wanted: Operation Safe Sand
Beach erosion
SDDT 11/24/97 Back of the Bus
Multiple Species Conservation Plan
SDDT 11/17/97  Wets up?
Wetlands protection