Commentary

Observations

By John Patrick Ford

Marine terminal makeover

"My vision for the future of maritime trade in the Port of San Diego is based on flexibility," advised Ron Popham, senior director of the maritime division for the Port District. Starting his new post in June 2003, he promptly launched an update for the master plan for the two marine terminals at Tenth Avenue and National City. These projections for future business and capital improvements for a turn-around in his division were presented to the board of port commissioners workshop last week.

Maritime services back in spotlight

What is the future for maritime services in the Port of San Diego? Very promising, from what I see going on at the National City terminal. The naysayers advocating alternative economic land use of San Diego's tidelands should take a closer look.

Remembering the forgotten war

July 27 marked the 50th anniversary of the ceasefire for the Korean War. Two generations after hostilities ended, most South Koreans and Americans today have forgotten that technically we are still at war with North Korea. A peace treaty was never signed.

Different but really alike

European politics and economics are in transition and turmoil coping with globalization. Great Britain is caught between the United States rock and the European Union hard place in defining its role. This series of commentaries considers the similarities.

Swimming with sharks in red ink

How many more major San Diego firms will collapse under the weight of their obligations? Just eight months ago, I observed, "Corporate debt squeezes the market (Sept. 20, 2003). Peregrine Systems and Leap Wireless led the march to bankruptcy court. Now the state and perhaps the city governments are facing deficit reality.

Fossil fuel drives diplomacy

When the Senate recently defeated a motion to open up the Alaskan wilderness to petroleum drilling, one of the rival leaders challenged his colleagues supporting the controversial legislation. How can you vote to reverse environmental preservation, he admonished the oil advocates, when you refuse to impose higher standards for oil consumption on the automobile industry?

Challenge for a work force makeover

Motivational speakers are expected to inspire creativity for new ideas. Often they merely tell you what you already know and charge a big fee for your time.

Shadowlands at the park

Listening to the organized presentations and public comments at the Centre City Development Corp. board meeting was revealing. The advisory arm for the City Council governing the redevelopment of East Village is directed to "fine tune" the proposed revisions to the ballpark master plan. Specifically, CCDC voted on changes relating to adjacent commercial and public areas intended to enhance the redevelopment district.

Free trade expansion in the Americas

Chile has been a San Diego trading partner and seafaring link to Latin America and beyond ever since the Spanish conquistadors roamed the west coast of the Pacific. Until the Panama Canal opened in 1914, Valparaiso was the first major port of call after rounding Cape Horn on the New England trade route. San Diego was the next key stop for the 19th century sailing vessels because of its fine harbor and later as the first U.S. port of entry.

Mayor tackles Murphy's law

Mayor Dick Murphy's midterm State of the City Address in January slipped by without my evaluation of his achievements and pending issues. Too many accounting scams locally and across the land took priority over city planning.

Redefining the marketplace

Last year was a watershed for investors. Inflated real estate values and stock prices that peaked with the dot-com frenzy of 1999 hit the skids and still are seeking a stable base. Where can an entrepreneur or retiree put some money for reasonable return without too much risk of capital?

Low-income seniors join the homeless

Several civic and social service groups joined forces to provide affordable housing for low-income seniors. With rising rents and loss of single-room occupancy units (SRO), hundreds of elder citizens are being turned out onto the streets.

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John Patrick Ford

John Patrick Ford is a free-lance writer based in San Diego....

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