Commentary

John Patrick Ford

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

Observations

Animal lovers are freaking out over the perceived treatment of the orca whales that are the celebrity stars of SeaWorld’s Shamu show. They claim keeping these striking wild mammals in captivity to entertain thousands of spectators is cruel and inhumane.

What new word or saying do you find to be overused and should be banished from our language? Everyone has a candidate, but the choices vary by generation, age groups and the use of social media.

It was a solemn occasion at the recent performance of Verdi’s “Requiem” by San Diego Opera. The board of directors shocked the community and the international opera world the previous day by announcing the opera company would cease operations at the end of the 2014 season.

It has been more than two years since I last wrote about Japan. Not much has happened there except the usual political merry-go-round with premiers leaving, and then coming back, with mixed results. That has been just one reason that the nation’s economy has been stagnant for two decades.

Inequality has been a buzzword for some time. Now it is upgraded into being a national issue when President Barack Obama tossed out his views in his State of the Union address.

As expected, there was a large turnout for the annual Burnham-Moores Real Estate Conference last week. An upbeat forecast for the industry was also anticipated. The audience got what it wanted to hear from highly respected speakers in the San Diego business community.

Community group volunteers are a valuable resource. They provide free labor to achieve the organization’s goals and mission. And usually they are the primary contributors or provide access to major sources of funding.

The blockbuster fine levied by the Securities and Exchange Commission against JPMorgan Chase has rankled many financial conservatives, as well as ordinary folk, who believe those Wall Street hotshots should be accountable for dragging down the U.S. economy.

Housing in the growing city of San Diego and in communities north and east has been an economic and political hot potato for decades. Providing sufficient affordable shelter was tossed from one planning group and city council to another without resolution. Residents seeking entry-level housing or upgrading their homes for more space or a better location in the last decade were pushed beyond their financial resources.

A ruling by a federal bankruptcy judge in Detroit has changed the game plans for government employee pensions across the nation. Several municipalities declaring bankruptcy, or considering creditor protection to reorganize, found that the principal cause of their fiscal crisis was not subject to alteration. Pensions were sacrosanct, a fancy word for untouchable.

When the recession of 2008 began to crank down new development in San Diego, a comprehensive plan to redevelop Centre City Plaza was practically in the contract bidding phase. The centerpiece for revamping the central plaza was a new city hall. Although the design was controversial, the structure was an impressive icon that served the need to consolidate city government and abandon the expensive leases in Centre City about to expire.

Are the arts in San Diego doing well? That’s what a panel of leaders in the city’s cultural domain discussed in a program at the University Club in October.

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