Carolyn Chase

Carolyn is features editor of the San Diego Earth Times,, a monthly reader on life and the environment. She also writes a controversial column for the San Diego Daily Transcript called "Cut to the Chase" which appears Mondays. Cut the Chase dissects the local political scene while presenting the latest thinking on growth, the environment and our region's quality of life. Carolyn also manages several local computer networking email lists related to sustainability, community participation and the environment. Her public service work includes serving as Chair of Mayor Dick Murphy's Environmental Advisory Board. A past Chapter Chair of the San Diego Sierra Club, she is now a member of both San Diego's as well as their statewide California Political Committees. She founded San Diego EarthWorks, the organizers of the EarthFair in Balboa Park and the Earth Day Network (, organizers of national and international outreach efforts for Earth Day each April. She is also a founder and now consultant to the San Diego Coalition for Transportation Choices ( and a past member of the Board of the League of Conservation Voters of San Diego. She also volunteers as a member of the San Diego County Taxpayer's Transportation Issues sub-committee and was appointed by the San Diego County Board of Supervisors to serve on the Interest Group committee for the County's General Plan 2020 update which will shape how growth is accommodated in unincorporated areas of the County for next 20 years and beyond. She is a recipient of the Bob Marley Peace award the San Diego Mediation Center's 1999 Peacemaker Award. In 1994, she received the "Spirit of San Diego" Award from Mayor Susan Golding. She received Certificates of Special Congressional Recognition in both 1998 and 1999 from Congressman Brian Bilbray and a Certificate of Recognition from the California State Senate in 1999. In 2002 she received an Award of Special Merit from the national Board of the Sierra Club and from Senator Barbara Boxer. The 1999 Peacemaker Award and Certificates were in honor of her volunteer efforts in negotiating and building coalitions between developers, community members and environmentalists who signed winning ballot measures Propositions K and M which led to the preservation of Carmel Mountain and the eventual dedication of more than 4,000 acres of highly endangered and prized coastal mesa and canyon habitats, the environmentally preferred routing of State Route 56 and the establishment of two new balanced communities in the areas east of Torrey Pines State Park. She was one of the 40 UCSD Alumni who was named an Outstanding Alumna and received Awards of Excellence in observation of UCSD's 40th anniversary in June 2000. A member of the Society for Environmental Journalists, she graduated from UC San Diego, Revelle College with a B.A. degree in Computer Science and Engineering with a minor in music. She has been a member of the La Jolla Symphony Chorus since 1975 and lives in Pacific Beach with her husband and four cats.

Cut To The Chase

I admit it. I've gotten discouraged. It's difficult not to feel overwhelmed by the drama that pours around the airwaves and e-waves. Life and death, sex and money, how can nature compete?

Would you move into a skyscraper if you knew the fire department didn't have the hook and ladder equipment required to rescue people from an incident?

For 14 years, in honor of Earth Day, San Diego EarthWorks has been acknowledging local businesses, governments, nonprofit groups and citizens for making a positive difference for conservation and the environment in their daily work.

Politicians and agency staff will go a long way to avoid public debate and conflict. Last month, the San Diego Association of Governments went too far.

San Diego City Councilmember Donna Frye is convinced that the city attorney, mayor and City Council have violated and continue to violate the Brown Act with respect to the noticing and use of closed sessions.

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 it mildly. So what's it all about? Power, plain and simple.

The four declared candidates for San Diego city attorney (Mike Aguirre, Deborah Berger, Leslie Devaney, Howard Wayne) will answer questions about their approaches to being city attorney on Tuesday, Sept. 30, 7 to 9 p.m., with a pre-event reception beginning at 6:15 p.m. at Otto Center Auditorium in Balboa Park (just south of the zoo entrance).

Incompetence or corruption seem to be the only possible explanations for the problems that unfolded before me at the Planning Commission hearing for a project called the "Central Police Facility." What a shame. This potential demonstration of the city as a "model developer" is instead a world-class embarrassment.

To the extent that wars can be noble, in terms of lofty goals, this war is well on its way. It is also racking up its long list of pain and horrors following up the initial shock and awe.

I read the following blurb in an email fromThe New York Times:

Especially in tight financial times, you'd think elected officials would be clamoring for the best projects for the best price in a reasonable timeframe. But as noted in a prior column, "rational planning might seem a matter of common sense, but in reality it is very unusual. It is extremely rare for government politics to reflect the best thinking of the most educated minds. In almost all societies, the integrity of expert thinking is compromised by special interest and politics."

A month before his death in 1963, President John F. Kennedy spoke of the importance of the beauty and balance of cities, "I look forward to an America which will not be afraid of grace and beauty, which will preserve the great old American houses and squares and parks of our past and which will build handsome and balanced cities for our future."

More Carolyn Chase Columns