News Briefs: Nov. 17 – Dec. 14, 2017

Posted: November 17th, 2017 | Briefs, Calendar, Opinion & News Briefs, News | No Comments

AARP Foundation needs volunteers

AARP Foundation Tax-Aide is looking for people who are friendly and good with computers to join its team of volunteers for the upcoming tax season.

Volunteers will learn how to prepare basic returns and about tax deductions and credits available to eligible taxpayers. The volunteer positions are available to anyone.

Each year, from Feb. 1 to April 15, trained AARP Tax-Aide volunteers prepare federal and state tax returns for low- and middle-income taxpayers, with special attention to those aged 60 and over.

Volunteers receive free training, which takes place over two weeks in early January, as well as IRS certification prior to working with taxpayers. All necessary materials, including computers, are provided through tax season.

For more information, visit, or call Ray Smith at 619-583-6685. Interested parties must sign up by December. 

Medical marijuana dispensary reapplies for permit

At the Nov. 8 meeting of the Navajo Community Planners, Inc. (NCPI), Green Tree Holistic Cooperative presented to ask for a recommendation for approval to operate a medical marijuana dispensary at 5959 Mission Gorge Road.

Green Tree Holistic Cooperative has applied to open a marijuana dispensary in this building on Mission Gorge Road. (Google maps)

This was the second time the group led by CEO Mehrdad Banki and son and CFO Michael Banki have appeared before the community planning group. An earlier presentation resulted in a vote to not approve the permit because the applicants did not have proper documentation proving compliance with city restrictions placed on medical marijuana dispensaries.

Although the presentation was on the agenda as an action item, the NCPI board quickly realized that Green Tree was still too early in its application process to give a vote to recommend or not recommend the project. The city planning department still needs to look at the project and make comments for NCPI to consider. The planning group voted to postpone any action until Green Tree comes back with the city’s comments.

By city code, there can only be a total of four permits for medical marijuana dispensaries per City Council district. There are currently two approved or operating dispensaries in the district and many more that are further along in the process — all located in Mission Valley. If Green Tree is eventually approved, it would be the first dispensary in the Navajo neighborhood area. 

School district adopts climate plan

San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) has become the first school district in San Diego County to adopt a Climate Action Plan (CAP).

The district’s Climate Action Plan aims to achieve 100 percent renewable energy by 2035. SDUSD joins the cities of San Diego, Del Mar, Solana Beach and Chula Vista in committing to that goal, and cements our region as a national leader in driving a 100 percent clean energy future.

The school board also passed a resolution to support the adoption and implementation of Community Choice Energy (CCE) in the city of San Diego to achieve its clean energy target.

“We’re thrilled to see SDUSD become the first school district in our county, maybe the nation, to commit to 100 percent clean energy and join the regional effort to stop climate change and protect the future of children,” said Nicole Capretz, executive director of Climate Action Campaign. “We’re making big strides throughout the county for 100 percent clean energy and we’re counting on the other school districts in our county, state, and even nation to follow in SDUSD’s footsteps. There is too much at stake not to take bold and immediate action now.”

A survey conducted during the development of SDUSD’s Climate Action Plan confirmed that over 70 percent of parents and employees believe it’s important for the school to take action in response to climate change. Partly in response to the survey data, SDUSD included increasing alternative transportation modes for school commutes — which has the dual benefits of both reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing public health and quality of life for teachers, parents and students. It also helps set new transportation habits for the next generation.

Board president Richard Barrera stressed the urgency of adopting comprehensive clean energy policy solutions such as Climate Action Plans and Community Choice Energy. “Our kids will create an amazing world if we support them now,” he said.

Baby boomers renting more

Almost 10 years after the housing crisis and in full rental boom, the apartment market continues to surprise. According to the latest analysis of census data by Rent Café, the current trends in apartment development are suddenly attracting a new kind of renter: seniors 55 or older, highly educated, and with no children in the household. Most preferred lifestyle? Living in the suburbs.

All these factors point to one cohort: empty-nest baby boomers. Whether driven by a change in lifestyle, a consequence of the housing crash, or an inability to downsize due to lack of affordable homes, senior households are embracing renting in droves. San Diego-Carlsbad metro area boasts the 10th highest percentage increase in terms of senior renter households in the nation and a 29,000 net gain since 2009.

Here are some more highlights from the press release:

Between 2009 and 2015, the percentage of the renting population over 55 years old increased by a whopping 33 percent in San Diego-Carlsbad, vs. 5 percent increase in renters 34 or younger.

By education, the biggest changes came from renters holding a bachelor degree or higher: up by 22 percent vs. 9 percent increase in college graduates.

Suburban renter households with no children saw the most significant percentage increase when looking at family type: up by 29 percent vs. 22 percent increase in families with children.

Read the full report at

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