Clippings from a cluttered desk


By Gordon Clanton

My 400-word limit for these musings often leaves me with more material than I can use, so my desk becomes cluttered with info-bits about the topics of recent columns and other interests.

More Del Mar numbers.

Reflecting a countywide decline, crime in Del Mar went down by 32 percent from 2009 to 2010. Even so, because its population is so small (4,161) and its visitors so numerous, Del Mar has the third highest crime rate in the county — 31.76 per 1,000 residents. Only National City and La Mesa were higher, with El Cajon a close fourth.

In 2010, Del Mar reported five auto thefts, two robberies, one rape, and zero homicides.

Meanwhile, Del Mar was number 40 on a recent list of the 50 most expensive small towns (populations under 10,000) in the U.S., with a median home value of $1,134,564.

More on nuclear power.

After the failure of the Fukushima plant in Japan, only 43 percent of those polled said they would support building new nukes in the U.S., down from 57 percent in 2008. Public support for new plants is now lower than following the Three Mile Island accident in 1979. A slim majority of Republicans approved of building more nuclear plants. Most Democrats and independents disapproved.

More on fare-free public transit.

In most public transit systems, fares pay only about 20 percent of the cost. Wouldn’t it make sense to expand the subsidy from 80 to 100 percent, if the result would be a doubling of the use of public transit? That’s what happened when Chapel Hill, North Carolina, went to a fare-free system in 2002.

Meanwhile, the percentage of workers nationwide who car-pool has dropped by almost half since 1980. In San Diego County, the rate is down by more than one-third.

Reducing the federal deficit.

My idea? Stop making pennies. It costs 1.5 cents to make a penny. You cannot buy anything for a penny. Because of inflation, everything that cost one cent in the 1970s now costs five cents or more. Copper has other uses. All your old pennies would increase in value.

Local heroine.

Thanks and best wishes to Encinitas Councilwoman Maggie Houlihan for more than a decade of passionate and stalwart defense of the natural environment and principled opposition to ruinous over-development. Maggie’s cancer, diagnosed in 2006, has spread and she has declined further chemotherapy. She remains at her post.

Gordon Clanton teaches Sociology at San Diego State University. He welcomes comments at