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Monday, July 11, 2005 | Fallbrook – A series of earthquakes have San Diegans a little on edge. After all, sizeable earthquakes in our region are a little unusual.

The first rumble in this series of earthquakes occurred last year just, 50 miles south, when a sizeable 6.0 jolt struck, with the epicenter directly beneath San Diego City Hall. So severe was the damage that national headlines reported that beautiful San Diego had been reduced to “Enron by the Sea” for its mounting pension deficit, federal investigations into its retirement system and subsequent allegations of illegal accounting and public corruption. A $3.6 billion San Diego City Employees Retirement System suffered a deficit of at least $1.4 billion.

Fiscal damage prevented San Diego from rebuilding. It could not borrow money at low interest rates, jeopardizing water and sewer upgrades, new fire stations and new libraries. Alarmed voters understood the severity of the damage, and rebuked the mayor. In the election last November, incumbent Dick Murphy lost (then stole back) the San Diego mayor’s election to last-minute, write-in candidate Donna Frye, an incredible event unanticipated by all political seismologists. Then came increased rumblings of a recall movement.

Although politicos and pundits downplayed the severity of that quake, the true extent of the damage was finally admitted when Murphy resigned less than five months later, following revelations by Time magazine that labeled Murphy as one of the three worst big city mayors in America.

Then a big one hit. A 7.0 struck on June 12. On that day the “Cunningham Triangle” tectonic plate rocked with a jarring thud, as reported by The San Diego Union-Tribune. We’re still not sure if it was “the big one,” but for North County it was a real “GOP-rocker.” The “Cunningham Triangle” runs from Escondido to Carlsbad to La Jolla. The epicenter was placed in the posh pastoral region of Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., a fundamentalist stronghold of bedrock corporatism. Damage is still being assessed, but the quake was felt as far away as Washington, D.C., where a yacht sloshed wildly in the Potomac River. The White House has not acknowledged feeling the quake.

Politicos are still in deep shock that such rock-solid, fundamentalist ground could open up and fracture foundations thought to be invulnerable, and protected by the Divine Power.

Daily aftershocks have been reported by the North County Times.

For years political seismologists, including Chalmers Johnson, had been warning Californians about this major “Cunningham Fault” deep under this North County tectonic plate, but such warning fell on deaf ears.

It is ironic that a person, seen by many as having rock-solid integrity, had built his reputation over decades, since the Vietnam War, upon the sands of sleaze. How could a man build his reputation upon a major fault – greed?

First the city of San Diego, then northward to the “Cunningham Triangle.” Nervous people in North County are wondering if the quakes will continue moving northward into the “Issa fault,” which runs from Oceanside, through Fallbrook and into Riverside County. It is largely believed the Cunningham and Issa faults are similar in nature, and perhaps linked.

Well, there are more shocks sure to come. San Diego has for centuries been a low quake region, but the tectonic plates are shifting. Many are prophesying the earth will open up and swallow Cunningham, his rogue buddies and all their corrupt kingdom. Now that would be a big one!

Joe Howard Crews has lived since 1993 in Fallbrook. Retired, he devotes full time to landscaping, maintaining and sharing his own nature preserve with native wildlife. He devotes most of his free time to the North County Coalition for Peace & Justic, an activist group which seeks to bring these issues to the public consciousness in North County.

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