Post image for Is San Diego Up for the Challenge of Marrying Environmental and Economic Justice?

“A beautifully sustainable city that is the playground of the rich doesn’t work for us.”

By Jim Miller

Some of the best political news in America in quite a while happened last week in New York City. While much of the country is still under the sway of the climate-change denying right and thus fiddling while the world burns, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio came out with precisely the kind of bold, visionary plan that we need to address not just the existential threat of climate change but the equally pressing and dangerous trend toward deepening economic inequality.

Indeed, taking a page out of Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate, de Blasio made the interrelated nature of the two great crises of our age clear when outlining his “One New York: The Plan for a Just and Strong City” as he asserted that, “I believe fundamentally that you can’t have environmental sustainability without economic sustainability.”


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Post image for How Communities Can Benefit from Private Development in California

By Murtaza H. Baxamusa, Ph.D., AICP / San Diego UrbDeZine.

There is a building boom across California, but many communities have been historically left behind. Property tax increment has served as a planning and investment tool to provide public benefits such as affordable housing, good jobs and neighborhood amenities.

However, with the end of redevelopment, cash-poor cities across California are exploring innovative strategies to fund public benefits. One such strategy is to partner with developers for community benefits in exchange for planning and development rights.

The poster-child for the interaction between people and projects is South San Francisco, with the region having the most expensive rents in the nation, where a household needs to make $37 an hour wage to be able to afford a 2-bedroom apartment.

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Post image for Still Groovin’ After all These Years

By Ernie McCray

A few days before my 77th birthday – “Hip-Hip! Hooray!” – I stepped into the Big Kitchen Cafe and the Rascal’s were “Groovin'” on the stereo and I couldn’t help but go back into time to when that song played in the background of my life.

I was, in this moment in time, slowly getting out of an unhealthy situation and found myself truly “Groovin'” on many a “Sunday afternoon,” kicking it with a beautiful high spirited funny-as-hell woman who, it seemed to me, was looking for what I was looking for at that stage of my life: fun, with no strings attached. Turned out later, I was the only one looking for that. She was more in tune with “Life would be ecstasy, you and me endlessly…” We parted amiably.

And the music just keeps on playing, a constant in our lives, something to grab and hold on to. And I’ve basked in a whole lot of it in my 77 years.

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Post image for The Anti-Surveillance State: Clothes and Gadgets Block Face Recognition Technology, Confuse Drones and Make You (Digitally) Invisible

An entire industry is dedicated to getting your privacy back

By Janet Burns / AlterNet

Last spring, designer Adam Harvey hosted a session on hair and makeup techniques for attendees of the 2015 FutureEverything Festival in Manchester, England. Rather than sharing innovative ways to bring out the audience’s eyes, Harvey’s CV Dazzle Anon introduced a series of styling methods designed with almost the exact opposite aim of traditional beauty tricks: to turn your face into an anti-face—one that cameras, particularly those of the surveillance variety, will not only fail to love, but fail to recognize.

Harvey is one of a growing number of privacy-focused designers and developers “exploring new opportunities that are the result of [heightened] surveillance,” and working to establish lines of defense against it. He’s spent the past several years experimenting with strategies for putting control over people’s privacy back in their own hands, in their pockets and on their faces.


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Post image for Looking Back at the Week: April 19-25

Compiled by Brent E. Beltrán

This week’s edition of Looking Back at the Week features articles, toons and poetry by San Diego Free Press and OB Rag regulars, irregulars, columnists, at-large contributors, sourced writers and poets on National Poetry Month, Chamber’s widow kicking, manufactured stadium consent, CityBeat slacking, jamming up Peters on TPP, Cali taxes & inequality, CivicSD, bits from the barrio, Gov. Brown chummy with water hogs, stupid people things, watching Mission Valley, Will Falk’’s Hawaiian mountain solidarity, Armenian genocide a century later, and enough OB news to stuff in a traveler’s backpack.


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Post image for The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Dancing and Dance Teachers

From Luis López, Señora Villagrana and Nachita Hernández to Albert Flores

By Maria E. Garcia

Mr. Albert Flores started teaching dance lessons at Neighborhood House in 1940. In 1942, he was drafted into the Army to serve in World War II. He was taken prisoner of war. One of his big dreams was to become a professional dancer. He did try to realize his dream in Hollywood but was unsuccessful. His prized possession was a pair of shoes that were given to him by his idol José Greco. He would wear these shoes with great pride whenever he performed in San Diego. After his unsuccessful Hollywood experience he returned to San Diego and worked for the City of San Diego as a tree trimmer.

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Post image for Ramblings of An Insomniac

By Judi Curry

10:00pm Got into bed to watch the nightly local news. Set the timer on the television to go off at 11:00pm. Fell asleep somewhere between the weather report and the sports report.

11:15pm Wide awake. Turned on the light and read some of a new book.

12:00am Crappy book; still wide awake.


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Thumbnail image for Geo-Poetic Spaces: Breakdown

Geo-Poetic Spaces: Breakdown

by Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes 04.25.2015 Books & Poetry

By Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes

100,000 miles of spared parts
drive-by poetry
hit and run-on collisions
karmic rebirths
revelations (Chapter 11)

100,000 miles of free verse

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Thumbnail image for Activists to Rep. Scott Peters: Do the Right Thing on Fast Track, Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)

Activists to Rep. Scott Peters: Do the Right Thing on Fast Track, Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)

by Doug Porter 04.24.2015 Activism

By Doug Porter

People representing organized labor, environmental and faith groups staged a rally outside the offices of Rep. Scott Peters yesterday, urging him to oppose legislation limiting congressional oversight on trade agreements currently being negotiated.

The demonstration at Peters office is symbolic of a larger political battle being waged over the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership(TPP). Business groups and most Republican legislators are supporting the Obama administration, contending an agreement is necessary as an important counterweight to China’s growing clout in the region.

In Washington on Thursday the so-called Fast Track legislation cleared an important hurtle as House Ways and Means Committee voted 25-13 in favor. A companion “fast-track” bill cleared a Senate panel on Wednesday and both are now ready for action in their respective chambers.

Today I’ll do my best–this is complicated–to give you an overview of what’s going on.

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Thumbnail image for The 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide and the Art of Hope

The 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide and the Art of Hope

by Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes 04.24.2015 Activism

By Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes

April 24, 2015 marks the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. The solemn observation marks the systematic slaughter of 1.5 million men, women, and children perpetrated under the camouflage of World War I by officials of the Ottoman Empire, which is present day Turkey. Many world leaders are going against the historical shroud of silence that has hung over these atrocities for a century.

On April 22, 2015, President Barack Obama announced he was not going to refer to the massacre as “genocide,” bowing to pressure from the present government of Turkey, one of America’s key allies in the so called “war on terror.” President Obama’s decision not to call genocide, “genocide,” throws another handful of dirt upon the United States’ self-proclaimed role as leader of the free world.

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Thumbnail image for Private Prisons Feed Off Immigrant Women and Children

Private Prisons Feed Off Immigrant Women and Children

by Eric J. Garcia 04.24.2015 Cartoons
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Thumbnail image for Why We Need $50,000 Traffic Tickets

Why We Need $50,000 Traffic Tickets

by Source 04.24.2015 Courts, Justice

Let’s make sure our penalties amount to penalties for everyone

By Sam Pizzigati / OtherWords

All of us would like to live in a world where people always do the right thing — without anybody looking over their shoulder. But that world doesn’t exist and never will. So every society on our planet has penalties. You break the rules, you pay a price.

But penalties only work if the wrongdoer feels that price. A ridiculously tiny penalty amounts to no penalty at all.

Take traffic fines, for instance.

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Thumbnail image for Barrio Bits: Placas, Chicano Park Day and Barrio Art Crawl

Barrio Bits: Placas, Chicano Park Day and Barrio Art Crawl

by Brent E. Beltrán 04.23.2015 Arts

Saturday is Chicano Park Day AND Barrio Art Crawl! I repeat. Saturday is Chicano Park Day AND Barrio Art Crawl!

For the first time in the history of the universe two of the greatest things (of the many) that Barrio Logan offers is happening on the same day. From 10am until 5pm you can enjoy the sights and sounds that is the annual Chicano Park Day celebration then from 5pm until 9pm you can crawl the streets of La Logan in search of artistic enjoyment at the various art venues within this creative community.

Chicano Park was founded on April 22, 1970 as a land takeover by community members after they found out that a California Highway Patrol substation was going to be built on the site instead of a park. In 2013, due to the beautiful murals that grace the pillars of the San Diego-Coronado Bridge, Chicano Park was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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Thumbnail image for California Vaccination Law Passes Education Committee

California Vaccination Law Passes Education Committee

by Doug Porter 04.23.2015 Columns

By Doug Porter

The California Senate Education Committee has approved a modified version of SB277, a controversial measure making vaccinations a prerequisite for enrollment in both private and public schools throughout the state. 

Medical exemptions for inoculations will be permitted and amendments were added expanding homeschooling options for unvaccinated children. Gone will be the personal-belief and religious exemptions currently exercised by about 10% of parents with school aged children in California. 

The Senate Committee’s action came the day after a report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association ruled out the possibility that immunizations could cause autism in a small group of children who were already primed to develop the disorder. 

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Thumbnail image for Poet Jesús “Papoleto” Meléndez Reads His Work

Poet Jesús “Papoleto” Meléndez Reads His Work

by Brent E. Beltrán 04.23.2015 Books & Poetry

By Brent E. Beltrán

I have the honor of knowing and being a friend of Jesús “Papoleto” Meléndez. In 2004 I met him in a hospital in Tijuana where his comrade in poetry, Pedro Pietri, was receiving experimental treatments for cancer. Though I have only seen him once since he returned back to his apartment in El Barrio in New York we have maintained our friendship through social media.

Papoleto grew up in Spanish Harlem (known as El Barrio), is an original founder of the Nuyorican Poetry Movement, published his first poem in 1969 (“Message To Urban Sightseers”) and his play, Junkies Stole the Clock, was the first Latino play produced by the New York Shakespeare Festival The Public Theater’s Nuyorican Playwright’s Unit.

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Thumbnail image for Los Angeles is Wide Open

Los Angeles is Wide Open

by Junco Canché 04.23.2015 Cartoons
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Thumbnail image for Protecting Mauna Kea: Why the Mountain?

Protecting Mauna Kea: Why the Mountain?

by Will Falk 04.23.2015 Activism

By Will Falk

I am preparing to leave for Hawai’i to offer myself in support of resistance to the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) project that would place a large telescope and stadium-sized structure on the peak of native Hawaiians’ most sacred place – Mauna Kea.

The project, funded by a partnership including the University of California, the California Institute of Technology, and the Association of Canadian Universities for Research in Astronomy among others, would also place a 5,000 gallon chemical waste container above the largest freshwater aquifer on Hawai’i Island.

I first heard about this struggle from the brilliant documentary film-maker Anne Keala Kelly when she spoke at the Earth at Risk conference in San Francisco organized by the Fertile Ground Environmental Institute last fall. I was beyond excited when a friend recently put me in touch with Keala explaining that the Mauna Kea protectors seek more support from the mainland.

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Thumbnail image for Reader-izing San Diego’s CityBeat Weekly

Reader-izing San Diego’s CityBeat Weekly

by Doug Porter 04.22.2015 Business

While I’m guessing some coverage of interest to progressives will continue to appear, the heart and soul of the organization appear to be headed in another direction.

By Doug Porter

There’s trouble afoot at San Diego CityBeat, the alt-weekly known for its focus on local progressive politics, arts, and music.

Editor Dave Rolland and associate editor Kelly Davis both cited plausible professional reasons as they exited the publication in March, with Rolland promising readers “our departure does not foretell CityBeat’s demise.”

Incoming editor Ron Donoho started off vowing to “continue this alt-weekly tradition,” and pledging to “stink up the place if our local leaders foul things up.” Unfortunately these promises were woven into a bizarre scatological analogy, ending with “if we see brown, we’ll flush it down.”

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Thumbnail image for Civic San Diego Willing to Bury City Rep on Meaningless Advisory Board!

Civic San Diego Willing to Bury City Rep on Meaningless Advisory Board!

by Anna Daniels 04.22.2015 City Heights: Up Close & Personal

Ex-officio City staff on New Market Tax Credit Advisory Board = CivicSD’s latest nothingburger

By Anna Daniels

The latest news about Civic San Diego has been appearing courtesy of Lyle Moran in The Daily Transcript, which unfortunately operates behind a pay wall. Moran reports on the unexpected departure of CivicSD CFO and COO Andrew Phillips, who couldn’t pass up the opportunity to accept an invitation to work at the western division of Jones Lang LaSalle and CivicSD board member Cynthia Morgan, an attorney at Higgs Fletcher and Mack and new mother who wants to spend more time on her career and with her family.

If there is more to the resignations, Moran was not able or ready to share those motivations in his article. But it is worth noting that Cynthia Morgan was the Chair of the CivicSD board when it proposed a gag rule for board members in October of 2014. Joshua Emerson Smith reports in his CityBeat article “A fierce advocate for independence from the city, Morgan went on to propose that members of the board be required to recuse themselves from voting if they were lobbying City Council members or talking to City Council members on issues that are coming before our board.'”

Morgan was clearly referring to fellow CivicSD board members Mike Jenkins and Murtaza Baxamusa.

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Thumbnail image for Public Banking Advocate Ellen Brown Speaks at San Diego State

Public Banking Advocate Ellen Brown Speaks at San Diego State

by John Lawrence 04.22.2015 Economy

By John Lawrence

On Thursday April 16, there was a panel discussion at San Diego State with the title: Crisis in American Democracy: Answers Beyond the Two Party System.

There were three people on the panel representing three political parties. The Socialist Equality Party was represented by Mr. John Burton. Dr. Matt Zwolinski spoke for the Libertarians, and the Green Party was represented by Dr. Ellen Brown.

The promo said: “The content of the event will be a debate about their solutions to the problems facing American Democracy today.” The event allowed 15 minutes per person for initial discussion. After the initial discussion, the event was open for public comment and questions. Then there was time for closing statements and rebuttals from each speaker.

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Thumbnail image for How to Make a Poem

How to Make a Poem

by Karen Kenyon 04.22.2015 Books & Poetry

For Steve Kowit

By Karen Kenyon

Tear open your heart — like a giant purse
it will pour out memories
and yearnings,
keys to doors you will never open.

And you must read the others
who have also dipped into this world
even if in another language
of the soul.

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Thumbnail image for How the New Flexible Economy is Making Workers’ Lives Hell

How the New Flexible Economy is Making Workers’ Lives Hell

by Source 04.22.2015 Business

By Robert Reich

These days it’s not unusual for someone on the way to work to receive a text message from her employer saying she’s not needed right then.

Although she’s already found someone to pick up her kid from school and arranged for childcare, the work is no longer available and she won’t be paid for it.

Just-in-time scheduling like this is the latest new thing, designed to make retail outlets, restaurants, hotels, and other customer-driven businesses more nimble and keep costs to a minimum.

Software can now predict up-to-the-minute staffing needs on the basis of information such as traffic patterns, weather, and sales merely hours or possibly minutes before.

This way, employers don’t need to pay anyone to be at work unless they’re really needed. Companies can avoid paying wages to workers who’d otherwise just sit around.

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Thumbnail image for Manufacturing Consent for a New Stadium in San Diego

Manufacturing Consent for a New Stadium in San Diego

by Doug Porter 04.21.2015 Business

By Doug Porter

Two months ago prospects for building a new football stadium were waning. The thinking was that San Diego had done too little, too late to accommodate the demands of the Chargers for a new facility. The football team, it seemed, was ready to head north for a more obliging locale.

Now, thanks to a blizzard of press releases and the timely release of a think tank study, the tide may be turning. Today we’ll take a look at those developments and the role they may play in shaping public opinion.

Back on February 2nd a certain columnist (me) noted  “The only thing more likely to be declared dead on arrival than any plan coming out of the newly ensconced Citizens’ Stadium Advisory Group for San Diego is the budget proposal the President is sending to the Republican-controlled congress.”

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Thumbnail image for Mission Valley Watch

Mission Valley Watch

by Frank Gormlie 04.21.2015 Activism

Editor: This is the launch of what we hope is a regular report in the San Diego Free Press, via our online media partner, the OB Rag.

Somebody needs to be watching Mission Valley – the long congested corridor that is literally the heart of San Diego. And certainly, it’s not the City of San Diego that is watching Mission Valley – or rather watching out for it. And certainly, it’s not the major mainstream media in this town either that are watching Mission Valley – with one HUGE exception: the nearly-exclusive and obsessive focus on the Qualcomm Stadium site.

Yet Mission Valley certainly does need to be watched because the construction projects that are being built and are in the pipeline to being built in the next few years will quite double – or even triple – the current population of the Valley of 20,000 San Diegans. The projects will double the number of housing units that are already there.

The problem with this is that there isn’t even the public infrastructure now that is required to serve the thousands of current Mission Valley residents, much less the needs of (and this is a conservative estimate) a future populace that has undergone growth of one hundred percent. The projects planned and even approved will further destroy what remains of the once, lush green valley that in earlier days, held the promise of becoming the Central Park or the Golden Gate Park of San Diego.

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Thumbnail image for Green Capitalism: A Contradiction in Terms?

Green Capitalism: A Contradiction in Terms?

by John Lawrence 04.21.2015 Activism

Conversion to Renewable Energy is Going Too Slow to Avoid Catastrophe – Part 6

By John Lawrence – This is the sixth and final part of this series. Part 5 can be found here.

Naomi Klein, author of This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs The Climate, debunks the idea that all we have to do is to cooperate with the extractive industries and urge them to get greener. We do not have to go to extremes, but can phase in renewable sources of energy gradually. The gradualist approach is the essence of green capitalism. This will not work Klein says:

[The] bottom line is … our economic system and our planetary system are now at war. Or, more accurately, our economy is at war with many forms of life on earth, including human life. What the climate needs to avoid collapse is a contraction in humanity’s use of resources; what our economic model demands to avoid collapse is unfettered expansion. Only one of these sets of rules can be changed, and it’s not the laws of nature.

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