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Police Deaths Matter. Now, Can We Talk About Injustice?

By Doug Porter

The gang at Fox News is doing their damnest to make a connection between #BlackLivesMatter and police officers killed in the line of duty.  Yesterday, Megyn Kelly and Katie Pavlich characterized Black Lives Matter as violent, with Pavlich calling it “a movement that promotes the execution of police officers.”

Elsewhere in the media the implied story is that cops are getting mowed down at a dramatically increasing rate.  The Los Angeles Times ran with a story saying “the recent bloodshed feels different.” 

CNN does it by slight of hand in its coverage of Illinois police officer Charles Joseph Gliniewicz and Texas Sheriff’s Deputy Darren Goforth, telling us that the number of deaths in the line of duty this year has increased from 73 to 85.   [Read more…]

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Iconic Vision or Elitist Tunnel Vision? The Future of Downtown’s East Village Green

By Jeeni Criscenzo

Who could possibly be against a park? A bit of open space to take a stroll; rest on a bench and breathe in the fresh air; enjoy the peace and quiet… Maybe that’s what most of us think of when we think of a park, but that’s not what developers see. Last night, at the third “workshop” for the East Village Green, we were treated to what one lady exclaimed as an iconic vision and what I thought was a perfect example of elitist tunnel vision.

The East Village Green would be a 4.1 acre wonderland between 13th St and 15th St. and F and G Street in East Village. It has been promised to the people of the neighborhood for almost 10 years–about the same time a poor family will have to wait to get Section 8 housing.   [Read more…]

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Choosing Real Citizen-Led Advocacy to Preserve Carlsbad’s Open Space

By Richard Riehl / The Riehl World

After vowing never again to sign a petition, my wife and I are headed to Alga Norte Park to sign one. It’s our attempt to make up for foolishly falling for the pitch to support an initiative to “save the strawberry fields.” The man with the clipboard at my door claimed he was a member of a group of concerned citizens, rallying to save them.

A day later I learned how I had been sweet-talked into abandoning my skepticism of California’s bogus initiative campaigns. He was far from the public-spirited do-gooder he represented himself to be. The guy walking away with my signature was paid for its delivery to the developer who was rallying to bring a strip mall to the strawberry fields.   [Read more…]

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San Diego’s Lowrider Women: Carolina’s Hopper

By Barbara Zaragoza / South Bay Compass

Two kinds of lowrider cars stand out: show cars and hoppers. Marisa Rosales and Jose Arevalo are good examples of lowriders who have worked for two decades to perfect their show cars.

Carolina Hernandez, on the other hand, is the lowrider with the hopper—a car whose front hood can bounce up in the air.

‘Hopping’ cars has been an art form since the 1960s. It wasn’t fully perfected, however, until the mid-1970s. Back in the day, they would put a beer can next to the car and if your car was able to hop higher than the beer can, you gained celebrity status among lowriders. Nowadays, when hoppers get together casually or at competitions such as Extreme Autofest, they can hop their cars up to eighty inches high.   [Read more…]

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‘My Body, My Choice’ Is Not True for Women In Poverty, In Federal Employment, or In the Military

By Susan Grigsby / Daily Kos

“My body, my choice” is a privilege for those whose insurance provides coverage for abortions (assuming that their employers don’t object), or who can afford to pay the expense out of pocket.That privilege doesn’t extend to women who receive Medicare or Children’s Healthcare Insurance Program benefits, the dependents of federal employees, dependents of military service members, Peace Corps volunteers, clients of Indian Health Service, and women in federal prisons, including immigration detention centers. As many as 20 million women are impacted not just by the 1976 Hyde Amendment (which has been reauthorized every year since), but by additional restrictions imposed by Congress in the early 1980s.   [Read more…]

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Lawsuits Point to Misconduct in San Diego City and County Police Agencies

By Doug Porter

We’re supposed to have been reassured that San Diego was on its way to solving the problems with police officers who break bad.  Yet there is mounting evidence that it’s business as usual behind the ‘blue curtain’ in local law enforcement.

Mayor Kevin Faulconer appointed a new chief of police before he was even sworn in and a voluntary audit by way of the Justice Department’s office of Community Oriented Policing made recommendations for reform. Chief Zimmerman assured the City Council not long ago that new training procedures were addressing the concerns raised by the audit.

When the Union-Tribune editorial board is taking the department to task and lawsuits begin to pile up, you might have a problem if you are the San Diego Police Department. This problem isn’t constrained by the city limits, as legal actions and court settlements point to the County Sheriff’s Department having it’s own issues with use of force.   [Read more…]

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Group Behind Planned Parenthood Attacks has Close Ties to Extremists

Senior Policy Advisor convicted of conspiring to bomb a San Diego abortion clinic in 1988

By Joan McCarter / Daily Kos

The group behind the falsified videos attacking Planned Parenthood calls itself a “group of citizen journalists,” but is of course not actually journalists. What the so-called Center for Medical Progress really is is a group of committed anti-abortion activists with close ties to “some of the country’s hardest-line anti-abortion extremists,” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The group’s leader and one of the actors in the videos is David Daleiden, “who was previously the director of research for Live Action News.” Live Action also produced falsified Planned Parenthood videos, in a failed effort to bring the organization down. But it’s the board members of CMP that have the strongest ties to extremist groups.   [Read more…]

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Upgrading the U.S. Constitution: Guns for Everyone!

By John Lawrence

It has come to my attention that some of my conservative friends think that the American Constitution was chiseled in stone. Well, no, actually unlike the Ten Commandments which were written in stone, the American Constitution was written on parchment. I have a lot of respect for the Founding Fathers who came up with this document based on the best Enlightenment thinking at the time with the help of French philosophes such as Montesquieu who believed in the separation of powers and checks and balances. Unfortunately, the Founders didn’t heed the advice of the Marquis de Condorcet who came up with a better voting system than majority rule.

Condorcet and my other friends, Voltaire and Rousseau are entombed in the basement of the Pantheon in Paris where I visited them a while back and thanked them for their efforts in getting the fledgling United States off the ground. But speaking of being “written in stone”, did God really hand Moses two tablets or did Moses have a little workshop up on the mountaintop where he meticulously chiseled out the Ten Commandments?

If Moses had handed them out on a piece of paper to his constituents, they would have laughed in his face so he had to make them believe that they were inviolable because they came directly from a Higher Power.   [Read more…]

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Airbnb Not Typically Allowed in Apartments

By John P. Anderson

As the Airbnb debate continues in San Diego, I found it interesting to receive a warning letter from my previous apartment manager, Torrey Pines Property Management this week informing tenants that using sites like Airbnb is not allowed in the buildings they manage.

I contacted Torrey Pines and was informed that this is a proactive measure to avoid issues in future, not in response to issues that have occurred. Good for them for taking a proactive, informative approach to the issue.   [Read more…]

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Mayor Faulconer’s Convention Center Expansion: It’s Huuuge

By Doug Porter

Oh, those boys and their big shiny toys. Having failed in past years to gain approval for a waterfront expansion of the San Diego Convention Center, the City is about to throw its weight behind a $90,000 study promising “huuuge” (ala Trump) returns.

The Union-Tribune says Mayor Faulconer finds the report so persuasive that he’s prepared to back a ballot measure increasing hotel taxes for 2016. Since those taxes are dedicated revenues, two thirds voter approval will be required.

Today we’ll take a look at the spotty record of the outfit hired to do this report, along with various options along the way to getting a super-majority to go the polls and vote for this expansion.   [Read more…]

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Disposable People: Obama, the TPP, and the Betrayal of Human Rights

By Jim Miller

During the lead-up to the vote on the Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership (TPP) that the President narrowly won, Obama and his surrogates consistently suggested that those in labor and other allied groups opposing the deal were “fighting the last war” and were against “the most progressive trade agreement the world has ever seen.” Indeed, he even went so far as to accuse critics like Senator Elizabeth Warren of “making stuff up”.

As we know, Obama defeated labor and the progressive wing of the Democratic Party and, in concert with Republicans and just enough New Democrats like San Diego’s own Scott Peters and Susan Davis, he succeeded in forwarding the multinational corporate agenda.

Since that time the gaze of the national media has turned elsewhere and, as negotiations have encountered difficulties, the administration has sunk to new lows in its zeal to finish the deal on the TPP.   [Read more…]

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Escondido’s Lyin’ King Sees Riches in the Safari Highlands Ranch Proposal

By Don Greene / Escondido Democrats

In one of the more poignant scenes in the movie, The Lion King, Musafa says to young Simba, “Look, Simba, everything the light touches is our kingdom.” It seems that we have a touch of that same attitude on our City Council. As Mayor Abed and the rest of the council majority look out to the east, you can almost hear him say the same thing.

Instead of birthrights and becoming King of the Animals, Abed speaks in our hypothetical of property rights and becoming King of the Developers. The land he looks over is the proposed Safari Highlands Ranch project, a 1084-acre land annexation and subsequent 550-home development, in unincorporated Escondido, just north and west of the San Diego Zoo’s Safari Park.

This project, and the means by which they intend to bring it to fruition, fits the S.O.P. of Abed and the council majority; they work the backroom deals with the developers and other agencies and put on a happy face with the public.   [Read more…]

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Battle Lines Form in California Over Ambitious Climate Change Bills

Big Oil Goes Into Big Lie Mode With Campaign

By Nadia Prupis / Common Dreams

California lawmakers are preparing to face off with the state’s powerful fossil fuel industry in a battle over two potentially groundbreaking climate change bills.

The more contentious legislation in question, the Clean Energy and Pollution Reduction Act of 2015 (SB350), would increase California’s share of electricity from renewable energy sources to 50 percent and reduce the state’s use of oil in half by 2030—the equivalent of removing 36 million cars and trucks from the roads over the next 15 years—through new technology and more efficient planning.

The second piece of legislation, the California Global Warming Solutions Act (SB32), would raise mandates for oil refineries and power companies, among other big polluters, to lower their greenhouse gas emissions.   [Read more…]

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Looking Back at the Week: August 23-29

By Doug Porter

This week’s edition of Looking Back at the Week features articles, commentaries, columns, toons and other work by San Diego Free Press regulars, irregulars, columnists, at-large contributors.

Twenty San Diegans contributed videos, poems, essays and analysis this week.

(Brother Brent Beltrán is having technical difficulties, so I’m substituting today. Any mistakes or omissions are still entirely his fault. You can send him all your hate mail though; he likes that.)

Step inside to catch up with all the latest from the San Diego Free Press….   [Read more…]

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My Day in Court, Short and Bittersweet

By Bob Dorn

I had the distinction of being the first person thrown off a jury peremptorily in a courtroom this week. Before any evidence was introduced in this criminal misdemeanor case (a DUI), and before prosecution and defense had opened their arguments, the judge was forced to dismiss me from service.

It was the Deputy DA who had me thrown out. I’m not sure I understand why he did it. In legal terms, it was a peremptory challenge, and it means the attorney who exercised this right, the Deputy DA, could object to my presence on the jury without offering any cause or reason.

Was it my blue eyes? Do I look like a drunk? My curriculum vitae? Was it something I said?   [Read more…]

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NLRB Ruling Could Be a Game Changer for Unions

By Doug Porter

A Reagan-era standard allowing corporations to maintain an arms-length relationship with their workforces fell by the wayside yesterday as the National Labor Relations Board ruled in favor of the Teamsters in a dispute with California recycler Browning-Ferris Industries.

The bottom line here is that big companies may be held responsible for what goes on in the workplace. Organized labor is pleased with the decision. Wall Street isn’t. The actual ruling concerned the use of temporary employees. What people are reacting to are its game changing implications.

There are lots of poorly informed (meaning full of crap) analyses being passed off in various media accounts.  To use a baseball analogy, just because a team acquires a high performance player doesn’t mean they’ll have a winning season. Just ask the San Diego Padres.   [Read more…]

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Street Repairs Could Jump Start Municipal Internet

By Jose Caballero

It’s no secret that when it comes to streets San Diego has a rough ride. We were recently ranked 8th worst in the nation for our roads, costing drivers $843 a year in maintenance costs. Mayor Faulconer has said he will fix them over the next 5 years. However, he’s missing a major opportunity if they just put down new pavement.

In February, the Federal Communications Commission preempted state laws banning municipal internet services, allowing cities, meaning San Diego could build networks featuring lightning fast, gigabit, fiber to the premise (FTTP) service, which would be among the fastest anywhere in the world. This has been done successfully in Chattanooga, TN and Wilson, NC, with other cities from Seattle to Baltimore considering making their own systems.
  [Read more…]

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Camping On Mt. Palomar On the Edge of the Wilderness

By Frank Gormlie

Camping to me is a lot of fun, but I only get to do it maybe once a summer. But feeling burnt by the daily challenges and pressures of society, I needed some quiet time doing some car-camping. This time I chose to camp on Mt. Palomar – the large mountain with the famous observatory (which was closed) that guards San Diego County on its north-side.
Taking off Thursday morning, I arrived at the top around 1 pm. Usually I take S6 up the steep incline, but its twists and turns are too hairy for a relaxed cruise up the mountain. So, for the first time ever, I took the alternate route, S7, which begins on the western edge of Lake Henshaw.   [Read more…]

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Welcome to TrumpLand: A Local Example of Bigotry USA! USA! Style

By Doug Porter

I’ve been trying not to say too much about The Donald. He’s playing the media like a great violinist plays a Stradivarius. He says jump and the stenographers posing as journalists say “how high?”

I can no longer remain silent in the face of the hate-mongering coming from this public figure aimed at Latinos. He’s giving ammunition to assholes, and there are real consequences, even on the streets of San Diego.

When a well-known and respected public advocate can’t take his child to a park without being race baited, it’s time to stand up and say No More. And, yes, it is precisely the rhetoric favored by Donald Trump that’s encouraging an upswing in bigotry.   [Read more…]

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SANDAG’s Transportation Plan is Stuck in Reverse

By Hutton Marshall / SanDiego350.org

Climate change is a local issue that reaches every corner of the globe. Human activities, especially burning coal, oil and gas, are pumping heat-trapping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. More than any other time in human history, we’re seeing unlivable marine habitats, rising seas that threaten to subsume coastal societies, and, on land, increases in extreme weather including droughts, floods and severe storms. The changes are happening everywhere, but the effects are felt locally. And the solutions have to come from changes we make in every community.

At SanDiego350, a local nonprofit fighting climate change, we believe that San Diego is at an important crossroads where we must decide how we will reduce our contribution to Earth’s looming climate crisis.  Once a month in the San Diego Free Press we’ll discuss some of these issues, and how San Diegans can help address them.   [Read more…]

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Women’s Equality Day: Celebrating the Success of Militant Protest

The argument of the broken pane of glass is the most valuable argument in modern politics.–Mrs Emmeline Pankhurst

By Doug Porter

Women’s Equality Day (August 26th) marks anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, giving women the right to vote.

There are observances this week in San Diego, including a re-enactment of an early-century Suffrage march in Balboa Park.

Organizations including the League of Women Voters, the United Nations Women’s Equity Council, the Older Women’s League and others, will join members and supporters of the Women’s Museum at 5pm for a Rally on Thursday, (Aug 27th) at the Kate Sessions Statue, at the 6th Avenue end of the Cabrillo Bridge, followed by a parade across the bridge info the Organ Pavilion where the last free concert of the summer will be held at 6:30pm.

While this commemoration will be celebratory in nature, it’s important to remember, as Frederick Douglass once said, “Power never concedes nothing without a demand.” In many sanitized versions of US history, the struggle leading up to that victory is depicted as controversial only because women left their roles as wives and house-makers to protest. The reality of what transpired is considerably different.   [Read more…]

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But First …

Living with ADHD in a distractive world

By Jeeni Criscenzo

I was surprised at the number of comments made to a recent post I put on Facebook about Attention Deficient Disorder with a photo of my desk that included such strange things as a small brown egg and a ½” diamond drill bit. It seems that my incessant state of distraction is a common problem in people my age (aka Seniors).

One person informed me that there is such a thing as Age-Activation Attention Deficit Disorder – AAADD ! Another linked to a comical video about a woman who went from one task to another without getting anything accomplished.

I didn’t laugh. When you have spent your life dealing with an inability to focus alternating with hyper-focusing, both to the detriment of yourself and everyone around you, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) isn’t very funny.   [Read more…]

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Nail Salon Workplaces Need A Touch Up

By Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez

Today I am convening an informational hearing in the Capitol as Chair of the Select Committee on Women in the Workplace, bringing together stakeholders to discuss the challenges faced in the industry and to hear personal testimony from nail salon workers. I’m encouraged to be joined by the Chairs of four other Assembly Committees and other legislators to begin the collaborative process we need to achieve the change these workers need.

Recent in-depth coverage in the New York Times revealed shocking, systematic abuse going on right under the noses of thousands of nail salon customers every day. The reports found employees living in squalor and isolation, underpaid or completely unpaid, and ravaged by health problems possibly connected to chemicals they handle on the job. It echoed and expanded upon reporting done recently in California, drawing new attention to deeply troubling working conditions in the nail salon industry across the country.

Today’s hearing is an important start to ensure that the employees of these salons are effectively covered by California’s workplace safety and wage and hour laws. These laws should guarantee all workers fair treatment and safe working conditions, and it’s our responsibility to make sure they work.   [Read more…]

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Women Lowriders in San Diego County: Marisa Rosales and The Hudson

By Barbara Zaragoza / South Bay Compass

Lowriding is an art that also pushes car technology to the limits. Car Clubs members are like family and lowriders spend decades restoring cars to exactly how they looked and rode in the 1960s and 1970s.

Are there problems in the lowriding community? Yes, but probably not the ones you think. Lowriders, with their images of voluptuous girls on the front hoods, still remains a manly art form. Yes, nowadays diverse males from all ethnic and socio-economic groups join together in these car clubs, but they are still predominantly male. In San Diego County, Mayra Nuñez explains there are about seven women lowriders total, each in different car clubs.   [Read more…]

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Privatizing Pensions and Idolizing Profit in the 21st Century

By Doug Porter

Los Angeles Times columnist Michael Hiltzik has been on a tear recently, rolling out essays challenging the validity of claims made by those who claim privatizing retirement is the way of the future.

At the core of these conservative/libertarian arguments against public support for defined pensions is a fundamental belief in the supremacy of the “market” as a force in society. 

The problem with this viewpoint comes when actual results for those programs participants are measured. The market has no obligation other than profit, which is only guaranteed for those managing the transactions.   [Read more…]