Post image for Calling Out the Liars Behind the Anti Minimum Wage Campaign in San Diego

By Doug Porter

Paid signature gatherers, many from out of town, fanned out across the city this week trying to persuade voters to support a Chamber of Commerce led effort to block a  minimum wage increase for San Diegans.

City Council President Todd Gloria, a very high profile local politician and author of the minimum wage/sick days ordinance, had the presence of mind to make an instagram video as he was approached outside an uptown post office.

“Have you signed the petition so the state can’t force the city of San Diego to increase the minimum wage yet?” the signature-gatherer asked. “I support raising the minimum wage,” Gloria answered.

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Post image for Abed, Diaz Spar at Escondido Chamber Mayoral Forum

Escondido Democratic Club

There were few surprises as candidates for Escondido Mayor in the November election met for a forum August 20, sponsored by the Escondido Chamber of Commerce.

Mayor Sam Abed and Deputy Mayor Olga Diaz repeatedly demonstrated the starkly different choice before voters.

Perhaps the ‘news’ was the presence of Stephen Siaw, an unexpected newcomer to the race and to city politics. It was Siaw’s first appearance at a public candidate forum. The approximately 100 people in attendance welcomed him warmly.

Chamber Governmental Affairs chair Kevin Svetich asked a wide-ranging mix of questions that covered the key issues.

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Post image for Geo-Poetic Spaces:  Broken Tracks

By Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes

No trains
arrive Gate 17 Grunewald Station

A red and white gate flung open
exposes splattered stones

Nameless platform
Of dates, places, numbers

Sorrow is a spike
that crumbles buildings …

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Post image for Groups Call ALS Bucket Challenge a Baby Killer

By Doug Porter

Talk about your buzzkill.

Everybody, it seems, has been doing the ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) challenge lately. Actor Charlie Sheen, San Diego Chargers safety Eric Weddle and even Mayor Kevin Faulconer have had buckets of iced liquid dumped on them as part a nationwide fundraising campaign.

While public figures locally have gone out of their way to be conscious about the drought faced by Californians, there’s always a crank somewhere looking to be a spoiler.

In the case of the ALS challenge it’s a certain Catholic Archdiocese and the we’re-not-a-hate-group types at the American Family Association (AFA). You might remember the AFA from their ‘don’t buy Harvey Milk stamps campaign’.

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Post image for Big Oil Has Spent $63 million on Lobbying in Sacramento Since 2009! 

The oil industry is spending over $1 million per month

By Dan Bacher 

 / DailyKos

While there are many powerful industries based in California, ranging from the computer and high tech industry to corporate agribusiness, no industry has more influence over the state’s environmental policies than Big Oil.

An ongoing analysis of reports filed with the California Secretary of State shows that the oil industry, the largest and most powerful corporate lobby in Sacramento, collectively spent $63,947,616 lobbying California policymakers between January 1, 2009 and June 30, 2014.

The Western States Petroleum Association, led by President Catherine Reheis-Boyd, the former chair of the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative to create so-called “marine protected areas” in Southern California, topped the oil industry lobby spending with $26,969,861.

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Post image for The Grand Experiment at Voice of San Diego

By Linda Perine / Democratic Woman’s Club

When Voice of San Diego (VOSD) began online publication nearly a decade ago  the excitement in progressive San Diego was palpable. Here, finally, was an answer to the biased reporting that had been a hallmark of the UT for years (even before it was purchased by Doug Manchester).

The world of journalism was being revolutionized as the print media model became too expensive and cumbersome to compete in an instant access world. Slate and Salon opened their digital doors, and it seemed a new dawn of accountable news reporting was upon us.

San Diego journalist/entrepreneur Neil Morgan and Buzz Woolley founded VOSD. Those were the days of Enron by the Sea, pension underfunding, indicted council members, resigning Mayors and special elections (sound familiar?).

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Thumbnail image for Slime – A Common Denominator in San Diego’s Past, Present and Future Elections

Slime – A Common Denominator in San Diego’s Past, Present and Future Elections

by Doug Porter 08.20.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

slime

noun \ˈslīm\

: a thick, slippery liquid

: a very bad, unpleasant, or dishonest person

(from Merriam Webster.com)

 

The word “slime” came to mind as I reviewed the day’s news media, so that’s my theme du jour.

Today’s stories include an amazing document submitted in the government’s campaign contribution case against José Susumo Azano Matsura, rock throwing TV ads via a man formerly known as Turd Blossom and the ultimate in concern trolling by a political consultant posing as a small businessman.

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Thumbnail image for Can We Just Create a Civil Society Where Black Boys Can Feel Free to Just Be?

Can We Just Create a Civil Society Where Black Boys Can Feel Free to Just Be?

by Ernie McCray 08.20.2014 Culture

by Ernie McCray / The OB Rag

Michael Brown. Another black boy dead, unvalued and unloved by this society, unseen for what he is, a human being, dehumanized before he’s memorialized because we love to show a victim at his worse. They just had to show him strong arming a man for a pack of cigarillos.

So now we get away from his being shot (six times I just read) by someone paid by the citizenry to “serve and protect” and we start thinking, because of his criminal shenanigans, that maybe, just maybe, he isn’t deserving of continuing to live on earth with the rest of us.

Well, I’ve known many kids, a grandson of mine being one of them, who thought, at one time, they were slick and went off and committed some stupid crime and then went on to become outstanding human beings. Why? Because nobody killed them. …

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Thumbnail image for El Machete Illustrated: Can you Wrap Up These Leftovers?

El Machete Illustrated: Can you Wrap Up These Leftovers?

by At Large 08.20.2014 Government

Known for mixing history and culture with contemporary themes, Eric J. Garcia always tries to create art that is much more than just aesthetics. Born and raised in Albuquerque’s South Valley, Garcia earned his BFA from the University of New Mexico and went on to get his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of […]

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Restaurant Review: Buona Forchetta

by Judi Curry 08.20.2014 Food & Drink

Buona Forchetta
3001 Beech St, San Diego, CA 92102
(619) 381-4844

By Judi Curry

Whomever said “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry” sure must have been in the house last night.

For weeks I have been corresponding with Michael, a reader of the San Diego Free Press. He has commented on many articles I have written; has made suggestions about reviewing a variety of restaurants – Jade, for example – and has suggested that we go out together to review a restaurant.

He has been telling me about the Buona Forchetta for weeks and we finally set the date for last night. Lest you think that this was a “date, date” – let me assure you it was not. I met up with Michael, Jerry, Susan and Monique.

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Video Pick: Charles Bukowski Uncensored (and Animated)

by Staff 08.19.2014 Books & Poetry

“If you can’t write the next line, you’re dead…”

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Thumbnail image for Don’t Sign It! Chamber of Commerce Led Group Seeks to Block Minimum Wage Increase

Don’t Sign It! Chamber of Commerce Led Group Seeks to Block Minimum Wage Increase

by Doug Porter 08.19.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

As expected yesterday, the City Council voted to override Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s veto of San Diego’s Earned Sick Day / Minimum Wage ordinance. The vote was 6-2, with all Democrats supporting and Republicans Mark Kersey, and Scott Sherman opposed. Councilwoman Lori Zapf did not attend the meeting.

Not long after the council vote Chamber of Commerce CEO Jerry Sanders dialed up the media, announcing they’d be collecting signatures to force a referendum on the ordinance, hoping to suspend (until the June, 2016 elections) an increase in pay for an estimated 172,000 local workers, along with denying access to earned sick days to 279,000 individuals.

Raise Up San Diego, the alliance of community, faith and labor groups supporting the ordinance passed by the City Council has announced it will mount an educational campaign urging people to decline to sign the referendum petitions.

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Thumbnail image for DIY Resistance: Beat the Grief

DIY Resistance: Beat the Grief

by Will Falk 08.19.2014 Culture

By Will Falk

Surviving into adulthood in this destructive culture comes with a deep familiarity of loss.

We lose loved ones to environmentally-induced diseases like most forms of cancer, to the diseases of civilization like diabetes, and to actions previously almost unheard of in our original communities like suicide and patriarchal violence.

We lose the grasslands, forests, beaches, and riverbeds – words once synonymous with the homes our ancestors dwelled in so comfortably – to the murderous march of progress. We lose our memories, our stories, and thus, our identities, to the culturally homogenizing processes of colonization. We lose our sense of safety while men at staggering rates rape women and people of color are gunned down by police in the streets and bombed by soldiers in their homes.

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Thumbnail image for How San Diego’s P100 Program Screwed Diego and Anna

How San Diego’s P100 Program Screwed Diego and Anna

by John Lawrence 08.19.2014 Editor's Picks

By John Lawrence

San Diego’s P100 program involves intrusive, invasive home searches by law enforcement officials from the DA’s office for everyone that applies for welfare benefits.

These searches are unannounced and the potential welfare beneficiary must be at home whenever the investigator chooses to come or else they will be denied benefits. This makes it difficult for someone who has even a part time job.

When the investigator comes, as we reported last time, he will look for any evidence that the applicant has lied on her application. That could be a pair of work boots in a single mother’s closet or a pair of sexy panties in her underwear drawer, evidence of a boyfriend who could help her pay bills.

Some of these situations approach the Kafkaesque as stifling bureaucracy is combined with clueless non sequiturs on the part of the DA’s office to produce epidemic frustration and humiliation for poor people applying for a modest amount of help. Such was the case for a Latino couple, Diego and Anna Alvarez, who jumped through seemingly impossible hoops while trying to get a little help. The following is freely adapted from Matt Taibbi’s book, The Divide.

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As Abortion Rights Shrink, What’s the Best Language to Use to Protect Women’s Options?

by Source 08.19.2014 Activism

As leaders like Planned Parenthood are dropping “pro-choice” language, is there a smart alternative—and should there be one?

By Alyssa Figueroa / AlterNet

Planned_Parenthood_HCR
Across America, reproductive freedom is shrinking. Even with Alabama’s recent court victory protecting abortion rights in that deep red state, the overwhelming trend is very discouraging.

Red-state Republicans have shut down clinics in states like Texas. The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld protesters’ right to harass women going to clinics. State legislatures haveenacted 21 new abortion restrictions so far this year. Worse yet, recent research has found that while many young women support the substance of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark Supreme Court ruling that affirmed the right to end pregnancies, they are still apt to label themselves pro-life.

What’s going wrong? There’s no one answer. But a striking development is that the reproductive health movement is backing away from its longtime “pro-choice” label. Planned Parenthood has recently decided to drop it in favor of newer messaging that seeks to connect abortion with a wide range of women’s issues.

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Thumbnail image for SeaWorld: A Bigger Cage Doesn’t Change Anything

SeaWorld: A Bigger Cage Doesn’t Change Anything

by Doug Porter 08.18.2014 Business

By Doug Porter

 After a bad week in the stock market and a bad first half of the year at the turnstile, the company behind SeaWorld announced a series of moves it obviously hopes will enhance the image of its water parks.

The plans include doubling the size of its orca environment, contributing an additional $10 million to research on the species and establishing an independent advisory committee of scientists to oversee its orca program.

The new orca environment, dubbed the Blue World Project, will cover 1.5 acres at 50 feet deep and 350 feet in length. The new habitat will have 10 million gallons of water, up from 5.6 million. Visitors will be able to view the orcas from a 40-foot-tall glass wall below the water line.

The editorial board at UT-San Diego was impressed. Not many other people seemed to share their near-gushing sentiment.

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Thumbnail image for A Trail for Humanity’s Final Walk Begins in Chicano Park

A Trail for Humanity’s Final Walk Begins in Chicano Park

by Brent E. Beltrán 08.18.2014 Activism

Exclusive San Diego Free Press video package of the Barrio Logan portion of the 300+ mile pilgrimage to the border

Video by Horacio Jones

On the morning of Saturday, August 16 over 100 people gathered by the temescal (sweat lodge) in Chicano Park for a ceremony to honor the walkers of A Trail for Humanity. On July 22 a group of women and children left Merced, California on a journey south to the US-Mexico border in San Ysidro to pressure the Obama administration to put a halt to its deportation enforcement only policies; call for an end to the use of police as immigration enforcement agents; demand an end to family separations; and stem the tide of racial profiling that has incarcerated so many migrants and African Americans.

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Thumbnail image for Why Read? In Defense of Uselessness

Why Read? In Defense of Uselessness

by Jim Miller 08.18.2014 Books & Poetry

By Jim Miller

While I still deeply love my chosen profession of teaching after twenty-five years of work at various colleges with the last seventeen of those at San Diego City College, it’s hard not to notice the constant drumbeat of critics casting doubt on the value of my life’s work in the humanities.

Whether they be corporate education reformers bent on imposing a business model on colleges or techno-boosters with a zeal to toss all that I hold dear into the dustbin of history, there is a long line of naysayers.

As David Masciotra recently noted in “Pulling the Plug on English Departments” in The Daily Beast, “The armies of soft philistinism are on the march and eager to ditch traditional literature instruction in favor of more utilitarian approaches . . . It is easy to observe the sad and sickly decline of American intellectual life, through the cultural and institutional lowering of standards, when prestigious publications promote the defense, if not the celebration, of lower standards.”

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Thumbnail image for Looking Back at the Week at SDFP and OB Rag: August 10-16

Looking Back at the Week at SDFP and OB Rag: August 10-16

by Brent E. Beltrán 08.17.2014 Culture

Compiled by Brent E. Beltrán

This week’s edition of Looking Back at the Week features articles by San Diego Free Press and OB Rag regulars, irregulars, columnists, and at-large contributors on the GOP’s gubernatorial candidate, $20 Koch burgers, Ferguson, anti-minimum wage increase shill Jason Roe, the mayor’s war on the poor, A Trail for Humanity, Kingmaker Papa Doc, double toons by Junco, SD’s genome, a new Cold War, remembering Robin, Sea World losing money and building a bigger bathtub for Orcas and so much more from San Diego’s community journos. Go read them if you haven’t already.

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Thumbnail image for Our Communities Are Not Warzones

Our Communities Are Not Warzones

by At Large 08.17.2014 Culture

Tell the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security and Justice: Stop funding the siege on communities of color.

By American Civil Liberties Union

Last week, local police fatally shot an unarmed African-American 18-year-old named Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. In the days that followed, there have been massive protests in Ferguson and heavily armed SWAT teams are roaming the streets in response. Our communities are not warzones.

And yet the police, armed to the teeth, treat us like the enemy, especially if we’re black, young, poor or homeless. Tanks are rolling through our towns. What will it take for police to start protecting communities of color, not waging war on them?

The Departments of Defense, Homeland Security and Justice are funneling billions of dollars to state and local law enforcement agencies every year to help them purchase military weaponry and equipment. What business do DOD, DHS, and DOJ have funding a war here at home?

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Thumbnail image for War Weary

War Weary

by At Large 08.17.2014 Activism

By Jay Powell

Weary.
That’s what they say we are.

The chicken hawk sabre rattlers
Are yellin’ at Obama ‘cause
He won’t put real boots on the ground
But they won’t say exactly that cause they know we are

(war) weary.

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Thumbnail image for The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Testing the Meaning of “Americanized,” Part I

The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Testing the Meaning of “Americanized,” Part I

by Maria Garcia 08.16.2014 Activism

The Castro Sisters, Frank Peñuelas, Leonard Fierro and the beginnings of the Toltec Club

By Maria Garcia

One of the goals of the settlement house movement, which was established in urban centers at the beginning of the twentieth century, was to “Americanize” the immigrant populations that had settled in those cities. When Neighborhood House was established in 1914 as the only United States settlement house on the Mexican border, its role was to “uplift” Mexican immigrants in the Logan Heights community and Americanize them in doing so.

The Americanization process included everything from introducing Mexican families to white flour and white bread to the provision of the first English as a Second Language (ESL) classes in the city to support for cultural, social and recreational activities in which athletics programs for the boys were particularly prominent.

When I recently spoke to Rose Castro, she provided a particularly illuminating comment about Neighborhood House–”They taught us leadership!” …

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Thumbnail image for Is the Obama and EU Face-Off With Putin a New Cold War? What Forces Are Driving the Confrontation? Part III

Is the Obama and EU Face-Off With Putin a New Cold War? What Forces Are Driving the Confrontation? Part III

by At Large 08.16.2014 Culture

By Frank Thomas and John Lawrence

Parts 1 and 2 can be found here and here.

So Why is This Obama’s Problem (J. Lawrence)

Without any cooperation from Congress, Obama is relegated to using his executive powers to try and effect some meaningful action on his domestic agenda for which the Congressional Republican response is, “Let’s sue him.” The Republican House not only will not cooperate with Obama on any level, they actively oppose his every move. They are worse than a “Do Nothing” Congress; they are an active “Try to Make Obama Fail No Matter What He Does” Congress. The only legislation the Republicans in Congress would support is if Obama suddenly came to them and proposed a massive tax reduction for the rich and a concomitant tax increase on the poor and middle class. Or if he proposed to do away with Medicare and Social Security. Then they would line up in support of Obama and cheer him on.

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Thumbnail image for Matisse – Drawing with Scissors

Matisse – Drawing with Scissors

by At Large 08.16.2014 Arts

The most comprehensive exhibit ever devoted to his cut-outs at the Tate Modern

By Karen Kenyon

Just visiting the Tate Modern while in London is a sight not to be missed. Its spaciousness, its view of the Thames, the Millennium Bridge and St. Paul’s Cathedral, are enough, it would seem.

But then, of course, the whole point is the art. Exhibits have ranged from the French-American Louise Bourgeois to China’s Ai Weiwei. It is Britain’s national gallery of international modern art, and holds the national collection of British art from 1900 to the present day.

On a recent trip to that wonderful city we were fortunate to see “Henri Matisse/The Cut-Outs” in which 14 rooms at the Tate unfold with different aspects of Matisse’s cut-out work. At 130 pieces it is the most comprehensive exhibit ever devoted to his cut-outs, produced between 1937 and 1954. His cut-outs are among the most significant of any artist’s late works.

As we entered the exhibit it felt as if we were entering Matisse’s studio. …

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