Post image for California Chamber of Commerce Wants to Kick Widows to the Curb

By Doug Porter

It’s the time of year again when the the Golden State’s Chamber of Commerce issues it’s hit list of “job killer” bills being considered in Sacramento. This year there are 17 or so items on the preliminary list; more are expected to be added as the session goes on.

Included in the “Increased Unnecessary Litigation Costs” section is AB244, introduced by  Assemblymember Susan Eggman (D- Stockton). The measure would clarify protections in the California Housing Bill of Rights, specifying that widows and other surviving family members are covered in their dealings with mortgage servicers.

Presently these homeowners can find themselves caught in a “Catch 22” if they seek a loan modification. Servicers inform them that they can’t be considered for a modification until they assume the mortgage. But, they won’t let them assume the mortgage unless they demonstrate that they can afford it. As a result, mortgage payments are missed, fees rack up, and foreclosure can be the unnecessary outcome.

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Post image for Taxes and Inequality in California: Who Pays a Bigger Share?

By Jim Miller

Last week was Tax Day and with it came the annual ritual of bemoaning our ever-rising taxes and complaining about the endless growth of big government.

Indeed just a few days after Tax Day, I gave a talk at a local college on the history of income inequality and workers’ struggles in which I made a comparison between the stark odds workers face today in the Fight for $15 with the similarly steep hill they faced 100 years ago before the rise of the American Labor Movement and the reforms that came with the New Deal.

As is usually the case, however, a few folks in the audience just could not get their heads around the idea that it was not all government’s fault.

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Post image for Readers Write:  The Fuzzy Picture around the Chargers Stadium and Mission Valley

By Joe Flynn

Editor Note: Mr. Flynn’s article is a response to Taking a Wide Lens on Mission Valley by Mary Lydon, published in Voice of San Diego.

A wide angle lens may not be the appropriate analogy for this discussion. It seems a telephoto lens for a close up was used here focusing on providing a stadium for the Chargers. The rest of the picture is fuzzy. What is troubling about these discussions is that they begin and end with the assumption that the city owned land in Mission Valley, now improved with Qualcomm Stadium is “dedicated for sports facility use.”

Perhaps parkland can be dedicated and forever reserved for public park uses, but other city owned land can and should be viewed as a public asset to be used for the most critical public needs.

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By Ernie McCray

I just finished a very pleasant read, “100 Things Arizona Fans Should Know and Do Before They Die,” a book written by two of the best sports writers around, Steve Rivera and Anthony Gimino.

They write a lot about Arizona Basketball History and having played a role in that history, and having been around it all my life, the book couldn’t help but resonate with me in special ways.

In a chapter about University of Arizona traditions I found the words to a fight song that’s flowed through my veins and bones ever since I first heard it as a 14 year old, back in 1952:

Bear Down, Arizona
Bear Down, Red and Blue
Bear Down, Arizona
Hit ‘em hard, let ‘em know who’s who
Bear Down, Arizona
Bear Down, Red and Blue
Go, go Wildcats, go
Arizona Bear Down

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Post image for My California Drought

By Will Falk

there’s water, at least,
on the coast
and that’s where I’m heading

when stopped near
Petaluma, California
a sunburnt sign
hangs over a vineyard
celebrating a family
insurance business’s
longevity

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Post image for Looking Back at the Week: April 12-18

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, the fight for $15, Equal Pay Day, CivicSD, the answer is love, PLACAS, literary giant Eduardo Galeano’s passing, barrio dancers, school districts hoodwinked by Wall St., SDLFF wrap-up, corporate water hogs, and a sandcastle full of beach news from OB.

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Post image for When Did Lawyer Cory Briggs Stop Beating His Fake Wife?

By Regnad Kcin

High-profile San Diego lawyer Cory Briggs has engaged in egregious false matrimony, according to a months-long EyeNewSores investigation.

A host of experts assert that Briggs has made questionable and possibly fraudulent deals while claiming the woman he’s shacked up is his wife. The EyeNewSores team will examine these deals in future weeks, publishing exclusive headlines revealing a side to this so-called public interest lawyer that some may find shocking.

EyeNewSores has discovered that Briggs, a key figure in the resignation of former Mayor Bob Filner, may or may not have battered his alleged ‘wife,’ according to sources close to a high profile attorney and elected official famous for his ethics and fair play.

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Thumbnail image for The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Dancers and Dancing

The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Dancers and Dancing

by Maria E. Garcia 04.18.2015 Arts

Emma Lopez, Nachita Hernandez–and Rita Hayworth!

By Maria E. Garcia

Dancing lessons and dancing have been a focus at Neighborhood House since the early days. As stated in previous articles the dancers often performed at fund raisers held at the Marston House. The most memorable show from the early years was when they performed at the reception held for Jane Addams, founder of Hull House and a noted social worker. In those days they also performed in Balboa Park and at the Presido. Dance productions gave the entertainers from Logan Heights the opportunity to visit other parts of the city as well as for the members of the majority community to see the talent of the dancers from Neighborhood House.

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Thumbnail image for San Diego’s Family Jewels Losing Their Luster

San Diego’s Family Jewels Losing Their Luster

by Doug Porter 04.17.2015 Business

By Doug Porter

It’s been a bad week for cherished institutions in America’s Finest City. Our blessed football team, our world famous zoo, our info-tainment water park, and the mayor’s Hope Diamond of re-development all find themselves in trouble of one sort or another.

You might even say business as usual is getting unusual for San Diego. While a few instances of bad news do not constitute an omen of fundamental change, there’s reasons to believe we have not seen the end of these wannabe sordid sagas.

Then there are the shenanigans taking place in the electoral arena. Jacquie Atkinson is challenging Rep. Scott Peters. Supervisor Dave Roberts is in some kind of trouble. And those pesky House Republicans are after funding studying climate change, Again.

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Thumbnail image for Civic San Diego Public Records Request Filled with Redactions and Few Revelations

Civic San Diego Public Records Request Filled with Redactions and Few Revelations

by Anna Daniels 04.17.2015 Activism

An open letter to the Civic San Diego Board of Directors about New Market Tax Credit application

By Anna Daniels

What’s going on at Civic San Diego, the non-profit entity that has become the new model for redevelopment? On April 10, a legal complaint was filed by the San Diego County Building and Construction Trades Council and Dr. Murtaza Baxamusa, a CivicSD Boardmember. It was made available in its entirety at the San Diego Free Press.

On April 16 the Voice of San Diego published an opinion piece “Time to Shine a Harsh Spotlight on Civic San Diego” by former City Councilmember and current open government advocate Donna Frye. Frye refers in her article to the under- reported resignations of Cynthia Morgan, Civic’s Treasurer and CFO/COO Andrew Phillips. “I’m not sure what prompted the resignations of Phillips and Morgan, but it can’t be a good sign. It will be interesting to see who the mayor appoints, and the City Council confirms, to fill the vacancy left by Morgan, and who the new CFO/COO will be and how quickly that happens.”

On April 10 I sent an email to Jeff Gattas, chairman of the board of CivicSD, detailing my own concerns about the information that I had received from a public records request.

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Thumbnail image for Playwright Paul S. Flores’ PLACAS: The Most Dangerous Tattoo is Coming to San Diego

Playwright Paul S. Flores’ PLACAS: The Most Dangerous Tattoo is Coming to San Diego

by Brent E. Beltrán 04.17.2015 Books & Poetry

Part Two of a Two Part Interview with the Former Chula Vistan and UCSD Student

By Brent E. Beltrán

For Part I of the interview please visit.

In this second installment of my two part interview with playwright Paul S. Flores he discusses the founding of Los Delicados, what poetry means to him, his novel Along The Border Lies, what attracted him to theatre, his play PLACAS: The Most Dangerous Tattoo, the casting of Culture Clash’s Ric Salinas in the lead role, the outreach for the play, him being named a Doris Duke Artist, and what advice he’d give to fledgling minority writers.

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Thumbnail image for Geo-Poetic Spaces: Mission Beach

Geo-Poetic Spaces: Mission Beach

by Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes 04.17.2015 Books & Poetry

By Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes

Mission Beach

The boardwalk
wakes to surfers
slipping out of morning swells
window washers
wiping away coastal haze

In Belmont Park
workers inspect
the 90-year-old Dipper

Laminated waves of wood

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Thumbnail image for Super Sized #Fightfor15 Protests, Value Meal Press Coverage

Super Sized #Fightfor15 Protests, Value Meal Press Coverage

by Doug Porter 04.16.2015 Activism

By Doug Porter 

I spent most of yesterday traveling around San Diego with roughly three dozen fast food workers. The local version of the nationwide Fight for 15 movement made a statement at ten locations around town, taking to the streets both in North Park and downtown. 

The mostly brown and black workers on the bus were those who’d committed to taking a day off from work (there were others that came and went) to let the world know they wanted a better life. Two were older, having spent more than two decades in the business. Some had families to support. Some brought their kids along. Others were trying to go to community college on a fast food paycheck. All of them believed they could make a difference, even if they were just paying it forward. 

Many of these strikers shared their personal stories with TV and radio station reporters along the way. Some spoke up at the rally capping off the day. But the real story was the amazing level of grit and determination. There was a strong consciousness of this day being about larger issues motivating them as much if not more than their own personal dilemmas. 

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Thumbnail image for Playwright Paul S. Flores Brings PLACAS to San Diego

Playwright Paul S. Flores Brings PLACAS to San Diego

by Brent E. Beltrán 04.16.2015 Books & Poetry

Part One of a Two Part Interview with the Former Chula Vistan and UCSD Student

By Brent E. Beltrán

Writer Paul S. Flores grew up in Chula Vista and attended UCSD. He moved to San Francisco to pursue his Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. While there he immersed himself in the Bay Area arts/activist scene, helped found Youth Speaks, co-founded the irreverent poetry troupe Los Delicados, wrote an award winning novel, Along The Border Lies, wrote and performed his original plays, had children, and was recently named a Doris Duke Artist. His play PLACAS: The Most Dangerous Tattoo is touring California with a stop in San Diego April 23-25.

I met Paul, along with his Delicado compatriots, at a Floricanto Festival in San Jose in 1999 while publisher of the grassroots literary publishing house Calaca Press. In 2000, Calaca Press produced the spoken word CD anthology, Raza Spoken Here 2, which featured their poem Presente! In 2001 Calaca released their full length CD, Word Descarga. Since then Paul has gone on to do some tremendous literary work.

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Thumbnail image for A Video Interview With and Poetry by Amiri Baraka

A Video Interview With and Poetry by Amiri Baraka

by Staff 04.16.2015 Books & Poetry

By SDFP Staff

The following video conducted in 1998 by poet E. Ethelbert Miller of HoCoPoLitSo’s The Writing Life features an interview with, and poetry by, the late, great, radical poet Amiri Baraka (formerly known as Leroi Jones).

His website states:
“[D]ramatist, novelist and poet, Amiri Baraka is one of the most respected and widely published African-American writers. With the beginning of Black Civil Rights Movements during the sixties, Baraka explored the anger of African-Americans and used his writings as a weapon against racism. Also, he advocated scientific socialism with his revolutionary inclined poems and aimed at creating aesthetic through them.

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Thumbnail image for Eduardo Galeano 1940-2015

Eduardo Galeano 1940-2015

by Eric J. Garcia 04.16.2015 Cartoons
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Thumbnail image for California water restrictions must include Nestlé, Big Ag and Big Oil!

California water restrictions must include Nestlé, Big Ag and Big Oil!

by At Large 04.16.2015 Activism

by Dan Bacher

The mainstream media, state officials and corporate “environmental” groups have for years tried to portray California as the “green” leader of the nation. In reality, California suffers from some of the greatest environmental degradation of any state in the nation, since corporate agribusiness, the oil industry and other big money interests control the majority of the state’s politicians and exert inordinate influence over the state’s environmental policies.

California is currently in a state of emergency, with NASA scientists saying that California has only about one year of water left in reserves, according to Food and Water Watch. This is largely due to the gross mismanagement of California’s reservoirs, rivers and groundwater supplies, during a record drought, to serve the 1 percent.

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Thumbnail image for Puerto Rican Obituary

Puerto Rican Obituary

by At Large 04.15.2015 Books & Poetry

By Pedro Pietri

Pedro Pietri, El Reverendo de la Iglesia de la Madre de los Tomates and the Spanglish Metaphor Consultant of the Latin Insomniacs Motorcycle Club Without Motorcycles, was born in Puerto Rico in 1944 and grew up in Harlem. He first read Puerto Rican Obituary in 1969 at a Young Lords Party rally in New York. In 1973 Monthly Review Press published his first collection of poetry, Puerto Rican Obituary. He, along with Miguel Algarín, Miguel Piñero, Victor Hernandez Cruz and many others were an integral part of the Nuyorican Poetry Movement. On March 2, 2004 he died of cancer mid-flight on his way back to New York after spending time at an experimental cancer treatment facility in Tijuana, Mexico. While in Tijuana he was cared for by his brother Joe Pietri, longtime friend, poet, and former San Diego resident Jesus “Papoleto” Melendez, and the folks at Calaca Press including future San Diego Free Press writer and Editorial Board member Brent E. Beltrán. 

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Thumbnail image for Legal Complaint Filed against Civic San Diego in San Diego Superior Court

Legal Complaint Filed against Civic San Diego in San Diego Superior Court

by At Large 04.15.2015 Business

Plaintiffs seek community benefits and oversight of public funds

Editor Note: SDFP readers have requested more information about the legal complaint filed by the San Diego County Building and Construction Trades Council and Dr. Murtaza Baxamusa, a CivicSD Boardmember. We are providing their news release and a link to the complete filing below without analysis at this time.

The Petitioners are requesting legal declarations from the Superior Court which clarify the duties and responsibilities between the City of San Diego and CivicSD in regard to economic and community development. The legal complaint also seeks by its lawsuit to create public transparency over public-private development, safeguard taxpayers with oversight of public resources, and establish a baseline of community benefits for development derived from public resources.

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Thumbnail image for Eduardo Galeano, Sacrilegious Women

Eduardo Galeano, Sacrilegious Women

by Source 04.15.2015 Books & Poetry

Eduardo Galeano / Tom Dispatch

Editor Note: Acclaimed author and champion of social justice Eduardo Galeano died on April 13, 2015.

His book Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent came out in 1971 and proved to be the first vampire thriller of our American imperial age. Its blood-sucker of a plot was too outrageous not to be mesmerizing: a country called the United States declares a “good neighbor” policy for those living in its hemisphere because they just look so tasty, and then proceeds to suck the economic blood out of country after country. Hollywood never topped it. “True Blood” and “The Vampire Diaries” couldn’t hold an incisor to it; Buffy was a punk by comparison.

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Thumbnail image for San Diego Latino Film Festival 2015 Wrap Up

San Diego Latino Film Festival 2015 Wrap Up

by At Large 04.15.2015 Film & Theater

By Mukul Khurana

In case it wasn’t clear—The San Diego Latino Film Festival went through some big changes this year. The main change was the venue—from Hazard Center to Fashion Valley. Phil Lorenzo was on hand to explain the logic behind the move. Hazard Center wasn’t big enough to accommodate the growth expected over the next few years. As Exhibition Director, Phil has to look to the future of the festival. Besides the growth expected, there was the issue of working with sponsors (Lexus and Microsoft come to mind). Phil added that even the possibility of working in their storefronts was an option—moving into the mall from the theaters to a minor degree.

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Thumbnail image for SDFP Is Going All in for $15 Today!

SDFP Is Going All in for $15 Today!

by Staff 04.15.2015 Activism

By Staff

SDFP editor Doug Porter will be spending the day at the locations listed below. He’ll be tweeting throughout the day, so check our twitter feed. Doug’s column The Starting Line will return tomorrow with lots of news and analysis of today’s events.

Here’s the list of times and locations for protests on Wednesday:

7 am – Fast Food Worker Strike: 2345 El Cajon Blvd, San Diego, CA
8:30 am – Fast Food Worker Strike: 2829 El Cajon Blvd, San Diego, CA
11 am – Security Officer Event:750 B Street San Diego, CA
Noon – State Workers Event: 1350 Front St, San Diego, CA
1:30pm – City Heights Rising Event: 3795 Fairmount Ave, San Diego, CA
3:30 pm – Home Care Worker Rally: San Diego State University 5500 Campanile Drive San Diego, CA (Between the music building and open air theatre)
4:30 pm– The Big Event: San Diego State University Scripps Cottage Lawn near Hepner Hall 5500 Campanile Dr, San Diego, CA

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Thumbnail image for On Equal Pay Day (and Every Other Day) Trickle-Down Continues to Fail

On Equal Pay Day (and Every Other Day) Trickle-Down Continues to Fail

by Doug Porter 04.14.2015 Activism

By Doug Porter

The second Tuesday in April marks the observance of Equal Pay Day. This calendar date hypothetically represents the length of time past New Years’ Day many women must work at the same job in order to match what men make in a year.

The day is a symbolic means of illustrating the differences in pay existing throughout the economy based on gender, despite legislative actions aimed a rectifying the problem dating back to 1869.  The National Committee on Pay Equity offers up a variety of programs for addressing inequities tied to gender.

This pay gap is one important part of a much larger picture of discrimination and inequality rampant in the Millennial Gilded Age.

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Thumbnail image for This is for…

This is for…

by Brent E. Beltrán 04.14.2015 Books & Poetry

By Brent E. Beltrán

This is for those that came before
The ones that paved the way
Blazed the trail
And beat the path

This is for he, she
You, me
Everybody in this neighborhood
         We

This is for the park builders
The pillar painters
Sculpture makers
Cactus garden caretakers

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Thumbnail image for Civic San Diego – Like a Hole in the Head

Civic San Diego – Like a Hole in the Head

by Norma Damashek 04.14.2015 Columns

By Norma Damashek

We need it like a loch im kopf.  A hole in the head.  It’s what people in the old days would say about a bad situation.  It’s what I say about Civic San Diego –the reincarnation of our former downtown redevelopment agency.

We need Civic San Diego like a hole in the head.  It’s time to get rid of it.

A quick backtrack:  It’s been three years since redevelopment agencies throughout California were terminated and instructed to wind downtheir uncompleted redevelopment projects and make good on their financial obligations.  Other cities complied by doing the job in-house, under public supervision.

Not so in San Diego.  To take care of the job in our city, former mayor Jerry Sanders created an unaccountable, autonomous corporation named Civic San Diego.

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