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Part 5: The Battle for Progressive Hearts and Minds 

Editors Note: Former Assemblywoman Lori Saldaña has an up close and personal story to tell about her dealings with former Mayor Bob Filner and the Democratic party establishment. This is the end of a five part series running this week at San Diego Free Press. Part one covers her early encounters with Filner, Part two describes the indifference she met when she tried to alert Democratic Party leadership, Part three talks about the pressures brought about to gain her endorsement of the Filner mayoral candidacy. Part four is about keeping the biggest secret.

By Lori Saldaña

As voters look ahead to the next campaign cycle, we increasingly hear of battles over how to fund these elections. These range from discussions over local races to arguments before the US Supreme Court over campaign financing.

The discussions range from proposals for setting up public financing for elections, to arguments in favor of allowing unlimited private contributions from the wealthiest 0.1% of people in the country.

If money is speech, a lot of people have no chance of ever being heard.

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By Doug Porter

Things must be going poorly for incumbent District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis in her re-election campaign. While she hasn’t been accused of involvement in the unfolding campaign finance scandal stemming from a foreign donor’s quest to turn our downtown waterfront into another Miami, a whiff of ‘something’s not right here’ remains in the air.

Her re-election effort is facing a stiff challenge from a well-funded opponent who’s managed to nail down endorsements from a large majority of law enforcement-related groups and nearly two dozen former assistant DAs. And her latest gaffe won’t help matters much.

Yesterday, challenger Bob Brewer announced the endorsement of Father Joe Carroll, whose high profile blessing of Kevin Faulconer was well received by voters during the recent mayoral contest. It should have been a blip on the radar of the campaign. Now it’s not.

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Post image for Poem of the Day: “PTSD” by Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes

As part of the ongoing SDFP column Geo-Poetic Spaces

Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes

Sun’s shell exploding
swimming pools
displacing water’s reflections
with electro-convulsive
flashes of dendrites in chlorine

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You can’t encourage other people to eat a diet that’s better for them and the planet by getting all vegangelical on them.

By Jill Richardson / Other Words

As a vegetarian, I have to walk a fine line.

Really, I’m not judging you. But I often find it necessary to establish myself as “not a threat” to meat eaters. I also occasionally bump up against militant vegans.

Consider this collision I had the other day with a devout vegangelical. While at a potluck among an omnivorous group that included a woman who raises and slaughters chickens and turkeys for meat, I tried to politely excuse myself for not partaking in most of the food.

“I’m vegetarian,” I said. “Well, mostly vegetarian.”

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By Will Falk

I tried to kill myself a year ago.

In the year since, I quit my job as a public defender, spent weeks in group therapy, went on Phish tour, tried to kill myself again, searched every corner of my soul and began writing earnestly.

Sometimes, I think writing has kept me alive. Writing my poetry and essays allows me to fill my world with a meaning that is under attack.

The world is burning at an ever-faster pace. We are at war. Many of us may be imprisoned, tortured, raped and ultimately killed. Before I tried to kill myself, I let myself wander too far with clogged ears deaf to the friends – both human and non-human – that fill this world with meaning.

Armed with my experiences, I know that art can – and must be – a weapon used in defense of the world.

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By Doug Porter

While lots of local politicos are willing to give at least lip service towards increasing the minimum wage or creating affordable housing, the abject lack of interest in rectifying a government sponsored system of exploitation in the local taxi industry is staggering.

The medallion based system of licensing currently in place in San Diego, wherein drivers pay for the privilege of leasing a vehicle that may or may not be roadworthy, insures consumers of two things: scarcity of service and higher fares. This form of regulation might have made sense 80 years ago in New York city when it was started, but today a privileged few and the politicians they fund are the only beneficiaries.

Of all things revealed in a 2013 San Diego State University/Center for Policy Initiatives study–the unsafe working conditions, the dangerous vehicles, the exploitation of drivers–it would appear that Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s response will be limited to the vehicles themselves and, perhaps, record keeping issues.

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Part 4: The Aftermath

Editors Note: Former Assemblywoman Lori Saldaña has an up close and personal story to tell about her dealings with former Mayor Bob Filner and the Democratic party establishment. This is part three of a five part series running this week at San Diego Free Press. Part one covers her early encounters with Filner, Part two describes the indifference she met when she tried to alert Democratic Party leadership, Part three talks about the pressures brought about to gain her endorsement of the Filner mayoral candidacy.

By Lori Saldaña

On Election Day, I trailed Peters on the first ballot announcement by less than 200 votes. I eventually lost by 700 votes, after being outspent 4:1. Most of his funds were family money.

Dollar for dollar, we ran the most cost efficient Congressional campaign in the state, if not the country. But in the end, personal wealth and internecine party warfare trumped our efforts.

Worse, after the June 2012 primary election, I continued to hear reports regarding Filner’s behavior towards women, including at campaign fundraising events. I did not personally witness these activities, since I had withdrawn from political activity. But they became common knowledge throughout the political community and were discussed by volunteers and others at events, who apparently decided to “hate the sin, but support the sinner.”

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Thumbnail image for My Buddy Has a Playmate

My Buddy Has a Playmate

by Judi Curry 04.17.2014 Books & Poetry

By Judi Curry

My 13 year old Golden is having some hip issues

Trying to watch him walk down the stairs brings out the crying tissues.

He doesn’t seem to be in much pain and he “smiles” all the time,

Except when he tries to stand up and then you know he’s not fine.

He just helped me “dog sit” my daughter’s big dog,

Who really is a cross between a kangaroo and a frog.

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“We Are More Than Just Workers — We’re People.”

by Source 04.17.2014 Activism

By Lisa Maldonado Robinson/ Escondido Democratic Club

It takes an hourly wage of $13.09 and a full-time job to be able “to make ends meet” in San Diego County, according to Lisa Maldonado Robinson of the Interfaith Center for Worker Justice (ICWJ). Robinson spoke to Escondido Democrats at their April 12 meeting about the ICWJ’s ongoing program in San Diego County in which religious leaders strive “to lift workers out of poverty.” The program has a North County component and Robinson described efforts to organize workers at Casino Pauma and Northgate Markets.

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Thumbnail image for Poem of the Day: “notes from Hillcrest/one year after suicide attempt” by Will Falk

Poem of the Day: “notes from Hillcrest/one year after suicide attempt” by Will Falk

by Will Falk 04.17.2014 Arts

4/16/14

By Will Falk

I am looking for a pick-axe
a long one with a thick handle
one to chip my way
through the asphalt covering
everything

I want to hear crickets
tall grasses at my heels
the shift of sand
the suck of mud

starlight

this is what I think about
wandering San Diego at night

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Thumbnail image for New Chicano Park Muralists Are Honored to Paint in the Park

New Chicano Park Muralists Are Honored to Paint in the Park

by Brent E. Beltrán 04.16.2014 Arts

44th annual Chicano Park Day Celebration this Saturday

By Brent E. Beltrán

The Chicano Park Steering Committee and thousands of their friends will be celebrating the 44th anniversary of the takeover of Chicano Park this Saturday in San Diego’s Barrio Logan. The theme of the celebration is “La Tierra Es De Quien La Trabaja: The Land Belongs To Those Who Work It.” 

Last year I wrote:

“On April 22, 1970 a rag tag group of artists, activists, and community members joined forces and took over the land underneath the San Diego-Coronado Bridge in Barrio Logan. At the time, construction was about to begin on the building of a California Highway Patrol substation. For many years, residents of Barrio Logan had been promised a park. Seeing the pending creation of a CHP substation was the straw that broke this barrio’s back.”

Every year the community of Barrio Logan, as well as Chicanas and Chicanos from all over, and our friends and allies, all come together to celebrate the takeover of the area underneath the San Diego-Coronado Bridge.

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Thumbnail image for Supreme Court to Consider Lies in Political Ads

Supreme Court to Consider Lies in Political Ads

by Doug Porter 04.16.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

Not even George Orwell could have predicted this; an anti-abortion group is challenging Ohio’s law making it a crime to knowingly publish false statements about political candidates.

According to a story in the Los Angeles Times, the case involves billboard ads funded by the Susan B. Anthony List accusing an Ohio congressman of voting for taxpayer-funded abortions based on his support of the Affordable Care Act. The Hyde Amendment, passed in 1976, prohibits using federal funds to pay for abortions, except in cases of rape, incest or when the mother’s life is in danger.

Concerns about any Supreme Court ruling in this case stem from a ruling (made on the same day the court upheld most sections of Obamacare) overturning the conviction of Xavier Alvarez for violating the 2006 Stolen Valor Act making it a crime for a person to falsely claim, orally or in writing, “to have been awarded any decoration or medal authorized by Congress for the Armed Forces of the United States.” The 6-3 decision asserted  the act was an unconstitutional infringement on free speech.

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Thumbnail image for Sex, Power and Politics in San Diego – A Double Standard for Party Endorsements

Sex, Power and Politics in San Diego – A Double Standard for Party Endorsements

by Source 04.16.2014 Gender

Editors Note: Former Assemblywoman Lori Saldaña has an up close and personal story to tell about her dealings with former Mayor Bob Filner and the Democratic party establishment. This is part three of a five part series running this week at San Diego Free Press. Part one covers her early encounters with Filner, Part two describes the indifference she met when she tried to alert Democratic Party leadership.

Part 3: Endorsement Roulette

By Lori Saldaña

By early 2012 I was campaigning full time, struggling to raise money, and trying to earn the Democratic Party endorsement. The grassroots, progressive delegates were with me, but the more moderate Democratic faction did all they could to block my State Party endorsement.

A short time after I had shared my concerns about Filner he announced his engagement. Privately, I suspected this was done to counter my allegations. When I encountered Filner at campaign events we kept our distance, and I was never introduced to his fiancee.

Still, knowing what I knew about his personal behavior, I refused to give his campaign an endorsement.

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Thumbnail image for Sarah Boot Takes on District 2

Sarah Boot Takes on District 2

by Frank Gormlie 04.16.2014 Politics

By Frank Gormlie

Sarah Boot and I grabbed a table outside at Nati’s in OB the other day for our interview – but as the sun was playing hide and seek, we later had to move inside. Sun or no sun, Sarah is running for the District 2 City Council seat in the Primary which is coming up on June 3rd.  The mail ballots go out in May.

Before we sat down outside, we met in the foyer of the iconic family cafe on Bacon Street.  We shook hands, then while leading her into one of the dining rooms, I informed Sarah that Nati’s was the oldest Mexican restaurant in the Peninsula.  I pointed to the oil painting hanging prominently on one of walls of Louisa – the famous server who worked at Nati’s for over 50 years – and who I met when I was a teenager when my family came during the Sixties.

Once outside, we ordered some lunch – Sarah’s a partial vegetarian – she does eat fish and cheese – and we settled in for a back-and-forth discussion over the next hour or so.  And it was a discussion, for she’s good at listening and I had a whole mental cabinet full of OB and Peninsula history and issues to share with her.  I also threw her questions, and I’ve integrated her responses into my story.

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Thumbnail image for Poem of the Day:  “Bluebird” by Charles Bukowski

Poem of the Day: “Bluebird” by Charles Bukowski

by Anna Daniels 04.16.2014 Books & Poetry

The poet’s secret pact

By Anna Daniels

Brent Beltrán is the Wednesday editor du jour, so I gave him a heads up yesterday that Bukowski’s poem would be ready to post today. Brent shot back an email with “In honor of Bukowski I’ll get blindingly drunk and bang my head on the keyboard in hopes that a poem appears on my computer screen.” I sense that the man who wrote “Poetry is what happens when nothing else can” would approve of the homage.

Much of Charles Bukowski’s poetry expresses his contempt of hypocrisy, willful stupidity, gratuitous judgments, posturings of superiority and the easy sell-out.

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Thumbnail image for Happy Tax Day! The Rich and Poor Are Now Equally Free to Purchase Political Influence with Their Income Tax Refunds

Happy Tax Day! The Rich and Poor Are Now Equally Free to Purchase Political Influence with Their Income Tax Refunds

by Doug Porter 04.15.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

It seems appropriate on tax day, given the annual media binge of gratuitous coverage of Tea Party protests at Post Offices and editorial cartoons demonizing the Internal Revenue Service, to survey the political landscape and make some comments about where we find ourselves in 2014.

The vast majority of stories you’ll see repeated by tax protesters on the evening news today are simply bullshit–not that any of these so-called “reporters” will actually fact check them. If some guy carrying a sign about the Muslim socialist in the White House screams ignorant slogans about the gubment, it must be news. Because “everybody knows” all these things they say must be true.

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Thumbnail image for Sex, Power, and Politics in San Diego – Trying to Blow the Whistle on Bob Filner

Sex, Power, and Politics in San Diego – Trying to Blow the Whistle on Bob Filner

by Source 04.15.2014 Gender

Editors Note: Former Assemblywoman Lori Saldaña has an up close and personal story to tell about her dealings with former Mayor Bob Filner and the Democratic party establishment. This is part two of a five part series running this week at San Diego Free Press. Part one covers her early encounters with Filner.

PART TWO: Party Politics

By Lori Saldaña

I first contacted Durfee in August 2011. I recounted the Filner actions and allegations, and urged him to meet with Filner to determine if these were accurate accounts, and, if so, to take action to ensure the behavior would stop.

I reported Bob Filner’s bad behavior to the San Diego County Democratic Party Chairman for pretty simple reasons: I believe women deserve to be treated with respect. I also feared he would ultimately be “outed” with disastrous impacts on others.

I also expressed concern over what this would mean for Democrats and the Mayor’s campaign if these stories became public.

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Entering a New Age

by Ernie McCray 04.15.2014 Columns

By Ernie McCray

When it comes to age I’m about to turn another page. I’ll be 76 if I’m still on the scene on April 18th, 2014.

Life, on the whole, has been very good to me. Somehow, I’ve managed, in my time, as I’ve evolved as a human being, to let the good moments override the moments when I’ve wanted to scream or just cold-cock some redneck yokel out of his misery into another galaxy or burn down the “system.” The hypocrisy of it all has always bothered me immensely.

So I just ride the high from the pretty moments, like the one the other day when Maria and I, on a little getaway, were walking along the main drag in Julian, enjoying a soothing sunny day, fully at ease with ourselves and with each other. While strolling through a group of boys, in front of a market, one of them said to me, “You’re tall,” to which I replied, “Yes, I am that” as we stepped through the threshold of the little store. “Can you dunk?” he continued. “At one time. Not anymore.” “Too old?” “You got it.”

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Thumbnail image for Poem of the Day: “Elegy” by Jon Sands

Poem of the Day: “Elegy” by Jon Sands

by Anna Daniels 04.15.2014 Books & Poetry

Poet as memorist

By Anna Daniels

It’s National Poetry Month and readers have been sending in their requests for poems and poets. Securing publication rights for the poem of the day has been challenging, which is one of the reasons why I am using videos. Many of you have been sending videos links which means I have enjoyed hours and hours of total immersion in all kinds of poems by all kinds of poets. You have introduced me to poets I never knew about or poems by familiar poets that I had never read before. Don’t stop! Thanks to Anna Prouty for suggesting Elegy.

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Thumbnail image for Desmond Tutu: Climate Crisis Demands ‘Anti-Apartheid-Style Boycott’ of Fossil Fuel Industry

Desmond Tutu: Climate Crisis Demands ‘Anti-Apartheid-Style Boycott’ of Fossil Fuel Industry

by Source 04.15.2014 Activism

Nobel laureate says ‘people of conscience’ must break ties with oil and gas companies that are destroying planet’s future.

By Jon Queally / Common Dreams

Archbishop of South Africa and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Desmond Tutu is saying their is no longer any excuse for not doing everything humanly possible to fight climate change and called on Thursday for an international “anti-apartheid-style boycott” against the fossil fuel industry.

In a striking essay and call to action in the Guardian newspaper, Tutu writes: “People of conscience need to break their ties with corporations financing the injustice of climate change.”

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Thumbnail image for Build Us a Stadium or We’ll Shoot This Puppy – Here Comes the Chargers ‘Deal’

Build Us a Stadium or We’ll Shoot This Puppy – Here Comes the Chargers ‘Deal’

by Doug Porter 04.14.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

He doesn’t speak for anyone, UT-San Diego sports columnist Kevin Acee says, and he won’t be heard by anyone. Thus, his page-one-worthy column about the likely scenario for a new football stadium ended up on page D-4 in Sunday’s paper.

The story was actually posted on Friday afternoon online, and its significance becomes apparent when you realize that nearly 150 people had posted comments before the dead tree edition hit the streets.

The Chargers stadium scenario story is supposed to be nothing more than informed speculation, of course. Except that (I’d bet) it’s not. Call it a trial balloon, floated in the wake of a ‘preliminary’ meeting between team representatives and the mayor’s minions last Wednesday.

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Thumbnail image for Poem of the Day:  “Piss Factory” by Patti Smith

Poem of the Day: “Piss Factory” by Patti Smith

by Anna Daniels 04.14.2014 Books & Poetry

“I will never faint I refuse to lose, I refuse to fall down”

By Anna Daniels

Patti Smith, the queen of punk and one of the few women who was even able to make a name for herself in the punk scene, is now in her late 60′s, still writing, singing and politically active. Piss Factory was one of her first recordings, released in 1974.

Sixteen and time to pay off
I got this job in a piss factory inspecting pipe
Forty hours thirty-six dollars a week
But it’s a paycheck, Jack.
It’s so hot in here, hot like Sahara
You could faint in the heat…
The rest of the poem here.

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Thumbnail image for Sex, Power, and Politics in San Diego – Run Up to the 2012 Election

Sex, Power, and Politics in San Diego – Run Up to the 2012 Election

by Source 04.14.2014 Gender

Editors Note: Former Assemblywoman Lori Saldaña has an up close and personal story to tell about her dealings with former Mayor Bob Filner and the Democratic party establishment. This is part one of a five part series running this week at San Diego Free Press. 

PART ONE:  Filner Clears the Field

By Lori Saldaña

In December 2010  I termed out of the California Assembly after serving 6 years; 3 terms were then the maximum allowed. In the summer of 2011 I prepared to teach a class in the Women’s Studies Department at San Diego State University on “Sex, Power and Politics,” and, as redistricting was concluded, decided to run  for Congress in the 52nd district in California. As I began preparing to teach and run for Congress, I  began hearing stories from women who told me they had been harassed by then-US Representative Bob Filner, who appeared to be the only Democratic candidate for Mayor of San Diego.

Filner did a good job of clearing the field.  He received support and promises of help from people who coveted his open seat, and saw in his retirement the opportunity for a “domino effect” to lead to additional openings and special elections in the California Senate and Assembly.

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Thumbnail image for “Taxifornia” Dreaming: Who Really Pays in California?

“Taxifornia” Dreaming: Who Really Pays in California?

by Jim Miller 04.14.2014 Columns

By Jim Miller

Tomorrow is tax day, and we are likely to hear the usual histrionics from the pity the millionaire crowd about how the draconian taxes on the affluent and businesses in “Taxifornia” are killing growth and jobs and driving folks out of the state. There is only one problem with this—it’s not true. Indeed, far from the socialist hamlet that the anti-tax zealots like to portray us as, California’s tax system is still more regressive than progressive.

This is documented in the California Budget Project’s (CBP) Annual report “Who Pays Taxes in California?” that shows that, “Contrary to the oft-repeated claim that high-income Californians pay an unfair amount of taxes, it is actually California’s low-income households who pay the largest share of their incomes in state and local taxes.”

Consequently, the CBP argues that “Given widening income inequality over the last generation, and the ongoing economic challenges facing Californians in the aftermath of the Great Recession, policymakers could take specific steps to reduce the regressive nature of California’s system of state and local taxes and to promote economic security for low-income families.”

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Thumbnail image for Barrio Logan Commemorates Mexican Revolutionary Leader and Defends Right to a Clean and Healthy Neighborhood

Barrio Logan Commemorates Mexican Revolutionary Leader and Defends Right to a Clean and Healthy Neighborhood

by Brent E. Beltrán 04.13.2014 Activism

Hundreds rally and march in opposition to maritime industry pollution

By Brent E. Beltrán

The Mexican community of San Diego and their supporters came together on Saturday in Barrio Logan’s Chicano Park to commemorate the 95th anniversary of the assassination of Mexican revolutionary leader Emiliano Zapata and to rally and march in opposition to maritime industry’s continued poisoning of this proud and defiant neighborhood.

The 10th annual Zapata March was organized by Mexican and Chicano activist groups Unión del Barrio, M.E.Ch.A. and Colectivo Zapatista with support from other radical organizations. The action was organized under the theme of “The Solution to Pollution is Revolution.”

Organizers “felt it was important to draw attention to the racist attempt by powerful ship building companies to overturn the Barrio Logan Community Plan and keep polluting our neighborhoods as they have done for decades.”

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