Post image for Looking Back at the Week at SDFP and OB Rag: September 7-13

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 punitive taxi cartels, the Chamber of Misery, poverty going up, the People’s Climate March, an interview with Alvarez, inside an outsiders campaign, a grassroots mayoral campaign in IB, corporate deserters, Falk finding rock bottom, OB plan waits until January, changes to Belmont Park, OBTC’s resolution against homelessness and much more San Diego news you may have missed. We write for free so please take a looksee.

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Post image for The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Johnny Rubalcava

By Maria E. Garcia

Johnny Rubalcava is a very young 90-year-old man. He has been married five times, his last marriage lasting 30 years. He has been a widower for the last two years. When you look at Mr. Rubalcava you think you’re speaking to a man of 70, not only because of his wonderful memory, but because he carries himself like a much younger man.

He started going to the Neighborhood House at the age of six, during the 1930’s. Like so many of the other people I interviewed, Mr. Rubalcava remembers Neighborhood House as the place where kids in Logan Heights learned to dance, play on sports teams and enjoy occasional trips to camp.

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Post image for What are We Feeding Fido, and Why?

Food for Thought

By Sarah “Steve” Mosko / Boogie Green

My journey into the world of dog food ingredients began when my two-year-old mutts, Olive and Dexi, embarked on a hunger strike of sorts. They’d circle around their food bowls a foot away, sniffing all the while, only to walk away in protest before getting close enough to really get a good look. It felt as though they thought I might be trying to poison them, or at least pull a fast one of some sort.

I served what I thought were top-tier kibble and wet foods, never skimping on price and offering plenty of variety to avert boredom. I changed commercial foods numerous times, trying every ilk of so-called natural lines marketed as organic, grain-free and the like, yet still my offerings were snubbed. I’ll never know if they actually conspired to get my attention, but get my attention they did when they’d go two days without eating a bite, ostensibly giving in only when hunger forced them to.

I became convinced Olive and Dexi were rejecting the meals based on odor, inspiring my 3-part investigation into dog foods: first, to understand the canine sense of smell; second, to master commercial dog food labeling; and third, to discern what canine diet might really be best. I’ve concluded that the answer to the latter might not be as simple as one would wish.

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Post image for Crippling Student Loan Debt, Not Just For the Young

By Joan McCarter / Daily Kos

The retirement crisis, hastened by the death of the pension and the great recession that decimated retirement funds along with home values, has a yet another growing cause: student loan debt. A new report from the Government Accountability Office shows how massive student loan debt is throughout the population, but how dramatically it has grown for seniors.

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Post image for ‘I Believe That We Will Win’ – San Diego Activists Rise Above the Fray

By Doug Porter

The six hundred forty six columns and stories I’ve written about San Diego in this space over the past 27 months have led me to an awareness of just how vital activism has become in this community.

Howard Zinn, loathed by right-wingers everywhere, writes from the perspective that  activism and social movements are driving forces in history.This is different from the heroes/villains methodology or the feast/famine/war/peace way [how the mass media see the world] of understanding the course of events.

This week in San Diego is, I think, a validation of Zinn’s approach. Even as battles were lost (the Chamber of Misery’s minimum wage referendum), other struggles were victorious (the taxi drivers’ quest for reform). This weekend’s People’s Climate March in downtown is just one manifestation of 2700 other rallies around the world making the point that the world can no longer afford to delay substantive action on this issue.

Today’s column will discuss some of the many fronts for activism in San Diego and around the nation.

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Post image for Who Runs San Diego? How Do You Solve a Problem like Sea World?

Shamu, we hardly knew ye

By Linda Perine / San Diego Woman’s Democratic Club

For most of us it has been a slow, painful process to understand that our love affair with cute, cuddly, smiley Shamu has made us participants in a cold-blooded business that imprisons and mistreats sentient, social creatures in ways that turn the stomach and shock the conscience.

Concerned environmentalist and civic leaders have been telling us for years that the capture of orcas was nasty and brutal involving bombs and machine guns, the violent separation of babies from their mothers and resulting in injury and death to many orcas in the wild. Books criticizing the Sea World business model and its exploitation of captive whales and dolphins just did not register.

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Post image for Readers Write:  The Community Effort behind the Arrest of a Suspect in the North Park Assaults

By Alan Bennett

North Park citizens were intimately involved in the arrest of David Angelo Drake, a 23-year-old male as a suspect in the sexual assaults on women in North Park over the past four months. The San Diego resident was scheduled to be arraigned September 11, 2014, at the downtown courthouse. Mr. Drake was taken into custody into custody near the corner of Fifth Avenue and Washington Street.

This was possible because a North Park resident took the time to get involved. The tipsters words to me were: “I did not expect that I would solve the puzzle, but I knew that I had to try and that I was going to keep at it until I figured it out.” Although bedridden, the tipster suspected having seen the emblem on the suspect’s Tee shirt caught on a closed circuit television. That image was vague but familiar. After four hours, searching Tee shirt websites, a match was made.

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Thumbnail image for Is San Diego’s Thomas Jefferson School of Law Going Under?

Is San Diego’s Thomas Jefferson School of Law Going Under?

by Source 09.19.2014 Business

By Paul Campos / Lawyers, Guns and Money

Thomas Jefferson is a big, although shrinking, ABA law school in San Diego, featuring horrible employment statistics (less than three in ten graduates have legal jobs nine months after graduation), terrible bar passage rates (over the past three years less than half of the school’s graduates who have taken the California bar have passed), and mind-boggling debt figures (the 2013 class took out an average of $180,000 in law school loans, which means its members had an average of around $215,000 in law school debt alone, not counting undergraduate debt, when their first loan payments became due in December).

A few years ago, this institution decided it would be a good thing to build a swank 305,000 square-foot eight-story building in downtown San Diego, at a cost of around $90,000,000. The project, which was completed in 2011, was beset by litigation over “alleged construction flaws and unpaid debts.”

The project has also been plagued by remarkably bad timing, as it opened just as the law school reform movement was generating the kind of major media coverage that led to a crash in applications to law schools generally, and to TJSL in particular.

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Thumbnail image for Escondido School Board Candidates on Creationism, Prayer, Tenure

Escondido School Board Candidates on Creationism, Prayer, Tenure

by Source 09.19.2014 Education

By Rick Moore / Escondido Democratic Club

Both candidates competing to represent Area 4 of the Escondido Union (elementary) School District told Escondido Democrats in a forum September 13 support teaching creationism alongside science in the classroom. Incumbent Board Member Marty Hranek said it is “important to offer different viewpoints and state the facts as they are. There’s a lot of very good research out there for multiple philosophies.” Zesty Harper, who is challenging Hranek, said “I’m a Christian and I believe God created the earth. I think we should offer both views… in a non-biased way.” Hranek later sent an email attempting to backtrack from his comments, writing “I do not agree that ‘creationism’ should be taught as curriculum in public schools.”

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Thumbnail image for As Study Shows Poverty Rising in San Diego, Campaign to Shame Restaurant Industry Over Wages Emerges

As Study Shows Poverty Rising in San Diego, Campaign to Shame Restaurant Industry Over Wages Emerges

by Doug Porter 09.18.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

The poverty rate in San Diego has risen over the past year according to data released by U.S. Census Bureau this week. A total of 209,045 San Diegans (15.8%)  lived below the federal poverty level last year, including more than 64,000 children (21.9%) of all children in the city.  

The release of this report comes two days after the San Diego Chamber of Commerce claimed success in a referendum campaign effectively halting implementation of a local minimum wage increase. Much of the money for that campaign reportedly came via the California Restaurant Association.

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Thumbnail image for A One-on-One Conversation with District 8 Councilman David Alvarez

A One-on-One Conversation with District 8 Councilman David Alvarez

by Brent E. Beltrán 09.18.2014 Desde la Logan

In this first of two parts the Councilman discusses the minimum wage, upgrades to Chicano Park, Barrio Art Crawl and creating a place to be on Sunday afternoons in Barrio Logan

By Brent E. Beltrán

I woke up on Monday morning and, as I usually do, checked my email first (then Twitter and Facebook). In my inbox was an email from the Raise Up San Diego campaign stating that they were holding a press conference with David Alvarez at Chicano Park at 10am.

Feeling compelled to attend a presser across the street from where I lived I went about my morning business of getting my son Dino ready for preschool and walked him the two blocks to Perkins Elementary.

With him starting school I’ve been on a walking kick to get rid of some of the “sympathy” weight I gained in solidarity with my wife during the pregnancy. From 9am to about 10am I’d walk from Barrio Logan down Harbor Dr. — dodging traffic since there are no sidewalks — to the Convention Center stairs and then back to my barrio.

Knowing that I’d be dripping sweat, from not only walking but from the muggy weather we’ve been having, I thought I’d hang in the background of the presser once I arrived to Chicano Park. That was not to be the case.

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Thumbnail image for San Diego Really Has It All

San Diego Really Has It All

by Junco Canché 09.18.2014 Cartoons
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Thumbnail image for Inside an Outsider’s Campaign for Political Office – An Unprecedented Win

Inside an Outsider’s Campaign for Political Office – An Unprecedented Win

by Lori Saldaña 09.18.2014 Activism

By Lori Saldaña / Part Four of Four

Yesterday Lori Saldaña discussed the realities of putting together a door-to-door campaign.

I’ll always remember the shock, joy and celebration my volunteers, friends and family experienced when the first voting results came in on Election night, shortly after 9 pm. I was leading in the 3-way results by 10 points, with 40% of the vote going to me and  30% going to each of my two opponents.  The number varied little over the ensuing hours, ultimately staying there for the remainder of the night.

We had overcome the odds and won big, despite being outspent by a ridiculous amount.

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Thumbnail image for California Fish Stories – How Some Seafood Has ‘Come back’ and How San Diego’s Bluefin Tuna ‘Is On the Way Out’

California Fish Stories – How Some Seafood Has ‘Come back’ and How San Diego’s Bluefin Tuna ‘Is On the Way Out’

by Frank Gormlie 09.18.2014 Business

By Frank Gormlie / OB Rag

There’s mixed California fish stories right now. There’s good and bad.

Twenty-one species of commercial fish have just come off the ‘watch list’ and are no longer on the ‘avoid list’.

On the other hand, at the same time, the population of Bluefin Tuna – popular here in San Diego – has plunged to just 4% of its historic highs on a worldwide basis.

It was recently announced that 21 commercially important species of West Coast groundfish have been removed from the “Avoid” list. This was announced by the prestigious Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program. They were upgraded to either “Best Choice” or “Good Alternative”, and includes species such as sablefish, rockfish typical sold as “snapper,” and popular flatfish species caught by bottom-trawl and other methods.

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Thumbnail image for DIY Resistance: Find Rock Bottom

DIY Resistance: Find Rock Bottom

by Will Falk 09.18.2014 Activism

By Will Falk

The August San Diego sun was hot. I spread a white blanket on the white concrete floor of a patio behind another mental health hospital, opened the book I asked my mother to bring me – Derrick Jensen’s Dreams, and tried to make myself as comfortable as possible.

The sun beat down and the sweat pooled on my palms. I closed the book not wanting my sweat to blur Jensen’s exploration of the role of the supernatural in resisting this culture of death. I couldn’t focus anyway. I couldn’t forget why I was there.

It was my second suicide attempt in four months.

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Thumbnail image for Chamber of Misery’s Million Dollar Campaign Halts San Diego’s Minimum Wage Increase

Chamber of Misery’s Million Dollar Campaign Halts San Diego’s Minimum Wage Increase

by Doug Porter 09.17.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce CEO Jerry Sanders took to the airwaves yesterday to announce his group of paid canvassers had gathered 56,000 signatures (at up to $12 each) towards implementing their plan to keep the working poor in poverty for as long as possible.

There was no longer any pretense about a “small business coalition” fighting to save mom and pop stores from bankruptcy or simply getting this issue before the voters. This campaign was about the power of the wealthy to dictate policy to the city. This was and is about the sustaining an economic model that asks taxpayers to subsidize lower tiers of workers via government programs while corporations rack up record profits.

By the time financial reports reveal just how much money was spent by the Chamber and their corporate allies in the hospitality industry spent to gather signatures, the San Diego clerk’s office will have certified the results. I’ll venture a guess that they spent over a million bucks, probably not including the hotel rooms provided for vagabond canvassers from as far away as Michigan and Ohio.

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Thumbnail image for Convert or Die!

Convert or Die!

by Junco Canché 09.17.2014 Cartoons
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Thumbnail image for Inside an Outsider’s Campaign for Political Office – “We Walk, We Win”

Inside an Outsider’s Campaign for Political Office – “We Walk, We Win”

by Lori Saldaña 09.17.2014 Activism

By Lori Saldaña / Part Three of Four 

Yesterday Lori Saldaña discussed the path to her decision to mount a grass-roots campaign for the California Assembly in 2004. She really didn’t have a choice: all the political pros around thought she was too much of an outsider.

I decided to give up on getting support from Sacramento. My volunteers and I adopted the motto “We Walk, We Win.”

A typical weekday would be: make calls to raise money in the morning (rarely more than a few hundred dollars), walk precincts in the afternoon (rarely actually talking to voters at that time of day), then teach in the evening. On weekends I would walk 4 precincts: 2 on Saturday, 2 more on Sunday.

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Thumbnail image for “Not Far From Normal”: Book Release and Party, Friday September 19th

“Not Far From Normal”: Book Release and Party, Friday September 19th

by Jim Miller 09.17.2014 Books & Poetry

A compelling history of everyday life on the wild side of San Diego

By Jim Miller

This year’s San Diego City Works Press release is Tamara Johnson’s Not Far From Normal, a book that takes a unique look at our city. Just steps away from sponsored fun runs, endurance challenges, and ultra-marathons, in Johnson’s book San Diego’s hidden residents play games of survival side-by-side with official city events. However one feels about the rise of dark tourism, it has never been necessary to travel far to experience either the dangerous or the exotic.

Part poetry, part photo essay by Rachael Wenban, part field guide, Not Far From Normal relates the secret history of San Diego’s parks and missions as told by their current inhabitants. From the crash of PSA Flight#182 to the “I don’t like Mondays” school shooting and other dark episodes that don’t make it into San Diego’s official story, this book is a compelling history of everyday life on the wild side of Southern California.

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Thumbnail image for A Little Plea for Ending Violence Against Women

A Little Plea for Ending Violence Against Women

by Ernie McCray 09.17.2014 Activism

By Ernie McCray

I can’t seem to free my mind of images of Janay Palmer Rice being so utterly beaten down and humiliated in a hotel casino elevator. My heart reaches way out to her.

There are those who hold the view that “She should leave” like that’s as easy as it seems. “She’s just with him for the money,” others say, as though there isn’t a poor woman out there somewhere, in this very moment probably, getting stomped unmercifully by some ruthless man who doesn’t, as they used to say, have a pot to pee in. And the woman will stay in the relationship.

Look, I don’t know Janay’s story but the pain I see ingrained on her beautiful brown face seems to be of an intense emotional variety, that kind of pain that takes over a person’s life when they live under the dominance of another human being, feeling there is nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. Because the vicious brutes among us will track you down. It’s downright dangerous to run.

Now, there are women who are victims of violence who wake up and say “Enough of this” and find a way to end the abuse, but way too many don’t. I’ve read that it takes an average of seven attacks before a woman leaves her abuser.

The only thing approaching a positive, in this horrible incident involving Janay, is that we, as a society, got to see a video of it. With the imagery still fresh in our minds maybe we will be compelled to find ways to make women safer in our world.

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Thumbnail image for Why We March : Stepping Forth for a Planet in Peril

Why We March : Stepping Forth for a Planet in Peril

by Source 09.17.2014 Activism

By Eddie Bautista, La Tonya Crisp-Sauray, and Bill McKibben / TomDispatch

On Sunday, September 21st, a huge crowd will march through the middle of Manhattan. It will almost certainly be the largest rally about climate change in human history, and one of the largest political protests in many years in New York. More than 1,000 groups are coordinating the march — environmental justice groups, faith groups, labor groups — which means there’s no one policy ask. Instead, it’s designed to serve as a loud and pointed reminder to our leaders, gathering that week at the United Nations to discuss global warming, that the next great movement of the planet’s citizens centers on our survival and their pathetic inaction.

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Thumbnail image for San Diego Taxi Cartels Punish Drivers Seeking Reforms

San Diego Taxi Cartels Punish Drivers Seeking Reforms

by Doug Porter 09.16.2014 Business

By Doug Porter

Cab drivers in San Diego who have stood up for reforming industry regulations have been unilaterally punished by company owners in recent days. Drivers are asking the city to lift a cap on the number of permits issued for taxis. The two sides are headed for an epic showdown before a City Council committee this week.

Cab company owners are desperately trying to preserve a lucrative franchise enabled by taxpayers. San Diego’s taxi drivers are ‘independent contractors’ who have virtually no control over the way they’re allowed to run their “business” of driving a cab. Mostly they eke out a living under terms set by a few anointed property owners (in this case the property is the license required to operate) who set terms and conditions.

One driver who dared to grant an interview with San Diego 6 News following a press conference hosted by City Councilwoman Marti Emerald and City attorney Jan Goldsmith was asked to “turn in his keys” (industry parlance for you’re fired).

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Thumbnail image for Inside an Outsider’s Campaign for Elected Office – Battle Lines Are Drawn

Inside an Outsider’s Campaign for Elected Office – Battle Lines Are Drawn

by Lori Saldaña 09.16.2014 Activism

By Lori Saldaña / Part Two of Four

In Part One of this series, Lori Saldaña discussed her motivations and personal considerations leading up to her run for the California Assembly in 2004. At the end of yesterday’s installment, she’d just been told by a Los Angeles woman’s organization at the end of a fundraising presentation that they viewed her a good candidate for school board, not the statehouse.

They ultimately endorsed my opponent- a woman with no prior elected experience who had worked as a pollster for the state teacher’s union. This basically meant she had the support of many of the “progressive” insiders in Sacramento and, therefore, the capacity to raise lots and lots of money.

As far as they were concerned, money was the key to winning. My policy work, community ties, Presidential appointment etc. paled in comparison.

Fortunately, I was unwilling to accept these evaluations as the final say on my qualifications to run, or my ability to serve in state-level office.  I kept looking for support in the district, ignoring the “third house” in Sacramento and focusing on developing a grassroots campaign.

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Thumbnail image for Corporate Deserters Seek to Continue Doing Business in the US While Paying Taxes to Foreign Governments

Corporate Deserters Seek to Continue Doing Business in the US While Paying Taxes to Foreign Governments

by John Lawrence 09.16.2014 Business

By John Lawrence

Corporations are relentless about setting up tax avoidance schemes and finding new and improved ways of getting out of paying taxes.

One method is to set up a corporate subsidiary in the Cayman Islands which doesn’t require any taxes to be paid. This works well for collecting royalties on patents because the patents can just be transferred to the subsidiary, and, voila, no taxes need be paid at all. Other companies which do a great deal of selling abroad have money piling up in foreign jurisdictions.

US law requires them to pay taxes on this money when they bring it back into the US. So these companies like Microsoft, Apple and Qualcomm are always lobbying for a “tax holiday”, which would allow them to bring this poor, lonely money home without paying taxes on it. Corporations are people, remember, and money is their Mother’s Milk.

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Thumbnail image for The Shameful Truth About the Naked Juice Class Action Lawsuit Settlement and What American Consumers Can Do About It

The Shameful Truth About the Naked Juice Class Action Lawsuit Settlement and What American Consumers Can Do About It

by Source 09.16.2014 Food & Drink

By Max Goldberg / Living Maxwell

Last week, Naked Juice agreed to settle a very important class action lawsuit which accused the company of deceptive labeling.

The primary basis of the lawsuit stemmed from the company’s use of the words “All Natural” on products that contained Archer Daniels Midland’s Fibersol-2 (“a soluble corn fiber that acts as a low-calorie bulking agent”), fructooligosaccharides (an alternative sweetener), other artificial ingredients, such as calcium pantothenate (synthetically produced from formaldehyde), and genetically-modified soy.

Since these ingredients are either genetically-engineered or synthetically produced and do not exist in nature, it is completely misleading to consumers for these juices to claim to be “All Natural.”

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