Post image for Distract, Deny, Distort and Deceive: The Fight Against A Minimum Wage Hike for San Diego

By Doug Porter

City Council President Todd Gloria appeared before the press yesterday to announce a proposed November ballot initiative increasing San Diego’s minimum wage, along with a path for workers to accumulate paid sick days.

Gloria’s role in pushing this measure dates back to his call for a “meaningful” increase in the minimum wage during the State of the City speech in January. The big unanswered question for local scribes was “how much” would constitute “meaningful.” We now know the magic number to be $13.09, achieved in three stages by July 2017, should voters approve. But it’s negotiable.

In keeping with Plato’s dictum, “those who tell the stories also hold the power,” UT-San Diego (owned by a hospitality industry magnate, whose business model depends on low wages and government subsidies) is all over this today with a front page story, an “explainer” and, (ta-da!) an editorial denouncing Gloria and blaming California Democrats for the leftovers of the Great Recession.

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Post image for San Diego Doctors, California’s Nurses Announce Support of Propositions B & C

June 3 ballot measure saves Barrio Logan’s community plan, improves community health

By Mia Bolton

Yesterday at the UCSD Medical Center in Hillcrest, a group of doctors, nurses and healthcare advocates announced their endorsement of the Yes on B & C campaign to protect children’s health in San Diego.

California Nurses Association members were there to support Yes on B & C that, if approved, will uphold the community and business supported, City Council approved Barrio Logan Community Plan Update.

In the first public media appearance by the campaign, the healthcare professionals reflected on Earth Day and the environmental health effects of polluting businesses next to schools, playgrounds and residences.

“Environmental health and justice in San Diego is being threatened,” said Georgette Gomez, of Environmental Health Coalition. “Kids in Barrio Logan have the same right to clean air and healthy neighborhoods as every other community in San Diego and the entire city should support Propositions B & C to protect all of our children’s health.”

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Post image for Obama May Grant Clemency to Thousands Convicted of Drug Violations

The Obama Administration continues to rollback oppressive sentences for those with non-violent drug convictions

By Cliff Weathers / AlterNet

An unnamed White House official has told Yahoo! News that President Barack Obama is preparing to grant clemency to “hundreds, perhaps thousands” of people who have been imprisoned for non-violent drug violations.

This news comes a few months after the administration’s announcement that it has encouraged defense attorneys to suggest inmates who should be considered for early release from prison. This indicates that the Obama administration will continue in its efforts to curtail severe penalties in low-level drug cases.

Late last year, President Obama commuted the sentences of nine people serving time in federal prison for non-violent offenses involving crack cocaine, saying that they had been sentenced under an “unfair system.” There is a huge disparity in sentences handed down between crack and powder cocaine offenses. This has been reduced somewhat by the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010, which brought a long-sought reduction in the penalties for crack cocaine.

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Post image for Poem of the Day: “Vato Loco de la Maravilla” by Manuel J. Vélez

By Brent E. Beltrán

In 1997 I co-founded the Chicano literary publishing company Calaca Press. In 1998 Calaca Press published it’s first book, a collection of poetry called Bus Stops and Other Poems by Manuel J. Vélez. Inside this sixty-four page tome, which included amazing artwork by Chicano Park muralist Victor Ochoa, was a poem called “Vato Loco de la Maravilla.” The poem, using caló (a code-switching hybrid language of Chicanos using English and Spanish in the same sentence and sometimes within the same word), highlights life inside the barrio and how stereotypes of barrio youth can be used to justify negative perceptions by “the judge, the news, and us.” Since the book came out the author has become a tenured Associate Professor of Chicana/Chicano Studies at Mesa College. Bus Stops and Other Poems may no longer be in print but the poem “Vato Loco de la Maravilla” remains with us in video form.

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Post image for Orca Profiles in Captivity: #2 of the San Diego 10

This is the second in a series of ten in which we meet one of the San Diego 10 orcas and hear from an advocate who continues to be one of the voices of these imprisoned voiceless, never stopping until the whole world listens.

Prisoner #2Kasatka
AgeAbout 36

By Cara Wilson-Granat / OB Rag

Captured off the coast of Iceland, on October 26, 1978, Kasatka was just one year old when torn from her pod. Kasatka, whose name comes from the generic Russian derivative of the word “orca,” is 17.7 feet (5.4m) long and weighs 5,950 pounds (2,700 kg.)

Each of Kasatka’s children is captive born. She gave birth to four offspring: Takara, Nakai, Kalia, and Makani. Nakai, born on September 1, 2001, is the first orca to be born as a result of artificial insemination. While his mother, Kasatka, lived in California, his father, Tilikum, was in Florida. Tilikum is featured in the documentary, “Blackfish.” More on Nakai later in this series.

Kasatka’s first child, Takara, was born at Sea World, San Diego on July 9, 1991.

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Post image for Toxic Contaminant Releases in Barrio Logan Confirmed – Another Reason to Support the Community Plan

By Doug Porter

The release of a statewide list of census tracts most impacted by pollution by the California Environmental Protection Agency (CEPA) will add to the controversy surrounding two ballot measures presented to San Diego voters in the upcoming election.

A story in today’s Los Angeles Times, along with a scalable map, provides a dramatic assessment of impacts by types of contaminants within neighborhoods throughout the state. The CEPA report gives advocates for the Barrio Logan Community Plan hard evidence supporting their contentions concerning health problems caused by the current mix of industrial and residential uses.

Opponents of the Community Plan have dismissed health claims about industrial pollution as the cause of asthma and other health problems, blaming nearby freeways for contaminants. The CEPA study clearly indicates a serious problem with the release of toxic contaminants– as opposed to diesel particulates– into the air specific to the Barrio Logan area.

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Post image for San Diego City Works Press Celebrates Its 10-Year Anniversary!

By Staff

Ten years ago, Jim Miller and Kelly Mayhew co-founded City Works Press, a nonprofit publisher that they edit in concert with the San Diego Writers Collective. Both Jim and Kelly are well known to the San Diego Free Press community.

Jim has written a weekly article for his Under the Perfect Sun column since we launched the site in 2012 and prior to that he submitted articles to the OB Rag, our sister publication. Kelly wrote a series of articles about Golden Hill restaurants when SDFP provided a neighborhood focus on that community. Throughout the years this couple has hosted myriad events that benefit progressive organizations in San Diego. This Saturday, April 26, they will be hosting a celebration and fundraiser for City Works Press, the only press of its kind in San Diego.

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Thumbnail image for California State Assembly Bill AB 1513 Will Take Away Tenants’ Rights

California State Assembly Bill AB 1513 Will Take Away Tenants’ Rights

by Source 04.23.2014 Activism

By Michelle Luellen/ALC

Just as we start to think that maybe foreclosure crisis is beginning to improve in California, the California State Assembly threatens to pass AB 1513. If passed, AB 1513 would create a legal loophole for extra- judicial eviction. Property owners would no longer have to take people to court to have tenants removed from their houses.

Under changes to law proposed by AB 1513, a property owner who claims that the house was empty of residents at the time they came to own it, can remove all residents who are not specifically named on a lease simply by declaring them to be “Unlawful Occupants,” claiming that they do not have permission to be there.

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Thumbnail image for Poem of the Day:  “Ode to a Composting Toilet” by Sharon Olds

Poem of the Day: “Ode to a Composting Toilet” by Sharon Olds

by Anna Daniels 04.23.2014 Books & Poetry

“Poetry is the music of being human.”

By Anna Daniels

Sharon Olds has the ability to write poetry about “unpoetic” life events with a provocative boldness. Her poem The Pope’s Penis immediately comes to mind. The results are nevertheless quite poetic in their use of form and language. She is also known for her versatility. Her poems about familial relationships can sizzle and crackle with rage and anxiety. Olds’ poems about sex are about more than what bodies do, although she describes that. Sex is wrapped in often disjunctive raw emotions. It is that coupling of body and feeling that shocks.

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Thumbnail image for Happy Earth Day! I’ll Take Some Carbon Emissions with a Side of Hate

Happy Earth Day! I’ll Take Some Carbon Emissions with a Side of Hate

by Doug Porter 04.22.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

I remember Earth Day back in 1970. It was a bi-partisan affair – Democrats AND Republicans. It even included hippies AND radicals (a big divide back in those days), although lefties were a little suspicious that this national event focusing on the environment was a plot to sap the the energy of the anti-war movement.

Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson (D) and California Congressman Pete McCloskey (R) were the public face of the movement which was focused on a day of national teach-ins. The idea was to make environmental protections part of the national consciousness. It worked.

The events around the country on Aprill 22, 1970 spurred the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts.

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Thumbnail image for Poem of the Day:  “Quagmire” by Kyle Dargan

Poem of the Day: “Quagmire” by Kyle Dargan

by Anna Daniels 04.22.2014 Books & Poetry

“Biology all makes sense if you live long enough.”

By Anna Daniels

Bill Moyers has long been a champion of poetry. Last year he ran a memorable poetry series on Moyers and Company. It was so memorable that a number of readers sent me the link as a source for poems this month. Kyle Dargan is a young professor of writing and literature at American University. He has three award winning books of poetry under his belt and he has a beautiful reading voice.

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Thumbnail image for Are The Skeptics Right That Global Warming Is An Alarmist Charade?

Are The Skeptics Right That Global Warming Is An Alarmist Charade?

by John Lawrence 04.22.2014 Editor's Picks

By Frank Thomas / Edited by John Lawrence

The slower rate of rise in global surface mean temperature since 1998 has been the last straw for Britain’s respected, eccentric, environmental scientist, James Lovelock. He now has made a complete reversal from being a ‘radical alarmist’ on climate change to being a ‘radical non-alarmist’.

In 2008, Lovelock said climate warming had already become irreversible, “Catastrophe is unstoppable and everything we are trying to do about it is wrong.We won’t invent the necessary technologies in time and ‘80%’ of the world’s population would be wiped out by 2100. People have been foretelling Armageddon since time began, but this is the real thing. Enjoy life while you can because if you are lucky it’s going to be 20 years before it hits the fan.” 

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Thumbnail image for Sexual Advances That Aren’t Welcome Are Harassment, Not ‘Sexual Liberation’

Sexual Advances That Aren’t Welcome Are Harassment, Not ‘Sexual Liberation’

by Source 04.22.2014 Business

What David Foster got wrong in his commentary in The Guardian about sexual freedom.

By Alyssa Figueroa / Alternet

“Hey, baby, wanna ride?” a man said to me, just yesterday, as he hung his body outside of a passenger window while I waited to cross the street. My eyes darted left as the car passed right, and I then crossed the street when the coast was clear. By the time I got to the next block, the embarrassment I felt had worn off, and I didn’t tell anyone about my experience because it’s so common that, in some ways, even I have come to normalize the demeaning occurrence. And even though the feeling of humiliation, degradation, powerlessness and sometimes fear still emerges with every catcall, who is going to care if I talk about such a typical experience in women’s lives?

That’s what the Everyday Sexism Project is for — though its intentions were clearly confused by David Foster in his recent piece in The Guardian. The Project is a space where women could stop remaining silent about sexism.

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Thumbnail image for Your Tax Dollars Fund Creationism In Schools

Your Tax Dollars Fund Creationism In Schools

by Source 04.22.2014 Education

Americans in 14 states have spent $1 billion on voucher programs that fund anti-science education.

Alex Kane / Alternet

American tax dollars are funding the teaching of creationism in schools. An in-depth report by Politico’s Stephanie Simon reveals that taxpayers in 14 states are spending $1 billion to fund tuition for private schools, including hundreds of institutions that teach that God created the Earth and that biology and geology are full of lies.

While taxpayers don’t directly fund private schools, they do fund voucher programs that allow parents to spend public money on private schools that have virulently anti-science curricula. Voucher programs have long been a favored cause for the Christian right. And the Christian right is now having an impact on what kids are learning.

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Thumbnail image for The Banana Republic of San Diego: Quest for a New Football Stadium and Lower Wages

The Banana Republic of San Diego: Quest for a New Football Stadium and Lower Wages

by Doug Porter 04.21.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

Another week has passed and UT-San Diego has published yet another article telling us what to expect in the coming months as our local plutocrats hammer out plans for a new gladiator arena, er, football stadium.

Past failures to achieve a consensus were brushed aside by Chargers special counsel Mark Fabian in this weeks fish wrap, attributed to “the kind of political instability that is more typical of a banana republic than of a major American city”. I’m sure former Mayor Jerry Sanders (2005-2012) is thrilled by that characterization.

This week we learn of a Joint Powers Authority (Think SANDAG, or the Airport Commission), with a “working scernario” envisioning a county-wide 2016 ballot measure tapping local treasuries for the expected “taxpayer contribution common in the construction costs of every new National Football League stadium in recent years.”

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Thumbnail image for Who Owns America? Not You

Who Owns America? Not You

by Jim Miller 04.21.2014 Columns

“We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.” –Louis Brandeis

By Jim Miller

In the wake of the McCutcheon decision, there was a brief flurry of outrage about the growing power of moneyed interests in our politics, but it predictably ebbed. One might reasonably argue that this is because the American public has become immune to such bad news.

Indeed, a cursory survey of the media over the last couple of weeks alone is enough to give any concerned citizen a depressing snapshot of where we are now with regard to wealth versus commonwealth.

The New York Times reports that “Corporate Profits Grow and Wages Slide” noting that, “Corporate profits are at their highest level in at least 85 years. Employee compensation is at the lowest level in 65 years.”

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Thumbnail image for Poem of the Day: “Enigmas” by Pablo Neruda

Poem of the Day: “Enigmas” by Pablo Neruda

by Anna Daniels 04.21.2014 Books & Poetry

Translation by Robert Bly

By Anna Daniels

Nobel Prize winning Chilean poet Pablo Neruda is well known for his love poems which have been translated by such luminaries as WS Merwin and Robert Bly, both poets in their own right. Matilde Urrutia, who is the subject of a number of those poems, has been described as his muse of love. Neruda hearkened often to the muse’s call.

Less well known are his keen observations of nature that reflect an inquisitive and informed intellect. His poems about birds in Arte de Pájaros/Art of Birds as well as those about the sea and sea life are as sensual in their language as the love poems.

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Thumbnail image for Review: Cesar Chavez Remembered, Warts and All

Review: Cesar Chavez Remembered, Warts and All

by Source 04.20.2014 Activism

Miriam Pawel offers the most comprehensive look at Chavez and his movement in her new book, The Crusades of Cesar Chavez.

By Mark R. Day / Labor Notes

“Cesar was not a humble man,” narrator Luis Valdez says at the conclusion of the new documentary “Cesar’s Last Fast,” about the late farm labor leader Cesar Chavez. “Nor was he a simple man.”

Indeed, Chavez was a controversial and complex figure. That’s the problem with Diego Luna’s feature film “Cesar Chavez,” whose release coincided with the charismatic leader’s March 31 birthday.

Chavez was, of course, a genius and a master organizer. His successes in the vineyards and lettuce fields of California came about as a result of enormous personal sacrifice and his ability to reach out to a wide audience: students, priests, nuns, ministers, labor leaders, and average housewives who made up their minds not to buy grapes.

He broke the back of the open shop in the fields and is credited as a founder of the Chicano movement. Just a decade after he began organizing grape pickers in Delano, California, he appeared on the cover of Time magazine.

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Thumbnail image for Historic Win for Labor and A New Direction in the University of California System

Historic Win for Labor and A New Direction in the University of California System

by Source 04.20.2014 Activism

By Daniel Gutiérrez

La Jolla, California — On Tuesday, April 15th, UAW Local 2865, representing graduate student-workers across the University of California system, reached a tentative agreement with UC management regarding the procurement of all-gendered bathrooms and lactation stations. UC management succumbed to the necessities demanded by UAW Local 2865, acknowledging that both all-gendered bathrooms and lactation stations are a labor right to graduate student-workers. The historic achievement was reached after the union went on strike for two days early this month, in which nearly two dozen students were arrested and many others intimidated.

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Thumbnail image for Drone APP Converts Leafblowers to Hair Dryers!!!

Drone APP Converts Leafblowers to Hair Dryers!!!

by Bob Dorn 04.20.2014 Business

By Bob Dorn

I’m from the stone age. I don’t carry a smart phone because I’m not smart enough. I think an app has something to do with Apple, like maybe it’s an abbreviation. It took me a number of years before I found out that Silicon Valley wasn’t a reference to that place between two huge phony boobs, where the pearl necklace settles.

My feeling about technology – just a feeling, now, or an opinion, if you prefer – is that it might be self cancelling, like a chia pet, or, say, network television, where on air people laugh at stuff that isn’t funny (and for a while longer might get paid for it). For all but fanatics, cars are done, too. …

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Thumbnail image for Poem of the Day: “Don’t Want to Spoil Your Party Don’t Want to Bust Your Balloon”

Poem of the Day: “Don’t Want to Spoil Your Party Don’t Want to Bust Your Balloon”

by Ernie McCray 04.20.2014 Books & Poetry

By Ernie McCray

Don’t want to spoil your party
Don’t want to bust your balloon
But look up above your head
There’s some ozone gone
ozone gone
ozone gone
Can we get it back

And you’ll see that the sky
Is no longer blue

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Thumbnail image for Gabriel García Márquez in His Own Words

Gabriel García Márquez in His Own Words

by Anna Daniels 04.19.2014 Books & Poetry

By Staff

Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.

Muchos años después, frente al pelotón de fusilamiento, el coronel Aureliano Buendía había de recorder aquella tarde remota en que su padre lo llevó a conocer el hielo.

This is the unforgettable opening line of Gabriel García Márquez literary masterpiece Cien años de soledadOne Hundred Years of Solitude.

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Thumbnail image for Orca Profiles in Captivity: The San Diego 10

Orca Profiles in Captivity: The San Diego 10

by Source 04.19.2014 Activism

Activists Gear Up for Easter Protest at SeaWorld

By Cara Wilson-Granat / OB Rag

Dame Jane Goodall (famed British primatologist, ethologist, anthropologist, and UN Messenger of Peace) was asked a question. “Why did she do what she did for the chimps she has advocated for all her life?” She answered by sharing a true story.

A captive lab chimp had never lived outside a cage his entire life. Now freed by Jane and her team of researchers and scientists, the frightened primate sat and watched the other chimps in a large zoo compound—free of cages and offering grassy, rocky, chimp-appealing offerings, including the sight and sound of others like him. He was terrified by such a contrast—from darkness to light.

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Thumbnail image for The Marshians Have Arrived – Eco-Activist-Art in Pacific Beach

The Marshians Have Arrived – Eco-Activist-Art in Pacific Beach

by Source 04.19.2014 Activism

Update Given on Release of 7 Clapper Rails Last Year

By Mic Porte/ OBRag

The Kendall-Frost UCSD Marsh research facility at the corner of Mission Bay was host to a Marshian Art encounter of the first kind, Saturday evening, April 12, Marshian Day.

Inaugurating her mural, Celeste Byers, UCSD student and art muralist, and friends and supporters of The Marsh, joined in art and music to celebrate. Some 40 people attended and enjoyed the musical event. The photos document the completed mural on Saturday and Celeste Byers, after she signed the mural on Monday.

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Thumbnail image for Still Thinking 76

Still Thinking 76

by Ernie McCray 04.19.2014 Culture

By Ernie McCray

There’s something about the age of 76 that’s different than any other age I’ve had the pleasure of being. I keep thinking about it for one thing. Maybe it’s because 76 leans closer to 80 than those other yearly milestones along life’s way. As we get older, I think, we see ourselves as Grim Reaper victims every now and then in very brief moments. Briefer than the one just passed, for anyone interested in specifics. Thinking about something can be a lot different than dwelling on it.

Anyway, while pondering such thoughts on the night before I turned 76, I found myself clicking into flickr on the internet for something that might symbolize my reaching such an age, looking for something that screamed “Orale!” The Reaper doesn’t like such expressions of “liveliness.”

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