Post image for Escondido Mayor Abed Paves Over Inconvenient Facts

By Don Greene / Escondido Democrats

In the past month, much ado has been made over a parking lot located at 540 W. Grand Ave. The blog,, ran two posts on the parking lot and the potential of some funny business involved in the paving of that lot.

The owner of the lot is Escondido Mayor Sam Abed. He owns not only the vacant lot in question, but the adjacent office building at 562 W. Grand (the corner of Grand and Quince). The office was recently home to a fitness business that used the unpaved lot next door as a track area for outdoor exercise. Now that the office building is vacant, the formerly dirt lot has become a paved parking lot.

The paving of this lot has raised many questions and they were addressed in the posts on Did the Mayor overlook – or get a pass on – state storm water regulations? City storm water regulations state that any lot being paved over 5,000 sq feet must conform with state storm water regulations. The actual city document is 130-pages long and covers a variety of mitigation factors which appear not to have been implemented when this lot was paved.


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Post image for ‘Poor For a Week’ – Neel Kashkari’s Trickle Down Game Show

By Doug Porter

The forerunner of today’s reality TV programming was a program called ‘Queen for a Day.’ Starting out as a radio program, it made the jump to black and white TV in 1948, staying on air until 1964.

Women selected from the studio audience were ushered to the stage and urged to tell tales of woe, which were rated by the audience using an “applause meter.” The winner was crowned, showered with sponsor-provided prizes and expected to cry profusely. ‘Queen’ was a ratings monster in its day.

California GOP gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari, whose running-on-empty campaign is desperate for attention, is hoping his latest campaign stunt –’Poor for a Week’– will resonate with voters.

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Post image for North Pacific Dispatches: July 30.5? Chronologically Confused

Third in a Series About Life on a Research Vessel 

By Lori Saldaña

On board ship we operate on 2 time zones: Universal (Greenwich) time,8 hours ahead of local (Pacific) time, used when entering all research
data for recording purposes, and California time for our work/sleep/eat schedule.

This can cause some confusion: the computers in the ship’s science lab show the universal time.  This where all the incoming data from the CTD is received at 24 bits of Information per second once the device is lowered overboard, and we write down key data as the device is lowered and raised.

The computer clocks were changed to universal time, but after some late night confusion, I asked the technician to also set them to 24 hour clock. This was done to make it easier to convert local time to international time on the recording logs since we found, after 10+ hours of work, math skills tend to get a bit fuzzy. Plus, after 4 pm, we have to adjust our date as well as time as we record incoming information.


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Post image for Geo-Poetic Spaces:  Desensitized

By Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes

Nobody heard the freeway
Running (Humming) (Drumming) Through backyards


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Post image for Unraveling the Border Refugee Crisis

By Doug Porter

At some time over next few days, President Obama will issue of executive orders pertaining to immigration. Likely options include reordering the priority list of deportation cases to dramatically expanding the 2012 “deferred action” program.

Those orders could mean allowing millions of family members to get work permits, or even allowing work permits for even broader groups, such as undocumented immigrant parents of U.S. citizens or virtually everyone who’s not considered a high priority to deport.

You can take it to the bank that the nativist wing of the GOP will be outraged. I expect to see more reporting disparaging refugees and undocumented residents. I am doubtful we’ll see a boost in reporting pointing towards the historical roots of the current crisis. So today I’ll call out a couple of stories going beyond the usual pap served up in the media.


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Post image for Who You Calling Illegal?


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Post image for Kaiser Family Foundation: 3.4 Million Uninsured Californians Now Covered

By Joan McCarter / Daily Kos

The Kaiser Family Foundation has been conducting a longitudinal panel survey on the uninsured in California. The organization focused on that state because California has had such a large portion of the nation’s uninsured, and its experience has national implications. As does the finding that, thanks to California’s success with Obamacare, there are 3.4 million fewer uninsured people now.

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Thumbnail image for North Pacific Dispatches: Mercury, Cesium, Plankton and Whales

North Pacific Dispatches: Mercury, Cesium, Plankton and Whales

by Lori Saldaña 07.31.2014 Environment

Second in a Series About Life About a Research Vessel

By Lori Saldana

Tuesday July 29- I completed my first 12 hour data collection work shift late last night and immediately went to the galley to ingest some calories before sleeping- not usually a good idea, but things are different on board a working ship.

For one thing, food always tastes better at sea. Perhaps its the fact someone else has prepared it for you, and our cook is excellent; she uses fresh fruits and vegetables, delicious and in-season, prepared well at each meal. Roasted squash, made-from-scratch soup,well-seasoned salads and soups on thick, warm bread. It’s nice to have a great deli down the passageway from the science lab!

Add to that: we have been engaging in physical work for many hours on a cold deck. with cold water running around our feet, and at times over our hands, as we gather water samples and look for plankton and trace amounts of mercury and cesium- the first, a persistent and toxic pollutant, the second, a radiation marker linked to the Fukushima accident.

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Thumbnail image for Premiere Video Learning Tool Gives Power Back to the Communities

Premiere Video Learning Tool Gives Power Back to the Communities

by At Large 07.31.2014 Activism

Environmental Health Coalition Launches “Creating Healthy Neighborhoods: Community Planning to Overcome Injustice”

By Environmental Health Coalition

On Monday, Environmental Health Coalition (EHC), an organization fighting toxic pollution in San Diego and Tijuana, released its video learning tool to empower residents to speak up and advocate for positive changes to their communities. Creating Healthy Neighborhoods: Community Planning to Overcome Injustice is a bilingual video demonstrating the impacts of discriminatory land-use in San Diego and teaching community members how to achieve environmental justice in seven empowering steps.

This series of strategic planning techniques has led to great successes for low-income communities of color in San Diego. In Old Town National City, this process guided residents to provide input and influence policy in their community to achieve a collective vision. In 2006, residents successfully advocated for adoption of an ordinance to phase out heavy polluters from a predominately residential area in close proximity to a local elementary school. In 2010, the city implemented the Westside Specific Plan, bringing affordable housing units within walking distance of public transit and vastly improving the quality of life in Westside National City.

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Thumbnail image for An OB Victory! City Council Unanimously Approves OB Community Plan

An OB Victory! City Council Unanimously Approves OB Community Plan

by Frank Gormlie 07.30.2014 Activism

With a 9 to zip vote, the San Diego City Council approved the Ocean Beach Community Plan Update, yesterday, the 29th of July and in the middle of the afternoon. Immediately, the 150 plus OBceans jumped to their feet with whoops of delight and sustained applause that went on for minutes.

It was an emotional day for OB, with the Council vote culminating a very long process of updating the community’s urban design blueprint, a blueprint that will significantly affect OB for the next 20 to 30 years.

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Thumbnail image for Who Runs San Diego? – Local Broadcast TV News Operations

Who Runs San Diego? – Local Broadcast TV News Operations

by Doug Porter 07.30.2014 Business

By Doug Porter / Woman’s Democratic Club

The sameness of the content can become overwhelming.

It’s happy, rappy and don’t-be-crappy whenever possible. Drama is reserved for ledes that bleed, i.e., crime and confrontations. Nuance is too difficult to jam into 30 seconds. It’s a formula, differing in graphics, presentation and the personalities of the persons reading the script.

It’s by-and-large an echo chamber. There’s a long standing tradition of prioritizing content based  on what appears in print media.  In San Diego that means “Papa Doug” Manchester and his Mission Valley minions have a disproportionate influence when it comes to political reporting.

Welcome to the world of commercial broadcast news in San Diego.

NOTE: This is the second installment of the Who Runs San Diego? series, a project of the Woman’s Democratic Club.

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Thumbnail image for The Epic Battle between Doctor and Student Beneath the “Ether Dome”

The Epic Battle between Doctor and Student Beneath the “Ether Dome”

by Alejandra Enciso Guzmán 07.30.2014 Culture

La Jolla Playhouse stages Elizabeth Egloff’s exploration of ambition, pain relief and the beginning of health care as big business

By Alejandra Enciso Guzmán

The Ether Dome is an amphitheater in the Bulfinch Building at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. It served as the hospital’s operating room from its opening in 1821 until 1867. It was the site of the first public demonstration of the use of inhaled ether as a surgical anesthetic on October 16, 1846.

La Jolla Playhouse’s Mandell Weiss Forum has been transformed through Jim Youmans’ scenic design to portray that historic passage. Audience members witness how these men of medicine continued to search for the least painful way to surgically intervene. The play captures the circus like atmosphere that surrounded surgery during the mid-nineteenth century when both medical and non-medical staff offered various opinions on procedures carried out upon unanesthetized patients.

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Thumbnail image for Is Marriage Becoming Obsolete for Millennials?

Is Marriage Becoming Obsolete for Millennials?

by Source 07.30.2014 Culture

New research reveals deep ambivalence about marriage among young people.

In a new Pew poll, researchers asked people of all ages how they felt about marriage and having kids. One question asked if society is better off if people made these goals a priority. The answers point to a future shakeup that will reconfigure the social and economic landscape.

For respondents over 65, a strong 61 percent said yes, it’s in society’s best interest to prioritize marriage and kids. But that number gradually declined for every age group until you reach Millennials, of whom only 29 percent agreed. An astonishing 69 percent of Millennials said society is just as well off if people have other priorities.

The pundits have been puzzling over what to make of this.

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Thumbnail image for How Your Local Library Can Help You Resist the Surveillance State

How Your Local Library Can Help You Resist the Surveillance State

by Source 07.30.2014 Activism

By Melissa Morrone / Waging Nonviolence

A woman was trying to apply for a job at a major retailer. She had to fill out an online form that prompted her to create a username and password, and then enter personal information down to the last four digits of her Social Security number.

“How do you know if it’s real?” she asked me, already agitated because her computer session was about to time out. The last time she tried to do something like this, she ended up on some sort of scam website.

As a librarian, I talk with people all the time who are uncertain about who and what to trust online. Teaching information literacy, whether in a classroom or one-on-one, is a big part of what we do, and knowing how to use the Internet safely is an ever more important skill given the extent to which online platforms are part of our lives. But public library staff, overworked and under-funded, often aren’t equipped to assist their communities with tasks such as learning to use encryption and anti-tracking tools. We have a critical function in technology education, and there’s so much more we could be doing.

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Thumbnail image for Requiem for a Overachieving School Principal

Requiem for a Overachieving School Principal

by Doug Porter 07.29.2014 Columns

An Abrupt and Controversial Reassignment at the School for Creative and Performing Arts Leaves Parents Angry

By Doug Porter

Mitzi Lizarraga ran San Diego Unified’s School for the Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA)  for seven years. Test scores improved, the school was named one of the best in the country repeatedly over the past 4 years and students were sought after by prestigious colleges and universities.

On Tuesday, June 10th, two days before graduation this year, she was gone. Students and staff were told Ms. Lizarraga was attending to an urgent and personal matter. “Interim” Principal Dr. Jenna Pesavento would be tasked with handing out diplomas to departing seniors.

But some seniors weren’t buying it. Graduation, usually one the high points in the life of a high school student, was fraught with rumors and dissension. Some seniors were talking about boycotting the ceremony. Other seniors wanted to hold up signs. Students were upset, some even in tears. Parents were in disbelief and did not understand what was happening.

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Thumbnail image for A Saturday Well Spent

A Saturday Well Spent

by Source 07.29.2014 Culture

Article and photos by Court Allen

Saturdays have a special meaning for me. I’m not alone in this, to be sure. Saturdays are a universal holiday; a weekly respite.

My personal feelings about Saturdays are related to childhood. After a long week of school and the tribulations of growing up, Saturday was the prize – a day of freedom, adventure, parties, special events, or the ultimate possibility – a day spent exploring my imagination. Remember Saturday morning cartoons (better than the rest of the week’s cartoons), or Creature Feature in the afternoon (coolest. thing. ever.)?

Saturdays are the best day of the week, and how you choose to spend them is the real stuff of life. In fact, a few years back I attended a funeral service for a man whose primary tenet in life was to make the most of time away from work. He was famous among friends and family for his belief that there were only so many Saturdays in an average human life, so they must be spent well. A sentiment with which I agree.

I spent this past Saturday at Comic-Con.

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San Diego’s P100 Program Targets the Poor and Vulnerable While Letting the Rich and Powerful Off the Hook

by John Lawrence 07.29.2014 Culture

By John Lawrence

black-mom-3-kids-250x250[1]Since 1997, San Diego County has required all families applying for California’s version of welfare called CalWORKs to submit to warrantless, suspicionless, unannounced home searches and interrogations by District Attorney investigators.

As of June 2013 about 150,000 families, or about 9,300 families each year, have been subject to these searches. This policy, called Project 100% or P100, diverts money away from the poor and has not been shown to be effective at detecting or preventing fraud.

San Diego is the only place in the whole nation which has such an intrusive, untargeted policy making it America’s finest city – NOT – for the poor and vulnerable. These searches are a violation of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution which forbids “unreasonable searches” of peoples’ homes.

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Thumbnail image for Neighborhood House Association Golf Gala in Rancho Bernardo Tees Off Head Start Teachers

Neighborhood House Association Golf Gala in Rancho Bernardo Tees Off Head Start Teachers

by At Large 07.29.2014 Activism

Teachers claim intimidation, terminations and demotions during Neighborhood House Association contract negotiations for fair wages and benefits.

By Rebecca Garcia / SEIU

On Friday, July 25, Head Start teachers represented by SEIU Local 221 and community supporters joined together to protest the unfair treatment by Neighborhood Housing Association (NHA) CEO Rudolph A. Johnson.

NHA hosted the 2014 NHA Golf Gathering to celebrate 100 years of service. It was a star studded affair, including guest appearances by Steadman Graham, actor Chris Tucker and former Charger Pete Shaw. Celebrities and NHA donors played golf at the Rancho Bernardo Inn to celebrate the services that NHA has provided for several generations of San Diegans.

While wealthy donors paid upwards of $7,500 to attend the event, many NHA Head Start teachers are embroiled in a serious battle to advocate for fair wages and benefits for their families.

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Thumbnail image for As the Downtown Drama on Minimum Wage Plays Out, Fast Food Workers Talk Civil Disobedience

As the Downtown Drama on Minimum Wage Plays Out, Fast Food Workers Talk Civil Disobedience

by Doug Porter 07.28.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

Mayor Faulconer and his Chamber of Commerce puppeteers may not be willing to acknowledge it, but the train has left the station when it comes to minimum wages. They may think they can stop it, but they are wrong. The momentum to do something, anything about rampant economic inequality in the US is reaching critical mass.

Hizzoner met privately with advocates for increasing the minimum wage and earned sick leave on Friday, telling them while he appreciated their concerns, he was planning on vetoing an ordinance proposed by City Council President Todd Gloria. Any veto will likely be overridden by the Democratic super-majority on the Council.

Opponents of the measure are also threatening an initiative drive, which would have the effect of postponing implementation until a vote takes place in June, 2016. They are pointing to self-sponsored surveys saying as many as 14% of businesses would leave the city should the increases occur.

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Thumbnail image for Lessons for a New Gilded Age: Labor Studies Courses at City College

Lessons for a New Gilded Age: Labor Studies Courses at City College

by At Large 07.28.2014 Columns

By Kelly Mayhew

There’s been a lot of discussion of economic inequality recently in wake of Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century.

As many economists have observed, American workers are more educated and more productive than ever and are driving record profits for corporations while they’re seeing their wages stagnate or decline as the wealth accumulated by the top 1% of earners has skyrocketed. Robert Reich has been on a crusade to emphasize the historic importance of our current economic inequality crisis, and people like Paul Krugman have noted that we are living in “a new gilded age.”

Here in San Diego we are in the midst of seeing this writ large as the battle to raise the minimum wage rages on with a community-labor alliance advocating for the rights of low-wage workers while the city’s economic elite push back hard.

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Thumbnail image for North Pacific Dispatches: An Alaskan Cruise, Sans Cocktails

North Pacific Dispatches: An Alaskan Cruise, Sans Cocktails

by Lori Saldaña 07.28.2014 Culture

By Lori Saldaña

Background: Two weeks ago I got a call from a friend who has captained merchant and research ships around the globe for many years. We’ve known each other’s family for decades, and have done some local sailing off San Diego.

He recently retired from Scripps in La Jolla, and now coordinates research vessels out of Moss Landing, near Monterrey. He called to ask: have you ever been to Dutch Harbor Alaska? What he really meant was: want to volunteer on a research cruise?

So… that’s where I will be for the next two weeks: aboard the R/V Point Sur, helping collect ocean water samples from the Bering Sea off Alaska and northern Pacific, as we cruise back to California.

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Thumbnail image for Gone with the Wind Escondido Style

Gone with the Wind Escondido Style

by At Large 07.27.2014 Activism

Many expressed their sense of shame of living in a city that is fearful of Brown people and children.

By Fredi Avalos, Ph.D.

The City of Escondido, California represents a civilization gone with the wind. Well, almost. The shifting political winds were easy to observe at the City’s planning commission meeting July 22. In front of more than 200 people and an estimated 250 who rallied outside City Hall, the commission reaffirmed their previous vote not to allow a foster care facility to operate for refugee children fleeing their countries’ violence and repression in Central America.

The children would have been housed in a vacant elder care facility in a quiet semi-rural neighborhood. The facility has its own parking and would be funded entirely by federal money. It is estimated the facility would bring in at least 100 jobs paying well over minimum wage and would increase revenue for the city a total of $8.5 million a year. Escondido tax payers would pay nothing but would gain a great deal fiscally. So what is the problem?

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Thumbnail image for Looking Back at the Week at SDFP and OB Rag: July 20-26

Looking Back at the Week at SDFP and OB Rag: July 20-26

by Brent E. Beltrán 07.27.2014 Books & Poetry

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 and at-large contributors on Comic-Con, a proud day for activism, stinky SDPD, the Mayor’s climate indifference, GOP wanting to impeach, minimum wage, Obama and Cap America, Neighborhood House, for-profit colleges, who runs San Diego, bare facts, native solidarity, El Machete, OB planning and lots more.

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Thumbnail image for Why 2014 Is a Major Election Year for Marijuana Reform

Why 2014 Is a Major Election Year for Marijuana Reform

by Source 07.27.2014 Culture

Voters nationwide could radically alter marijuana policy this November.

By Paul Armentano / AlterNet

Voters in several states and municipalities nationwide will head to the polls this November and decide whether or not to radically alter the way many parts of America deal with pot.

Voters in three states – Alaska, Florida, and Oregon – will decide on statewide measures seeking to legalize marijuana use and commerce. In addition, voters in the District of Columbia and in various other cities will decide on municipal measures seeking to depenalize the plant’s possession and consumption by adults.

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Thumbnail image for Joe Arpaio Meets With Tea Party Group and Supporters in Ramona

Joe Arpaio Meets With Tea Party Group and Supporters in Ramona

by At Large 07.27.2014 Activism

Notorious sheriff’s posse gets unruly as police watch and do nothing

By Miguel Cid

About four years ago when Joe Arpaio visited San Diego, his reputation and stance on immigration policy earned him a booing from protesters and residents in the county. In short, San Diego did not receive him with open arms.

Nearly a month after protesters blocked buses in Murrieta, approximately 10:30 on Saturday morning, July 26th, in Ramona, our carpool passed the Joe Arpaio meet up location of the Ramona Mainstage, and out of the crowd I spotted a face; a face that resembled a skin tone similar to mine.

The man wearing the face held up a sign that read, “We Support You Joe”. I instantly thought that the signage must have been referring to him and his family, because I know he being the only seemingly brown face lined up in support of Sheriff Joe, he could not be referring to the Latino community, and especially not the Chicano community in the surrounding areas.

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