Post image for Oh, The Irony: Local GOP Fights Contribution Limit, Worries About Dark Money

By Doug Porter

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors consideration of re-establishing limits on political parties donations to candidates in races for county office has the local GOP up in arms. 

Caps on partisan candidate support in county contests were lifted several years ago following a federal judge’s ruling striking down a City of San Diego ordinance limiting donations to $1000. The city re-established limits at $10,000 for district only and $20,000 for city-wide races. 

Supervisor Ron Roberts has proposed similar limits. Ron Nehring, formerly Chairman of both the California and San Diego Republican Party organizations took to Flash Report to denounce the proposal, saying  it was an “infringement on the Free Speech rights of political parties.”

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Post image for Stories from Young Minds Taking the Stage

By Ernie McCray

The Playwrights Project has been producing plays written by dramatists, under age 19, for 30 years.

It all begins with the California Young Playwrights Contest, a statewide competition.

This year there were 581 entrants, way more than usual, and the stories of eight extremely talented writers made it to the stage – at the Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre at the Old Globe, no less.

Four of the plays earned full production and four are performed as staged readings – and I mean “staged,” because the Playwrights Project has no bounds when it comes to creative performances.

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Post image for Water Main Breaks Cause Major Problems in San Diego and Nationwide

By John Lawrence

In the best of all possible worlds water main breaks would not happen. Local government would replace old water mains with new ones on a regular basis. That means that money for this and other infrastructure needs would be allocated systematically and appropriately.

If we had our priorities straight, money for infrastructure would take precedence over money for football stadiums and convention centers. But in San Diego and in fact throughout the US this rational approach is to be seen rarely if at all.

The Romans gave their citizens bread and circuses to keep them in line. Here in fact only circuses seem to be necessary.

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Post image for Echo Sparks: How Country Music is Supposed to Sound

By Layla Marino

The term “junkyard country” was coined by an artist called Ponyboy in 2013. It seems that re-naming country is necessary nowadays, as it’s been co-opted by the mainstream media to include pabulum such as Carrie Underwood, Brad Paisley and, of course, the ubiquitous princess of snooze-pop, Taylor Swift.

Even fans of the already overly evolved country of the 90s such as Billy Ray Cyrus or Garth Brooks would agree that country’s current state of affairs has very little to do with cowboys, spittoons and Americana.

Having grown up in a largely country-hating household, I was not exposed to much of it as a child, and I can distinctly remember my dad saying most of it sounded like “two cats fighting in a burlap sack.” However, some of the old country music isn’t completely unfortunate.

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Post image for Ed Harris: Don’t Rush the Belmont Park Lease

by Ed Harris /OB Rag

Last year during my State of the District Address I called upon District Two residents to monitor and weigh in on development projects that came forward but were not resolved while I was in office. One such project is the Belmont Park lease extension. For a primer on the issue you can read an article I wrote about it in September of 2014.

While I was the Councilmember for District Two, it was my duty to protect the taxpayer’s money. When it came to the Belmont Park lease extension, I asked City staff two simple questions: How does the lease extension benefit the taxpayer and how much more will the City make if it extends a lease from 25 years to 55 years? I never received satisfactory answers to either question.

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Post image for University of California Doctors Call One Day Strike

By Doug Porter

Physicians at all 10 University of California student health centers will hold a one-day unfair labor practices strike on Tuesday.

They gave notice to the UC system on Friday, following the failure of 41 bargaining sessions over a year’s time to gain an initial contract for The Union of American Physicians and Dentists (UAPD). Over 90% of the student health doctors voted in favor of striking in meetings during December.

The union has filed Unfair Labor Practice charges with the  California Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) saying the universities are failing to negotiate in good faith. In one instance cited, the UC administration increased pension contributions without negotiating over the issue.

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Post image for The State Of the Union: Obama is an Eisenhower Republican

By Jim Miller

Last week, President Obama gave a pretty good speech in which he outlined a series of solid progressive policy proposals along with a few very bad ideas like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

What was most telling about the response to his speech, however, was how glowing the praise was in some quarters for what, in essence, was a fairly pedestrian list of things to do: raise the minimum wage, support collective bargaining, admit that climate change is real and act upon it in some way, tax the rich more than the middle and working classes, recognize basic civil rights, and make community college free for students as a way to expand opportunity, as well as some other modest initiatives.

These proposals, along with Obama’s threat to veto the Keystone Pipeline have encouraged many downtrodden Democrats and progressives as they should, but they hardly represent a significant shift in our politics.

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Thumbnail image for Honoring Martin’s Dream Beyond MLK Day

Honoring Martin’s Dream Beyond MLK Day

by Ernie McCray 01.26.2015 Activism

By Ernie McCray

Martin Luther King. A loving man with the loveliest of dreams. After seeing “Selma,” which told the story of that chapter in the Civil Rights Movement powerfully well, I just had to write something about this dear man.

I didn’t know what I wanted to say until I happened upon a caricature that captured the very essence of how I often see him in my mind’s eye, as I think of him every now and then. How can I not in this world we live in?

The pose he struck in the portrait made me wonder what was going on in his head and based on what my friend, *Rabbi Ben Kamin, recently had to say about him in an examiner.com essay, he could have been thinking about a range of things.

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Thumbnail image for Looking Back at the Week: Jan 18-24

Looking Back at the Week: Jan 18-24

by Brent E. Beltrán 01.25.2015 Looking Back at the Week

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 anti-vaxholes, the Issa Revenue Service, the State of the Union speech, not lovin’ McD’s, needing a fierce urgency of now, King Tiger, some bits from the barrio, a record hot 2014, the 4 Mile March, CommonUnion59 brings anti-hipster folk, and, as usual, a bunch of OB happs.

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Thumbnail image for Bay Area’s CommonUnion59 Captures the Essence of Folk with No Hipster Pretense [Video]

Bay Area’s CommonUnion59 Captures the Essence of Folk with No Hipster Pretense [Video]

by At Large 01.24.2015 Culture

By Layla Marino

Many music fans nowadays are feeling the weight of ironic hipster folk and blues bands pressing down on them like a big, plaid, beardy lumberjack’s boot.

Though it seems folkster bands like Mumford & Sons and Fleet Foxes are sincere in their reverence for the mountain people music of days gone by, there is a definite hint of irony in most of the culture surrounding these folk throwback sounds. Just because one enjoys a full beard and dueling banjos, one should not feel obligated to begin whittling Adirondack chairs and the canning of one’s own pickles.

CommonUnion59, a duo from San Francisco, have found one way to combat these fervent folksters.

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Thumbnail image for The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Mary Barrios, Early Years

The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Mary Barrios, Early Years

by Maria E. Garcia 01.24.2015 Education

By Maria E. Garcia

Mrs. Barrios was born in 1929. Her mother was very strict, and young Mary was not allowed to play with the neighborhood children. She says her only outings were to Our Lady of Guadalupe Church. Mary’s family was a blended family. Her father and her mother were both widows and came to the marriage with children. They also had children together and at one point a woman that worked at the cannery gave her mother a baby boy. This woman felt she could not return to Mexico with a child born out of wedlock. This very big family lived at 1870 Newton Ave.

At the age of 10 or 11 Mary was finally allowed to go to Neighborhood House. Her half bothers were allowed to go at a much earlier age. We have seen this double standard over and over again. Her older sister, to quote Mary, “brought English to the house.” She went to school and learned English and her young siblings learned English from her. In order to learn English her mother took night classes.

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Thumbnail image for The American Sniper As Hero

The American Sniper As Hero

by Source 01.24.2015 Culture

By FDRDemocrat/ Daily Kos

The controversy over the movie American Sniper has predictably reopened the divide among many Americans over the Iraq War.  What is more interesting is how the choice made by director Clint Eastwood to choose a sniper as a heroic archetype unravels classic notions of what is considered heroism.

The concept of heroism has been with humanity since the beginning.  At it’s heart it contains a common thread where the hero (or heroine) risks themselves for the sake of others.

How then to adapt the heroic archetype to the profession of sniper?  This is no easy task.

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Thumbnail image for McDonald’s Customers, Employees Not Lovin’ It

McDonald’s Customers, Employees Not Lovin’ It

by Doug Porter 01.23.2015 Business

By Doug Porter

Fast food giant McDonald’s is reportedly spending $3 million daily on U.S. advertising, yet business is declining. As the company has pumped up its menu to counter the explosion of fast-casual restaurants, food quality and service times have suffered. And increasingly negative image of the fast food industry as an exploiter of its workforce certainly hasn’t helped matters.

Last year was the company’s worst in three decades. Domestic sales actually declined by 1.7 percent. Global profits declined by 21 percent in the most recent quarter. Franchise owners are unhappy about menu bloat. Customers are confused by assorted pricing schemes. Employees are appearing on TV holding picket signs. And now the company is facing even more bad news.

A July ruling by the National labor Relations Board deeming the company a “joint employer” with its franchisees could spell big trouble, as 10 former workers at three McDonald’s locations in Virginia have filed a lawsuit alleging they were unceremoniously fired last May after being told by supervisors that there were “too many black people” working at their locations.

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Thumbnail image for Geo-Poetic Spaces: The Cliffs of Torrey Pines

Geo-Poetic Spaces: The Cliffs of Torrey Pines

by Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes 01.23.2015 Books & Poetry

By Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes

Have you heard
echoes of waves
breaking in rocks?

Have you dipped your feet
into the shallow water
before it surged back to sea?

Touched foam
flying from stone?

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Thumbnail image for Slamming Science: Pat Robertson Claims Evolution Is To Blame For Lack Of Miracles In America

Slamming Science: Pat Robertson Claims Evolution Is To Blame For Lack Of Miracles In America

by Source 01.23.2015 Culture

By Simon Brown / Americans United

TV preacher Pat Robertson might be the king of the head scratchers, and he unleashed another whopper recently when he claimed that God performs fewer miracles in the United States because of our widespread belief in evolution.

For some reason Robertson still has a television show, and on Monday a viewer named “Ken” asked him why “amazing miracles (people raised from the dead, blind eyes open, lame people walking) happen with great frequency in places like Africa, and not here in the USA?”

I was unaware that people are being routinely raised from the dead in African nations, but let’s play along for a bit with Pat here.

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Thumbnail image for On Roe vs. Wade Anniversary, GOP House Passes Vicious Assault on Women’s Right to Choose

On Roe vs. Wade Anniversary, GOP House Passes Vicious Assault on Women’s Right to Choose

by Source 01.23.2015 Economy

Reproductive rights advocates say legislation would cause entire insurance market to drop abortion coverage while raising taxes on small businesses

By Deirdre Fulton / Common Dreams

On the 42nd anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade, which affirms a woman’s Constitutional right to an abortion, House Republicans passed a far-reaching anti-choice bill that women’s health advocates say would cause the entire insurance market to drop abortion coverage while raising taxes on small business who provide comprehensive health care to their employees.

After pulling a more extreme anti-abortion bill at the last minute due to intra-party dissent, the GOP on Thursday voted 242-179 in favor of alternative legislation sponsored by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) that restricts federal funds for abortion.

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Thumbnail image for Barrio Bits: Barrio Logan Planning Group Begins, SD Workers Center to Open, Break Down Borders Run, La Bodega’s Anniversary y más!

Barrio Bits: Barrio Logan Planning Group Begins, SD Workers Center to Open, Break Down Borders Run, La Bodega’s Anniversary y más!

by Brent E. Beltrán 01.22.2015 Desde la Logan

By Brent E. Beltrán

This is the first in what I hope will be a bi-weekly column within my Desde la Logan column that will highlight the various happenings in the barrios of San Diego. I can’t cover everything but I can highlight those things that I feel deserve to be seen and read about. It’s a work in progress so bear with me.

Barrio Logan Planning Group Holds First Meeting
Barrio Logan finally has a planning group! And I’m on it!

On January 20 the Barrio Logan Planning Group held its first meeting ever at Woodbury University School of Architecture. The meeting was attended by more than 65 people plus the fifteen appointed planning group members that were able to make it. The large crowd was a good start and shows the interest that community members have in getting involved in Barrio Logan.

Maritime industry made it very clear that they were upset with David Alvarez not appointing anybody of their liking to the group. Well boohoo! Elections have consequences and the consequences for their B & C referendum is them not (yet) having a seat on the planning group. There’ll be plenty of opportunities in the future for them to worm their way onto the group. Until then they can give public comment.

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Thumbnail image for What’s the Fix for San Diego’s Crumbling Infrastructure?

What’s the Fix for San Diego’s Crumbling Infrastructure?

by Doug Porter 01.22.2015 Activism

By Doug Porter

Pssst! Got a spare two billion dollars? That’s a number being talked about in the search for a comprehensive approach to fixing San Diego’s deteriorating streets, pipes and public spaces.

The City of San Diego has issued a report outlining what it says are our infrastructure needs over the next five years, and it isn’t pretty. Our roads are falling apart. Public buildings like libraries and fire stations have repair needs that are mounting faster than the city can pay for them.

I’m told discussions about how to sell taxpayers on paying for this among the city’s big time players (led by the Chamber of Commerce) are already underway. While I don’t dispute the need to upgrade the bones of this city, whatever deal emerges to sell us on paying for it needs to include a whole lotta people who’ve been getting the short end of the stick lately.

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Thumbnail image for King Tiger: Reies Lopez Tijerina (1926-2015)

King Tiger: Reies Lopez Tijerina (1926-2015)

by Eric J. Garcia 01.22.2015 Cartoons
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Thumbnail image for The Passing of Chicano Warrior Reies López Tijerina

The Passing of Chicano Warrior Reies López Tijerina

by At Large 01.22.2015 Activism

Reies Lòpez Tijerina’s spirit will not be forgotten and will live on in our hearts, minds and history

By Herman Baca 

In the late 1960’s Cesar Chavez, Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales, Jose Angel Gutierrez and Reies López Tijerina were known as the Four Horsemen of the Chicano Movement. With the sad news that Reies Lòpez Tijerina has passed at the age of 88 in El Paso, Texas, on January 19, 2015 only one of the Four Horsemen remains…Jose Angel Gutiérrez.

To those of us in the Chicano Movement who had the privilege of knowing and working with Tijerina, El Tigre del Norte or King Tiger (who I knew since 1970) his passing is another reminder that; “A historical era is slowly, but surely coming to an end.”

In U.S. history Tijerina will always be known for his struggle to reclaim the lands stolen from Mexicans and Native Americans after the U.S./Mexico War, and will forever be remembered for his daring armed raid in 1967 of the Tierra Amarilla courthouse in rural northern New Mexico.

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Thumbnail image for Change the World, Change Yourself

Change the World, Change Yourself

by Will Falk 01.22.2015 Activism

By Will Falk

Friends and family tell me I too often focus on the negative. My doctors and therapists have told me me this, too. Diagnosed as I am with severe depression and surviving two suicide attempts, I used to believe them.

Part of my recovery involved completing a cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) program. CBT assumes that changing the way a patient thinks leads to changes in mood and behavior. Patients keep “thought records” where they document negative thoughts and then challenge the validity of those thoughts with the help of a therapist. On the surface, CBT seems like a good way to combat depression, right?

I do not think so, anymore. I came to therapy feeling like I was the problem. My sensitivity to the problems I saw around me caused me profound grief. I felt guilty for my ineffectiveness as a public defender to stem the tide of poor people being thrown in prison. I felt guilty as a member of a natural community for being unable to stop the destruction from raging on. My doctors and therapists insisted that if I changed my perceptions then I would alleviate the grief. In other words, my doctors and therapists told me, “You cannot change the world, so change yourself.”

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Thumbnail image for 2015 State of the Union Speech: Framing a Future Democratic Agenda

2015 State of the Union Speech: Framing a Future Democratic Agenda

by Doug Porter 01.21.2015 Columns

By Doug Porter

Unless we have some sort of national emergency over the next couple of years, last night’s State of the Union address by President Barack Obama was his last best chance to give a speech that would be heard by a significant slice of Americans.

From here on out the focus of political coverage will be the 2016 elections. Not because there’s actually any news there, but because it’s much more entertaining than watching the Black guy in the White House bang his head against the wall of NO built by Republicans.

After all, if you actually analyze the actions of the loyal opposition–which includes a gaggle of incidents wherein they became against some idea they used to champion–you’d end up talking about the racism built into Republican political strategy over the past half a century.

I was frankly amazed after reading the reactions to and reportage on the President’s speech before both houses of Congress last night. Perhaps through some miracle of internet algorithms different speeches were broadcast into every household in America. People heard what they wanted to hear.

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Thumbnail image for OB’s People’s Food Expansion Plans Put on Hold

OB’s People’s Food Expansion Plans Put on Hold

by Frank Gormlie 01.21.2015 Business

Organic Store Had Agreement With “Tiny” of Tiny’s Tavern Before His Recent Passing

By Frank Gormlie

The expansion plans of Ocean Beach’s largest employer, the famous OB People’s Organic Food Market, have been placed on hold due to the unfortunate and untimely death of “Tiny”, the owner of Tiny’s Tavern.

The market co-op, which is a mainstay on Voltaire Street in OB, has just recently purchased the two parcels of land directly to the store’s east, one containing a duplex and the other containing Tiny’s Tavern. And part of the store’s expansion plans were based on an agreement with “Tiny” who was on the verge of retiring from operating his bar and small grill. “Tiny” – the nickname of Alan Kajiwara – had planned to use the land sale to the co-op as a push for him to move back to Hawaii where he has family, but his fatal stroke at the age of 54 ended all that.

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Thumbnail image for Readers Write: A God-Given Right to Bear Arms?

Readers Write: A God-Given Right to Bear Arms?

by At Large 01.21.2015 Culture

By Brad Bianchi

I heard one of my more conservative free-thinking friends speak out in defense of an American’s right to bear arms, to amass as many weapons as he or she may choose, without the obtrusive regulations of the Socialist American Government. He was a little heated. Perhaps he believed he had a right to be. After all, here was Obama, coming to get his guns. At the end of his diatribe, I clearly smiled when he said, “After all, it’s my God- given right to bear arms.”

Needless to say, it was the end of the conversation. How can you argue with that? At least on his level.

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Thumbnail image for Three Ideas for Inclusive Cities: How Raleigh, Seattle, and Others Are Bringing Everyone Into the Fold

Three Ideas for Inclusive Cities: How Raleigh, Seattle, and Others Are Bringing Everyone Into the Fold

by Source 01.21.2015 Activism

From city-issued ID cards to open-source data anyone can access, simple urban innovations are creating more transparent and equitable cities.

by Shannan Stoll / Yes!

1. City ID cards for everyone who needs one.

While immigration policy is contested on the national stage, many local governments are taking steps to improve the lives of the undocumented people living and working in their communities.

From Los Angeles to New Haven, 11 cities across the country have instituted municipal ID programs. Now New York, a city with an estimated half-million undocumented immigrants, is preparing to launch the country’s largest program in January 2015.

With the new city IDs, New Yorkers, regardless of immigration status, will be able to apply for a job or library card, access health services, sign a lease, or file a police report.

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