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

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

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

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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Post image for Gone with the Wind Escondido Style

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

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

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

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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Thumbnail image for A History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Mary Hart Taylor and the Health Clinic, 1914 to 1938

A History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Mary Hart Taylor and the Health Clinic, 1914 to 1938

by Maria Garcia 07.26.2014 Activism

SDFP exclusive series The History of Neighborhood House: From 1918 to the occupation in 1972

By Maria Garcia

For over two decades Mary Hart Taylor directed the health clinic and various core health programs at Neighborhood House. She was well liked and respected by the community. It was a well-known fact in Logan Heights that if your child became ill in the middle of the night, you knocked on Miss Taylor’s door and you would be allowed in or she would follow you to your home to administer medical advice and care.

One of the reasons that Neighborhood House was established was to address the high mortality rate of Mexican children in Logan Heights.

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Thumbnail image for PPIC Poll: 51 Percent of Likely Voters Would Back $11.1 Billion Water Bond

PPIC Poll: 51 Percent of Likely Voters Would Back $11.1 Billion Water Bond

by Source 07.26.2014 Economy

By Dan Bacher

The Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) has just released the results of a statewide survey revealing that a “slim majority” of likely voters, 51 percent, would support the $11.1 billion water bond.

The survey, “Californians and the Environment,” also indicated that support for a lower bond amount is slightly higher. The bond has been postponed twice so far, first in 2010 and then in 2012, because lack of voter support.

The poll was published as California Legislature continues to discuss downsizing a controversial $11.1 billion state bond for water projects that is currently on the November ballot. The measure was authorized by the water policy/water bond package of 2009 that creates a clear path to the construction of the twin tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

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Thumbnail image for Pulling Back the Curtain of Production Concealment

Pulling Back the Curtain of Production Concealment

by Source 07.26.2014 Business

By Erik Loomis / Lawyers, Guns & Money

Concealment.

This is primary benefit of outsourcing work and supplies from the United States. That goods are produced far, far away from the eyes of consumers benefits the corporations tremendously.

It means that when the Rana Plaza factory in Savar, Bangladesh collapses, no Americans see the deaths that result from a system that provides them cheap clothing at Wal-Mart, Gap, and other retailers. That’s very different from the Triangle Fire, when New Yorkers were outraged when they personally saw the deaths of the women who made their clothing. They acted and conditions in the textile factories improved.

Today, most of us have absolutely no idea what the conditions of work are in the places that make our clothing, that grow our food, that produce our paint and glass and steel and auto parts. That’s exactly how companies want it. …

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Thumbnail image for Requiem for the American Century : Turning 70, Paragraph by Paragraph

Requiem for the American Century : Turning 70, Paragraph by Paragraph

by Source 07.26.2014 Activism

By Tom Engelhardt / TomDispatch.com

* Seventy-three years ago, on February 17, 1941, as a second devastating global war approached, Henry Luce, the publisher of Time and Life magazines, called on his countrymen to “create the first great American Century.” Luce died in 1967 at age 69. Life, the pictorial magazine no home would have been without in my 1950s childhood, ceased to exist as a weekly in 1972 and as a monthly in 2000; Time, which launched his career as a media mogul, is still wobbling on, a shadow of its former self.

No one today could claim that this is Time’s century, or the American Century, or perhaps anyone else’s. Even the greatest empires now seem to have shortened lifespans. The Soviet Century, after all, barely lasted seven decades. Of course, only the rarest among us live to be 100, which means that at 70, like Time, I’m undoubtedly beginning to wobble, too.

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Thumbnail image for Howling at the Moon: GOP on Track for Obama Impeachment

Howling at the Moon: GOP on Track for Obama Impeachment

by Doug Porter 07.25.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

Yes indeedy. A majority (57%) of self described Republicans in a CNN poll released this morning say President Barack Obama should be impeached.

On Thursday the House Rules Committee approved legislation authorizing a lawsuit against the President, claiming he has overstepped his executive powers in delaying coverage mandates and granting waivers regarding the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. The full house is expected to vote on authorizing the lawsuit next week.

Also on the radar for Congress is a show-down over re-authorization of the Export-Import Bank (a corporate welfare program supported by the Chamber of Commerce) with the potential to trigger another government shutdown come October 1st.

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Thumbnail image for Spotlight on San Diego Artist/Animator Tony Washington

Spotlight on San Diego Artist/Animator Tony Washington

by Brent E. Beltrán 07.25.2014 Arts

He started in comics at eighteen and twenty years later continues his dream

By Brent E. Beltrán

There is a tremendous amount of homegrown San Diego talent that contributes in various ways to making popular culture and Comic-Con what it is. Going into Comic-Con I wanted to profile one such individual.

The person that came to mind is someone who has become part of my extended family, Anthony Washington. Tony was born in Detroit, Michigan but didn’t live there long. With his dad in the navy he moved around the country a lot and eventually settled into Imperial Beach. Though not born here Tony still considers himself a native San Diegan.

At 38 years old Anthony Washington gets to do what he loves: draw.

On Preview Night at Comic-Con I interviewed him about his background, his influences, how he got started, what projects he’s worked on, what he’s got coming up and what advice he’d give to wannabe comic book artists looking to get into the business.

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Thumbnail image for President Obama Meets the New Captain America

President Obama Meets the New Captain America

by Junco Canché 07.25.2014 Cartoons
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Thumbnail image for Living Fully in Nancy’s Place

Living Fully in Nancy’s Place

by Ernie McCray 07.25.2014 Culture

By Ernie McCray

Nancy left these shores on the 22nd of July, five years ago, and my son wrote some pretty words about her on Facebook that brought tears to my eyes, the soft tears that flow from memories held dear.

He says, of her passing, “It was not the last time I’ve heard her wisdom, felt her spirit, followed her counsel or shared a smile with her. I am motivated each day to bring change and happiness to this world and my mother is one of the motivations.”

Then he says, “Laurel (his wonderful partner in life) gave me a beautiful card this morning with a quote she chose that embodies how I’ve coped with the reality that I can never dance with my mother at my wedding, cry on her shoulder, or feel her hugs.” The card says, “The greatest gift we can give to those who have left us is to live fully in their place.”

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Thumbnail image for Geo-Poetic Spaces: Die Frage (The Question)

Geo-Poetic Spaces: Die Frage (The Question)

by Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes 07.25.2014 Books & Poetry

By Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes

When asked
where you are from
say Montreal Mexico Brazil

Don’t tell the truth
unless you have the balls to take the lies your country has slapped across their faces …

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Thumbnail image for El Machete Illustrated: Every Child is Sacred

El Machete Illustrated: Every Child is Sacred

by At Large 07.24.2014 Cartoons

San Diego Free Press is proud to announce our site’s debut of cartoonist Eric J. Garcia’s El Machete Illustrated. He’s a political cartoonist from Chicago who will be sharing the occasional toon with us here at SDFP. Much like the Free Press’ regular editorial cartoonist Junco Canché, Eric focuses his poli-toonists eye on latino issues and lefty politics. Please welcome him with a comment below. You can follow him on Twitter @garciaink or friend him on Facebook.

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Thumbnail image for Environment, Climate Change Don’t Seem to be on Mayor Faulconer’s Agenda

Environment, Climate Change Don’t Seem to be on Mayor Faulconer’s Agenda

by Doug Porter 07.24.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

Delay, deny, and deflect are the backbone of the Party of No’s strategy in politics. Our confrontation-adverse mayor would seem to be favoring the first of those options when it comes to environmental considerations affecting San Diego.

Yesterday organizations concerned with the potential impacts of climate change packed a hearing of the City Council’s Environment Committee to urge Mayor Faulconer to quit stalling on this important issue. The presence of representatives of the American Lung Association San Diego Chapter, California Nurses Association, Environmental Health Coalition, San Diego Coastkeeper and San Diego 350 made it clear that this issue is important to many San Diegans.

Councilmembers David Alvarez, Marti Emerald and Ed Harris voted for a resolution urging Mayor Faulconer to reduce pollution and prepare San Diego for the impacts of climate change with strategies to measurably reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the next 20 years. Councilmember Lorie Zapf voted in opposition.

A draft Climate Action Plan released during the interim administration of Council President Todd Gloria has gone nowhere in recent months.

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Thumbnail image for Hermanos en el Camino, Padre Solalinde, La Bestia, and the Plight of Refugees

Hermanos en el Camino, Padre Solalinde, La Bestia, and the Plight of Refugees

by At Large 07.24.2014 Editor's Picks

A Photo Exploration of the Central American Humanitarian Crisis

Words and photos by Vanessa Ceceña

In late 2012 I decided to travel back to México to visit el pueblo de las nubes, Oaxaca. I had visited twice before but mainly stayed in the central valley and Oaxaca City. This time I stopped in Tezoatlán in the mixteca and made my way to Ixtepec in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec.

This border region with its high level of humidity and tropical climate is home to a vivid culture, bright hand embroidered tehuanas, to the muxes (a community of transgender Oaxacans), and the sones zapotecos de Juchitan.

While its cultural attractions bring many visitors, its geographic location, which neighbors Chiapas to the southeast, places it as the prominent pathway for Central American migrants making their way to el norte (the north).

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Thumbnail image for Dude, Is It Legal Yet?

Dude, Is It Legal Yet?

by At Large 07.24.2014 Business

The answer is ‘Yes!’  as Washington and Colorado have moved to legalization, nine states have decriminalized and twenty-three have introduced medical marijuana legislation.

By Marc Snelling / OB Rag

Dude, is it legal yet?

People have been saying this since the seventies.  Speaking to activists from this era, it seems many felt that legalization of marijuana in the US was imminent in the early seventies. But other than Alaska in 1975 (re-criminalized in 1991) the seventies did not see legalization of marijuana come to pass.

The activists of the seventies (Baby Boomers) have now been joined by the next generation – the children of the seventies (Gen X).  With these two generations working together public support for legal marijuana is now over 50% and is on the rise.  Victories in the battle to change US laws continue as both generations of activists work towards change.

Today the answer to ‘Dude, is it legal yet?’ is becoming ‘Yes!’ for more and more people as Washington and Colorado have moved to legalization, nine states have decriminalized and twenty-three have introduced medical marijuana legislation.

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Thumbnail image for From Unist’ot’en Camp: What Does Solidarity Look Like?

From Unist’ot’en Camp: What Does Solidarity Look Like?

by Will Falk 07.24.2014 Activism

By Will Falk

Each night Unist’ot’en Clan spokeswoman, Freda Huson, and her husband Wet’suwet’en hereditary chief Toghestiy fall asleep on their traditional land not knowing whether the Royal Canadian Mounted Police are going to storm their bridge in the depths of night.

Each winter, when Freda and Toghestiy ride their snowmobiles down forestry roads to bring in supplies, to hunt, or to check their traplines, they don’t know whether they will find piles of felled trees maliciously dragged across their paths.

Each time Freda and Toghestiy leave their territory for a few days they don’t know if they will return to find another attack in an old tradition of cowardly arson perpetrated by hostile settlers on Wet’suwet’en territories leaving smoking embers where their cabin once stood.

I ponder this as I sit in a workshop with other settlers during the 6-day Unist’ot’en Action Camp – a series of workshops hosted on the traditional territories of the Unist’ot’en Clan of the Wet’suwet’en Nation to promote strategic planning and co-ordination in the struggle against the spread of fossil fuel pipelines.

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Thumbnail image for A Proud Day of Activism for Labor, Refugee and Environmental Advocates

A Proud Day of Activism for Labor, Refugee and Environmental Advocates

by Doug Porter 07.23.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

Tuesday, July 22 was a remarkable day for San Diego. Starting with an early morning prayer vigil at San Diego City Hall in support of a higher minimum wage and ending with hundreds of Escondido residents calling for a humanitarian response to the border refugee crisis, people stood up for causes they believed in.

At noontime a broad spectrum of supporters of organized labor rallied in Mission Valley, vowing to support workers for Food-4-Less should they go on strike. And in the afternoon environmental activists testified before the city council, urging Mayor Kevin Faulconer to move ahead with a review process needed to consider an ordinance curtailing the use of plastic shopping bags.

People chose to make a stand on issues that were important to them. They faced off against institutional and political hostility, along with a corporate media all-too-willing to give a platform to those willing to spew ridicule (the UT’s Greenhut) and venomous language (Escondido’s nativists). They stood up and said “we’re not going to take it any more” (UFCW’s Kasparian). They testified that now is the time to protect the environment (representatives of Coastkeeper, Surfrider and the Sierra Club).

It was a great day to be an American. It was a great day to be an activist.

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Thumbnail image for Who Runs San Diego? Introduction to a Series

Who Runs San Diego? Introduction to a Series

by Source 07.23.2014 Columns

By Eva Posner & Linda Perine / Democratic Woman’s Club

Relationships and money trails tell us who wields the power in our community.

It is hard to imagine, that in the 5th largest county in the United States, only a handful of people have any real influence on the day to day decisions that effect the lives of over 3 million people. But it’s true. And a lack of voter participation isn’t helping.

In both the February 2014 election to replace Bob Filner as Mayor of San Diego and in the June primary voter turnout was abysmally low. Overall voting turnout in the County in June was an anemic 27.2%, but many precincts registered in the single digits.

Pundits and analysts give many reasons for the lack of engagement: voter fatigue, uninspiring candidates, disillusionment surrounding the Filner debacle, and the lack of a culture of voting in areas with a large immigrant influence. We are told that working two (maybe three) jobs with transportation issues, childcare and other deterrents make it difficult to get to the polls. And indeed, all these causes had some influence on the undeniable “none of the above” message from the electorate.

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Thumbnail image for The Return of Comic-Con International: Revenge of the Press Release

The Return of Comic-Con International: Revenge of the Press Release

by Brent E. Beltrán 07.23.2014 Arts

SDFP Writer Inundated with Comic-Con Related Emails

By Brent E. Beltrán

Last year I covered Comic-Con for San Diego Free Press. I wrote five articles in a series I called Adventures in Comic-Conlandia: A Nerds-eye View. You can read them here: Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV & Part 5. This was my first attempt at writing about something I had loved since I started attending back in 1986. Though grueling I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and will cover the event again this week. I plan on being not so ambitious this year.

Sometimes Comic-Con sneaks up on you. You don’t know it is here until trolley station signs are written in Klingon or you’re standing in line for a happy hour beverage next to a Stormtrooper.

For me that wasn’t the case this year. You see, I’ve been inundated with press releases for the past month and it’s picked up even more within the last week. I’ve been sent hundreds of emails from the various media, toy and comic book companies that want to get the word out about their latest film, action figure or storyline.

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Thumbnail image for The Shooting Down of Malaysian Airliner Reminds Us When the U.S. Shot Down an Iranian Airbus in 1988

The Shooting Down of Malaysian Airliner Reminds Us When the U.S. Shot Down an Iranian Airbus in 1988

by Frank Gormlie 07.23.2014 Government

Navy Ship Responsible From San Diego

The shooting down of the Malaysian airliner over eastern Ukraine on Thursday, July 17th – allegedly by separatists fighting the Kiev government – killing all 295 people on board, has shocked the world, and has intensified the demands for sanctions on those responsible.

But if no sanctions materialize, it wouldn’t be the first time a civilian plane carrying hundreds of passengers was shot down by combatants – with nothing happening to those responsible.

In fact, a lot of the general elements are the same. But the incident that I am reminded about is the day – back in early July 1988, when two US military missiles fired from U.S. Navy ship Vincennes hit Iran Air Flight 655, killing all 290 passengers and crew members on board.

Nothing – I repeat – nothing ever happened to the U.S. because of this incident. It did go a long way in creating a deep distrust towards America by an entire generation of Iranians.

But nothing happened. No sanctions. No boycotts. No United Nations condemnations. Nothing. Most Americans alive then have probably forgotten about it.

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