Filner Releases Pension Alternative to Prop B

The long awaited pension reform proposal from the lone Democrat in the San Diego Mayor’s race has finally arrived

As I noted last Friday, mayoral candidate Bob Filner wasn’t doing San Diego any favors by not officially releasing his alternative to the Comprehensive Pension Reform (Prop B) promoted so heavily by Carl DeMaio and the other Republican challengers in the mayor’s race.   [Read more…]

Filner Brings Pension Plan Into Focus

by Andy Cohen and Annie Lane

Longtime Congressman and current candidate for Mayor of San Diego discusses mayoral race in an exclusive in depth interview.

On Friday mayoral candidate Bob Filner sat down with the OB Rag to discuss a wide range of topics, including sharing details on a pension plan that he has been promoting that as of yet has not been formally presented for examination.   [Read more…]

Sex In San Diego: Internet Dating and That First Date

By Veteran of First Dates

After my San Diego divorce in the early part of this century, and then after a few false-starts in dating other women, I finally set out to date with a more self-conscious awareness.

Being in my mid-fifties, it was not easy to meet people – not being a bar kind of guy -, and after exhausting friends of friends, friends of family, former girlfriends, going on one blind date, participating in one of those “quick dating” rounds at a restaurant, I came to realize that there must be better and more modern ways to meet women – and men – in this society.

And there is. It’s called internet dating.   [Read more…]

UC Davis Pepper Spray Report: “… should and could have been prevented.”

The long-awaited report about the pepper spraying of UC Davis students by campus police last November is finally out. And the report doesn’t waste words:

“The pepper spraying incident that took place on November 18, 2011 should and could have been prevented.”

The report, by a task force appointed by the university and led by retired state Supreme Court Justice Cruz Reynoso, himself a former UC Davis prof, determined that UC Davis campus police violated their own policy and used bad judgment in pepper spraying the non-violent, sitting student protesters. And it said that university leaders really screwed up their handling of the protest and its aftermath.

We all saw the video of campus cop John Pike pepper spraying the students directly into their faces as they crouched together on the sidewalk of the campus.

Here’s more of what the Report said:   [Read more…]

April 14th Is Kick Off Date for Occupy Wall Street’s Spring Offensive

OWS’ ‘Spring Awakening’ in Central Park Will Kick Off a Season of Activism, Attract New Faces

By Simran Sachdev /AlterNet / April 11, 2012

This Saturday’s family-friendly event will draw some new individuals into the movement while also energizing existing Occupiers and facilitating cross-organizational cooperation.

The Spring Awakening 2012, a day of rejuvenation, celebration, and intense movement-building, will take place this Saturday, April 14, in Central Park. For Occupy supporters who may have been disheartened by any struggles over the winter, this event will help propel Occupy Wall Street forward over the next six months. It is designed to welcome new people into the life of activism and strengthen existing ties of those already embedded in the movement.   [Read more…]

Controversy Surrounds Wrong Guy Named to San Diego Oversight Board

The Public Should Be Eying Mark Nelson – Not Michael Zucchet

A mild controversy swirled around Michael Zucchet from Point Loma the other day because he was one of two people appointed to the San Diego Oversight Board.

Those who still are not convinced of Zucchet’s innocence in San Diego’s “stripper-gate” scandal of 2003 to 2005, and those who are bothered because he is currently the general manager of the the City’s largest public-employee union, the San Diego Municipal Employees Association, opposed his nomination and selection by Mayor Sanders and the City Council.

Yet, the real controversy should have swirled around the other appointee, Mark Nelson, but more on that in a moment.

Zucchet and Nelson were both nominated by our “strong” mayor, Jerry Sanders to serve on the San Diego Oversight Board, which will oversee and supervise the deconstruction of San Diego’s fourteen redevelopment projects, as mandated by State law.
  [Read more…]

First Cuppa Coffee – April 12th, 2012 : Mental Health Edition

Tennessee senate warns hand-holding is a ‘gateway sexual activity’…

Tennessee senators approved an update to the state’s abstinence-based sex education law that includes warnings against “gateway sexual activity.”

In a new family life instructions bill, holding hands and kissing could be considered gateways to sex.

Fox News plays whack-a-mole and Wins!… A few days ago the gossip mongers over at Gawker announced with much glee that they’d acquired a mole deep inside the Fox News operation who was gonna dish the real dirt about the fair and balanced folks. In the short space of a few days we learned about the restrooms at Fox, the Hip Hop BBQ story at Fox that pushed an earnest young journalist intro becoming The Mole and Sean Hannity’s love of teleprompters…and then…they caught him. The Mole was no more. He didn’t even have a chance to buy a snazzy costume! It turns out he was Joe Muto, an associate producer for the O’Reilly Factor. He was busted for leaving a digital trail as he brazenly downloaded stuff via his Fox News Commodore 64 computer. Alas, we had so many questions that will never be answered.. I couldn’t believe that the FIRST commenter at Gawker beat me to the punch: Hi Joe, can I be the first liberal to call you a douchebag?

Klan robes on aisle three… A study, published in Social Science Quarterly, found that the number of Wal-Mart stores was a better predictor of hate group participation than the unemployment rate, high crime rates and low education. Can we get a copy of this sent to City Council President Tony Young, who actually thinks Wal Mart is gonna live up to the promises they made last year about building a bunch of stores here in San Diego?   [Read more…]

How the Pentagon Overrode Obama on Afghanistan – Why We Need to Get the Hell Out – Part 2

Bob Woodward’s “Obama’s Wars” Gives Us Ringside Seats in How Pentagon “Rolled” the President

It’s amazing, isn’t it, how quickly Afghanistan can fall off the front page or off the news cycle. And then something horrible will bring it back. But only briefly.

Like in this news, an Afghan guy dressed in a soldier’s uniform drove into a crowd that had gathered to see what US and NATO troops were up to in their neighborhood park. The guy donated a bomb – and people were killed – including 3 American soldiers. The park was in a relatively peaceful area of northern Afghanistan.

Then, there’s “news” that seems to tell us ‘everything is okay, and everything is under control’, what with the new security arrangement between the U.S. and the Karzai government. On April 8th, it was announced that we and Afghanistan had signed a deal on the despised US-led night military operations – long an “obstacle to a long-term strategic partnership between the two countries, including a U.S. military presence in Afghanistan after 2014, when all foreign combat troops are set to leave the country.”   [Read more…]

How Carl DeMaio helped hide the San Diego hotelier’s tax vote

By Dirty DeMaio / April 9, 2012

There’s been considerable attention paid recently to the secrecy around the hotelier vote to impose a new tax on the public. Those looking for the origin of the secret hotelier vote that apparently can’t be shared with the public can look back to October 10th last year, when the city council voted to make it secret. Thanks to a motion by Carl DeMaio, the city’s municipal code was altered specifically for this purpose:

61.2710(e) Since the Landowner-voters are entitled to a secret ballot, and since ballots are required to contain the names of each Landowner and the number of votes each Landowner is entitled to cast, and since the number of votes assigned to each Hotel may be considered to contain proprietary commercial information, the City Clerk shall protect the confidentiality of the ballots. No persons, other than the staff and consultants of the City who require access for the purposes of counting and canvassing the ballots, may have access to the ballots at any time unless by order of a court of competent jurisdiction.

So of course the public doesn’t get to know.   [Read more…]

Who gets the gold for avoiding the most taxes in 2011?

Which American Corporations Didn’t Pay Taxes

By Paul Buchheit / NationofChange / April 9, 2012

This is tax time, or in the case of many big businesses, just another time without taxes. These companies deserve to be recognized. With the help of SEC data and the results of several excellent research studies, has selected the ‘winners’ of the 2011 Tax Avoidance Awards.

Last Year’s Results

First a review of last year’s results. The top spot went to General Electric, which made pre-tax profits of $44 billion from 2008 to 2010 but received almost $5 billion in refunds. A GE spokesperson added, “We are committed to acting with integrity in relation to our tax obligations.”

A close second was Exxon, notable for having the nation’s highest pre-tax earnings three years in a row, a 2% federal income tax payment rate, and hubris comparable to that of GE: “Any claim we don’t pay taxes is absurd…ExxonMobil is a leading U.S. taxpayer.”
  [Read more…]

First Cuppa Coffee – April 11, 2012: San Diego Drag Queens and Fat Cats Edition

The University of San Diego has a real-life controversy on its hands… It’s not like the fake manufactured crises that its well-heeled financial backers like to generate… In better times they call them debates, institutes or forums, and spend copious amounts of cash on them hoping that the great policy conclusions that emerge will reflect positively on the University. This time around USD’s marvelously wealthy groupies are throwing cash at stopping something from happening at the school.

It seems as though USD Pride, a student organization, has organized a Drag Show on campus, wherein boys will dress up as girls and vice versa. It started out as a bit of harmless fun designed to heighten awareness, yada, yada, yada. Now thanks to an article on the California Catholic Daily website (owned by the Reader’s Jim Holman), the angry alumni are circling the wagons, passing out petitions and yearning for the good old days when men were men except when they dressed up as women to sneak into the San Diego College for Women (true fact). The minions at the Daily website are screaming about “Perversion at its highest level” and saying mean things like “USD stands for Undeniable Satanic Destruction”. The drag show will take place at the University Center, Forums B/C. 7 – 9 p.m. There is no cover charge.
  [Read more…]

First Cuppa Coffee – April 10, 2012: All GOP Stars Edition

Why it seems like it was just yesterday that we here at ‘Cuppa” were whining about how the excitement over Income Tax Terrorism was part of the Tea Party/GOP plot to provide the American public with yet another reason to hate President Obama. Oh, yeah, it was yesterday. Well never mind yesterday, because today Tax Paying is Patriotic…and it makes El Presidente look like a sure thing in the upcoming elections.

A tax time hangover… Some months ago candidate Willard Romney told South Carolina voters that he wouldn’t release his tax returns out of fear the Obama campaign would pick them apart. GOP voters in that state weren’t happy with his explanation and promptly dealt him a devastating primary loss. Romney quickly released his 2010 return and 2011 estimated taxes. Now it appears that ol’ Willard was right. The Obama campaign has demanded that Romney release an additional 23 years of tax returns (since that’s what he coughed up to Sen. McCain back when Romney was vetted for consideration as a Vice Presidential candidate.). And they want to know more, more and more. More about his Swiss Bank account. More about his Cayman Islands investment fund. And more about his 13.9 percent tax   [Read more…]

SeaWorld Had Banner Year With Record Earnings in 2011 But Paid No Taxes

Editor: If you’re asking yourself how could SeaWorld have a banner year in 2011 with record earnings for the company, and yet pay not one nickle in taxes, you’re on the right track. Doug Porter’s First Cuppa this morning turned us on to what article most newspapers in this country ran about the SeaWorld financial saga, which is reposted below. The U-T San Diego ran a similar but different article. Can you find the differences?

For SeaWorld, record earnings and no income tax

McClatchy/Tribune / Originally published April 4, 2012

ORLANDO, Fla. _ SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment had a banner year in 2011. Attendance and guest spending rose across its U.S. theme parks. Earnings set a company record.

But SeaWorld won’t have to pay a dime in federal income tax. It will not have to pay any Florida corporate income tax, either.

Thanks to big tax deductions for capital investment and interest payments, SeaWorld’s record 2011 will actually go down as a loss for tax purposes.   [Read more…]

The Crowd at the Ball Game

Having emerged from the season opening series against the hated Dodgers with no beer or blood stains on my jersey, I thought a few observations on the nature of watching baseball were in order as we amble toward the sweet days of summer, win or lose.

In William Carlos Williams’s fine poem “The Crowd at the Ball Game” he notes the beauty, love, and menace of the crowd:

The crowd at the ball game
is moved uniformly
by a spirit of uselessness
which delights them —
all the exciting detail
of the chase
and the escape, the error
the flash of genius —
all to no end save beauty
the eternal –

So in detail they, the crowd,
are beautiful
for this
to be warned against
saluted and defied —
It is alive, venomous
it smiles grimly
its words cut —
The flashy female with
her mother, gets it —
The Jew gets it straight –
it is deadly, terrifying —

It is the Inquisition, the
Revolution   [Read more…]

First Cuppa Coffee – Monday, April 9, 2012: Get Smart Edition

It’s Tax Time… One of the mainstays of contemporary Republican legends has to do with the terror of tax day. To hear them tell it—aided by the mainstream media more interested in sensational headlines than facts—millions of Americans are traumatized annually during April by the prospect of having to file their income taxes. Never mind the 50% of taxpayers that either receive refunds or owe nothing. Never mind that over 70% of all taxpayers file on-line these days. It’s Tax Terror Time! And that means it’s the season for the annual Tea Party Tax Protests, which didn’t start until taxes went down a bit and we had a Democrat in the White House who happened to be Black.

I’m sure we won’t see any Tea Party types out in front of SeaWorld this month protesting the big corporate fat cats who spend April worrying that the public will find out how they’ve managed to acquire all those government services for free. Like SeaWorld, for instance, with $380 million in earnings and ZERO dollars in Federal taxes for 2011. Oh, and for those you who are feeling warm and fuzzy about the fact that our Daily Fishwrap ran a story about SeaWorld’s bad citizenship, consider the fact that other newspapers around the country ran with this story last week.   [Read more…]

Scott Peters’ case for election to Congress comes across as weak kneed

Former City Council member and current Port Commissioner Scott Peters tries to sell his candidacy, but his argument leaves behind more doubts than assurances.

When our intrepid Editordude asked if I would cover the Ocean Beach Planning Board meeting last Wednesday night and I found out that Scott Peters was coming to speak, I have to admit that I was pretty excited. (Yeah, I know…..I’m pathetic, but whatever.) I really didn’t know much of anything about Peters, and this was my first chance to form some sort of impression of him heading into the June primary.   [Read more…]

First Cuppa Coffee – April 6, 2012: Disgusting Wisdom Edition

Speaking out against slavery… Come Saturday, the Radical Feminists of San Diego are putting together a mobilization in support of Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) to demand the abolishment of human trafficking, the modern-day form of slavery. The event will start at noon on the southeast corner of 30th and El Cajon Blvd. They’ll march east ending at the south-side bus stop at the intersection of El Cajon Blvd and the Rt 15 on ramp where human rights advocates will speak out human trafficking.

The sneaky feminist plot… Phyllis Schlafly, the happy right wing warrior chiefly known for defeating the Equal Rights Amendment and hating gays (except her gay son) gave an exceptional speech to young military cadets at the Citadel, South Carolina’s boot camp for middle class crackers this week. She passed on some serious wisdom to our future military leaders, like: “Feminists are having a hard time being elected because they essentially are unlikable,” and “Find out if your girlfriend is a feminist before you get too far into it,” she said. “Some of them are pretty. They don’t all look like Bella Abzug.”   [Read more…]

Silencing the Drums – Continued attacks by Balboa Parks and Recreation threaten World Beat Center

San Diego’s best known cultural center with a history of celebrating the cultural diversity of the region and the people who work there have become the targets of discrimination.

The World Beat Center needs our support. This prized venue of music, art, and creativity is at the center of San Diego’s Black, Hispanic, and Native American cultures. Located on the fringe of Balboa Park, the World Beat Center (WBC) is under increasing attack that has been described as systematic, “institutionalized racism”.   [Read more…]

Today I Washed Feet – Maundy Thursday in Ocean Beach

The morning grey still hung over OB as I parked my car up the street from the Episcopal Center Church on Sunset Cliffs Blvd. It was my first day of several much needed weeks off and I had made the mistake of responding to the Editordude’s request an hour earlier to cover the Maundy Thursday for the Needy at the Center. Groggily, as I walked down the street, I saw several familiar faces reclined on the grass outside the sanctuary, and the end of a line of folk stretching out to the street.

Ooops, I forgot my audience… what is Maundy Thursday you ask?

Come inside for the photo gallery…   [Read more…]

Ocean Beach Planning Board Elects Officers for New Term

Port Commissioner and candidate for Congress Scott Peters shares news about plans for San Diego Embarcadero, offers warning about UT San Diego stadium proposal for marine terminal.

On March 13th, the OB Planning Board held its annual election to select half of its membership. A new term brought new leadership—and a few new faces—to the Ocean Beach Planning board.

  [Read more…]

Friday press conference at San Onofre Nuclear Plant in response to “visit” by NRC Chairman

Apparently, the Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Gregory Jaczko, is coming to check out the troubled San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station tomorrow, Friday, April 6th.

In response, leaders of local community groups are holding a press conference near the facility on Friday, April 6th at 10am. The location of the press conference will be near the San Onofre State Beach guard shack on Beach Club Road.

These activists are asking supporters to join them   [Read more…]

First Cuppa Coffee – April 5th, 2012: Spring Bling Edition

Part Deux, Kony 2012 hits the interwebs… Invisible Children, the makers of Kony2012, the video about a Ugandan tyrant that took the internet by storm just a few weeks ago were all set to release “Part 2” of their campaign earlier this week. But then it was mysteriously delayed until today. It’s out there now in the interwebs, and early reviews are saying that it is mostly an attempt to answer criticisms of the first video. Complaints about the original video included the assertion that Kony 2012 was too American-centric, that the group spends too little money directly on the people it intends to help, and that it oversimplified the 26-year-old conflict involving Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army. Noticeably missing in part two is the voice of the organization’s cofounder, Jason Russell, who was diagnosed with brief psychosis last month after witnesses saw him pacing naked on a sidewalk in a San Diego neighborhood, screaming incoherently and banging his fists on the pavement.

But wait! There’s more! Reports out of Washington DC are now painting a picture of Invisible Children that ties them financially and politically to the mysterious politico-evangelist group called The Fellowship (aka, the Family) which, among other things, has been credited with inspiring and providing “technical support” for Uganda’s internationally-denounced Anti Homosexuality Bill, also dubbed the “kill the gays” bill.   [Read more…]

Occupy Medi-Cal – Justice for Raul Carranza Rally – Friday, April 6th

Patients, Caregivers and Community Leaders Rally to Restore Medi-cal Care to California’s Disabled and Elderly.

In the tradition of Disability Rights Movement patients, caregivers, human rights activists, and community leaders, Congressman Bob Filner, Lorena Gonzalez of the San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council and others will gather on Friday, April 6, 2012 at 11 a.m. to protest the state-wide budget cuts affecting millions of disabled patients and the jobs of their caregivers. ]

The rally will take place at the Medi-Cal office located at 690 Oxford Street in Chula Vista, Calif.   [Read more…]

Sex in San Diego: To porn or not to porn

I’m a man in my 30s who enjoys porn. In contrast, most women I know seem to have no interest in porn.

Accordingly, I’m intrigued by how porn tends to be compelling to men but unappealing to women. Maybe it’s because, for men, so much of sex is about the physical details. Whereas for women, so much of sex is not about the physical details.

But porn does excite women — and it doesn’t matter what kind of porn. Studies show that straight men are turned on by straight porn, gay people by gay porn, and straight women by both straight porn and gay porn…   [Read more…]

Film “Bag It” Asks How Plastic Are You? Free Showing In OB

Free Screening of “Bag It” at Indie Yoga April 7th at 7pm

Billions of plastic bags and bottles are used in the U.S. each year. Take a look around your own household, or check out the trash littering our streets and beaches.

The average American uses about 500 plastic bags each year and, according to estimates, each bag is only used for about twelve minutes before being discarded.

There’s no denying it. Plastics are everywhere! Most of what we eat and drink, and the products we purchase, are packaged and wrapped in petroleum plastic – a material designed to last forever, yet used for products that most people use once and throw away.   [Read more…]