The Starting Line – Food labeling campaign (Prop 37) gets boost from study showing long term damage from Monsanto products

by on September 19, 2012 · 3 comments

in Columns, The Starting Line

Rats fed a lifetime diet of Monsanto’s genetically modified corn or exposed Roundup, its best selling weed killer, suffered from mammary tumors, kidney and liver damage and other serious illnesses in the first ever peer-reviewed, long-term animal study of these foods. At a press conference in London, researchers said 50 percent of male rats exposed to GMO corn and 70 percent of females died prematurely, compared with only 30 percent and 20 percent in the control group. The findings were published Tuesday in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology.

The study was hailed by proponents of Proposition 37, a California ballot measure requiring the labeling of genetically engineered foods. Gary Ruskin, campaign manager for the California Right to Know group released a statement saying:

“The results of this study are worrying.  They underscore the importance of giving California families the right to know whether our food is genetically engineered, and to decide for ourselves whether we want to gamble with our health by eating GMO foods that have not been adequately studied and have not been proven safe. By requiring simple labels on genetically engineered foods, Proposition 37 gives Californians the ability to choose whether to expose ourselves and our families to any potential health risks.  The right to know is fundamental, and that’s why 50 countries around the world have already enacted labeling requirements for genetically engineered food.”

Proponents of GMO labeling have long insisted that biotech companies control and suppress research, and frequently cite a Scientific American editorial to back up their case.  While numerous short-term peer-reviewed animal studies  have link GMOs to adverse health effects, this study is the first long-term animal feeding study that is publicly available.

Wanna-be Media Mogul Manchester seeking to acquire LA Times as part of national expansion

A group of newspaper readers, dissatisfied with the rightward lurchings of the local daily newspaper, have started a Facebook cause page urging the Los Angeles Times to expand its presence in the San Diego market. “Entitled Bring the L.A. Times back to San Diego”, the social media page has acquired a 144 “likes” in its first 24 hours.  The Los Angeles-based paper discontinued efforts to maintain a presence in the San Diego market two decades ago.

The pleas for the LA daily to enter this market may be a moot point, however, as an article circulating in the AOL-owned Patch websites claims that UT-San Diego CEO John Lynch told a meeting of the Harvard Business School Club that he and publisher Doug Manchester were looking into buying properties owned by the Chicago based Tribune Company. That company is emerging from bankruptcy and owns the LA Times, along with newspapers in newspapers in Chicago, Baltimore, Connecticut and Florida.

Lynch told the group Manchester Lynch Integrated Media has cash available and no debt, suggesting that the company has aspirations of becoming a national media power. Their foray into the media world started last year with the purchase of the San Diego Union-Tribune from Platinum Equity. Manchester, along with partner/CEO John Lynch, have repackaged & redesigned the daily newspaper, now called UT-San Diego, added a broadcast component (UT-TV) and injected a near maniacal and conspiracy tinged level of conservatism into the editorial pages.

Most recently, Lynch/Manchester announced the purchase of the North County Times, giving their company dominance throughout the county in the daily print market. Local reaction to the new regime has been mixed at best. While the re-design of the old Union Tribune has made it easier to read, the new publisher’s ham-handed attempts at influencing public opinion have prompted numerous postings in UT-San Diego’s comments sections and elsewhere from individuals claiming that they are ending their subscriptions. However, Lynch claimed repeatedly during his speech that revenues at the company are rising.

A football stadium at no cost to taxpayers? Well, not really…

And then there’s the matter of Chargers Stadium; the Manchester regime at the UT-San Diego has made it perfect clear that acquiring a new stadium for professional football is a top priority. Don Bauder over at the SD Reader focused on this angle in Lynch’s speech:

 John Lynch, chief executive officer of the Union-Tribune, addressed the Harvard Business School Club of San Diego Sept. 12. Whether the speech raised eyebrows among the Harvard crowd is not known. But a very reliable ex-U-T reporter heard a recording of Lynch’s speech, and reported it today (Sept. 17) on the 919 Gang report, an online newspaper for more than 500 former and current U-T newsroom staffers. Some eyebrows shot up.

 For one thing, Lynch asserted that a new downtown stadium for the Chargers “is not going to cost the City one dime.” The National Football League will put in $500 million, claimed Lynch. But the NFL has not been putting that kind of money behind new stadiums. And most significantly, the NFL program is a LOAN arrangement. The money has to be paid back. Second, Lynch claimed that a joint powers authority will put in $200 million. Joint powers authority arrangements are between various governments. There has been talk of the County joining the City in the massive subsidy required for this stadium. “Public money is public money is public money, no matter what it is called,” comments Bruce Henderson, former councilmember. And in the end, San Diego taxpayers will pick up the tab for a big part of any proposed stadium. If a San Diego subsidized stadium goes through, taxpayers will pick up at least two-thirds of the cost. That’s what teams are extracting from other metro areas.

 Lynch said “Deano [Spanos] was in my office last week saying, ‘I don’t want to move, but they’re forcing me to move.’” Lynch told the Harvard business grads that he was working with County Supervisor Ron Roberts on a joint powers authority arrangement, and “I told Ron Roberts we would cover his back.” (Presumably, watch the U-T’s editorial page for this back-covering.)

 Prop. 32 initiative promising to control big money influence in California gets big money donation from Koch Brothers

A group tied to the conservative billionaire Koch brothers has kicked in $4 million into an effort to pass Proposition 32, an initiative that promises to limit the influence of unions and corporations in statewide elections. The ‘California Future Fund for Free Markets’, which will function “separately” from the official support group.  Its activities would be within the law under the language proposed in Prop 32.

This move points out the truth of what opponents to the supposed campaign finance measure have been saying all along, that corporate funded super PACs and other groups will be allowed free reign under the proposed act.  No on 32 spokesman Brian Browkaw was quoted in the Los Angeles Times, saying,

 “The very same corporate special interests who carefully exempted themselves from Prop 32 and who stand to benefit from its passage – Big Oil, billionaire businessmen and the Super PACs linked to the Koch Brothers and Karl Rove – are now spending millions to pass Prop 32 and advance their interests at the expense of everyday Californians,”

Tourism’s uncertain future in beautiful downtown Chula Vista

A majority of Chula Vista’s hotels have petitioned their City Council asking for elimination of that municipality’s tourism marketing district and the 2.5% tax on hotel rooms that was supposed to be financing it.  The San Diego Grand Jury issued a report earlier this year suggesting that revenues from the room tax, which were supposed to be used for tourism marketing efforts, may have been used for other purposes, revealing that nearly three quarters of the revenue was spent of staff expenses for the Chamber of Commerce.  A hearing to dissolve the Chula Vista Tourism and Marketing District is set for 4 p.m. Oct. 16 at City Hall.

District One City Council race in San Diego heats up.

With the political balance of the San Diego City Council hinging on the District 1 race between Democrat Sherri Lightner and Republican Ray Ellis, incumbent Lightner got a boost yesterday as two of her defeated opponents from the June primary endorsed her.

Community Planning Board Chairman Dennis Ridz, a Republican, and environmental lawyer/activist Bryan Pease, a Democrat, threw their backing to Lightner, citing her history of fighting for neighborhoods in District 1, which encompasses Carmel Valley, Del Mar Heights, La Jolla, Torrey Pines and University City.

Lightner and challenger Ellis will debate tonight, from 7:30 to 9 p.m. in the Sherwood Auditorium at the Museum of Contemporary Art, 700 Prospect St., La Jolla.  Presented by the Carmel Valley News, Del Mar Times and La Jolla Light, the debate will begin with 3-minute opening statements from Lightner and Ellis, and then launch into their answers to questions from the community.  Thad Kousser, associate professor of political science at UC San Diego, will moderate the debate.

Chick-fil-A to stop supporting anti-gay rights groups, adopt non-discrimination policy

An Illinois-based advocacy group, the Civil Rights Agenda, has announced that fast food chain Chick-fil-A has officially ceased making donations to anti-gay organizations and has circulated an internal memo emphasizing its commitment to fair and equal treatment of all people.  In meetings with the Illinois group, company executives stipulated that they will no longer give financial support to anti-gay organizations, such as Focus on the Family and the National Organization for Marriage.  (h/t queerty.com)

Tweet of the Day:

On This Day: In 1819 John Keats wrote “Ode to Autumn.”  In 1957 the U.S. conducted its first underground nuclear test in the Nevada desert.  In 1973 Gram Parsons of the Byrds died of a drug overdose.

Eat Fresh!  Today’s Farmers’ Markets: Carlsbad (Roosevelt St. btw Grand Ave. & Carlsbad Village Dr.) 1 – 5 pm, Encinitas Station (Corner of E Street & Vulcan in parking lot B) 5 – 8 pm, Mission Hills  (Falcon St. btw West Washington & Ft. Stockton) 3 – 7 pm, North San Diego at Sikes Adobe Farmstead  (I-15 at Via Rancho Parkway. 12655 Sunset Dr., Escondido.) 11 am – 2 pm, Ocean Beach  (4900 block of Newport Ave. btw Cable & Bacon Sts.) 4 – 8 pm, San Marcos – Cal State San Marcos  (333 S. Twin Oaks Valley Rd., Parking Lot B) 3 – 7 pm,Santee  (10445 Mission Gorge Rd. abandoned school parking lot) 3 –7 pm, Temecula (40820 Winchester Rd. Promenade Mall, parking lot btw Macy’s & Penny’s) 9 am – 1 pm

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Doug Porter

Doug Porter was active in the early days of the alternative press in San Diego, contributing to the OB Liberator, the print version of the OB Rag, the San Diego Door, and the San Diego Street Journal. He went on to have a 35 year career in the Hospitality business and decided to go back into raising hell when he retired. He won awards for 'Daily Reporting and Writing: Opinion/Editorial' from the Society of Professional Journalists in 2013 and 2014. Doug is a cancer survivor (sans vocal chords) and lives in North Park.
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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Anna Daniels September 19, 2012 at 10:19 am

“While the re-design of the old Union Tribune has made it easier to read…” Of course it’s easier to read- it’s been reduced to Noun, Verb, Conservative Cause.

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avatar John Lawrence September 19, 2012 at 12:01 pm

Countries requiring GMO foods to be labeled as such include most European countries, Russia, China, India and Japan. Monsanto is the leading contributor to the No on 37 campaign followed by DuPont and Dow Chemical. If these companies can’t sell Agent Orange repackaged as pesticide to be sprayed on GMO crops, their stock valuations will fold. I say the sooner the better.

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avatar thoughtfulbear September 19, 2012 at 4:28 pm

Like the Facebook idea re bringing the LA Times back to SD. Always enjoyed reading it back then. Needed more than ever now.

Just picture it: “The Los Angeles Times, San Diego Edition – A No-Manchester Newspaper.”

May this compaign expand to other outlets and platforms. Tribune Company, if he or his come calling – BEWARE!!

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