The Starting Line — Occupy goes after Monsanto, GMOs; San Diego demonstration slated for Monday

Yesterday a dozen activists calling themselves the Genetic Crimes Unit (GCU) shut down shipping and receiving access points at Monsanto’s Oxnard, California seed distribution center. Although nine members of the group were arrested in the non-violent protest, the protesters effectively shut down the distribution of genetically engineered (GMO) seeds for a day.

The group blocked all three shipping and receiving entrances to the Monsanto facility, using flashy theatrics including a car with a giant “fish-corn” on top of it and a 6-foot high jail cell holding an individual dressed as Monsanto CEO Hugh Grant.

Monsanto is the largest producer of GMO seeds and is being called out for their genetic crimes by a network called Occupy Monsanto. Wednesday’s protest, according to a statement released by the group, is the beginning of a series of over 65 different autonomous actions that officially start on September 17, commemorating the anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Supporters of Proposition 37, led by Women of Occupy San Diego, have announced a rally and demonstration in support of the initiative, which would require that labeling of foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMO’s). The group will meet up at the offices of Canvass for a Cause, located at 3705 10th Avenue, at 4 pm on Monday, September 17th.

Speakers will include the San Diego/Imperial Labor Council’s Lorena Gonzales, professor Norrie Robbins and poet Jeeni Criscenzo del Rio.  The women’s Occupella group will also perform. Starting at 5 pm, the group intendeds to line the overpass bridge on Robinson Avenue in Hillcrest overlooking State Route 163 to display signs and banners visible to rush hour traffic headed through Balboa Park.

Actions are planned throughout the world including the US, Germany, Canada, India, Paraguay, Philippines, Poland, Argentina, Australia, Spain, Russia, and Japan. More information about the group and their plans can be found at

The Occupy Monsanto group is not affiliated with “Yes on 37,” the group urging voters to pass the measure.

Issa makes it onto list of corrupt lawmakers 

An advocacy group in the nation’s capitol, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) has included Congressman Darrel Issa (R) on a list calling out legislators for what is says were unethical or illegal behaviors over the past year.

The list included a dozen Republicans and eight Democrats, leading Issa to conclude that  CREW is a ‘liberal’ organization.

The Vista Congressman received a ‘dishonorable mention’ citation for placing data gleaned from a sealed wiretap into the Congressional Record.  During his inquiry into the “Fast and Furious’ ATF operation, Issa released a letter that included details of a 2010 wiretap application filed by federal agents with the U.S. Department of Justice. The supporting affidavit — sealed by a judge — spelled out how hundreds of guns were smuggled into Mexico, according to the CREW complaint.

WalMart warehouse workers go on strike

Warehouse workers working in a WalMart-contracted facility near Riverside, CA went on strike yesterday, protesting unsafe working conditions and unfair labor practices.  The employees, who do not have a recognized union, walked off the job during the first shift at an NFI warehouse in Mira Loma, California, calling for access to clean water, better working conditions – temperatures reach over 100 degrees in the facility during the day—and an end to retaliation against those who’ve spoken up about unsafe equipment and unfair labor practices.

Today the warehouse workers and their supporters are beginning a 50-mile, six-day pilgrimage from the warehouses to Downtown Los Angeles. They are employed by NFI and a temporary labor agency, Warestaff. Both companies are Walmart subcontractors, but the retail giant has ignored repeated attempts by workers to meet and address the inhumane and illegal conditions in its contracted warehouses.

Workers face inadequate access to clean water, work under scorching heat that reaches well over 100 degrees, and have little access to basic healthcare, regular breaks, and properly functioning equipment. Their wages are low –$8 per hour and $250 a week, or $12,000 per year, and workplace injuries are common. Workers have been fighting for more than a year for safe working conditions and for Walmart to take responsibility for conditions in the warehouse.

Biking, walking opportunities opening up in San Diego

One of the things (in my opinion) that keeps San Diego from being a truly first class city is the supremacy of the automobile in urban planning and development.  Aside from the obvious environmental concerns, our auto-centric environment discourages neighborhood and business development, particularly in older areas of the city. We can’t roll back the planning clock to undo the sprawling expansion of the last few decades, but we can take steps to make our existing neighborhood more people-friendly. And that’s exactly what happening in couple of areas this month.

On Saturday, September 15th starting at 10am, City Councilman Todd Gloria is invited interested San Diegans to meet up at North Park’s Caffe Calabria (3933 30th Street) to participate in the rollout of BestWALK, a smart phone custom app designed to help in mapping and rating streets and sidewalks in local neighborhoods. The app will crowdsource data from residents across San Diego to rate what it’s like to walk in various areas and to contribute to a map of improvements for future funding. At 10:30 a.m., following the walk and app demonstration, Councilmember Gloria will hold a community coffee session to discuss City issues. For more info on BestWALK, go to

On Monday, September 17th starting at 10:30am, Civic San Diego (that’s the new name for what used to be called the Centre City Development Corporation) is hosting a Bike Share exhibition  at Outfield Park, adjacent to Petco Park, in the East Village neighborhood of Downtown San Diego.  The event will be held along K Street between 7th and 10th Avenue.  Companies that provide systems in other cities will be on hand to demonstrate their bicycle share rental systems:

Bicycle sharing systems are a service in which bicycles are made available for shared use to individuals who do not own them. The idea here is to provide free or affordable access to bicycles for short-distance trips in urban areas as an alternative to cars and buses. These systems, which can be introduced in a variety of formats, reduce traffic congestion, noise, air pollution and can connect users to public transit networks.

According to Wikipedia:

 As of May 2011 there were around 136 bikesharing programs in 165 cities around the world, made of an estimated fleet of 237,000 bicycles. Launched in 2008, the Hangzhou Public Bicycle program in China is the largest bicycle sharing system in the world, with around 61,000 bicycles and over 2,400 stations; and it is followed by the Vélib’ in Paris, which encompasses around 20,000 bicycles and 1,450 bicycle stations. The countries with the most systems are France (29), Spain (25), China (19), Italy (19), and Germany (5).

Vets for Peace continue anti-drone demonstrations at General Atomics in Poway

Today, veterans from the San Diego Veterans For Peace, associates and friends will stage the fifth weekly anti-drone demonstration outside the General Atomics factory in Poway where the Predator Drone is made.  Their goal is to educate the public concerning the lack of oversight being utilized by Homeland Security, police and others, who are now sending these drones over the US skies without any judicial oversight.

The Vets want to call attention to the fact that law enforcement agencies are using the drones to do surveillance work throughout the United States without judicial oversight. Law abiding citizens, meeting to conduct business or political affairs, are being recorded and documented by the US government and local officials for unknown purposes. They also feel that the Predator Drone, made by General Atomics, in Poway, makes continuing war too easy of a choice, thus keeping America embroiled in current and future wars.

They intend to picket every Thursday, from 4-6 PM, at the corner of Scripps-Poway Parkway and General Atomics Way, which is about 10-15  minutes off the I-15.  For more information, contact Dave Patterson, from San Diego Veterans For Peace, at 760-207-9139 or dpatterson998(at)

Tweet of the Day:


On This Day:  In 1789  the United States Government took out its first loan. In 1985  Sting began his first solo tour in San Diego. The tour was to support the album “Dream Of The Blue Turtles.” In 2001  U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell named Osama bin Laden as the prime suspect in the terror attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001

Eat Fresh! Today’s Farmer’s Markets: Carmel Valley (Canyon Crest Academy 5951 Village Center Loop Road) 3:30 – 7:00 pm, Chula Vista(Downtown, Center St. & Third Ave.) 3 –7 pm, Linda Vista  (6900 Linda Vista Road Between Comstock & Ulric) 2 – 7 pm, North Park (CVSPharmacy parking lot 3151 University & 32nd St.) 3 – 7 pm, Oceanside Market & Faire (Pier View Way & Coast Hwy. 101) 9 am – 1 pm,Oceanside Sunset (Tremont & Pier View Way) 5 –9 pm, San Carlos (Pershing Middle School 8204 San Carlos Drive) 4 – 7 pm, SDSU Farmers’ Market (Campanile Walkway btw Hepner Hall & Love Library) 10 – 3 pm, University Town Center  (Genesee Ave. at UTC Westfield Shopping Plaza) 3 – 7 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's won awards for 'Daily Reporting and Writing: Opinion/Editorial' from the Society of Professional Journalists in 2013, 2014 and 2015. Doug is a cancer survivor (sans vocal chords) and lives in North Park.
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  1. avatarJohn Anderson says


    Thanks for the heads up on the coffee talk with Todd Gloria – will definitely be there and have been excited by the common-sense projects he’s been supporting for bicycles and pedestrians in San Diego.

  2. avatar says

    We must abandon the “love it or leave it” attitude, where the general public has rolled over for Corporate America and accepted it’s our job to pay their way. Year after year these companies report record profits so why aren’t they paying record taxes? These companies have the power to not only save our economy but to close the income gap by paying employees more but instead they gut the Middle Class for all their worth. Every single protester is a hero in my book and I even helped create some free posters for the cause which you can download from my artist’s blog at