The Starting Line – Anti Union Group Cries Foul Over Convention Center Expansion

The Associated Builders and Contractors of San Diego, a local chapter of a national right wing anti union group, has responded to prompts from the SD-UT editorial page by demanding that the city of San Diego release details of a recently reached agreement between a private contractor and organized labor.

KPBS reports that the ABC group is claiming that the deal gives unions control of the expansion of San Diego’s Convention Center project. They are demanding details of the agreement, hoping to prove that the city government played a role in brokering the agreement, which could then be construed as being in violation of a ballot measure passed earlier this year banning Project Labor Agreements on government projects.

Lorena Gonzalez, head of the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council, told KPBS the negotiations were between individual unions and the general contractor for the expansion. She said agreements mostly had to do with local hiring and safety rules.

The ABC group claims that such agreements could prevent nonunion shops from competing for work on the San Diego Convention Center. Similar claims made by the group about agreements between organized labor and the San Diego Unified School district have proven to be untrue.

Although ABC claims to be “voice” for the construction industry, a report by Thomas J. Kriger, labor studies professor at the National Labor College, shows that the group actually represents only about 1 percent of licensed construction contractors nationwide.

“ABC is a small-trade association” that is more astroturf than grass-roots, Kriger says, but it also has “a well financed public relations machine” with a strong right-wing ideological tilt, compared to other construction industry trade groups. With a budget of around $20 million a year and a PAC that contributes about $1.5 million each election cycle, ABC is a moderate-sized political player.

In recent years it has worked closely with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), and attacked project labor agreements (which generally recognize unions and their standards on big projects with limits on the right to strike) and the Employee Free Choice Act.

UPDATE: The San Diego County Building and Construction Trades Council has issued a press release spelling out details of the agreement.  As to expected, the ABC’s charges are baseless.

 Target Stores Targeted by Petition Campaign Over Black Friday Hours

Target stores’ plans for an early opening on Thanksgiving evening have come under fire as the result of a petition drive started by employee C. Renee of Corona, California.

Over 200,000 people have signed a digital petition urging the mega retailer to push back its opening time for “Black Friday”. Renee, who works as substitute teacher by day and spends her evenings and weekends at Target, has posted the following at

To:  Target CEO (Gregg W. Steinhafel) 

Return to Friday morning opening

I’m not complaining about being a minimum wage worker. Target, as a company, does some good and maintains a commitment to charity. Thanksgiving, though, is one of the three days retail workers get off a year, a day most spend with family. The issue is not black Friday, though it’s not exactly this country’s shining moment. Every year the opening time gets pushed up more and more.Midnight last year was pushing it. How can you expect workers to spend time with family and then stay up all night. It’s inhumane and inconsiderate. You are most likely tucked away in bed while workers are in the stores pushing back a rabid crowd of shoppers trying to get an iPod. A 9pm opening disgusts me and symbolizes everything that is wrong with this country. Give Thanksgiving back to families. The world won’t end if people have wait 7 more hours to buy useless junk that will be outdated in a year anyway. 

Council President Resigning to Take Red Cross Post

Rumors were flying around town yesterday about San Diego City Council President stepping down.  Some Twitterites speculated that he was joining the Filner administration.  Calls to Young’s office were responded to with  “We know nothing”.

The Diane Bell over at the UT-SD posted an item yesterday afternoon saying that Young is said to be on a very short finalist list for the position of CEO at the local Red Cross affiliate.  Red Cross CEO Joe Craver has announced that he will retire this December.

Speculation in the same story by Bell that his resignation “would surely pose an interesting dynamic for Mayor-elect Bob Filner, especially if a Republican is elected” is bordering on ridiculous.  Young represents City Council District 4. (See Map) They had a Republican group there once. I think they met in a closet.

USD Profs Vote No Confidence in College Pres

The faculty of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of San Diego has voted overwhelmingly to support a no confidence motion regarding president Mary Lyons in the wake of a decision canceling a British theologian’s visiting fellowship.

Tina Beattie, a theologian known for her work in contemporary ethical issues, was scheduled to begin a fellowship at the university’s Frances G. Harpst Center for Catholic Thought and Culture on Nov. 6. Lyons, citing the theologian’s public dissent from church teaching about same-sex marriage, canceled the appointment in an Oct. 27 letter.

Lyons’ cancellation came after an influential university alumnus and a conservative watchdog group backed by a high-ranking Vatican official protested the appointment to the university’s board of trustees.

University of San Diego alumnus Charles LiMandri, a local attorney known for his anti gay activities, was among those protesting Beattie’s appointment. LiMandri has served on the university’s alumni board, was president of the national alumni association, and chairman of the university’s annual fund.  Last spring LiMandri also created a website, “Alumni for a Catholic USD,” which complained about student programs focused on gender identity, one of which featured a drag show.

Nathan Fletcher Announcement

Former mayoral candidate and Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher is making an announcement this morning about his plans for the future, according to a post on his Facebook page. UPDATE: Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher announced today that he plans to join Qualcomm as Senior Director of Corporate Development after his term in office ends on December 2nd.

Say, Don’t I Know You?

Image by Thomas Tolkein via

An unnamed San Diego law enforcement agency is testing a hand held version of a groundbreaking new facial recognition technology, according to a report aired by TV10News.  The system, developed by Camarillo, CA based FaceFirst, utilizes algorithms which can compare millions of photos per second and can lead to a ‘match’ in as little as one second. 10News was told the software has led to several local arrests.

The story quoted a spokesperson for the San Diego Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union as saying, “Americans should be able to move about and not live under the constant watchful camera lens like characters in a George Orwell novel.”  FaceFirst responded by pointing out databases used for face matches usually are filled with criminals and suspects.  Yeah, right.

Tweet of the Day:

The states that want to secede because Obama won will form a new country called Soreloserstan.

— Top Conservative Cat (@TeaPartyCat) November 15, 2012

SoreLoserstan Report #1: Impeachment’s the Only Option

The Huffington Post reports this morning that a movement to impeach President Barack Obama has been launched, just days after he won a second term in the White House.

The Conservative Majority Fund, a conservative group known primarily for its birther conspiracy spreading, has launched a robocall campaign to gin up support for the president’s impeachment.

The call, emailed to The Huffington Post by Shaun Dakin of, reads in part as follows:

Our only recourse now is to move forward with the full impeachment of President Obama. We suspect that Obama is guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors and that there may be grounds for impeachment as is laid out in the constitution. Further, he may not even be a U.S. citizen because nobody, I mean no one, has seen an actual physical copy of his birth certificate. Impeachment is our only option. And Republicans are already considering Obama investigations. As the nation’s most effective conservative group we are launching the official impeach Obama campaign.

SoreLoserstan Report #2: The Commies Have Won.

From this morning’s UT-SD op-ed page, by Peter Lemiska, ‘A Eulogy for America of Old’, Page B-7 (Conclusion)

Obama’s election in 2008 might have been attributed to a naive electorate that saw a new kind of politician, one filled with inspiration and hope. Or perhaps it was nothing more than mindless enthusiasm generated by America’s first African-American president. With this election, we now know that the country has fundamentally changed. It’s been remolded by socialists and communists who have wormed their way into our government, the news media and our education system. The younger generation has been particularly influenced. One poll shows that 60 percent of the youth vote went to Obama.

This election suggests that the America of past generations is gone. The Obama supporters have forgotten, or never learned those values that made the country great, like hard work, personal responsibility, and selflessness. They have long ago forgotten the inspirational words of John F. Kennedy, Democratic leader from a bygone era, who called for some of that selflessness when he proclaimed, “Ask not what your country can do for you … ” That’s exactly what today’s voters are asking. They are inspired by promises of free contraceptives, free health care, and free education. In fact, they demand nothing less than cradle-to-tomb care guaranteed by the government, and funded by the taxpayer.

There was another world leader from Kennedy’s era who comes to mind. He said something not particularly inspirational, but just as memorable. In 1956, Nikita Khrushchev, first secretary of the Communist Party of the USSR, predicted the demise of capitalism and free enterprise, announcing to the West, “We will bury you.” Fifty-six years later, his prediction has come to pass.

 Tweet of the Day #2 (with NSF Video)

Every time a Republican opens their mouth to “explain” the election results, all I can hear is Lee Atwater saying this:…

— Annie Shields (@anastasiakeeley) November 15, 2012


On This Day: In 1777 the Continental Congress approved the Articles of Confederation, precursor to the U.S. Constitution.  In 1926 the National Broadcasting Co. (NBC) debuted with a radio network of 24 stations. The first network radio broadcast was a four-hour “spectacular.”  In 1969 Janis Joplin was arrested in Tampa, FL on charges of using “vulgar and indecent language” at a concert. All the charges were eventually dropped.

 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. avatar says

    Here’s a great quote from that U-T op-ed piece:

    “It [the government]’s been remolded by socialists and communists who have wormed their way into our government, the news media and our education system. The younger generation has been particularly influenced. One poll shows that 60 percent of the youth vote went to Obama.”

  2. avatarLa Playa Heritage says

    The Associated Builders and Contractors of San Diego are also fighting the lack of a public vote to increase Hotel Taxes by 5 percent (2% TMD + 1 to 3% Special Tax.”

    The links above are to the Convention Center Expansion’s “Environmental Settlement Agreement… By City of San Diego, San Diego Coalition for a Better Convention Center, San Diego County Buildings and Construction Trades Council, Unite Here Local 30, and Billie Johnson.”