Art and life seamlessly merged a few weeks ago at Border X Brewery in Barrio Logan. It was the site of a launch party for Emmy award winning filmmaker Paul Espinosa’s latest project, a full length documentary about San Diego activist and musician Ramon “Chunky” Sanchez. It was a career milestone for both Espinosa, who is probably best known in San Diego for his critically acclaimed production of The Lemon Grove Incident and Chunky whose music has been a voice for social justice for over thirty years. [Read more…]
Around this time last year, the city of San Diego signed an Economic Development Assistance Agreement with Illumina, Inc. It was approved on August 7th as a “Consent Item” without pre-hearing noticing. The ten year deal included a promise to rebate $1.5 million in sales and use taxes in return for retaining “over 100 middle-wage manufacturing job opportunities” in San Diego.
SDFP editor Doug Porter wrote at the time Illumina is in the genomics business, and it is exactly the kind of company the city should be encouraging to put down roots and prosper here. This deal made by the Faulconer administration, however, is exactly the kind of governance the city doesn’t need.
So how is Illumina doing one year later? What has the public received in return for its largess? [Read more…]
What has changed?
Yesterday, August 17, twenty of San Diego’s media outlets participated in a focused effort to call attention to the tremendous human, financial and societal costs associated with homelessness in San Diego. If we were writing about another country, we would be referring to the humanitarian crisis posed by a growing number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDP), but this is sunny San Diego.
It remains to be seen whether the well greased wheels of San Diego politics and commerce are altered in any way after yesterday’s concerted effort, but I can speak with some certainty about a few things that haven’t changed today. [Read more…]
Halina is dead.
The effervescent petite blonde with the ebullient smear of sky blue eyeshadow above her sky blue eyes died in a residential hotel earlier this year.
I met Halina over a decade ago while I was working at the information desk of the old Central Library downtown on E Street. She was in the library searching for information on how to replace a lost ID. On a return trip she was looking for the address of her daughter Jessica.
She was a memorable presence—that sky blue eyeshadow, the girlish laugh, her genuine gratitude with the assistance she received. Halina would return to the library to simply say hello or to request all over again information on how to replace her lost ID or find Jessica’s address. [Read more…]
Media use of the term “transient” — when and why
The local news recently carried two short articles about stabbings that had taken place. The headline of one article identified a woman as the victim while the other identified the victim as a transient.
Why did 10News choose to use gender in one description and the victim’s lack of housing in the other, instead of using a gender description in both? Does this journalistic decision matter? [Read more…]
Women Occupy San Diego address Citizens Review Board on Policy Practices inadequacies (again); Democratic Woman’s Club advocacy for City of San Diego Department of Public Health and Social Welfare
Keep an eye on some of the new ballot proposals that have been filed recently with the San Diego City Clerk. These proposals reflect focused citizen participation that offer correctives to the city’s Citizen Review Board on Police Practices (CRB) and the county’s meager health and human services. These small “d” democratic efforts also happen to be spearheaded by women. [Read more…]
Last year at the San Diego Free Press third birthday celebration at Border X Brewery in Barrio Logan, an extensive collection of the first iteration of SDFP, circa 1968, was on display. Bud Sonka had kept these paper copies in an oversize folio box these past decades and brought them out to the surprise and delight of all of us. The term “archivist” could now also be added to Bud’s lifelong accomplishments as an agitator and intellectual. And mahjong player.
Bud passed away last week. We have not had time to pull together the celebration of his life that he deserves because we were out organizing and agitating in response to Donald Trump’s appearance in San Diego. We think Bud would have approved of how we spent our time. [Read more…]
I have attended close to a decade of budget hearings, always as an advocate for our library system.
But this year is different. I stand here before you as a person of conscience who has been witnessing first hand a burgeoning and permanent underclass of the dispossessed in City Heights and San Diego.
A growing population among us cannot find affordable places to live or jobs that pay a living wage. This is a crisis that we cannot ignore. Once people are reduced to living in the streets or their cars or a canyon the human and financial costs spiral out of control, becoming yet another crisis. [Read more…]
Land use, wealth and the smart city
The League of Women Voters and community radio station KNSJ hosted a city attorney candidate forum at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law in downtown San Diego on Saturday May 14. I had been asked to participate as a media representative on the panel asking questions of the candidates.
The 94 freeway exit that my husband and I took downtown to the event dumps cars on a surface street on the fringe of East Village. We drove through a convulsed urban landscape created by CalTrans engineering, deteriorating Victorian era houses, new apartments and temporarily re-purposed vacant lots. This entry point reflects how San Diego’s decision makers have approached land use and development in the area over many decades and to wildly different effect.
Weekends in San Diego are always chock full of events that provide often competing opportunities to be entertained and informed and to spend time with friends and family. Two upcoming events on Saturday April 30 are particularly noteworthy because of the diverse topics and the venues–two City of San Diego public libraries in two unique communities.
Frank Gormlie, local political muckraker and gadfly, editor of our sister publication OB Rag and editorial board member of SDFP, will lead an hour discussion about Ocean Beach Hippies and how Ocean Beach became San Diego’s Haight-Ashbury, circa 1967. [Read more…]
Milena (Sellers) Phillips’ book “Always Fly Away” is not the work of someone who has made a career of writing books for children. This brightly illustrated book written for elementary school children is a reflection of how the author herself has come to understand the world as much as it is a children’s story.
“Always Fly Away” acknowledges the necessary transition that takes place when young children want to start exploring the world with an ever growing degree of independence. It also helps to develop the critical judgement that young children need to recognize when a situation doesn’t feel right and what to do when this happens.
Phillips spins a story that retains the joy and mystery of a child’s explorations while providing ways to assure that the exploration is as safe as possible. It is a remarkable story because she personally experienced the devastating death of her nine year old son Jonathan Sellers. [Read more…]
Quick— imagine a homeless person. Did you conjure up the image of an utterly ordinary looking seventy year old white woman attending classes at SDSU? or a neatly dressed young Latino waiting at a bus stop? or a pregnant African American woman passing by your house? or a neighborhood kid who disappears and reappears and seems disconnected, rootless?
We don’t hear much about these men and women, young and old, who are homeless. Instead, we read about the uptrodden who have to deal with homeless people crapping on the sidewalk in front of their expensive condos downtown or the bad optics and shabby aesthetics of the tents and battered pieces of cardboard where the homeless visibly bed down every night, also downtown.
The reflexive stereotyping of the homeless demands little of us individually and collectively. It is therefore no surprise that our civic efforts in housing the homeless in San Diego have been such a dismal failure. [Read more…]
Recognized for writing the people’s history
Five San Diego County women were inducted into the San Diego County Women’s Hall of Fame on Sunday March 6 at the Joe and Vi Jacobs Center. Maria Garcia, Evonne Seron Schulze, Sally Wong Avery, Elizabeth Lou and Christine Kehoe were recognized for their lifetime work and achievements and hailed as role models.
Each of these dynamic women has left an indelible mark on our civic life, making it more inclusive and vibrant. Each of these dynamic women also exemplifies a unique voice and story. For Maria Garcia, her story is history—she was inducted into the Hall of Fame as Historian. [Read more…]
The wretched, wonderful path to bilingualism is strewn with flashcards
A recent conversation with my neighbor Mari turned to the subject of rats. Big rats had suddenly appeared in her yard and were even bold enough to eat Chavo’s kibble while the chihuahua helplessly looked on. I ventured that the rats had fled the apartment on the corner when it was fumigated. But no, I hadn’t seen rats. “Our cats won’t keep hungry adult rats away, but they do kill the maids. They have left a few on the porch.”
Mari quickly corrected me–“They kill the young.” I laughed. Mari laughed. [Read more…]
City of San Diego residents– look at your water bill
We were told last year that our water rates in the City of San Diego would go up on January 1st of 2016. That prompted me to look a little more closely at the most recent bill which includes December and January. This year’s bill for the winter months, when outside watering was unnecessary, broke a hundred dollars.
Yes, the rates have gone up. But in addition to the amount due other information on the bill caught my eye. [Read more…]
Actually, there wasn’t much fear
Our national zeitgeist certainly has turned nasty and fearful since the last Republican debate. World War III! Armageddon! Terror at home! I never imagined myself ever saying this, but I am grateful that the pressures of last minute holiday shopping have partially restored our national sanity–short-lived as it will no doubt be.
My Beloved and I recently joined thousands of our like minded neighbors making their way to Mission Valley. We left our home unarmed, optimistic that a good guy and good woman with cash and charge cards would be capable of handling whatever came our way. [Read more…]
Editor’s Note: We’ll be publishing excerpts from Sunshine/Noir II: Writing from San Diego and Tijuana, an anthology of local writing about San Diego over the coming weeks, starting with the chapters written by SD Free Press writers. As City Works Press co-editor Jim Miller says in his introduction: “…San Diego is still a city in need of a literary voice, a cultural identity that goes beyond the Zoo, Sea World, Legoland, and the beach. With Sunshine/Noir II we persist in our romantic, perhaps Sisyphean, effort to address this need and expose the true face of “the other San Diego.”
By Anna Daniels
The sudden attentiveness of the cats alerted me to the faint sounds coming from the front porch. Moments before they were curled like fur commas around the suitcase that was splayed open on the bed. I straightened up from the suitcase that I had just finished packing and turned toward the window and the darkness beyond. [Read more…]
San Diego City Works Press’ distinctive approach to book as object
By Anna Daniels
While mass market publishing continues to flourish and self-publishing has increased, small independent presses have declined over the past decades. Those of us who can’t imagine a trip to San Francisco without a visit to the City Lights bookstore are an indication of the limited but passionate support that still remains for independent publishing.
Small presses release limited runs of titles and address a specific niche and readership which mass marketing publishers largely ignore. They seek out emerging talent, provide a platform for out of the mainstream views and take risks that go far beyond the financial– City Light’s publication of Allen Ginsberg’s Howl in 1955 resulted in an obscenity trial.
Another small press hallmark is the attention to how the book as an object feels and looks. That means high quality paper and unique cover art and illustrations. San Diego City Works Press’ release of Sunshine/ Noir II is a reminder of what small independent publishers can do better and differently than the big guys. [Read more…]
By Anna Daniels
On Saturday September 12, virtuoso leona player and poet Laura Rebolloso will perform in a special San Diego benefit concert in which all proceeds will go to support the efforts of independent journalists in Mexico. Pianist Alonso Blanco and percussionist Vladimir Coronel will accompany Ms. Rebolloso.
The urgency of support for Mexican journalists not only within that country but in every country that values freedom of the press is summed up in The Guardian‘s horrifying headline “‘Journalists are being slaughtered’- Mexico’s problem with press freedom.” This is an issue that we are not watching closely enough in this country, primarily because it receives so little main stream media coverage. [Read more…]
By Anna Daniels
Hola My Tia. Yes they r talking about closing schools. It’s really scary my niece writes from the municipality of Carolina, which neighbors Puerto Rico’s capital of San Juan. The bagmen who are now running the show have proposed laying off teachers and closing schools as one solution to the island’s financial crisis.
There was a time when we could agree that our children’s public education was a collective responsibility and one of the best investments in their future and our future as a democracy. That time seems to have passed as hedge fund managers, investors and banks demand to be paid today.The future be damned.
And now with the water issues the schools r closing half a day. [Read more…]
By Anna Daniels
San Diego Free Press writer Maria Garcia hosted a very special thank you luncheon for the men and women whom she has interviewed for her award winning series “The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights.” The event, attended by over sixty people, was held on August 9 in the community room of the Logan Heights Library.
These men and women, many of whom are in their 80s and 90s, shared personal details of their lives and old photographs during their interviews that enabled Maria to weave together a unique social history of Logan Heights with Neighborhood House as the focus. That history spans from World War I to the early 1970s, with the take over of Chicano Park and the occupation of Neighborhood House.
By Anna Daniels
San Diego Free Press contributors are a diverse and talented group of individuals. It will be a busy weekend for three of them with the unveiling of Jim Bliesner‘s sculpture Cultural Fusion, Casa Familiar’s Abrazo Award for Barbara Zaragoza and An Evening of Provocative Poetry with Jeeni Criscenzo. These events follow upon last week’s screening of SDFP video- journalist Horacio Jones‘ short film “Wingin’ It” at the 48 Hour Film Project in San Diego. [Read more…]
By Anna Daniels
The San Diego Free Press celebrated its third birthday on August 8 with a Galastravaganzaversary party at Border X Brewing. Wow–three years! It has been an astoundingly active year for this unique all volunteer operated San Diego media presence. Contributors and editors have provided another year of progressive views with a distinctly grassroots perspective on the topics of labor, the environment, immigration, criminal justice, politics and government.
Our approach–multi-media and multi-genre– reflects the talents and interests of our contributors. Video essays, personal narratives, cartoons and poetry are essential to the way that we present the people’s history. We take risks in terms of both the content provided and the format. The creative juices continue to flow; the vision of where we are headed is becoming more clearly delineated. Time for craft beer and a slice of galastravaganza cake! [Read more…]
On June 4, 2012 the San Diego Free Press made its very first foray into the provision of grassroots news and progressive views. We launched as an all volunteer effort to promote citizen journalism and have continued to operate on a volunteer basis since. Have you noticed that the site is ad free? We decided early on to reject sponsored content.
These defining characteristics make us unique as an alternative media platform. [Read more…]
Doug Porter recently wrote about the after hours demolition of one of San Diego’s two remaining historic Saltbox houses. The Bernie Michels-Thom Carey house at the corner of Florida Street and El Cajon Blvd was bulldozed by contractors working for developer HG Fenton this past Friday, May 29.
San Diego 6News has reported that the demolition permit may have been issued in error and that the city’s Development Services Department is conducting a “forensic review.” If that is the case, it is one helluva oops. A dozen red roses and a Hallmark card won’t put humpty dumpty back together again. [Read more…]