The Day School Shootings Became the Norm

By Annie Lane

The 1999 Columbine High School shooting jolted me. I was 15 at the time. That is, I was still immortal and arrogant in the way that only a teen can be. Despite this, I remember being jolted by the violence of it, and the permanence. The kids killed were my age; they were essentially moments away from entering into the adult world, however unprepared, just like me.

The black-and-white cafeteria footage that ran on a seemingly endless loop across news stations nationwide was spell-binding. It was simultaneously real while perfectly mimicking Hollywood violence – or was it the other way around?   [Read more…]

Why Is Feminism More Offensive Than Rape, Inequality and the F-Word?

By Annie Lane

Feminism comes in many shapes and sizes, though if you ask author Karin Agness of the Time Magazine article Seriously? This Is What Passes for Feminism in America it appears that it should only ever manifest itself in the form of an 11-year-old girl who was shot in the head, as was the case for Malala Yousafzai.

Thankfully, Yousafzai survived the senseless and depraved attack on her life by the Taliban in 2012, and has gone on to be the voice for women’s education and rights in Pakistan. And the world is better because of her.

But according to Agness, American girls, such as the ones who appeared in the controversial FCKH8 video that went viral last week, don’t even graze the surface of what it means to be a Feminist, and instead are merely some part of a cheap marketing ploy to sell t-shirts.   [Read more…]

Field of View: Sand Sculpting in San Diego

By Annie Lane

The U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge took place in San Diego over Labor Day Weekend, with artists from all over the world coming together to compete. The subject matter of the sculpting ranged from the local Metropolitan Transit Service to steam punk designs to a shark attacking a boat.   [Read more…]

Failure of Hospital, San Diego County in Infant Molestation Case Serves as Argument Against Personal Privacy

By Annie Lane

Last week was a rather depressing one in the world of news. In Arizona, a 9-year-old girl fatally shot her gun instructor in the face with an Uzi. And right here in San Diego, a pediatric nurse was arrested for the sexual exploitation of a child after allegedly molesting the 2-month-old foster infant in his care.

Michael William Lutts, a Kaiser Permanente employee, came to the attention of the Federal Bureau of Investigation after they executed a search warrant on an email address that was being operated by a person with the intent of distributing child pornography. According to officials, Lutts, 50, was identified as an account that had sent pornographic images of children to this unnamed individual.

A search of Lutts’ College Area home found several hundreds of images of child pornography on the computers, hard drives, CDs and other items seized. FBI Special Agent Darrell Foxworth stated that a cell phone taken during the search had numerous images and videos of Lutts sexually molesting the prematurely born male infant.   [Read more…]

Field of View: An Early Summer Visit to New England

By Annie Lane

I recently traveled to Newport, Rhode Island, for a long weekend to attend my brother’s graduation. A Lieutenant Commander in the Navy, he had just completed a stint at the prestigious United States Naval War College.

Basically, he’s a badass. Although I now wonder if he’s the one who was actually adopted since the rest of my family tends to lean on the peace-loving, tree-hugging, hippie activist side of things. My brother assures me, however, that there were as many lessons on communication and negotiations as there were on strategy and tactical combat. Of course this news left my mom considering petitioning the college for a name change. (Tactical Peace College?) But I digress.

The good southern California weather came along for the trip, as the warm sky was often a crystal blue with fantastic cloud formations — a welcome respite from a tiring and long winter, according to the locals.
  [Read more…]

Goodwill Gets Thrifty With Many Disabled Employees, Pays Pennies For Hours of Labor

By Annie Lane

Having relied on Goodwill for years as the place to drop off my “unwanteds” in the hope they would find new life with people who could better appreciate them (the tax write off was a nice touch, too), it saddens me to discover that the famous thrift store is, in many ways, just another large company run by a disconnected wealthy few who have forgotten what it means to demonstrate humanity, or, more aptly, good will unto others.

Sure, as the video below states, it should not be forgotten the incredible impact Goodwill has had on the communities it inhabits, including the countless people it has hired, disabled and otherwise. But wouldn’t you know my tolerance for companies that do mostly good while still managing to take advantage of some of the most vulnerable members of society is at an all time low.   [Read more…]

Sex in San Diego: A Brief History of Sex Dolls

It’s difficult to imagine anything other than a crusty, inflatable, creepy-looking … thing when picturing a sex doll in the mind’s eye. A likeness to the figure in Edvard Munch’s The Scream, though slightly more unsettling if that’s even possible.

But sex dolls actually have quite an interesting history, reaching back as far as 8 A.D. with the myth that Pygmalion obsessed over a woman he sculpted from ivory so much so that Aphrodite eventually made her real. In the 1940s, Adolf Hitler and Heinrich Himmler devised the “Borghild Project,” which involved the production and shipment of sex dolls to German soldiers in an effort to lure them away from diseased French prostitutes.   [Read more…]

Field of View: A Walkabout in City Heights, Part II

By Annie Lane

At the corner of Euclid and University avenues in City Heights there is a wonderland of activity, architecture and, perhaps, some of the friendliest people in San Diego. That is where this Field of View will focus, with a quick jaunt up the street to some nearby Buddhist temples.

Cerberus Motorcycles is owned by Dave Hargreaves and Erik Borowitz, who moved here from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Housed inside the famous Egyptian Garage on Euclid Avenue, the pair is guarded by garage dogs, much like their business motif would suggest.   [Read more…]

Video Picks: Obama Torches GOP, 23 and 1/2 Hours and a Fox News Interview Fail

It’s not all that often that President Barack Obama has truly gotten angry at his Republican counterparts. It’s been well-deserved on so many occasions, yet Obama seems to believe that civility and decency can somehow still get through to the GOP. In a press conference on Friday, Obama demonstrated some refreshing gusto, scolding the GOP for making “the idea of preventing [millions of Americans] from getting health care their holy grail.”

“Their number one priority, the one unifying principle in the Republican Party at the moment is making sure that 30 million people don’t have health care,” Obama said.   [Read more…]

Field of View: A Walkabout in City Heights, Part I

By Annie Lane

After spending a solid three hours wandering the streets of City Heights, I found that it’s possible to do so and still only see a fraction of what the charming, lived-in neighborhood has to offer.

Freeper and longtime City Heights resident Anna Daniels served as my guide, taking me on streets less traveled to see sights like the 47th Street Canyon, where a sign read, among other things, that no guns were allowed. We also visited the nearby Cambodian Buddhist Society of San Diego, its signature orange facade a stark contrast against the blue sky.   [Read more…]

Field of View: Torrey Pines State Park and Gliderport

By Annie Lane

Torrey Pines State Reserve is a scene I will never tire of seeing. Striking colors, views and wildlife surround easily accessible paths making the excursion enjoyable for hikers of all skill levels.

On this particular day, we ended our outing at the Torrey Pines Gliderport (a short drive), where we ate lunch at the Cliffhanger Cafe and watched paragliders and hang gliders flying among the birds. The food was decent, and made all the better by the scenery. We also met two of the birds from West Coast Falconry, who were hanging out cliffside with their trainers and would fly alongside them while they went paragliding.   [Read more…]

Field of View: 1 Year Anniversary Potluck for the San Diego Free Press

By Annie Lane

Well, we certainly know how to party! On Sunday, the San Diego Free Press celebrated its one year anniversary with a potluck at Golden Hill Park. It was a wonderfully windy-sunny day filled with great food, interesting conversation and, of all things, croquet.

Of course, it must be noted that most of the success of the San Diego Free Press is due to the wonderful friends, contributors, readers and supporters who have been right here beside us this past year. Thanks for your tireless reinforcement. We need every single one of you.

On June 4, 2012, the San Diego Free Press officially launched. We have since published nearly 1,700 articles, more than 7,200 comments and average 1,600 unique visitors every day. The end, thankfully, is nowhere in sight.   [Read more…]

Volunteers Celebrate Black Music Month With Soulful Fundraiser for Malcolm X Library

By Annie Lane

Longtime library clerk Jimmy Lovett celebrated his June birthday early and the same way he has for more than a decade–paying tribute to underappreciated African American singers in honor of Black Music Month.

Hosted by the Say It Loud Committee, Lovett and crew presented Unsung and Off the Chain, a performance best described as a lip-syncing version of Soul Train.

“It’s like karaoke without the singing,” said Lovett, a Normal Heights resident who will be 45 this year. “We literally become the artist.” ……

In addition to Mayor Bob Filner, roughly 50 people were in attendance.   [Read more…]

Time Works Wonders: Oak Tree Academy Preschool Owners Transform El Cajon Property

By Annie Lane

When owner Conni Huntley reflects on Oak Tree Academy’s move from La Mesa to their new location in El Cajon, the preschool administrator admits it was she who dragged her feet.

“I’m afraid of the heat,” the Ocean Beach resident confided. “I’m a beach brat.”

Roseann Rinear, Huntley’s business partner and a longtime Jamul resident, didn’t share her concerns in that regard. The dilapidated state of the property, however, had them both a little nervous.

“It wasn’t until we drove around back and saw those Chinese Elms that we knew what the property could become,” Huntley said of the three full grown trees lining the expansive yard.   [Read more…]

Field of View: Golden Hill

By Annie Lane

Among other amenities, the historic Golden Hill neighborhood boasts a community garden on Russ Boulevard, which was started in 2004 and now has 26 plots tended to by individual gardeners. There’s also the 25th Street Musical Bridge, a piece of public art hidden in plain sight that can be found where 25th Street crosses over the Martin Luther King Jr. Freeway, or SR-94.

Designed by artist Roman de Salvo and funded by a $39,000 grant from the City of San Diego Arts and Culture program, the Musical Bridge is a series of chromatic bells that plays Crab Carillon when struck with a pipe or stick while walking the length of the bridge.

But various works of art can be found in nearly every direction of Golden Hill, from the brightly painted flower shops to the rich and extravagant architecture — much of which predates the 1900s. Even with its steep inclines, wandering around Golden Hill is worth every minute.   [Read more…]

Community and Customers Rally for Ian Rey, Disabled Former Employee of Sprouts Point Loma

By Annie Lane

Dozens protested Friday evening to show continued support for Ian Rey, a longtime Sprouts Farmers Market employee who said he was fired after 14 years for mistakenly taking a coworker’s jacket.

Rey was terminated from Sprouts on Monday, and has experienced an outpouring of support from the community and customers alike – many of whom say they won’t shop at the local grocery store anymore.

For some, Rey was simply a friendly face they’d come to expect to see over the years. For others, he was someone they would stand in a longer line just to say high to while he bagged their items.

“I’ve never met Ian on a bad day … I’ve never seen him not happy,” said Crystal Trignano, a special education teacher at Dewey Elementary who organized the evening rally. “It was always ‘What can I help you find?’ or ‘Is there anything you need today?’ It’s just not normal for people to care that much.”   [Read more…]

Field of View: 43rd Annual Chicano Park Day

Surrounded by the famous murals that make Chicano Park a powerful and spiritual refuge on a regular day, it is impossible not to be affected by the deep traditions that make up the Chicano culture while visiting during the 43rd annual Chicano Park Day.

Not even the blistering sun could keep hundreds from coming to celebrate . This year marks the first that the park and its murals have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since being established by Chicano activists on April 22, 1970.

The event showcased classic cars, vendors, food, music and Aztec dancers, and was attended by couples and families alike — many of whom have been taking part in this celebration for years.   [Read more…]

Five Stages of Republican Grief (A Tribute to the U-T’s Steve Breen)

By Annie Lane
Last week I came across a Steve Breen cartoon in the San Diego Union-Tribune entitled “Mapping Bob Filner’s Brain” (see left). I had quite the guffaw. I mean, if guffaws were redefined to be humorless, silent events that’s what it was.

I find it interesting that, given Breen’s skill and Pulitzer Prize history, the brain he chose to draw was so boorishly simple. Don’t worry, I get it — it’s intended to represent the supposedly simple mind of our union-sympathizing, anti-hotelier mayor.

But it doesn’t matter what multi-syllabic, mildly offensive adjectives Breen uses to describe Bob Filner because, at the end of the day, he’s still the elected mayor of San Diego. You know, the guy who, like most Democrats in the 2012 election, fairly won against his Republican counterpart.   [Read more…]

Field of View: Barrio Logan

In spite of being surrounded by freeway on-ramps and overpasses that attempt to make it appear like an oversight, Barrio Logan represents a culture and community that’s decidedly alive. It’s something that can be felt within seconds of parking, and seen in nearly every direction by way of the skillfully executed murals throughout the neighborhood.   [Read more…]

Field of View: North Park

What I enjoy most about North Park is the diversity of the neighborhood. Within minutes you can be transported from University Avenue, a central hub with its “big city” grunge (in a good way) feel to a more traditional residential area — complete with charming Craftsman homes of every color and accompanying architectural landscapes. I have spent many an hour walking the streets of North Park’s neighborhoods with my dog and never, ever got bored of the scenery.

Also interesting is the fact that there is a relatively even mixture of apartment complexes and homes — a cohabitation of owners and renters that doesn’t work so well in many other parts of San Diego. I lived in North Park near Morley Field for two years and never had a problem despite the foot and car traffic along Texas Street. In fact, if you’re looking for some good trick-or-treating action come Halloween, Texas Street is the place for you.   [Read more…]

Field of View: Traveling the World via the Map and Atlas Museum of La Jolla

Thanks to a suggestion made by our SD for Free columnist, my dad’s birthday was blissfully easy to plan this year. We decided to go to the Map and Atlas Museum of La Jolla and were able to arrange for a private tour — completely free of charge.

The museum is housed within the Merrill Lynch building on Fay Avenue, and is estimated (they won’t disclose the actual number) to showcase a collection worth around eight figures. It is made up of mobile walls and an elaborate hanging system that allows for changes to be made depending on the exhibit.

The museum is the brainchild of Michael Stone, a local philanthropist with an insatiable love for cartography and a desire to share it with the world.

The best part of the whole tour is guide Richard Cloward, a retired U.S. Navy captain without whom we would’ve been done in 20 minutes and wouldn’t have understood a fraction of what we were seeing. As it was, we ended up staying almost two hours — and there was still so much to learn.   [Read more…]

Alma Rodriguez: The ‘Little Napoleon’ Behind Queen Bee’s Art and Cultural Center in North Park

Alma Rodriguez’s childhood nickname was “Little Napoleon.”

At first glance, the obvious reason is her just more than 4-foot stature. But after a conversation about how she came to be the queen at the Queen Bee’s Art and Cultural Center in North Park, it’s her determination and self-proclaimed “need to be in control” that earns her the title.   [Read more…]

Field of View: Blue Sky Canyon Ecological Reserve in Poway

Poway’s Blue Sky Canyon Ecological Reserve is the perfect place for an early morning walk — or any time of day, really. A variety of trails can be chosen along the way, but I stuck to the main wide, beaten path for my first outing. The trail is ranked moderate and is a total of 2.5 miles out and back. It features a lake and is a dream come true for dogs; I’d left mine at home and still feel guilty about it. Next time.

Effects of past wildfires are still obvious — the gnarled and burnt branches of some trees seem to take on a caricature-ish life of their own. I was reminded of Dr. Seuss on more than one occasion. New growth is abounding, however, and the desert oranges and greens stretch as far as the eye can see.   [Read more…]

Field of View: 40th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade – Then and Now

Tuesday, Jan. 22, saw the 40th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade, in which abortion was officially legalized.

Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest celebrated the anniversary with a fundraiser dinner that highlighted the past and present of the organization’s history, including it’s pro-choice fight for safe and legal access to reproductive healthcare.

Abby Silverman-Weiss, a local attorney and champion of reproductive rights, was honored as the 2013 Defender of Choice.

“Tonight is a tremendous sense of belonging and empowerment,” Silverman-Weiss said.   [Read more…]