Doug Porter

Thumbnail image for Not the News in San Diego: Homeless Human Shot and Killed (Video)

Not the News in San Diego: Homeless Human Shot and Killed (Video)

by Doug Porter 03.02.2015 Business

By Doug Porter

A shocking confrontation caught on video involving a mentally ill homeless man in Los Angeles who was gunned down as police tried to evict him from a street-side tent is getting nationwide news coverage.

The Washington Post, the New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Seattle Times and of course the Los Angeles Times all covered the story. But you’ll have to dig to find it at UT-San Diego. It’s not in the today’s edition. (You can find it online if the paper’s search engine is working.)

This video cuts to the chase on three major issues facing this country; how we treat the mentally ill, our homeless population and the willingness of police to use firepower over brain power.

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Thumbnail image for The Right and the Righteous Aspire to Greatness at CPAC

The Right and the Righteous Aspire to Greatness at CPAC

by Doug Porter 02.27.2015 Activism

Infotainment for a Rainy San Diego Weekend

By Doug Porter

It’s time for that annual exercise in wingnuttery known as the Conservative Political Action Conference(CPAC), wherein activists of the far right persuasion gather in what Salon columnist Jim Newell calls the “fake shopping town of National Harbor, Maryland.”

Given that the biggest news around San Diego this morning appears to be anticipation about the arrival of rain (!) and possibly snow (!!) at the higher elevations, I’ll take the bait and share highlights from the annual gathering of the right and the righteous. 

It’s important to note that CPAC induces sympathetic craziness among the faithful who, for job-related reasons, are unable to attend during high profile sessions where CSPAN cameras may be turned on. This weekend is, after all, their turn to steal the spotlight from the liberal media’s endless praise of the Obama administration. 

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Thumbnail image for Environmental Lawyer Cory Briggs: Saint or Sinner?

Environmental Lawyer Cory Briggs: Saint or Sinner?

by Doug Porter 02.26.2015 Columns

“The case put forward to this point just doesn’t seem right, kind of like a badly fitted toupee on an otherwise well-dressed man.”

By Doug Porter

There’s no doubt about the fact that attorney Cory Briggs has made his fair share of enemies in San Diego. His actions in court have made Briggs the bane of corporate interests, providing what I believe to be a necessary counter-balance in a region where it seems as though the “people’s advocates” express concern about issues only after exposés appear in the press.

So it’s ironic that San Diego’s City attorney is now responding to an investigative series focused on Briggs. And the suggestion is being made that the source for these stories may have been somebody connected with the city’s legal offices, which have made no secret of their disdain for the attorney in the past.

Over the past few days inewsource  has published three stories questioning Briggs’ ethics. Liens filed by the attorney on properties may have been fraudulent efforts to shield assets. Briggs wife’s employment with an environmental planning company used by local governments may represent a conflict of interest, given the nature of many of the legal actions he has pursued against various agencies.

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Thumbnail image for Gas Prices Rise in San Diego as Refinery Strike Spreads

Gas Prices Rise in San Diego as Refinery Strike Spreads

by Doug Porter 02.25.2015 Business

By Doug Porter 

The average price of a gallon of regular gasoline reached three dollars in San Diego this week, roughly seventy cents more than a month ago. The primary cause of this steep increase is the largest refinery strike in 35 years, a walkout that’s continuing to spread as negotiations have stalled out. 

A total of 6,550 workers represented by the United Steel Workers are on strike at 15 plants, including 12 refineries accounting for one-fifth of U.S. capacity. The central issue in this labor dispute is safe working conditions for the USW members at more than 200 oil terminals, pipelines, refineries and chemical plants in the U.S. 

The American Automobile Association says the steep increase in prices comes on the heels of a record 123 consecutive days of declines. 

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Thumbnail image for The War on Terror Comes Home: Crime and Punishment in the 21st Century

The War on Terror Comes Home: Crime and Punishment in the 21st Century

by Doug Porter 02.24.2015 Columns

By Doug Porter

A report in today’s Guardian about a “black site” used by the Chicago police department to keep suspects off the grid for extended periods of time provides the starting point for today’s column. I’m going to weave three ongoing stories together to try to better understand what’s going on.

Yesterday’s Los Angeles Times says next to nothing is happening with a promised crackdown on the use of excessive force with the US Border Patrol. 

And the prison industrial complex in California is pushing back against reforms instituted through Proposition 47, which essentially decriminalized drug possession for personal use and reduced other petty crimes from felony to misdemeanor status. 

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Thumbnail image for The Unnecessary Parts of the ‘Chargers Are Going to Leave’ Narrative

The Unnecessary Parts of the ‘Chargers Are Going to Leave’ Narrative

by Doug Porter 02.23.2015 Columns

By Doug Porter

The prospect of San Diego losing its beloved football team provides an opportunity to examine the worst of what the local media does in terms of misleading people about the relative importance of news.

Many stories in the local news media outlets seem based upon the belief this potential business decision (by an entity dependent on taxpayer largess for its profitability) is of critical importance for San Diegans. While I certainly appreciate the emotional connection between fans and sporting organizations, much of what I’ve read in the last few days is simply not connected to any reality that I’m aware of.

Putting this in perspective, the Chargers “fan base” ranks in the bottom half of National Football League, according to data compiled by Nielsen Scarborough, who looked at the percentage of adults who have watched, attended or listened to the NFL team in that market in the past year. Despite what team boosters say, San Diegans are decidedly lukewarm about most pro sports.

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Thumbnail image for Chargers Hold Up Three Fingers: Read Between the Lines, San Diego

Chargers Hold Up Three Fingers: Read Between the Lines, San Diego

by Doug Porter 02.20.2015 Business

By Doug Porter

The drama surrounding the San Diego Chargers’ pursuit of a stadium–somewhere, anywhere–is turning out to be much more entertaining than much of the action on the field in recent years.  Today I’ll look around at what’s been said and do my best to provide some insight.

Yesterday the team let it slip–as a story in the Los Angeles Times was going to press–that they were working on a joint stadium deal with the Oakland Raiders for a facility in Carson, California, a city of less than 100,000 people with a history of shady dealings.

The coverage at ESPN included a nugget from an unidentified source saying the teams had been working together on this deal for the past nine months. The Chargers, by the way, denied inquiries from the St. Louis media about a deal in LA just a few weeks back.

Nobody was unhappier about the stadium news than Mayor Kevin Faulconer, who’d like the public to believe he’s been making a serious effort towards keeping the team in San Diego. After all, nobody wants to run for reelection with “lost our beloved Chargers” as a signature accomplishment.

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Thumbnail image for America’s Finest City Can’t Be Bothered with Slum Lords

America’s Finest City Can’t Be Bothered with Slum Lords

by Doug Porter 02.19.2015 Activism

By Doug Porter

A recalcitrant landlord at the top of a review of 2013 code compliance complaints in San Diego is the focus of a story written by Megan Burks and published jointly by KPBS/Voice of San Diego.

It’s a horrifying account, replete with tales of mold, asthma, raw sewage and armies of vermin. And a city government seemingly incapable of doing anything about it.

Landlord Bankim Shah owns nearly 90 properties in the San Diego area along with managing apartments owned by others. One-third of the 62 formal complaints filed against him since 2001 are, according to the story, “for conditions so bad state law says no one should be forced to live in them.”

We learn that Shah has been to court exactly once–in “2011 for renting a building to a medical marijuana dispensary.”

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Thumbnail image for Chargers’ Point Man Calls Out Mayor’s Malarkey On Stadium Task Force

Chargers’ Point Man Calls Out Mayor’s Malarkey On Stadium Task Force

by Doug Porter 02.18.2015 Columns

By Doug Porter 

Chargers’ special counsel Mark Fabiani has done San Diego a huge favor by pointing out the obvious. He’s single-handedly challenged the existing political narrative about the politics of the process being used in deciding on the advisability of building a new stadium.

You won’t find me among those pining away for the possibility of a new football stadium in America’s Finest City, even though I sometimes wonder if I’m addicted to watching games. 

First, there’s the silliness of taxpayers being expected to subsidize a rich man’s game in return for the possibility of an endorphin rush at some future time. And then there’s my sense that the long-term prospects for the sport aren’t very good, what with players’ health issues, spousal abuse scandals, and anything having to do with Patriots’ coach Bill Belechick.

(Malarkey was the best synonym I could come up with for “bullshit,” a word that’s too easy to use when describing the goings on at San Diego’s city hall.) 

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Thumbnail image for Republicans Stand Up for Racism as Court Blocks Immigration Programs

Republicans Stand Up for Racism as Court Blocks Immigration Programs

by Doug Porter 02.17.2015 Columns

By Doug Porter

A Federal District Court Judge in Brownsville, Texas has issued a ruling temporarily blocking President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration.

While the White House says the ruling will be appealed and many legal analysts say the injunction won’t stand up to challenges on appeal, the uncertainty involving the legal process represents a psychological victory for the nativist core of the Republican Party.

GOP leaders have cheered the ruling, saying it proves President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration exceeded his legal authority. Millions of other folks feel otherwise.

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Thumbnail image for Racism Matters: Why We Do This Thing

Racism Matters: Why We Do This Thing

by Doug Porter 02.16.2015 Columns

By Doug Porter

This week the San Diego Free Press is taking a bit of a pause from our usual routine to focus on Race and Racism. Previous thematic efforts include War and Peace back in November and Guns in the week following the second anniversary of the sandy hook shootings.

While this daily column normally concerns itself with reviewing what other media are covering, I’m taking a minute out to encourage readers to join us on this journey of reflection and discussion. (And, yes, there is other news further down in the column.)

We’ve got an array of perspectives to share with readers this week. Today, Susan Grigsby and Jim Miller are looking into race & racism history, both nationally and locally. Looking into the drafts already completed for the week there are essays on the impact of racism on young black girls, inside looks by several writers on their developing racial consciousness, a late night tour of Old Town along with the ghosts of Cortez and the Kumeyaay and a terrific piece by Ricardo Levins Morales on whites fighting racism.

And there’s more… I hope you’ll read, comment on and share what we’re posting this week. Racism Matters is more than a slogan for us; it’s a core value.

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Thumbnail image for Immigration Standoff: Congressional GOP Hoping to Learn from the Second Kick of a Mule

Immigration Standoff: Congressional GOP Hoping to Learn from the Second Kick of a Mule

by Doug Porter 02.13.2015 Columns

By Doug Porter

The logjam on Capital Hill has gotten to the point where even the Daily Fishwrap editorial board has noticed.

“It doesn’t seem to matter much which party controls Congress or whether a single party controls both houses or just one. Either way, there is still unacceptable impasse on key issues.”

The Republican strategy to stop President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration is failing. The clock is ticking on what would be a largely symbolic (but politically damaging)  shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security.

House and Senate GOP leaders are pointing the finger at one another. Senate leader Mitch McConnell says the ball is back in the House’s court. House Majority leader John Boehner trotted out his bi-annual warning to Democrats to “get off their ass.”

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Thumbnail image for As San Diego Bike Share Rolls Out, State Legislator Touts Helmet Law

As San Diego Bike Share Rolls Out, State Legislator Touts Helmet Law

by Doug Porter 02.12.2015 Activism

By Doug Porter

San Diego’s bike share program has finally launched, following multiple delays as private operator DecoBike navigated financial and political challenges along the way towards setting up 180 stations around the city.

This week California State Senator Carol Liu announced a bill (SB 192) expanding mandatory helmet use to include all riders over 18 years of age. Violators will face a $25 fine.

Taken at face value this legislation, which also requires reflective clothing at night, seems to be a common sense move aimed at preventing the often tragic head injuries associated with bicycle accidents.

Not so fast, say cycling advocates, who point out that similar laws in other cities have resulted in unintended consequence and a controlled Canadian study finding helmet laws have a minimal impact on the number and severity of head injuries.

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Thumbnail image for The People’s Brief: Your Chance to Support Marriage Equality at the Supreme Court    

The People’s Brief: Your Chance to Support Marriage Equality at the Supreme Court    

by Doug Porter 02.11.2015 Activism

By Doug Porter

The Supreme Court is expected to hear oral arguments in the coming weeks for a crucial marriage equality case, and is expected to resolve the issue of national marriage equality once and for all in a ruling this summer.

The Human Rights Campaign, a national organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in the United States has crafted a unique opportunity for proponents to sign on to an amici curiae brief in support of the petitioners.

Roberta Kaplan, the civil rights attorney who won a landmark Supreme Court ruling in United States v. Windsor striking down Section 3 of the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act in 2013, is the author and lead counsel on the brief.

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Thumbnail image for Is it a Bird? Is it a Plane? No, it’s Super Mayor! Kevin Faulconer Descends on New York

Is it a Bird? Is it a Plane? No, it’s Super Mayor! Kevin Faulconer Descends on New York

by Doug Porter 02.10.2015 Columns

By Doug Porter

Remember the days when San Diego was broke and broken?

Well, fear not citizens, happy days are here again. At least that’s the good news message our always-smiling mayor is busy delivering on the east coast this week.

The headline on yesterday afternoon’s press release from the Mayor’s office reads: “Mayor Faulconer to Share San Diego’s Comeback Story with National Media Outlets”.

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Thumbnail image for Labor Unrest Spreads to Refineries, West Coast Ports, SoCal Edison and Football Stadiums

Labor Unrest Spreads to Refineries, West Coast Ports, SoCal Edison and Football Stadiums

by Doug Porter 02.09.2015 Activism

By Doug Porter

Local gasoline prices have increased by roughly 20% over the past few weeks. Retailers dependent on imported goods are voicing concerns about bottlenecks in supplies coming through west coast ports. And that could be bad news for consumers. There’s more to the story than what you’ve likely seen or heard.

While the factors surrounding both these development are complex, a major element in each are labor unions seeking safe working conditions. In what amounts to a sad commentary on the state of the news media in the U.S. the coverage has been largely one dimensional, leading with management’s pronouncements about wages and benefits.

Right now the issues being put before the public are rising fuel costs and the possibility the next new gadget may be in short supply. What’s missing is the realization that the health and safety issues are at the core of these economic disruptions. Today I’ll try to round out the picture of what’s really happening here.

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Thumbnail image for Ocean Beach Icon Mike Hardin Passes On

Ocean Beach Icon Mike Hardin Passes On

by Doug Porter 02.06.2015 Business

By Doug Porter

We interrupt this broadcast…. Restaurateur Mike Hardin passed away yesterday.

Here’s Frank Gormlie at the OB Rag:

One of the most successful businessmen and restaurateurs in OB’s history, has passed away. Mike Hardin, owner of the most famous restaurant in the seaside village, Hodad’s Burgers, on Newport Avenue died in Fresno.

His body was found in a Fresno hotel on Thursday, Feb. 5th, after Mike had traveled to Northern California to see his daughter. Cause of death is unknown at this time…

There’s plenty more news today.. GMO’s…Hackers…UCSD and right wingers with their underwear in a bunch over something the president said….

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Thumbnail image for Anti-Vaxxers Immune To Debate, Shaming

Anti-Vaxxers Immune To Debate, Shaming

by Doug Porter 02.05.2015 Activism

California Legislators Move to End Personal Exemption

By Doug Porter

The most recent outbreak of measles appears to be abating, and that’s good news. Sadly, the “debate” over the “rights” of parents who chose to opt out of vaccinations continues. Debate is all well and good, but this is clearly a case where government needs to intervene to protect the public.

Yesterday a bicameral group of legislators announced they were proposing legislation eliminating the personal belief exemption for vaccinations in California. State Senators Dr. Richard Pan and Ben Allen along with Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) say they will move to require immunizations in all school age children with exceptions allowed only for medical reasons.

Dr. Pan told reporters he was open to discussion about keeping the religious exemption.

What we’ve learned over the past few weeks is that characterizing those opposing standard childhood vaccinations as right or left wing is really just a distraction. Data dumps by well-meaning public health officials and public shaming aren’t getting the job done.

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Thumbnail image for Looking Back at UT-San Diego’s Predictions for President Obama’s Second Term

Looking Back at UT-San Diego’s Predictions for President Obama’s Second Term

by Doug Porter 02.04.2015 Columns

By Doug Porter

The Columbia Journalism Review recently posted an article about philanthropist Malin Burnham’s intentions to purchase San Diego’s daily newspaper. The only news in the piece–it’s still just a possibility– was that several large local non-profits have been approached about overseeing the deal.

The CJR report did talk about Papa Doug’s history of partisanship and boosterism for projects near and dear to his wallet. A September 2012 editorial predicting doom and gloom should President Barack Obama be re-elected was mentioned…

We’re at the halfway point in his final term so I thought it be appropriate to revisit many of those those predictions and comment on the progress made (or not) in what UT-San Diego’s editorial board predicted would be a national nightmare.

This is going to be fun, I promise.

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Thumbnail image for Bad News for San Diego: It’s Business as Usual

Bad News for San Diego: It’s Business as Usual

by Doug Porter 02.03.2015 Business

By Doug Porter

The downside of business as usual in San Diego continues to make the news and not in a good way.

A local business leader tells a boldfaced lie in radio interview. Housing is too expensive for most people. The latest city hall scheme of dreams about a football stadium is already wrapped up in controversy.

Also, yet another GOP Presidential contender wades into the vaccinations controversy, the House will vote yet again today to repeal Obamacare and over-the-counter supplements sold in retailers nationwide are not even close to the real deal….

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Thumbnail image for Chargers’ Stadium Dreams Destined to be Dashed

Chargers’ Stadium Dreams Destined to be Dashed

by Doug Porter 02.02.2015 Columns

By Doug Porter 

The only thing more likely to be declared dead on arrival than any plan coming out of the newly ensconced Citizens’ Stadium Advisory Group for San Diego is the budget proposal the President is sending to the Republican-controlled congress. 

Today we’ll start out by looking at what the composition of the Faulconer’s task force tells us about the impossibility of their task and check out a few details of the Obama administration’s assertion that the age of austerity ought to be over in the US of A.  There’s also bonus material on two of the GOP 2016 presidential wannabes.

On Friday Mayor Kevin Faulconer introduced a nine-member stadium task force including what UT-San Diego called “financial experts, prominent developers, longtime government leaders and a former Chargers executive.” 

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Thumbnail image for Super Bowl XLIX: Winners and Losers Off the Field

Super Bowl XLIX: Winners and Losers Off the Field

by Doug Porter 01.30.2015 Columns

By Doug Porter

 According to reports from around the country not much is going to happen this weekend approaching the importance of a certain Sunday football game. The New England Patriots will face off against the Seattle Seahawks (3:30pm PT) at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. 

An estimated 184 million Americans are expected to watch Super Bowl XLIX, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation. That’s about 55 million more humans than voted in the 2012 presidential election. Beside the celebratory nature of the day, it’s an event with a huge economic impact. 

So today I’ll indulge in some mostly off-the-field news items; some serious and some silly, starting with a look at the non-helmet wearing people who make it happen.

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Thumbnail image for Voice of San Diego’s Intern ‘Irony’ is Just the Latest Insult

Voice of San Diego’s Intern ‘Irony’ is Just the Latest Insult

by Doug Porter 01.29.2015 Activism

By Doug Porter 

Earlier this week Voice of San Diego Editor/CEO Scott Lewis took the Center on Policy Initiatives, a local think tank, to task for a Facebook posting soliciting for unpaid internships to assist in a campaign aimed at increasing minimum wages. 

In the essay and subsequent social media postings, Lewis said he found the idea of volunteer interns working on this particular issue to be ironic. And he seemingly disparaged the notion that the trade-off of job experience and/or college credit as a smokescreen for exploitation.

The old saying about people who live in glass houses comes to mind when viewing the web journal of a high school student who interned with Voice of San Diego. 

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Thumbnail image for City Budget Requests, Unpaid Glitter Unicorns and Congressional Follies

City Budget Requests, Unpaid Glitter Unicorns and Congressional Follies

by Doug Porter 01.28.2015 Activism

By Doug Porter

There’s lots to report on today, starting with the annual wish lists for the coming fiscal year’s City of San Diego budget. The consensus item among the city council’s lists is finding more money for paying police.

A local non-profit’s Facebook posting seeking unpaid interns (along with paying positions) to participate in building support for increased minimum wages came under fire yesterday. But things aren’t always as they seem; I think there is another agenda at play here.

And the 114th Congress is off to a great start, unless you want to count passing meaningful legislation as part of it’s goals.

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Thumbnail image for Oh, The Irony: Local GOP Fights Contribution Limit, Worries About Dark Money

Oh, The Irony: Local GOP Fights Contribution Limit, Worries About Dark Money

by Doug Porter 01.27.2015 Columns

By Doug Porter

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors consideration of re-establishing limits on political parties donations to candidates in races for county office has the local GOP up in arms. 

Caps on partisan candidate support in county contests were lifted several years ago following a federal judge’s ruling striking down a City of San Diego ordinance limiting donations to $1000. The city re-established limits at $10,000 for district only and $20,000 for city-wide races. 

Supervisor Ron Roberts has proposed similar limits. Ron Nehring, formerly Chairman of both the California and San Diego Republican Party organizations took to Flash Report to denounce the proposal, saying  it was an “infringement on the Free Speech rights of political parties.”

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