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Thumbnail image for Passionate Pleas for Safer San Diego Streets Fall on Deaf Ears at Uptown Planners Meeting

Passionate Pleas for Safer San Diego Streets Fall on Deaf Ears at Uptown Planners Meeting

by Source 03.26.2015 Activism

BikeSD / BikeSD Blog

On Tuesday March 24 between 200-250 people packed the St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral for a special Uptown Planners meeting. It’s quite possible that that was the most number of people that church has held in recent years.

While many of you and us were out last night testifying and desperately pleading for safer access through along University Avenue, to a board that ignored all public testimony for safer streets except for the comments on using public spaces for private vehicle storage – parking – a 74 year old woman crossing Camino Ruiz in a marked crosswalk suffered life threatening injuries after being hit by an SUV. No word yet on whether the driver has been charged.

Earlier this month, our endorsed candidates Michael Brennan and Kyle Heiskala were successfully elected to the Uptown Planners at the Community Planning Group election. But last night’s meeting was a special meeting and Brennan and Heiskala haven’t yet been seated – so they were unable to vote on the issue.

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Thumbnail image for How Privatization Degrades Our Daily Lives

How Privatization Degrades Our Daily Lives

by Source 03.25.2015 Business

By Paul Bucheit / Common Dreams

The Project on Government Oversight found that in 33 of 35 cases the federal government spent more on private contractors than on public employees for the same services. The authors of the report summarized, “Our findings were shocking.”

Yet our elected leaders persist in their belief that free-market capitalism works best. Here are a few fact-based examples that say otherwise.

Health Care: Markups of 100%….1,000%….100,000%

Broadcast Journalist Edward R. Murrow in 1955: Who owns the patent on this vaccine?
Polio Researcher Jonas Salk: Well, the people, I would say. There is no patent. Could you patent the sun?

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Thumbnail image for Water Issues for Laypeople: How the Otay District Works

Water Issues for Laypeople: How the Otay District Works

by Source 03.25.2015 Business

Do you know where your water comes from? Do you know where it goes after it runs down your drain?

By Barbara Zaragoza / South Bay Compass

I didn’t either, so in these troubled times when most media outlets are up and arms about the California drought, I went directly to the Otay Water District to find out.

The General Manager, Mark Watton, and the Otay team of employees were friendly and incredibly knowledgeable about water. In addition, I got the feeling they wished more citizens knew about their work because water, after all, is our most essential human resource.

On the other hand, if I can summarize California water in one word, I would say: CONFUSING.

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Thumbnail image for Inequality in California’s K-12 Schools

Inequality in California’s K-12 Schools

by Source 03.23.2015 Education

Thirty years of test scores have not measured a decline in public schools, but are rather a metric of the country’s child poverty and the broadening divide of income inequality.

By Bill Raden / Capital & Main

It’s been just over 30 years since war was declared on America’s public schools. The opening salvo came with 1983’s A Nation at Risk, the Reagan-era Department of Education report that alleged that lax schools and ineffective teachers constituted a dire threat to national security.

Yet three decades later, and in spite the opening of a second front comprised of school vouchers, a 2.57-million student charter school network and a classroom culture tied to test preparation, the nation’s education outcomes have barely budged, and rather than narrowing the education gap, the chasm between rich and poor appears only to be significantly widening.

But what if it turned out that education reform, with its teacher-blaming assumptions, got it all wrong in the first place? That’s the conclusion being drawn by a growing number of researchers who, armed with a mountain of fresh evidence, argue that 30 years of test scores have not measured a decline in America’s public schools, but are rather a metric of the country’s child poverty — the worst among developed nations — and the broadening divide of income inequality.

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Thumbnail image for California Drought Legislation Must Target Agribusiness and Big Oil

California Drought Legislation Must Target Agribusiness and Big Oil

by Source 03.23.2015 Business

By Dan Bacher

Governor Jerry Brown and lawmakers touted the introduction of drought legislation in the Legislature on March 19, while leaders of environmental and corporate watchdog groups urged Brown to put real limits on the “most egregious” water users – corporate agribusiness and big oil companies – to really address the drought.

Brown joined Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León, and Republican Leaders Senator Bob Huff and Assemblymember Kristin to unveil legislation that they claimed will “help local communities cope with the ongoing, devastating drought.”

A statement from the Governor’s Office said the package will expedite bond funding to “make the state more resilient to the disastrous effects of climate change and help ensure that all Californians have access to local water supplies.”

“This unprecedented drought continues with no signs yet of letting up,” said Governor Brown. “The programs funded by the actions announced today will provide direct relief to workers and communities most impacted by these historic dry conditions.”

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Thumbnail image for US Quietly Abandons Troop Reduction Plans in Afghanistan

US Quietly Abandons Troop Reduction Plans in Afghanistan

by Source 03.21.2015 Government

Administration could allow up to 9,800 troops to remain into next year’s ‘fighting season’

By Nadia Prupis / Common Dreams

The Obama administration is dropping its plans to reduce the amount of U.S. forces in Afghanistan to 5,500 by the end of the year, significantly altering the timeline which officials had said would see troops largely withdraw from the country by 2016, according to reports.

In fact, officials say, the administration could allow up to 9,800 American troops to remain in Afghanistan well into next year’s “fighting season.”

The announcement on Saturday came a few weeks after new Defense Secretary Ashton Carter indicated that the White House was “rethinking” its counter-terrorism mission in Afghanistan and would slow down its troop withdrawal from the country, despite long-held promises from Washington to remove the U.S. military presence there.

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Thumbnail image for The People’s Budget: Progressive Proposal Aims to Un-Rig Failed Economic System

The People’s Budget: Progressive Proposal Aims to Un-Rig Failed Economic System

by Source 03.20.2015 Economy

The budget plan ‘fixes an economy that, for too long, has failed to provide the opportunities American families need to get ahead,’ says Congressional Progressive Caucus
By Deirdre Fulton / Common Dreams

Offering a sustainable alternative to regressive federal budget proposals put forth this week by the Republican majorities on Capitol Hill, the Congressional Progressive Caucus on Wednesday released The People’s Budget: A Raise for America, which aims to “level the playing field” for low- and middle-income Americans.

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Thumbnail image for Fair Trade Is a Racial Justice Issue

Fair Trade Is a Racial Justice Issue

by Source 03.19.2015 Business

The struggle in towns like Ferguson to overcome racial and economic barriers is hard enough without another wrong-headed trade pact

By  / OtherWords

The work of repairing the racial fissures that broke wide open in Ferguson, Missouri last year goes beyond the shooting death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown.

It also goes beyond ending the practices highlighted in a Justice Department report that criticized Ferguson cops and courts for shaking down the city’s poor, black residents for revenue.

What else will it take? Good jobs.

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Thumbnail image for What It’s Like to Own and Run a Flourishing Marijuana Dispensary

What It’s Like to Own and Run a Flourishing Marijuana Dispensary

by Source 03.19.2015 Business

Northern California owner: It’s “quite different from the view from the outside looking in.”

By David McCullick / Alternet

The view I have from behind the counter of my Medical Marijuana (MMJ) dispensary—the Sonoma Patient Group in Santa Rosa, California–is quite different from the view from the outside looking in. Many law enforcement types, city and county elders, and much of the general public have a very pre-conceived notion of what it is we do, how we do it and who we do it for.

If you are not privy to what actually happens in a dispensary, you might be inclined to believe what you read and hear from those that do not visit them, use MMJ at all or have their own agenda (i.e., draconian drug laws and incarceration quotas). You may hear talk of how the MMJ laws are just a front so that people can smoke their weed, or that the movement is a distraction or just a way to full legalization of recreational marijuana. You might believe it when you are told that only young healthy people under 25 visit the dispensaries or that we are a danger to your kids.

The truth of the matter is that MMJ works for most people that try it on some level or another depending on what you use it for, how you use it and how often you use it, keeping in mind that we are all different. What works for you might be different than what works for me. Most people that use MMJ are legitimate patients who want the medical benefits.

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Thumbnail image for San Diego Sues Monsanto for Polluting Bay With Banned Carcinogenic Chemicals

San Diego Sues Monsanto for Polluting Bay With Banned Carcinogenic Chemicals

by Source 03.18.2015 Business

Lawsuit says toxins manufactured by agrochemical giant ‘have been found in Bay sediments and water and have been identified in tissues of fish, lobsters, and other marine life’

By Sarah Lazarre / Common Dreams

San Diego authorities filed a lawsuit on Monday (March 16) against the agrochemical giant Monsanto, accusing the corporation of polluting the city’s bay with carcinogenic chemicals that are so dangerous to human health they were banned in the U.S. more than 30 years ago.

The lawsuit was filed in federal court by City of San Diego and San Diego Unified Port District and focuses on Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs). “PCBs manufactured by Monsanto have been found in bay sediments and water and have been identified in tissues of fish, lobsters, and other marine life in the Bay,” the complaint reads.

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Thumbnail image for Group Seeks to Replace Jackson With a Woman on the $20 for 100th Birthday of the 19th Amendment

Group Seeks to Replace Jackson With a Woman on the $20 for 100th Birthday of the 19th Amendment

by Source 03.18.2015 Culture

By Meteor Blades / Daily Kos

Matt Iglesias at Vox first discussed what a good idea it would be to have a woman on the $20 bill last July. But it was a more recent Vox story by Libby Nelson that seems to have kicked off a surge in media attention given to the idea that is being promoted by the organization Women on 20s. The group is asking people to vote their choices from a roster of 15 women.

The list—already winnowed from 30 to 15—will be further culled through three rounds of voting. The group hopes to get 100,000 votes because that’s how many names it takes at the White House petition site to get an official response. The candidates: Alice Paul, Clara Barton, Frances Perkins, Susan B. Anthony, Rachel Carson, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Betty Friedan, Shirley Chisholm, Sojourner Truth, Rosa Parks, Barbara Jordan, Margaret Sanger, Patsy Mink, Harriet Tubman and Eleanor Roosevelt.

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Thumbnail image for A Housing Market Divided

A Housing Market Divided

by Source 03.18.2015 Business

Deregulation won’t solve California’s seemingly intractable affordable housing crisis on its own.

By David Dayen / Capital & Main

Housing markets get discussed in the media mostly through the channel of prices. Rising prices are considered good for the economy. They can connote increased sales, which would lead to more construction and real estate-related jobs. They also give homeowners more equity in their homes, and the consequent “wealth effect” – studies show personal spending jumps when people perceive an increase in their wealth – can benefit the economy.

But there’s a darker side to rising home prices. They harm affordability, particularly for first-time homebuyers. Since the collapse of the housing bubble, this group of potential purchasers has not returned to the market at the historical level of 2006. Because first-time homebuyers allow sellers to purchase bigger homes, their absence has blunted the impact of rising prices; the Bureau of Economic Analysis reports that residential housing investment remains lower than the depths of any housing crash over the past 40 years.

Housing affordability is a major problem in the Golden State. The California Association of Retailers’ most recent Housing Affordability Index (HAI) shows that only 30 percent of the state’s households can afford to purchase an average-priced home in their area.

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Thumbnail image for The Conundrum of Corporation and Nation

The Conundrum of Corporation and Nation

by Source 03.16.2015 Business

By Robert Reich / RobertReich.Org

The U.S. economy is picking up steam but most Americans aren’t feeling it. By contrast, most European economies are still in bad shape, but most Europeans are doing relatively well.

What’s behind this? Two big facts.

First, American corporations exert far more political influence in the United States than their counterparts exert in their own countries.

In fact, most Americans have no influence at all. That’s the conclusion of Professors Martin Gilens of Princeton and Benjamin Page of Northwestern University, who analyzed 1,799 policy issues and found that “the preferences of the average American appear to have only a miniscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.”

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Thumbnail image for What We Lose with a Privatized Postal Service

What We Lose with a Privatized Postal Service

by Source 03.14.2015 Business

America’s founders recognized that commerce requires a common infrastructure.

By Katherine McFate / Other Words

Did you know that when you ship a package through Federal Express, the U.S. Postal Service often carries it the last mile?

Last year, the Postal Service delivered 1.4 billion packages for FedEx and UPS. In fact, it delivers the last mile for almost a third of FedEx packages. The 618,000 Postal Service workers also delivered nearly 66 billion pieces of first-class mail — that’s more than 100,000 pieces per carrier.

The Postal Service can reach all 150 million American households because it’s a public system that we’ve been investing in for over 200 years. Our Constitution tasked the federal government with creating a national postal system and told the Postmaster General to report to the president.

But in 1971, Congress made the service into an “independent agency” managed by a board of governors. And since then, it’s been under attack by politicians who never met a public program they liked.

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Thumbnail image for A Wealth Tax for California?

A Wealth Tax for California?

by Source 03.13.2015 Economy

By Roy Ulrich / Capital & Main

California has one of the highest poverty rates in the nation. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s main poverty measure, 16.8 percent of all Californians and 23.5 percent of the state’s children lived in poverty in 2013. Yet it also has the most billionaires in the country: 111. The state’s 33,900 millionaire taxpayers (just .2 percent of the state’s taxpayers) have combined incomes of $104 billion. According to the California Budget Project, California has the seventh widest income gap between rich and poor among the 50 states, ranking between Alabama and Texas.

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Thumbnail image for Law Could Add Hundreds of Thousands of People to Oregon’s Voter Roster

Law Could Add Hundreds of Thousands of People to Oregon’s Voter Roster

by Source 03.11.2015 Activism

By Meteor Blades / Daily Kos

The Oregon Senate passed a bill Thursday that could add 300,000 new voters to the state’s rolls right away and hundreds of thousands more in the future. Gov. Kate Brown, who introduced what supporters have labeled a first-of-its-kind bill last month when she was still secretary of state will, of course, sign it. The bill passed 17-13 along party lines with only one Democrat in opposition.

Colloquially called the “new motor voter” bill, it mandates the Oregon Department of Transportation to share with the secretary of state information on anyone who provides proof of residency, age and citizenship—all that is needed to register to vote.

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Thumbnail image for A Deeper Examination of the Sheer Joy of Oklahoma Students Chanting About Hanging N*gg*rs from Trees

A Deeper Examination of the Sheer Joy of Oklahoma Students Chanting About Hanging N*gg*rs from Trees

by Source 03.10.2015 Culture

By Shaun King/ Daily Kos

Money, during a bad economy, doesn’t actually disappear, it just moves around into different hands and different accounts. If a whole segment of America all of a sudden doesn’t have money because of shifts in the economy, it just means that it has shifted to another group, but please understand—that money still exists—just not in your wallet.

Racism is like money. It changes hands. It shape-shifts and finds itself a new carrier, a new account, a new way to express itself in changing times, but it never actually disappears. Suppressed racism is no less real than money in a savings account, but rest assured, suppressed racism always has a way of telling on itself—sometimes in the most despicable, hurtful, and shocking ways.

Before I dig into why a group of white University of Oklahoma college students from the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, clad in tuxedos and ball gowns, so giddily chanted about “hanging n*gg*rs from trees” let me clear—racism is dangerous. It’s not funny. It’s not just words. It’s not kids being kids. It’s not playful. This is shit is real and it’s dangerous.

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Thumbnail image for Five Reasons for Not Filing Your Taxes with a Tax Prep Service

Five Reasons for Not Filing Your Taxes with a Tax Prep Service

by Source 03.09.2015 Business

By Nancy Meyer / Daily Kos

If you take your taxes to a tax-in-the-box service, beware.  I’m talking about those retail outlets in strip malls and department stores that are part of national chains. It doesn’t matter which one you choose, they are all a bad idea.

I worked at a tax prep service for nine years, and the fee structure always troubled me.  I told myself that it was just part of the job, that all tax prep service tactics were the same. They are, but that doesn’t make their unethical tactics okay.

The bottom line is that no matter what you pay for tax prep at these places, you are getting ripped off.  The service is designed that way. What I learned about how they operate is disturbing, and I think consumers ought to know.

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Thumbnail image for 50 Years Later: I’m Still Standing with Selma

50 Years Later: I’m Still Standing with Selma

by Source 03.07.2015 Activism

By Congressman John Conyers /Daily Kos

I was in Selma, Alabama on the historic Freedom Day to register voters. Tensions were high and leaders were escalating their tactics.

I saw the inequality and violence that African-Americans endured on a daily basis. It crippled our communities. All of what I experienced should have scared me enough to avoid challenging the system that allowed these injustices to occur. But my father, a union organizer, taught me that if the door of opportunity cracked open, we must dare to open it wider and hold it open for as many people as possible.

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Thumbnail image for Bowing to Public Pressure, Ringling Bros. to Phase Out ‘Horrific’ Exploitation of Elephants by 2018

Bowing to Public Pressure, Ringling Bros. to Phase Out ‘Horrific’ Exploitation of Elephants by 2018

by Source 03.06.2015 Activism

By Deirdre Fulton / Common Dreams

In what animal rights advocates are calling “a startling and tremendously exciting announcement,” the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus said Thursday that it will retire its performing elephants by 2018.

The entertainment company told the Associated Press exclusively that “growing public concern about how the animals are treated led to the decision.”

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Thumbnail image for 5 Takeaways After Watching ‘The Hunting Ground,’ the New Documentary on Campus Sexual Violence

5 Takeaways After Watching ‘The Hunting Ground,’ the New Documentary on Campus Sexual Violence

by Source 03.06.2015 Culture

By Sandra S. Park / ACLU Blog of Rights

Agonizing. Enraging. Inspiring. These are a few words that came to mind after watching “The Hunting Ground,” a new documentary on campus sexual violence that opened this past weekend.

Like “The Invisible War,” the Oscar-nominated documentary on military sexual violence also created by Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering, “The Hunting Ground” makes the case that there are systemic problems at colleges and universities to addressing sexual assault that must and can be confronted, right now.

As public debate continues on how we can best respond to campus sexual violence, the film makes an important contribution by highlighting the voices of survivors, their parents, and university staff in rallying together to become advocates.

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Thumbnail image for New Study Shows California Droughts Driven by Climate Change and Here to Stay

New Study Shows California Droughts Driven by Climate Change and Here to Stay

by Source 03.05.2015 Environment

Stanford researchers say human-driven global warming behind increasingly frequent and severe droughts, including current one

By Sarah Lazare /Common Dreams

The increasingly frequent and severe droughts that have punished California over the past two decades—including the current record-breaking one—are primarily the result of human-caused climate change and will likely grow even worse, scientists at Stanford University warn.

Published in Monday’s issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the new research analyzes historical records, as well as computer simulations of global warming, to investigate the role of changing temperatures during California droughts over the last 120 years.

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Thumbnail image for Thanks, Senator Mikulski, But Women in Congress Have a Long Way to Go

Thanks, Senator Mikulski, But Women in Congress Have a Long Way to Go

by Source 03.04.2015 Government

By Molly Weasley/ Daily Kos

With the announced retirement of Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Congress will lose its longest female serving member. But there’s still an enormous gender gap in our country’s legislative branch.

There are currently 20 women senators (20 percent) and 84 women in the House of Representatives (19.3 percent, and some of those women are non-voting representatives). The vast majority are Democrats (76 in all) compared with Republicans (28 in all). And those percentages — in either party — are as high as they have ever been. There have been more than 13,000 members of Congress in U.S. history, and only two percent — fewer than 300 elected or appointed representatives or senators — have been women.

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Thumbnail image for Obama Task Force Calls for Significant Changes to Policing in America

Obama Task Force Calls for Significant Changes to Policing in America

by Source 03.03.2015 Courts, Justice

Report recommends that law enforcement report shootings and other incidents of police brutality to federal government

By Lauren McCauley/ Common Dreams

Rights groups and others are welcoming the release of a report by the president’s policing task force on Monday, saying that the policy recommendations are the best chance the White House has for improving the relationship between law enforcement agencies and the communities they are meant to protect and serve.

The President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing was established in the wake of recent police killings of people of color in an attempt to build trust between citizens and law enforcement. The Interim Report (pdf) calls for increased transparency around incidents of police brutality, an emphasis on de-escalation, and policies that prohibit police profiling and discrimination of any kind, among other things.

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Thumbnail image for The Lobbyists at Your Dinner Party

The Lobbyists at Your Dinner Party

by Source 03.02.2015 Food & Drink

Every purveyor of food and drink wants the government to advise Americans to consume more of what they produce

By Jill Richardson /Other Words

Remember the old food pyramid?

Until “MyPlate” replaced it a few years ago, the U.S. government’s official dietary advice for Americans fit neatly into that triangle.

The government recently moved toward updating those standards again. And the result isn’t nearly as digestible. In classic bureaucratic form, the Department of Health and Human Services cooked up a 571-page draft report for Americans to comment on.

The actual updated dietary guidelines will come later. Here’s what we know about the draftso far: The meat and soda industries hate it.

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