Activism

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 Civic San Diego and Community Benefits Agreements: The Need for Project Specific Focus

Civic San Diego and Community Benefits Agreements: The Need for Project Specific Focus

by Jim Bliesner 01.28.2015 Activism

By Jim Bliesner

The United Food and Commercial Workers (Local 135) are picketing the El Super store in the City Heights Retail Village for a decent wage, health benefits and healthy working conditions. El Super just opened the store in late 2014 with a commitment to hire local City Heights residents.

Pickets allege “there are more people from Tijuana employed than from City Heights”. The Coalition for a Better El Super folks are distributing flyers illustrating 341 health code violations in various El Super stores throughout Southern California—things like “flies in the meat department” and “droppings from what appears to be a cat in the warehouse beverage storage cage”.

They both are asking customers to “Boycott El Super”. Mickey Kasparian, the head of UFCW says it is not unusual to find expired products in almost all El Super stores in So California. They have been picketing for three weeks.

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Your Home Is Your Prison

by Source 01.28.2015 Activism

How to Lock Down Your Neighborhood, Your Country, and You

By Maya Schenwar / TomDispatch

On January 27th, domestic violence survivor Marissa Alexander will walk out of Florida’s Duval County jail — but she won’t be free.

Alexander, whose case has gained some notoriety, endured three years of jail time and a year of house arrest while fighting off a prison sentence that would have seen her incarcerated for the rest of her life — all for firing a warning shot that injured no one to fend off her abusive husband. Like many black women before her, Alexander was framed as a perpetrator in a clear case of self-defense. In November, as her trial date drew close, Alexander accepted a plea deal that will likely give her credit for time served, requiring her to spend “just” 65 more days in jail. Media coverage of the development suggested that Alexander would soon have her “freedom,” that she would be “coming home.”

Many accounts of the plea deal, however, missed what Alexander will be coming home to: she’ll return to “home detention” — house arrest — for two years.

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Thumbnail image for Water Main Breaks Cause Major Problems in San Diego and Nationwide

Water Main Breaks Cause Major Problems in San Diego and Nationwide

by John Lawrence 01.27.2015 Environment

By John Lawrence

In the best of all possible worlds water main breaks would not happen. Local government would replace old water mains with new ones on a regular basis. That means that money for this and other infrastructure needs would be allocated systematically and appropriately.

If we had our priorities straight, money for infrastructure would take precedence over money for football stadiums and convention centers. But in San Diego and in fact throughout the US this rational approach is to be seen rarely if at all.

The Romans gave their citizens bread and circuses to keep them in line. Here in fact only circuses seem to be necessary.

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Thumbnail image for Honoring Martin’s Dream Beyond MLK Day

Honoring Martin’s Dream Beyond MLK Day

by Ernie McCray 01.26.2015 Activism

By Ernie McCray

Martin Luther King. A loving man with the loveliest of dreams. After seeing “Selma,” which told the story of that chapter in the Civil Rights Movement powerfully well, I just had to write something about this dear man.

I didn’t know what I wanted to say until I happened upon a caricature that captured the very essence of how I often see him in my mind’s eye, as I think of him every now and then. How can I not in this world we live in?

The pose he struck in the portrait made me wonder what was going on in his head and based on what my friend, *Rabbi Ben Kamin, recently had to say about him in an examiner.com essay, he could have been thinking about a range of things.

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Thumbnail image for What’s the Fix for San Diego’s Crumbling Infrastructure?

What’s the Fix for San Diego’s Crumbling Infrastructure?

by Doug Porter 01.22.2015 Activism

By Doug Porter

Pssst! Got a spare two billion dollars? That’s a number being talked about in the search for a comprehensive approach to fixing San Diego’s deteriorating streets, pipes and public spaces.

The City of San Diego has issued a report outlining what it says are our infrastructure needs over the next five years, and it isn’t pretty. Our roads are falling apart. Public buildings like libraries and fire stations have repair needs that are mounting faster than the city can pay for them.

I’m told discussions about how to sell taxpayers on paying for this among the city’s big time players (led by the Chamber of Commerce) are already underway. While I don’t dispute the need to upgrade the bones of this city, whatever deal emerges to sell us on paying for it needs to include a whole lotta people who’ve been getting the short end of the stick lately.

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Thumbnail image for The Passing of Chicano Warrior Reies López Tijerina

The Passing of Chicano Warrior Reies López Tijerina

by At Large 01.22.2015 Activism

Reies Lòpez Tijerina’s spirit will not be forgotten and will live on in our hearts, minds and history

By Herman Baca 

In the late 1960’s Cesar Chavez, Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales, Jose Angel Gutierrez and Reies López Tijerina were known as the Four Horsemen of the Chicano Movement. With the sad news that Reies Lòpez Tijerina has passed at the age of 88 in El Paso, Texas, on January 19, 2015 only one of the Four Horsemen remains…Jose Angel Gutiérrez.

To those of us in the Chicano Movement who had the privilege of knowing and working with Tijerina, El Tigre del Norte or King Tiger (who I knew since 1970) his passing is another reminder that; “A historical era is slowly, but surely coming to an end.”

In U.S. history Tijerina will always be known for his struggle to reclaim the lands stolen from Mexicans and Native Americans after the U.S./Mexico War, and will forever be remembered for his daring armed raid in 1967 of the Tierra Amarilla courthouse in rural northern New Mexico.

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Thumbnail image for Change the World, Change Yourself

Change the World, Change Yourself

by Will Falk 01.22.2015 Activism

By Will Falk

Friends and family tell me I too often focus on the negative. My doctors and therapists have told me me this, too. Diagnosed as I am with severe depression and surviving two suicide attempts, I used to believe them.

Part of my recovery involved completing a cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) program. CBT assumes that changing the way a patient thinks leads to changes in mood and behavior. Patients keep “thought records” where they document negative thoughts and then challenge the validity of those thoughts with the help of a therapist. On the surface, CBT seems like a good way to combat depression, right?

I do not think so, anymore. I came to therapy feeling like I was the problem. My sensitivity to the problems I saw around me caused me profound grief. I felt guilty for my ineffectiveness as a public defender to stem the tide of poor people being thrown in prison. I felt guilty as a member of a natural community for being unable to stop the destruction from raging on. My doctors and therapists insisted that if I changed my perceptions then I would alleviate the grief. In other words, my doctors and therapists told me, “You cannot change the world, so change yourself.”

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Thumbnail image for Three Ideas for Inclusive Cities: How Raleigh, Seattle, and Others Are Bringing Everyone Into the Fold

Three Ideas for Inclusive Cities: How Raleigh, Seattle, and Others Are Bringing Everyone Into the Fold

by Source 01.21.2015 Activism

From city-issued ID cards to open-source data anyone can access, simple urban innovations are creating more transparent and equitable cities.

by Shannan Stoll / Yes!

1. City ID cards for everyone who needs one.

While immigration policy is contested on the national stage, many local governments are taking steps to improve the lives of the undocumented people living and working in their communities.

From Los Angeles to New Haven, 11 cities across the country have instituted municipal ID programs. Now New York, a city with an estimated half-million undocumented immigrants, is preparing to launch the country’s largest program in January 2015.

With the new city IDs, New Yorkers, regardless of immigration status, will be able to apply for a job or library card, access health services, sign a lease, or file a police report.

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Thumbnail image for Despite Disappointing Turnout, 100 San Diegans March 4 Miles for Justice

Despite Disappointing Turnout, 100 San Diegans March 4 Miles for Justice

by Frank Gormlie 01.20.2015 Activism

By Frank Gormlie

It wasn’t a massive turnout here in San Diego Monday for the 4 Mile March – far from it – but you can’t get away from the fact that one hundred San Diegans did march four miles for social justice in an effort to rekindle Martin Luther King’s militancy on his celebrated birthday.

San Diego joined a list of at least 30 other cities nationwide that also had “4MileMarches”. A small crowd of around 140 gathered at the City Heights park next to its library – about a quarter African-Americans – , and listened to a few speeches from the organizers of the different groups that set up the event. The event had been planned by United Against Police Terror – San Diego, Activist San Diego, the local branch of the International Socialist Organization, and the Coalition Against Police Violence.

The speakers spoke of institutional racism, the killings by police of young Black men – and in San Diego – of young Latino men, of the connections between the days of Martin Luther King with today. They spoke of the need to strengthen an independent civilian police review board, of how leaders such as Mayor Faulconer and District Attorney Dumanis have failed the African-American community.

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Thumbnail image for Trouble With Filing Your Federal Taxes? Try Calling Congressman Darrell Issa

Trouble With Filing Your Federal Taxes? Try Calling Congressman Darrell Issa

by Doug Porter 01.20.2015 Activism

By Doug Porter

National Public Radio broadcast a story this morning on the upcoming tax filing season. In years past it would have been the typical annual “how to” feature timed to coincide with W2’s arriving in mailboxes around the country. But this year it wasn’t.

This year the onset of tax season story was more of a warning. If you expect IRS help with tax questions, expect to wait. And wait.  As in “The IRS is predicting it will only be able to answer half of the 100 million calls it expects from taxpayers this year, and those who do get through can expect to wait a half hour to hear a live voice.” In 2010 the IRS answered calls with an average 11 minute wait.

We can thank Republican Congressman Darrel Issa and his cronies for the 17.5% reduction (adjusted for inflation) in the IRS budget since 2010. The US Treasury will be out about $2 billion, thanks to the inability of the government’s tax collectors to conduct audits. That money could have been used to repair bridges, like the one collapsing on an Interstate last night in Cincinnati.

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Thumbnail image for Extreme Weather Watch: 2014 Hottest Year on Record

Extreme Weather Watch: 2014 Hottest Year on Record

by John Lawrence 01.20.2015 Economy

By John Lawrence

It’s official: NOAA and NASA have confirmed that 2014 was the hottest year on record. Despite the fact of Arctic cold winters on the US east coast, the average earth surface temperature was the hottest on record. Those cold temperatures were more than made up for elsewhere.

The fact that the three hottest years on record are 2014, 2010 and 2005 points in the direction that climate change is indeed a reality, a reality that is only getting worse as time goes on.

The 10 warmest years have all occurred since 1997, a reflection of the relentless planetary warming that scientists say is a consequence of human activity. Climate change deniers have pointed to 1998 as the year they say the earth stopped warming. Despite the fact that 1998 was the hottest year on record up to that point, that record has since been broken … many times!

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Thumbnail image for “The Solid Citizenry of Ocean Beach are Aroused.”

“The Solid Citizenry of Ocean Beach are Aroused.”

by John Lawrence 01.20.2015 Activism

Complaints About Homeless Have Echoes

By John Lawrence / OB Rag

The solid citizenry of Ocean Beach are aroused. For some time now, there has been a virtual state of war existing between businessmen and merchants, on the one hand, and homeless on the other. The growing homeless community in OB has been met with growing alarm on the part of the established citizenry.

Those with Establishment interests want to drive the homeless out of OB since they view them as a treat to their businesses and are offended by the mores and folkways of the homeless youth culture. Homeless contribute very little economically to established businesses and tend to scare away more conventional people who would have patronized these businesses. Homeless people have been refused service at several places of business and in turn have taken revenge through acts of vandalism and theft. Because of this, insurance companies have raised the rates charged to OB businessmen.

Recently, there have been several public acts of sexual intercourse including screwing on the front lawn (an all-time first in San Diego according to some sources) which established citizens feel set a bad example for their own families.

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Thumbnail image for Taking Back the Streets and Their Stories, Thousands Reclaim MLK Day

Taking Back the Streets and Their Stories, Thousands Reclaim MLK Day

by Source 01.20.2015 Activism

In year that saw renewed calls for racial justice, over 50 nationwide demonstrations held to ‘desanitize’ the legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King

By Lauren McCauley / Common Dreams

Thousands of people took to the streets on Monday rebuking what they say is the “sanitized” version of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and calling to restore the legacy of a man whose protests, like their own, were never “convenient.”

The nationwide actions marked the birthday of the civil rights leader in a year that saw renewed calls for racial justice in the face of persistent inequality, discrimination, and police targeting of communities of color.

Capping off almost a week of demonstrations, organizational meetings, and other pledges of resistance—all done with the intent to “Reclaim MLK”—grassroots coalition Ferguson Action issued a specific call for Monday: “Do as Martin Luther King would have done and resist the war on Black Lives with civil disobedience and direct action. Take the streets, shut it down, walk, march,  and whatever you do, take action.”

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Thumbnail image for We Need Martin Luther King Jr.’s  “Fierce Urgency of Now”: Beyond Our Current Failure of Imagination

We Need Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Fierce Urgency of Now”: Beyond Our Current Failure of Imagination

by Jim Miller 01.19.2015 Activism

“We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there ‘is’ such a thing as being too late. This is no time for apathy or complacency. This is a time for vigorous and positive action.” –MLK, speaking against the Vietnam War in 1967

By Jim Miller

It’s the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday and we will be greeted, as is the case these days, with lots of empty gestures and vanilla rhetoric that erases the radical nature of King’s legacy and neuters the impact of his ideas. As I have noted in years past, King was not a moderate whose only idea was that we should all just get along and respect each other. He was a provocative thinker and activist who challenged the core values of our society both then and now.

King fought what he characterized as “the triple evils of racism, materialism, and militarism,” sought to restructure “an edifice which produces beggars,” and called for us to move forward with a “divine dissatisfaction . . . until the tragic walls that separate the outer city of wealth and comfort from the inner city of poverty and despair shall be crushed by the battering rams of the forces of justice.”

He believed that the “whole structure must be changed” for America to be reborn as a truly humane, egalitarian, and civilized society. Only then would we have “democracy transformed from thin paper to thick action.”

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Thumbnail image for The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Carmen, Mary and Richard Castillo

The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Carmen, Mary and Richard Castillo

by Maria E. Garcia 01.17.2015 Activism

By Maria E. Garcia

Mary and Richard Castillo met in 1956, at a dance at Neighborhood House. Mary was a member of the Drifters, a girl’s social club which was sponsoring the dance. When it came time for the Sadie Hawkins dance, Mary, like most girls her age did not want to ask one of the guys to dance. As Mary puts it “there was a group of guys holding up the wall.”

Finally she spotted a friend and felt comfortable enough asking him to dance. The young man was Reyes Chavez who refused the dance but offered his friend as a dance partner. That friend was Richard Castillo. Both Richard and Mary admit that he was not a good dancer then or now. His poor dancing however did not keep a romance from blossoming and the couple will soon celebrate 55 years of marriage.

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Humans Have Brought World’s Oceans to Brink of ‘Major Extinction Event’

by Source 01.17.2015 Environment

But ‘proactive intervention’ could still avert marine disaster, researchers find

By Deirdre Fulton / Common Dreams

fish circleMarine wildlife at all levels of the food chain has been badly damaged by human activity, says a new report that urges immediate and “meaningful rehabilitation” if we are to avert mass extinction in the world’s oceans.

“We may be sitting on a precipice of a major extinction event,” Douglas J. McCauley, an ecologist at the University of California, Santa Barbara and an author of the study, told the New York Times.

The report, published Thursday in the journal Science, finds that habitat loss, mismanagement of oceanic resources, climate change, and the overall “footprint of human ocean use” have resulted in a phenomenon known as “defaunation”—a decline in animal species diversity and abundance.

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Thumbnail image for Martin Luther King, Jr. Weekend Activities in San Diego

Martin Luther King, Jr. Weekend Activities in San Diego

by Doug Porter 01.16.2015 Activism

There are three, count ‘em three, marches scheduled for the long weekend commemorating Martin Luther King Day. And the 27th All People’s Celebration, which is more of a sit down affair.

Festivities kicked off Friday morning, with the 30th annual YMCA of San Diego County Martin Luther King Human Dignity Award Breakfast. This year’s honoree is Constance M. Carroll,  chancellor of the San Diego Community College District. There’s a rather nice tribute to her in Friday’s UT-San Diego, detailing her dedication to education and a surprisingly wide range of outside interests.

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Thumbnail image for The War on Hen-Pecking

The War on Hen-Pecking

by Source 01.16.2015 Activism

All states should follow California’s example and make egg producers treat laying hens better.

By Jill Richardson / OtherWords

Chickens had plenty to celebrate on New Year’s Day. Supposedly.

After a long wait, California’s 2008 ballot measure to improve conditions for laying hens finally went into effect. Instead of living in cramped cages that give each bird less room than a sheet of paper, the birds are going to get enough space to lie down, stand up, stretch their wings, or turn around.

That’s still not very much space. And it’s certainly not “Chicken Disneyland” as egg producer Frank Hilliker told UT-San Diego.

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Thumbnail image for In Deep: Sea-Level Rise and San Diego

In Deep: Sea-Level Rise and San Diego

by Source 01.16.2015 Activism

Group Will Mark Off New High Water Level Mark in Chalk in Mission Beach on Monday

By Bill Avrin / San Diego 350.org

As we burn more fossil fuels, and thus pump more heat-trapping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, we are changing every aspect of earth’s climate system. One of the many consequences is that the sea is rising.

On January 19, San Diego 350 will stage a simple action to help make people more aware of what rising seas mean to San Diego right now, as well as in the future. We’re going to Mission Bay, which is pretty much ground-zero for sea-level rise in our county, to mark out where the high-water line is likely to be in about thirty years. Come join us. It’s pretty striking where that line will be.

This article will give you some of the background on why this action is important. We’ll fill you in on what is causing the sea to rise, how it is likely to rise over time, and why it matters to us in San Diego.

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Thumbnail image for The Mayor’s State of the Chargers Speech: Where’s the Beef?

The Mayor’s State of the Chargers Speech: Where’s the Beef?

by Doug Porter 01.15.2015 Columns

By Doug Porter

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer made a pile o’ promises in his decidedly optimistic State of the City speech last night.

“Never before has there been so much promise for our future,” said the Mayor. “After a decade of crises and crashes, San Diego is writing its comeback story and each of us has a line to contribute.”

Twin task forces will tackle paying for a football stadium and figuring out a way for locals to make enough money to afford tickets for seats at football games.  Streets will be repaired, government will become more efficient and the city will have a year round facility for the homeless.

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Thumbnail image for World Wide and in San Diego, 2014 Was Warmest Ever

World Wide and in San Diego, 2014 Was Warmest Ever

by Doug Porter 01.14.2015 Columns

By Doug Porter

There really shouldn’t be much debate about the fact the world is getting warmer. Outside of the Republican leadership in Congress, most people seem to be acknowledging that reality.

Next week the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), agencies whose mission includes keeping track of what’s going on with planet earth, will schedule their first ever joint press conference to announce that 2014 broke all records as the warmest year globally since record keeping started in 1880.

The National Weather Service part of NOAA has already declared 2014 to have been the warmest year in San Diego’s history.  The city experienced 342 days last year recording warmer than normal temperatures, with 4 days hitting the normal mark and only 19 days seeing below average readings.

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Thumbnail image for Where is the Infrastructure Planning for San Diego’s Vulnerable Coastline?

Where is the Infrastructure Planning for San Diego’s Vulnerable Coastline?

by At Large 01.14.2015 Activism

By Jeffrey Meyer/San Diego 350.org

A few weeks ago, San Diego coastal cities were given a stark reminder of the threat to public safety and our $15 billion a year tourism industry by increasing tides and coastal flooding. With this problem becoming more severe, year after year, the lack of substantive coastal infrastructure planning can become a countdown to disaster.

The latest combination of high astronomical tides and elevated surf caused strong rip currents and some flooding at low-lying areas along beaches. Known as king tides, they are expected to return to our coastline on January 19-21 and February 17-19. They have become a harbinger of damage to our coastline as we confront increasing sea levels during this century.

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Thumbnail image for Nationwide Rallies Planned as Fight over Keystone XL Reaches Pinnacle

Nationwide Rallies Planned as Fight over Keystone XL Reaches Pinnacle

by Source 01.13.2015 Activism

By Jon Queally / Common Dreams

In response to key developments related to the Keystone XL pipeline in recent days, climate activists across the U.S. have scheduled local rallies nationwide for Tuesday which they say are “critical” as a final White House determination on the project seems closer than ever.

An action alert from 350.org that went out to its members late Monday said their years-long campaign against Keystone “has been sustained by action in the streets and now we need to show that we still stand strong against this climate disaster of a project.”

On Monday night, a bill that would override presidential authority on the project moved forward in the U.S. Senate after a 63-32 cloture vote set the stage for final debate on the bill. A final vote for passage is now expected on Friday. Though there were enough votes to approve cloture, it remains unclear if the Senate can garner enough support for the bill to override a veto by President Obama, which he has vowed to do if the bill hits his desk.

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Thumbnail image for Civita: The Largest Project in the Continued Destruction of Mission Valley

Civita: The Largest Project in the Continued Destruction of Mission Valley

by Frank Gormlie 01.13.2015 Business

Part 2

By Frank Gormlie / OB Rag
In mid-October I wrote about how four large residential and commercial development projects and a handful of smaller ones slated for Mission Valley will complete the destruction of San Diego’s once lush green valley. Here, I begin to focus on the individual projects.

“Civita” roughly translated is Latin for citizenship, and it’s the name of the largest, most massive Mission Valley development going in right now – with perhaps a third already completed or being currently built. Once you step back and realize it’s scope, Civita is at once a horrifying and amazing place for all its audaciousness.

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