Activism

Thumbnail image for San Diego’s Family Jewels Losing Their Luster

San Diego’s Family Jewels Losing Their Luster

by Doug Porter 04.17.2015 Business

By Doug Porter

It’s been a bad week for cherished institutions in America’s Finest City. Our blessed football team, our world famous zoo, our info-tainment water park, and the mayor’s Hope Diamond of re-development all find themselves in trouble of one sort or another.

You might even say business as usual is getting unusual for San Diego. While a few instances of bad news do not constitute an omen of fundamental change, there’s reasons to believe we have not seen the end of these wannabe sordid sagas.

Then there are the shenanigans taking place in the electoral arena. Jacquie Atkinson is challenging Rep. Scott Peters. Supervisor Dave Roberts is in some kind of trouble. And those pesky House Republicans are after funding studying climate change, Again.

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Thumbnail image for Civic San Diego Public Records Request Filled with Redactions and Few Revelations

Civic San Diego Public Records Request Filled with Redactions and Few Revelations

by Anna Daniels 04.17.2015 Activism

An open letter to the Civic San Diego Board of Directors about New Market Tax Credit application

By Anna Daniels

What’s going on at Civic San Diego, the non-profit entity that has become the new model for redevelopment? On April 10, a legal complaint was filed by the San Diego County Building and Construction Trades Council and Dr. Murtaza Baxamusa, a CivicSD Boardmember. It was made available in its entirety at the San Diego Free Press.

On April 16 the Voice of San Diego published an opinion piece “Time to Shine a Harsh Spotlight on Civic San Diego” by former City Councilmember and current open government advocate Donna Frye. Frye refers in her article to the under- reported resignations of Cynthia Morgan, Civic’s Treasurer and CFO/COO Andrew Phillips. “I’m not sure what prompted the resignations of Phillips and Morgan, but it can’t be a good sign. It will be interesting to see who the mayor appoints, and the City Council confirms, to fill the vacancy left by Morgan, and who the new CFO/COO will be and how quickly that happens.”

On April 10 I sent an email to Jeff Gattas, chairman of the board of CivicSD, detailing my own concerns about the information that I had received from a public records request.

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Thumbnail image for Super Sized #Fightfor15 Protests, Value Meal Press Coverage

Super Sized #Fightfor15 Protests, Value Meal Press Coverage

by Doug Porter 04.16.2015 Activism

By Doug Porter 

I spent most of yesterday traveling around San Diego with roughly three dozen fast food workers. The local version of the nationwide Fight for 15 movement made a statement at ten locations around town, taking to the streets both in North Park and downtown. 

The mostly brown and black workers on the bus were those who’d committed to taking a day off from work (there were others that came and went) to let the world know they wanted a better life. Two were older, having spent more than two decades in the business. Some had families to support. Some brought their kids along. Others were trying to go to community college on a fast food paycheck. All of them believed they could make a difference, even if they were just paying it forward. 

Many of these strikers shared their personal stories with TV and radio station reporters along the way. Some spoke up at the rally capping off the day. But the real story was the amazing level of grit and determination. There was a strong consciousness of this day being about larger issues motivating them as much if not more than their own personal dilemmas. 

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Thumbnail image for California water restrictions must include Nestlé, Big Ag and Big Oil!

California water restrictions must include Nestlé, Big Ag and Big Oil!

by At Large 04.16.2015 Activism

by Dan Bacher

The mainstream media, state officials and corporate “environmental” groups have for years tried to portray California as the “green” leader of the nation. In reality, California suffers from some of the greatest environmental degradation of any state in the nation, since corporate agribusiness, the oil industry and other big money interests control the majority of the state’s politicians and exert inordinate influence over the state’s environmental policies.

California is currently in a state of emergency, with NASA scientists saying that California has only about one year of water left in reserves, according to Food and Water Watch. This is largely due to the gross mismanagement of California’s reservoirs, rivers and groundwater supplies, during a record drought, to serve the 1 percent.

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Thumbnail image for SDFP Is Going All in for $15 Today!

SDFP Is Going All in for $15 Today!

by Staff 04.15.2015 Activism

By Staff

SDFP editor Doug Porter will be spending the day at the locations listed below. He’ll be tweeting throughout the day, so check our twitter feed. Doug’s column The Starting Line will return tomorrow with lots of news and analysis of today’s events.

Here’s the list of times and locations for protests on Wednesday:

7 am – Fast Food Worker Strike: 2345 El Cajon Blvd, San Diego, CA
8:30 am – Fast Food Worker Strike: 2829 El Cajon Blvd, San Diego, CA
11 am – Security Officer Event:750 B Street San Diego, CA
Noon – State Workers Event: 1350 Front St, San Diego, CA
1:30pm – City Heights Rising Event: 3795 Fairmount Ave, San Diego, CA
3:30 pm – Home Care Worker Rally: San Diego State University 5500 Campanile Drive San Diego, CA (Between the music building and open air theatre)
4:30 pm– The Big Event: San Diego State University Scripps Cottage Lawn near Hepner Hall 5500 Campanile Dr, San Diego, CA

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Thumbnail image for On Equal Pay Day (and Every Other Day) Trickle-Down Continues to Fail

On Equal Pay Day (and Every Other Day) Trickle-Down Continues to Fail

by Doug Porter 04.14.2015 Activism

By Doug Porter

The second Tuesday in April marks the observance of Equal Pay Day. This calendar date hypothetically represents the length of time past New Years’ Day many women must work at the same job in order to match what men make in a year.

The day is a symbolic means of illustrating the differences in pay existing throughout the economy based on gender, despite legislative actions aimed a rectifying the problem dating back to 1869.  The National Committee on Pay Equity offers up a variety of programs for addressing inequities tied to gender.

This pay gap is one important part of a much larger picture of discrimination and inequality rampant in the Millennial Gilded Age.

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Thumbnail image for Let’s Make History: Going All In for $15 on April 15th

Let’s Make History: Going All In for $15 on April 15th

by Doug Porter 04.13.2015 Activism

By Doug Porter

What started out as protests against wages paid to workers in fast food restaurants in a few big cities has become a nationwide movement, encompassing retail, home care, security, child care, and airport workers, along with adjunct college professors.

On Wednesday, April 15th, while much of the traditional news media is camped outside post offices trying to interview the vanishing breed of Luddites using snail mail to file their taxes, these modern-day fighters for fair wages will be protesting in over 200 cities nationwide.

As was true with the civil rights movement of the 20th century, an increasing number of persons of conscience are joining in with those brave enough to challenge an injustice.If you’re aware of the ever-increasing level of economic inequality and sick of the system that primarily rewards those at top, this is an opportunity to spend a few hours doing something more than tsk-tsking at articles posted in social media.

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Thumbnail image for Teachers and Students Fight for 15

Teachers and Students Fight for 15

by Jim Miller 04.13.2015 Activism

By Jim Miller

Last February, in the lead up to the National Adjunct Day of Action, I noted in this column that, “most colleges in America run on the backs of adjunct instructors who don’t receive the same pay for the same work as do the shrinking pool of full-time faculty” and that the “Exploitation of contingent labor is not just a problem for employees at Starbucks, Walmart, and fast food chains where workers are fighting for $15 an hour; it is an epidemic in the academy as well.”

During that day of protest, Fight for 15 organizers stood with us and this week, on 4/15 at 4 PM at Scripps Cottage on San Diego State University’s campus, we will stand with them as teachers and students from across the city will come together with workers, community activists, people of faith, and others to call for basic fairness and economic justice for all working people.

In doing so we will be joining a movement that has taken root across the county.

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Thumbnail image for Far Away

Far Away

by At Large 04.13.2015 Books & Poetry

By Tara Evonne Trudell

crossing
the mojave desert
I dreamed
my people
moving through
heat waves
and hunger pains
mothers fathers
children
willing life
dying to cross
a line
drawn in sand
drones hovering in air
dangerous spy tactics
always monitoring
the calculation
in military moves

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Thumbnail image for Playing Russian Roulette With California’s Water Supply

Playing Russian Roulette With California’s Water Supply

by Doug Porter 04.10.2015 Columns

By Doug Porter

The intensity of the Blame Game is ratcheting up as California reels from the impact of a multi-year drought and the outline of a statewide plan to deal with it emerges. Today we’ll wander through some of the news coverage from around the state, ending up with ideas under discussion that go beyond the current planning.

Draft rules by the State Water Resources Board released on Tuesday place the heaviest conservation burden on cities and towns with the highest rates of per-capita water consumption. The San Diego County Water Authority says these rules are unfair to areas that have already instituted policies aimed at reducing use and increasing supplies.

As things stand now, State water officials will announce specific conservation regulations May 5th, and with implementation set for June 1st. Local agencies supplied by the Water Authority would have to cut back 20% to 35% percent under the proposed restrictions.

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Thumbnail image for Fight215.org Coalition Launches to Amplify Opposition to the NSA’s Mass Surveillance

Fight215.org Coalition Launches to Amplify Opposition to the NSA’s Mass Surveillance

by Source 04.10.2015 Activism

By Nadia Kayyali / Deep Links Blog

A coalition of 34 organizations from across the political spectrum is launching Fight215.org today to help concerned individuals contact lawmakers and demand an end to NSA’s unconstitutional mass surveillance under the Patriot Act.

The launch coincides with the countdown to the expiration of Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which the NSA claims justifies bulk collection of the phone records of millions of innocent people.

The 34 groups and companies joining Fight215 (see a full list at the bottom of this post) have come together to send a clear message: the politics of fear doesn’t trump the Constitution. The unconstitutional bulk collection of phone records must end now.

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Thumbnail image for Fast Tracking the Trans Pacific Partnership: An Offer Congress Ought to Refuse

Fast Tracking the Trans Pacific Partnership: An Offer Congress Ought to Refuse

by Doug Porter 04.09.2015 Activism

By Doug Porter

Over the next few weeks there will be a barrage of opinion on a complicated subject: the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), a deal in the making between pacific rim nations effectively setting the ground rules for most international trade in the 21st century.

Please, don’t let your eyes glaze over. This is important. Congress is about to be asked to grant the executive branch the authority to present the final version of this agreement on a take it or leave it basis. I believe this deal rewards corporate greed and ignores its role in creating inequality.

Today I’ll try my best to present a primer on the battle already underway. There will be international, national and local events concerning the TPP in the coming days. Your personal economic future is what’s at stake.

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Thumbnail image for The White House’s New Executive Order On Cyber Crime is (Unfortunately) No Joke

The White House’s New Executive Order On Cyber Crime is (Unfortunately) No Joke

by Source 04.09.2015 Activism

By Nadia Kayyali and Kurt Opsahl / DeepLinks Blog

On the morning of April 1st, the White House issued a new executive order (EO) that asserts that malicious “cyber-enabled activities” are a national threat, declares a national emergency, and establishes sanctions and other consequences for individuals and entities.

While computer and information security is certainly very important, this EO could dangerously backfire, and chill the very security research that is necessary to protect people from malicious attacks.

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Thumbnail image for Grandchildren of the United Fruit Company

Grandchildren of the United Fruit Company

by At Large 04.08.2015 Books & Poetry

By Sonia Gutierrez

Knock, knock, knock.
America, there are children
knocking at your door.
Can you hear their soft
knocks like conch
shells, whispering
in your ears?

Weep, weep, weep.
Can you hear
the children whimpering?
Their moist eyes
yearning to see friendly TV-gringo-houses
swing their front doors
wide open.

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Thumbnail image for Alliance San Diego Joins more than 150 Groups in Amicus Brief to Support President’s Immigration Actions

Alliance San Diego Joins more than 150 Groups in Amicus Brief to Support President’s Immigration Actions

by At Large 04.08.2015 Activism

By Staff

President Obama’s recent immigration actions would allow millions of immigrants to apply for relief from deportation and work authorization, and would improve the nation’s economy and society, civil and immigrants’ rights groups argue in an amicus (“friend of the court”) brief filed on April 7. This brief was one of several filed in support of the Obama administration’s immigration actions, which economists predict will raise the nation’s GDP by more than $200 billion over the next ten years.

“The relief proposed by the President would make a tremendous difference in San Diego,” said Andrea Guerrero, executive director of Alliance San Diego. “It allows students who grew up here and graduated from a local high school, to pursue their studies without fear of deportation. It also allows parents of U.S. citizens to remain here to support their children and contribute to our economy.”

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Thumbnail image for Imagine a Coalition Unifying Black Lives Matter, LGBT Equality, and the Fight for a Living Wage.

Imagine a Coalition Unifying Black Lives Matter, LGBT Equality, and the Fight for a Living Wage.

by Source 04.08.2015 Activism

By Ian Reifowitz / Daily Kos

Silos are dangerous. I’m not talking about the kind that house nuclear missiles, but rather the metaphorical kind, the kind that divide people who could and should be working together toward a shared goal. Too often, progressives have found themselves divided into these kinds of silos, for example, with women—themselves typically divided by race and ethnicity—fighting for gender equality, LGBT folks fighting for gay rights, unions and workers fighting for labor rights, and on and on.To some degree, these divisions are understandable. Part of the way a marginalized group empowers itself is by creating a movement in which its members play a predominant role.

At the end of the day, however, the goal of a political movement ought not to be solely or even primarily to help those who actively participate to feel empowered—as important as that is— but rather to achieve specific policy or other concrete aims that improve the lives of all those whom the movement represents. The movement must be a means to an end, not an end unto itself. Achieving those ends requires marshaling as much support as possible, and that means each group must break out of its silo and support one another’s causes.

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Thumbnail image for Extreme Weather Watch: March 2015

Extreme Weather Watch: March 2015

by John Lawrence 04.07.2015 Environment

By John Lawrence

Vanuatu is a small island in the Pacific that was effectively wiped out by a Category 5 cyclone. It is emblematic of the plight of small islands at the mercy of global warming. On March 17, Cyclone Pam swept through the Pacific island nation, an archipelago of over 200 islands located in the South Pacific and home to approximately 270,000 people. Packing winds of up to 155 miles per hour, the cyclone caused widespread devastation.

Around 75,000 people were left in need of emergency shelter, and 96 per cent of food crops were destroyed. Since most of Vanuatu’s food comes from subsistence farming, there is a disastrous food shortage in the wake of the storm. 95% of homes were destroyed. Tens of thousands of people were left homeless. There is little or no drinking water and people are drinking sea water to stay alive.

There was very little loss of life considering the magnitude of the destruction. That was because buildings there are made of natural materials and not construction grade masonry. Chunks of falling masonry are what actually kills people.

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Thumbnail image for Ending Racial Profiling (Or Not) at a RISE Urban Breakfast Club Forum

Ending Racial Profiling (Or Not) at a RISE Urban Breakfast Club Forum

by Ernie McCray 04.06.2015 Activism

By Ernie McCray

A couple of weeks or so ago I dined with a number of friendly folks at a RISE Urban Breakfast Club forum that asked, concerning Community-Police Relations, “Can we build a safer San Diego together?”

The answer seemed to be “Yeah, we can,” as panelists, in a room where smiles drifted in the air like tissues in a breeze, talked of everyone chipping in to find good cops and of how we all need to shed our various biases, as “Trust is fragile.” And it was good to know that the wearing of “body worn cameras” is going kind of nice.

I drove home convinced that there are some people truly dedicated to making relations better between the police and people they’ve harassed for centuries.

But the Tyrannosaurus Rex sitting smack dab in the middle of the discussion, “racial profiling,” was glossed over as though it was just a slight hiccup in the way of sound relationships between “Mr. Do Right” and angry black folks, rather than it being “The Problem!!!!!!!!!!”

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Thumbnail image for California’s Drought of Ideas: Why Jerry Brown’s Executive Order Misses the Mark

California’s Drought of Ideas: Why Jerry Brown’s Executive Order Misses the Mark

by Jim Miller 04.06.2015 Columns

By Jim Miller

California’s epic drought has finally made its way to the front page. Last week, Jerry Brown signed an executive order mandating the first-ever water restrictions in our state.

At the press conference announcing the move Brown observed that, “People should realize we are in a new era. The idea of your nice little green lawn getting watered every day, those days are past.”

However much one might agree with that statement, it must be said that the Governor’s order does not do nearly enough to go after agribusiness and big oil as many have been calling for leading up to Brown’s move. Adam Scow of Food and Water Watch put it succinctly, “In the midst of a severe drought, the governor continues to allow corporate farms and oil interests to deplete and pollute our precious groundwater resources that are crucial for saving water.”

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Thumbnail image for Can One Union Save the Post Office?

Can One Union Save the Post Office?

by Source 04.06.2015 Activism

By David Morris / Common Dreams

Let’s begin with the bad news. The U.S. Post Office, the oldest, most respected and ubiquitous of all public institutions is fast disappearing.

In recent years management has shuttered half the nation’s mail processing plants and put 10 percent of all local post offices up for sale.  A third of all post offices, most of them in rural areas, have had their hours slashed.

Hundreds of full time, highly experienced postmasters knowledgeable about the people and the communities they serve have been dumped unceremoniously, often replaced by part timers. Ever larger portions of traditional post office operations— trucking, mail processing and mail handling– have been privatized. Close to 200,000 middle class jobs have disappeared.

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Thumbnail image for The Dead Write No Poems

The Dead Write No Poems

by Will Falk 04.06.2015 Books & Poetry

By Will Falk

National Poetry Month happens to mark the year anniversary since I set out on the road to dedicate my life to the struggle against this dominant culture hell-bent on destroying the world.

Questions arise on this road, questions that I must answer if I am going to continue on this way.

One of the questions I seek answers for involves poetry. I love poetry. I love reading poetry, I love listening to poetry, and I love writing poetry. But, the hour is extremely late, and poetry means nothing if it is not used as a weapon in defense of the real world.

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Thumbnail image for Will Mickey D’s Dollar Deal Super-Size April 15 Protests?

Will Mickey D’s Dollar Deal Super-Size April 15 Protests?

by Doug Porter 04.03.2015 Activism

By Doug Porter

The national ‘conversation’ about inequality shifted a bit this week with a press release from fast food giant McDonald’s announcing it was planning a pay raise for employees of its company-owned stores.

The significance of the announcement isn’t the extra dollar on top of whatever is the local minimum wage for the less than 10% of the company’s workers. WalMart, Target, and a growing number of other large retailers operations have made similar announcements in recent months.

These pay increases are too little, too late. A study released by Americans for Tax Fairness earlier this week says increases to $9 (in 2015) and even $10 (in 2016) will still leave  workers dependent on food stamps, Medicaid and six other taxpayer-funded programs to survive. And McDonald’s announcement has simply added fuel to the fire in the bellies of low wage workers planning on staging protests nation-wide on April 15th.

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Thumbnail image for Nuclear Shutdown News – March, 2015 Edition

Nuclear Shutdown News – March, 2015 Edition

by At Large 04.03.2015 Business

By Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the continuing decline of the US nuclear industry, and highlights efforts of those who are democratically working to bring about a renewable energy future. As nuclear plants in the US are approaching or surpassing their 40 year operating life, their ability to operate properly and safely lessens, creating more and more problems across the nation.

Here’s our March report:

Diablo Canyon – Last Nuke Plant in California

On February 20 a Federal Court of Appeals in Washington DC rejected an attempt by Pacific Gas & Electric and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to quash a lawsuit filed by environmental group Friends Of the Earth (FOE).  According to FOE, the suit alleges that the “NRC illegally allowed PG&E to alter Diablo Canyon’s nuclear plant license.” And …

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Thumbnail image for ‘Not Nearly Enough': McDonald’s Wage Hike Lambasted as Publicity Stunt

‘Not Nearly Enough': McDonald’s Wage Hike Lambasted as Publicity Stunt

by Source 04.03.2015 Activism

‘The overwhelming majority of McDonald’s workers will still be paid wages so low that they can’t afford basics like rent and groceries,’ says labor leader.

By Deirdre Fulton / Common Dreams

One day after fast-food workers and their supporters called for a nationwide strike to demand higher wages and the right to form a union, McDonald’s announced Wednesday that it will raise pay for about 90,000 of its U.S. employees—only those who work at the 1,500 locations owned by the corporation—as of July 1, 2015.

To be sure, the decision is “fresh evidence of the rising wage pressure in the American labor market,” as the Wall Street Journal, which broke the news, put it.

But workers and labor activists say the move amounts to little more than a publicity stunt, noting that the vast majority of McDonald’s employees will not see any raise, but will continue to earn poverty wages.

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Thumbnail image for Drilling Down on California’s Drought

Drilling Down on California’s Drought

by Doug Porter 04.02.2015 Columns

By Doug Porter

California Gov. Jerry Brown called for mandatory water restrictions yesterday, telling state officials to put together a package of water saving incentives and limits to reduce use by 25 percent, compared with use two years ago.

While there appears to be broad political support for the governor’s intentions, we’ll see how that holds up when specific actions are announced. It is, after all, hard to deny the reality of mountains normally covered in snow absolutely bare. But denying reality seems to be in vogue these days, so who knows?

The drought –and extreme weather conditions in other parts of the world– are associated with climate changes occurring throughout the planet. Today we’ll look at both short and long term perspectives on what’s going on around us.

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