Activism

Thumbnail image for Utopia Revisited: Rethinking the Response to Faulconer’s Climate Action Plan

Utopia Revisited: Rethinking the Response to Faulconer’s Climate Action Plan

by Jim Miller 10.20.2014 Columns

By Jim Miller

Since I last wrote on the People’s Climate March in late September, the grim environmental news has just kept coming in, whether it’s the revelation that September was the warmest month ever on planet earth, the Stanford study linking California’s grueling drought to climate change, the World Wildlife Federation report that the earth has lost half of its wildlife in the last fifty years, or the unpleasant surprise that, “In what could be termed as the worst effect of degrading climatic conditions and global warming, a new study has showed that fish in large numbers will disappear from the tropics by 2050”—it just doesn’t let up.

Perhaps that’s why it seems so many people aren’t paying attention or are just trying to wish away or drastically underestimate the stark realities facing us.

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Thumbnail image for Imagine if Politicians Were Forced to Tell the Truth in Their Ad Campaigns

Imagine if Politicians Were Forced to Tell the Truth in Their Ad Campaigns

by Source 10.18.2014 Activism

Lies distort every critical issue the U.S. faces.

By Harriett Levin Balkind / Alternet.org

A record $3.7+ billion is pouring into the 2014 midterms. The monetary floodgates are wide open, thanks to recent Supreme Court election decisions. Most of that money is spent on advertising, much of which misleads, distorts and downright lies. The donors for more than half of TV ads are not fully disclosed. Someone is profiting, but it sure isn’t you. And it’s definitely not the country.

It is legal to lie in national political advertising. Federal candidates can say just about anything they want, protected by the Court’s interpretation of free speech. The stand-by-your-ad statement: “I approve this message,” doesn’t mean it’s true, but it does get candidates the cheapest TV and radio ad rates, in compliance with the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act. If a federal candidate’s ad is deceptive, broadcasters have to run it, as required by the Federal Communications Commission.

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Thumbnail image for Memo to Jerry Sanders & Doug Manchester: The City Council Minimum Wage Ordinance WAS the Compromise

Memo to Jerry Sanders & Doug Manchester: The City Council Minimum Wage Ordinance WAS the Compromise

by Doug Porter 10.17.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

It ain’t over ‘till it’s over.

The City Clerk certified the results of a referendum drive backed by the Chamber of Commerce and other dark money interests yesterday. They sought to delay an ordinance passed by the City Council increasing the local minimum wage and allowing for earned sick days by placing it on the June 2016 ballot.

They achieved their goal by perverting a system originally designed to protect the public from the undo influence of the Southern Pacific Railroad and other would-be oligarchs.  Hired guns from around the country were flown in and paid up to $12 per signature after other canvassers quit in droves, unable to face the public with the lies required of them to earn a living.

This was a matter of economic justice for nearly 200,000 San Diegans who would be impacted by this ordinance; for the working women who would see the wage gap shrink by 22%; for the 10,000 veterans working at or near minimum wage; and for the restaurant employees who are forced to choose between working while sick or paying the rent.

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Thumbnail image for In Defense of Uncertainty in the Development Approval Process

In Defense of Uncertainty in the Development Approval Process

by At Large 10.17.2014 Business

By Murtaza H. Baxamusa, Ph.D., AICP / San Diego UrbDeZine

Nobody likes uncertainty.

Certainly not the developers of a billion dollar mixed-use project that encounters community opposition due to traffic impacts. Nor the public transportation agency that runs into fairy shrimp on the future route of a trolley line. Nor the city planners for multifamily housing around a transit station that face a revolt from their single-family neighbors.

Hence, there is a concerted effort by planners and policymakers locally and statewide, to reduce uncertainty in development project approvals. It takes the form of reducing discretion of public bodies, streamlining permit approvals through the use of specific plans and categorical exemptions, reforming the California Environmental Quality Act, and limiting opportunities for legal challenges to projects.

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Thumbnail image for Emails Cast Doubt on DeMaio Harassment Defense; Survey Says Voters Undecided

Emails Cast Doubt on DeMaio Harassment Defense; Survey Says Voters Undecided

by Doug Porter 10.16.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

There are new developments in the storyline about a ex-policy aide who claims congressional candidate Carl DeMaio sexually harassed him.

The ultra-conservative Washington Examiner has posted a story referring to internal DeMaio campaign emails show accuser Todd Bosnich remaining in a high level position following disclosure of the plagiarism scandal for which he was supposedly fired.

UT-San Diego and 10News released the results yesterday of a SurveyUSA poll in the wake of disclosure of the sexual harassment allegations that seems to indicate voters haven’t decided what to think about the scandal. Digging down into the polling data, there are indications suggesting independent voters are reacting negatively.

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How to Destroy Mission Valley

by Frank Gormlie 10.16.2014 Business

By Frank Gormlie / OB Rag

If you want to destroy Mission Valley, what’s coming down the development pipeline will surely do it for you. There are four massive residential and commercial projects and another giant handful of minor ones- all in various stages of blueprints, planning and construction – heading for this landmark river canyon. If all are built – the total impact would permanently damage Mission Valley to the point where the Valley that we now know would no longer be there.

Some old-timers believe Mission Valley was destroyed a long time ago, when it was a long, lush valley of dairy farms and agricultural fields. Then the hotels, resorts, golf courses and freeways came and Mission Valley lost its beauty, serenity, and its soul.

Ironically then, there’s also another group of “old-timers” – a special group – a group of Mission Valley landowning families – who have their own plans to develop and damage the Valley even further.

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Thumbnail image for The Secret of the San Diego Growth Machine: Another Case for Nancy Drew

The Secret of the San Diego Growth Machine: Another Case for Nancy Drew

by Norma Damashek 10.16.2014 Activism

By Norma Damashek

Albert Einstein searched for a unified theory that would unite the forces of nature (he had his eye on relativity and electromagnetism).

I, too, have been searching for a unified theory—albeit a more modest one—to unite the forces of nature (human, in this case) that make San Diego the chronically backwater/ amorphous/ uninspired/ tunnel-visioned/ closed-shop/ quasi-corrupt/ rigidly-manipulated/shady city it is.

Come join the search. Just follow the trail of clues, click on a sampling of news links about San Diego, and you’ll discover a unifying theme that even Einstein would find surprising.

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Thumbnail image for Darrell Issa’s Latest Crusade: Proving  the EPA is Too Pro-Environment

Darrell Issa’s Latest Crusade: Proving the EPA is Too Pro-Environment

by Doug Porter 10.15.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

It’s been nearly four years since Congressman Darrell Issa assumed leadership of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and he has yet to successfully complete any of his crusades against the forces of evil in the Obama administration.

His term is coming to an end with the start of the next Congress in January, and Issa’s embarked on one final campaign to shore up his legacy: proving the Environmental Protection Agency is pro-environment.

Since 2008 Issa has been successful in garnering headlines, giving right-wing mythology enough credibility to get repeated on the evening news and ruining the lives of any federal bureaucrat foolish enough to try and stand up to his bullying.

But the sad fact is that no actual reforms have emerged out of any of his quests, mostly because he’s unable to prove the underlying premise calling for those reforms. Not that he really cares; the goals have always been to malign the current administration and to tap into the fundraising potential of those poor souls suffering from Deranged Obama Syndrome.

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Thumbnail image for DIY Resistance: I Love You, Dad

DIY Resistance: I Love You, Dad

by Will Falk 10.15.2014 Activism

By Will Falk

“Your mother and I are worried about you,” my dad said looking down into the beer his hands cradled on a wood table in the Morris Inn at the University of Notre Dame.

We came to Notre Dame to honor two now decades-old father and son traditions. The first, seeing Fighting Irish football games together, serves to support the second, honest face-to-face communication in a comfortable environment.

I travelled all the way in from Victoria, BC. My dad came in from San Francisco. For a family that has moved as much as ours, Notre Dame comes as close to representing home as anywhere.

“We’re just worried about you,” my dad said again. “We’re worried you’re not going to be able to support yourself.”

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Thumbnail image for SDFP Street Beat: Sherman Heights Streets, SDG&E’s High Pressure Gas Lines in the Mid-City, Artificial Turf in Pacific Beach Schools

SDFP Street Beat: Sherman Heights Streets, SDG&E’s High Pressure Gas Lines in the Mid-City, Artificial Turf in Pacific Beach Schools

by Staff 10.15.2014 Activism

By Staff

The San Diego Free Press receives emails about quality of life issues from residents across the city and county. These issues receive little if any media coverage and inadequate attention from policy makers and enforcement agencies.  We have decided to provide a civic forum for those issues in our weekly Street Beat column.

Sherman Heights Street Conditions

Sherman Heights resident Remy Bermúdez sent the following email to Councilman Alvarez, Mayor Faulkner and Council President Gloria:

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Thumbnail image for Massive Dumping of Fracking Wastewater into Aquifers Shows Big Oil’s Power in California

Massive Dumping of Fracking Wastewater into Aquifers Shows Big Oil’s Power in California

by At Large 10.15.2014 Business

By Dan Bacher

As the oil industry spent record amounts on lobbying in Sacramento and made record profits, documents obtained by the Center for Biological Diversity reveal that almost 3 billion gallons of oil industry wastewater were illegally dumped into Central California aquifers that supply drinking water and irrigation water for farms.

The Center said the wastewater entered the aquifers through at least nine injection disposal wells used by the oil industry to dispose of waste contaminated with fracking (hydraulic fracturing) fluids and other pollutants.

The documents also reveal that Central Valley Regional Water Quality Board testing found high levels of arsenic, thallium and nitrates, contaminants sometimes found in oil industry wastewater, in water-supply wells near these waste-disposal operations.

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Thumbnail image for Thousands March in St. Louis Demanding Justice, End to Police Violence

Thousands March in St. Louis Demanding Justice, End to Police Violence

by Source 10.13.2014 Activism

‘The killing of innocent black youth is systemic… It has to stop — everywhere.’

By Jon Queally / Common Dreams

Several thousand community members marched alongside activists from around the country in downtown St. Louis on Saturday as they demanded attention be paid to a national trend of police violence and called for justice in the case of Michael Brown, a local unarmed black teenager who was shot and killed by a white police officer, Darren Wilson, in the suburb of Ferguson on August 9th.

Though more than two months have now gone by, local citizens and their allies from across the country expressed anger, frustration, and sadness that so far no charges have been brought against Officer Wilson. “Arrest him now! Arrest him now!” was both a stated demand and a chanted refrain during the march.

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Thumbnail image for Lego Ends Shell Contract After Greenpeace ‘Save the Arctic’ Campaign

Lego Ends Shell Contract After Greenpeace ‘Save the Arctic’ Campaign

by Source 10.11.2014 Activism

By Nadia Prupis / Common Dreams

Lego announced on Thursday that it would not be renewing its marketing contract with Shell, after Greenpeace campaigned for several months for the Danish toy maker to end its decades-long partnership with the oil giant.

As part of its push to call on Lego to end the contract, Greenpeace created a video that depicted a pure, wholesome Arctic landscape, built from Legos, that slowly flooded with oil as various characters wept and drowned.

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Thumbnail image for Escondido’s Proposition H – Compromise or Capitulation on Developing a Bankrupt Golf Course?

Escondido’s Proposition H – Compromise or Capitulation on Developing a Bankrupt Golf Course?

by Doug Porter 10.08.2014 Business

By Doug Porter

The email seemed like the basis for a slam-dunk story. It was an appeal to environmentalists for support in defeating Escondido’s Proposition H, a developer-sponsored initiative allowing conversion of what was previously a golf course into 430 single housing units.

Here’s a snippet from the appeal: “The developer, Michael Schlesinger, dumped raw chicken manure on the property a year after turning off the water. The manure burned the land and created a severe air pollution issue, forcing one homeowner suffering from lung cancer to evacuate his home for 5 days.”

I’d seen a bunch of emails in recent weeks from the pro-Proposition H folks and given that they were coming from a source generally known to work the right side of the aisle and the fact this was about Escondido, I assumed the worst– a cartoonish Papa Manchester character running roughshod over an oppressed community.

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Thumbnail image for Three Years Ago this Month the Occupy Wall Street Movement Burst Upon San Diego

Three Years Ago this Month the Occupy Wall Street Movement Burst Upon San Diego

by Frank Gormlie 10.08.2014 Activism

By Frank Gormlie / OB Rag

It was October 7th, in the year 2011, that the Occupy Wall Street movement hit San Diego.

In a huge outpouring of demonstrators, up to 4,000 San Diegans marched through the Gaslamp District of downtown San Diego – mainly protesting for social and economic justice, against the state of the economy and the role of banks and Wall Street responsible for the financial downturn. Occupy San Diego was born in a giant – for San Diego – protest in solidarity with the rest of the country and particularly those in New York City – where the Occupy movement began.

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Thumbnail image for Which Side Are You On? A Requiem for Michael Brown

Which Side Are You On? A Requiem for Michael Brown

by Staff 10.08.2014 Activism

Ferguson flash mob provides an unscheduled performance at the St. Louis Symphony

By Staff

The August 9th police shooting death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri is far from resolved. The grand jury has not returned a decision and there is a general expectation that Officer Darren Wilson will not be indicted for Brown’s death. The Ferguson police force appears to be gearing up for riots if no indictment is handed down, possibly as early as next month. It is hard to shake the image of what protests in the street might look like if the past is any predictor of the future.

But the streets are not the only place where the demand for justice is taking place. …

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Extreme Weather Watch: September 2014 – Fires in CA, Cabo San Lucas Destroyed by Hurricane

by John Lawrence 10.07.2014 Environment

By John Lawrence

Extreme Weather WatchAs many as 6000 firefighters battled blazes in northern California during the month of September.

The King Fire, which was deliberately set, devoured nearly 120 square miles of timber and vegetation about 60 miles east of Sacramento. The blaze in steep terrain forced the evacuation of 2800 people and burned multiple structures in the White Meadows area of Pollock Pines. Firefighters dropped record amounts of retardants – more than 203,000 gallons in a single day.

Altogether more than a half-million gallons of retardant were used. The retardant called red slurry is composed of a mixture of water, fertilizer and red dye. Firefighters have used retardant since the 1950s to slow the advance of wildfires, but the practice is controversial because of its potential effect on wildlife. The Forest Service recently adjusted its retardant rules after two lawsuits that alleged the drops were killing fish, damaging watersheds and harming endangered species.

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Thumbnail image for November 2014 Elections: When You Skip Voting It’s Not Rebellion, It’s Surrender

November 2014 Elections: When You Skip Voting It’s Not Rebellion, It’s Surrender

by Doug Porter 10.06.2014 Economy

An Introduction to SD Free Press General Election Coverage

By Doug Porter 

It’s time to get out the vote again!? For those of us who live in the City of San Diego the November general election will be our third trip to the polls this year.

As we’re learning from watching the voter-suppression efforts succeed in 22 states since 2010, your vote must mean something; otherwise they wouldn’t be trying to take it away from you. Of course, your right to vote means nothing if you don’t exercise it.

Over the next few weeks the San Diego Free Press will be presenting coverage of the candidates and issues we hope will be of interest to progressive-minded voters. While this may not be the most exciting election ever, the results of general elections have a broad impact on how we are governed and how our taxes are spent.

(The Monday thru Friday Starting Line Column will be on hiatus thru October 12th.)

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Thumbnail image for November 2014 Propositions: Jerry Brown’s One-Two Punch

November 2014 Propositions: Jerry Brown’s One-Two Punch

by Doug Porter 10.06.2014 Economy

By Doug Porter

The following analyses of Propositions 1 & 2 represent my opinions. The SD Free Press editorial board may or may not agree with me. For all our articles on the upcoming election, check out our 2014 Progressive Voter’s Guide.

Back in the middle of August the California Legislature worked up a plan to renumber a couple of propositions appearing on the Nov. 4 ballot.

Two of Gov. Jerry Brown’s legacy political projects — a multibillion-dollar bond for water needs and a constitutional amendment to enhance the state’s rainy day budget fund — dropped the ballot numbers assigned by Secretary of State Debra Bowen of Proposition 43 (water) and Proposition 44 (budget).

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Thumbnail image for What 35,000 Walruses Forced to the Beach Tell Us About Global Warming

What 35,000 Walruses Forced to the Beach Tell Us About Global Warming

by Source 10.04.2014 Environment

By Sarah Lazare / Common Dreams

Federal biologists have discovered an unusual phenomenon on a beach in northwest Alaska: a massive gathering of walruses—35,000 of them—crowded onto a small strip of shore.

This swarm, which was sighted in a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration aerial survey on Saturday, is a direct result of a warming climate and declining sea ice, say scientists.

Pacific walruses, who live in the Bering Sea during winter, require floating sea ice to meet their survival needs, using them for rest in between journeys to forage for food, such as clam, snails, and worms, as well as for giving birth and caring for their young. But as the oceans warm, this sea ice is receding, especially near coastal areas, forcing these walruses to take to the beach for resting and foraging, according to an explanation from the NOAA.

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Thumbnail image for California Just Passed a Plastic Bag Ban. Here’s What You Need to Know.

California Just Passed a Plastic Bag Ban. Here’s What You Need to Know.

by Source 10.04.2014 Business

The move is sure to reduce litter—but not necessarily planet-warming emissions.

By Katie Rose Quandt / Mother Jones

Update, September 30, 2014: On Tuesday, Governor Jerry Brown signed SB270 into law, making California the first state to ban single-use plastic bags. The law is set to begin going into effect in July 2015.

Last month, California became the first state to pass a bill banning the ubiquitous disposable plastic bag. If signed into law, the measure will prohibit grocery and retail stores from providing single-use plastic bags and require them to charge at least 10 cents for paper bags, compostable bags, and reusable plastic bags. The bill, introduced by Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Los Angeles), will also provide funding for California-based plastic bag companies to develop sturdier, reusable options.

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Thumbnail image for One Nation Ruled by Fear: The Teabola Crisis

One Nation Ruled by Fear: The Teabola Crisis

by Doug Porter 10.03.2014 2014 June Primary

By Doug Porter

If you been keeping up with the news you’ve no doubt heard about an outbreak of a very serious disease occurring in West Africa. It’s called Ebola and is fatal in an average of about 50% of the people who are infected, according to the World Health Organization. Many news accounts say “up to” 90%, which may be a factor in the outbreaks of another disease making the rounds.

There is also an outbreak of a very serious condition in the United States. It’s called Teabola and causes irrational fear in about 90% of the people who are infected. The disease is being spread by the same media outlets and social media networks responsible for breakouts of Obama Derangement Syndrome throughout the United States.

Today we’ll take a look at both Teabola and Ebola in the media.

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Thumbnail image for Who Runs San Diego? The City’s Dubious Partnership with Sea World

Who Runs San Diego? The City’s Dubious Partnership with Sea World

by At Large 10.03.2014 Business

Well, this is a fine kettle of fish…

By Linda Perine / Democratic Woman’s Club

San Diego taxpayers find ourselves as mainly unwitting, possibly unwilling and almost certainly under-compensated partners with a corporation in a Sea World of hurt.  From Wall Street to Austin City Limits, Washington to Sacramento, Hollywood to Lindberg Field, Sea World is under attack for its treatment of Orcas (that’s Shamu to you and me)

In July, 2013 the documentary Blackfish about the 2010 death of a Sea World trainer finally caught the public’s attention after decades of challenges to Cetacean captivity.  The 2009 Academy Award winning documentary The Cove also raised questions about the possibility that Sea World obtained dolphins from the horrific Taiji dolphin drive.

Sea World vehemently denied the assertions of both documentaries.  However, Sea World stock prices have been cut in half since the Blackfish premier.  Sea World is now the target of shareholder class action lawsuits involving at least 6 law firms specializing in securities fraud for initially denying that Blackfish negatively affected attendance and for misrepresentation about its treatment of Orcas in its prospectus when it went public in 2013.

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Thumbnail image for For Walkers and Cyclists, A Swedish Road-Planning Strategy Helps Save Lives

For Walkers and Cyclists, A Swedish Road-Planning Strategy Helps Save Lives

by Source 10.03.2014 Activism

Utah, Minnesota, and Washington have seen traffic fatalities decline by 40 percent. Here’s how they did it.

By / Yes!

More than 4,500 pedestrians are killed and more than 68,000 are injured by motor vehicles every year on the streets of America. The victims are disproportionately children, seniors, and people of color.

A recent report from the National Complete Streets Coalition found that from 2003 to 2012, more than 47,000 people were killed crossing the street. That’s 16 times the number of people who died in natural disasters over the same period.

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Thumbnail image for ‘Internet Safety Software’ Handed Out by San Diego County DA’s Office Might Not Be So Safe

‘Internet Safety Software’ Handed Out by San Diego County DA’s Office Might Not Be So Safe

by Doug Porter 10.01.2014 Business

By Doug Porter

San Diego’s County District Attorney has been distributing internet monitoring software that exposes users to the very predators, identity thieves, and bullies they claim the program protects children against, according to a story by Dave Maass posted at the Electronic Frontier Foundation Deeplinks Blog.

The free Computer Cop program featuring a photo of DA Bonnie Dumanis on the CD cover, “is actually just spyware, generally bought in bulk from a New York company that appears to do nothing but market this software to local government agencies,”according to Maass. His investigation found the program, usually branded with a department’s name,  is handed out by hundreds of law enforcement agencies around the country with the promise that using it constitutes a “first step” in protecting children online.

In addition to advocating for parents protect their children by using the software via the county website, DA Bonnie Dumanis also appears in promotional videos for the company. The EFF story also includes allegations that false endorsements from the ACLU and the Treasury Department were used in marketing materials for Computer Cop.

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