The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: The Occupation of Neighborhood House…

NH- Liberation

…and the birth of the Chicano Free Clinic

The occupation of Neighborhood House that began when barrio activist Laura Rodriguez chained herself to the doors on October 4, 1970 occurred a mere six months after the takeover of Chicano Park in April 1970. Both actions involved many of the same people and both actions demanded community control over decisions that affected the lives of residents.

With the takeover of Chicano Park in April 1970, the barrio had said “¡Basta!” to land use decisions that displaced thousands of residents as a result of military use of the bay during World War II followed by the growth of the shipbuilding industry; then by the construction of freeways and the Coronado Bridge; and zoning changes that permitted yonkes (junkyards) to exist side by side with long time residences.

The occupation of Neighborhood House was a demand for community control over this beloved institution that had been in existence for 58 years at that time. Its progressive era service philosophy had been displaced by Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty.   [Read more…]

Mark Lane in Murrieta: We Are Absolutely a Country of Immigrants

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“I love the United States so much that I want to share it…”

By Mark Lane

Last year, we saw the worst of what our country has to offer, and then we saw the best of what our country has to offer. The movement of compassion that was born that day was amazing, it was enveloping. We saw our country come together like it never has. These people, these human beings fleeing from incredible crime, violence and poverty, coming to the United States of America, looking for shelter, refuge. They came knowing that their travels would be dangerous, life threatening. They came because they had no choice.

On that hot summer day, one year ago today, we saw women and children exercising their right under the laws of the United States of America to ask for asylum, being harassed, insulted, abused, terrorized. Then we saw millions of Americans revolt in compassion. It was amazing, it was overwhelming. When my family saw this play out on the news, we knew we had to act, we knew we had to show our children the counter action to this hate, and not with words, but with actions.   [Read more…]

Hugs Offered to Hating Hecklers at Murrieta Immigration Rally

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The 75 or so people who came to Murrieta, California on July 1st to commemorate resistance to last year’s bus blockade gathered around a stage in the Town Square park under the watchful eyes of a dozen or so police officers. Situated just few yards away behind yellow caution tape, anti-immigration types screamed obscenities and racist insults through multiple bullhorns.

As protest rallies go, there really wasn’t much to see on stage. Banners waved, speakers spoke, people applauded.

Hecklers stole the show, but not in a way they could have ever imagined. What was amazing was watching people who’ve been victimized and traumatized by racism turn the other cheek as a handful of haters did their best to try to provoke violence.   [Read more…]

Anti-Vaxxers’ Tactics Fail to Sway Legislature

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By Doug Porter

Gov. Jerry Brown signed off yesterday on legislation giving California one of the most far-reaching vaccination laws in the nation. Religious and personal-belief exemptions for schoolchildren will be phased out, starting next year.

Getting this bill passed turned out to be a major political battle. The combination of paranoia about government (on the right) and corporate greed (on the left) mixed with a solid dash of unfounded health concerns ended up being a recipe for political passion rarely seen on the legislative floor.

The anti-vaxxers, as they are popularly called, viewed this legislation as a battle for the lives of their children and the liberties of the nation. They’ve indicated that litigation will be their next step.   [Read more…]

Why Bree Newsome’s Action Was the “Amazing Grace” I Needed

Screenshot courtesy of The Tribe / Youtube

She showed us that we liberate ourselves through our actions. She reminded us, in the midst of deep sorrow, that we, who want to see a better America, must keep living, fighting, breathing, doing.

By Tanya Steele /YES! Magazine

On Friday, June 24, I turned on my television to watch the funeral for Reverend Clementa Pinckney, one of the nine people shot dead at the Emanuel AME church in Charleston, South Carolina.

President Obama sang “Amazing Grace” at a time when many in the nation are mourning not only for the lost lives of the Emanuel 9, but the loss of black life that is stitched into the fabric of this country.

I have heard “Amazing Grace” many times in my life. Black Americans singing, in moments of deep despair, is too familiar. I did not need to hear those sounds at this moment in our history.I needed something, but that was not it.   [Read more…]

For Hundreds of Families, There’s No Place Like Home in San Diego

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By Jeeni Criscenzo del Rio

I had just returned from a 3-hour forum on options for housing homeless people. The Amikas phone was ringing and I rushed to answer it while flinging the handouts and brochures from the event onto my desk. The hopeful but timid voice on the other end of the call sounded all too familiar. It didn’t matter that I couldn’t make out her name, I already knew her story and why she was calling Amikas.

Although our agency closed the last of our residential programs last month, there are still listings for us throughout the county and I’m still getting calls like this one. This woman found our card tacked on the bulletin board at the LGBT Community Center and thought we would be the answer to her prayers. She is seven months pregnant and has two kids, 6 and 7 years old. She’s been homeless for six months.   [Read more…]

The Rising Star of Chula Vista: Jason Paguio

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By Barbara Zaragosa / South Bay Compass

The town of Chula Vista, California happens to be home to the World Champion Drum Major, Jason Paguio. He’s the only Filipino-American to have run for city council (at the age of 28), he’s a current policy advisor to councilmember Steve Miesen, and he operates two non-profit organizations as well as a small for-profit business.

Jason has so many pots bubbling that San Diego Business Journal gave him the 2014 Emerging Generation: 25 in their 20’s award.

I sat down and talked with Jason and you’ll soon see why I call him the rising star of Chula Vista.   [Read more…]

Humble Heart Thrift Store: Thrift, Coffee, Love

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By Avital Aboody

The Humble Heart Thrift Store will be celebrating its 5th birthday on August 10, 2015. Five years ago, Michael Modrow Jr. was laid off from his job as a manager at Midas where he had worked for seven years. To get by, he started doing yard sales at his home, selling off a handful of personal things that he had collected over the years. Mike is an active member of his church. Upon hearing about Mike’s situation, the church offered to give Mike permission to sell the variety of donated items that weren’t a good fit for distribution to the homeless, such as furniture.   [Read more…]

Report: Border Patrol Union Officials Working with Hate Groups

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By Doug Porter

A newly released report from the Center for a New Community (CNC) says there is a systemic pattern of behind-the-scenes collusion between officials of unions associated with the Border Patrol and prominent anti-immigrant hate groups.

Last year’s protests in Murrieta, California are cited in “Blurring Borders: Collusion between Anti-Immigrant Groups and Immigration Enforcement Agents” as an example of Border Patrol agents coordinating with anti-immigrant forces. On July 1st, 2014, anti-immigrant activists used civil disobedience to block federal buses carrying refugee women and children to a Border Patrol processing center.   [Read more…]

Nuclear Shutdown News – June 2015: Balloon Shuts Down Troubled Indian Point Plant

A Mylar balloon similar to this one led to a sequence of events that shut down the Indian Point nuke plant.

By Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the continuing decline of the US nuclear industry, and the efforts of those who are working to bring about a nuclear free future. As US nukes increasingly approach or surpass their 40 year lives, they are becoming more qnd more dangerous and outdated. They need to be shut down and replaced with renewable energy sources—now!

1. Balloon Shuts Down Indian Point Plant

On June 16 the New York state The Journal News reported, “a balloon tangled in electrical wires led to a sequence of events resulting in the shutdown of the Indian Point nuclear plant,” which is located 35 miles up the Hudson River from New York City.   [Read more…]

Murrieta, the Town Without Pity, Remembered One Year Later

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By Doug Porter

Latino and Human Rights activists are returning to Murrieta, California on July 1st to commemorate the anniversary of a historic confrontation that laid bare the racism in Southern California for the world to see.

It was one year ago self-styled patriots, acting on rumors and innuendo, blockaded busloads of refugee women and children from Central America on their way to a Border Patrol processing center. The angry anti-immigrant protesters, seen on TV news across the country chanting of “Go home!’ and “We don’t want you!,” were tacitly encouraged by local authorities. (It was the local police who actually stopped the buses)   [Read more…]

Protecting Mauna Kea: “We Are Satisfied With The Stones”

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Editor’s note: Contributor Will Falk has been working and living with protesters on Mauna Kea who are attempting to block construction of an 18-story astronomical observatory with an Extremely Large Telescope (ELT).  Opposition in Hawaii to the building of the telescope is based on concerns about potential disruption to the fragile alpine environment and the fact that Mauna Kea is a sacred site for the Native Hawaiian culture.  On June 24th, agents with the Department of Land and Natural Resources abandoned an attempt to escort construction workers to the proposed location after discovering the only road up the mountain was not navigable.  

By Will Falk

The pohaku stopped the Thirty Meter Telescope construction last Wednesday. They began appearing on the Mauna Kea Access Road like raindrops. First, they were sprinkled lightly underfoot. A small rock here. A larger one there. The cops cussed and swore as they tried to remove them from the path of their seemingly unstoppable paddy wagons.

As the cops ascended, washing over the lines of Mauna Kea Protectors standing in their way, small piles grew into a drizzle of stones formed in the gathering fog. Then, the pohaku became a downpour. Looking up the road half-a-mile, I saw heavy boulders standing up, marching to meet us, making it impossible for the TMT construction crews and their police escort to climb any higher.   [Read more…]

The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: From Empowerment to Direct Action in the Barrio!

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The Plan de Santa Bárbara and the take-over of Chicano Park set the stage for the occupation of Neighborhood House

The 1960s brought many changes to Logan Heights that reflected the social convulsions unleashed by the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights movement nationally. Urban renewal policies brought freeways and massive displacement to Logan Heights. Generations of Mexican Americans in the community had indeed become “Americanized” and had their own vision of what constitutes a Great Society. They were demanding positions of leadership in every aspect of their social and political life.

And Neighborhood House was changing too. Last week’s interview with Irma Castro, who went to work at Neighborhood House in 1961, provided a glimpse into some of the changes.   [Read more…]

Under Green Party Banner, Jill Stein Officially Sets Sights on 2016

Jill Stein at an Occupy Wall Street demonstration in 2012.

Power to the People Plan ‘would end unemployment and poverty; avert climate catastrophe; build a sustainable, just economy; and recognize the dignity and human rights of everyone in our society’

By Deidre Fulton / Commom Dreams

Vowing to combat the “converging crises” of racism, militarism, climate change, and “extreme materialism,” Dr. Jill Stein announced this week that she is running for president of the United States as a Green Party candidate.

In a campaign kick-off speech at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Stein laid out the major planks of her platform, …   [Read more…]

Momentum Mounting for 2016 California Marijuana Measure

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By Phillip Smith /  AlterNet 

On June 14, more than 200 people gathered at the Sebastopol Grange for a fundraiser and organizing meeting of  local pot growers, the Sonoma County Growers Association. They were being mentored by their northern neighbors from Humboldt, Mendocino, and Trinity counties, the Emerald Growers Association, which already has lobbyists in Sacramento and is in the middle of the effort to legalize weed in California next year. The Emerald Triangle is the largest marijuana growing area in the country’s largest marijuana producing state.

Two days later, more than a hundred people met in a conference room at the Oakland Marriot City Center to plot the intricacies of producing a statewide marijuana legalization initiative. For several hours, attendees—dispensary operators and employees, small growers, not-so-small growers, patients, consumers, interested citizens, even a nun—offered their input on a rapid-fire but seemingly endless array of issues related to legalization and how it should occur.   [Read more…]

The Disappearing Joshua Trees of Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree Sunset (National Park Service)

By Susan Grigsby / Daily Kos

In April of this year, a small group of scientists from Joshua Tree National Park and the University of California Riverside’s Center for Conservation Biology, joined by volunteers from Earthwatch, spread out across the national park to count and measure the plants, insects, reptiles, and animals they found within each of the 27 22-acre plots.They were looking to create a baseline against which the future death of desert species can be measured. Why? Because the modeling done thus far indicates the possible loss of 90 percent of the habitat of Joshua trees within the national park named after them. It is getting hot out here.   [Read more…]

A Homeless Food Fight in San Diego

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By Jeeni Criscenzo del Rio

A recent post on the Facebook page for Homeless News San Diego showed a letter from the Rock Church regarding a change in policy for feeding homeless people. Part of one sentence was highlighted: refrain from feeding homeless people on the streets, as well as distributing items such as clothing and blankets. The post indicates there were 107 shares and 206 comments!

I can’t recall ever seeing an issue evoke such passionate responses from so many people with opposing, yet reasonable points of view. I read all of them, looking for something to convince me one way or the other, because this is something that has been troubling me since I attended at Downtown Fellowship of Churches and Ministries meeting about it two years ago. Not being a church-goer, I felt a little out of my element at the meeting, but I appreciated their plans for what would become Doing It Better Together  to coordinate services provided to homeless people on the streets.   [Read more…]

Chipping Away at “The Black Problem”

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By Ernie McCray

The madness in Charleston, to me, is so much deja vu because blacks being shot or bombed where they worship and pray is not something that’s new here in the USA.

In no way. These atrocities started, practically, when they shoved us off the ships to pick cotton, way, way back in the day.

And where’s a good place to find a lot of us to slay? Church. Makes sense to a hateful evil-minded KKK kind of person who all of a sudden, out of his madness, just can’t stand to see a Negro alive.   [Read more…]

Donna Frye Calls for “Massive River Park” at Qualcomm Stadium Site

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By Frank Gormlie / The OB Rag

Donna Frye is trying to upset the apple cart that surrounds all the discussion about the Chargers and the Qualcomm football stadium site. On Monday, June 22nd she called for “a massive river park” at the 166-acre Mission Valley site.

In an Op-Ed piece in Voice of San Diego, Donna Frye—former City Councilwoman for the district that includes Mission Valley—called for something akin to another Balboa Park or Mission Bay Park.

In her piece, Frye dismissed the discussion about whether the Chargers want the current site and all the discussion about commercial and residential development of it, instead declared that it actually is “a big opportunity staring us right in the face—the potential to create a real San Diego River Park.”   [Read more…]

One in Every 122 Humans Forcibly Displaced by War and Persecution: UN

Refugees and migrants on a fishing boat pictured before making contact with the Italian navy.

New report exposes ‘unchecked slide into an era in which the scale of global forced displacement as well as the response required is now clearly dwarfing anything seen before.’

By Sarah Lazare / Common Dreams

As wars and persecution escalate worldwide, one out of every 122 people on the planet is a refugee, seeking asylum, or internally displaced, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported Thursday.

Taken together, this population of humans wrenched from their homes by violence would constitute the 24th largest country in the world.   [Read more…]

Trade Deal Passes Key Test in Senate as Thirteen Democrats Defect (UPDATED)

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By Doug Porter

On Tuesday morning the US Senate passed a procedural measure effectively granting Fast Track Authority for the executive branch on trade pacts. The vote was 60-37, exactly the number of yes votes needed to avoid a filibuster.

Proponents of the legislation say the trade pacts it will likely enable are needed for US companies to be competitive in the world marketplace. Opponents point to the reality that the only “winners” from past deals have been stockholders as hundreds of thousands of domestic jobs have simply vanished. The President promised to negotiate a better deal.

Republican leaders, according to the New York Times, found a parliamentary maneuver allowing them to separate a companion law defeated in the House of Representatives that threatened to block passage of the bill.   [Read more…]

Why Don’t Corporations Contribute to Charity Instead of Hitting Up Their Customers?

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By John Lawrence

Do you find it annoying to be hit up for a donation every time you make a purchase? You’re out buying groceries or cat food or mouthwash and you get asked to make a donation to some charity. “Would you like to contribute a dollar to help homeless dogs?”, the check out person asks. I’ll tell you what. Why don’t you reduce my total by $1.00 and contribute that to charity? Do you think Walgreen’s or Petco could afford that? Give me a dollar off my freakin’ bill. I just scraped enough money together to make sure our cat is adequately fed and doesn’t go homeless.

I really think I am capable of making my own decisions about what charities I want to donate to. I don’t want to be prompted every time I buy something. And is Walgreen’s CEO who made over $13 million in 2013 contributing anything in this campaign? Heck no, and neither are the Board of Directors who make tons of money in stock grants for attending a few meetings per year.   [Read more…]

A Small Restoration Is a Big Deal in Mission Bay

UCSD marsh restoration project overview

By Robert Little / The OB Rag

There is a lot of action at the corner of Pacific Beach Drive and Crown Point Drive in Pacific Beach these days. The visible construction of grading for a small restoration project behind the marsh fence started in May of this year but the preparations started more than two years ago and the covering of the bare sandy soil will take at least six months to complete. The work is restricted to the portion of the marsh owned by the University of California and managed by UCSD.   [Read more…]

Congressman Scott Peters Defends His Yes Votes on Trade Promotion Authority (Fast Track)

Photo Credit: John Nicksic

By Martha Sullivan 

On Saturday, I stood with this sign outside the HQs of the San Diego County Democratic Party in a “Walk of Shame” for my Congressman, Scott Peters, as he arrived to address the monthly meeting of the Council of Clubs.  We were there after two years of lobbying this Congressman on the secret, corporate-negotiated Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement and its companion Fast Track bill, who told us a year ago he would vote No, but who succumbed to the White House charm offensive and delusions of grandeur to vote Yes with a handful of other Democrats in our California Congressional Delegation.

After he walked our gauntlet, I followed him into the meeting, as a registered Democrat who has been very active in the San Diego County Democratic Party since 2004, including co-founding its vaunted Grassroots Organizing (GO) Team in 2005 and serving as Vice Chair for the North Area in 2009-11.  I am a member of two local Democratic Clubs, the Democratic Woman’s Club of San Diego County and the Clairemont Democratic Club.   [Read more…]

Protecting Mauna Kea: This Is A War

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By Will Falk

Sitting outside the 10 by 20 foot makeshift tent that has served as my home for the last 34 days on Mauna Kea, I watch the tent poles shudder to the concussion of US Army howitzer cannons firing live shells at their training grounds below. When the wind blows just right, from the south, the rattle of automatic rifle fire reaches the occupation. There’s no denying it: A war rages in Hawai’i.

It’s a war on native peoples, a war on women, a war on the land, a war on life itself. The war did not start in Hawai’i. The war began thousands of years ago with the dawn of civilization when some humans chose to live in population densities high enough that they overshot the carrying capacity of their homelands and turned to dominating other peoples in other lands. Imperialism was born, and one-by-one land-based, truly sustainable human societies were either eradicated or forced into assimilation.   [Read more…]