Activism

Thumbnail image for Bacon Is Not a Vegetable

Bacon Is Not a Vegetable

by Source 04.18.2014 Activism

You can’t encourage other people to eat a diet that’s better for them and the planet by getting all vegangelical on them.

By Jill Richardson / Other Words

As a vegetarian, I have to walk a fine line.

Really, I’m not judging you. But I often find it necessary to establish myself as “not a threat” to meat eaters. I also occasionally bump up against militant vegans.

Consider this collision I had the other day with a devout vegangelical. While at a potluck among an omnivorous group that included a woman who raises and slaughters chickens and turkeys for meat, I tried to politely excuse myself for not partaking in most of the food.

“I’m vegetarian,” I said. “Well, mostly vegetarian.”

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To Be a Warrior Poet

by Will Falk 04.18.2014 Activism

By Will Falk

I tried to kill myself a year ago.

In the year since, I quit my job as a public defender, spent weeks in group therapy, went on Phish tour, tried to kill myself again, searched every corner of my soul and began writing earnestly.

Sometimes, I think writing has kept me alive. Writing my poetry and essays allows me to fill my world with a meaning that is under attack.

The world is burning at an ever-faster pace. We are at war. Many of us may be imprisoned, tortured, raped and ultimately killed. Before I tried to kill myself, I let myself wander too far with clogged ears deaf to the friends – both human and non-human – that fill this world with meaning.

Armed with my experiences, I know that art can – and must be – a weapon used in defense of the world.

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Thumbnail image for Taxi Medallions: San Diego’s Licensing Program for Exploiting Immigrants

Taxi Medallions: San Diego’s Licensing Program for Exploiting Immigrants

by Doug Porter 04.17.2014 Battle for Barrio Logan

By Doug Porter

While lots of local politicos are willing to give at least lip service towards increasing the minimum wage or creating affordable housing, the abject lack of interest in rectifying a government sponsored system of exploitation in the local taxi industry is staggering.

The medallion based system of licensing currently in place in San Diego, wherein drivers pay for the privilege of leasing a vehicle that may or may not be roadworthy, insures consumers of two things: scarcity of service and higher fares. This form of regulation might have made sense 80 years ago in New York city when it was started, but today a privileged few and the politicians they fund are the only beneficiaries.

Of all things revealed in a 2013 San Diego State University/Center for Policy Initiatives study–the unsafe working conditions, the dangerous vehicles, the exploitation of drivers–it would appear that Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s response will be limited to the vehicles themselves and, perhaps, record keeping issues.

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Thumbnail image for “We Are More Than Just Workers — We’re People.”

“We Are More Than Just Workers — We’re People.”

by Source 04.17.2014 Activism

By Lisa Maldonado Robinson/ Escondido Democratic Club

It takes an hourly wage of $13.09 and a full-time job to be able “to make ends meet” in San Diego County, according to Lisa Maldonado Robinson of the Interfaith Center for Worker Justice (ICWJ). Robinson spoke to Escondido Democrats at their April 12 meeting about the ICWJ’s ongoing program in San Diego County in which religious leaders strive “to lift workers out of poverty.” The program has a North County component and Robinson described efforts to organize workers at Casino Pauma and Northgate Markets.

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Thumbnail image for Desmond Tutu: Climate Crisis Demands ‘Anti-Apartheid-Style Boycott’ of Fossil Fuel Industry

Desmond Tutu: Climate Crisis Demands ‘Anti-Apartheid-Style Boycott’ of Fossil Fuel Industry

by Source 04.15.2014 Activism

Nobel laureate says ‘people of conscience’ must break ties with oil and gas companies that are destroying planet’s future.

By Jon Queally / Common Dreams

Archbishop of South Africa and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Desmond Tutu is saying their is no longer any excuse for not doing everything humanly possible to fight climate change and called on Thursday for an international “anti-apartheid-style boycott” against the fossil fuel industry.

In a striking essay and call to action in the Guardian newspaper, Tutu writes: “People of conscience need to break their ties with corporations financing the injustice of climate change.”

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Thumbnail image for Barrio Logan Commemorates Mexican Revolutionary Leader and Defends Right to a Clean and Healthy Neighborhood

Barrio Logan Commemorates Mexican Revolutionary Leader and Defends Right to a Clean and Healthy Neighborhood

by Brent E. Beltrán 04.13.2014 Activism

Hundreds rally and march in opposition to maritime industry pollution

By Brent E. Beltrán

The Mexican community of San Diego and their supporters came together on Saturday in Barrio Logan’s Chicano Park to commemorate the 95th anniversary of the assassination of Mexican revolutionary leader Emiliano Zapata and to rally and march in opposition to maritime industry’s continued poisoning of this proud and defiant neighborhood.

The 10th annual Zapata March was organized by Mexican and Chicano activist groups Unión del Barrio, M.E.Ch.A. and Colectivo Zapatista with support from other radical organizations. The action was organized under the theme of “The Solution to Pollution is Revolution.”

Organizers “felt it was important to draw attention to the racist attempt by powerful ship building companies to overturn the Barrio Logan Community Plan and keep polluting our neighborhoods as they have done for decades.”

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Thumbnail image for Barrio Logan: Arts and Culture

Barrio Logan: Arts and Culture

by Brent E. Beltrán 04.13.2014 Arts

Film by Media Arts Center’s Teen Producers Project
Intro by Brent E. Beltrán

With the ballot battle looming over the future of Barrio Logan, due to Maritime Industry’s refusal to accept the Barrio Logan Community Plan update, I feel it is necessary to give voters of the city of San Diego a little history of Barrio Logan and highlight the issues residents face. In June, eligible San Diego voters will go to the polls to vote on whether to approve the community plan or reject it.

Over the next few weeks I will post a video on Sundays that highlights the community of Barrio Logan and the beauty within San Diego’s most historic barrio.

This week’s video, Barrio Logan: Arts and Culture, is about how arts and culture are an integral part of Barrio Logan’s identity.

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Thumbnail image for The Drug War Fuels Mass Deportation of Nonviolent Migrants

The Drug War Fuels Mass Deportation of Nonviolent Migrants

by Source 04.13.2014 Government

250,000 people have been deported for drug offenses in the last 6 years.

By Daniel Robelo / AlterNet

The drug war has increasingly become a war against migrant communities. It fuels racial profiling, border militarization, violence against immigrants, intrusive government surveillance and, especially, widespread detentions and deportations. 

Media and politicians have tried to convince us that everyone who gets deported is a violent criminal, a terrorist or a drug kingpin. But a newly released, first-of-its-kind report shatters that notion, showing instead that the majority (some two-thirds) of those deported last year were guilty of minor, nonviolent offenses – including thousands deported for nothing more than possessing small quantities of drugs, typically marijuana.

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Thumbnail image for OSHA Wins Case Against SeaWorld Involving Death of Orca Trainer

OSHA Wins Case Against SeaWorld Involving Death of Orca Trainer

by Source 04.12.2014 Activism

From OH&S / Apr 11, 2014 Re-posted from OBRag

OSHA has won the appellate case involving its enforcement case against SeaWorld of Florida LLC following the death of killer whale trainer Dawn Brancheau on Feb. 24, 2010. A 2-1 decision issued April 11 by a panel of three judges of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit found that SeaWorld “recognized its precautions were inadequate to prevent serious bodily harm or even death to its trainers and that the residual hazard was preventable.”

“The remedy imposed for SeaWorld’s violations does not change the essential nature of its business,” the majority opinion written by Judge Judith W. Rogers states. “There will still be human interactions and performances with killer whales; the remedy will simply require that they continue with increased safety measures.”

This is a high-profile case that was argued Nov. 12, 2013, at the Georgetown University Law Center, with SeaWorld’s legal team including Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP’s Eugene Scalia, son of U.S. Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia.

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Thumbnail image for The Shopping Mall’s Socialist Pre-History

The Shopping Mall’s Socialist Pre-History

by Source 04.11.2014 Economy

The inventor of the American suburban shopping mall was a socialist. Could his creation have been saved?

By  / Jacobin Magazine

The American landscape is littered with hundreds of dead shopping malls. In places like the vast Buckingham Square Mall in Aurora, Colo., which has stood empty since 2007, the indoor fountains have stopped running, but the prosthetic plants inside remain eerily green. More will join them. It’s said that 15% of American malls will close in the next ten years.

The biggest shopping mall in the world, the New South China Mall in Dongguan, is also a dead mall. Opening in 2005, it boasted seven zones, each based on major international cities and featuring including a replica Arc de Triumph and a Venetian canal complete with gondolas. However, the mall has remained 99% vacant since its opening. Aside from a cluster of fast food restaurants near its entrance, the mall is a network of vast, empty atria and mothballed cinemas and roller coasters.

Unable to compete with online shopping, declining consumer affluence, rising oil prices, and a volatile property market, shopping malls are dropping like flies.

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Thumbnail image for #NotABugSplat — Art At Its Most Powerful

#NotABugSplat — Art At Its Most Powerful

by Source 04.10.2014 Activism

By pajoly/ DailyKos

The image above is not a Photoshopped jpeg. It is an image massively blown up and staked into the ground to shame the American military drone pilots — and now indeed all of us — as their death from above ply the skies above Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region. It is an art project named #NotABugSplat, co-opting in graphic relief the slang drone operators callously and cavalierly give their victims.

Let that sink in. Bug Splat. Our society is fond of creating colorful euphemisms that are byproducts of truly shitty and shameful public policy. “Collateral damage” is one we all know; it’s clinically distant and sounds so much nicer in print and at a press briefing than “innocent dead bystanders.” (“Medical tourism” is another cheery one that seems almost bucolic instead of being actually a pathetic and desperate consequence of our pay-to-play healthcare regime.)

But, nothing so grossly illustrates our abandonment of any pretense of moral high ground like labeling exploded human beings as bug splats.

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Thumbnail image for Legalization is a Human Rights Issue: Latin America Steps Up Resolve to End the Drug Wars

Legalization is a Human Rights Issue: Latin America Steps Up Resolve to End the Drug Wars

by Source 04.10.2014 Activism

By Wendy Call/ Yes!
Seattle’s South Park neighborhood has seen its share of drug-related crime and violence. Many of its residents are recent immigrants from Mexico; some came north fleeing the drug cartel violence that has ravaged their home communities. So the South Park Community Center was a poignant venue for Mexican poet, writer, and activist Javier Sicilia to speak about his campaign to end the drug war in his home country. He began the evening with a moment of silence for all the lives lost – somewhere between 60,000 and 100,000 – since the Mexican government stepped up the war against drug cartels in 2006. Then, his commanding voice heavy with grief, Sicilia read a poem:

All absence is cruel
and nonetheless, remains like a space that comes from the dead,
from the bleached roots of the past.
Where might we turn?

Sicilia wrote this poem, “The Survivor,” in 2009. Two years later, he became a survivor of heartbreaking absence himself, when his 24-year-old son was murdered, with six of his friends, by drug traffickers in Cuernavaca, Mexico. With the cruel loss of his son, Sicilia did not know where to turn. He wrote a final poem dedicated to his son, Juan Francisco, and then renounced writing poetry.

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Thumbnail image for The Night I Decided to Stop Going to Sea World

The Night I Decided to Stop Going to Sea World

by Source 04.09.2014 Activism

By Lori Saldaña

I was born in San Diego, and my family began attending Sea World back in the 60s when it had a Japanese Garden and pearl divers (I still have a pearl ring, a birthday gift one year).

Then, it was a very different place than it is today: quieter, smaller scale, and more about Pacific Rim culture than theme park shows. We went often, and not just as casual visitors. Since my father was a journalist, and Sea World knew the value of cultivating relationships with the media, we would often attend special events throughout the year, including a lavish annual kick-off party that marked the start of their summer season, complete with a preview of the newest Shamu show.

I enjoyed going early, before the dinners and presentations, and wandering around the park after the daytime visitors departed. I especially enjoyed being able to enter the exhibits and watch the animals without the usual crowds around.

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Thumbnail image for Cheap Corn Permeates Every Facet of the American Diet

Cheap Corn Permeates Every Facet of the American Diet

by John Lawrence 04.09.2014 Culture

By John Lawrence

Corn is the staple of the US agricultural system and food supply. It’s in everything we eat unbeknownst to many Americans.

Corn feeds steers that become steak and fast food hamburgers. Corn feeds chickens and pigs - even catfish, salmon and tilapia. Milk, cheese and yogurt that once came from cows that grazed on grass now come from Holsteins that spend their time tethered to milking machines while munching on corn.

Processed foods contain even more corn than so-called “natural” foods. Take chicken nuggets, for example. Not only the chicken itself but the corn starch that holds it together, the corn flour in the batter, the corn oil in which its fried, the leavenings and lecithin, the mono-, di- and triglycerides, the golden coloring, the citric acid that keeps it fresh – all these ingredients come from corn.

Any soft drink in the supermarket including Coke and Pepsi contains High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) so you can wash down your corn with some more corn. A quarter of the 45,000 items in the average supermarket contain corn.

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Thumbnail image for It’s Equal Pay Day!  Republican Incoherence, Executive Orders and How to Get a Raise

It’s Equal Pay Day! Republican Incoherence, Executive Orders and How to Get a Raise

by Anna Daniels 04.08.2014 Activism

By Anna Daniels

Republicans have been having a hard time stringing words together when it comes to explaining why they don’t support pay equity for women. It’s a straightforward concept–equal pay for equal work. Yet it takes women until April 8 to catch up with men’s earnings from the previous year. The median earnings for a woman working a full time job is about 77% of a man’s. That figure drops for women of color and it hasn’t budged in more than a decade.

President Obama’s first action upon assuming office in 2009 was to sign the Lily Ledbetter Fair Wage Act. This act restored protection against wage discrimination that was stripped away by the Supreme Court’s decision in Ledbetter v Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. The act extended the period of time for employees to file claims for wages lost because of discrimination. Yet wage discrimination on the basis of gender continues to exist.

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Thumbnail image for Poem of the Day:  “Wake in Rage” by Viet Mai

Poem of the Day: “Wake in Rage” by Viet Mai

by Source 04.06.2014 Activism

By Staff

It’s National Poetry Month. SDFP is recognizing San Diego poets this month. Viet Mai has been performing spoken word around San Diego since 2001. As a member of the 2013 ELEVATED! Slam Team, Viet represented San Diego to rank 4th place at the National Poetry Slam in Boston/Cambridge/Sommerville, MA.

Drawing upon his formal studies at UCSD in Ethnic Studies and Music as well as his interest in Hip-Hop lyrics, Viet’s mission is to collaborate with community members to educate, motivate, and inspire the youth through spoken word, art, and culture.

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Thumbnail image for Video: Barrio Logan College Institute

Video: Barrio Logan College Institute

by Brent E. Beltrán 04.06.2014 Battle for Barrio Logan

Film by Barrio Logan College Institute
Intro by Brent E. Beltrán

With the ballot battle looming over the future of Barrio Logan, due to Maritime Industry’s refusal to accept the Barrio Logan Community Plan update, I feel it is necessary to give voters of the city of San Diego a little history of Barrio Logan and highlight the issues residents face. In June, eligible San Diego voters will go to the polls to vote on whether to approve the community plan or reject it.

Over the next few weeks I will post a video on Sundays that highlights the community of Barrio Logan and the beauty within San Diego’s most historic barrio.

This week’s video is on the Barrio Logan College Institute, an  important, educational non-profit organization that helps barrio kids, most the first in their family, go to college.

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Thumbnail image for Stand with Indigenous Peoples, Stop the Pipelines

Stand with Indigenous Peoples, Stop the Pipelines

by Will Falk 04.06.2014 Activism

As so often happens, Native Americans are leading the fight to save the world.

By Will Falk

While half of the world’s species are disappearing, while the remaining 48 hunter/gatherer societies are literally fighting for their survival, while 32 million acres of rainforest are cut down a year, and while three hundred tons of topsoil are lost a minute, we are again at war with those who would destroy the planet.

There have been many wars fought on behalf of our life-giving land in North America. The overwhelming majority of those killed in defense of the land have come from peoples like the Sioux, the Cheyenne, the Nez Perce, the Black Hawks, and the Apache. Native Americans have long stood in the way of this destructive culture. It is time that we join with Native Americans and other dominated peoples around the world who are at war. It is time that we, the privileged in this settler culture, step off our pedestal and onto the battlefield to place our bodies in harm’s way like so many indigenous people have before us and continue to do today.

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Thumbnail image for Ernie McCray: Speaking Straight from the Heart

Ernie McCray: Speaking Straight from the Heart

by Staff 04.05.2014 Activism

Recipient of the Phi Delta Kappa Unsung Hero Award

By Staff

On April 3, Ernie McCray was honored by the San Diego Chapter of Phi Delta Kappa, an international association for professional educators. The Kappan awards bestowed earlier in the evening were for individuals and organizations that have made a substantive difference for those wishing to become educators and for children within the school system.

Ernie’s award came later in the evening, after the recognition of Partner in Education, Educator of the Year, and Leadership. Those of us who know Ernie would be hard pressed to sum up his presence and contributions in just one category– he is known by thousands of students, parents and colleagues as an extraordinary educator; he has been a tireless advocate for peace and justice in the streets and in our schools; you can find him from time to time on a stage, acting and reading his poetry; and he has a following on the San Diego Free Press and OBRag where he contributes essays and poetry. Unsung Hero is a pretty good fit and that was his award designation.

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Thumbnail image for UFW Co-Founder Calls for Citizen Action; Struggle Goes On, Dolores Huerta Says

UFW Co-Founder Calls for Citizen Action; Struggle Goes On, Dolores Huerta Says

by Source 04.05.2014 Activism

By Lindajoy Fenley/chicoSol

Celebrating a legendary man can be as simple — and as necessary — as signing up for health insurance.

That’s the message delivered by Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farm Workers, when she spoke Thursday [March 24] at Sonoma State University (SSU) to a crowd of more than 1,000 students and community members in commemoration of Cesar Chavez Day.

Chavez, Huerta reminded her audience, fought for decent working conditions for California’s farm workers, and coincidentally, the deadline to sign up for government health insurance falls on his birthday, March 31. Huerta said that buying insurance — particularly for the young Latino students — is a way to honor the man who fought for civil rights for people of color.

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Thumbnail image for We Are the 89%: San Diego Fast-Food Employees and Religious Leaders Take Action Against Wage Theft

We Are the 89%: San Diego Fast-Food Employees and Religious Leaders Take Action Against Wage Theft

by Source 04.04.2014 Activism

Outrage grows as new poll shows stealing from employees is rampant industry wide

By Crystal Page/CPI

San Diego – Fast-food employees and community and faith leaders took action Thursday against systemic and illegal wage theft in the industry—just days after the first-ever national poll of fast-food employees showed companies like McDonald’s, Burger King and Wendy’s are stealing money from 89 percent of their employees.

The action comes as two former McDonald’s managers spoke out for the first time about how they were forced to steal from employees’ checks. In a video made public Tuesday, the managers talk about how they shaved time off of employees’ schedules, among other practices, so they wouldn’t “blow labor,” or spend more than they were supposed to, on employees.

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Thumbnail image for “If I Could Sit Down with SeaWorld Executives, I Would Share My Vision …”

“If I Could Sit Down with SeaWorld Executives, I Would Share My Vision …”

by Source 04.04.2014 Activism

By Cara Wilson-Granat/ OBRag

If I could sit down with the Sea World executives, I would share my vision for their new park.

Since I’m an incurable optimist I believe that wishes do in time come true. I’ve dedicated my life to talking and writing about the power of hope — even when all seems so hopeless. Indeed, one of the most famous Holocaust survivors was the one who told me that “Even if the end of the world would be imminent, you still plant a tree today.” Those words were expressed to me years ago by the father of Anne Frank, Otto Frank. He gave me hope as he did a worldwide global family.

So surrounded by others who are strong believers in seeing a harmonious world for orcas, dolphins, indeed, all captive beings I appeal to Sea World to “sea” your next 50 years as the one we all wish to celebrate.

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Thumbnail image for A Review of “Cesar Chavez” the Film: Sí, Se Puede

A Review of “Cesar Chavez” the Film: Sí, Se Puede

by Source 04.04.2014 Activism

By Byron Morton/ OBRag

Cesar Chavez shows the political evolution and the struggles of the man behind the movement during the 1960s to organize the farm workers in California. Through the United Farm Workers (UFW) Chavez (played by Michael Peña) brings bargaining rights and dignity for the impoverished farm workers. The UFW motto during this time was “Sí, se puede” or yes, it is possible.

It is important to remember at that time in the 1960s the National Labor Relations Act of 1935 did not protect farm workers and others. The Act “is a foundational statute of US labor law which guarantees basic rights of private sector employees to organize into trade unions, engage in collective bargaining for better terms and conditions at work, and take collective action including strikes if necessary.”

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Thumbnail image for UCSD Graduate Students Strike After Just Demands Not Met

UCSD Graduate Students Strike After Just Demands Not Met

by Source 04.03.2014 Activism

Strikers disrupt classes and block public thoroughfares to get a decent raise while upper level administrators continue to receive exorbitant salaries and enjoy a culture of lavish living

By Daniel Gutiérrez

Graduate students at the University of California, San Diego represented by the United Auto Workers Local 2865 initiated a two-day strike Wednesday, April 2nd, that will end Friday, April 4th. The strike at UCSD is part of a statewide action occurring at all the campuses of the University of California for these reasons. Graduate students have been bargaining for months now and have faced an unresponsive University of California Labor Relation bargaining team that barely allowed a 3% increase in pay to Teaching Assistants, still leaving them below the poverty line and far behind competitor universities.

Graduate students and undergraduate supporters began to assemble in front of the university’s emblematic library at 8:30 am to begin their activities. Students were able to successfully close Gilman Avenue for nearly twenty-five minutes in an attempt to cause delays for the city and school bus services.

Strikers created human barricades along a busy pedestrian avenue that cuts through the heart of the campus. Later in the afternoon, strikers attempted to storm the Office of Graduate Studies, but the office locked its doors to them and even one of their own employees.

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Thumbnail image for Extreme Weather Watch: March 2014

Extreme Weather Watch: March 2014

by John Lawrence 04.03.2014 Business

Winter Weather Made a $55 Billion Hit to US Economy

By John Lawrence

The winter of 2014 broke records and budgets. NBC News reported that the economy took a $55 billion hit because of the extreme winter weather. There was $5.5 billion in damage to homes, businesses, agriculture and infrastructure. Cities had additional costs for salt for roads and asphalt for potholes. There were more than 30,000 potholes in Toledo, OH alone. The companies that supply salt and asphalt are making a fortune. This winter also saw 79.3 inches of snow falling in Chicago where there were 23 days below zero.

In California drought covers 99.8% of the state. The Sierra Nevada snowpack, which typically holds at least half of all the water that will flow to the state’s farms and cities each year, is at just one-fourth of its normal level.

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