Activism

Thumbnail image for Indiana’s So-Called Religious Freedom Law: If It Walks Like a Duck…

Indiana’s So-Called Religious Freedom Law: If It Walks Like a Duck…

by Doug Porter 03.30.2015 Activism

By Doug Porter

For a while there I thought Republicans of the sane persuasion (a vanishing species) might prevail on matters relating to the legal status of gay and transgender people. One state after another was giving up on fighting same-sex marriage. 

What with “New Republicans” like Carl DeMaio emerging and the Log Cabin GOP caucus gaining legitimacy, I figured the party brass would leave it the hardcore to draw inspiration from the Obama Derangement Syndrome for the next year or so.. 

Then along came Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, signing a bill shepherded by lobbyists representing anti-gay rights organizations conflating freedom of religion with the right to discriminate. Voila! Now the Guns and God wing of the party has an issue to rally behind. 

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Thumbnail image for A Note About the 50th Selma Jubilee March

A Note About the 50th Selma Jubilee March

by At Large 03.30.2015 Activism

By Rev. Richard Lawrence

March 7, 2015 is a Saturday that will live forever in the hearts of every freedom-loving citizen in the world who caught the news about the 50th Selma Jubilee March.

That day found me completely overpowered with emotions as my four grown kids and I pushed to stand as close as we could to the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma to hear our President speak.

I had marched in Selma in 1965, and I remembered the terror of being in a place where I was not wanted and where the opponents of voting rights for Black Americans were uninhibited in demonstrating their first Amendment right to freely express their disdain for our cause and savagely denigrated us for our misguided choice of lovers.

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Thumbnail image for Voting Made Easier: Legislative Actions Aim to Make Elections More Accessible

Voting Made Easier: Legislative Actions Aim to Make Elections More Accessible

by Doug Porter 03.27.2015 Activism

By Doug Porter 

San Diego legislators at both the federal and state level are working to remove barriers limiting voter participation. 

California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) and California Secretary of State Alex Padilla are proposing to register every eligible resident who goes to a DMV to get a license or renew one, with the ability to opt out. In Washington DC, Congresswoman Susan Davis has introduced legislation ending constraints on voting by mail. 

Research recently published in the Oxford Political Analysis Journal indicates that as many as an additional four million Americans wanted to vote in the 2012 election , but were stymied by restrictions on voter registration. California currently ranks 38th out of the 50 states in voter registration. 

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Thumbnail image for A Climate Change Fix Both the Left and Right Can Embrace

A Climate Change Fix Both the Left and Right Can Embrace

by At Large 03.27.2015 Environment

By Sarah “Steve” Mosko

Studies abound linking the increase in extreme weather-related catastrophes in recent decades, like droughts, floods, hurricanes and blizzards, to global climate change.

Some climate experts stress the urgency of addressing the problem now, predicting cascading economic and political, social and environmental upheavals worldwide if action is delayed. Since the dawn of the industrial revolution, the CO2 content of earth’s atmosphere has shot up from 275 ppm to over 400 ppm, already well above the 350 ppm limit some scientists believe is a safe level above which we risk triggering irreversible consequences out of human control.

Most Americans agree with the climatologists who believe that climate change is happening and likely caused by greenhouse gasses produced by the burning of carbon-based fossil fuels. Asked if “the federal government should act to limit the amount of greenhouse gasses U.S. businesses put out,” 78% said yes in a national poll which appeared January 20 in The New York Times. This reflects 60% of Republicans and 87% of Democrats polled.

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Thumbnail image for Celebrations of César E. Chávez Span Six Weeks Around San Diego

Celebrations of César E. Chávez Span Six Weeks Around San Diego

by Staff 03.26.2015 Activism

“The legacy of the United Farm Workers union in its first decade provides us with key lessons for the present and future. It reminds us that grass-roots power organized and deployed by ‘disposable’ workers, fearlessness in the face of corporate exploitation, and the political uses of music, theater, and ritual can change history. In 2015, in a society based on greed and personal ambition, we ignore these lessons at own peril.” –Jorge Mariscal, Professor, UC San Diego

While Monday, March 31st is the official César E. Chávez day, activities celebrating his legacy as a labor and civil rights leader will continue into May. The day is commemorated to promote service to the community in honor of his life and work. The ongoing activities are about continuing that legacy.

Thanks to the UCSD Blink, produced by the faculty and staff of that fine institution, for providing us with a list of activities over the next six weeks honoring the life and achievements of César E. Chávez.

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Thumbnail image for Marijuana Commission Report, Polling Point to Legalization in California

Marijuana Commission Report, Polling Point to Legalization in California

by Doug Porter 03.26.2015 Business

By Doug Porter

California’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Marijuana Policy is releasing an interim report today outlining issues needing to be addressed in any legalization measures going before voters in 2016.

The commission, led by Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and including the ACLU, assorted academics, activists along with, law enforcement officials, will not officially take a position on legalization. Public forums in cities around the state will soon be announced as part of forming a policy road map towards legalization. Issues such as taxes, driving under the influence and a means for prohibiting access to minors are among those being considered.

The panel hopes to have its policy analysis completed by August.

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Thumbnail image for Passionate Pleas for Safer San Diego Streets Fall on Deaf Ears at Uptown Planners Meeting

Passionate Pleas for Safer San Diego Streets Fall on Deaf Ears at Uptown Planners Meeting

by Source 03.26.2015 Activism

BikeSD / BikeSD Blog

On Tuesday March 24 between 200-250 people packed the St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral for a special Uptown Planners meeting. It’s quite possible that that was the most number of people that church has held in recent years.

While many of you and us were out last night testifying and desperately pleading for safer access through along University Avenue, to a board that ignored all public testimony for safer streets except for the comments on using public spaces for private vehicle storage – parking – a 74 year old woman crossing Camino Ruiz in a marked crosswalk suffered life threatening injuries after being hit by an SUV. No word yet on whether the driver has been charged.

Earlier this month, our endorsed candidates Michael Brennan and Kyle Heiskala were successfully elected to the Uptown Planners at the Community Planning Group election. But last night’s meeting was a special meeting and Brennan and Heiskala haven’t yet been seated – so they were unable to vote on the issue.

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Thumbnail image for California Consumers Gouged for $550 Million at the Gas Pump in February

California Consumers Gouged for $550 Million at the Gas Pump in February

by Doug Porter 03.25.2015 Activism

By Doug Porter

The higher prices Californians pay for gasoline was the focus of a hearing chaired by San Diego’s Sen. Ben Hueso this week.

A report issued by the Consumer Watchdog group alleges consumers were gouged for an extra $550 million at the gas pump during February as the result of a strategy by refiners to keep inventories artificially low. The group came to this conclusion by calculating the difference between US and state prices and allotting for consumption.

Members of the transportation, housing and energy, utilities and communications committees questioned energy industry executives about recent price spikes in California. Earlier this week Californians were paying 84 cents more per gallon than the rest of the nation for their gasoline.

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Thumbnail image for An Evil Monster Rises from the Depths of San Diego Bay

An Evil Monster Rises from the Depths of San Diego Bay

by Junco Canché 03.25.2015 Cartoons
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Thumbnail image for Water Issues for Laypeople: How the Otay District Works

Water Issues for Laypeople: How the Otay District Works

by Source 03.25.2015 Business

Do you know where your water comes from? Do you know where it goes after it runs down your drain?

By Barbara Zaragoza / South Bay Compass

I didn’t either, so in these troubled times when most media outlets are up and arms about the California drought, I went directly to the Otay Water District to find out.

The General Manager, Mark Watton, and the Otay team of employees were friendly and incredibly knowledgeable about water. In addition, I got the feeling they wished more citizens knew about their work because water, after all, is our most essential human resource.

On the other hand, if I can summarize California water in one word, I would say: CONFUSING.

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Thumbnail image for Old Town Mobilizing to Save Historic Trees from City Project

Old Town Mobilizing to Save Historic Trees from City Project

by Doug Porter 03.24.2015 Activism

By Doug Porter

Old Town residents are scrambling to save aging California Pepper Canopy trees from removal along a corridor bordering State Historic Park and the City Golf Course.

Back in late August Mayor Kevin Faulconer and other city officials staged a press conference in Old Town to announce a major infrastructure project.

The Mayor proclaimed the Juan Street Replacement Project to be “…a perfect example of the city’s one dig philosophy….” In addition to replacing the water main, the street would be repaved and sidewalks would be  replaced

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Thumbnail image for The Spring Garden Thing!

The Spring Garden Thing!

by Susan Taylor 03.24.2015 Editor's Picks

By Susan Taylor

The flatlanders in San Diego had somewhere between 1-2 inches of rain recently and I hear the call of school gardens asking, “Can we plant something?” Of course we can, so let’s get going.

On a recent stroll along the boardwalk towards South Mission Beach, I dipped into the tiny streets between the boardwalk and Mission Blvd and saw so many interesting growing things. One idea I’ve already tried is to take a hanging succulent cutting, let it harden off for a couple of days and here’s what’s next–wrap a handful of soil around the root (to be) end and then add some coir or even a paper towel. Moisten the whole wrap and nest it into the crotch of a tree branch. I used a rubber band to tighten the whole thing. Maybe you’ll have a hanging plant growing thingy before you know it…it looks very sophisticated and like the gardener knows what he/she is doing!

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Thumbnail image for California Drought Legislation Must Target Agribusiness and Big Oil

California Drought Legislation Must Target Agribusiness and Big Oil

by Source 03.23.2015 Business

By Dan Bacher

Governor Jerry Brown and lawmakers touted the introduction of drought legislation in the Legislature on March 19, while leaders of environmental and corporate watchdog groups urged Brown to put real limits on the “most egregious” water users – corporate agribusiness and big oil companies – to really address the drought.

Brown joined Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León, and Republican Leaders Senator Bob Huff and Assemblymember Kristin to unveil legislation that they claimed will “help local communities cope with the ongoing, devastating drought.”

A statement from the Governor’s Office said the package will expedite bond funding to “make the state more resilient to the disastrous effects of climate change and help ensure that all Californians have access to local water supplies.”

“This unprecedented drought continues with no signs yet of letting up,” said Governor Brown. “The programs funded by the actions announced today will provide direct relief to workers and communities most impacted by these historic dry conditions.”

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Thumbnail image for The Uptown Battle for Safer Bike Routes

The Uptown Battle for Safer Bike Routes

by Doug Porter 03.20.2015 Activism

By Doug Porter

There’s a special meeting of the Uptown Planners next Tuesday (March 24) to discuss overriding the SANDAG Regional Bike Plan in Mission Hills and Hillcrest. Cycling advocates are expected to face off against various organizations and people opposed to proposed traffic changes in the area.

This meeting is, I think, symbolic of a larger battle going on over the future of transportation in the city. While all the organizations involved give lip service to the Climate Action Plan’s goal of 18% bike mode share in Uptown by 2035, there are individuals who come across as negative about actually doing anything to achieve the goal.

Despite a growing body of evidence contradicting what some small businesspeople assume about the negative impact of bike lanes, parking spaces and traffic calming measures, when it gets down to an actual plan, all they can say is “no.” (Kinda like the GOP on their alternative to Obamacare, I think.) 

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Thumbnail image for San Diego Sues Monsanto for Polluting Bay With Banned Carcinogenic Chemicals

San Diego Sues Monsanto for Polluting Bay With Banned Carcinogenic Chemicals

by Source 03.18.2015 Business

Lawsuit says toxins manufactured by agrochemical giant ‘have been found in Bay sediments and water and have been identified in tissues of fish, lobsters, and other marine life’

By Sarah Lazarre / Common Dreams

San Diego authorities filed a lawsuit on Monday (March 16) against the agrochemical giant Monsanto, accusing the corporation of polluting the city’s bay with carcinogenic chemicals that are so dangerous to human health they were banned in the U.S. more than 30 years ago.

The lawsuit was filed in federal court by City of San Diego and San Diego Unified Port District and focuses on Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs). “PCBs manufactured by Monsanto have been found in bay sediments and water and have been identified in tissues of fish, lobsters, and other marine life in the Bay,” the complaint reads.

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Thumbnail image for Civic San Diego and Its Stakeholders

Civic San Diego and Its Stakeholders

by Anna Daniels 03.17.2015 Activism

By Anna Daniels

Who are Civic San Diego’s stakeholders? Who are the people and institutions who have the most to benefit from their success? And who has the most to lose if they are not successful? The answer depends upon whom you are talking to—CivicSD and its surrogates; City of San Diego elected representatives; or community residents and resident based organizations.

Community residents and community based organizations from areas of the city which have been designated by CivicSD as their immediate focus for economic revitalization have been particularly vocal on this matter, but they are hardly the only ones.

Community voices have been articulating the need for an enforceable city policy regarding the kinds of community benefits that must be generated in tandem with CivicSD’s economic development projects, as well as additional City of San Diego oversight of development activities. They have called for more transparency and accountability in CivicSD’s operation.

In short, those communities which are already fully aware of the economic and social problems that they face, are asking to be recognized as stakeholders and to be given the participatory power to shape the development process.

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Thumbnail image for Conversion to Renewable Energy is Going Too Slow to Avoid Catastrophe – Part 5

Conversion to Renewable Energy is Going Too Slow to Avoid Catastrophe – Part 5

by John Lawrence 03.17.2015 Environment

By Frank Thomas and John Lawrence

Capitalism and Climate Change

In a title not usually expected at a scientific conference, University of California San Diego geophysicist Dr. Brad Werner presented a paper entitled Is the Earth Fucked? at the Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) in December 2012. Dr. Werner explained that the title represented the expression of depression by scientists working in the field of the public’s inability to respond to what scientists are telling them about global warming.

Climatologists and other scientists are now speaking out about climate change becoming a clear and present danger to human civilization. Most of them are more comfortable gathering data and working in their labs than doing political advocacy, but the situation calls for them to risk losing tenure and even arrest in order to tell the rest of us about the situation we are now facing.

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Thumbnail image for Pushback on Civic San Diego Accountability: Here Comes the “Uncertainty” Ploy

Pushback on Civic San Diego Accountability: Here Comes the “Uncertainty” Ploy

by Doug Porter 03.16.2015 Activism

By Doug Porter

A showdown is in the works over community input on plans by Civic San Diego to absorb neighborhoods beyond downtown for permitting and planning development projects. For the moment we’re talking about Encanto and City Heights. I doubt it will stop there.

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez has introduced legislation to clarify the ability of non-profit groups like Civic San Diego to perform permitting work for local governments, as it’s uncertain what legal authority in California law the organization has to approve building projects on behalf of the City of San Diego after redevelopment’s demise. Specifically AB504 calls for the City Council to have final say on projects.

The “uncertainty” defense is being rolled out on behalf of Civic San Diego (and the developers who love it) by former Mayor and Chamber of commerce CEO Jerry Sanders, along with Kris Michell, president and CEO of the Downtown San Diego Partnership by way of a commentary published earlier today by Voice of San Diego. Used with great success in previous campaigns to pull the wool over the eyes of San Diegans, this sort of effort is supposed to instill fear the local economy will be damaged if (fill-in-the-blank) happens.

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Thumbnail image for Have a Happy 3.14159265358979 Day (And Other News)

Have a Happy 3.14159265358979 Day (And Other News)

by Doug Porter 03.13.2015 Activism

By Doug Porter 

Yes indeedy. While some people are obsessing about Friday, the 13th, I’m busy getting ready to celebrate Pi Day. It is/was Albert Einstein’s birthday. And it’s a day that reminds me of how I struggled to get through what was then called “new” math. 

This year (2015) is a special year for Pi Day enthusiasts. In the mm : dd : yy format, the Pi Day, which is March, 14, ’15, will be written as, 3 – 14 – 15. These are the first 5 significant digits of Pi (3.1415). 

Lots of people use the day as an excuse to indulge in pies. One of the best places to celebrate would be Pie Town, New Mexico, an unincorporated area where US Route 60 crosses the continental divide. 

And, yes, there is some news to mull over… 

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Thumbnail image for Help Us Find San Diego’s Progressive History and Locales

Help Us Find San Diego’s Progressive History and Locales

by Staff 03.13.2015 Activism

By Staff    

A reader from Liverpool, England, wrote us recently requesting our help in finding “hidden gems of progressiveness and places of historical importance I should visit whilst I’m there.”

That request got us to thinking about how much local history we must be blissfully unaware of. So we’ve decided to create and continue to update a page where the local history of progressiveness and protest will come alive for visitors, students and locals.

We’d like your help in putting this together. You can leave us ideas in the comments section of this article or email us at contact@sandiegofreepress.org with the subject line Progressive San Diego. Many thanks!

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Thumbnail image for Caravan 43 to Travel Across the U.S.

Caravan 43 to Travel Across the U.S.

by At Large 03.12.2015 Activism

Events and actions to be held in San Diego on March 23 & 24

By Miguel Cid

On Tuesday March 10th at San Diego City College a press conference was held announcing the upcoming arrival of three caravans planned to begin travelling across the country, including one which will arrive in San Diego on March 23. All caravans will include students from Ayotzinapa and family members of some of the 43 normalistas that went missing from Guerrero, Mexico, this past September, with remains of all students except one yet to be found.

The arrival of one of the three caravans in San Diego on the 23rd will be the beginning of more than 45 cities in the U.S. that will be visited. The U.S. is also the first country outside of Mexico to call for action.

“One is the caravan Pacific that is going from San Diego to the Seattle. Then there is a caravan in the center of the country that is going from Texas up to Chicago. Then you have a caravan in the Atlantic coast that will travel up—and the three caravans will travel to Washington D.C. and end in New York,” said panel member and San Diego City College Professor Enrique Davalos.

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Thumbnail image for San Diego Spring: Activism Breaking Out All Over

San Diego Spring: Activism Breaking Out All Over

by Doug Porter 03.11.2015 Activism

By Doug Porter

You know it’s a slow news month when two non-stories (Eghazi & #47Traitors) seem to dominate news coverage. And, while I’ll get to those, the rise of activism in San Diego seems to be a more worthy story.

In the coming days and weeks protests, petitions and organized participation in public hearings for causes large and small are popping up all over town. It’s an amazing amount of activism for a non-electoral year and deserving of your attention.

Today I’ll try to provide as much information as possible about what’s happening. Some days I find myself compelled to write about what the media is (mostly) not covering.

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Thumbnail image for Activists Call on DA Dumanis to Act on Thousands of Petitions for Re-Sentencing Under Proposition 47 (Updated)

Activists Call on DA Dumanis to Act on Thousands of Petitions for Re-Sentencing Under Proposition 47 (Updated)

by At Large 03.11.2015 Activism

We were misled…

 

There was a story here claiming the County DA’s office was refusing to process petitions for re-sentencing under the provisions of Proposition 47, which reduced penalties for drug possession and other minor offenses.

We have since learned that the source for this assertion was, at best, exaggerating.

Since nothing ever truly goes away on the internet, we’ve left the headline up and hope to correct any false impressions that had been made.

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Thumbnail image for Law Could Add Hundreds of Thousands of People to Oregon’s Voter Roster

Law Could Add Hundreds of Thousands of People to Oregon’s Voter Roster

by Source 03.11.2015 Activism

By Meteor Blades / Daily Kos

The Oregon Senate passed a bill Thursday that could add 300,000 new voters to the state’s rolls right away and hundreds of thousands more in the future. Gov. Kate Brown, who introduced what supporters have labeled a first-of-its-kind bill last month when she was still secretary of state will, of course, sign it. The bill passed 17-13 along party lines with only one Democrat in opposition.

Colloquially called the “new motor voter” bill, it mandates the Oregon Department of Transportation to share with the secretary of state information on anyone who provides proof of residency, age and citizenship—all that is needed to register to vote.

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Thumbnail image for Pot Wars: Congress Moves to Enable Medical Marijuana, Local Dispensaries Fight to Open

Pot Wars: Congress Moves to Enable Medical Marijuana, Local Dispensaries Fight to Open

by Doug Porter 03.10.2015 Activism

By Doug Porter

After years of quibbling, San Diego finally got around to enacting regulations for medical marijuana dispensaries last year. The first such entity to clear those legal hoops is slated to open in Otay Mesa this month.

Other licenses under consideration are being stalled by appeals based on environmental regulations filed by would-be competitors. And one location scheduled for a hearing this week is facing an appeal based on the statement “Latinos don’t support this” coming from the San Ysidro Community Planning Group.

Meanwhile, in Washington DC a bi-partisan group of Senators are introducing legislation today that would amount to federal recognition of marijuana used for medical purposes.

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