Choosing Real Citizen-Led Advocacy to Preserve Carlsbad’s Open Space

Strawberry fields in Carlsbad, April 2010, closeup

By Richard Riehl / The Riehl World

After vowing never again to sign a petition, my wife and I are headed to Alga Norte Park to sign one. It’s our attempt to make up for foolishly falling for the pitch to support an initiative to “save the strawberry fields.” The man with the clipboard at my door claimed he was a member of a group of concerned citizens, rallying to save them.

A day later I learned how I had been sweet-talked into abandoning my skepticism of California’s bogus initiative campaigns. He was far from the public-spirited do-gooder he represented himself to be. The guy walking away with my signature was paid for its delivery to the developer who was rallying to bring a strip mall to the strawberry fields.   [Read more…]

San Diego’s Lowrider Women: Carolina’s Hopper

Carolina's Hopper

By Barbara Zaragoza / South Bay Compass

Two kinds of lowrider cars stand out: show cars and hoppers. Marisa Rosales and Jose Arevalo are good examples of lowriders who have worked for two decades to perfect their show cars.

Carolina Hernandez, on the other hand, is the lowrider with the hopper—a car whose front hood can bounce up in the air.

‘Hopping’ cars has been an art form since the 1960s. It wasn’t fully perfected, however, until the mid-1970s. Back in the day, they would put a beer can next to the car and if your car was able to hop higher than the beer can, you gained celebrity status among lowriders. Nowadays, when hoppers get together casually or at competitions such as Extreme Autofest, they can hop their cars up to eighty inches high.   [Read more…]

‘My Body, My Choice’ Is Not True for Women In Poverty, In Federal Employment, or In the Military

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By Susan Grigsby / Daily Kos

“My body, my choice” is a privilege for those whose insurance provides coverage for abortions (assuming that their employers don’t object), or who can afford to pay the expense out of pocket.That privilege doesn’t extend to women who receive Medicare or Children’s Healthcare Insurance Program benefits, the dependents of federal employees, dependents of military service members, Peace Corps volunteers, clients of Indian Health Service, and women in federal prisons, including immigration detention centers. As many as 20 million women are impacted not just by the 1976 Hyde Amendment (which has been reauthorized every year since), but by additional restrictions imposed by Congress in the early 1980s.   [Read more…]

Escondido’s Lyin’ King Sees Riches in the Safari Highlands Ranch Proposal

credit: Escondido Democrats

By Don Greene / Escondido Democrats

In one of the more poignant scenes in the movie, The Lion King, Musafa says to young Simba, “Look, Simba, everything the light touches is our kingdom.” It seems that we have a touch of that same attitude on our City Council. As Mayor Abed and the rest of the council majority look out to the east, you can almost hear him say the same thing.

Instead of birthrights and becoming King of the Animals, Abed speaks in our hypothetical of property rights and becoming King of the Developers. The land he looks over is the proposed Safari Highlands Ranch project, a 1084-acre land annexation and subsequent 550-home development, in unincorporated Escondido, just north and west of the San Diego Zoo’s Safari Park.

This project, and the means by which they intend to bring it to fruition, fits the S.O.P. of Abed and the council majority; they work the backroom deals with the developers and other agencies and put on a happy face with the public.   [Read more…]

Battle Lines Form in California Over Ambitious Climate Change Bills

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Big Oil Goes Into Big Lie Mode With Campaign

By Nadia Prupis / Common Dreams

California lawmakers are preparing to face off with the state’s powerful fossil fuel industry in a battle over two potentially groundbreaking climate change bills.

The more contentious legislation in question, the Clean Energy and Pollution Reduction Act of 2015 (SB350), would increase California’s share of electricity from renewable energy sources to 50 percent and reduce the state’s use of oil in half by 2030—the equivalent of removing 36 million cars and trucks from the roads over the next 15 years—through new technology and more efficient planning.

The second piece of legislation, the California Global Warming Solutions Act (SB32), would raise mandates for oil refineries and power companies, among other big polluters, to lower their greenhouse gas emissions.   [Read more…]

NLRB Ruling Could Be a Game Changer for Unions

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By Doug Porter

A Reagan-era standard allowing corporations to maintain an arms-length relationship with their workforces fell by the wayside yesterday as the National Labor Relations Board ruled in favor of the Teamsters in a dispute with California recycler Browning-Ferris Industries.

The bottom line here is that big companies may be held responsible for what goes on in the workplace. Organized labor is pleased with the decision. Wall Street isn’t. The actual ruling concerned the use of temporary employees. What people are reacting to are its game changing implications.

There are lots of poorly informed (meaning full of crap) analyses being passed off in various media accounts.  To use a baseball analogy, just because a team acquires a high performance player doesn’t mean they’ll have a winning season. Just ask the San Diego Padres.   [Read more…]

Welcome to TrumpLand: A Local Example of Bigotry USA! USA! Style

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By Doug Porter

I’ve been trying not to say too much about The Donald. He’s playing the media like a great violinist plays a Stradivarius. He says jump and the stenographers posing as journalists say “how high?”

I can no longer remain silent in the face of the hate-mongering coming from this public figure aimed at Latinos. He’s giving ammunition to assholes, and there are real consequences, even on the streets of San Diego.

When a well-known and respected public advocate can’t take his child to a park without being race baited, it’s time to stand up and say No More. And, yes, it is precisely the rhetoric favored by Donald Trump that’s encouraging an upswing in bigotry.   [Read more…]

SANDAG’s Transportation Plan is Stuck in Reverse

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By Hutton Marshall / SanDiego350.org

Climate change is a local issue that reaches every corner of the globe. Human activities, especially burning coal, oil and gas, are pumping heat-trapping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. More than any other time in human history, we’re seeing unlivable marine habitats, rising seas that threaten to subsume coastal societies, and, on land, increases in extreme weather including droughts, floods and severe storms. The changes are happening everywhere, but the effects are felt locally. And the solutions have to come from changes we make in every community.

At SanDiego350, a local nonprofit fighting climate change, we believe that San Diego is at an important crossroads where we must decide how we will reduce our contribution to Earth’s looming climate crisis.  Once a month in the San Diego Free Press we’ll discuss some of these issues, and how San Diegans can help address them.   [Read more…]

Women’s Equality Day: Celebrating the Success of Militant Protest

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The argument of the broken pane of glass is the most valuable argument in modern politics.–Mrs Emmeline Pankhurst

By Doug Porter

Women’s Equality Day (August 26th) marks anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, giving women the right to vote.

There are observances this week in San Diego, including a re-enactment of an early-century Suffrage march in Balboa Park.

Organizations including the League of Women Voters, the United Nations Women’s Equity Council, the Older Women’s League and others, will join members and supporters of the Women’s Museum at 5pm for a Rally on Thursday, (Aug 27th) at the Kate Sessions Statue, at the 6th Avenue end of the Cabrillo Bridge, followed by a parade across the bridge info the Organ Pavilion where the last free concert of the summer will be held at 6:30pm.

While this commemoration will be celebratory in nature, it’s important to remember, as Frederick Douglass once said, “Power never concedes nothing without a demand.” In many sanitized versions of US history, the struggle leading up to that victory is depicted as controversial only because women left their roles as wives and house-makers to protest. The reality of what transpired is considerably different.   [Read more…]

Women Lowriders in San Diego County: Marisa Rosales and The Hudson

Marisa's 1949 Hudson Brom dashboard

By Barbara Zaragoza / South Bay Compass

Lowriding is an art that also pushes car technology to the limits. Car Clubs members are like family and lowriders spend decades restoring cars to exactly how they looked and rode in the 1960s and 1970s.

Are there problems in the lowriding community? Yes, but probably not the ones you think. Lowriders, with their images of voluptuous girls on the front hoods, still remains a manly art form. Yes, nowadays diverse males from all ethnic and socio-economic groups join together in these car clubs, but they are still predominantly male. In San Diego County, Mayra Nuñez explains there are about seven women lowriders total, each in different car clubs.   [Read more…]

It’s Strike Three for San Diego Unified’s School Board President, But She’s Not Out

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By Doug Porter

San Diego Unified President Marne Foster was in the news over the past few days, and not in a positive light.

The State Attorney General’s office, according to a story in the Union-Tribune, is asking pointed questions about a fundraiser held last month to help pay off debt and college costs for her sons.

On August 19th, the San Diego Unified School District issued a response to a grand jury report on ethics questions concerning Foster, essentially telling the panel to “shove it.”

Mario Koran at Voice of San Diego posted a piece today on Foster, filling in the blanks on long standing allegations about her role in the firing of a highly ranked school principal who refused to go along with special privileges for the School Board Trustee’s son.   [Read more…]

San Diego Takes the Lead in Greenpeace Strike

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By Andrew J. Mackay and Bryan Kim

On August 5, 16 of 19 canvassers for Greenpeace in San Diego walked off the job. They were followed by a majority of the Sacramento office. 22 total employees of the Frontline program, Greenpeace’s in-house fundraising program, have had enough of labor policies that give them no job security.

The strike, led by two veteran canvassers in Socialist Alternative San Diego, comes against an organization that claims to be progressive. However, Greenpeace uses a quota system where even veteran fundraisers can be fired for missing quota two or three weeks consecutively. Senior workers bring in six or seven times their salary in recurring donations, yet are routinely fired. Morale is understandably very low. But choosing to resist, they have mobilized in defense of their jobs and dignity. Non-profits beware: the persuasive skills developed by your employees can be used against you. Instead of selling Greenpeace, organizers now sell the strike against it.   [Read more…]

Preserve Carlsbad Open Space the Right Way: Let Us Vote

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By Richard Riehl / The Riehl World

When it comes to air pollution, the Carlsbad City Council’s report on the Agua Hedionda Initiative, the “9212 Report,” reads a little like “close enough for guv’ment work.” When it comes to traffic congestion, it’s a developer’s faith-based initiative. But when it comes to the city’s projected $2.6 million a year tax revenue windfall it’s, “Whoopee, we’re gonna be rich!”

City staff took 2 ½ months to write the August 7 report. The Council and general public will have had 17 days to read and think about what’s in its 254 pages, and the 542 additional pages of supporting documents, before next Tuesday, August 25, when the Council will decide whether to approve the plan with no further review, put it on the ballot for voters to decide, or take more time to think it over.   [Read more…]

Campaign Zero: A ‘Blueprint for Ending Police Violence’

'We must end police violence so we can live and feel safe in this country,' Campaign Zero states on its website. (Photo: Basil-Malik/flickr/cc)

By Nadia Prupis / Common Dreams

On Friday, activists with the country’s growing racial justice movement unveiled a new campaign to end police violence, bridging protester demands with data and policy to create structural solutions to the crisis that has gripped national attention for more than a year.

Launched as an online manifesto with an interactive website, Campaign Zero proposes new federal, state, and local laws that would address police violence and reform the criminal justice system—including demilitarizing law enforcement, increasing community oversight, limiting use-of-force, and requiring independent investigation and prosecution of police violence cases.

“More than one thousand people are killed by police every year in America,” the group states on its website. “Nearly sixty percent of victims did not have a gun or were involved in activities that should not require police intervention such as harmless ‘quality of life’ behaviors or mental health crises.”   [Read more…]

Pardon the Interruption, Bernie: Why Black Lives Matter Is in Politics to Stay

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The criticism aimed at Marissa Johnson and Mara Willaford have ranged from the deeply piercing to the explicitly racist. But what they did was necessary, a welcome harbinger of more direct disruption.

Marcus Harrison Green / Yes! Magazine

“America is a racist nation. Look at this country’s true history. Look at its foundations. It was founded on the genocide of Native Americans and the continued enslavement of black Americans.”

A Black Lives Matter protester laid it out bare, raw, and unapologetic to me and the hundreds of others who stood shoulder to shoulder on the grassy courtyard of Seattle Central Community College. It was the day after Mara Willaford and Marissa Johnson engaged in a now-famous disruption at Bernie Sanders’ rally in Seattle, where the democratic presidential candidate was scheduled to speak in front of a largely (and seemingly) progressive white audience.

The criticism aimed at the two’s actions has ranged from the deeply piercing, to the contextually vapid, to the explicitly racist. The two women have had their lives scrutinized, religion questioned, and progressive values challenged.

All because they would not allow a white man to speak.   [Read more…]

The Hillary Question: Two Telling Tales

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By Doug Porter

Six months ago, most Democrats believed the upcoming presidential primary season would be little more than a warm-up for the coronation of Hillary Clinton as the party’s choice to face off against the GOP’s nominee.

A feisty Vermonter with wiry hair has upset the Democratic applecart. Today’s column will start off with two tales of Hillary, told with the hope of providing insight into the nature of her as a candidate. (Those hoping for a bashing session will have to wait for another day.)

I, for one, thought the early campaign months would be focused on the circular firing squad that has come to represent the Republican contest for the nomination. Fortunately, my stockpile of popcorn won’t go to waste.   [Read more…]

Stolen Pay, Stolen Lives: It’s Time to Beef Up Enforcement for Wage Theft in California

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By Doug Porter

On the eve of an assembly committee hearing, the California Fair Paycheck Coalition and the Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking (CAST) have released a new video showing the link between human trafficking and wage theft.

The state Senate has already passed SB 588, authored by Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León, enhancing the ability of the state labor commissioner to fight wage theft and help workers collect stolen pay.

Currently only 17% of workers receiving judgements for stolen wages are able to collect payment. Research indicates low-wage workers lose, on average, 12.5% of their annual income to wage theft.   [Read more…]

Freeps in the News: Jim Bliesner, Barbara Zaragoza, Jeeni Criscenzo

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By Anna Daniels

San Diego Free Press contributors are a diverse and talented group of individuals. It will be a busy weekend for three of them with the unveiling of Jim Bliesner‘s sculpture Cultural Fusion, Casa Familiar’s Abrazo Award for Barbara Zaragoza and An Evening of Provocative Poetry with Jeeni Criscenzo. These events follow upon last week’s screening of SDFP video- journalist Horacio Jones‘ short film “Wingin’ It” at the 48 Hour Film Project in San Diego.   [Read more…]

This New Federal Rule Will Bring Secretive Corporate Tax Breaks to Light

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Every year, governments spend tens of billions of dollars on tax breaks for private companies. Now, state and city governments will have to start reporting it as lost income.

By Puck Lo / Yes! Magazine

In 2013, Chicago’s Board of Education announced that due to a $1 billion deficit, the city was closing some 50 public schools. The same year, Mayor Rahm Emanuel gave more than $55 million in public tax money to build a new basketball arena and hotel. Many outraged students took to the streets to protest. Asean Johnson, nine years old at the time, was one of them.   [Read more…]

Area Legislators Return to Sacramento for a Final Push

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By Doug Porter

If you want to understand the issues at play in California politics, keep an eye on the last 20 working days of this year’s legislative session in Sacramento.

Bills will be debated, lobbied and amended. Some will face vetoes from the Governor.

San Diego’s delegation to the statehouse has done an impressive job in this session with several measures remaining to be voted on. Today we’ll take a look at some of the legislation, with an emphasis on our local legislators, up for consideration in the coming days.   [Read more…]

Ready for the Revolution? Clinton, Sanders, #BlackLivesMatter and Other Tales from the Campaign Trail

Photo by JeepersMedia

By Jim Miller

Last week, Hillary Clinton paid a visit to her base in San Diego at a breakfast fundraiser in the home of Qualcomm executive Irwin Jacobs, which was billed as “A Conversation with Hillary.” Clinton arrived in a motorcade with two San Diego police cars and entered through the back door.

Of course, to be part of the conversation, you had to drop $1,000 to $2,700, the maximum contribution for an individual allowed under federal law.

Indeed, the Clinton machine has been hauling in big bucks for months now and, as of early July, had raised $48 million and is well on the way to the $100 million goal the campaign has set for the end of this year with the lion’s share of that money, both in this cycle and over the course of her career coming from moneyed interests, from Wall Street to Silicon Valley.   [Read more…]

San Diego Free Press Celebrates!

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By Anna Daniels

The San Diego Free Press celebrated its third birthday on August 8 with a Galastravaganzaversary party at Border X Brewing. Wow–three years! It has been an astoundingly active year for this unique all volunteer operated San Diego media presence. Contributors and editors have provided another year of progressive views with a distinctly grassroots perspective on the topics of labor, the environment, immigration, criminal justice, politics and government.

Our approach–multi-media and multi-genre– reflects the talents and interests of our contributors. Video essays, personal narratives, cartoons and poetry are essential to the way that we present the people’s history. We take risks in terms of both the content provided and the format. The creative juices continue to flow; the vision of where we are headed is becoming more clearly delineated. Time for craft beer and a slice of galastravaganza cake!   [Read more…]