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Thumbnail image for The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Dancers and Dancing

The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Dancers and Dancing

by Maria E. Garcia 04.18.2015 Arts

Emma Lopez, Nachita Hernandez–and Rita Hayworth!

By Maria E. Garcia

Dancing lessons and dancing have been a focus at Neighborhood House since the early days. As stated in previous articles the dancers often performed at fund raisers held at the Marston House. The most memorable show from the early years was when they performed at the reception held for Jane Addams, founder of Hull House and a noted social worker. In those days they also performed in Balboa Park and at the Presido. Dance productions gave the entertainers from Logan Heights the opportunity to visit other parts of the city as well as for the members of the majority community to see the talent the dancers from Neighborhood House.

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Thumbnail image for San Diego’s Family Jewels Losing Their Luster

San Diego’s Family Jewels Losing Their Luster

by Doug Porter 04.17.2015 Business

By Doug Porter

It’s been a bad week for cherished institutions in America’s Finest City. Our blessed football team, our world famous zoo, our info-tainment water park, and the mayor’s Hope Diamond of re-development all find themselves in trouble of one sort or another.

You might even say business as usual is getting unusual for San Diego. While a few instances of bad news do not constitute an omen of fundamental change, there’s reasons to believe we have not seen the end of these wannabe sordid sagas.

Then there are the shenanigans taking place in the electoral arena. Jacquie Atkinson is challenging Rep. Scott Peters. Supervisor Dave Roberts is in some kind of trouble. And those pesky House Republicans are after funding studying climate change, Again.

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Thumbnail image for Civic San Diego Public Records Request Filled with Redactions and Few Revelations

Civic San Diego Public Records Request Filled with Redactions and Few Revelations

by Anna Daniels 04.17.2015 Activism

An open letter to the Civic San Diego Board of Directors about New Market Tax Credit application

By Anna Daniels

What’s going on at Civic San Diego, the non-profit entity that has become the new model for redevelopment? On April 10, a legal complaint was filed by the San Diego County Building and Construction Trades Council and Dr. Murtaza Baxamusa, a CivicSD Boardmember. It was made available in its entirety at the San Diego Free Press.

On April 16 the Voice of San Diego published an opinion piece “Time to Shine a Harsh Spotlight on Civic San Diego” by former City Councilmember and current open government advocate Donna Frye. Frye refers in her article to the under- reported resignations of Cynthia Morgan, Civic’s Treasurer and CFO/COO Andrew Phillips. “I’m not sure what prompted the resignations of Phillips and Morgan, but it can’t be a good sign. It will be interesting to see who the mayor appoints, and the City Council confirms, to fill the vacancy left by Morgan, and who the new CFO/COO will be and how quickly that happens.”

On April 10 I sent an email to Jeff Gattas, chairman of the board of CivicSD, detailing my own concerns about the information that I had received from a public records request.

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Thumbnail image for Playwright Paul S. Flores’ PLACAS: The Most Dangerous Tattoo is Coming to San Diego

Playwright Paul S. Flores’ PLACAS: The Most Dangerous Tattoo is Coming to San Diego

by Brent E. Beltrán 04.17.2015 Books & Poetry

Part Two of a Two Part Interview with the Former Chula Vistan and UCSD Student

By Brent E. Beltrán

For Part I of the interview please visit.

In this second installment of my two part interview with playwright Paul S. Flores he discusses the founding of Los Delicados, what poetry means to him, his novel Along The Border Lies, what attracted him to theatre, his play PLACAS: The Most Dangerous Tattoo, the casting of Culture Clash’s Ric Salinas in the lead role, the outreach for the play, him being named a Doris Duke Artist, and what advice he’d give to fledgling minority writers.

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Thumbnail image for Super Sized #Fightfor15 Protests, Value Meal Press Coverage

Super Sized #Fightfor15 Protests, Value Meal Press Coverage

by Doug Porter 04.16.2015 Activism

By Doug Porter 

I spent most of yesterday traveling around San Diego with roughly three dozen fast food workers. The local version of the nationwide Fight for 15 movement made a statement at ten locations around town, taking to the streets both in North Park and downtown. 

The mostly brown and black workers on the bus were those who’d committed to taking a day off from work (there were others that came and went) to let the world know they wanted a better life. Two were older, having spent more than two decades in the business. Some had families to support. Some brought their kids along. Others were trying to go to community college on a fast food paycheck. All of them believed they could make a difference, even if they were just paying it forward. 

Many of these strikers shared their personal stories with TV and radio station reporters along the way. Some spoke up at the rally capping off the day. But the real story was the amazing level of grit and determination. There was a strong consciousness of this day being about larger issues motivating them as much if not more than their own personal dilemmas. 

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Thumbnail image for Playwright Paul S. Flores Brings PLACAS to San Diego

Playwright Paul S. Flores Brings PLACAS to San Diego

by Brent E. Beltrán 04.16.2015 Books & Poetry

Part One of a Two Part Interview with the Former Chula Vistan and UCSD Student

By Brent E. Beltrán

Writer Paul S. Flores grew up in Chula Vista and attended UCSD. He moved to San Francisco to pursue his Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. While there he immersed himself in the Bay Area arts/activist scene, helped found Youth Speaks, co-founded the irreverent poetry troupe Los Delicados, wrote an award winning novel, Along The Border Lies, wrote and performed his original plays, had children, and was recently named a Doris Duke Artist. His play PLACAS: The Most Dangerous Tattoo is touring California with a stop in San Diego April 23-25.

I met Paul, along with his Delicado compatriots, at a Floricanto Festival in San Jose in 1999 while publisher of the grassroots literary publishing house Calaca Press. In 2000, Calaca Press produced the spoken word CD anthology, Raza Spoken Here 2, which featured their poem Presente! In 2001 Calaca released their full length CD, Word Descarga. Since then Paul has gone on to do some tremendous literary work.

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Thumbnail image for Eduardo Galeano 1940-2015

Eduardo Galeano 1940-2015

by Eric J. Garcia 04.16.2015 Cartoons
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Thumbnail image for On Equal Pay Day (and Every Other Day) Trickle-Down Continues to Fail

On Equal Pay Day (and Every Other Day) Trickle-Down Continues to Fail

by Doug Porter 04.14.2015 Activism

By Doug Porter

The second Tuesday in April marks the observance of Equal Pay Day. This calendar date hypothetically represents the length of time past New Years’ Day many women must work at the same job in order to match what men make in a year.

The day is a symbolic means of illustrating the differences in pay existing throughout the economy based on gender, despite legislative actions aimed a rectifying the problem dating back to 1869.  The National Committee on Pay Equity offers up a variety of programs for addressing inequities tied to gender.

This pay gap is one important part of a much larger picture of discrimination and inequality rampant in the Millennial Gilded Age.

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Thumbnail image for This is for…

This is for…

by Brent E. Beltrán 04.14.2015 Books & Poetry

By Brent E. Beltrán

This is for those that came before
The ones that paved the way
Blazed the trail
And beat the path

This is for he, she
You, me
Everybody in this neighborhood
         We

This is for the park builders
The pillar painters
Sculpture makers
Cactus garden caretakers

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Thumbnail image for Civic San Diego – Like a Hole in the Head

Civic San Diego – Like a Hole in the Head

by Norma Damashek 04.14.2015 Columns

By Norma Damashek

We need it like a loch im kopf.  A hole in the head.  It’s what people in the old days would say about a bad situation.  It’s what I say about Civic San Diego –the reincarnation of our former downtown redevelopment agency.

We need Civic San Diego like a hole in the head.  It’s time to get rid of it.

A quick backtrack:  It’s been three years since redevelopment agencies throughout California were terminated and instructed to wind downtheir uncompleted redevelopment projects and make good on their financial obligations.  Other cities complied by doing the job in-house, under public supervision.

Not so in San Diego.  To take care of the job in our city, former mayor Jerry Sanders created an unaccountable, autonomous corporation named Civic San Diego.

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Thumbnail image for Buy Now Pay Later: How San Diego School Districts Were Hoodwinked by Wall Street

Buy Now Pay Later: How San Diego School Districts Were Hoodwinked by Wall Street

by John Lawrence 04.14.2015 Business

By John Lawrence

In 2009 then Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law AB 1388 which eliminated prudent controls over how much debt school districts could enter into. Wall Street bankers then swarmed all over the state promoting Capital Appreciation Bonds (CABs), the equivalent of payday loans for school districts.

One fantastic advantage of these loans was the “buy now, pay later” aspect. School districts could get their money now and not have to raise taxes on current residents. Easy money. There would not have to be any payments made for 20 years. Current residents would be off the hook. But their children and grandchildren would enter an era of crushing debt when the bill became due.

And Wall Street is patient, very patient.

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Thumbnail image for Let’s Make History: Going All In for $15 on April 15th

Let’s Make History: Going All In for $15 on April 15th

by Doug Porter 04.13.2015 Activism

By Doug Porter

What started out as protests against wages paid to workers in fast food restaurants in a few big cities has become a nationwide movement, encompassing retail, home care, security, child care, and airport workers, along with adjunct college professors.

On Wednesday, April 15th, while much of the traditional news media is camped outside post offices trying to interview the vanishing breed of Luddites using snail mail to file their taxes, these modern-day fighters for fair wages will be protesting in over 200 cities nationwide.

As was true with the civil rights movement of the 20th century, an increasing number of persons of conscience are joining in with those brave enough to challenge an injustice.If you’re aware of the ever-increasing level of economic inequality and sick of the system that primarily rewards those at top, this is an opportunity to spend a few hours doing something more than tsk-tsking at articles posted in social media.

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Thumbnail image for Teachers and Students Fight for 15

Teachers and Students Fight for 15

by Jim Miller 04.13.2015 Activism

By Jim Miller

Last February, in the lead up to the National Adjunct Day of Action, I noted in this column that, “most colleges in America run on the backs of adjunct instructors who don’t receive the same pay for the same work as do the shrinking pool of full-time faculty” and that the “Exploitation of contingent labor is not just a problem for employees at Starbucks, Walmart, and fast food chains where workers are fighting for $15 an hour; it is an epidemic in the academy as well.”

During that day of protest, Fight for 15 organizers stood with us and this week, on 4/15 at 4 PM at Scripps Cottage on San Diego State University’s campus, we will stand with them as teachers and students from across the city will come together with workers, community activists, people of faith, and others to call for basic fairness and economic justice for all working people.

In doing so we will be joining a movement that has taken root across the county.

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Thumbnail image for Conversations at the Catfish Club: The Answer is Love

Conversations at the Catfish Club: The Answer is Love

by Ernie McCray 04.13.2015 Columns

By Ernie McCray

I sat at a Catfish Club luncheon the other day listening to Leon Williams and Reverend George Walker Smith converse about days of yore and their thoughts about today’s world.

Leon was the first black to hold a seat with the San Diego City Council and the San Diego County Board of Supervisors.

He spoke of the moments in time when he was into making our city and county governments more inclusive and more service oriented and more respectful of citizens. He touched on the area’s redevelopment movement when neglected communities started getting the attention they deserved and needed and had gone without forever.

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Thumbnail image for Looking Back at the Week: April 5-11

Looking Back at the Week: April 5-11

by Brent E. Beltrán 04.12.2015 Looking Back at the Week

Compiled by Brent E. Beltrán

This week’s edition of Looking Back at the Week features articles, toons and poetry by San Diego Free Press and OB Rag regulars, irregulars, columnists, at-large contributors, sourced writers and poets on right wing bigots, Todd Gloria’s next race, police murder in SC, TPP, Russian roulette with water, Chavez photo murals, Extreme Weather Watch, Alliance SD supporting president on immigrants, Mexicali Chinese, plus lots of goodies from OB and literature for National Poetry Month.

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Thumbnail image for The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights:  Girls Play Ball!

The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Girls Play Ball!

by Maria E. Garcia 04.11.2015 History of Neighborhood House

Part II of Americanization through Baseball

By Maria E. Garcia

Newspaper articles in the 1940s and later indicate that at times a girls softball game was played prior to the boys games. This was almost always done as a way of enticing more people to attend the game. It is unclear whether attendance was to the benefit of the girls playing prior to the boy’s game, or if the boys team attendance benefited by playing after the girls.

From time to time the girls team would play against the boys team to add to the enjoyment of the game and to increase attendance. In some ways the early girls teams were a novelty to the general public, and yet, taken very seriously by the girls playing the game.

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Thumbnail image for Origins of Islamophobia

Origins of Islamophobia

by Eric J. Garcia 04.11.2015 Cartoons
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Thumbnail image for Playing Russian Roulette With California’s Water Supply

Playing Russian Roulette With California’s Water Supply

by Doug Porter 04.10.2015 Columns

By Doug Porter

The intensity of the Blame Game is ratcheting up as California reels from the impact of a multi-year drought and the outline of a statewide plan to deal with it emerges. Today we’ll wander through some of the news coverage from around the state, ending up with ideas under discussion that go beyond the current planning.

Draft rules by the State Water Resources Board released on Tuesday place the heaviest conservation burden on cities and towns with the highest rates of per-capita water consumption. The San Diego County Water Authority says these rules are unfair to areas that have already instituted policies aimed at reducing use and increasing supplies.

As things stand now, State water officials will announce specific conservation regulations May 5th, and with implementation set for June 1st. Local agencies supplied by the Water Authority would have to cut back 20% to 35% percent under the proposed restrictions.

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Thumbnail image for Geo-Poetic Spaces: My Uncle’s Cigar

Geo-Poetic Spaces: My Uncle’s Cigar

by Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes 04.10.2015 Books & Poetry

By Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes

Cigar smoke
blows my Uncle’s Cessna
over the Andes
home
where he strikes a match
lights another Habana

Hand rolled tobacco leaves
crackling
into an amiable glow:

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Thumbnail image for Fight215.org Coalition Launches to Amplify Opposition to the NSA’s Mass Surveillance

Fight215.org Coalition Launches to Amplify Opposition to the NSA’s Mass Surveillance

by Source 04.10.2015 Activism

By Nadia Kayyali / Deep Links Blog

A coalition of 34 organizations from across the political spectrum is launching Fight215.org today to help concerned individuals contact lawmakers and demand an end to NSA’s unconstitutional mass surveillance under the Patriot Act.

The launch coincides with the countdown to the expiration of Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which the NSA claims justifies bulk collection of the phone records of millions of innocent people.

The 34 groups and companies joining Fight215 (see a full list at the bottom of this post) have come together to send a clear message: the politics of fear doesn’t trump the Constitution. The unconstitutional bulk collection of phone records must end now.

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Thumbnail image for Police Body Cameras: The Lessons of Albuquerque

Police Body Cameras: The Lessons of Albuquerque

by Source 04.10.2015 Courts, Justice

By Jay Stanley / ACLU Blog of Rights

Police body-worn cameras are a subject about which many people have differing intuitions. Some activists tell us they worry we are mistaken in conditionally supporting the technology; that it will become a tool for increasingly police power, but not oversight. Others point to situations in which the cameras have been crucial in bringing justice—or at least in exposing injustice. In light of such debates, the troubled police department in Albuquerque provides an interesting case study.

The Albuquerque department has been the subject of a Justice Department investigation, which found in a damning report that “Albuquerque police officers often use deadly force in circumstances where there is no imminent threat of death or serious bodily harm to officers or others,” and often used unnecessary less-than-lethal force “without regard for the subject’s safety or the level of threat encountered.” At the same time, the Albuquerque police department actually uses body cameras, which were adopted in 2012 in the wake of controversy over police shootings, along with a requirement that officers use them to document civilian encounters.

However, the cameras have hardly proven to be a solution to the department’s problems.

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Thumbnail image for Fast Tracking the Trans Pacific Partnership: An Offer Congress Ought to Refuse

Fast Tracking the Trans Pacific Partnership: An Offer Congress Ought to Refuse

by Doug Porter 04.09.2015 Activism

By Doug Porter

Over the next few weeks there will be a barrage of opinion on a complicated subject: the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), a deal in the making between pacific rim nations effectively setting the ground rules for most international trade in the 21st century.

Please, don’t let your eyes glaze over. This is important. Congress is about to be asked to grant the executive branch the authority to present the final version of this agreement on a take it or leave it basis. I believe this deal rewards corporate greed and ignores its role in creating inequality.

Today I’ll try my best to present a primer on the battle already underway. There will be international, national and local events concerning the TPP in the coming days. Your personal economic future is what’s at stake.

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Thumbnail image for Photo Murals Honoring Cesar Chavez Installed in Barrio Logan

Photo Murals Honoring Cesar Chavez Installed in Barrio Logan

by Brent E. Beltrán 04.09.2015 Desde la Logan

What could have been an ugly structure will now become an important part of the community

By Brent E. Beltrán

This week photo murals depicting late labor leader Cesar Chavez have gone up on a new parking structure in Barrio Logan. The structure, located on the corner of Cesar Chavez Parkway and National Avenue, will be fitted with eight different photo murals “reflecting and honoring the life and work” of the United Farmworker co-founder.

Carlos LeGerrette, activist, photographer and originator of the Cesar Chavez Service Clubs, was instrumental in making the photo murals a reality through his historic and extensive photo collection of Cesar Chavez and the UFW.

“We worked with LeGerrette and other community members through a series of collaborative meetings to determine which images of Cesar Chavez should be displayed on the facility,” said Rudy Kastelic, Interim President at San Diego Continuing Education. “We have been serving the Barrio Logan community since the 70s and we’ve had ‘good neighbor’ relationships with Barrio Station, Cesar Chavez Service Clubs and other organizations in the community that we wanted to include in our building process.”

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Thumbnail image for Martinez School Board Member Feels the Heat

Martinez School Board Member Feels the Heat

by Junco Canché 04.09.2015 Cartoons
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Thumbnail image for Another Day, Another Black Human Becomes a Hashtag: Video Shows Cop Shooting SC Man in the Back

Another Day, Another Black Human Becomes a Hashtag: Video Shows Cop Shooting SC Man in the Back

by Doug Porter 04.08.2015 Columns

By Doug Porter

In the thirty-one days following release of the White House Task Force on 21st Century Policing report, an average of three people per day were killed by police in the United States, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.

South Carolina Officer Michael Thomas Slager was charged with first-degree murder for the shooting death of Walter Scott yesterday after a video surfaced showing him firing eight shots into the back of a fleeing, unarmed man. The cop was white. The dead man was black. The incident started with a traffic stop for a broken tail light.

Initial news coverage based on police reports said “the dead man fought with an officer over his Taser before deadly force was employed.” For two days he and the North Charleston police were apparently unaware that a video of the entire incident existed. An all-too-familiar script was followed by both department and the local news media.

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