Columns

Thumbnail image for San Diego PD Stench Reaches Los Angeles

San Diego PD Stench Reaches Los Angeles

by Doug Porter 07.22.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

The status quo types around San Diego seem to think there’s nothing wrong with our police department’s enforcement methods, particularly when it comes to not-really-human types like strippers.

You haven’t seen our District Attorney or our City Attorney holding a press conference, promising to investigate the SDPD’s recent “enforcement raids.” Mayor Faulconer can’t be bothered by questions about violations of people’s constitutional rights.

 And the UT? Nothing to see here, folks… Just cops doing their jobs…

At least the Los Angeles Times editorial board knows an outrage when they see one.

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Thumbnail image for More Bare Facts About San Diego Government: How We Got From There to Here

More Bare Facts About San Diego Government: How We Got From There to Here

by Norma Damashek 07.22.2014 Columns

By Norma Damashek

Around this time last year San Diego’s former mayor Bob Filner was forced out of office.  As it happens, he was the first bona fide “strong mayor” our city has yet seen.

We voters had no choice but to wield our black markers once again and fill in the ballot bubble to select a new mayor.  The winner this time around was Mr. White Bread personified, Kevin Faulconer.

San Diego’s lead newspaper, the U-T, summed up the occasion in a neat sentence: “At least the day brought us one step further from our time of scandal and farce.”

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Thumbnail image for Welcome to Comic Con: Be Sure to Cover Your Ass

Welcome to Comic Con: Be Sure to Cover Your Ass

by Doug Porter 07.21.2014 Cartoons

By Doug Porter

The one of the largest collections of make-believe comes to San Diego this week, kicking off Wednesday night with Preview Night followed by four days of events running Thursday, July 24 through Sunday, July 27. More than 130,000  are expected for Comic Con 2014.

What should be a dream-come-true event for fans of the genres involved has turned out to be a nightmare in recent years as an institutional malaise about dealing with harassment issues has surfaced. Last year photographs of attendee derrieres were posted online after Comic-Con as some sort of sick tribute to the misogynist mentality that’s flourished in recent events in San Diego and other cities.

A group calling itself Geeks for CONsent is fighting back this year, circulating a petition aiming at getting Comic-Con International in San Diego (SDCC) to update its harassment policy. They’re asking for a “full harassment policy,” as well as anti-harassment signs and trained volunteers to deal with complaints.  

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Thumbnail image for After the Minimum Wage Win: The Battle Continues

After the Minimum Wage Win: The Battle Continues

by Jim Miller 07.21.2014 Business

By Jim Miller

San Diego’s progressive community got a well deserved shout-out last week in the national media with The Nation praising the good work of our city’s “expanding progressive base.”

More specifically, the article noted that the local movement to raise the minimum wage was comprised of many of the same folks who formed the community-labor alliance behind the David Alvarez mayoral campaign:

That coalition, Raise Up San Diego, includes the Center for Policy Initiatives as well as labor unions, immigrant rights groups and service providers. The campaign is endorsed by the San Diego LGBT Community Center, San Diego’s NAACP chapter and several other organizations and small businesses. Many of the groups had collaborated on issue work, elections and voter-turnout programs in the past . . . San Diego’s expanding immigrant community is just one indicator of the city’s transformation. Alongside its newfound diversity, the city has begun to shift politically, from reliably Republican to a more complicated patchwork of blue, red and purple.

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Thumbnail image for Looking Back at the Week at SDFP and OB Rag: July 13-19

Looking Back at the Week at SDFP and OB Rag: July 13-19

by Brent E. Beltrán 07.20.2014 Activism

Compiled by Brent E. Beltrán

Starting today San Diego Free Press will publish a new column every Sunday morning called Looking Back at the Week. This new column will feature links to articles from the previous week from SDFP and OB Rag’s regular and at-large contributors including Doug Porter, Frank Gormlie, Jim Miller, Ernie McCray, John Lawrence, Anna Daniels, Junco Canché, Brent E. Beltrán, and others. In case you missed their articles during the week this will be your chance to catch up on what they’ve been writing about.

This week’s edition features articles on the minimum wage increase, the Federal Reserve, immigration, DeMaio flush with Koch and Tea money, SDFP and OB Rag receiving awards, the OB community plan, two Junco toons, Jews speaking out against Gaza offensive, The Orphan of Zhao, Neighborhood House, and more.

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Thumbnail image for Creating a Better World with Children in Mind

Creating a Better World with Children in Mind

by Ernie McCray 07.20.2014 Books & Poetry

(Inspired by the Corner of Rhythm and Rhyme)

By Ernie McCray

I just spent a week doing a show at the San Diego International Fringe Festival called “On the Corner of Rhythm and Rhyme” with some of the most fabulous tap dancers anyone could ever find. This spoken word/dance piece was dedicated to the creation of a reality that
“appears to the mind to be of a gentler
more caring and loving kind…”
It was written in honor of children no matter where they reside on the planet. It entertains the idea of creating a world for them that is
“without arms,
worthy of their beauty
and their charm.”
The poem speaks to a society dancing On the Corner of Rhythm and Rhyme
“to the beat of a song,
a love song.”

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Thumbnail image for A History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Oscar and Rosita Torres

A History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Oscar and Rosita Torres

by Maria Garcia 07.19.2014 Culture

By Maria Garcia

Oscar is now 80 years old and yet his memories of Neighborhood House are as clear as if they had happened yesterday. Like other boys in his age bracket, board games, baseball and basketball and the field trips stand out his memory. He also credits Neighborhood House for being the “baby sitter” for him and his brothers and sisters. Both of his parents worked and Neighborhood House provided a place to spend the day in a safe environment.

Most non-school days he played at Neighborhood House from 8:00 in the morning until 9:00 at night. They would go home and eat dinner and return to continue playing outside until Neighborhood House closed.

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Thumbnail image for Jewish Voice for Peace San Diego Condemns the Israeli Offensive in Gaza

Jewish Voice for Peace San Diego Condemns the Israeli Offensive in Gaza

by Source 07.18.2014 Activism

By David Deutsch, Jonathan Graubart, and Avital Aboody, Jewish Voice for Peace, San Diego

Jewish Voice for Peace San Diego (JVPSD) is the local chapter of the national Jewish Voice for Peace, an organization devoted to the pursuit of peace, social justice, equality, and human rights in Israel-Palestine.

While most mainstream American Jewish organizations have long abandoned moral responsibility when it comes to Palestinians, we insist upon holding Israel accountable for its crimes, which include a nearly fifty-year occupation, a denial of Palestinian self-determination, repeated war crimes, and systematic human rights abuses.

We oppose Israel’s latest offensive on the Gaza Strip, labeled Operation “Protective Edge.” As of July 18th, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights released figures that estimated more than 80 per cent of the 260 Palestinian victims to have been killed so far were civilians. They also reported that a further 1,920 Palestinians had been wounded as a result of the conflict that began on July 8th.

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Thumbnail image for The Orphan of Zhao: “Who wants to be another man’s equal? … To be powerful, one must be feared”

The Orphan of Zhao: “Who wants to be another man’s equal? … To be powerful, one must be feared”

by Alejandra Enciso Guzmán 07.18.2014 Culture

The story of loyalty, family and revenge at the La Jolla Playhouse

By Alejandra Enciso Guzmán

The latest piece currently on stage at the La Jolla Playhouse Mandell Weiss Theatre is a co-production of The Orphan of Zhao, the first Chinese play to be translated in the West. This adaptation by James Fenton is directed by Carey Perloff in conjunction with the San Francisco based American Conservatory Theater.

I am always amazed by the La Jolla Playhouse. This effort to bring different and diverse works to the stage is something not just to admire — it is something to also be grateful for.

“Staging an ancient Chinese epic for a contemporary American audience is like building a bridge between distant but entwined cultures,” shared Carey Perloff in his Director’s note.

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Thumbnail image for Geo-Poetic Spaces:  Evacuations

Geo-Poetic Spaces: Evacuations

by Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes 07.18.2014 Books & Poetry

By Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes

When flashing lights
pound on soundly sleeping doors
ordering evacuations five minutes
to gather a few items
from a lifetime of belongings …

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Thumbnail image for DeMaio Campaign Lines Up at the Money Fountain for Both Koch and Tea

DeMaio Campaign Lines Up at the Money Fountain for Both Koch and Tea

by Doug Porter 07.17.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

Recent campaign finance reports reveal extensive financing from both Koch Brothers and Tea Party affiliates for Congressional candidate Carl DeMaio.

Incumbent (CA-52) Congressman Scott Peters campaign organization fired off a press release this morning calling attention to his opponents’ backers. 

“Clearly the Tea Party recognizes a kindred spirit in Carl DeMaio, which is why they’re investing so heavily in his candidacy,” said Alex Roth, communications director for the Peters campaign in the press release. “The question is what these groups will expect in return if DeMaio is elected to Congress.”

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Thumbnail image for The MinuteKlans Seek New Recruits

The MinuteKlans Seek New Recruits

by Junco Canché 07.17.2014 Cartoons
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Thumbnail image for San Diego’s Overlords Seek Overturn of City Council Vote Raising Minimum Wage

San Diego’s Overlords Seek Overturn of City Council Vote Raising Minimum Wage

by Doug Porter 07.16.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

Business interests opposed to raising the minimum wage in San Diego haven’t given up, despite a 6-3 city council vote on Monday approving an ordinance boosting wages for an estimated 172,000 workers.

Yesterday they launched a major public relations campaign seeking to portray the council vote as undemocratic and unfair to their interests. In closed door meetings led by Chamber of Commerce CEO Jerry Sanders, so-called business leaders are considering the logistics of mounting a signature gathering campaign to place an initiative on the ballot seeking to overturn the minimum wage increase.

Although meeting the August 8th deadline for inclusion on the November 2014 ballot is unlikely, a successful campaign completed by year’s end would have the effect of suspending the city council ordinance until such time as a vote could be taken. The next scheduled election is in June 2016.

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Thumbnail image for Feeling Hawaii

Feeling Hawaii

by Ernie McCray 07.16.2014 Columns

 By Ernie McCray

I’ve been to the islands of Hawaii four times, thoroughly enjoying the unparalleled beauty each time. How can one not?

Maui. The Hana Highway. The howling trade winds, the sudden rains, the rainbow eucalyptus, with its bright green inner bark and blue, purple, orange and maroon tones. The wonders of the Seven Sacred Pools…

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Thumbnail image for San Diego Becomes Largest US City to Pass Minimum Wage Hike and Earned Sick Days Policy

San Diego Becomes Largest US City to Pass Minimum Wage Hike and Earned Sick Days Policy

by Doug Porter 07.15.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

Supporters of a hike in local minimum wages left nothing to chance yesterday as a city council decision on a proposal by Todd Gloria neared. Over 400 hundred people showed up at city hall for a 6pm hearing, filling the council chambers and two overflow rooms. Many wore pink signs indicating their support.

Email and social media reminders abounded during the day, including a mid-day Raise Up San Diego-led “Twitterstorm.” More than 100 people testified before the council. Highlights included former basketball star Bill Walton standing up in favor of the measure and United Foodservice and Commercial Workers’ Mickey Kasparian giving an impassioned speech.

In the end, the City Council did the right thing, voting 6-3 to enact by ordinance a minimum wage hike, with raises in three stages effective January, 2015. This means the measure will not be placed before the voters in November.

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Thumbnail image for Does the Federal Reserve Print Money?

Does the Federal Reserve Print Money?

by John Lawrence 07.15.2014 Economy

The Federal Reserve is America’s Central Bank

By John Lawrence

The Fed doesn’t actually “print” money in the sense of ink on paper hundred dollar bills. But what it can do is create money with a few keystrokes on a computer.

Money so created is called “fiat money” since it’s not backed by gold or anything else. The Fed currently prints the money to purchase $40 billion in mortgage backed securities and $45 billion in government bonds each month. The rationale for doing this is that it keeps interest rates low which is thought to be necessary to keep the economy humming.

Before the financial crisis of 2008-09, the Fed managed to keep interest rates low by adjusting the interest rate at which banks borrow overnight. But after the financial crisis, the Fed needed a more robust policy which is called Quantitative Easing or QE. This policy is mainly a giveaway to the big Wall Street banks to augment their reserves. The lack of sufficient reserves is thought to have been the problem that caused the financial crisis.

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Thumbnail image for Darrell Issa Leads the GOP Charge to Exploit Refugee Children

Darrell Issa Leads the GOP Charge to Exploit Refugee Children

by Doug Porter 07.14.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

San Diego Congressman Darrel Issa has never been accused of being camera shy. Since taking over as chairman of the House Oversight Committee in 2011 he’s done his best to to keep the media fixated through a series of open-ended investigations: Solyndra, Fast & Furious, the IRS, and Benghazi.

Since immigrant children being subpoenaed to testify wouldn’t provide much in the way of good optics-what if they cried?–, Issa’s tackling the current humanitarian crisis at the border with bluster and bloviating.

Along with three resolutions that could trigger civil actions against the Obama administration for its decision to ignore laws passed by Congress on issues related to immigration, Obamacare and welfare, he’s joined with other California Republicans in introducing legislation (HR5079) allowing for  the accelerated deportation of unaccompanied children to countries that do not share a direct border with the United States.

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Thumbnail image for What Kind of City Are We? It’s Time to Raise the Minimum Wage

What Kind of City Are We? It’s Time to Raise the Minimum Wage

by Jim Miller 07.14.2014 Business

“The bottom line is that the minimum wage in 2013 is far less now than it was in 1968 despite the economy’s productivity more than doubling, and low-wage workers attaining far more education.”Economic Policy Institute

By Jim Miller

The San Diego City Council will consider today whether to pass an ordinance or put forth a ballot measure to increase the city’s minimum wage and provide earned sick days for local workers. Since the last time I wrote on this subject in late April, the original proposal of raising the minimum wage to the local Self-Sufficiency Standard of $13.09 with five earned sick days has been significantly lowered in order to address the concerns of opponents.

The current proposal keeps the initial five earned sick days but now only raises the minimum wage to $9.75 in 2015 and $10.50 in 2016 before stopping at $11.50 in 2017 and indexing it to inflation after January of 2019.

Thus, despite the fact that the original proposal fell short of the landmark $15 an hour passed in Seattle and being fought for elsewhere around the country, the City Council still bent over backwards to appease the fears of those clamoring that any increase in the minimum wage would spell disaster for small businesses and the local economy. And they did this even though the preponderance of evidence shows that minimum wage increases elsewhere have actually helped the economy.

The response to this compromise from the Chamber of Commerce and company was to essentially flip the Council the bird and reaffirm their opposition to any measure that moves beyond the state’s minimum wage.

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Thumbnail image for San Diego Free Press and OB Rag Bring Home Four Awards in Society of Professional Journalists Competition

San Diego Free Press and OB Rag Bring Home Four Awards in Society of Professional Journalists Competition

by Staff 07.14.2014 Culture

Recognition of writers Doug Porter, John Lawrence, Anna Daniels and Frank Gormlie

By Staff

On July 10 the the San Diego Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) held its annual journalism awards banquet at Bali Hai on Shelter Island. The names of all of the winners of the competition had been released in June. The list included San Diego Free Press editors Doug Porter, Anna Daniels and weekly contributor John Lawrence and Frank Gormlie, editor of our sister publication the OB Rag. First, second and third place winners would be announced at the banquet as well as the Journalist of the Year award.

Eight of us, representing the San Diego Free Press and the OB Rag, enjoyed a dinner on the bay against the backdrop of the city skyline and a rising, almost full moon.

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Thumbnail image for Teachable Moments: Grappling with Immigration as a Reflection of Ourselves

Teachable Moments: Grappling with Immigration as a Reflection of Ourselves

by Source 07.13.2014 Editor's Picks

These immigrant children and their families are us, and how we respond to them is a reflection of who we are as a society

By Michael Cheno Wickert

One does not need to sleep on dirt floors or live life constantly looking over a shoulder to understand why masses of people would want a better life. There is no requirement that a person must witness murder and mayhem to desire a more stable and safe environment in which to raise a family. Nowhere is it written that a person must personally experience the most extreme difficulties in life to practice compassion.

Yet, the arrival of tens of thousands of children and partial families from Central America has brought this to the forefront of our lives. In the past weeks we have seen the images and heard the stories of the most desperate, and often most vulnerable, people making the trek to the United States with hope for a reprieve from the chaos of their lives. Fortunately, more and more individuals and organizations are stepping up to help.

As an American, I am proud of everyone who has made an effort to bring some comfort and solace to the migrants who risked so much and were met with such resistance upon arrival here. I am also proud of those who practice acts of kindness in large and small ways, and who see these individuals in human terms, not as some abstract idea that can be ignored or turned off.

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Thumbnail image for Film Critic Kim Jong-un Gives The Interview a Bad Review

Film Critic Kim Jong-un Gives The Interview a Bad Review

by Junco Canché 07.13.2014 Cartoons
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Thumbnail image for A History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Mary and Helen Marston

A History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Mary and Helen Marston

by Maria Garcia 07.12.2014 Culture

The Marston family history is synonymous with the history of San Diego. Volumes have been written about their philanthropy and their contributions to the history of San Diego. For those of us that grew up in San Diego, we remember the Marston Department Store. My biggest memory of the department store is of the escalator and the smell of perfume.

I am sure we never bought one thing there. Despite her fear of escalators, my mother would take us there for the express purpose of riding the escalator. It was our simple version of the “E” ride at Disneyland. We would walk around the store, go up to the second floor and ride the escalator down with that beautiful smell greeting us at about the halfway point. In my mind the “Marston” name and “rich” are one and the same.

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Thumbnail image for Carl DeMaio’s Solutions for the Border Refugee Crisis? “Send ‘em Home” and “Send Me Money”

Carl DeMaio’s Solutions for the Border Refugee Crisis? “Send ‘em Home” and “Send Me Money”

by Doug Porter 07.11.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

Reasonable voices are making themselves heard over the rabble clamoring for a quick and dirty solution to the Central American refugee crisis. Carl DeMaio, who’s running for San Diego’s 52nd Congressional seat, isn’t one of them.

The failed mayoral candidate and former city councilman has posted a “Secure Our Borders Now” petition on Facebook. You’re supposed to think that by signing this appeal the gov’t will know that you support “ ensuring the United States remains secure from the threat of drugs, guns, and criminals coming through our borders.” Fill out the form, hit send, and voila! Carl’s donation page appears, while your plea goes into a virtual dumpster.

It took some effort but Voice of San Diego’s Scott Lewis got DeMaio’s actual position (beyond weasel words) on this issue: “Send them home. Don’t give them hearings for asylum. Don’t screen them to ensure they’re not being trafficked.”

I suppose we can now add “send me money” to that list.

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Thumbnail image for How Government Begets Government

How Government Begets Government

by Norma Damashek 07.11.2014 Columns

By Norma Damashek

As I stated last time, bare facts come in many shapes and sizes.  So do governments.

Today we’ll uncover some basic facts about how government begets government.  Don’t be surprised at how many partners are needed for the act.  Your role is just to follow the bouncing ball.

The first bounce is on the Declaration of Independence – the pugnacious pronouncement signed by 56 residents of Britain’s 13 American colonies, dated July 4, 1776, proclaiming: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men…” 

Now bounce ahead to 1789, landing on a polished gem called the preamble of the United States Constitution“We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

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Thumbnail image for Geo-Poetic Spaces: The Neue Wache, Germany’s Tomb to the Unknown Victims of War

Geo-Poetic Spaces: The Neue Wache, Germany’s Tomb to the Unknown Victims of War

by Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes 07.11.2014 Books & Poetry

By Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes

Beneath heaven’s open eye
a mother cradles her dying son

Ashes of sun snow
rain on exposed statue
eroding definition
identity …

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