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…]

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…]

But First …

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Living with ADHD in a distractive world

By Jeeni Criscenzo

I was surprised at the number of comments made to a recent post I put on Facebook about Attention Deficient Disorder with a photo of my desk that included such strange things as a small brown egg and a ½” diamond drill bit. It seems that my incessant state of distraction is a common problem in people my age (aka Seniors).

One person informed me that there is such a thing as Age-Activation Attention Deficit Disorder – AAADD ! Another linked to a comical video about a woman who went from one task to another without getting anything accomplished.

I didn’t laugh. When you have spent your life dealing with an inability to focus alternating with hyper-focusing, both to the detriment of yourself and everyone around you, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) isn’t very funny.   [Read more…]

Privatizing Pensions and Idolizing Profit in the 21st Century

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By Doug Porter

Los Angeles Times columnist Michael Hiltzik has been on a tear recently, rolling out essays challenging the validity of claims made by those who claim privatizing retirement is the way of the future.

At the core of these conservative/libertarian arguments against public support for defined pensions is a fundamental belief in the supremacy of the “market” as a force in society. 

The problem with this viewpoint comes when actual results for those programs participants are measured. The market has no obligation other than profit, which is only guaranteed for those managing the transactions.   [Read more…]

The Day Nancy and I Got Together

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By Ernie McCray

I’ve been thinking about my dearly departed Nancy with August 23rd a day away as I write. It was on that day, in 1975, forty years ago, that I moved in with her, in her little apartment on 24th and Russ, next to Golden Hill Park.

So I find myself celebrating that day, in my thoughts, remembering with a little quiver, what I had to do to start a life with her: break another woman’s heart, my wife, a woman I loved. If I regret anything in life it’s causing her such misery and pain.

But, especially when I look back on it, I was following my destiny, the dictates of my soul, wherein I knew as instinctively as I breathed, that I had no choice, in the cosmos, but to be with Nancy, that the two of us were soul-mates, destined to be together as the stars are meant to be aligned in the sky.   [Read more…]

Tyranny of the Majority: The American Winner Take All System

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No wonder that, among the 21 democracies in Western Europe and North America, the United States is next to last in voter turn-out…

By John Lawrence

A lot of people these days are concerned with getting the money out of politics. That’s an admirable goal, but it doesn’t solve the problem that’s built right into the American political system: a voting system in which the majority rules and there is no minority representation because the winner takes all. At every level the US is divided up into districts whether its state assembly and senatorial districts, US Congressional districts, San Diego city council districts or what have you. Citizens in a particular district can only vote for one candidate and the candidate with the most votes wins in that district.

Even states can be considered voting districts and in each state you can vote for two US Senators, just not at the same time. If there are candidates you like outside of your district, you have no democratic decision making process with which to vote for them. For example, I can’t vote for Bernie Sanders for Senator because I’m not a resident of Vermont. Similarly, I can’t vote for Elizabeth Warren because I’m not a citizen of Massachusetts. The US voting system on every level is archaic.   [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…]

Why Teach? In Defense of the Public Good

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By Jim Miller

These days it seems a new school year can’t start without being greeted by yet another pronouncement that my profession and/or higher education itself is heading for the dustbin of history. Last year around this time, I pondered the proclaimed death of the English major and this year the front page of the most recent issue of Harper’s is bemoaning “The Neoliberal Arts: How College Sold Its Soul.”

In this insightful piece William Deresiewicz hits on themes familiar to anyone who has been around higher education for the last few decades. Neoliberal education is a product of “market fundamentalism,” an “ideology that reduces all values to money values. The worth of a thing is the price of a thing. The worth of a person is the wealth of a person. Neoliberalism tells you that you are valuable exclusively in terms of your activity in the marketplace—in Wordsworth’s phrase, your getting and spending.”   [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…]

Looking Back at the Week: August 16-22

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By Brent E. Beltrán

This week’s edition of Looking Back at the Week features articles, commentaries, columns, toons and other work by San Diego Free Press regulars, irregulars, columnists, at-large contributors, and sourced writers on: SDFP celebrating, the final legislative push in Sacras, the return of the union, wage theft in Cali, two telling tales of Hillary, a trip up Highway 1, rudo Trump, a bumbling EPA, American socialist Sanders, lowrider anatomy, some Freeps in the news, the downtown crowd needing to pay their own way and lots of other grassroots news & progressive views from San Diego’s all volunteer, community news site.   [Read more…]

SDFP Writer Maria Garcia Thanks Neighborhood House Story Tellers with Appreciation Luncheon

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By Anna Daniels

San Diego Free Press writer Maria Garcia hosted a very special thank you luncheon for the men and women whom she has interviewed for her award winning series “The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights.” The event, attended by over sixty people, was held on August 9 in the community room of the Logan Heights Library.

These men and women, many of whom are in their 80s and 90s, shared personal details of their lives and old photographs during their interviews that enabled Maria to weave together a unique social history of Logan Heights with Neighborhood House as the focus. That history spans from World War I to the early 1970s, with the take over of Chicano Park and the occupation of Neighborhood House.
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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…]

KPBS Bars Affordable Housing Advocate from Midday Edition Panel

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By Doug Porter
UPDATED 8/26 With response from KPBS…

The spat between KPBS/inewsource and attorney Cory Briggs reached a new low this week when an invitation to retired civil rights leader and affordable housing advocate Rev. Richard Lawrence to participate on the Midday Edition program was abruptly withdrawn.

Lawrence, whose list of honors includes the San Diego Housing Federation’s “Lifetime Achievement Award” and  a San Diego City Council declaration making November 10, 2013 “Richard Lawrence Day,” was supposed to be participating in an August 17th panel on San Diego’s declaration of an affordable housing state of emergency.

The reasoning behind his “dis-invitation” was that Lawrence sits on the board of San Diegans for Open Government and vigorously defended attorney Cory Briggs in the wake of allegations of misconduct made by KPBS/inewsource.   [Read more…]

Readers Write: It’s Time for the Downtown Crowd to Pay Its Own Way

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Editors Note: Attorney Cory Briggs responded to a commenter on Thursday’s Starting Line item regarding a proposed ballot measure on hotel taxes and a shared a bit of history about the tourism industry’s relationship with the City of San Diego. We’ve taken the liberty of posting it as a “Readers Write” essay.

…I offer this for the sake of precision. The scam is very clever, and I don’t want people to mistake one bad actor for another (which is very easy to do in this town because there are so many). To win at the ballot box, we need the public to understand exactly what’s going on. (I’ll jump on my soapbox at the end.)

The SDTA is not taxing anyone. The City is taxing tourists 10.5% as TOT and then another 2% for the “Tourism Marketing District Assessment” but it’s really a tax. The hoteliers claim to have imposed the TMD tax on themselves as a “self-assessment,” which is how they rationalized not putting the 2% hike to the voters, but then wrote the rules in a way that allows them to put the 2% TMD tax on their hotel guests’ bills right next to the TOT. The hotels collect the money from their guests and pay it over to the City, and the City then writes a check for that same 2% (after deducting a small admin fee) to the San Diego Tourism Marketing District Corporation.

The SDTMDC is run by a small handful of big hoteliers, and they get to decide how the money is spent. At this point, the public has no ability to influence the rate of the TMD tax or how it is spent — except at the ballot box if we get enough signatures on this initiative.   [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.

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“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…]

A Nice Little Trip up Highway 1

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By Ernie McCray

Maria and I just got back from San Francisco, my favorite city on the globe, and as far as road trips go, this one was as pleasant as it gets.

The weather was like a gift from Mother Nature herself, an absolute delight, so warm and embracing, featuring cool breezes in the late afternoons and at night.

The trip got underway on the 805, at Governor Drive, then came the merge with I-5, just an hour or so away from the 405, which drops down to the 101 which takes you to Highway 1 for the real fun: a drive alongside the ocean and on cliffs high above it, privy to jaw-dropping views that exhilarate your very soul, your spirituality.   [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…]

Anatomy Of A Lowrider: The Standards, The Art, The Technology

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To join a car club or win awards at car shows, every lowrider needs to adhere to strict standards. Standard #1: the car must be impeccably clean.

Jose Arevalo, born and raised in National City, explains the standards while giving me a tour of his car.

Arevalo is a member of the Switch Car Club, established in National City in 1980. “How switch came together was, six of us guys played baseball together down in Las Palmas here locally. As we turned fourteen or fifteen years old we started getting cars. The club right there, the Latin Lowriders, were older guys, so we kinda looked up to them. They are the kind of group of people who showed us standards. Things that you do. How to act. How to be correct. During the early mid-1980s, Switch flourished and grew to be from 6 guys to 36 guys. From the early 80s to the late 80s we were one of the top clubs in San Diego.”   [Read more…]