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Thumbnail image for Unraveling the Border Refugee Crisis

Unraveling the Border Refugee Crisis

by Doug Porter 07.31.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

At some time over next few days, President Obama will issue of executive orders pertaining to immigration. Likely options include reordering the priority list of deportation cases to dramatically expanding the 2012 “deferred action” program.

Those orders could mean allowing millions of family members to get work permits, or even allowing work permits for even broader groups, such as undocumented immigrant parents of U.S. citizens or virtually everyone who’s not considered a high priority to deport.

You can take it to the bank that the nativist wing of the GOP will be outraged. I expect to see more reporting disparaging refugees and undocumented residents. I am doubtful we’ll see a boost in reporting pointing towards the historical roots of the current crisis. So today I’ll call out a couple of stories going beyond the usual pap served up in the media.

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Thumbnail image for Who You Calling Illegal?

Who You Calling Illegal?

by Junco Canché 07.31.2014 Activism
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Thumbnail image for An OB Victory! City Council Unanimously Approves OB Community Plan

An OB Victory! City Council Unanimously Approves OB Community Plan

by Frank Gormlie 07.30.2014 Activism

With a 9 to zip vote, the San Diego City Council approved the Ocean Beach Community Plan Update, yesterday, the 29th of July and in the middle of the afternoon. Immediately, the 150 plus OBceans jumped to their feet with whoops of delight and sustained applause that went on for minutes.

It was an emotional day for OB, with the Council vote culminating a very long process of updating the community’s urban design blueprint, a blueprint that will significantly affect OB for the next 20 to 30 years.

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Thumbnail image for Who Runs San Diego? – Local Broadcast TV News Operations

Who Runs San Diego? – Local Broadcast TV News Operations

by Doug Porter 07.30.2014 Business

By Doug Porter / Woman’s Democratic Club

The sameness of the content can become overwhelming.

It’s happy, rappy and don’t-be-crappy whenever possible. Drama is reserved for ledes that bleed, i.e., crime and confrontations. Nuance is too difficult to jam into 30 seconds. It’s a formula, differing in graphics, presentation and the personalities of the persons reading the script.

It’s by-and-large an echo chamber. There’s a long standing tradition of prioritizing content based  on what appears in print media.  In San Diego that means “Papa Doug” Manchester and his Mission Valley minions have a disproportionate influence when it comes to political reporting.

Welcome to the world of commercial broadcast news in San Diego.

NOTE: This is the second installment of the Who Runs San Diego? series, a project of the Woman’s Democratic Club.

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Thumbnail image for Requiem for a Overachieving School Principal

Requiem for a Overachieving School Principal

by Doug Porter 07.29.2014 Columns

An Abrupt and Controversial Reassignment at the School for Creative and Performing Arts Leaves Parents Angry

By Doug Porter

Mitzi Lizarraga ran San Diego Unified’s School for the Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA)  for seven years. Test scores improved, the school was named one of the best in the country repeatedly over the past 4 years and students were sought after by prestigious colleges and universities.

On Tuesday, June 10th, two days before graduation this year, she was gone. Students and staff were told Ms. Lizarraga was attending to an urgent and personal matter. “Interim” Principal Dr. Jenna Pesavento would be tasked with handing out diplomas to departing seniors.

But some seniors weren’t buying it. Graduation, usually one the high points in the life of a high school student, was fraught with rumors and dissension. Some seniors were talking about boycotting the ceremony. Other seniors wanted to hold up signs. Students were upset, some even in tears. Parents were in disbelief and did not understand what was happening.

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Thumbnail image for As the Downtown Drama on Minimum Wage Plays Out, Fast Food Workers Talk Civil Disobedience

As the Downtown Drama on Minimum Wage Plays Out, Fast Food Workers Talk Civil Disobedience

by Doug Porter 07.28.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

Mayor Faulconer and his Chamber of Commerce puppeteers may not be willing to acknowledge it, but the train has left the station when it comes to minimum wages. They may think they can stop it, but they are wrong. The momentum to do something, anything about rampant economic inequality in the US is reaching critical mass.

Hizzoner met privately with advocates for increasing the minimum wage and earned sick leave on Friday, telling them while he appreciated their concerns, he was planning on vetoing an ordinance proposed by City Council President Todd Gloria. Any veto will likely be overridden by the Democratic super-majority on the Council.

Opponents of the measure are also threatening an initiative drive, which would have the effect of postponing implementation until a vote takes place in June, 2016. They are pointing to self-sponsored surveys saying as many as 14% of businesses would leave the city should the increases occur.

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Thumbnail image for Lessons for a New Gilded Age: Labor Studies Courses at City College

Lessons for a New Gilded Age: Labor Studies Courses at City College

by At Large 07.28.2014 Columns

By Kelly Mayhew

There’s been a lot of discussion of economic inequality recently in wake of Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century.

As many economists have observed, American workers are more educated and more productive than ever and are driving record profits for corporations while they’re seeing their wages stagnate or decline as the wealth accumulated by the top 1% of earners has skyrocketed. Robert Reich has been on a crusade to emphasize the historic importance of our current economic inequality crisis, and people like Paul Krugman have noted that we are living in “a new gilded age.”

Here in San Diego we are in the midst of seeing this writ large as the battle to raise the minimum wage rages on with a community-labor alliance advocating for the rights of low-wage workers while the city’s economic elite push back hard.

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Thumbnail image for A History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Mary Hart Taylor and the Health Clinic, 1914 to 1938

A History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Mary Hart Taylor and the Health Clinic, 1914 to 1938

by Maria Garcia 07.26.2014 Activism

SDFP exclusive series The History of Neighborhood House: From 1918 to the occupation in 1972

By Maria Garcia

For over two decades Mary Hart Taylor directed the health clinic and various core health programs at Neighborhood House. She was well liked and respected by the community. It was a well-known fact in Logan Heights that if your child became ill in the middle of the night, you knocked on Miss Taylor’s door and you would be allowed in or she would follow you to your home to administer medical advice and care.

One of the reasons that Neighborhood House was established was to address the high mortality rate of Mexican children in Logan Heights.

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Thumbnail image for Howling at the Moon: GOP on Track for Obama Impeachment

Howling at the Moon: GOP on Track for Obama Impeachment

by Doug Porter 07.25.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

Yes indeedy. A majority (57%) of self described Republicans in a CNN poll released this morning say President Barack Obama should be impeached.

On Thursday the House Rules Committee approved legislation authorizing a lawsuit against the President, claiming he has overstepped his executive powers in delaying coverage mandates and granting waivers regarding the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. The full house is expected to vote on authorizing the lawsuit next week.

Also on the radar for Congress is a show-down over re-authorization of the Export-Import Bank (a corporate welfare program supported by the Chamber of Commerce) with the potential to trigger another government shutdown come October 1st.

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Thumbnail image for President Obama Meets the New Captain America

President Obama Meets the New Captain America

by Junco Canché 07.25.2014 Cartoons
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Thumbnail image for Living Fully in Nancy’s Place

Living Fully in Nancy’s Place

by Ernie McCray 07.25.2014 Culture

By Ernie McCray

Nancy left these shores on the 22nd of July, five years ago, and my son wrote some pretty words about her on Facebook that brought tears to my eyes, the soft tears that flow from memories held dear.

He says, of her passing, “It was not the last time I’ve heard her wisdom, felt her spirit, followed her counsel or shared a smile with her. I am motivated each day to bring change and happiness to this world and my mother is one of the motivations.”

Then he says, “Laurel (his wonderful partner in life) gave me a beautiful card this morning with a quote she chose that embodies how I’ve coped with the reality that I can never dance with my mother at my wedding, cry on her shoulder, or feel her hugs.” The card says, “The greatest gift we can give to those who have left us is to live fully in their place.”

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Thumbnail image for Geo-Poetic Spaces: Die Frage (The Question)

Geo-Poetic Spaces: Die Frage (The Question)

by Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes 07.25.2014 Books & Poetry

By Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes

When asked
where you are from
say Montreal Mexico Brazil

Don’t tell the truth
unless you have the balls to take the lies your country has slapped across their faces …

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Thumbnail image for El Machete Illustrated: Every Child is Sacred

El Machete Illustrated: Every Child is Sacred

by At Large 07.24.2014 Cartoons

San Diego Free Press is proud to announce our site’s debut of cartoonist Eric J. Garcia’s El Machete Illustrated. He’s a political cartoonist from Chicago who will be sharing the occasional toon with us here at SDFP. Much like the Free Press’ regular editorial cartoonist Junco Canché, Eric focuses his poli-toonists eye on latino issues and lefty politics. Please welcome him with a comment below. You can follow him on Twitter @garciaink or friend him on Facebook.

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Thumbnail image for Environment, Climate Change Don’t Seem to be on Mayor Faulconer’s Agenda

Environment, Climate Change Don’t Seem to be on Mayor Faulconer’s Agenda

by Doug Porter 07.24.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

Delay, deny, and deflect are the backbone of the Party of No’s strategy in politics. Our confrontation-adverse mayor would seem to be favoring the first of those options when it comes to environmental considerations affecting San Diego.

Yesterday organizations concerned with the potential impacts of climate change packed a hearing of the City Council’s Environment Committee to urge Mayor Faulconer to quit stalling on this important issue. The presence of representatives of the American Lung Association San Diego Chapter, California Nurses Association, Environmental Health Coalition, San Diego Coastkeeper and San Diego 350 made it clear that this issue is important to many San Diegans.

Councilmembers David Alvarez, Marti Emerald and Ed Harris voted for a resolution urging Mayor Faulconer to reduce pollution and prepare San Diego for the impacts of climate change with strategies to measurably reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the next 20 years. Councilmember Lorie Zapf voted in opposition.

A draft Climate Action Plan released during the interim administration of Council President Todd Gloria has gone nowhere in recent months.

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Thumbnail image for Hermanos en el Camino, Padre Solalinde, La Bestia, and the Plight of Refugees

Hermanos en el Camino, Padre Solalinde, La Bestia, and the Plight of Refugees

by At Large 07.24.2014 Editor's Picks

A Photo Exploration of the Central American Humanitarian Crisis

Words and photos by Vanessa Ceceña

In late 2012 I decided to travel back to México to visit el pueblo de las nubes, Oaxaca. I had visited twice before but mainly stayed in the central valley and Oaxaca City. This time I stopped in Tezoatlán in the mixteca and made my way to Ixtepec in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec.

This border region with its high level of humidity and tropical climate is home to a vivid culture, bright hand embroidered tehuanas, to the muxes (a community of transgender Oaxacans), and the sones zapotecos de Juchitan.

While its cultural attractions bring many visitors, its geographic location, which neighbors Chiapas to the southeast, places it as the prominent pathway for Central American migrants making their way to el norte (the north).

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Thumbnail image for From Unist’ot’en Camp: What Does Solidarity Look Like?

From Unist’ot’en Camp: What Does Solidarity Look Like?

by Will Falk 07.24.2014 Activism

By Will Falk

Each night Unist’ot’en Clan spokeswoman, Freda Huson, and her husband Wet’suwet’en hereditary chief Toghestiy fall asleep on their traditional land not knowing whether the Royal Canadian Mounted Police are going to storm their bridge in the depths of night.

Each winter, when Freda and Toghestiy ride their snowmobiles down forestry roads to bring in supplies, to hunt, or to check their traplines, they don’t know whether they will find piles of felled trees maliciously dragged across their paths.

Each time Freda and Toghestiy leave their territory for a few days they don’t know if they will return to find another attack in an old tradition of cowardly arson perpetrated by hostile settlers on Wet’suwet’en territories leaving smoking embers where their cabin once stood.

I ponder this as I sit in a workshop with other settlers during the 6-day Unist’ot’en Action Camp – a series of workshops hosted on the traditional territories of the Unist’ot’en Clan of the Wet’suwet’en Nation to promote strategic planning and co-ordination in the struggle against the spread of fossil fuel pipelines.

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Thumbnail image for A Proud Day of Activism for Labor, Refugee and Environmental Advocates

A Proud Day of Activism for Labor, Refugee and Environmental Advocates

by Doug Porter 07.23.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

Tuesday, July 22 was a remarkable day for San Diego. Starting with an early morning prayer vigil at San Diego City Hall in support of a higher minimum wage and ending with hundreds of Escondido residents calling for a humanitarian response to the border refugee crisis, people stood up for causes they believed in.

At noontime a broad spectrum of supporters of organized labor rallied in Mission Valley, vowing to support workers for Food-4-Less should they go on strike. And in the afternoon environmental activists testified before the city council, urging Mayor Kevin Faulconer to move ahead with a review process needed to consider an ordinance curtailing the use of plastic shopping bags.

People chose to make a stand on issues that were important to them. They faced off against institutional and political hostility, along with a corporate media all-too-willing to give a platform to those willing to spew ridicule (the UT’s Greenhut) and venomous language (Escondido’s nativists). They stood up and said “we’re not going to take it any more” (UFCW’s Kasparian). They testified that now is the time to protect the environment (representatives of Coastkeeper, Surfrider and the Sierra Club).

It was a great day to be an American. It was a great day to be an activist.

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Thumbnail image for Who Runs San Diego? Introduction to a Series

Who Runs San Diego? Introduction to a Series

by Source 07.23.2014 Columns

By Eva Posner & Linda Perine / Democratic Woman’s Club

Relationships and money trails tell us who wields the power in our community.

It is hard to imagine, that in the 5th largest county in the United States, only a handful of people have any real influence on the day to day decisions that effect the lives of over 3 million people. But it’s true. And a lack of voter participation isn’t helping.

In both the February 2014 election to replace Bob Filner as Mayor of San Diego and in the June primary voter turnout was abysmally low. Overall voting turnout in the County in June was an anemic 27.2%, but many precincts registered in the single digits.

Pundits and analysts give many reasons for the lack of engagement: voter fatigue, uninspiring candidates, disillusionment surrounding the Filner debacle, and the lack of a culture of voting in areas with a large immigrant influence. We are told that working two (maybe three) jobs with transportation issues, childcare and other deterrents make it difficult to get to the polls. And indeed, all these causes had some influence on the undeniable “none of the above” message from the electorate.

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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 San Diego For-Profit Universities Making Tons of Money Handing Out Worthless Degrees

San Diego For-Profit Universities Making Tons of Money Handing Out Worthless Degrees

by John Lawrence 07.21.2014 Business

Ashford University and University of Phoenix Worst Offenders Targeting Returning Vets

By John Lawrence

Everyone wants to better themselves, right, by getting a college education. Most of all the Iraq and Afghanistan vets transitioning into civilian life. To that end our politicians in Washington have crafted a GI Bill that allows them to do just that at taxpayer expense.

Problem is most of that money is being gobbled up by for-profit universities like the University of Phoenix and Ashford University which don’t even qualify for state financial aid. These universities attract and recruit students by advertising heavily and “selling” them on the value of one of their degrees.

When many of the students graduate, they can’t get a job based on a degree which potential employers say is worthless. And despite the GI bill, many of them take on additional student loan debt.

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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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