Editor’s Picks

Articles that our Editorial Board feel really stand out. We’re glad we didn’t miss them and want to make sure you don’t either!

Thumbnail image for Whose Park?  City Heights Struggles to Define “Our” Park

Whose Park? City Heights Struggles to Define “Our” Park

by Anna Daniels 11.24.2014 Activism

Engagement and resistance at City Height’s Park De La Cruz

By Anna Daniels

This month’s City Heights Park and Recreation Council meeting took a surprise turn when over fifty attendees, mostly young people wearing blue Mid-City CAN tee shirts, arrived to speak during the non-agenda comment section of the meeting.

These skate park advocates and their supporters had hoped to address the neighborhood concerns and opposition that had recently sprung up about the planned skate park element at Park De La Cruz. They hoped that in doing so the rec council would proceed with the scheduled design meeting on December 4 as planned.

District 9 Council Member Marti Emerald announced in July that the allocation of $4.5 million in state Department of Housing and Community Development monies was sufficient to design and construct skate parks in City Heights and Linda Vista.

The second design phase meeting for Park de la Cruz skate park modifications was scheduled for December, but the Park and Recreation Council decided to postpone that meeting and hold a community hearing on the skate park issue instead. Was this an attempt to shift the conversation from how to proceed to whether to proceed?

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Thumbnail image for Thanks for Nothing (and Everything): On Walmart, Black Friday, and Thich Nhat Hanh

Thanks for Nothing (and Everything): On Walmart, Black Friday, and Thich Nhat Hanh

by Jim Miller 11.24.2014 Business

By Jim Miller

It’s Thanksgiving week and Walmart is getting ready to ruin the party by asking nearly one million of its workers to come in on the holiday to get a jump-start on the Black Friday consumer frenzy. Given its size and influence, Walmart’s move, if successful, is likely to set a trend in the industry and wreck Thanksgiving for millions more underpaid service sector workers in the future.

Fortunately, OUR Walmart is responding in kind by promising the biggest Black Friday Strike ever with allies in labor and the community promising to join hands with them in their protest. As Think Progress recently reported:

Workers have gone on strike and protested for the past two Black Fridays. This time, they will also be joined by “tens of thousands” of community members, according to Stephanie Ly, AFT New Mexico president and a teacher, the “largest mobilizing of working families we’ve seen in recent history.” Teachers, elected officials, members of the clergy, and others will participate in protests at stores, flash mobs, marches, and prayer vigils.

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Thumbnail image for UCSD Administration Plans Ché Café Eviction Over Thanksgiving?

UCSD Administration Plans Ché Café Eviction Over Thanksgiving?

by Source 11.24.2014 Activism

Ché Café Media Advisory

On Wednesday, November 19, UCSD administrators decided to seek a writ of possession to enforce an earlier unlawful detainer judgment and evict the Ché Café Cooperative and any students from the café space it has continuously occupied for over 34 years. Despite a resolution by the UCSD Associated Students Council (AS) asking the Chancellor to not proceed with posting a 5-day notice to vacate, and 14,000-signature petitions and open letters demanding that UCSD stop the eviction actions against the Ché Café, delivered to the Chancellor earlier this month, action by the administration to evict the Ché Café continues rather than negotiations for a new lease agreement with the Co-op.

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Thumbnail image for The Food Waste Fiasco: You Have to See It to Believe It

The Food Waste Fiasco: You Have to See It to Believe It

by At Large 11.22.2014 Activism

By Rob Greenfield

You may have already heard a few appalling facts about food waste but just in case you haven’t, here are a few tidbits of information to catch you up on the issue.

-We throw away 165 billion dollars worth of food per year in America. That’s more than the budgets for America’s national parks, public libraries, federal prisons, veteran’s health care, the FBI, and the FDA combined.

-About 50 million of our 317 million Americans are food insecure yet we produce enough food to feed over 500 million Americans.

-To create just the amount of food that ends up in the landfills we waste enough water to meet the domestic water needs of every American citizen.

Even with these mind-blowing statistics you probably still need to see it to believe it. That is where I come in.

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Thumbnail image for Fall Brewing Company Joins North Park Beer Scene

Fall Brewing Company Joins North Park Beer Scene

by John P. Anderson 11.22.2014 Culture

The more the merrier or enough already?

By John P. Anderson

Joining the large beer and brewing scene in North Park, Fall Brewing Company opened for customers this week. The brewery is located at 4542 30th Street, San Diego, CA 92104 and is currently in ‘soft opening’ mode. The doors are open, but they’re not yet promoting the brewery to the public while kinks are ironed out – setting up the sales software, building up the stable of beers on tap, arranging staffing, etc.

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Thumbnail image for Working Tech for Good Causes and Loving It Every Day

Working Tech for Good Causes and Loving It Every Day

by At Large 11.18.2014 Activism

By Oliver James

I threw away a $100k+ a year career for my community. I live in City Heights, San Diego, California and I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. And this is why I did it.

Let’s rewind a bit back to 2010. I was working for a marketing company providing design and marketing services to the financial industry. I was making around $65k a year and life was good (or so it seemed).

Don’t get me wrong $65,000 a year was great. But I wasn’t really, truly happy.

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Thumbnail image for Tears for Justice, Peace and Compassion

Tears for Justice, Peace and Compassion

by Ernie McCray 11.18.2014 Courts, Justice

By Ernie McCray

I found myself, a day or so ago, kind of tearing up, thinking about a passage I had read in “Just Mercy,” a story of justice and redemption, or better yet, the lack thereof.

Bryan Stephenson, the author of this incredibly revealing narrative about the inequities in our justice system, says, concerning a man who was less than a day away from being executed unbelievably wrongfully, “Why do we want to kill all the broken people? What is wrong with us, that we think a thing like that?”

I’d say that we can entertain such thinking because we have no real values of any substance to guide us as a society.

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Thumbnail image for Water Conservation San Diego Style: Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

Water Conservation San Diego Style: Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

by Lori Saldaña 11.17.2014 Editor's Picks

By Lori Saldaña

Are you taking steps to help conserve water in your household? Maybe added low-flow fixtures, or taken out grass, or received rebates from the city for installing rainwater tanks?

If so- congratulations for being part of voluntary solutions!  Now it’s time to up your conservation game with some of the new mandatory requirements. An insert was included in water bills this month, advising us that water restrictions started Nov. 1 in San Diego. The city wants us to be sure to follow the dates/times when watering is allowed.

However, because of the city’s billing method, even if you follow these guidelines, it may not impact the actual amount charged on your water bills in any significant way. This is because much of the costs are not for the water coming INTO your house, but for disposing of water after it’s been used and flows OUT of your house.

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Thumbnail image for A Week of War and Peace at the San Diego Free Press

A Week of War and Peace at the San Diego Free Press

by Anna Daniels 11.16.2014 Culture

By Anna Daniels

One week ago, the SDFP editorial board sent a short email to its writers and contributors, asking for their thoughts on the topic of War and Peace.  We were curious to see if there was an interest in this broader theme that would go beyond the usual media treatment of  Veterans Day.

Our email was immediately filled with responses. Writers sent articles, video links and poetry. We were frankly surprised at the interest.  It told us two important things.

It is apparent that there are few opportunities for civic engagement on this topic and its complex historical and contemporary elements.  It also told us that the San Diego Free Press is in a unique position to provide a platform for that civic engagement.

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Thumbnail image for SDFP Street Beat: North Park Jack in the Box, South Park Target, Uptown Regional Bike Corridor Update

SDFP Street Beat: North Park Jack in the Box, South Park Target, Uptown Regional Bike Corridor Update

by Anna Daniels 11.14.2014 Activism

By Anna Daniels

Renovation, Rebuild or Turducken?

The North Park Preservation lawsuit against Jack in the Box/City of San Diego is moving forward, with a Summary Judgment hearing before Judge Prager on Friday, November 21.

The group filed the suit when Jack in the Box underwent renovations and a rebuild that the community maintains are violations of city zoning and the community plan. Also at issue is that the city did not correctly permit the project.

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Thumbnail image for Are You Ready for the 2016 Political Shuffle in San Diego?

Are You Ready for the 2016 Political Shuffle in San Diego?

by Doug Porter 11.13.2014 Business

By Doug Porter

The results have yet to be certified for this year’s election results, but that hasn’t prevented various political players around town from lining up support for the next step in their careers. There’s already some action and plenty of rumors to share today.

City Councilman Ed Harris was first out of the gate yesterday, by way of a story in the OB Rag announcing his intention to seek termed-out Assemblywoman Toni Atkins position representing the 78th District in 2016.

Anthony Bernal, currently employed as Director of Business and Community Projects for Council President Todd Gloria, has thrown his hat in the ring to replace his termed-out boss in the Third District.

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Thumbnail image for SeaWorld Stock Tanks As Financials Disappoint and Protests Continue

SeaWorld Stock Tanks As Financials Disappoint and Protests Continue

by Doug Porter 11.12.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

Attendance and revenues continue to fall at SeaWorld, according to financial reports released today. The stock market reacted to the news, sending shares in the company down 10.3% by mid-day. 

Third-quarter net income fell 28%, revenues fell 8% and  attendance at SeaWorld’s parks also declined year-over-year, with attendance in the third quarter totaling 8.4 million visitors, down from 8.9 million a year ago.  According the Bloomberg’s Business Insider, the price for stock in SeaWorld has fallen 51% since the movie Blackfish premiered on July 19, 2013. 

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Thumbnail image for Extreme Weather Watch: October 2014 – Drought in Australia and Brazil

Extreme Weather Watch: October 2014 – Drought in Australia and Brazil

by John Lawrence 11.12.2014 Editor's Picks

By John Lawrence

Australia experienced its second warmest October on record. A number of records were set during the month in particular for the warmest October day on record for Australia as a whole. Nationally-averaged rainfall during October was 59% below the long-term mean which made October 2014 Australia’s seventh-driest October on record.

Large parts of Australia continue to be affected by drought. Drier than normal conditions from October to December are forecast for broad areas of Eastern, Central and Northern Coastal areas of Australia. Temperatures over 50C or 120F are forecast as Australia heads into its summer.

Australian farmers are feeling less confident as prices for wool, grains, dairy products and beef go down. A quarter of farmers expect conditions to deteriorate, around 20% expect the performance of their farm business to worsen and 25% expect their farm income to fall.

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Thumbnail image for War & Peace: In My Classroom

War & Peace: In My Classroom

by Lori Saldaña 11.12.2014 Books & Poetry

By Lori Saldaña

My students wear their battle scars
In their brains, on their skin, thru their 10 key dexterity
They enter the computer lab with aching hearts and minds, hand me a
Veterans Affair ID card in exchange for
A textbook, a software program, a few hours on the keyboard
I watch them, marveling at their resiliency …

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Thumbnail image for A Hard-won and Bittersweet Victory for San Diego Taxi Drivers

A Hard-won and Bittersweet Victory for San Diego Taxi Drivers

by Doug Porter 11.11.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

Years of grass roots organizing paid off yesterday as the City Council voted 8-1 to eliminate a cap on the number of taxi permits issued in San Diego.

The United Taxi Workers of San Diego (UTWSD) grew out of an unsuccessful driver strike in December, 2009. Roughly 300 drivers took part, asking for a reduced weekly lease rate, a guaranteed day off per week, sick days, better job security and better-maintained vehicles.

The taxi industry in San Diego has been functioning as a government licensed fiefdom, with a several hundred permit holders leasing their vehicles to immigrants (mostly) from East Africa who introduce others to the job after arriving in the region.

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Thumbnail image for War and Peace Week at the San Diego Free Press

War and Peace Week at the San Diego Free Press

by Anna Daniels 11.10.2014 Activism

By Anna Daniels

Almost one hundred years ago President Woodrow Wilson declared in vaulting prose that World War I was the war to end all wars, that it would make the world safe for democracy.  The vaulting prose came to naught– the war to end all wars didn’t.

The reality is that the United States doesn’t wage peace with anywhere near the same commitment that it wages war. The veterans who march in the Veterans Day parades this week, as well as those who consciously choose not to, will represent  a constant succession of wars, declared and undeclared, since World War II.

The Cold War. The Korean War. The Vietnam War. The Gulf War. The War in Afghanistan. The Iraq War.

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Thumbnail image for Baghdad Tattoo

Baghdad Tattoo

by Source 11.10.2014 Books & Poetry

By Janet Parkinson /Poems Against War

Jalal Ahmed 07901 295135
Ali Abbas 07901 567256
Atheer Mohammad 07901 469798
are incised on my thigh.

My wife sees them when we make love.
I see them when I bathe, change clothes.
They are high enough to be covered
at the beach. I do not want
the world to know my fear.

I do not want the world to know
I have reason to fear. …

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Thumbnail image for Post Election Notes from the Left Coast: Apocalypse Now?  Just Say No

Post Election Notes from the Left Coast: Apocalypse Now? Just Say No

by Jim Miller 11.10.2014 Activism

By Jim Miller

Last week progressives in California rightfully felt a bit relieved that their state served as a seawall against the ocean of red that washed across America.

Outside of our reactionary little backwater here in San Diego where Carl DeMaio can pretend to be moderate and almost win despite multiple scandals, there were bright spots in the rest of the state like the election of rising progressive star Betty Yee as State Controller and the re-election of Tom Torlakson who beat back the billionaire boys club’s effort to put a corporate education reform advocate in the Superintendent of Public Instruction’s office.

Thus, just as New York’s Democratic Governor Cuomo launches a civil war against the unions in his state in the service of corporate interests, California will serve as an alternative model of cooperation rather than confrontation. In most places on the Left Coast, even when nobody shows up, the right just can’t seem to win, and Brown, while far from perfect, prefers to sit happily on the fence between the neoliberal Democrats and the progressives, ruling in his distinctly idiosyncratic fashion.

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Thumbnail image for The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Lupita Evers and the Power of the Keys

The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Lupita Evers and the Power of the Keys

by Maria E. Garcia 11.08.2014 Culture

By Maria E. Garcia

The history of Neighborhood House would be incomplete without an article devoted to Lupita Evers.  She appears briefly but often in the interviews I have conducted.  Lupita is remembered for what made her different, for the qualities that set her apart from other people.

Lupita was born in Mexico on December 31, 1898. Her father, Herman Evers, was born in Germany. Her mother, Antonia Ochoa, was born in Mexico.  Lupita came to Logan Heights as a child and grew up there. Nothing about her family history was out of the ordinary at that time in Logan Heights. But Lupita came into the world as a little person–she was born with the genetic condition of dwarfism. This condition was viewed in a far different way than would be considered acceptable today.

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Thumbnail image for California’s Proposition 47 Passed. Now What?

California’s Proposition 47 Passed. Now What?

by Doug Porter 11.06.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

One of the big electoral victories for what I’d call sane people this week was the passage of Proposition 47. Simple drug possession and property crimes valued under $950 are now misdemeanors, effective immediately, punishable by up to a year in a county jail.

Law and order–or should I call them “lock ‘em and leave ‘em”– types are taking to the airwaves to fan the kind of (mostly irrational) fears responsible for California’s decades long dance with draconian detention policies.

Local media throughout the state are publishing stories about issues being raised with prosecutors offices. The Los Angeles Times account includes a plea from the City Attorney for funding to hire more staff to deal with misdemeanor prosecutions.

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Thumbnail image for November 2014 Election Analysis and Results

November 2014 Election Analysis and Results

by Doug Porter 11.05.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

History repeated itself last night. Going back to Franklin D Roosevelt, where the party of Herbert Hoover picked up seven US Senate seats and eighty-one US House seats, the political party of a second term president usually gets its ass kicked in the final mid-term election of that administration. It happened to Presidents Eisenhower, Reagan, and Bush.

The most notable exception would be the 1998 midterms elections, where damage to the GOP brand brought about by their failed impeachment attempt, marked first time since 1822 that the party not in control of the White House failed to gain seats in the mid-term election of a President’s second term.

There will be lots of finger-pointing going on today and in the weeks to come. My takeaways are that micro-targeting and millions invested in Get Out The Vote campaigns can’t overcome a weak message. On a national level the Republicans knew what they were against specifically and for in a very general sense; the Democrats failed to tell anybody what they were for, in large part because many of them tried to run against a sitting President from their own party.

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Thumbnail image for #Dear Congress

#Dear Congress

by Ernie McCray 11.04.2014 Columns

By Ernie McCray

Al Jazeera America inquired “If you could ask Congress to take on one thing – one policy, one issue, one bill, one idea, one principle – what would it be and why?”

They then recommend that contributors start their “one thing” request with: “#Dear Congress…” and submit a picture of themselves holding the message.

So I sent:

“#Dear Congress, I want you to simply, in a spirit of human decency, act as the hope inspiring heart and soul of our democracy.”

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Thumbnail image for What’s Not to Like: Gas Prices Down, Solar Energy Production Up

What’s Not to Like: Gas Prices Down, Solar Energy Production Up

by John Lawrence 11.04.2014 Economy

By John Lawrence

Gas prices have dropped below $4.00 a gallon for the first time in several years.

Every one-cent drop in gas prices means a $1 billion annual decline in energy spending by Americans. Consumers can use the savings to eat out more often, buy more goods or pay down debt. That’s good for US motorists and consumers, but that’s not the whole story.

Part of the story has to do with the fact that solar energy is getting as cheap as coal and natural gas for the production of electricity. As solar prices drop even further, electricity costs for homeowners should come down. That would mean that electric cars powered off of home outlets should have a greater comparative advantage over gas powered vehicles.

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Thumbnail image for The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: The Legacy of Laura Rodriguez

The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: The Legacy of Laura Rodriguez

by Maria E. Garcia 11.01.2014 Activism

By Maria E. Garcia

Last week’s article about Laura Rodriguez ended with the fearless, sixty-one year old grandmother turned barrio activist chained to the front door of Neighborhood House.  Earlier that October 1970 evening, the case had been made at the Barrio Logan Community Action Committee (CAC) meeting that Neighborhood House, which had been converted to administrative offices, must once again provide services to the community as it had for so many decades in the past.  Laura Rodriguez had been advocating for its use as a badly needed community health clinic.

The show down happened that very evening. …

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Thumbnail image for November 2014 Progressive Procrastinator’s Voting Guide: San Diego Edition

November 2014 Progressive Procrastinator’s Voting Guide: San Diego Edition

by Doug Porter 10.31.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

A big deal is being made over the large percentage of California voters who’ve opted to use the vote-by-mail ballots. While right-wing efforts in other states are focused on Voter ID laws and other variants of Jim Crow, the don’t vote effort here on the left coast is focused on spreading doubt about the reliability of the mail in system.

A mistake in mailing out ballots in Sacramento becomes evidence of a state-wide “glitch ridden ballot system”, according to Breitbart.com. Their “concern” is sooo touching. They’d like you to be afraid of mail-in voting, mostly because they’re afraid that other-than-Republican voters are discovering how easy it can be to use.

Sadly, a disturbing large percentage of those ballots will be left out of the count because people never got around to filling them out. If you’re one of those people who’ve put off filling out your ballot, here’s a handy-dandy cheat sheet designed to help you vote in ways that really will scare the hell of the Breitbart types.

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