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 Barrio Bits: Barrio Logan Planning Group Begins, SD Workers Center to Open, Break Down Borders Run, La Bodega’s Anniversary y más!

Barrio Bits: Barrio Logan Planning Group Begins, SD Workers Center to Open, Break Down Borders Run, La Bodega’s Anniversary y más!

by Brent E. Beltrán 01.22.2015 Desde la Logan

By Brent E. Beltrán

This is the first in what I hope will be a bi-weekly column within my Desde la Logan column that will highlight the various happenings in the barrios of San Diego. I can’t cover everything but I can highlight those things that I feel deserve to be seen and read about. It’s a work in progress so bear with me.

Barrio Logan Planning Group Holds First Meeting
Barrio Logan finally has a planning group! And I’m on it!

On January 20 the Barrio Logan Planning Group held its first meeting ever at Woodbury University School of Architecture. The meeting was attended by more than 65 people plus the fifteen appointed planning group members that were able to make it. The large crowd was a good start and shows the interest that community members have in getting involved in Barrio Logan.

Maritime industry made it very clear that they were upset with David Alvarez not appointing anybody of their liking to the group. Well boohoo! Elections have consequences and the consequences for their B & C referendum is them not (yet) having a seat on the planning group. There’ll be plenty of opportunities in the future for them to worm their way onto the group. Until then they can give public comment.

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Thumbnail image for The Passing of Chicano Warrior Reies López Tijerina

The Passing of Chicano Warrior Reies López Tijerina

by At Large 01.22.2015 Activism

Reies Lòpez Tijerina’s spirit will not be forgotten and will live on in our hearts, minds and history

By Herman Baca 

In the late 1960’s Cesar Chavez, Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales, Jose Angel Gutierrez and Reies López Tijerina were known as the Four Horsemen of the Chicano Movement. With the sad news that Reies Lòpez Tijerina has passed at the age of 88 in El Paso, Texas, on January 19, 2015 only one of the Four Horsemen remains…Jose Angel Gutiérrez.

To those of us in the Chicano Movement who had the privilege of knowing and working with Tijerina, El Tigre del Norte or King Tiger (who I knew since 1970) his passing is another reminder that; “A historical era is slowly, but surely coming to an end.”

In U.S. history Tijerina will always be known for his struggle to reclaim the lands stolen from Mexicans and Native Americans after the U.S./Mexico War, and will forever be remembered for his daring armed raid in 1967 of the Tierra Amarilla courthouse in rural northern New Mexico.

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Thumbnail image for Change the World, Change Yourself

Change the World, Change Yourself

by Will Falk 01.22.2015 Activism

By Will Falk

Friends and family tell me I too often focus on the negative. My doctors and therapists have told me me this, too. Diagnosed as I am with severe depression and surviving two suicide attempts, I used to believe them.

Part of my recovery involved completing a cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) program. CBT assumes that changing the way a patient thinks leads to changes in mood and behavior. Patients keep “thought records” where they document negative thoughts and then challenge the validity of those thoughts with the help of a therapist. On the surface, CBT seems like a good way to combat depression, right?

I do not think so, anymore. I came to therapy feeling like I was the problem. My sensitivity to the problems I saw around me caused me profound grief. I felt guilty for my ineffectiveness as a public defender to stem the tide of poor people being thrown in prison. I felt guilty as a member of a natural community for being unable to stop the destruction from raging on. My doctors and therapists insisted that if I changed my perceptions then I would alleviate the grief. In other words, my doctors and therapists told me, “You cannot change the world, so change yourself.”

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Thumbnail image for Despite Disappointing Turnout, 100 San Diegans March 4 Miles for Justice

Despite Disappointing Turnout, 100 San Diegans March 4 Miles for Justice

by Frank Gormlie 01.20.2015 Activism

By Frank Gormlie

It wasn’t a massive turnout here in San Diego Monday for the 4 Mile March – far from it – but you can’t get away from the fact that one hundred San Diegans did march four miles for social justice in an effort to rekindle Martin Luther King’s militancy on his celebrated birthday.

San Diego joined a list of at least 30 other cities nationwide that also had “4MileMarches”. A small crowd of around 140 gathered at the City Heights park next to its library – about a quarter African-Americans – , and listened to a few speeches from the organizers of the different groups that set up the event. The event had been planned by United Against Police Terror – San Diego, Activist San Diego, the local branch of the International Socialist Organization, and the Coalition Against Police Violence.

The speakers spoke of institutional racism, the killings by police of young Black men – and in San Diego – of young Latino men, of the connections between the days of Martin Luther King with today. They spoke of the need to strengthen an independent civilian police review board, of how leaders such as Mayor Faulconer and District Attorney Dumanis have failed the African-American community.

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Thumbnail image for As Measles Continues to Spread, It’s Time to Hold the Anti-Vaccine People Accountable

As Measles Continues to Spread, It’s Time to Hold the Anti-Vaccine People Accountable

by Doug Porter 01.19.2015 Columns

By Doug Porter

Nuts. That’s what the people behind the current batch of measles cases spreading through the country are. And not in a good way, like a zany friend. In a bad way, as in gun nuts, a small group of people whose fanaticism poses a danger to those around them and society at large.

Collectively known as anti-vaxxers, these folks use faux science to justify not immunizing children against highly contagious diseases. Measles, chicken pox, mumps and whooping cough are all on the increase nationwide.

There are 51 cases of measles reported in the latest outbreak, traceable to Disneyland visitors in the week prior to Christmas. Orange county, with 21 cases reported in 2014 is ground zero for one other reason: a pediatrician friendly to parents seeking to exempt their children from public health agencies requirements for vaccinations.

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Thumbnail image for We Need Martin Luther King Jr.’s  “Fierce Urgency of Now”: Beyond Our Current Failure of Imagination

We Need Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Fierce Urgency of Now”: Beyond Our Current Failure of Imagination

by Jim Miller 01.19.2015 Activism

“We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there ‘is’ such a thing as being too late. This is no time for apathy or complacency. This is a time for vigorous and positive action.” –MLK, speaking against the Vietnam War in 1967

By Jim Miller

It’s the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday and we will be greeted, as is the case these days, with lots of empty gestures and vanilla rhetoric that erases the radical nature of King’s legacy and neuters the impact of his ideas. As I have noted in years past, King was not a moderate whose only idea was that we should all just get along and respect each other. He was a provocative thinker and activist who challenged the core values of our society both then and now.

King fought what he characterized as “the triple evils of racism, materialism, and militarism,” sought to restructure “an edifice which produces beggars,” and called for us to move forward with a “divine dissatisfaction . . . until the tragic walls that separate the outer city of wealth and comfort from the inner city of poverty and despair shall be crushed by the battering rams of the forces of justice.”

He believed that the “whole structure must be changed” for America to be reborn as a truly humane, egalitarian, and civilized society. Only then would we have “democracy transformed from thin paper to thick action.”

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Thumbnail image for Walking the Trapline at Unist’ot’en Camp

Walking the Trapline at Unist’ot’en Camp

by Will Falk 01.17.2015 Culture

By Will Falk

The snowstorm arrived at Unist’ot’en Camp a day before we did dropping over a foot of snow and stillness on the territory. The clouds cleared the second night we were there opening the skies to the silent music played by the twinkling of countless stars. While most of the crew sat around the woodstove in the cabin a hundred yards away, I stood listening to my breath crystalize to the rhythm of my heartbeat in my ears.

Listening like this, I realized I forgot what stillness was.

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Thumbnail image for GOP Winter Meeting in Coronado Strives for Sanity

GOP Winter Meeting in Coronado Strives for Sanity

by Doug Porter 01.16.2015 Columns

“Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”– Dr. Martin Luther King

By Doug Porter

The Republican Central Committee has been meeting over the past few days at the Hotel del Coronado. Much of the work has been done in closed sessions, where the mundane business of administration, finances and logistics are discussed.

The state chair, national committeeman and national committeewoman for the fifty states and assorted territories each receive one vote at RNC meetings, along with a vote for the RNC Chairmanship. Following last fall’s victories at the polls Reince Priebus will likely be elected to a third term, making him the longest-serving chairman in the committee’s history.

Logistics decisions for the GOP’s 2016 presidential campaign include moving the nominating convention set for Cleveland from its usual August slot to mid-July and reining in the primary debate process. I suspect what everybody’s really hoping for are no embarrassing incidents. They’ve already censured a Michigan delegate for racist social media posts.

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Thumbnail image for Black Wealth Matters

Black Wealth Matters

by Source 01.15.2015 Economy

For generations, white households have enjoyed far greater access to wealth and security than their black counterparts.

By Chuck Collins / OtherWords

As protesters march through our cities to remind us that black lives matter, grievances about our racially fractured society extend far beyond flashpoints over police violence.

What is the state of the dream that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke about, particularly as it relates to economic opportunity?

Racial inequality in earnings remains persistent. African-American workers under 35 earn only 75 cents on the dollar compared to their white contemporaries. Latinos earn only 68 cents.

Examining income alone, however, is like tracking the weather. If you want to explore the true tectonic shifts of the earth, you have to look at wealth and net worth — that is, what people own minus what they owe.

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Thumbnail image for Where is the Infrastructure Planning for San Diego’s Vulnerable Coastline?

Where is the Infrastructure Planning for San Diego’s Vulnerable Coastline?

by At Large 01.14.2015 Activism

By Jeffrey Meyer/San Diego 350.org

A few weeks ago, San Diego coastal cities were given a stark reminder of the threat to public safety and our $15 billion a year tourism industry by increasing tides and coastal flooding. With this problem becoming more severe, year after year, the lack of substantive coastal infrastructure planning can become a countdown to disaster.

The latest combination of high astronomical tides and elevated surf caused strong rip currents and some flooding at low-lying areas along beaches. Known as king tides, they are expected to return to our coastline on January 19-21 and February 17-19. They have become a harbinger of damage to our coastline as we confront increasing sea levels during this century.

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Thumbnail image for Policing the Police: San Diego’s Problems

Policing the Police: San Diego’s Problems

by Doug Porter 01.13.2015 Columns

By Doug Porter

As police departments nationwide are facing increasing scrutiny, local law enforcement agencies are finding themselves under the spotlight.

A news story based on internal documents obtained by the local NBC affiliate on use of force reveals the San Diego Police Department documented 16,238 incidents in which an officer used force in 2014.

A report in Voice of San Diego calls points out what I think are questionable “crime prevention” practices by the County Sheriffs Department at the Lemon Grove trolley station.

And then there’s the promise of a soon-to-be-released report from the Police Executive Research Forum under contract by the US Justice Department on SDPD practices instituted in the wake of several years of scandals and lawsuits regarding sexual misconduct.

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Thumbnail image for Civita: The Largest Project in the Continued Destruction of Mission Valley

Civita: The Largest Project in the Continued Destruction of Mission Valley

by Frank Gormlie 01.13.2015 Business

Part 2

By Frank Gormlie / OB Rag
In mid-October I wrote about how four large residential and commercial development projects and a handful of smaller ones slated for Mission Valley will complete the destruction of San Diego’s once lush green valley. Here, I begin to focus on the individual projects.

“Civita” roughly translated is Latin for citizenship, and it’s the name of the largest, most massive Mission Valley development going in right now – with perhaps a third already completed or being currently built. Once you step back and realize it’s scope, Civita is at once a horrifying and amazing place for all its audaciousness.

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Thumbnail image for National Campaign to Increase Minimum Wage Takes Aim at San Diego

National Campaign to Increase Minimum Wage Takes Aim at San Diego

by Doug Porter 01.08.2015 Activism

By Doug Porter

San Diego is one of seven cities selected by the national AFL-CIO for a long-term effort to concentrate political and economic actions aimed at making increasing the minimum wage an issue in the next presidential election.

The labor federation’s President Richard Trumka announced the nationwide campaign Wednesday during first National Summit on Raising Wages, held at  Gallaudet University Washington, District of Columbia. More than 300 activists and labor leaders along with thousands of other people watching a live stream video also heard speeches by Labor Secretary Tom Perez and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.

The AFL-CIO effort will kick off with statewide Raising Wages Summits in 2015 in Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire and South Carolina, typically the first four presidential primary states.

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Thumbnail image for Behold! An Opportunity for San Diego Democrats to Get Their Act Together

Behold! An Opportunity for San Diego Democrats to Get Their Act Together

by Doug Porter 01.07.2015 Activism

By Doug Porter
_______________________

Hours after members of its staff were murdered, the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo brought its website back online with a “Je Suis Charlie” graphic, which has become the image of social media solidarity. (See story in column inside)
_______________________

Are you sick and tired of elected Democrats who don’t act like Democrats? Does the phrase “herding cats” come to mind when assemblypersons in Sacramento can’t even get it together on things like climate change? Are you tired of voting for lesser of two evils? Can I get an “Amen?”

Well, you’re in luck. With a small investment of time this weekend Democrats in San Diego can help select delegates to the state party convention, the body that makes endorsements ( a critical step in our top-two primary system) and writes the state party platform, among other things.

Today’s column will start off by telling you how to participate and where to get information on some of the choices available. Mind you, this election won’t fix everything wrong with the party of FDR, but it’s a start.

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Thumbnail image for Ten Things You Should Know About Selma Before You See the Film

Ten Things You Should Know About Selma Before You See the Film

by Source 01.07.2015 Activism

By Emilye Crosby / Zinn Education Project

In this 50th anniversary year of the Selma-to-Montgomery March and the Voting Rights Act it helped inspire, national media will focus on the iconic images of “Bloody Sunday,” the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the interracial marchers, and President Lyndon Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act. This version of history, emphasizing a top-down narrative and isolated events, reinforces the master narrative that civil rights activists describe as “Rosa sat down, Martin stood up, and the white folks came south to save the day.”

But there is a “people’s history” of Selma that we all can learn from—one that is needed especially now. The exclusion of Blacks and other people of color from voting is still a live issue. Sheriff’s deputies may no longer be beating people to keep them from registering to vote, but in 2013 the Supreme Court ruled in Shelby v. Holderthat the Justice Department may no longer evaluate laws passed in the former Confederacy for racial bias. And as a new movement emerges, insisting that Black Lives Matter, young people can draw inspiration and wisdom from the courage, imagination, and accomplishments of activists who went before.

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Thumbnail image for A View on Cuba’s Opening From the De Facto U.S. Colony of Puerto Rico

A View on Cuba’s Opening From the De Facto U.S. Colony of Puerto Rico

by Source 01.07.2015 Business

The hard questions of the Obam-apertura.

By Ed Morales / NACLA

The “momentous” yet seemingly long-planned announcement that the United States and Cuba have agreed to re-establish diplomatic relations was an odd end to a chaotic year of crises and strife.

From the summer of renewed violence in Gaza and the surge of unaccompanied children on the Mexican border to the anguish of Mike Brown/Ferguson and Eric Garner/Staten Island and the disappearance of 43 students in Ayotzinapa, there seemed to be no end to conflagrations of long-stirring conflicts that expose the myth of American exceptionalism.

The cost of freedom in the first-est of First Worlds that we live in is the increasing precariousness of life outside our borders—a carnage that is often not connected to our comfort, yet is a result of the burgeoning inequality created by the gospel of globalization. Yet now, perhaps one of the sorest points of contention in the hemisphere, the 50-year U.S.-imposed embargo of Cuba, is finally being acknowledged as a mistake.

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Thumbnail image for Police Officer Associations and Racism: If the Shoe Fits….

Police Officer Associations and Racism: If the Shoe Fits….

by Doug Porter 01.05.2015 Activism

By Doug Porter

Television networks presented live coverage of the funeral for slain NYPD Officer Wenjian Liu on Sunday. As the ceremony was underway officers on the streets outside the funeral parlor turned their backs when New York Mayor Bill de Blasio appeared on  on streetside screens to give a eulogy.

Estimates of just how many officers participated in this protest varied, with some outlets saying a majority turned their backs and the New York Times reporting only “hundreds” involved. The rank and file NYPD action (many higher ups are political appointees) occurred despite a plea for no political statements from Liu’s widow.

As the snarky website Wonkette noted, a photographer documenting the situation was treated for “minor irony-induced whiplash” after being told by officers at the scene “You’re being very disrespectful walking around like that.”

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Thumbnail image for How Will Civic San Diego Serve Neighborhoods?

How Will Civic San Diego Serve Neighborhoods?

by Jim Bliesner 01.05.2015 Activism

By Jim Bliesner

Civic San Diego (Civic SD) has recently been holding community dialogue sessions facilitated by Cheryl Phelps and the new Director Reese Jarrett, both veterans of community and economic development in San Diego.

The first session was inclusive and allowed input. The second event featured a panel of downtown experts with limited community engagement. The third will happen at the City Heights library (3795 Fairmount Ave) on January 8 at 5:30PM.

According to the announcement “On January 8, 2015, Civic San Diego will hold a third convening regarding its new initiative to create a broad-based collaborative network of stakeholders to inform the development of our Community Benefits goals. This convening will introduce the online engagement platform where, over the next several weeks, stakeholders will be able to share their interests, collaborate to evolve ideas, and identify and prioritize shared values for their neighborhoods.” The process will result in some goals and values from the perspective of Civic SD. The neighborhoods might have a different idea in mind and see the need for some serious negotiations.

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Thumbnail image for Not So Happy New Year: Obama Pushing Trans-Pacific Partnership in 2015

Not So Happy New Year: Obama Pushing Trans-Pacific Partnership in 2015

by Jim Miller 01.05.2015 Business

By Jim Miller

Last week, I wrote about Project Censored’s Top 25 most underreported stories, one of which was “Wikileaks Revelations on Trans-Pacific Partnership Ignored by Corporate Media.” Coming in at number three on their list, Project Censored notes that what is important about this story is that :

Eight hundred million people, and one-third of all world trade, stand to be affected by the treaty—and yet only three people from each member nation have access to the entire document. Meanwhile, six hundred “corporate advisors,” representing big oil, pharmaceutical, and entertainment companies, are involved in the writing and negotiations of the treaty.

The influence of these companies is clear, as large sections of the proposal involve corporate law and intellectual property rights, rather than free trade. Corporations could gain the ability to sue governments not only for loss, but prospective loss. At the same time, patents and copyrights would see more protection. This means longer patents, leading to less access to generic drugs, and a lockdown on Internet content. Commenting on the leaked TPP chapter, which details how corporations could seek financial compensation for non-tariff barriers to trade, Arthur Stamoulis of the Citizens Trade Campaign observed, “The Tribunals that adjudicate these cases don’t have the power to literally demand that a government change its policies, but they can award payments worth millions and even billions of dollars, such that if a country doesn’t want additional cases brought against it, it gets the line.”

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Thumbnail image for The Election of Pete Chacón: Latino Hope, Pride and a New Belief in the System

The Election of Pete Chacón: Latino Hope, Pride and a New Belief in the System

by Maria E. Garcia 01.03.2015 Activism

By Maria E. Garcia

The general public knew Peter Chacón as a California State Assemblyman who served from 1970-1992. Very few know or understand what Pete’s election meant to the Latino community.

From the time I was a small child I remember my parents going inside a building to vote. They would take turns voting as we sat in the car. One parent would go inside to vote while the other parent would care for us. Then the reverse would occur. Voting was always a special activity and in many ways a mystery.

This all changed for me the night Peter Chacón was elected in November of 1969. Pete’s victory taught us that voting does make a difference.

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Thumbnail image for 2014 Wrap Up: The Tide Turns on Rape Culture, Climate Change and Same Sex Marriage

2014 Wrap Up: The Tide Turns on Rape Culture, Climate Change and Same Sex Marriage

by Doug Porter 01.02.2015 Activism

By Doug Porter

The term rape culture became mainstream in 2014. Practices and behavior in society excusing or otherwise tolerating sexual violence were exposed. Activists around the country took to the streets to push back. Examples, ranging from the callousness of the San Diego City Attorney’s office accusing a sexual assault victim of trying to bribe a police officer with her underwear to investigations into the widespread accommodation of rape in college fraternities, were given wide media coverage.

The ecological crisis facing the planet was another subject getting increased attention this year. Hundreds of thousands of people marched in New York and other cities, including San Diego, in September demanding action on man made climate change. Despite evidence supporting the impending dangers accumulated throughout the year, dirty energy apologists leveraged their economic and political resources, hoping to block actions limiting greenhouse gas in 2015.

Finally, there was some terrific news for a supporters of marriage equality this past year, as court decisions and legislatures rolled back restrictions on same sex marriage. These victories were a testament to the validity of persistent long term activism on many fronts as an effective strategy.

Welcome to Day Three of the Starting Line’s summation of 2014’s top stories. On Wednesday the focus was on challenges not met in San Diego. Yesterday I wrote about issues of economic and radial justice rising to the forefront of the local and national consciousness.

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Thumbnail image for Herbert Siguenza on ‘Steal Heaven’: We Have More Power Than We Think

Herbert Siguenza on ‘Steal Heaven’: We Have More Power Than We Think

by Alejandra Enciso Guzmán 01.02.2015 Activism

The San Diego REP begins 2015 with Herbert Siguenza’s tribute to Abbie Hoffman

By Alejandra Enciso Guzmán

Abbie Hoffman was an American political activist who also founded the Youth International Party (Yippies) in 1968 and was known for his successful media events. The Yippies were likely to use ‘guerrilla’ theater or public pranks to bring attention to their causes.

Hoffman’s legacy lives on at the San Diego Repertory Theatre when it stages the world premiere of “Steal Heaven.” The production, which opens on January 10 is by Herbert Siguenza who also acts and co-directs along with Todd Salovey.

“Abbie Hoffman was a political figure of the sixties. Some people called him ‘crazy’ or ‘ultra-radical’ but the things he was saying back then have all come true,” …

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Thumbnail image for Lessons Learned in 2014: #FightforFifteen and #Icantbreathe

Lessons Learned in 2014: #FightforFifteen and #Icantbreathe

by Doug Porter 01.01.2015 Activism

By Doug Porter

Welcome to Day Two of the Starting Line’s summation of 2014. Yesterday the focus was on challenges not met in San Diego. Today we’ll look at some serious challenges rising to the forefront of the local and national consciousness.

Struggles for economic justice and ending racism (re) emerged as serious issues over the past year, and there certainly is every indication they’ll remain at the forefront in 2015. Taking the long view, it seems as though in the past we’ve ended up in the past settling for half a loaf in these matters; the symptoms got treated but never the disease.

Promises of hope and change have run into the politics of “No.” Often the personification of that attitude is the Republican Party, a convenient diversion from the reality that the underlying attitudes are part of our national consciousness. Entitlement based on race, wealth and class are as American as apple pie. Passing laws and declarations by elected leaders can no longer be regarded as a substitute for changing our culture.

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Thumbnail image for Lessons Not Learned in 2014, Part One: Tourism and Law Enforcement

Lessons Not Learned in 2014, Part One: Tourism and Law Enforcement

by Doug Porter 12.31.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

Five days a week, fifty weeks out of the year I write about the news. Mostly I write about local stories. And what I’m always trying to do, in addition to sharing information, is to make sense of all these events from a progressive point of view.

For the rest of this week I’ll discuss stories deserving to be part of our understanding of how things actually work in San Diego. The fast breaking nature of news and information these days, I think, discourages taking the long view.

I propose a New Year’s Eve toast to the concept of having a local historical memory longer than that of a goldfish. May we someday get to the point where our public servants learn from past mistakes.

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Thumbnail image for The Most Important Stories That the Corporate Media Didn’t Tell You in 2014

The Most Important Stories That the Corporate Media Didn’t Tell You in 2014

by Jim Miller 12.29.2014 Columns

By Jim Miller

We live in troubled times but are increasingly ill equipped to deal with them. The average American is awash in a sea of ghastly, contextless headlines punctuated by inane trivia and pointless titillation. Somewhere between the latest massacre and Kim Kardashian’s most recent booty shot we got lost.

Indeed, some studies have even shown that the more news we consume the less we actually know. That’s because so much of what we have come to think of as “news” is really a form of corporate propaganda, a depthless mass of factoids designed to not interfere with the bottom line. Thus we know less as we amuse ourselves to death.

So what, more precisely, have we been missing?

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