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 Richard Lawrence to participate on the Midday Edition program was abruptly withdrawn.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…]

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.

Marcus Harrison Green / Yes! Magazine

“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…]

A Nice Little Trip up Highway 1

At Sierra Mar

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…]

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…]

The Union Label: Making a Comeback, Despite Challenges

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By Doug Porter

A Gallup poll released this week says organized labor is making a comeback in the public consciousness. Support for labor unions has jumped five percentage points over the past year, with nearly six in 10 people approving of unions, up from 48% in 2009.

This increase in support comes despite an unrelenting effort by right-wing groups to blame unions for everything from unemployment to inciting class war. There are twin editorials/columns in Tuesday’s Union-Tribune misrepresenting the truth, casting labor as the evil opponent of good government and economic prosperity.

Today’s column will examine the phenomena driving the resurgence of the contemporary labor movement and the challenges it faces, along with some information on organizing efforts.   [Read more…]

Bernie Sanders, American Socialist

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By John Lawrence

Bernie Sanders has been drawing huge crowds to his rallies. The American media cannot ignore that. But they will never use the S word to describe Bernie even though that is how he describes himself. Bernie represents those who would tax Wall Street to preserve social security and a host of other common sense proposals. He dares to suggest that college should be free rather than the first stage of a life of indentured servitude and indebtedness.

People are listening – especially young people. Bernie has been saying these things for years but the media for the most part has been ignoring him. Now he has a bigger megaphone. His decision to run for President in order to get his message out there is paying off.

As Bernie himself has said: “the ideas and the points that we are making are reverberating very strongly with the American people.” Whoever would have thought that Bernie Sanders, Socialist, would be reverberating with the American people, the American people who love freedom and think that society should be set up in such a way that everybody has a chance, no matter how small, of getting rich?   [Read more…]

Ready for the Revolution? Clinton, Sanders, #BlackLivesMatter and Other Tales from the Campaign Trail

Photo by JeepersMedia

By Jim Miller

Last week, Hillary Clinton paid a visit to her base in San Diego at a breakfast fundraiser in the home of Qualcomm executive Irwin Jacobs, which was billed as “A Conversation with Hillary.” Clinton arrived in a motorcade with two San Diego police cars and entered through the back door.

Of course, to be part of the conversation, you had to drop $1,000 to $2,700, the maximum contribution for an individual allowed under federal law.

Indeed, the Clinton machine has been hauling in big bucks for months now and, as of early July, had raised $48 million and is well on the way to the $100 million goal the campaign has set for the end of this year with the lion’s share of that money, both in this cycle and over the course of her career coming from moneyed interests, from Wall Street to Silicon Valley.   [Read more…]

US Raises Flag in Cuba After 54 Years, but ‘Signs of Mistrust Linger’

Three Marines raise U.S. flag at the U.S. embassy in Havana, Cuba, August 14, 2015

Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro has called for the U.S. to repay millions of dollars owed to his country for damage done by its decades-long embargo

By Deidre Fulton / CommonDreams

After more than five decades, the U.S. embassy in Cuba formally re-opened with a flag-raising ceremony on Friday, marking another historic step in the normalization of relations between the two countries.

“For more than half a century, U.S.-Cuba relations have been suspended in the amber of cold war politics,” Secretary of State John Kerry said in a speech at the seaside facility. “It’s time to unfurl our flags and let the world know we wish each other well.”   [Read more…]

DeMaio’s Latest Pension Scam Fails Sacramento Sniff Test

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By Doug Porter

Former San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio and proponents of  a California ballot initiative requiring pension changes to go through a public vote are screaming foul about the California Attorney General’s official description of that measure. The language, starting out with “eliminates constitutional protections”  will appear on petitions backers use to get signatures.

The backers of the “Public Employees. Pension and  Retiree Healthcare Benefits Initiative/Constitutional Amendment,” issued a statement blasting ‘union bosses’ and ‘politicians’ in response to Kamala Harris’ wording.

Likely most upsetting to the measure’s backers was the omission of the word “empowering.”  This squashed the idea of tapping into the politics of resentment and was a hoped for main selling point by proponents.   [Read more…]

Bernie Sanders is a Great Candidate. [Some of] His Supporters, Not So Much

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By Doug Porter

The Big News this morning (Hey, it’s August!) is a poll showing Senator Bernie Saunders leading by six points over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire.

This news has got be some sweet irony for Sanders supporters, coming the day after the high priests of polling at FiveThirtyEight.com declared “The Bernie Sanders Surge Appears to Be Over.”  

Today I’ll take a look at the Bernie Sanders candidacy, warts and all. While the campaign appears to soaring in some circles, a significant cry of “Hey, wait a minute!” has emerged. How the man and his campaign deal with #BlackLivesMatter may be the real Big News of 2015 politics.   [Read more…]

Lowriders in San Diego: Jose Romero Tells The History

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By Barbara Zaragoza / South Bay Compass

Low-RI-der. We all know the 1975 song by Jerry Goldstein, but do we really understand the history, art and technology lowriders have contributed to our American culture?

I’m here to find out and Jose Romero is first up to tell us a little bit about lowriding history.

Jose Romero, a member of the Klique car club, the oldest continuous running car club in San Diego, has been lowriding for over 40 years. He explains that lowriding is a talent he’s had since childhood.   [Read more…]

The Chargers Stadium Proposal is a Joke, Right?

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By Doug Porter

(I’ve published two versions of the Starting Line for Tuesday. One on the stadium deal and one on the events taking place in Ferguson.)

Yesterday reporters were summoned to a vacant lot overlooking Mission Valley to hear the latest news about efforts to build a new football stadium for the San Diego Chargers.

Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer, County Supervisor Ron Roberts and City Attorney Jan Goldsmith solemnly announced a “real path to success,” complete with artist renderings, an environmental report and financing plan.   [Read more…]

Duped by Signature Campaign for Strawberry Fields Mall in Carlsbad

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The perversion of citizen led petition drives by big money

By Richard Riehl

My afternoon nap was disturbed last month by the sound of a man’s cheery voice from behind the screen at my open front door.

“Hello, hello!”

Awakening from a sound sleep, I shuffled to the door to find a man standing there, holding a clipboard. He didn’t introduce himself, just explained, “We’re gathering signatures to save the strawberry fields.” I didn’t recognize him, but his easy way led me to believe he was a fellow resident of our 40-unit condo community.

Despite full knowledge of our HOA ban on door-to-door solicitation and my own vow never to sign a petition without knowing the details of what it meant and who was pushing it, I allowed the phrase, “save our strawberry fields” to cloud my better judgment.   [Read more…]

Staring Over the Brink: Obama, Brown, and High Stakes Climate Politics

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By Jim Miller

President Obama made big news last week when he unveiled his plan to significantly reduce emissions from coal-fired power plants as part of his strategy to address the climate crisis. His speech was urgent, moving in fact, and showed that, at least rhetorically, he is committed to making this part of his legacy:

[W]e’re the first generation to feel the impact of climate change and the last generation that can do something about it. And that’s why I committed the United States to leading the world on this challenge, because I believe there is such a thing as being too late.

He noted that our time is short and the stakes are high. He evoked the future of our grandchildren and the fate of the poor and powerless around the world at this very moment. For this we should applaud him.
  [Read more…]

San Diego Brewery May Be ‘Selling Out’. Does It Matter?

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By John P. Anderson

San Diego County has a large beer industry, there are currently more than 110 active breweries. Along with high numbers, San Diego has earned a reputation as a leader in the craft beer industry. Many would rank it as the top craft beer city/region in the United States – whether it is the top dog or in the top five isn’t especially important. It’s a leader however you measure – top ranked beers, top ranked breweries, number of breweries, or gallons produced annually.

So InBev and MillerCoors come to town and write a check with a bunch of zeroes, hope someone takes the offer, and then do their best to make sure that as few people as possible know that a big brewery now owns the “little guy”. So does it matter if a brewery is owned by a person in your neighborhood or a large corporation like InBev? For many it does.   [Read more…]

Lowriders Return To Highland Avenue in National City

Lowriders On Highland, National City

And the National City Mayor is joining them

By Barbara Zaragoza / Southbay Compass

After many decades of clashes with the city council and police department in National City, lowriders again take Highland Avenue by storm, this time packing the parking lot of Foodland Mercado on Highland Avenue for Taco Tuesdays to show off their hoppers and show cars.

On Tuesday, July 28th even the National City Mayor, Ron Morrison, attended. He strolled past the vintage cars and posed for a picture with lowriders from several different car clubs.

Mayor Morrison said, “This is like an art fair because these cars are more like art than anything else.”   [Read more…]

Opposition to Clean Power Plan Penned at San Diego ALEC Meeting

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By Doug Porter

States will be required to dramatically cut emissions from power plants over the next 15 years under the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, announced on Monday. The stage is now set for a major political showdown, reminiscent of the battle over Obamacare.

Given that the burden of implementing these regulations will fall upon the states, the role of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is crafting a counterattack should surprise no one. Details of the pushback were finalized at the group’s meeting in San Diego just two weeks ago.

Today we’ll look at how the opposition to the plan is shaping up, along with the strengths and weaknesses of what are being called a landmark set of regulations to combat climate change.   [Read more…]

Ta-Nehisi Coates Speaks to all of Us in ‘Between the World and Me’

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By Susan Grigsby / Daily Kos

Over 50 years before I had ever heard the term white privilege, I sat out in the backyard of our middle-class suburban home and finished The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin. I can still see the bright green grass and the blond wicker furniture, and the curling corner of the paperback book.

And I remember thinking that even though we lived in the same nation, we occupied different countries, James Baldwin and I. He lived in a world that I had never known existed even though it occupied the same city streets. His book’s impact on me was profound, as the kaleidoscope of my reality shifted and never again returned to its original angle.

The following year was personally tumultuous for myself and my family, which may be another reason that I remember that afternoon so vividly. In later years I thought that 14 was too young to be grappling alone with issues so complex. And perhaps it was, but the unfiltered result of that reading was that I could no longer accept that the reality I perceived was the only one that existed. And while I suffered from the same absolutism common to any teenager, always in the back of my mind lingered the knowledge that maybe everything I thought I knew was wrong.

Please join me for a look at the writing of the man considered by Toni Morrison to be the one to fill the intellectual void left by James Baldwin’s passing.   [Read more…]

Electile Dysfunction: GOP Candidates Prepare for ‘Happy Hour’ Debate

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By Doug Porter

Heading into the dog days of August, this should be the dullest of the dull period of the election cycle. But it’s not.

Seventeen candidates have formally declared an interest in seeking the Republican nomination for the 2016 presidential contest. Roger Ailes, the high priest of Fox news, has called for an early debate, limited to the ten top job seekers capable of making the most noise.

Getting into this debate has been all about who can say the most outrageous thing. Today, I’ll share some of that outrage with readers.   [Read more…]

Summer Chronicles #7: Ten Moments in Places that No Longer Exist in Downtown San Diego

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The maps of our memories fray like fine gauze

By Jim Miller

We are where we are from. Place, our place or “home,” gives us a sense of rootedness and identity, but it is also transient, always moving and changing as we ride the river of time and space.

Some places are fundamentally grounded in a central idea of what “home” is, of what defines a locality—the people in such places hold fast, perhaps futilely, to some notion of what it means to be there.

Not us though, not here in San Diego where history and tradition outside of empty tourist spectacles are cast off like a snakeskin and our sense of place is transformed by the whims of boosters and marketing schemes, sometimes erasing whole communities in the service of civic marketing.   [Read more…]

Chicano Park in Barrio Logan

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Editor’s note: Welcome to our newest column, Progressive San Diego! We received an email from Dave, a reader in Liverpool, UK, who’s visiting San Diego later this year. He had one simple question: What are some progressive places to visit?

That got us thinking. There’s nothing really available online that’s broad and comprehensive with regard to San Diego’s progressive history and locales — a directory of sorts. We want to change that.

And so twice a month we will feature a person, place or thing that has done something to contribute to our important cause and culture. Given our time and resource restraints, each feature will be short and sweet, or pulled from other sites with permission. Please feel free to add information in the comments. We would love this to be organic and ever evolving.

This installment: Chicano Park in Barrio Logan   [Read more…]

The Party of Death is Dying

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By Bob Dorn  

For years now the Republican Party has been the party of death. Now it may itself be dying. More about that later. For now, some numbers.

In 2014, 1,100 of 1359 executions performed by the states were the work of “Republican-dominated states,” according to Republicanviews.org on Oct. 26 of that year. Just more than 508 of those executions were in Texas, according to the Death Penalty Information Center, which did the report.

Last May, the Quinnipiac poll taken on attitudes toward the war in Iraq, asked the question, “Do you think going to war with Iraq in 2003 was the right thing to do or the wrong thing?” Overall, 59% of Americans responded that it was wrong and 32% said it was right. Among the Republicans those numbers were more than reversed; 62% of them said it was right to go there and kill, while only 28% said it was wrong.   [Read more…]