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 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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Thumbnail image for DIY Resistance: Grasp Things at the Root

DIY Resistance: Grasp Things at the Root

by Will Falk 10.31.2014 Activism

By Will Falk

I recently attended another sustainability conference at a local university. The experts sat in a half-circle facing their audience in rank-and-file foldable chairs. I, like most of the audience, hoped to hear a brilliant solution to the ongoing destruction of the living world. The amount of experience and knowledge assembled in the experts’ panel was formidable.

There was an organic farmer, a local politician, a Christian minister, an executive director of an environmental NGO, a scientist, a green engineer, and a young indigenous woman representing the Native Students Union. My expectations were high.

The typical conversation topics were covered. “Is climate change real?” “What does ‘being green’ mean to you?” “What is sustainability?” I was prepared to sit through these questions patiently as the answers from the experts represented an introduction to Environmentalism 101 because I knew the pay-off question was coming.

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Thumbnail image for Two Poems: Sex & Death in the Desert; The Hourglass

Two Poems: Sex & Death in the Desert; The Hourglass

by At Large 10.29.2014 Books & Poetry

By George Howell

Sex & Death in the Desert

The big female snout beetle plays dead
When I prod her with a stick,
Apoininae-like
As the field guide says,
Her smaller mate laying dead
In the debris collected in the plastic water bottle,
His legs and snout curled
In the rigid repose of death.

Life is fragile here
In the high desert …

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Thumbnail image for MTS Ad Policy: Incoherent, Inconsistent and Anti-Democratic

MTS Ad Policy: Incoherent, Inconsistent and Anti-Democratic

by Anna Daniels 10.27.2014 Activism

San Diego’s publicly funded transit system bites the hand that feeds it

By Anna Daniels

MTS- you are a craven, pathetic mess. When Alliance San Diego launched a non-partisan effort to increase awareness about elections in communities with historically low voter turnout like my community of City Heights, they approached San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) with the intention of buying printed bus ads.

The ads would include the message Vote for San Diego, along with the date of the election. Images of native San Diegans were included with motivational messages such as “Vote for what’s best for your community.”

Did I say that Alliance San Diego’s intention was to buy bus ads? They weren’t asking for a public service freebee. MTS declined the request and herein lies the tale of how our publicly funded, public benefit agency proceeded to simply make sh*t up.

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Thumbnail image for Goodbye San Francisco Bay Guardian; Hello Wankergate

Goodbye San Francisco Bay Guardian; Hello Wankergate

by Jim Miller 10.27.2014 Columns

By Jim Miller

Recently, California lost one of its last remaining, genuinely progressive weeklies, the San Francisco Bay Guardian. As [people.power.media] tells the story:

The San Francisco Bay Guardian, the prize-winning newspaper and progressive voice, was shut down immediately by the San Francisco Media Company, after 48 years of “printing the news and raising hell.” No warning for staff, just pack your boxes and get out. Boom. This historic independent newspaper, so long a pivotal force in San Francisco progressive politics and culture was suddenly treated as a corporate portfolio item, and lopped off the balance sheet . . .

Guardian editor Steven T. Jones recounted to the Chronicle, “We were told at 10 a.m. (Tuesday) that this issue would be our last. They shut down everything — our sites, our social media, our passkeys, right away. We’ve all been laid off, effective immediately…I need an escort to go to the bathroom and get back to the office to pack up my stuff.”

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Thumbnail image for The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Laura Rodriguez, the Family Matriarch Who Became Barrio Activist

The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Laura Rodriguez, the Family Matriarch Who Became Barrio Activist

by Maria E. Garcia 10.25.2014 Activism

By Maria E. Garcia

On October 5, 1970, Logan Heights resident Laura Rodriguez chained herself to the Neighborhood House doors, setting in motion what has come to be known as The Occupation.  The fearless sixty-one year old grandmother chose this very public display of activism to force a decision on the future of Neighborhood House.

The services that Neighborhood House had provided to the community for decades were  reduced and eliminated as that location evolved in the mid-1960’s into an administrative office. Laura and Logan Heights activists would ultimately win this battle, with Neighborhood House becoming a Centro de Salud– health clinic– as the community had demanded.

I will describe in much more detail the actual occupation in a future article.  On this October anniversary, Laura Rodriguez deserves her own series of articles that traces her life from her Logan Heights beginnings to the years she lived at the Marston House and her return to Logan Heights.

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Thumbnail image for Who Runs San Diego?  Co-opting an Icon in Hillcrest

Who Runs San Diego? Co-opting an Icon in Hillcrest

by At Large 10.24.2014 Activism

It’s a Gay Thing

By Linda Perine / Democratic Woman’s Club

As you may have noticed, October has not been a happy month for the San Diego LGBT community.

Earlier this month the Harvey Milk American Diner in Hillcrest closed abruptly, bouncing checks to workers and simply failing to pay others, including the Harvey Milk Foundation.

At an October 8 press conference an LA Times reporter began asking questions about allegations of sexual harassment against Republican Carl de Maio.  He is an openly gay candidate for the 52nd congressional district.

Both stories have grown into full-fledged embarrassments for the LGBT community.  Both stories reflect badly on the judgment and motivations of some of our community’s better known members.  Both stories are, and may become more, damaging to our community.  But most importantly, and possibly least apparently, both stories are part of a much larger and more corrosive identity crisis in the LGBT community.

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What Does Malin Burnham’s Possible Take-Over of the U-T San Diego Mean?

by Frank Gormlie 10.23.2014 Business

Malin Burnham fullhueAs ‘Old-Money’ Point Loman Burnham emerges to operate San Diego’s daily, questions are raised whether this is the “Moderate Wing” of the Establishment reasserting itself?

Part One of two parts.

By Frank Gormlie / OB Rag

The news has been out for nearly a month now that well known wheeler-dealer and financier Malin Burnham of Point Loma has initiated efforts to purchase the U-T San Diego from Doug Manchester, the current owner and publisher.

Burnham, who calls himself a moderate Republican and who has lived in Point Loma all his life, told the press that he is the spokesman for a 5-man group of economic power-brokers who want to form a non-profit that will take over the newspaper and run it as a profit-making enterprise. Any profits, Burnham has pledged, would go back into community charities. Now as crazy as that plan might seem in this day and age of folding newspapers and expanding internet news sites, there are at least two other major dailies in the country that are run by non-profits. …

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Thumbnail image for A Tour of Tijuana’s Maquiladoras

A Tour of Tijuana’s Maquiladoras

by At Large 10.23.2014 Editor's Picks

By Barbara Zaragoza / South Bay Compass 

Each month, Enrique Davalos, a professor at City College, gives a tour along the U.S.-Mexico border of the Tijuana Maquiladoras. A social activist tour, Enrique as well as former employees of the maquilas brings awareness to American consumers about the poor working conditions and environmental exploitation taking place right along our frontera. 

What are maquiladoras?

Enrique’s tour passes the gates of several maquiladoras (or maquilas): foreign owned factories that have come to Mexico in order to benefit from cheap labor and lax environmental laws.

The tour begins at the San Ysidro Trolley in the U.S. where our group is taken through the busiest land port of entry in the world. On the Mexico side, a shuttle bus waits to take us along the border.

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