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 The New American Order: On the Path to Plutocracy

The New American Order: On the Path to Plutocracy

by At Large 03.24.2015 Editor's Picks

1% Elections, The Privatization of the State, a Fourth Branch of Government, and the Demobilization of “We the People”

By Tom Engelhardt / TomDispatch

Have you ever undertaken some task you felt less than qualified for, but knew that someone needed to do? Consider this piece my version of that, and let me put what I do understand about it in a nutshell: based on developments in our post-9/11 world, we could be watching the birth of a new American political system and way of governing for which, as yet, we have no name.

Whatever this may add up to, it seems to be based, at least in part, on the increasing concentration of wealth and power in a new plutocratic class and in that ever-expanding national security state. Certainly, something out of the ordinary is underway, and yet its birth pangs, while widely reported, are generally categorized as aspects of an exceedingly familiar American system somewhat in disarray.

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Thumbnail image for The Spring Garden Thing!

The Spring Garden Thing!

by Susan Taylor 03.24.2015 Editor's Picks

By Susan Taylor

The flatlanders in San Diego had somewhere between 1-2 inches of rain recently and I hear the call of school gardens asking, “Can we plant something?” Of course we can, so let’s get going.

On a recent stroll along the boardwalk towards South Mission Beach, I dipped into the tiny streets between the boardwalk and Mission Blvd and saw so many interesting growing things. One idea I’ve already tried is to take a hanging succulent cutting, let it harden off for a couple of days and here’s what’s next–wrap a handful of soil around the root (to be) end and then add some coir or even a paper towel. Moisten the whole wrap and nest it into the crotch of a tree branch. I used a rubber band to tighten the whole thing. Maybe you’ll have a hanging plant growing thingy before you know it…it looks very sophisticated and like the gardener knows what he/she is doing!

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Thumbnail image for Bible Lawyer Seeking ‘Death for Gays’ Initiative in 2016

Bible Lawyer Seeking ‘Death for Gays’ Initiative in 2016

by Doug Porter 03.23.2015 Columns

By Doug Porter

A decade ago Huntington Beach attorney Matt McLaughlin paid $200 and gained approval from the secretary of state’s office to gather signatures for the King James Bible as Textbook initiative, which would have amended the state Constitution to allow the Bible to be used as a textbook. 

McLaughlin and his six supporters failed to gather the nearly six hundred thousand signatures necessary to put the measure on the ballot in 2004. 

He’s come up with another $200, and given the poor voter turnout in the most recent election, he’s hoping his Sodomite Suppression Act can get the 365,000 signatures it needs to make it legal to summarily execute gay people in California. 

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Thumbnail image for The Public Education Reporting Charade

The Public Education Reporting Charade

by Jim Miller 03.23.2015 Columns

What if it turned out that education reform, with its teacher-blaming assumptions, got it all wrong in the first place?

By Jim Miller

Recently, with “California’s Public Education Charade,” UT-San Diego shocked no one by publishing yet another anti-union, teacher-bashing editorial that attacks California’s “dominant Democratic Party” for believing that “what’s good for the California Teachers Association and the California Federation of Teachers is good for California. And what’s good for students, who cares?”

The sins of California’s Democrats, the State Board of Education, and their sinister union bosses include the decision to “suspend the Academic Performance Index [API] for a second year as the state moves to a more complex system of evaluating school and district performance” and failing to robustly follow the lead of the misguided Vergara decision which blamed tenure for the struggles of low-income minority students. California, the editorial board laments, has made it “even more difficult to fire bad teachers.”

Of course, these are precisely the kind of oft-repeated yet totally unfounded assertions one hears about public education and teachers from not just the mouthpiece of Manchester but from far too many in the media. Just because they keep saying it, however, doesn’t make it true.

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Thumbnail image for California Drought Legislation Must Target Agribusiness and Big Oil

California Drought Legislation Must Target Agribusiness and Big Oil

by Source 03.23.2015 Business

By Dan Bacher

Governor Jerry Brown and lawmakers touted the introduction of drought legislation in the Legislature on March 19, while leaders of environmental and corporate watchdog groups urged Brown to put real limits on the “most egregious” water users – corporate agribusiness and big oil companies – to really address the drought.

Brown joined Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León, and Republican Leaders Senator Bob Huff and Assemblymember Kristin to unveil legislation that they claimed will “help local communities cope with the ongoing, devastating drought.”

A statement from the Governor’s Office said the package will expedite bond funding to “make the state more resilient to the disastrous effects of climate change and help ensure that all Californians have access to local water supplies.”

“This unprecedented drought continues with no signs yet of letting up,” said Governor Brown. “The programs funded by the actions announced today will provide direct relief to workers and communities most impacted by these historic dry conditions.”

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Thumbnail image for San Diego Finally Allows 1st “Legal” Pot Shop 19 Years After California Voters Passed Measure

San Diego Finally Allows 1st “Legal” Pot Shop 19 Years After California Voters Passed Measure

by Frank Gormlie 03.22.2015 Business

By Frank Gormlie / OB Rag

The City of San Diego has finally allowed the opening of the City’s very first medical marijuana dispensary.

This opening of the first “legal” pot shop in San Diego comes 19 years after California voters passed Prop 215, making medical marijuana legal.

And the County of San Diego has only allowed one dispensary to open to date – a storefront opened last summer in an unincorporated area outside El Cajon.

The shameful history of nearly 2 decades for both the City and County of San Diego that viewed together initiated delays, stalls, and outright resistance to the spirit of Prop 215, stands in deep contrast to the wishes of the state’s voters.

On this issue at least, the implementation of the medical marijuana law, our local governments have been very undemocratic as they have quite openly stymied what the voters, the people, wanted.

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Thumbnail image for The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Merlin Pinkerton, Mentor and Coach

The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Merlin Pinkerton, Mentor and Coach

by Maria E. Garcia 03.21.2015 Editor's Picks

By Maria E. Garcia

Once a month the Logan Heights Old Timers meet for breakfast at the IHOP in National City. At one of those meetings I asked them to share their memories about Coach Merlin Pinkerton. Coach Pinkerton came to Neighborhood House in 1943.

The people quoted in this article are between the ages of 65 and 95 and yet their memories of Coach Pinkerton are clear and reflect the love they felt for him. The question becomes how did this man become the most loved and respected coach in the history of Neighborhood House? What did he do and how did he do it?

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Thumbnail image for The Uptown Battle for Safer Bike Routes

The Uptown Battle for Safer Bike Routes

by Doug Porter 03.20.2015 Activism

By Doug Porter

There’s a special meeting of the Uptown Planners next Tuesday (March 24) to discuss overriding the SANDAG Regional Bike Plan in Mission Hills and Hillcrest. Cycling advocates are expected to face off against various organizations and people opposed to proposed traffic changes in the area.

This meeting is, I think, symbolic of a larger battle going on over the future of transportation in the city. While all the organizations involved give lip service to the Climate Action Plan’s goal of 18% bike mode share in Uptown by 2035, there are individuals who come across as negative about actually doing anything to achieve the goal.

Despite a growing body of evidence contradicting what some small businesspeople assume about the negative impact of bike lanes, parking spaces and traffic calming measures, when it gets down to an actual plan, all they can say is “no.” (Kinda like the GOP on their alternative to Obamacare, I think.) 

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Thumbnail image for The People’s Budget: Progressive Proposal Aims to Un-Rig Failed Economic System

The People’s Budget: Progressive Proposal Aims to Un-Rig Failed Economic System

by Source 03.20.2015 Economy

The budget plan ‘fixes an economy that, for too long, has failed to provide the opportunities American families need to get ahead,’ says Congressional Progressive Caucus
By Deirdre Fulton / Common Dreams

Offering a sustainable alternative to regressive federal budget proposals put forth this week by the Republican majorities on Capitol Hill, the Congressional Progressive Caucus on Wednesday released The People’s Budget: A Raise for America, which aims to “level the playing field” for low- and middle-income Americans.

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Thumbnail image for The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Tulie Trejo’s Blue Ribbon Life

The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Tulie Trejo’s Blue Ribbon Life

by Maria E. Garcia 03.14.2015 Editor's Picks

From learning to bake at Neighborhood House to winning the Pillsbury Bakeoff

By Maria E Garcia

It was Cinco de Mayo, 1941. Obdulia “Tulie” Trejo had left the turmoil of her parents’ house with its eleven children and the harsh restrictions her parents imposed upon her. She was living at the time with her girlfriend Dolores and her mother. On that particular Cinco de Mayo, Tulie was seventeen years old and that is the day that she met Joe Trejo, a young man from Carlsbad, at the waterfront near the foot of Broadway.

Joe had a car and taught her to drive. The car was a 1941 maroon stick shift Chevy. The car took them to Mission Beach, which she refers to as “our playground.” They would also drive to Balboa Park. Another place they really loved was Oscar’s on Broadway. At this time her mom was working at the cannery and unable to supervise what Tulie was doing. This gave her a lot of freedom.

Joe wanted to marry Tulie right away but with her eye on her high school diploma she said “no.”

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Thumbnail image for Help Us Find San Diego’s Progressive History and Locales

Help Us Find San Diego’s Progressive History and Locales

by Staff 03.13.2015 Activism

By Staff    

A reader from Liverpool, England, wrote us recently requesting our help in finding “hidden gems of progressiveness and places of historical importance I should visit whilst I’m there.”

That request got us to thinking about how much local history we must be blissfully unaware of. So we’ve decided to create and continue to update a page where the local history of progressiveness and protest will come alive for visitors, students and locals.

We’d like your help in putting this together. You can leave us ideas in the comments section of this article or email us at contact@sandiegofreepress.org with the subject line Progressive San Diego. Many thanks!

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Thumbnail image for The Morphing of Civic San Diego and the Need for City Council Oversight

The Morphing of Civic San Diego and the Need for City Council Oversight

by Anna Daniels 03.13.2015 Business

Preparing for the March 18 Public Safety and Livable Neighborhood Committee meeting

By Anna Daniels

This past October, Reese Jarrett, newly hired President of Civic San Diego (CivicSD), appeared before the Public Safety and Livable Neighborhood Committee of the San Diego City Council. The committee chairwoman, District 9 council member Marti Emerald, directed a number of pointed questions toward CivicSD staff, followed by additional questions from District 4 council member Myrtle Cole.

Councilmember Emerald provided a brief description of CivicSD as a city owned non-profit established in June of 2012 to continue the city’s economic revitalization efforts. CivicSD already had a contract with the city, the redevelopment Successor Agency, to handle the administrative duties associated with the winding down of redevelopment projects.

Now there were updated CivicSD bylaws and another contract with the city which transferred the ongoing functions of CCDC and SEDC to CivicSD. Those same bylaws also broadened the scope of CivicSD activities and guaranteed its ongoing existence as the city’s development mechanism. Yet there was little fanfare or public discussion about how economic development and revitalization efforts should continue in the city after the end of redevelopment.

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Thumbnail image for Caravan 43 to Travel Across the U.S.

Caravan 43 to Travel Across the U.S.

by At Large 03.12.2015 Activism

Events and actions to be held in San Diego on March 23 & 24

By Miguel Cid

On Tuesday March 10th at San Diego City College a press conference was held announcing the upcoming arrival of three caravans planned to begin travelling across the country, including one which will arrive in San Diego on March 23. All caravans will include students from Ayotzinapa and family members of some of the 43 normalistas that went missing from Guerrero, Mexico, this past September, with remains of all students except one yet to be found.

The arrival of one of the three caravans in San Diego on the 23rd will be the beginning of more than 45 cities in the U.S. that will be visited. The U.S. is also the first country outside of Mexico to call for action.

“One is the caravan Pacific that is going from San Diego to the Seattle. Then there is a caravan in the center of the country that is going from Texas up to Chicago. Then you have a caravan in the Atlantic coast that will travel up—and the three caravans will travel to Washington D.C. and end in New York,” said panel member and San Diego City College Professor Enrique Davalos.

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Thumbnail image for San Diego Spring: Activism Breaking Out All Over

San Diego Spring: Activism Breaking Out All Over

by Doug Porter 03.11.2015 Activism

By Doug Porter

You know it’s a slow news month when two non-stories (Eghazi & #47Traitors) seem to dominate news coverage. And, while I’ll get to those, the rise of activism in San Diego seems to be a more worthy story.

In the coming days and weeks protests, petitions and organized participation in public hearings for causes large and small are popping up all over town. It’s an amazing amount of activism for a non-electoral year and deserving of your attention.

Today I’ll try to provide as much information as possible about what’s happening. Some days I find myself compelled to write about what the media is (mostly) not covering.

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Thumbnail image for SDFP Writer Maria Garcia Honored by CA Senator Ben Hueso

SDFP Writer Maria Garcia Honored by CA Senator Ben Hueso

by Anna Daniels 03.11.2015 Culture

Six Women Selected as 2015 Women of the Year

By Anna Daniels

On Saturday March 7, State Senator Ben Hueso paid tribute to six women, one posthumously, in his 40th district. The event was held on the grounds of Olivewood Gardens and Learning Center in National City.

Maria Garcia is well known in San Diego as both an educator and Chicana activist. She is a retired elementary school principal with an academic background as a bilingual resource teacher. Maria has received numerous awards in recognition of her community service and contributions to education.

Maria received recognition this past Saturday for yet another contribution– that of a historian recording first person accounts about Neighborhood House and life in Logan Heights and Barrio Logan since Neighborhood House’s inception in the early 1900s.

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Thumbnail image for Scott Peters and the New Democrats Take Aim at the Warren Wing of the Party

Scott Peters and the New Democrats Take Aim at the Warren Wing of the Party

by Jim Miller 03.09.2015 Activism

…And Other  Sordid Tales

By Jim Miller

Today a “right to work” bill that will gut the union movement in Wisconsin is likely to hit Governor Scott Walker’s desk and no doubt he will sign it.

While there is much discussion in Democratic circles of how Walker is doing this to position himself even more solidly on the right to please potential Republican primary voters, there is much less discussion about how this latest assault on workers’ rights helps speed the runaway train heading toward plutocracy that is the United States.

Indeed, the very same corporate forces and reactionary billionaires who want to buy the 2016 election are the key beneficiaries of this “right to work” policy, but some Democrats don’t seem to be bothered by that. So instead of standing up for an American labor movement under assault, a group of Democratic neoliberals, the New Democrat Coalition (NDC), is more interested in checking the progressive wing of its own party.

Meet one such Democrat: Congressman Scott Peters.

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Thumbnail image for Five Reasons for Not Filing Your Taxes with a Tax Prep Service

Five Reasons for Not Filing Your Taxes with a Tax Prep Service

by Source 03.09.2015 Business

By Nancy Meyer / Daily Kos

If you take your taxes to a tax-in-the-box service, beware.  I’m talking about those retail outlets in strip malls and department stores that are part of national chains. It doesn’t matter which one you choose, they are all a bad idea.

I worked at a tax prep service for nine years, and the fee structure always troubled me.  I told myself that it was just part of the job, that all tax prep service tactics were the same. They are, but that doesn’t make their unethical tactics okay.

The bottom line is that no matter what you pay for tax prep at these places, you are getting ripped off.  The service is designed that way. What I learned about how they operate is disturbing, and I think consumers ought to know.

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Thumbnail image for Helping Young People Discover the ‘Truths’ In Life

Helping Young People Discover the ‘Truths’ In Life

by Ernie McCray 03.09.2015 Culture

By Ernie McCray

I love my life, especially my moments with kids. Recently I had the pleasure, along with a teenage Latina friend of mine, of talking to an assembly of young people, most of them Latino, in Chula Vista, about something they’re confronted with regularly: whether to join or not join the military.

We were doing so because we hate to see our children being sucked into the war machine by Uncle Sam who loves to play with their innocence.

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Thumbnail image for ‘The Grift':  Mysteries and Cons at the Lafayette Hotel

‘The Grift': Mysteries and Cons at the Lafayette Hotel

by Alejandra Enciso Guzmán 03.07.2015 Editor's Picks

Theater without the seat

By Alejandra Enciso Guzmán

Sometimes the word “theater” can be an intimidating one. Different festivals and companies around the world are recognizing that feeling of intimidation and have designed productions in non-theater related spaces like basketball courts, school yards, parking lots and so on. San Diego is also exploring this dynamic with events such as The Fringe and WoW (Without Walls) festivals.

Each festival, as with every project, entails a learning process. Since the WoW festival is designed to happen every two years, there are several shows in prep for it which give people the idea of the festival. These shows also act as a thermometer, testing out audience’s response to the building hype.

“The Grift,” the latest presentation in the WoW series, is a very particular, creative and innovative way to not only attract new audiences but to also boost teamwork and new relations and friendships. This theatrical event was created exclusively for the Lafayette Hotel, a California boutique hotel located in North Park since 1946.

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Thumbnail image for Community Blight or Benefit :  Thoughts On the Civic San Diego Roadshow

Community Blight or Benefit : Thoughts On the Civic San Diego Roadshow

by Jay Powell 03.04.2015 Business

By Jay Powell

Over the holidays, as I happened to be exploring the East Mesa of Balboa Park, I was surprised by a new feature on the horizon a few points west of due south. It seemed that a very tall structure had just popped out of the ground in the vicinity of the East Village neighborhood of downtown. I came to learn shortly thereafter that this could easily be only the beginning of a wall of tall buildings rising up from East Village in front of the southern vista of the Coronado Bay Bridge and the Coronado Islands as viewed from vantage points such as “Inspiration Point “ in Balboa Park.

While the latter point is a somewhat neglected part of the park, the view still managed to inspire me to find out how this structure was able to pop up in that picture.

At a “Community Benefits Consensus Project” workshop a few weeks later in January Civic San Diego presented storyboards of some projects that they thought best exemplified how a development can provide “community benefits.” The board that caught my attention featured “The Pinnacle,”a 480 foot tall luxury condominium project at the corner of 15th and Island Avenue. So now the beast had a name and a story.

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Thumbnail image for Golden Hill’s 25th Street Nightmare Gives the Lie to Faulconer’s Infrastructure Fantasy

Golden Hill’s 25th Street Nightmare Gives the Lie to Faulconer’s Infrastructure Fantasy

by Jim Miller 03.02.2015 Columns

By Jim Miller

A little over a week ago I was amused to see the Turko Files run a couple of segments “exposing” a disastrous Golden Hill renovation project on 25th Street that I had covered nearly six months earlier in late August of 2014. The KUSI angle was, appropriately, how bad the endless construction has been for local small businesses who have suffered through the scatter-shot planning and surreal whack-a-mole approach to getting the job done more“efficiently.”

Neighborhood residents might recall how Mayor Kevin Faulconer claimed his administration would change the game back in April of 2014 when he opined, “It’s a mindset that’s changing, and it says do it all at once. It’s taken awhile and it’s been frustrating for us, it takes more planning. So now, we do all of the projects at once – pipes, streets – so you don’t have to come back six months, two years later.”

What he didn’t consider was whether the residents of Golden Hill would dig it any better if his “efficient” new mindset of “doing it all at once” just meant that the work would keep going with no end in sight for the foreseeable future. Indeed, as bad as it is to live through the interminable disaster that is 25th Street, the political ironies are rich beyond words.

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Thumbnail image for The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Love and Marriage, 1940s

The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Love and Marriage, 1940s

by Maria E. Garcia 02.28.2015 Editor's Picks

Part II of the Lives of Girls

By Maria E. Garcia

Today’s article is a continuation of last week’s conversation with Amparo “Tuti” Zumaya, Consuelo Zumaya Lopez, Noralund Cook Zumaya, Rosa Zatarian Ramirez, Armida Piña, and Bertha Castro Zumaya. While hard economic times affected everyone, there were different societal expectations about what were considered appropriate activities for boys and girls during this time period. These women all provide rich details about the lives of girls who grew up during the war years.

Rosa Zatarian has her own memories about Neighborhood House and about Logan Heights. She and her sister would lay in bed on Friday night and listen to the Latest Hits program. This program came on at 9 p.m. every Friday and they couldn’t wait to listen to the music of the 1940s.

Rosa also remembered that when her family lived in El Paso and did not own a radio, a neighbor would place his radio in the window. Neighbors would then bring chairs and sit in the yard to listen to President Roosevelt’s fireside chat broadcasts. According to Rosa’s mother “Él nos quitó el hambre.” (He took our hunger away.) It seems that helping and supporting each other was a way of life all over our country.

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Thumbnail image for The Origins of Institutionalized Racism – a System to Control Blacks … and Whites

The Origins of Institutionalized Racism – a System to Control Blacks … and Whites

by Frank Gormlie 02.27.2015 Culture

100 Years Before Lexington and Concord, Bacon’s Armed Rebellion of Whites and Blacks Forced Plantation Elite to Create System of Racial Slavery

By Frank Gormlie

Since the turmoil last year in Ferguson, Missouri, swept in a new civil rights movement, once again America is faced with the reality of its system of institutionalized racism. For Americans with conscience, understanding this system is key to changing it, and it cannot be understood without understanding its origins which trail back, of course, to colonial America.

Confronting a system that predates the very formation of the Republic itself necessitates understanding its raison d’etre – its reason for being. Why is there such a system that has a solid foundation and that has existed all this time, and is so deeply ingrained? Why is there institutionalized racism? If one accepts such a premise, that there is such a thing, then the most obvious answer is that it exists to control blacks, African-Americans. And to control other minorities, Mexican-Americans, Native Americans.

Yet this system is not meant to only control blacks – and other peoples of color – but it also meant to control white people.

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Thumbnail image for Barrio Bits: Will East Village Chargers Stadium Bring Ethnic Cleansing to Barrio Logan?

Barrio Bits: Will East Village Chargers Stadium Bring Ethnic Cleansing to Barrio Logan?

by Brent E. Beltrán 02.26.2015 Desde la Logan

Plus, Barrio Loganites Seek Crosswalk, Barrio Art Crawl Returns, Barrio Seed Bank Opens, Chicano Park Day Fundraiser y Más!

By Brent E. Beltrán

With all of the talk around town about the Chargers and their demands for a new stadium something has been overlooked: Barrio Logan. If the city acquiesces to the demands of the Chargers (which they have done in the past) and gives them a brand new stadium in the East Village what happens to the community that sits just south of there?

The impact on Barrio Logan residents would be tremendous… in a bad way.

For the most part the residents of Barrio Logan are renters. A new stadium so close to a community of renters would raise property values up to the point where they could no longer rent in the community they love. Thus, forcing many longtime community members out and changing the socio-economic and cultural character of Barrio Logan.

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Thumbnail image for Why We’re All Becoming Independent Contractors

Why We’re All Becoming Independent Contractors

by Source 02.25.2015 Business

By Robert Reich

GM is worth around $60 billion, and has over 200,000 employees. Its front-line workers earn from $19 to $28.50 an hour, with benefits.

Uber is estimated to be worth some $40 billion, and has 850 employees. Uber also has over 163,000 drivers (as of December – the number is expected to double by June), who average $17 an hour in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., and $23 an hour in San Francisco and New York.

But Uber doesn’t count these drivers as employees. Uber says they’re “independent contractors.”

What difference does it make?

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