Report: Border Patrol Union Officials Working with Hate Groups

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By Doug Porter

A newly released report from the Center for a New Community (CNC) says there is a systemic pattern of behind-the-scenes collusion between officials of unions associated with the Border Patrol and prominent anti-immigrant hate groups.

Last year’s protests in Murrieta, California are cited in “Blurring Borders: Collusion between Anti-Immigrant Groups and Immigration Enforcement Agents” as an example of Border Patrol agents coordinating with anti-immigrant forces. On July 1st, 2014, anti-immigrant activists used civil disobedience to block federal buses carrying refugee women and children to a Border Patrol processing center.   [Read more…]

Murrieta, the Town Without Pity, Remembered One Year Later

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By Doug Porter

Latino and Human Rights activists are returning to Murrieta, California on July 1st to commemorate the anniversary of a historic confrontation that laid bare the racism in Southern California for the world to see.

It was one year ago self-styled patriots, acting on rumors and innuendo, blockaded busloads of refugee women and children from Central America on their way to a Border Patrol processing center. The angry anti-immigrant protesters, seen on TV news across the country chanting of “Go home!’ and “We don’t want you!,” were tacitly encouraged by local authorities. (It was the local police who actually stopped the buses)   [Read more…]

Poetry at a Budget Meeting

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By Ernie McCray

I had the honor of spending a day with a room full of progressive School Board Members from around San Diego County.

I wasn’t so sure, at first, as the subject was: Budgets. Whenever I got my budget sheets at my schools, it might as well have been expressed in hieroglyphics – I just can’t relate to language like “Total Available Funds minus Total Outgo.” Gives me vertigo.

I was there, though, to kick things off. And in doing that I shared three poems and one went like this:

Our schools now,
at this stage
of a rapidly aging New Century,
are about to introduce
our kids
to the realm of Ethnic Studies…   [Read more…]

The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: From Empowerment to Direct Action in the Barrio!

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The Plan de Santa Bárbara and the take-over of Chicano Park set the stage for the occupation of Neighborhood House

The 1960s brought many changes to Logan Heights that reflected the social convulsions unleashed by the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights movement nationally. Urban renewal policies brought freeways and massive displacement to Logan Heights. Generations of Mexican Americans in the community had indeed become “Americanized” and had their own vision of what constitutes a Great Society. They were demanding positions of leadership in every aspect of their social and political life.

And Neighborhood House was changing too. Last week’s interview with Irma Castro, who went to work at Neighborhood House in 1961, provided a glimpse into some of the changes.   [Read more…]

Under Green Party Banner, Jill Stein Officially Sets Sights on 2016

Jill Stein at an Occupy Wall Street demonstration in 2012.

Power to the People Plan ‘would end unemployment and poverty; avert climate catastrophe; build a sustainable, just economy; and recognize the dignity and human rights of everyone in our society’

By Deidre Fulton / Commom Dreams

Vowing to combat the “converging crises” of racism, militarism, climate change, and “extreme materialism,” Dr. Jill Stein announced this week that she is running for president of the United States as a Green Party candidate.

In a campaign kick-off speech at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Stein laid out the major planks of her platform, …   [Read more…]

Momentum Mounting for 2016 California Marijuana Measure

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By Phillip Smith /  AlterNet 

On June 14, more than 200 people gathered at the Sebastopol Grange for a fundraiser and organizing meeting of  local pot growers, the Sonoma County Growers Association. They were being mentored by their northern neighbors from Humboldt, Mendocino, and Trinity counties, the Emerald Growers Association, which already has lobbyists in Sacramento and is in the middle of the effort to legalize weed in California next year. The Emerald Triangle is the largest marijuana growing area in the country’s largest marijuana producing state.

Two days later, more than a hundred people met in a conference room at the Oakland Marriot City Center to plot the intricacies of producing a statewide marijuana legalization initiative. For several hours, attendees—dispensary operators and employees, small growers, not-so-small growers, patients, consumers, interested citizens, even a nun—offered their input on a rapid-fire but seemingly endless array of issues related to legalization and how it should occur.   [Read more…]

The Disappearing Joshua Trees of Joshua Tree National Park

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By Susan Grigsby / Daily Kos

In April of this year, a small group of scientists from Joshua Tree National Park and the University of California Riverside’s Center for Conservation Biology, joined by volunteers from Earthwatch, spread out across the national park to count and measure the plants, insects, reptiles, and animals they found within each of the 27 22-acre plots.They were looking to create a baseline against which the future death of desert species can be measured. Why? Because the modeling done thus far indicates the possible loss of 90 percent of the habitat of Joshua trees within the national park named after them. It is getting hot out here.   [Read more…]

Obamacare Lives!

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By Doug Porter

There may be more symbolic votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act in the House of Representatives, but the days of broad challenges to the Obama administration’s signature health insurance reform legislation are over.

The Supreme Court today rejected a challenge (6-3, King v Burwell) constructed by conservative groups to eliminate the mechanism for insurance subsidies in states opting out of setting up their own exchanges.  The stated aim of this litigation was to “to drive a stake through [the ACA’s] heart.”

Chief Justice Roberts was joined by the court’s liberal justices, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, as well as Anthony Kennedy in defending the intent of the law.   [Read more…]

A Homeless Food Fight in San Diego

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By Jeeni Criscenzo del Rio

A recent post on the Facebook page for Homeless News San Diego showed a letter from the Rock Church regarding a change in policy for feeding homeless people. Part of one sentence was highlighted: refrain from feeding homeless people on the streets, as well as distributing items such as clothing and blankets. The post indicates there were 107 shares and 206 comments!

I can’t recall ever seeing an issue evoke such passionate responses from so many people with opposing, yet reasonable points of view. I read all of them, looking for something to convince me one way or the other, because this is something that has been troubling me since I attended at Downtown Fellowship of Churches and Ministries meeting about it two years ago. Not being a church-goer, I felt a little out of my element at the meeting, but I appreciated their plans for what would become Doing It Better Together  to coordinate services provided to homeless people on the streets.   [Read more…]

Chipping Away at “The Black Problem”

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By Ernie McCray

The madness in Charleston, to me, is so much deja vu because blacks being shot or bombed where they worship and pray is not something that’s new here in the USA.

In no way. These atrocities started, practically, when they shoved us off the ships to pick cotton, way, way back in the day.

And where’s a good place to find a lot of us to slay? Church. Makes sense to a hateful evil-minded KKK kind of person who all of a sudden, out of his madness, just can’t stand to see a Negro alive.   [Read more…]

Where there’s Smoke, Is there a Fire Sale? How San Diego Sells Our Surplus Properties

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When citizen input is eliminated, are the “real” customers brokers and developers?

Best keep a look out the backdoor. The City is apparently in a mood to sell land. How much and to whom and when is not too clear, but they are already making lists and lining up brokers. A few citizens were on hand for a presentation to the June 10 meeting of the City Council Smart Growth and Land Use Committee on “Potential Sale of 14 Surplus Properties owned by the City of San Diego”.

The “For Information Only” power point was entitled “Excess Property Sales for Action Before City Council in 2015”. There were actually 16 on one list for “Excess Sales Using Brokers” and another 11 on a list titled “Exclusively Negotiated/Direct Sales”. And then there was another “Direct Sale” listed all by itself for the Villa Montezuma historical museum building. So maybe it was 28 excess properties. And every Council District has at least one listing on one or the other of the lists.
  [Read more…]

Donna Frye Calls for “Massive River Park” at Qualcomm Stadium Site

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By Frank Gormlie / The OB Rag

Donna Frye is trying to upset the apple cart that surrounds all the discussion about the Chargers and the Qualcomm football stadium site. On Monday, June 22nd she called for “a massive river park” at the 166-acre Mission Valley site.

In an Op-Ed piece in Voice of San Diego, Donna Frye—former City Councilwoman for the district that includes Mission Valley—called for something akin to another Balboa Park or Mission Bay Park.

In her piece, Frye dismissed the discussion about whether the Chargers want the current site and all the discussion about commercial and residential development of it, instead declared that it actually is “a big opportunity staring us right in the face—the potential to create a real San Diego River Park.”   [Read more…]

All Aboard! Get Ready for the Great White Line Skyway

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By Doug Porter

On Friday we learned about a proposal moving forward to add a two-mile long aerial tram from Balboa Park to the Bay. County Supervisor Ron Roberts, apparently suffering from a legacy complex, found $75,000 in spare change under the seat cushions around his office to fund a “let’s do this!” study by consultants Parsons Brinckerhoff.

To nobody’s surprise, the San Diego Association of Governments’ transportation committee loved the idea, directing its staff to start the process of making the “Skyway” operational in five years or so.

Since San Diego’s light rail system has color coded routes, it only makes sense to stick with this scheme. So let’s call this newest leg the “White Line.” Because that’s who it will be serving: white people and assorted tourists looking for a cheap thrill.   [Read more…]

Congressman Scott Peters Defends His Yes Votes on Trade Promotion Authority (Fast Track)

Photo Credit: John Nicksic

By Martha Sullivan 

On Saturday, I stood with this sign outside the HQs of the San Diego County Democratic Party in a “Walk of Shame” for my Congressman, Scott Peters, as he arrived to address the monthly meeting of the Council of Clubs.  We were there after two years of lobbying this Congressman on the secret, corporate-negotiated Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement and its companion Fast Track bill, who told us a year ago he would vote No, but who succumbed to the White House charm offensive and delusions of grandeur to vote Yes with a handful of other Democrats in our California Congressional Delegation.

After he walked our gauntlet, I followed him into the meeting, as a registered Democrat who has been very active in the San Diego County Democratic Party since 2004, including co-founding its vaunted Grassroots Organizing (GO) Team in 2005 and serving as Vice Chair for the North Area in 2009-11.  I am a member of two local Democratic Clubs, the Democratic Woman’s Club of San Diego County and the Clairemont Democratic Club.   [Read more…]

Summer Chronicles #1: The Day After Father’s Day

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By Jim Miller

In the summer of 1967, the great Brazilian writer, Clarice Lispector, began a seven year stint as a writer for Jornal de Brasil [The Brazilian News ] not as a reporter but as a writer of “chronicles,”a genre peculiar to Brazil. As Giovanni Pontiero puts it in the preface to Selected Chrônicas, a chronicle, “allows poets and writers to address a wider readership on a vast range of topics and themes. The general tone is one of greater freedom and intimacy than one finds in comparable articles or columns in the European or U.S. Press.”

What Lispector left us with is an eccentric collection of “aphorisms, diary entries, reminiscences, travel notes, interviews, serialized stories, essays, loosely defined as chronicles.” As a novelist, Pontieri tells us, Lispector was anxious about her relationship with the genre, apprehensive of writing too much and too often, of, as she put it, “contaminating the word.” It was a genre alien to her introspective nature and one that challenged her to adapt.

More than forty years later, in Southern California—in San Diego no less–I look to Lispector with sufficient humility and irony from my place on the far margins of literary history with two novels and a few other books largely set in our minor league corner of the universe. Along with this weekly column, it’s not much compared to the gravitas of someone like Lispector. So, as Allen Ginsberg once said of Whitman, “I touch your book and feel absurd.”   [Read more…]

The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Girls Social Clubs and Signs of the Coming Occupation

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As the boys social clubs grew in popularity during the 1950s, girls expressed interest in forming their own clubs. The girls social clubs that sprang up during this period included the Shebas, Blue Velvets, Madonnas and Faberges. While girls had historically taken the lead in their own social activities, especially when it came to charitable events such as food drives or kids programs, their social clubs operated in many ways as auxiliaries to the various boys clubs which included Los Gallos, Los Lobos and Los Chicanos.

By belonging to a social club it became easier for the girls to explain to their parents the amount of time they were spending at Neighborhood House.   [Read more…]

Don’t We All Have the Right to be Left Alone?

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By Ernie McCray

Someone on Facebook posted, regarding the recent “pool party” event in McKinney, Texas: “If you don’t like the interaction you’re having with the police, just trying obeying the law.” A comment was made saying that what happened could have been avoided if the girls had just acted responsibly and obeyed the laws.

I couldn’t help but think “There are pool party laws?” But, as to “obeying the laws,” I’m down with that. I’m just opposed to somebody, who is hired to uphold the law, slamming those who don’t obey the law to the ground or kicking them in the face or choking them or executing them in the streets.

And it was mentioned that if we, the public, had seen what happened before the officer went ballistic, we might change our minds about what we did see.   [Read more…]

Protecting Mauna Kea: Vocabulary for Haoles

Native Hawaiians believe that Mauna Kea, a dormant volcano more than 9,000 feet above sea level, is the most sacred place on all of the islands. (Courtesy Marie Alohalani Brown via Indian Country Today Media Network)

By Will Falk

I write these words from the floor of a warm corner of the men’s restroom at the Mauna Kea visitor center. The temperature outside is too cold for my laptop battery to take a charge and the restroom houses the only active plug, so I huddle in this corner to combat the words used by those who seek to destroy what I love.

I’ve been on Mauna Kea for the last 24 nights standing in solidarity with Kanaka Maoli as they protect their sacred mountain from the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) project that would dynamite an eight acre patch two stories deep at the pristine summit of Mauna Kea.
  [Read more…]

Lessons to Be Learned from The Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed at San Diego Natural History Museum

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By Jeeni Criscenzo

I spent a recent Sunday afternoon exploring the new exhibit at the San Diego Natural History Museum, Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed. Being somewhat of an aficionado of Maya studies, due to the considerable research I did while writing the novel, Place of Mirrors I had tacked the announcement for this event to my calendar with great anticipation. I wasn’t disappointed! This exhibit was thorough, interesting and respectful of the Maya culture, both past and present.

Our understanding of this ancient culture, that had a written language, accurate calendrics, a numeric system that included zero, and impressive architectural feats, has progressed significantly in the 20 years since I dug through archaeological texts looking for the humanity in the artifacts. I highly recommend this exhibit and suggest you allow a few hours to savor it.   [Read more…]

When ALEC Comes to Town, Just Say “No!”

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Editor’s note: The local Democratic Party kicked off a weekly blog last week with a call to action in response to the July meeting of the American Legislative Council in San Diego. We’re told there are several more articles in this same vein coming, so we’ll be sharing them with our readers as a public service over the next few weeks. We think you’ll agree that it’s important to stand together to voice opposition to these purveyors of reactionary legislation as they meet in San Diego. 

On Wednesday, July 22, we have an opportunity – here in our own back yard – to educate, organize, and loudly oppose ALEC along with the corporate interests that fund it and the harmful policies it promotes. I invite you to join the Democratic Party, workers, community groups, faith leaders, and other allies in a massive protest when the organization holds its annual meeting at the Manchester Grand Hyatt downtown.   [Read more…]

Representatives Peters, Davis Disappoint on Trade Bill

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By Doug Porter

On Friday the House of Representatives used a legislative maneuver to block President Obama’s path to fast track legislation on the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP).

One good thing about Friday’s vote is that we now know where Representatives Susan Davis and Scott Peters stand on the issue. Both voted to advance the measure despite weeks of intensive citizen/grassroots/labor lobbying for a no vote. Both did so knowing they’d face the wrath of the coalition opposed to TPP in future elections.

For Davis, this may not mean much; for Peters, the consequences look to be serious–a labor-backed search committee is already looking at alternative candidates to run in the June 2016 primary. The word is that there’s a million dollar war chest to be spent defeating him.   [Read more…]

The Clinton Playbook: Taylorism on the Campaign Trial

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By Jim Miller

One of the more interesting pieces amidst the glut of ridiculously early pre-primary news stories floating around the Internet and social media was Ruby Cramer’s largely laudatory profile of Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, Robby Mook. Wonder boy Mook, the story tells us, is all about “a ‘new kind of organizing’” that was “going to change politics.”

More specifically Mook’s “new kind of organizing” seems to be modeled on a somewhat perversely postmodern form of Benjamin Franklin’s “bold and arduous project” of arriving at “moral perfection” which, for Franklin, was all about mastering the virtue “Order” among other things through rigorous time management that he monitored in his little book. While Franklin ironically observed his own weakness and admitted to never being able to master himself, young Mook’s project is, it seems, beyond irony.   [Read more…]

“The Way” Won’t Cut It

The Old and the New Way

By Ernie McCray

I ran across a graphic on Facebook the other day that broke down “32-take-away-12=20″ in two different ways: the “old fashion” way and the “new” way.

The “new” way was seen as “Satanic” and, with a click onto a website, I read that Louis C.K., one of my favorite comedians, was ticked off that his daughters had gone from loving math to crying about it.

I thought, as I looked at the math visual before me and contemplated whatever it was that was going on with an incredibly funny man’s daughters at school, that both the “old fashion” way and the “new” way got to the correct answer rather nicely. They’re simply ways. And all the ways work. For somebody.   [Read more…]

La Jolla Playhouse’s ‘Come From Away’ is a Different Take on 9/11

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By Mukul  Khurana

On 9/11 of 2001, Gander was discovered by America. To put it correctly, this small Canadian town on the island of Newfoundland was rediscovered by America. It is the location of Gander International Airport.

Here comes an important fact—it was, by virtue of its geography, an important refueling site for transatlantic aircraft as they had to stop somewhere after crossing the ocean.

Here is another fact—most of the streets in Gander are named after aviators—Earhart, Lindbergh, Yeager, and the like. To this day, Gander International Airport still serves as the airport of choice when it comes to medical or security emergencies–hence the 9/11 connection.   [Read more…]

June in Your Garden: Time for Early Summer Planting

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San Diegans get half an inch of rain… and they become mad planters!

Yes, it did rain and everyone rushed to plant more seeds and summer veggies in the refreshed soil. What a good idea! While it rained I browsed yet another article on companion planting. Although we did cover this topic last year I think it bears consideration.

Companion planting means planting certain garden plants together for intended benefits. My main take away recently is that nasturtiums, marigolds and various herbs are wonderful additions to most garden beds because they stimulate and improve the taste of much of what we grow. These three are also deterrents for many garden pests.   [Read more…]