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 Dystopia Now: “Anticipatory Grief” or “Real Grounds for Hope”?

Dystopia Now: “Anticipatory Grief” or “Real Grounds for Hope”?

by Jim Miller 12.08.2014 Activism

By Jim Miller

Just when you think you are living in a dystopian science fiction novel, the world keeps upping the ante. It’s not just scenes of burning cars and storefronts in Ferguson on TV evoking the mood either. There are some even darker clouds on the horizon that many of us just don’t want to acknowledge, no less come to terms with in a thoroughgoing and serious fashion.

Last week, as the country went through yet another round of dismay, rage, and painful racial self-examination in the wake of a New York Grand Jury’s failure to bring any charges against a policeman for the death by chokehold of Eric Garner, a pair of other unsettling stories emerged on the margins of the American media.

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Thumbnail image for Judy Finally Goes To the Dentist In Tijuana

Judy Finally Goes To the Dentist In Tijuana

by John Lawrence 12.08.2014 Culture

By John Lawrence

Judy hadn’t seen a dentist in some time and she needed to go. I tried to persuade her to go to my dentist, Dr. Miguel Garcia in Tijuana, but she had a fear of crossing the border. I had been going to Dr Garcia for 10 years or more, and I told her she had nothing to fear.

Everybody in Dr Garcia’s office spoke perfect English. They had the latest, most modern equipment and the best training. My friend Olof who had been going to Dr Garcia for years on my recommendation also tried to persuade Judy that there was nothing to be afraid of. She would be in good hands.

Finally, Judy agreed to go. I had assured her I knew the way by heart, and we could drive right into the building to park. Then it was just a short walk to the elevator. We’d be on the fourth floor and in the Baja Oral Center in no time.

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Thumbnail image for The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights:  Viva Tortilla’s Army!

The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Viva Tortilla’s Army!

by Maria E. Garcia 12.06.2014 Culture

Lasting friendships, family ties and community

By Maria E. Garcia

Tortilla’s Army was the spontaneous outgrowth of the ways World War II altered life in Logan Heights and its intersection with the charisma and leadership of  young Manuel “Tortilla” Ojeda.  A favorite game during wartime in Logan Heights was playing army.

By 1942 Tortilla had assembled his troop of kids as young as five and as old as fourteen.  He had pressed into service his younger cousins, neighborhood friends and his younger brother Nando. General Tortilla marched his growing ranks around the neighborhood to protect it and to be prepared to fight.

After the summer of 1942, the participation in Tortilla’s Army slowly died. …

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Thumbnail image for Maria and Me, Living a Life of Love In Our Seventies

Maria and Me, Living a Life of Love In Our Seventies

by Ernie McCray 12.06.2014 Editor's Picks

By Ernie McCray

I recently wrote about a few wonderful things in my life for which I’m grateful, and I’m still in a thankful frame of mind, thinking, particularly, of Maria Ester Nieto Senour, that super-fine sweetheart of mine. I’m so thankful for having someone to age with me as my everyday valentine.

I don’t know where in the arc, of the amazing occurrences in the cosmos, Maria and I began heading in each other’s direction. But I’m glad it happened.

I do know, though, that there was a time, beginning in July of 2009, that I was as low as a man could be. The love of my life was gone and I was singing the “Woe is me” blues. For a while, when I walked, pretty much all I saw was my shoes.

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Thumbnail image for Neil Shigley’s Portraits: The Importance of Capturing the Light on the Face

Neil Shigley’s Portraits: The Importance of Capturing the Light on the Face

by At Large 12.06.2014 Activism

The character and nobility in the daily struggles of homeless San Diegans

By Taylor Scalise, Filmmaker and Neil Shigley, Artist 

Neil Shigley has been involved in printmaking for many years, first beginning while in art school at San Diego State University and Art Center College of Design in Pasadena.

He is also a painter, sculptor, illustrator and currently teaches art at San Diego State University.  But printmaking is a medium that continues to capture his imagination and passion.  His subjects are homeless people living on the streets near his studio in San Diego.

Their daily struggle to survive has given them the character and nobility that could not be earned in another way.

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Thumbnail image for A Day of Protests in San Diego and Around the Nation

A Day of Protests in San Diego and Around the Nation

by Doug Porter 12.05.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

The big news in downtown San Diego yesterday, if you are a reader of the local daily newspaper, was the bomb squad being called in to investigate a discarded sex toy left on the ground near the federal courthouse.

In keeping with UT-San Diego’s historic lack of coverage, there was no mention of early morning protests temporarily causing a McDonald’s franchise in City Heights to lock their doors. Or the members of the City Council who came out at 6am to stand with the demonstrators. Or the 150 or so protesters who marched all over downtown for a three hour period mid-day, targeting not only fast food stores but federal immigration enforcement, and echoing nationwide dismay over recent killings at the hands of law enforcement officers.

Local TV stations sent cameramen to get a bit of footage of the downtown demonstrations. KUSI, KFMB, Fox5, and 10news all used a local wire service for their actual reporting on the demonstration.

Now I know these demonstrations weren’t “page one or lead story” news by contemporary journalism standards. Something is happening here in San Diego and around the country. There is a larger story about inequality and injustice. And it’s not going away.

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Thumbnail image for I’m in San Diego and I Can’t Breathe

I’m in San Diego and I Can’t Breathe

by Doug Porter 12.04.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

The national chattering class finally found a dead black man they can get behind yesterday as a grand jury in Staten Island refused to indict the policeman who was videotaped choking Eric Garner.

Since videos exist showing both the arrest and the subsequent four minute delay before officers attempted CPR, it’s not possible to easily weasel out of the conclusion this was -at a minimum- a case of criminally negligent homicide, as concluded by Fox legal expert  Judge Andrew Napolitano.

The “best” lame excuses coming out of the flat-earther set were that Garner died because he was obese or that the “nanny state” laws taxing tobacco were to blame. Nobody’s called him a “thug”–yet.

Largely peaceful demonstrations (there were arrests for acts of civil disobedience) happened around the country, and are expected to continue into the weekend. Today I’ll share some of the reactions appearing in the news and social media.

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Thumbnail image for December 4th Fast Food Strikes: Part of a Much Bigger Picture

December 4th Fast Food Strikes: Part of a Much Bigger Picture

by Doug Porter 12.01.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

Fast food workers in San Diego and 150 other cities will be walking off the job this Thursday demanding an industry-wide base wage of $15 per hour and the right to form a union.

This nationwide protest comes on the heels of Black Friday protests at 1600 WalMart stores in 49 states. Workers in stores in walked off the job in advance of the protests on Wednesday in California, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Washington, D.C.

Demonstrators angered by events in Ferguson, Missouri targeted malls in cities around the country (including San Diego) urging shoppers to skip shopping to show solidarity with their cause.

The particulars of these events are not as important as what they represent: a growing sense of frustration with economic and social conditions. These actions are symbolic, intended to break through the “everybody knows” noise generated by the mass media.

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Thumbnail image for Ferguson: America’s Heart of Darkness

Ferguson: America’s Heart of Darkness

by Jim Miller 12.01.2014 Activism

By Jim Miller

Along with so many people last week, I watched the events in Ferguson, Missouri unfold with profound dismay and anger while fighting a sense of despair over the intractable nature of American racism. We all knew it was coming, but that didn’t soften the blow.

On the social media, one might also have predicted the outpouring of callousness and hate toward Michael Brown and those protesting the Grand Jury verdict, but it made it no less loathsome. Even the subsequent torching of Michael Brown’s family church was not a shock, just eerily resonant.

There have been many eloquent responses to the great injustice that was the Wilson verdict last week, and I will not try to address the specifics of the case here. Instead, I offer a few observations from the longer view informed by the history of racism and exploitation in the West.

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Thumbnail image for White Power: The Missing Link to “Liberty and Justice for All”

White Power: The Missing Link to “Liberty and Justice for All”

by Ernie McCray 12.01.2014 Activism

By Ernie McCray

Now that the Ferguson Grand Jury has, after being shamelessly and overtly manipulated by the prosecutor’s office, freed Darren Wilson from having to go to court for taking Michael Brown’s life, we black folks find ourselves, in our grief, holding the obligatory “race card” in spades, if you will.

We have no other card to play since we know, from what we’ve seen, over time, that a white boy would not likely lose his life in a scenario featuring cigarillos. Anybody who thinks otherwise must not have been listening to the part in the fiasco where it was said that this cop saw our young brother as a “demon” and saw his neighborhood as “hostile,” neither of which is a crime. But Michael is dead. What a downright shameful reality.

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Thumbnail image for Rioting on Trial

Rioting on Trial

by Will Falk 12.01.2014 Activism

A Cross-Examination of the Lies About Ferguson 

By Will Falk

Mainstream media and white privilege have put the Ferguson riots on trial. Accusations range from claims that rioting is counterproductive at best to downright morally reprehensible for refusing to adhere to principles of dogmatic non-violence at worst.

I practiced as a public defender in Kenosha, WI and came to understand through experience that Michelle Alexander is correct in characterizing America’s so-called criminal justice system “the new Jim Crow.” As a public defender, I saw how those confronted with criminal conviction are overwhelmingly poor and overwhelmingly people of color. I came to see my role as a bandaid over a gunshot wound. I was just trying to slow the system as it bled lives away and ruined poor communities.

The public defender’s stock and trade is cross-examination. When a police officer or adverse witness lies in court, the public defender uses questions in her cross-examination to undermine the lies. In the court of public opinion, we are being lied to. I want to use cross-examination to illustrate these lies.

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Thumbnail image for Whose Park?  City Heights Struggles to Define “Our” Park

Whose Park? City Heights Struggles to Define “Our” Park

by Anna Daniels 11.24.2014 Activism

Engagement and resistance at City Height’s Park De La Cruz

By Anna Daniels

This month’s City Heights Park and Recreation Council meeting took a surprise turn when over fifty attendees, mostly young people wearing blue Mid-City CAN tee shirts, arrived to speak during the non-agenda comment section of the meeting.

These skate park advocates and their supporters had hoped to address the neighborhood concerns and opposition that had recently sprung up about the planned skate park element at Park De La Cruz. They hoped that in doing so the rec council would proceed with the scheduled design meeting on December 4 as planned.

District 9 Council Member Marti Emerald announced in July that the allocation of $4.5 million in state Department of Housing and Community Development monies was sufficient to design and construct skate parks in City Heights and Linda Vista.

The second design phase meeting for Park de la Cruz skate park modifications was scheduled for December, but the Park and Recreation Council decided to postpone that meeting and hold a community hearing on the skate park issue instead. Was this an attempt to shift the conversation from how to proceed to whether to proceed?

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Thumbnail image for Thanks for Nothing (and Everything): On Walmart, Black Friday, and Thich Nhat Hanh

Thanks for Nothing (and Everything): On Walmart, Black Friday, and Thich Nhat Hanh

by Jim Miller 11.24.2014 Business

By Jim Miller

It’s Thanksgiving week and Walmart is getting ready to ruin the party by asking nearly one million of its workers to come in on the holiday to get a jump-start on the Black Friday consumer frenzy. Given its size and influence, Walmart’s move, if successful, is likely to set a trend in the industry and wreck Thanksgiving for millions more underpaid service sector workers in the future.

Fortunately, OUR Walmart is responding in kind by promising the biggest Black Friday Strike ever with allies in labor and the community promising to join hands with them in their protest. As Think Progress recently reported:

Workers have gone on strike and protested for the past two Black Fridays. This time, they will also be joined by “tens of thousands” of community members, according to Stephanie Ly, AFT New Mexico president and a teacher, the “largest mobilizing of working families we’ve seen in recent history.” Teachers, elected officials, members of the clergy, and others will participate in protests at stores, flash mobs, marches, and prayer vigils.

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Thumbnail image for UCSD Administration Plans Ché Café Eviction Over Thanksgiving?

UCSD Administration Plans Ché Café Eviction Over Thanksgiving?

by Source 11.24.2014 Activism

Ché Café Media Advisory

On Wednesday, November 19, UCSD administrators decided to seek a writ of possession to enforce an earlier unlawful detainer judgment and evict the Ché Café Cooperative and any students from the café space it has continuously occupied for over 34 years. Despite a resolution by the UCSD Associated Students Council (AS) asking the Chancellor to not proceed with posting a 5-day notice to vacate, and 14,000-signature petitions and open letters demanding that UCSD stop the eviction actions against the Ché Café, delivered to the Chancellor earlier this month, action by the administration to evict the Ché Café continues rather than negotiations for a new lease agreement with the Co-op.

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Thumbnail image for The Food Waste Fiasco: You Have to See It to Believe It

The Food Waste Fiasco: You Have to See It to Believe It

by At Large 11.22.2014 Activism

By Rob Greenfield

You may have already heard a few appalling facts about food waste but just in case you haven’t, here are a few tidbits of information to catch you up on the issue.

-We throw away 165 billion dollars worth of food per year in America. That’s more than the budgets for America’s national parks, public libraries, federal prisons, veteran’s health care, the FBI, and the FDA combined.

-About 50 million of our 317 million Americans are food insecure yet we produce enough food to feed over 500 million Americans.

-To create just the amount of food that ends up in the landfills we waste enough water to meet the domestic water needs of every American citizen.

Even with these mind-blowing statistics you probably still need to see it to believe it. That is where I come in.

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Thumbnail image for Fall Brewing Company Joins North Park Beer Scene

Fall Brewing Company Joins North Park Beer Scene

by John P. Anderson 11.22.2014 Culture

The more the merrier or enough already?

By John P. Anderson

Joining the large beer and brewing scene in North Park, Fall Brewing Company opened for customers this week. The brewery is located at 4542 30th Street, San Diego, CA 92104 and is currently in ‘soft opening’ mode. The doors are open, but they’re not yet promoting the brewery to the public while kinks are ironed out – setting up the sales software, building up the stable of beers on tap, arranging staffing, etc.

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Thumbnail image for Working Tech for Good Causes and Loving It Every Day

Working Tech for Good Causes and Loving It Every Day

by At Large 11.18.2014 Activism

By Oliver James

I threw away a $100k+ a year career for my community. I live in City Heights, San Diego, California and I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. And this is why I did it.

Let’s rewind a bit back to 2010. I was working for a marketing company providing design and marketing services to the financial industry. I was making around $65k a year and life was good (or so it seemed).

Don’t get me wrong $65,000 a year was great. But I wasn’t really, truly happy.

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Thumbnail image for Tears for Justice, Peace and Compassion

Tears for Justice, Peace and Compassion

by Ernie McCray 11.18.2014 Courts, Justice

By Ernie McCray

I found myself, a day or so ago, kind of tearing up, thinking about a passage I had read in “Just Mercy,” a story of justice and redemption, or better yet, the lack thereof.

Bryan Stephenson, the author of this incredibly revealing narrative about the inequities in our justice system, says, concerning a man who was less than a day away from being executed unbelievably wrongfully, “Why do we want to kill all the broken people? What is wrong with us, that we think a thing like that?”

I’d say that we can entertain such thinking because we have no real values of any substance to guide us as a society.

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Thumbnail image for Water Conservation San Diego Style: Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

Water Conservation San Diego Style: Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

by Lori Saldaña 11.17.2014 Editor's Picks

By Lori Saldaña

Are you taking steps to help conserve water in your household? Maybe added low-flow fixtures, or taken out grass, or received rebates from the city for installing rainwater tanks?

If so- congratulations for being part of voluntary solutions!  Now it’s time to up your conservation game with some of the new mandatory requirements. An insert was included in water bills this month, advising us that water restrictions started Nov. 1 in San Diego. The city wants us to be sure to follow the dates/times when watering is allowed.

However, because of the city’s billing method, even if you follow these guidelines, it may not impact the actual amount charged on your water bills in any significant way. This is because much of the costs are not for the water coming INTO your house, but for disposing of water after it’s been used and flows OUT of your house.

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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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