Readers Write

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 Trailblazing Effort Needed on San Diego Climate Action Plans

Trailblazing Effort Needed on San Diego Climate Action Plans

by At Large 11.17.2014 Activism

By Jeffrey Meyer

With the recent release of a new United Nations report on the global impact of climate change, we are given still another chilling warning that we are facing catastrophe unless we accelerate efforts to confront this crisis.

The release of this report comes on the heels of a court decision rejecting the San Diego County climate action plan and the ongoing development of this state-mandated plan by the City of San Diego. It raises the stakes for everyone and compels us to reach higher and dig deeper for community solutions to this crisis.

The warning from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is an urgent signal for our city and county officials to not only meet state laws on reducing greenhouse gas emissions but to explore higher standards.

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Defining a “Good Democrat”

by At Large 11.04.2014 Columns

By Shannon Lienhart

This is a letter that I wrote in response to an email sent to me by a member of the Democratic Central Committee.  

In an earlier email exchange with members of DCC, I had referred to a “good Democrat”.  

I was then asked to define a what a good Democrat is.

Hi Richard –

I am so glad that you asked….

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Thumbnail image for Getting Past Facebook’s “Like” Button

Getting Past Facebook’s “Like” Button

by Lori Saldaña 09.23.2014 Culture

By Lori Saldaña

“You like me! You really LIKE me!”
(paraphrasing Sally Field, winning an Academy Award for her lead performance in “Norma Rae” in 1979, pre-Facebook)

I recently posted on my Facebook page about taking a sabbatical from clicking “Like.” I encouraged people to share it, not just like it, and had only a few results.

I suspect, as far as Facebook is concerned, I’m dead. I haven’t “liked” anything in weeks — but my human friends know otherwise.

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Thumbnail image for Readers Write:  The Community Effort behind the Arrest of a Suspect in the North Park Assaults

Readers Write: The Community Effort behind the Arrest of a Suspect in the North Park Assaults

by At Large 09.19.2014 Activism

By Alan Bennett

North Park citizens were intimately involved in the arrest of David Angelo Drake, a 23-year-old male as a suspect in the sexual assaults on women in North Park over the past four months. The San Diego resident was scheduled to be arraigned September 11, 2014, at the downtown courthouse. Mr. Drake was taken into custody into custody near the corner of Fifth Avenue and Washington Street.

This was possible because a North Park resident took the time to get involved. The tipsters words to me were: “I did not expect that I would solve the puzzle, but I knew that I had to try and that I was going to keep at it until I figured it out.” Although bedridden, the tipster suspected having seen the emblem on the suspect’s Tee shirt caught on a closed circuit television. That image was vague but familiar. After four hours, searching Tee shirt websites, a match was made.

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Thumbnail image for Why Team Sports Are Bad for Society

Why Team Sports Are Bad for Society

by At Large 09.15.2014 Readers Write

By Michael-Leonard

I really came out of the closet as a total sports NON-fan when I posted this rant as a comment to a column on SDFP last year:

[A]s a non-sports person, Chargers — and every other sports team — CAN continue to “play” in whatever place they now have. Unless the owners build a new one. Simple. Just like any other actual business that doesn’t receive public subsidies. You, and everyone else on this forum, know that those terrible money numbers are direct result of the disastrous contracts the city has allowed with Chargers — AND Padres! — for their “playgrounds”. How much is the continuing debt service on PETCO Park?

Many other much more valuable businesses have departed our fair city. You think we are gonna shell out any more to keep this bunch of thugs (owners AND players) around? I certainly hope not.

Furthermore, any and all non-monetary incentives that sports teams get that businesses and companies in other industries do NOT get, should be eliminated. These, too, are drains on the general public. It’s even less fair to me than it is to Judi; she wants to go to the games if she could afford it. I could care less about any of the sports. But, as a city dweller, worker and home owner, I hafta pay for them. NO public subsidy for Chargers!

 I don’t just mean ‘not a sports fan’ I mean a TOTAL opposite-of-what-a-fan is.

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Yazidi Moon

by At Large 08.27.2014 Culture

By Nat Krieger

On the night of August 10th the people of San Diego looked up in the sky and saw exactly what thousands of Yazidi men, women, and children trapped on the slopes of Mount Sinjar saw: a supermoon, the moon closer to our planet than it will be for more than another year.

In the day leading to the super, or perigean moon, I searched the web trying to find something out about this people on the verge of extermination. There isn’t much. First the shock of learning that for nearly a thousand years a faith described as syncretic and nonviolent had withstood the never ending storm surge of monotheism spinning across the Middle East and Mesopotamia…

…Followed by the realization that, as with most religious minorities who don’t force their beliefs on other groups and rely on oral tradition to teach their children, the few written accounts of the Yazidis are nearly all by outsiders who offer mainly speculation as to when the religion started, or why, or what its roots are.

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Thumbnail image for Readers Write:  Unlearning the Myth That Is America

Readers Write: Unlearning the Myth That Is America

by At Large 08.23.2014 Readers Write

By Anna Prouty

In Ferguson, they’re spraying protesters with tear gas. In Ferguson, they’re forcing the journalists out of the streets, telling them to turn off their cameras and arresting them. In Ferguson, they have SWAT teams with guns trained on peaceful protesters. In Ferguson, they shot an unarmed black boy.

In 28 hours, somewhere in America, a cop or vigilante will shoot another black man. Then another. And another.

I would like to say I can’t believe this is happening in my country, but my country isn’t a place I recognize anymore.

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Thumbnail image for Readers Write: Alumni Appeal to Save UCSD’s Che Cafe

Readers Write: Alumni Appeal to Save UCSD’s Che Cafe

by Source 06.20.2014 Activism

Dear UCSD Activist Alumni,

The San Diego Free Press has published a fine article, written by the Che Cafe Collective. Please circulate it widely. SDFP editor, Frank Gormlie, is an alum of UCSD.

Alumni of the UCSD co-ops are mounting a call for all alumni to write to the University telling them we are cancelling the “planned giving” that we previously intended to do upon our demise, until and unless they back off and treat the Che Cafe and all the co-ops with proper respect.

As a union activist (SEIU steward and IWW San Diego Organizing Caucus and formerly, in my grad school days, Press Representative of my AFT TA local in Oregon), I am interested in working with people to try to get all the unions at UCSD (and the SD-Imperial Counties Labor Council) to issue support statements and consider donating money to the collective for legal expenses and for facility maintenance.

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Thumbnail image for Balboa Park 2015 – What Went Wrong?

Balboa Park 2015 – What Went Wrong?

by Source 03.14.2014 Editor's Picks

By David Lundin

Plans for the Balboa Park Centennial in 2015 are non-existent. The Official Centennial management entity, Balboa Park Celebration, Inc. [“BPCI”], is closing its doors and transferring all its powers and obligations to the City.

More than three million dollars in public funds and donations have been spent on inflated salaries, consultant’s fees, payments to Board member’s friends, and other expenses having little if any salvage value. Time, credibility and opportunity have all been irrevocably lost.

What went wrong ? How could this major debacle for the City and Balboa Park have been prevented ? The story for most total failures begins at the beginning. This is no exception. In a perfect world, or at least one better than San Diego, what should have happened ?

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Thumbnail image for Remembering the UC San Diego Cookout, the Noose, and their Aftermath

Remembering the UC San Diego Cookout, the Noose, and their Aftermath

by Source 03.04.2014 Activism

An Open Letter, Four Years After the “Winter of our Discontent”

Jorge Mariscal / UCSD Professor of Literature
Fnann Keflezighi / UCSD ‘11
Patrick Velásquez /San Diego Chicano/Latino Concilio

Four years ago, the fragile tranquility of the La Jolla campus was shattered by a series of events now known as the “Compton Cookout.” Cutting-edge scholarship on campus climate emphasizes the need for universities to continually revisit their ‘historical legacy’ as a benchmark for progress. Therefore, as much as administrators would like to erase the “Cookout” and its aftermath, it is crucial that we remember the events of February 2010.

We view calls to “move beyond” the past and erase any memory of the events that transpired as nothing more than an attempt to release newly installed administrators from their responsibilities. It is time to hold accountable everyone involved in the “strategic planning” that will determine the future of UCSD and impact the lived experiences of future generations of students.

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Thumbnail image for One Woman’s Thoughts on ‘A Day of Honor’

One Woman’s Thoughts on ‘A Day of Honor’

by Judi Curry 02.24.2014 Politics

By Judi Curry

At the risk of alienating a lot of people, I am absolutely incensed by the City Council naming a day after Peggy Shannon for the “harassment suffered by the mayor of San Diego.”  A day in her honor? For what?  What did she do that was so honorable?  Stop a thief? Adopt orphan children; Save people from a burning building? Fund a scholarship for children that can’t afford to go to college?

She is having a “day of honor” so that the city does not have to pay out any money from the harassment of the former mayor?  She is having a “day of honor” because she told the world about the mayor’s flirting with her? She is having a “day of honor” because she “. . . had butterflies in her stomach because she didn’t know what was going to happen the next time the mayor came to her desk”?

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Thumbnail image for Reader’s Response to “What Does City Heights Lose when Albertsons Closes?”

Reader’s Response to “What Does City Heights Lose when Albertsons Closes?”

by Source 01.27.2014 Economy

“The branch doesn’t fall far from the tree” vis á vis City Heights and Albertson’s

By Remigia Bermúdez’ 

“The branch doesn’t fall far from the tree” comes to mind in so many respects as I read with great care the insightful article written by SDFP’s Anna Daniels on the economic prospect’s and livelihood of City Heights residents without a clear direction as to who does what about City Heights’ concerns losing a major supermarket, jobs, economic base and faith in local government.

My comments are my professional/personal opinions in an attempt to answer the original questions posed by Anna Daniels in her outstanding article on the impact of Albertsons departure from the City Heights redeveloped project area:

  • 1) Who benefited most from the original redevelopment project in City Heights
  • 2) Who are the parties of interest?
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Thumbnail image for Readers Write: San Diego’s Fall From “Finest”

Readers Write: San Diego’s Fall From “Finest”

by Source 12.17.2013 Faulconer vs Alvarez

By Timothy P. Holmberg

Eds Note: The following commentary was submitted as a comment on Jim Miller’s column Selling Kevin Faulconer: The Big Bamboozle. We liked it and, with the author’s permission, decided to give the essay its own post.

As a former reporter, I have watched mayors of both parties come and go, and with them their various constituencies (in fairness, most have been Republican). I have also watched the heavy onset of partisan apparatuses. Over the years, these partisan machines have polarized this city and hijacked its legislative agenda. In its place, they have pressed agendas that have little if any affect on the quality of life of the citizens this government is supposed to serve.

But underneath that cyclone of hyper-partisanship, this city has slowly rusted. Streets have all but crumbled, sidewalks turned to rubble, sewer pipes spew their stew and traffic has slowly ground to a state of molasses. We have seen our city’s reputation tarnished and our credit rating trashed. Our treasures have either been plundered or are crumbling in disrepair. While John Moores, Corky McMillan, Doug Manchester and Dean Spanos prospered, San Diego’s small business community has received less attention than a stray dog.

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Thumbnail image for Readers Write: Time for a 21st Century City

Readers Write: Time for a 21st Century City

by Source 11.18.2013 Politics

By Christian Ramirez

Three generations of my family call the 8th District of the City of San Diego home. We love San Diego but could never live far from Tijuana; in fact, our clan has an unspoken rule that to live north of I-8 is akin to falling off the face of Earth. Our roots are intertwined with the border; we are proud fronterizos, borderlanders.

America’s Finest City has not always embraced our border identity; in fact many of us who live in the southern part of San Diego have always had the uneasy feeling that City Hall had its back turned towards us. That is until we elected David Alvarez as our councilmember. As soon as he took office David got to work, he understood that the border region is an economic engine and celebrated our unique cultural heritage.

When we learned that David was running for mayor, my family knew that we could finally have the opportunity to fully be engaged in the civic life of our city. A mayor that understands us, can you imagine!

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Thumbnail image for Readers Write: An Impassioned Plea for ‘Proposition F’

Readers Write: An Impassioned Plea for ‘Proposition F’

by Source 11.18.2013 Politics

By Matt Valenti 

What do school bathrooms have to do with San Diego’s mayoral candidates?

Well, some of the same people who brought us Proposition 8 are at it again, having gathered enough signatures to place an initiative on the 2014 ballot that would repeal California’s transgender students’ rights bill. That law is to take effect in January and will provide transgender students with equal access to school programs and facilities.

But if there’s to be a law meant to prevent people from passing themselves off as something they’re not, perhaps it should be a law to prevent conservative Republicans from passing themselves off as progressives. This is a phenomenon that San Diego has seen a lot of lately.

What we need is a local ballot initiative we could call “Proposition F,” after the two mayoral candidates who are the worst offenders: Nathan Fletcher and Kevin Faulconer.

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Thumbnail image for Latino Voters Could Determine the Future … If We Vote

Latino Voters Could Determine the Future … If We Vote

by Source 11.13.2013 Activism

By Andrea Guerrero

A couple of weeks ago my nine-year-old son and I got into a friendly argument about who should be the next mayor of San Diego. He seemed to get the same thrill out of talking about his favorite candidate as he gets out of talking about his favorite superhero. If you have a child, you may have been asked a thousand (or maybe a million) times what your favorite this or that is and then told why it should be something else.

In our conversation, my son reminded me that he could not vote, but that I could and should vote (for his favorite candidate, of course). It made me think of others who cannot vote, like friends and family whose immigration status prevents them from voting, and why I can and must vote in every election for the candidate or the ballot measure that will move my family and my community forward.

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Thumbnail image for One Woman’s Story: Why I Will be Enrolling in the ACA (Obamacare) Marketplace

One Woman’s Story: Why I Will be Enrolling in the ACA (Obamacare) Marketplace

by Source 11.05.2013 Encore

By Lauree Benton

I didn’t know pregnancy was a preexisting condition until I was 8.5 months pregnant.

“You are uninsurable,” says the sales representative from Blue Cross of California. “Pregancy is considered a preexisting condition.”

“You mean the preexisting condition that allows humanity to survive?” I snapped. I was furious.

To the sales rep’s credit, he thought it was ridiculous too.

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Thumbnail image for The New Main Library: A Benefit for All

The New Main Library: A Benefit for All

by Source 09.23.2013 Culture

Richard Rider, a local libertarian, called the new library “a monument to an era that is ending — a structure that in a few years will have little more utility value than a Pharaoh’s pyramid in Egypt. The only difference is that the library will have high operating costs — the pyramids need no such annual funding.”
-UT San Diego article “New library: Is this monument necessary?”

By Joe Flynn

Odd isn’t it? The self professed “cheerleaders” for San Diego preview the grand opening of the new library with this article puffed up with a quote from San Diego’s Dr. No, Richard Rider, libertarian. I wanted to get the spelling right, but after reading his remarks no one will mistake him for a librarian.

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Thumbnail image for A Post-Labor Day Tribute To My Sister

A Post-Labor Day Tribute To My Sister

by Judi Curry 09.03.2013 Culture

By Judi Curry

Labor Day means a lot of different things to a lot of different people.  In my case, at the age of seven, the first time I knew about “Labor Day” was on September 2nd, 1946, because that was the day my mother went into labor with my sister, Andy. (Andrea Jane.)  The house was a flutter and my own governess was going to take care of my sister, leaving me for the first time in my life.

I was going to be “a big girl” now, and I no longer needed to have Nanny Parsons monitor my every move.  All of that was fine with me, except for one small thing – I did not know that my mother was pregnant.  I do not want to say that she kept it a secret from me – but it was not talked about in my presence.

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Thumbnail image for Readers Write: Walk a Mile in Their Shoes

Readers Write: Walk a Mile in Their Shoes

by Source 08.11.2013 Courts, Justice

By Tom Hunter

I spent five years living in vehicles at the beach in San Diego.

I knew the cops, I knew the dealers and I knew the homeless.

I was upper class, because I managed to hang onto a vehicle.  I made gas money by driving a hooker to her johns.  I was elated when the courts told the SDPD to stop ticketing people for being on the streets.  (The police have decided in practice that court order no longer applies).

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Thumbnail image for You Don’t Need a Weatherman to Kick Bob Filner

You Don’t Need a Weatherman to Kick Bob Filner

by Source 08.09.2013 Government

By Paul Broadway

I woke up this morning thinking about the Bob Dylan lyric, “you don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows”.  This lyric is a good explanation about my view of the Mayor Filner issue that is being orchestrated by the rich, powerful, and connected in San Diego.

You see, I supported Carl DeMaio in the Mayoral election.

I should feel vindicated that Mayor Filner is proving that he was not the right choice for Mayor of America’s finest city.  I should feel that way, but I don’t.  From my point of view, I see something that scares me.  I see a political machine that is using its power to force an elected official out of office.

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Thumbnail image for You Don’t Have to Eat Cat Food

You Don’t Have to Eat Cat Food

by Source 08.06.2013 Politics

By Tom Hunter

Since my retirement and application for Social Security at the age of 63, I have gradually learned how to live frugally.

Whenever I think I’ve cut expenses to the bone, it seems like the rent goes up by 30% or the State of Nevada finds me and wants $225 a month in child support.  At the end of all this I am left with $125 dollars a month for food and TV and Internet and gas and electric.

I no longer have a vehicle of my own, but my children provide me alternately with a car and a motorcycle.  I have ridden motorcycles since I was fourteen, but I was definitely out of practice and the new bikes are heavier and faster than anything I ever owned.

This month, on the first day of my direct deposit from Uncle Sam, I spent $60 on groceries, and before the day was out I was a little short on the rent for next month. 

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Thumbnail image for Our Promising Bicycling Future in San Diego

Our Promising Bicycling Future in San Diego

by Source 08.02.2013 Activism

Don’t Miss
August 11th

By Andy Hanshaw 

Ciclovía – a familiar term to any bicycling enthusiast, where popular roads turn car-less for people to play and literally rediscover their streets.

These open-street celebrations have trademarked bike-friendly cities around the world since the first Ciclovía was hosted in Bogotá, Colombia, in 1976, when the town closed one road to all cars and opened them for pedestrian use. Since then, the trend of people enjoying their streets without the stress of car traffic has made its way around the globe and into major cities where residents embrace these opportunities – in Bogotá, the Ciclovía still remains a city tradition every Sunday.

Since its conception in the late 70s, Ciclovías have swept the world, taking over main cities in Australia, New Zealand, Peru, Argentina, Canada and now, the United States is pedaling along. Turnout for Los Angeles’ “CicLAvia” has been recorded at 180,000 people, while San Francisco and Portland regularly draw 30,000-40,000 with their “Sunday Streets” and “Sunday Parkways.”.

We are finally getting in on the action, announcing San Diego’s first open streets celebration in history.

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Thumbnail image for About That Recall Filner Idea…

About That Recall Filner Idea…

by Jay Powell 08.02.2013 Editor's Picks

By Jay Powell

Like a lot of people who strongly support the “neighborhoods first” policy commitment set forth by Mayor Bob Filner I have been on the revoltin’ remain-recall-resign roller coaster oscillating between disgust, disappointment, despair, dedication and determination regarding the daily drumbeat of “revelations” and political attacks on Bob Filner.

I am particularly wary of the recall option when I recollect two recalls that have affected San Diego within the last recent decades– a city councilmember in 1991 and, of course our Governor in 2003.

In each of these elections, the incumbent was voted out and the winner received less than a 50% plus one of the votes cast. Schwarzenegger (who incidentally was plagued by accusations of inappropriate behavior towards women in the final run up to election day) got almost 49%. Tom Behr won the Fifth District City Council seat with barely 25% of the votes cast. Done deal. No run off.

The main distinguishing and disturbing feature of a recall “election” is that the highest vote getter of the free-for-all alternative candidates listed after the yes or no on recall vote, wins it all.

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