The Starting Line

A week-day SDFP column by Doug Porter

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I read the Daily Fishwrap(s) so you don’t have to… Catch “the Starting Line” Monday thru Friday right here at San Diego Free Press (dot) org. Send your hate mail and ideas to DougPorter@SanDiegoFreePress.Org

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Thumbnail image for Women’s Equality Day: No Cause for Celebration

Women’s Equality Day: No Cause for Celebration

by Doug Porter 08.26.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

More than four decades ago Congresswomen Bella Abzug introduced legislation to designate August 26 as “Women’s Equality Day.” The bill says that “the President is authorized and requested to issue a proclamation annually in commemoration of that day in 1920, on which the women of America were first given the right to vote.”

In 1972 the Equal Rights Amendment passed, having been introduced in every session of Congress since 1923. The amendment required ratification by 38 states, but fell three states short. While there have been various legal maneuvers extend the ratification deadline, along with attempts to re-introduce the amendment over the years, it is, for all practical purposes, dead.

Think of it: more than half the human beings in the United States are subject to legally sanctioned discrimination. Buried beneath all the justifications and rationalizations for this fundamental injustice is the belief that women are (or should be) chattel.

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Thumbnail image for Conflict Over Minimum Wage Increase Takes to the Streets of San Diego

Conflict Over Minimum Wage Increase Takes to the Streets of San Diego

by Doug Porter 08.25.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

Tensions between supporters and opponents of a city council approved increase in the minimum wage /earned sick days have escalated in recent days.

For now, most of the battles are being fought via press releases. GOP Consultant Jason Roe worked the phones on Friday, claiming signature collectors for a referendum effectively suspending the council’s action, were assaulted.

TV News crews and police descended upon a Vons store in Clairemont only to learn that a paid canvasser was claiming his petitions had been stolen. Former Assemblywomen Lori Saldaña is now questioning that claim, based on the fact she was in the area at the time of alleged theft and saw nothing of the kind.

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Thumbnail image for Calling Out the Liars Behind the Anti Minimum Wage Campaign in San Diego

Calling Out the Liars Behind the Anti Minimum Wage Campaign in San Diego

by Doug Porter 08.22.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

Paid signature gatherers, many from out of town, fanned out across the city this week trying to persuade voters to support a Chamber of Commerce led effort to block a  minimum wage increase for San Diegans.

City Council President Todd Gloria, a very high profile local politician and author of the minimum wage/sick days ordinance, had the presence of mind to make an instagram video as he was approached outside an uptown post office.

“Have you signed the petition so the state can’t force the city of San Diego to increase the minimum wage yet?” the signature-gatherer asked. “I support raising the minimum wage,” Gloria answered.

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Thumbnail image for Groups Call ALS Bucket Challenge a Baby Killer

Groups Call ALS Bucket Challenge a Baby Killer

by Doug Porter 08.21.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

Talk about your buzzkill.

Everybody, it seems, has been doing the ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) challenge lately. Actor Charlie Sheen, San Diego Chargers safety Eric Weddle and even Mayor Kevin Faulconer have had buckets of iced liquid dumped on them as part a nationwide fundraising campaign.

While public figures locally have gone out of their way to be conscious about the drought faced by Californians, there’s always a crank somewhere looking to be a spoiler.

In the case of the ALS challenge it’s a certain Catholic Archdiocese and the we’re-not-a-hate-group types at the American Family Association (AFA). You might remember the AFA from their ‘don’t buy Harvey Milk stamps campaign’.

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Thumbnail image for Slime – A Common Denominator in San Diego’s Past, Present and Future Elections

Slime – A Common Denominator in San Diego’s Past, Present and Future Elections

by Doug Porter 08.20.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

slime

noun \ˈslīm\

: a thick, slippery liquid

: a very bad, unpleasant, or dishonest person

(from Merriam Webster.com)

 

The word “slime” came to mind as I reviewed the day’s news media, so that’s my theme du jour.

Today’s stories include an amazing document submitted in the government’s campaign contribution case against José Susumo Azano Matsura, rock throwing TV ads via a man formerly known as Turd Blossom and the ultimate in concern trolling by a political consultant posing as a small businessman.

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Thumbnail image for Don’t Sign It! Chamber of Commerce Led Group Seeks to Block Minimum Wage Increase

Don’t Sign It! Chamber of Commerce Led Group Seeks to Block Minimum Wage Increase

by Doug Porter 08.19.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

As expected yesterday, the City Council voted to override Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s veto of San Diego’s Earned Sick Day / Minimum Wage ordinance. The vote was 6-2, with all Democrats supporting and Republicans Mark Kersey, and Scott Sherman opposed. Councilwoman Lori Zapf did not attend the meeting.

Not long after the council vote Chamber of Commerce CEO Jerry Sanders dialed up the media, announcing they’d be collecting signatures to force a referendum on the ordinance, hoping to suspend (until the June, 2016 elections) an increase in pay for an estimated 172,000 local workers, along with denying access to earned sick days to 279,000 individuals.

Raise Up San Diego, the alliance of community, faith and labor groups supporting the ordinance passed by the City Council has announced it will mount an educational campaign urging people to decline to sign the referendum petitions.

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Thumbnail image for SeaWorld: A Bigger Cage Doesn’t Change Anything

SeaWorld: A Bigger Cage Doesn’t Change Anything

by Doug Porter 08.18.2014 Business

By Doug Porter

 After a bad week in the stock market and a bad first half of the year at the turnstile, the company behind SeaWorld announced a series of moves it obviously hopes will enhance the image of its water parks.

The plans include doubling the size of its orca environment, contributing an additional $10 million to research on the species and establishing an independent advisory committee of scientists to oversee its orca program.

The new orca environment, dubbed the Blue World Project, will cover 1.5 acres at 50 feet deep and 350 feet in length. The new habitat will have 10 million gallons of water, up from 5.6 million. Visitors will be able to view the orcas from a 40-foot-tall glass wall below the water line.

The editorial board at UT-San Diego was impressed. Not many other people seemed to share their near-gushing sentiment.

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Thumbnail image for Basketball’s Bill Walton and Qualcomm’s Irwin Jacobs Cast as Labor Bullies by Faulconer’s Anti-Minimum Wage Strategist

Basketball’s Bill Walton and Qualcomm’s Irwin Jacobs Cast as Labor Bullies by Faulconer’s Anti-Minimum Wage Strategist

by Doug Porter 08.15.2014 Business

By Doug Porter

I’ve been saying it for months now–the minimum wage battle in San Diego will bring out the Really Big Lies and the Really Bad Guys. Today we’ll give you a little taste of what they’re saying and what they really believe.

On Monday City Council President Todd Gloria has called for a special session of the City Council to override Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s veto of a minimum wage increase and paid sick days for San Diego workers.

Gloria is quoted in this morning’s UT, saying, “The City Council should stand up for the 38 percent of San Diegans who are counting on this raise to help them better make ends meet, and I hope they will override the mayor’s veto”

On Tuesday, The “San Diego Small Business Coalition,” created by big businesses, will roll out a small army of signature gatherers armed with a spiel designed to fool voters into thinking they’re signing a reasonable petition.

We got a little taste of how ‘reasonable’ these folks are yesterday with GOP consultant Jason Roe, who crashed an early morning press conference held by Raise Up San Diego.

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Thumbnail image for Ferguson, Missouri: Racism, Riots and Reactions

Ferguson, Missouri: Racism, Riots and Reactions

by Doug Porter 08.14.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

In Ferguson, Missouri an unarmed young man was gunned down in the street last Saturday by a police officer. According to multiple witnesses 18 year old Mike Brown was shot multiple times, even after he faced the officer and raised his hands. His body lay in the street in the August sun for four hours after the shooting.

People who live in that community believe the shooting was just another example of the racism they face everyday. Ferguson’s population is near two-thirds African-American; just three of the 53 officers on the police force are not white. The authorities have done nothing but confirm their worst fears at every turn.

For the past four nights there have been confrontations between police and demonstrators. Last night things escalated. Following a announcement from a bulhorn on top of an armored vehicle saying “your right to demonstrate is not being obstructed”  there were unprovoked police attacks on crowds and in the surrounding neighborhoods using smoke bombs, tear gas, stun granades and rubber bullets.

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Thumbnail image for Faux News, Environmental Views At Issue in 52nd District Congressional Race

Faux News, Environmental Views At Issue in 52nd District Congressional Race

by Doug Porter 08.13.2014 Business

By Doug Porter

Representative Scott Peters’ fight to keep his seat in the 52nd Congressional District continues to make the news. The National Journal and other media outlets ran stories yesterday about fake news sites being funded by the National Republican Congressional Committee; a quick search confirmed Peters was among their targets.

Climate Progress ran an article touting both Peters and opponent Carl DeMaio as unusual because both candidates agree that climate change is real- except that they couldn’t find a environmental activist willing to endorse DeMaio’s record.

Finally, former assemblyman Nathan Fletcher came out of his self-imposed political exile this morning to endorse Peters, Jack Harkin (former chair of the local United Veterans Council) and other veterans at a press conference in Balboa Park.

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Thumbnail image for The Spin on Gas Prices in California: A $20 Koch Burger Topped with Fear

The Spin on Gas Prices in California: A $20 Koch Burger Topped with Fear

by Doug Porter 08.12.2014 Business

By Doug Porter

Perhaps you’ve heard the news stories in recent days; the ones saying gasoline prices in California are about to take a big jump at the pump. Here’s a quote from a Capital Public Radio story aired on KPBS recently, “Projected increases range from 10 cents to 69 cents a gallon.”  

What these news stories aren’t saying is that there is a concerted campaign underway by the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) and its allies to forestall the inclusion of  fuels in California’s cap-and-trade program.

This isn’t about a tax. It’s not unexpected; the industry has known this would happen for five years. The hubbub is really all about the dirty energy business making a last ditch stand in defense of their continuing contribution to climate change.

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Thumbnail image for GOP Gubernatorial Candidate Neel Kashkari’s Workers’ Paradise: North Dakota

GOP Gubernatorial Candidate Neel Kashkari’s Workers’ Paradise: North Dakota

by Doug Porter 08.11.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

I attended Voice of San Diego’s Politifest on Saturday, held at Liberty Station. It was a gorgeous San Diego morning for what was dubbed a ‘civic festival.’ Republican gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari and Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins were invited to strut their stuff.

Politifest is in the tradition of the days when grand public rallies were held to support candidates and causes–with a little bit of the 60’s teach-in thrown in for good measure. The main difference is that this annual event doesn’t have a cause beyond civic involvement. 

There weren’t a whole lot of people there–once you accounted for all those participating in some fashion–but those that did attend were the kind of people who take their policy seriously. Alternately it could be called it Wonkfest; or Politicon (with craft beer! and food trucks!). The nerd in me was glad they do this.

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Thumbnail image for The Real Battle Begins: Faulconer Vetoes Minimum Wage Hike

The Real Battle Begins: Faulconer Vetoes Minimum Wage Hike

by Doug Porter 08.08.2014 Business

By Doug Porter

Republican Mayor Kevin Faulconer has vetoed an ordinance increasing minimum wages and allowing for earned sick days for San Diegans.

The City Council now has 30 days to override the veto. Twenty four hours after that vote happens it’s probable that the Chamber of Commerce–given that they’ve been raising money for it– will begin collecting signatures to overturn the ordinance.

The Committee for Slave Wages and Free Puppies for Everybody–or whatever catchy name they come up with–will have 30 days to collect 34,000 or so signatures. Should they succeed, the ordinance will be suspended until after the June, 2016 vote.

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Thumbnail image for San Diego Voters Support Minimum Wage, Earned Sick Days Ordinance by Nearly Two-to-One Margin in New Poll

San Diego Voters Support Minimum Wage, Earned Sick Days Ordinance by Nearly Two-to-One Margin in New Poll

by Doug Porter 08.07.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

A poll released this morning shows broad public support for the San Diego City Council’s ordinance allowing for five days of earned sick pay and increasing the minimum wage to $11.50 over three years.

According to the poll:

  • 63% of San Diego Voters Support the Council-Approved Earned Sick Days & Minimum Wage Ordinance;
  • 59% reported that they would vote against repealing the ordinance;
  • A 41% plurality say they would be less likely to support Mayor Kevin Faulconer if he proceeds with a veto of the ordinance;
  • The ordinance has especially strong support among independent voters with 69% in favor as opposed to 26% against.
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Thumbnail image for The Anti Minimum Wage Hired Guns Coming to Town

The Anti Minimum Wage Hired Guns Coming to Town

by Doug Porter 08.06.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

Sources close to Raise Up San Diego are telling us the company collecting signatures for the Slave Wage Jobs Coalition will be National Petition Management(NPM).

Today we’ll take a look at what they’ve accomplished in recent years, and why you might want to wash your hands after engaging one of their ‘contract employees’ asking for signatures to overturn San Diego’s minimum wage and paid sick days ordinance.

NPM and their likely local affiliate, Victory Consultants, Inc will start deploying signature gatherers at suburban malls shortly after the city council over rides Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s veto later this month. They’ll have 30 days to collect 34,000 or so signatures. Meeting that threshold will suspend the new minimum wage and earned sick days ordinance until after the June 2016 election.

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Thumbnail image for Profiles in Republican Cowardice, Starting with Mayor Kevin Faulconer

Profiles in Republican Cowardice, Starting with Mayor Kevin Faulconer

by Doug Porter 08.05.2014 Business

By Doug Porter

Sometime over the next few days San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer will veto a proposed ordinance raising the local minimum wage in three steps and allowing for earned sick days.

I get it that Hizzoner adheres to Republican principles about giving advantages to the wealthy. If he wants to believe in unicorns and trickle-down economics that is his right as a citizen.

But the way San Diego got to the point where this veto is necessary is where his political cowardice is revealed. And I predict the battle that’s likely to follow his rejection will wreak destruction in ways he can’t even imagine at this time.

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Thumbnail image for Congressman Darrell Issa’s Cherished Benghazi Crusade Crashes and Burns

Congressman Darrell Issa’s Cherished Benghazi Crusade Crashes and Burns

by Doug Porter 08.04.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

The House Intelligence Committee has absolved the Obama administration of deliberate wrongdoing in the 2012 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, according to the San Francisco Chronicle and other news sources.

The attack has been a favored topic of conversation/outrage on the right. Congressman Darrel Issa’s on-camera buffoonery combined with gotta-find-a-smoking gun conservative media coverage resulted in more than 13 hearings, 25,000 pages of documents and 50 briefings.

Four American deaths at the hands of terrorists have been exploited beyond belief. UT-San Diego named the San Diego victims as its ‘persons of the year.’ Operational data on the CIA station in Libya became common knowledge. And millions of dollars have been wasted as GOP opportunists sought to make a scandal out of a tragedy in the hope that both the Obama administration and Hillary Clinton’s presidential ambitions would be tarnished.

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Thumbnail image for ‘Poor For a Week’ – Neel Kashkari’s Trickle Down Game Show

‘Poor For a Week’ – Neel Kashkari’s Trickle Down Game Show

by Doug Porter 08.01.2014 Business

By Doug Porter

The forerunner of today’s reality TV programming was a program called ‘Queen for a Day.’ Starting out as a radio program, it made the jump to black and white TV in 1948, staying on air until 1964.

Women selected from the studio audience were ushered to the stage and urged to tell tales of woe, which were rated by the audience using an “applause meter.” The winner was crowned, showered with sponsor-provided prizes and expected to cry profusely. ‘Queen’ was a ratings monster in its day.

California GOP gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari, whose running-on-empty campaign is desperate for attention, is hoping his latest campaign stunt –’Poor for a Week’– will resonate with voters.

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Thumbnail image for Unraveling the Border Refugee Crisis

Unraveling the Border Refugee Crisis

by Doug Porter 07.31.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

At some time over next few days, President Obama will issue of executive orders pertaining to immigration. Likely options include reordering the priority list of deportation cases to dramatically expanding the 2012 “deferred action” program.

Those orders could mean allowing millions of family members to get work permits, or even allowing work permits for even broader groups, such as undocumented immigrant parents of U.S. citizens or virtually everyone who’s not considered a high priority to deport.

You can take it to the bank that the nativist wing of the GOP will be outraged. I expect to see more reporting disparaging refugees and undocumented residents. I am doubtful we’ll see a boost in reporting pointing towards the historical roots of the current crisis. So today I’ll call out a couple of stories going beyond the usual pap served up in the media.

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Who Runs San Diego? – Local Broadcast TV News Operations

by Doug Porter 07.30.2014 Business

By Doug Porter / Democratic Woman’s Club

The sameness of the content can become overwhelming.

It’s happy, rappy and don’t-be-crappy whenever possible. Drama is reserved for ledes that bleed, i.e., crime and confrontations. Nuance is too difficult to jam into 30 seconds. It’s a formula, differing in graphics, presentation and the personalities of the persons reading the script.

It’s by-and-large an echo chamber. There’s a long standing tradition of prioritizing content based  on what appears in print media.  In San Diego that means “Papa Doug” Manchester and his Mission Valley minions have a disproportionate influence when it comes to political reporting.

Welcome to the world of commercial broadcast news in San Diego.

NOTE: This is the second installment of the Who Runs San Diego? series, a project of the Woman’s Democratic Club.

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Thumbnail image for Requiem for a Overachieving School Principal

Requiem for a Overachieving School Principal

by Doug Porter 07.29.2014 Columns

An Abrupt and Controversial Reassignment at the School for Creative and Performing Arts Leaves Parents Angry

By Doug Porter

Mitzi Lizarraga ran San Diego Unified’s School for the Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA)  for seven years. Test scores improved, the school was named one of the best in the country repeatedly over the past 4 years and students were sought after by prestigious colleges and universities.

On Tuesday, June 10th, two days before graduation this year, she was gone. Students and staff were told Ms. Lizarraga was attending to an urgent and personal matter. “Interim” Principal Dr. Jenna Pesavento would be tasked with handing out diplomas to departing seniors.

But some seniors weren’t buying it. Graduation, usually one the high points in the life of a high school student, was fraught with rumors and dissension. Some seniors were talking about boycotting the ceremony. Other seniors wanted to hold up signs. Students were upset, some even in tears. Parents were in disbelief and did not understand what was happening.

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Thumbnail image for As the Downtown Drama on Minimum Wage Plays Out, Fast Food Workers Talk Civil Disobedience

As the Downtown Drama on Minimum Wage Plays Out, Fast Food Workers Talk Civil Disobedience

by Doug Porter 07.28.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

Mayor Faulconer and his Chamber of Commerce puppeteers may not be willing to acknowledge it, but the train has left the station when it comes to minimum wages. They may think they can stop it, but they are wrong. The momentum to do something, anything about rampant economic inequality in the US is reaching critical mass.

Hizzoner met privately with advocates for increasing the minimum wage and earned sick leave on Friday, telling them while he appreciated their concerns, he was planning on vetoing an ordinance proposed by City Council President Todd Gloria. Any veto will likely be overridden by the Democratic super-majority on the Council.

Opponents of the measure are also threatening an initiative drive, which would have the effect of postponing implementation until a vote takes place in June, 2016. They are pointing to self-sponsored surveys saying as many as 14% of businesses would leave the city should the increases occur.

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Thumbnail image for Howling at the Moon: GOP on Track for Obama Impeachment

Howling at the Moon: GOP on Track for Obama Impeachment

by Doug Porter 07.25.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

Yes indeedy. A majority (57%) of self described Republicans in a CNN poll released this morning say President Barack Obama should be impeached.

On Thursday the House Rules Committee approved legislation authorizing a lawsuit against the President, claiming he has overstepped his executive powers in delaying coverage mandates and granting waivers regarding the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. The full house is expected to vote on authorizing the lawsuit next week.

Also on the radar for Congress is a show-down over re-authorization of the Export-Import Bank (a corporate welfare program supported by the Chamber of Commerce) with the potential to trigger another government shutdown come October 1st.

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Thumbnail image for Environment, Climate Change Don’t Seem to be on Mayor Faulconer’s Agenda

Environment, Climate Change Don’t Seem to be on Mayor Faulconer’s Agenda

by Doug Porter 07.24.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

Delay, deny, and deflect are the backbone of the Party of No’s strategy in politics. Our confrontation-adverse mayor would seem to be favoring the first of those options when it comes to environmental considerations affecting San Diego.

Yesterday organizations concerned with the potential impacts of climate change packed a hearing of the City Council’s Environment Committee to urge Mayor Faulconer to quit stalling on this important issue. The presence of representatives of the American Lung Association San Diego Chapter, California Nurses Association, Environmental Health Coalition, San Diego Coastkeeper and San Diego 350 made it clear that this issue is important to many San Diegans.

Councilmembers David Alvarez, Marti Emerald and Ed Harris voted for a resolution urging Mayor Faulconer to reduce pollution and prepare San Diego for the impacts of climate change with strategies to measurably reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the next 20 years. Councilmember Lorie Zapf voted in opposition.

A draft Climate Action Plan released during the interim administration of Council President Todd Gloria has gone nowhere in recent months.

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Thumbnail image for A Proud Day of Activism for Labor, Refugee and Environmental Advocates

A Proud Day of Activism for Labor, Refugee and Environmental Advocates

by Doug Porter 07.23.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

Tuesday, July 22 was a remarkable day for San Diego. Starting with an early morning prayer vigil at San Diego City Hall in support of a higher minimum wage and ending with hundreds of Escondido residents calling for a humanitarian response to the border refugee crisis, people stood up for causes they believed in.

At noontime a broad spectrum of supporters of organized labor rallied in Mission Valley, vowing to support workers for Food-4-Less should they go on strike. And in the afternoon environmental activists testified before the city council, urging Mayor Kevin Faulconer to move ahead with a review process needed to consider an ordinance curtailing the use of plastic shopping bags.

People chose to make a stand on issues that were important to them. They faced off against institutional and political hostility, along with a corporate media all-too-willing to give a platform to those willing to spew ridicule (the UT’s Greenhut) and venomous language (Escondido’s nativists). They stood up and said “we’re not going to take it any more” (UFCW’s Kasparian). They testified that now is the time to protect the environment (representatives of Coastkeeper, Surfrider and the Sierra Club).

It was a great day to be an American. It was a great day to be an activist.

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