Planning My Garden for an El Niño Winter


By Jeeni Criscenzo

Now that my knee is healing, and the weather is cooling off a bit, my attention is turning back to my garden. Knee problems aside, the oppressive heat of the past two months pretty much silenced the siren call of my garden. Just dragging my sweaty self out to feed the chickens was my quota of physical exertion for the day. Some evenings didn’t even cool enough to inspire my meditative stroll through the succulent labyrinth.

Resigned that my vegetable garden this summer was a total disaster, I had removed all of the fencing that kept the chickens out of my raised beds. So while I wasn’t working, the chickens were.   [Read more…]

North Of The Fence: South Bay GDP Growth Nearly 25 Percent More Than County


By Barbara Zaragoza / South Bay Compass

Incredibly good news for the South Bay this week. According to a report by the National University System Institute for Policy Research, GDP growth in the South Bay from 2010 to 2013 was 37.6 %, compared to 12.9 % for the entire County. Click on the article to see the increases.

We South Bay’ers can get awfully patriotic about our little neck of the woods. Although we’d like to be seen as an integrated part of both Tijuana and San Diego, some ‘outsiders’ would rather call us the Third Nation. Ok then, I guess, you can start calling us the Third Nation rising.   [Read more…]

Charger Stadium Deal Could Be Key in Block vs Atkins Senate Contest


By Doug Porter

New polling from the Garin-Hart-Yang Research Group indicates increased voter awareness of Assemblywoman Toni Atkins willingness to ease environmental challenges to a proposed publicly subsidized NFL stadium in San Diego may be her Achilles heel.

The September 24-26 survey of a representative sample of 401 likely 39th Senate district primary voters was, according to a summary issued by Hart Research, fully representative of the district by geography, inclusive of variables such as race and partisanship, and has a margin of error of ±5.0 percentage points.

The summary indicated Atkins name recognition and favorability rating are higher among voters on first blush. When voters were presented with positive, similarly long descriptions of both candidates, incumbent Senator Marty Block gained ground. A shorter comparative description mentioning Atkins’s willingness to ease CEQA challenges to the proposed NFL stadium, voter preferences shifted to give Block a 46-to-35 advantage over Atkins.   [Read more…]

California Here We Go: $15 Minimum Wage Headed for Statewide Ballot


By Doug Porter

California advocates for a statewide $15 per hour minimum wage are marshaling their forces in support of a November 2016 initiative. The mayors of San Francisco and Oakland, cities which have already passed increases, appeared at a press conference on Tuesday to announce they will be leading the effort. The measure was submitted to the state by the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West.

The Fair Wage Act of 2016 will raise the minimum wage for all California workers by $1 annually, effective January 2017. Once the minimum wage reaches $15, it will automatically go up each year to match the cost of living. The state’s minimum wage is currently $9 an hour and is set to rise to $10 on Jan. 1, 2016. Cities will continue to have the option of setting higher local minimum wages.

San Diego events related to the Fight for $15 movement are already planned as part of the build-up to next year’s election. A regional wage hearing set for October 17th will hear testimony from workers, economists, academics, students, and labor leaders as a prelude to garnering commitments from local political leaders. A Day of Action in November will see protests on college campuses, at fast food restaurants, and in downtown San Diego.   [Read more…]

Escondido’s Secretive Appearance Committee Decides What’s Art and What’s Not


By Wendy Wilson /Alianza North County

“There is no Federal constitutional issue more grave than the effort by government officials to censor works of expression and to threaten the vitality of a major cultural institution, as punishment for failing to abide by government demand for orthodoxy,” said U.S. District Judge Nina Gershon in the case, Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences vs. City of New York.

When the City Manager of Escondido, Clay Philips, turned a city committee called the “appearance committee” into his own personal censorship group, First Amendment advocates started to pay attention.  This committee was originally created to regulate what color downtown business owners could paint their buildings in the downtown historic district.  

Under Clay Phillips office, with the consent of Mayor Abed and council people Gallo, Morasco and Masson, this closed committee has transformed into a tool for city censorship.  This taxpayer funded city committee meets to decide city regulations with no publically elected officials and no publically posted or published meeting times.   [Read more…]

ReformCA Files Its California Pot Legalization Initiative

ameri pot

By Phillip Smith / AlterNet

The California Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform, also known as ReformCA, has filed a draft marijuana legalization initiative with state officials, the group announced Sunday.

The long-anticipated move means the campaign best-placed to bring legalization to the Golden State can finally get underway.

The Control, Regulate and Tax Cannabis Act of 2016 would allow people 21 and over to possess and cultivate limited amounts of marijuana and it would set up legal marijuana commerce overseen by a pair of new state agencies, the California Cannabis Commission and the Office of Cannabis Regulatory Affairs.   [Read more…]

Do All “Black Lives Matter?”

Two Moms

By Ernie McCray

Damn. One day I’m writing a piece concerning discrimination against lesbians and gays, making a pitch for us to let the now proverbial Adam and Steve or Alanna and Eve feel at ease in just being themselves.

And the very next day, to my dismay, I hear of a little 5-year-old black girl who is kicked out of a school, the Mt. Erie Christian Academy, because she has two moms.

Whoa, right back where I started from. Another story about “beliefs.” Christian beliefs. But I just have to say I can’t see Christ turning some child away from a school with some lame excuse like “The Bible says homosexuality is a sin,” making that little girl, in essence, a victim of her mothers’ sins.   [Read more…]

North Of The Fence: South Bay Politics and Events


By Barbara Zaragoza

Immigration and Crime

  • You might be surprised to learn that border cities continue to be among the safest in the country. Imperial Beach was ranked the second safest city in San Diego County.(Poway came in first.)
  • Also, you are least likely to be murdered in the two border cities of El Paso, TX and San Diego in comparison to 23 other cities in the U.S. Take a look at the FBI data that ranks cities by murder rate.
  • The Pew Research Center found that Asians have supplanted Hispanics as the largest group of newcomers. The organization also reports that views of immigrants are largely split along party lines in America. 71% of Republicans say immigrants in the U.S. are making crime worse, compared with 35% of Democrats.
  •   [Read more…]

    Oregon College Massacre, More Gun Nut Excuses


    By Doug Porter

    A very disturbed 26-year-old man killed nine people and injured seven others at a community college in Oregon on October 1st. He was killed in a gunfight with police officers responding to 911 calls.

    The President made his 15th appearance to address the nation following a mass shooting. He was obviously very angry and frustrated.

    The blowback from the right edge of the flat-earthers was, as usual, both ignorant and infuriating.   [Read more…]

    Return to Delano: the 50th Anniversary of the Delano Grape Strike

    delano excerpt

    By Maria E. Garcia

    A few weeks ago, when the United Farm Workers (UFW) posted that there would be a celebration commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Delano Grape Strike, I posted a simple sentence on Facebook: ” San Diego is anybody going?” Within a few minutes my friend Gloria Serrano-Medina responded with a simple “vamos” and with that one word a decision to be part of that celebration was made.

    This would not be my first trip to the Forty Acres, the parcel of land in Delano, California that in 1966 became the headquarters for the United Farm Workers of America, the first permanent agricultural labor union in the United States.   [Read more…]

    Random Acts of Kindess


    By Jeeni Criscenzo

    Thoughts while enjoying the super moon during the lunar eclipse of Sept. 27, 2015

    Although raised Roman Catholic and indoctrinated with 12 years of Catechism classes in parochial school, I decided, even before graduating high school that neither Catholicism nor any religion, was for me. When the Sisters of Charity taught that faith is a gift, I responded that I didn’t get the gift and didn’t want it. Long before I was “expelled” from the church for marrying a second time, I had decided that I could be a good person without following rules written by men who “believed” the earth was flat.

    So as I followed the coverage of Pope Francis’ recent visit to the United States, I kept in mind that he was the leader of a faith that will not relinquish power to women to make their own medical decisions or to give them access to leadership as priests, bishops or the papacy.   [Read more…]

    Ta-Nehisi Coates, ‘Unflinching’ Voice on Racism, Declared MacArthur Genius

    Ta-Nehisi Coates

    ‘Writing without shallow polemic and in a measured style, Coates addresses complex and challenging issues such as racial identity, systemic racial bias, and urban policing,’ declared the MacArthur Foundation.

    By Sarah Lazare / Common Dreams

    Journalist, author, and leading voice on anti-black racism in America, Ta-Nehisi Coates, was revealed Tuesday to be one of 24 recipients of the 2015 MacArthur Genius awards.

    “Writing without shallow polemic and in a measured style, Coates addresses complex and challenging issues such as racial identity, systemic racial bias, and urban policing,” declared the foundation. “He subtly embeds the present—in the form of anecdotes about himself or others—into historical analysis in order to illustrate how the implications of the past are still experienced by people today.”   [Read more…]

    Does the Pope Smoke Dope?


    By the Ol’ OB Hippie

    Does the Pope smoke dope? Does Pope Francis imbibe in the inhalation of medicinal cannabis?

    No, really – I wanted to know if the Pope smoked dope. I have heard rumors to that effect – for years actually. And I wanted to find out.

    I knew he was coming to the U.S., so I had to figure out a way to meet up with him.   [Read more…]

    In Memoriam: Judy Oliveira

    pink roses

    By Staff

    San Diego Free Press readers are familiar with long time contributor John Lawrence. He has written a Tuesday column ever since we launched in June of 2012. We were saddened to learn that John recently lost his life partner Judy Oliveira.

    There will be a memorial service on Saturday, October 3 and John extends an invitation to the SDFP community to attend.   [Read more…]

    Flying Lessons: Centenarian Bill Gibbs’ Path from Logan Heights to Montgomery Field

    Bill Gibbs

    By Maria Garcia and Connie Zuniga

    Bill Gibbs loved airplane flight so much that by the age of twenty-two he had developed barren scrub land in San Diego into his own airport and established a flying service there. Bill, who grew up in Logan Heights, recounted a remarkable story to us at his Mt. Soledad home. He spoke of family hardships during his youth, of hard work and how his passion for flying ultimately led him to develop what is now known as Montgomery Field Airport and a flying service that continues to operate today.

    Bill’s story is also a remarkably long one– he will be 105 years old in October.   [Read more…]

    Haggen Stores Closing: Corporate Greed Costs Eight Thousand Jobs in California


    By Doug Porter

    Less than six months since taking over 146 Albertsons and Vons locations, the Haggen grocery chain has announced closings for all its locations in California, Arizona and Nevada. Twenty-five stores in San Diego county will be shuttered, just two days before Thanksgiving.  (More inside)

    Pope Francis gave his long-awaited address to Congress yesterday. Local faith, community and labor activists took the opportunity to amplify the pontiff’s messages on the social justice and the environment, holding a press conference and a packed interfaith forum at St. Paul’s Cathedral. (More Inside)

    There are many noteworthy events coming soon:

    • Point Loma Democrats will feature a presentation by Rabbi Laurie Coskey on the fight for $15 movement,
    • The Center on Policy Initiatives will hosting the Spotlight on Justice Awards, and
    • Organized labor is stepping up its game with the 2015 San Diego Conference on Labor and Community Solidarity.

    (Details and more events inside)   [Read more…]

    End of 50-Year Lease Allows Expansion Opportunity for San Diego Wetlands

    Pied-billed Grebe creek is a fall migrant that arrived in August before its breeding plumage disappeared.

    By Roy Little

    There is a unique opportunity to expand the wetlands in the north-east corner of Mission Bay due to the ending of the 50-year lease for Campland and the legal agreement to have De Anza Cove vacated.

    The San Diego Audubon Society is leading a planning and study effort to investigate the options of a wetlands-oriented expansion of the marsh. The existing wetland is shown in dark green at the right side, Campland and Rose Creek in the lower center and De Anza Cove to the left.

    Until roughly a hundred years ago Rose Creek flowed through the marsh but was re-routed to make development easier. From a wetlands and water quality perspective the original flow of the Rose Creek is important in order to help purify storm water before it reaches the bay and provide nutrients to make the marsh more healthy.   [Read more…]

    Lively Hoods


    Why are we asking for jobs?

    Most jobs are a lopsided trade agreement
    where we relinquish the majority of our waking hours,
    and our labor and talent
    to make someone else
    wealthy – wealthier!
    in exchange for just enough money to survive.
    Sometimes it’s not even enough
    …used to be.

    What we all really want
    and need
    is a means of living
    that makes being alive meaningful.   [Read more…]

    The Pope Heard Round the World


    By Hutton Marshall /

    The Pope is in town.

    Not this town, unfortunately — he’s in Washington, D.C.  Pope Francis will give a historic address to Congress, where he is expected to speak on the escalating climate change crisis. This closely watched event will further solidify his stature as an acknowledged global leader of the climate change movement.  He caps the year in Paris with an address to world leaders at the UN-sponsored climate change summit.

    Earlier this year, Pope Francis released his Encyclical Letter entitled “On Care for our Common Home.”  A passionate, comprehensive 40,000-word exhortation about caring for the planet, the Encyclical weaves modern climate science together with teachings from Catholicism and other religions, to build the case that caring for Earth’s climate is a moral obligation, a matter of justice for the poor and vulnerable. He thus breaks down the barriers between religion and science, and between environmental stewardship and social justice.

    Pope Francis is by no means a rogue actor in using his papal authority to speak out on climate change. As the Encyclical notes, previous popes have spoken to the same issues.   [Read more…]

    The Citizens’ Watch of Mission Valley: “Manchester Project” Approved and Work Begins on Valley’s Largest (and Only) Park


    To outsiders, Mission Valley at times feels like it’s in its own intense universe. Other times, it seems like San Diego’s own “black hole”- once you enter Mission Valley, you immediately get swept into its traffic craziness and grid-lock.

    But what happens in Mission Valley deeply affects the rest of San Diego, especially the coastal areas directly to the west – like Ocean Beach, the Peninsula, Mission Beach, PB – but also other nearby communities such as Clairemont and Grantville. Because of this close proximity these other communities are impacted by both the increases in population and density in Mission Valley and – due to the lack of infrastructure in the valley – are also impacted by strains on their infrastructure.

    Because of these – let’s call them – interconnections – , we have been running a series of articles about what is being developed and being planned in Mission Valley. With these articles, we’ve instituted a type of ‘Citizen Watch of Mission Valley’ – and here, we continue this irregular series on the continued development and destruction of Mission Valley. Here’s our latest: …   [Read more…]