Economy

Thumbnail image for The Season for Mindless Consumerism

The Season for Mindless Consumerism

by Source 12.13.2014 Culture

This Christmas, put your money to better use than thoughtless gift-giving.

By  / OtherWords

‘Tis the season for mindless consumerism.

I love giving gifts when they’re from the heart. But I hate giving or receiving presents if they’re things nobody needs, given out of a sense of obligation.

Here’s a story that illustrates what I mean. Back in college, a friend of mine approached me and said, “I just want to give you a heads up, my new girlfriend bought you a gift.”

Uh-oh, I thought. I didn’t even get him a gift, let alone her. But without missing a beat, I replied, “Oh, that’s so sweet! Well, I got her something too.”

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Thumbnail image for Who is Mike McCoy?

Who is Mike McCoy?

by At Large 12.10.2014 Activism

By bzzaragoza / South Bay Compass

Eye on the Locals: In the micro-world of our communities, many people dedicate their lives to bettering our neighborhoods and end up bettering the world. Mike McCoy of Imperial Beach is heralded as the individual who helped save the largest coastal wetland in Southern California. Here is his story:

Mike McCoy grew up in Boulder, Colorado and came to San Diego in 1970, the year he graduated veterinarian school and got an internship at the San Diego Zoo. While going to vet school, he worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and it qualified him to land that particular internship. It was the first long extended internship they offered at the zoo.

It was here that he met his wife, Patricia McCoy, an Englishwoman from London who fled to the countryside during the WWII bombings. She eventually became a city council member in Imperial Beach and they both were avid environmental activists.

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Thumbnail image for Republican Megadonors Seek to ‘Clear the Field’ for a Single Preferred Candidate

Republican Megadonors Seek to ‘Clear the Field’ for a Single Preferred Candidate

by Source 12.10.2014 Economy

By Hunter / Daily Kos

This makes perfect sense. Republican megadonors dominate what’s left of “establishment” Republicanism and damn it, they’re tired of writing checks that they shouldn’t have to write.

Dozens of the Republican Party’s leading presidential donors and fund-raisers have begun privately discussing how to clear the field for a single establishment candidate to carry the party’s banner in 2016, fearing that a prolonged primary would bolster Hillary Rodham Clinton, the likely Democratic candidate.

The conversations, described in interviews with a variety of the Republican Party’s most sought-after donors, are centered on the three potential candidates who have the largest existing base of major contributors and overlapping ties to the top tier of those who are uncommitted: Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida and Mitt Romney.

If more than one of those “establishment” candidates runs, wealthy Republicans will have to choose which of them to support, meaning various wealthy Republicans will pick different sides, and then those candidates will be forced to battle it out in the primaries with gobs of millionaire cash.

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Thumbnail image for Chicago set to raise minimum wage to $13

Chicago set to raise minimum wage to $13

by Source 12.04.2014 Activism

By Laura Clawson / Daily Kos

Chicago is likely to be the next city to raise its minimum wage, with its city council voting Tuesday on an increase supported by Mayor Rahm Emanuel:

The mayor’s revised minimum wage ordinance would raise the hourly minimum wage in Chicago each year in July, starting with an increase to $10 next year. It would then go up to $10.50 in 2016, $11 in 2017, $12 in 2018, and $13 in 2019.After 2019, the city’s minimum wage would go up each year at a rate equal to the rise in the Consumer Price Index.

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Thumbnail image for To Counter Rise of Oligarchy, Sanders Pitches Progressive Economic Vision

To Counter Rise of Oligarchy, Sanders Pitches Progressive Economic Vision

by Source 12.03.2014 Business

Amid speculation over 2016 presidential run, senator from Vermont lays out 12-step plan to combat 40-year decline of middle class and rampant inequality

By Jon Queally / Common Dreams

In a speech on the Senate floor on Tuesday morning, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) introduced his vision for a progressive economic agenda that he says could restore shared prosperity, reinvigorate the middle class, and mitigate a host of social crises that stem from the current system that has created great wealth for a select few while systematically eroding the quality of life for the many.

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Thumbnail image for Tiny Home Village for Homeless Opens in Wisconsin

Tiny Home Village for Homeless Opens in Wisconsin

by Source 11.29.2014 Activism

By Jen Hayden / Daily Kos

Out of the Occupy Madison protests a cool idea was hatched: Building 98-square-foot homes for those without. The homes have a bed, kitchen, bathroom, storage and propane heat. Future residents take part in building the homes.

The homes cost just $3,000 to construct, most of it funded by community donations. A revolving crew of volunteers provided the labor, including Betty Ybarra. Previously homeless, she now resides in the home she helped construct. “It’s exciting. I’ve never even owned my own house,” Ybarra told WMTV

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Thumbnail image for What to Do When Black Friday Isn’t Your Thing

What to Do When Black Friday Isn’t Your Thing

by At Large 11.28.2014 Activism

By Debbie Forward

Black Friday Walmart Actions in the San Diego Area

Grossmont 11am– 8820 Grossmont Blvd, La Mesa
Aero 10am– 3382 Murphy Canyon Rd, SD
Logan 10am– 2121 Imperial Ave, SD

If you’re one of the humans who believe holidays are for friends and families, nobody should be forced to work on Thanksgiving Day, and you steer away from the shopping masses on Black Friday, well, here’s something worthy of your consideration.

Thousands of people like you are signing up to join peaceful demonstrations at hundreds of Walmarts across the country to support the stores’ employees in their quest for decent working conditions. Some of those rallies are already planned in San Diego County. Even in North County. Gasp.

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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 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 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 Don’t Ask the Pentagon Where Its Money Goes

Don’t Ask the Pentagon Where Its Money Goes

by Source 11.16.2014 Economy

It won’t tell.

By Medea Benjamin / OtherWords

President Barack Obama proudly signed the law that repealed the Pentagon’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, freeing lesbian, gay, and bisexual Americans (although not trans people) to openly serve in the military four years ago.

But when it comes to budgeting, the concept lingers on. “Don’t ask us how we spend money,” the Pentagon basically says. “Because we can’t really tell you.”

Every taxpayer, business, and government agency in America is supposed to be able to pass a financial audit by the feds, every year. It’s the law, so we do our duty. There’s one exception: the Pentagon.

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Thumbnail image for A Suggestion for the San Diego Chamber of Commerce: Change Your Name to the Corporate Welfare Defense League

A Suggestion for the San Diego Chamber of Commerce: Change Your Name to the Corporate Welfare Defense League

by Doug Porter 11.07.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

The effort to sabotage a proposed minimum wage increase in San Diego was funded almost entirely by corporations dependent on government anti-poverty programs to support their workers.

This information came out via a November 4 campaign financial disclosure statement filed with the San Diego city clerk’s office reported on by Matt Potter at  the Reader. The campaign was sponsored by a group calling itself the San Diego Small Business Coalition.,  While the Greater San Diego Chamber of Commerce, headed by former Mayor Jerry Sanders, made no secret of its involvement, they consistently claimed they were acting on behalf of and funded by small businesses.

Now we know that more than 95% of the group’s funding came from big business Political Action Committees. Out of town monies included: $100,000 from the American Hotel and Lodging Association, $40,000 from The California Restaurant Association Issues PAC, and $25,000 from the International Franchise Association of Washington DC.

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Thumbnail image for What’s Not to Like: Gas Prices Down, Solar Energy Production Up

What’s Not to Like: Gas Prices Down, Solar Energy Production Up

by John Lawrence 11.04.2014 Economy

By John Lawrence

Gas prices have dropped below $4.00 a gallon for the first time in several years.

Every one-cent drop in gas prices means a $1 billion annual decline in energy spending by Americans. Consumers can use the savings to eat out more often, buy more goods or pay down debt. That’s good for US motorists and consumers, but that’s not the whole story.

Part of the story has to do with the fact that solar energy is getting as cheap as coal and natural gas for the production of electricity. As solar prices drop even further, electricity costs for homeowners should come down. That would mean that electric cars powered off of home outlets should have a greater comparative advantage over gas powered vehicles.

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Thumbnail image for The Alaska Permanent Fund: Socialism in a Republican State

The Alaska Permanent Fund: Socialism in a Republican State

by John Lawrence 10.28.2014 Business

By John Lawrence

Alaska is a land of rugged individualists – Republicans all the way. However, a little known fact is that Alaska taxes the oil and gas corporations operating there and distributes the proceeds on an annual basis equally among every man, woman and child living in the state.

The biggest farce of all is that Tea Party touter, Governor Sarah Palin, slapped an excess profits tax on the state’s oil companies in 2008, the year she ran for vice-President alongside John McCain, so that every person in Alaska received a dividend of $3269 that year. That was a pretty good haul for a family of four: $13,076. For Palin’s family – husband Todd, sons Track and Trig and daughters Bristol, Willow and Piper – it came to an even better haul – $22,883!

Let me be clear. I am totally in favor of institutions like the Alaska Permanent Fund and think they should be extended to the entire US which would guarantee every American citizen a basic income which would come from things we all own in common like oil and mineral deposits, the electromagnetic spectrum and the air we breathe. But someone like Palin, who presided over a plan that taxed corporations and distributed the proceeds to each citizen of Alaska while at the same time taking humungus speaking fees to egg on the Tea Party with anti-tax, anti-socialist and free market rhetoric, is nothing but a super hypocrite, someone beyond the pale – in.

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Malin Burnham and the U-T San Diego Idea Factory

by Frank Gormlie 10.24.2014 Business

union-tribunefrontbldgPart Two of two parts

By Frank Gormlie

As we delve more now in Part Two into Malin Burnham, “the last Corte Maderan” as Mike Davis calls him, and his possible take-over of San Diego’s only daily newspaper, longtime City Heights community activist, Anna Daniels, one of the editors at San Diego Free Press, cautioned:

When the news broke that Malin Burnham was interested in purchasing the U-T San Diego with the intent of turning it into a non-profit, the main and often only description of him was as a San Diego “philanthropist”. And it is true–Burnham is known for his extensive philanthropy.

He is also known for his role as a local real estate developer, as chairman of First National Bank at San Diego and as a former Director of San Diego Gas and Electric. It might prove useful in the future to keep these other interests in mind.

Malin Burnham fullWhich pretty much sums up Part One for me. As City Hall veteran, Norma Damashek, reminded us:

As you know, Burnham has been a VIP mover and shaker in San Diego for decades. He’s not stingy with his money. Some is philanthropy, some is strictly political.

It’s also useful to know that Burnham represents a wing of the local Establishment that has challenged the other, more conservative wing on numerous occasions – with the back and forth between the different factions going for decades.

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Thumbnail image for 6 Common Mistakes Made By Cities and Towns in Urban Renewal

6 Common Mistakes Made By Cities and Towns in Urban Renewal

by Source 10.24.2014 Activism

by Bill Adams / San Diego UrbDeZine

For the last half century, cities have attempted to repair the damage to their urban cores from migration to suburbs and exurbs. Redevelopment has evolved into smart growth, transit oriented development, and complete streets. In the last 15 years or so, the urban renewal efforts have had a receptive audience as people, tired of the car oriented lifestyle of the suburbs, are returning to urban cores and older urban neighborhoods. However, while cities get the big picture, too often in my 25 years as a land use attorney, I have seen the same mistakes repeated.

1) Failing to Understand How to Provide for Pedestrian and Other Active Transit:

Too often, cities and towns seem to think that all pedestrians need are sidewalks to walk on and greenery to look at. The same goes for bikes and bikelanes. It goes without saying that pedestrians and bikes work differently than cars, each with their own advantages and disadvantages.

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What Does Malin Burnham’s Possible Take-Over of the U-T San Diego Mean?

by Frank Gormlie 10.23.2014 Business

Malin Burnham fullhueAs ‘Old-Money’ Point Loman Burnham emerges to operate San Diego’s daily, questions are raised whether this is the “Moderate Wing” of the Establishment reasserting itself?

Part One of two parts.

By Frank Gormlie / OB Rag

The news has been out for nearly a month now that well known wheeler-dealer and financier Malin Burnham of Point Loma has initiated efforts to purchase the U-T San Diego from Doug Manchester, the current owner and publisher.

Burnham, who calls himself a moderate Republican and who has lived in Point Loma all his life, told the press that he is the spokesman for a 5-man group of economic power-brokers who want to form a non-profit that will take over the newspaper and run it as a profit-making enterprise. Any profits, Burnham has pledged, would go back into community charities. Now as crazy as that plan might seem in this day and age of folding newspapers and expanding internet news sites, there are at least two other major dailies in the country that are run by non-profits. …

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Wall Street’s Latest Scam: Subprime Auto Loans

by John Lawrence 10.21.2014 Business

By John Lawrence

unnamedWall Street needs to get people into debt. That’s one way they make their money – by collecting interest on people’s debts. They had a field day with subprime mortgages, and then those government bailouts were the sweet icing on the cake. Then they moved on to student loans.

Now they are making a killing off of subprime auto loans. Anyone can buy a used car, even those with no credit, the same way you used to be able to get a mortgage. They are also called liar loans which is the appropriate name for them because loan applications are falsified in the same way that mortgage loan applications were falsified.

It would seem that Janet Yellen, chair of the Federal Reserve, knows no other way of keeping the economy humming or even getting it moving than to shove zero-interest money at the big banks in the hopes that they will loan it out making a profit off the spread.

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Thumbnail image for Memo to Jerry Sanders & Doug Manchester: The City Council Minimum Wage Ordinance WAS the Compromise

Memo to Jerry Sanders & Doug Manchester: The City Council Minimum Wage Ordinance WAS the Compromise

by Doug Porter 10.17.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

It ain’t over ‘till it’s over.

The City Clerk certified the results of a referendum drive backed by the Chamber of Commerce and other dark money interests yesterday. They sought to delay an ordinance passed by the City Council increasing the local minimum wage and allowing for earned sick days by placing it on the June 2016 ballot.

They achieved their goal by perverting a system originally designed to protect the public from the undo influence of the Southern Pacific Railroad and other would-be oligarchs.  Hired guns from around the country were flown in and paid up to $12 per signature after other canvassers quit in droves, unable to face the public with the lies required of them to earn a living.

This was a matter of economic justice for nearly 200,000 San Diegans who would be impacted by this ordinance; for the working women who would see the wage gap shrink by 22%; for the 10,000 veterans working at or near minimum wage; and for the restaurant employees who are forced to choose between working while sick or paying the rent.

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Thumbnail image for In Defense of Uncertainty in the Development Approval Process

In Defense of Uncertainty in the Development Approval Process

by At Large 10.17.2014 Business

By Murtaza H. Baxamusa, Ph.D., AICP / San Diego UrbDeZine

Nobody likes uncertainty.

Certainly not the developers of a billion dollar mixed-use project that encounters community opposition due to traffic impacts. Nor the public transportation agency that runs into fairy shrimp on the future route of a trolley line. Nor the city planners for multifamily housing around a transit station that face a revolt from their single-family neighbors.

Hence, there is a concerted effort by planners and policymakers locally and statewide, to reduce uncertainty in development project approvals. It takes the form of reducing discretion of public bodies, streamlining permit approvals through the use of specific plans and categorical exemptions, reforming the California Environmental Quality Act, and limiting opportunities for legal challenges to projects.

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How to Destroy Mission Valley

by Frank Gormlie 10.16.2014 Business

By Frank Gormlie / OB Rag

If you want to destroy Mission Valley, what’s coming down the development pipeline will surely do it for you. There are four massive residential and commercial projects and another giant handful of minor ones- all in various stages of blueprints, planning and construction – heading for this landmark river canyon. If all are built – the total impact would permanently damage Mission Valley to the point where the Valley that we now know would no longer be there.

Some old-timers believe Mission Valley was destroyed a long time ago, when it was a long, lush valley of dairy farms and agricultural fields. Then the hotels, resorts, golf courses and freeways came and Mission Valley lost its beauty, serenity, and its soul.

Ironically then, there’s also another group of “old-timers” – a special group – a group of Mission Valley landowning families – who have their own plans to develop and damage the Valley even further.

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Thumbnail image for The Secret of the San Diego Growth Machine: Another Case for Nancy Drew

The Secret of the San Diego Growth Machine: Another Case for Nancy Drew

by Norma Damashek 10.16.2014 Activism

By Norma Damashek

Albert Einstein searched for a unified theory that would unite the forces of nature (he had his eye on relativity and electromagnetism).

I, too, have been searching for a unified theory—albeit a more modest one—to unite the forces of nature (human, in this case) that make San Diego the chronically backwater/ amorphous/ uninspired/ tunnel-visioned/ closed-shop/ quasi-corrupt/ rigidly-manipulated/shady city it is.

Come join the search. Just follow the trail of clues, click on a sampling of news links about San Diego, and you’ll discover a unifying theme that even Einstein would find surprising.

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Thumbnail image for The Co-Op Movement – Democratizing the Ownership of Wealth One Step at a Time

The Co-Op Movement – Democratizing the Ownership of Wealth One Step at a Time

by John Lawrence 10.14.2014 Business

By John Lawrence

It has finally dawned on the American consciousness that wealth is being concentrated among fewer and fewer people. In fact just 400 Americans own more wealth than the bottom 180 million taken together.

Thomas Piketty in his ground breaking book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, shows the dynamic behind this dramatic rise in wealth among the upper echelon of society while everyone else, in particular the middle class, is being left in the dust.

It wasn’t supposed to happen this way. Labor saving devices and later computers and automation were supposed to create a virtually utopian society in which everyone could work less and have an ever increasing standard of living.

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Thumbnail image for Three Years Ago this Month the Occupy Wall Street Movement Burst Upon San Diego

Three Years Ago this Month the Occupy Wall Street Movement Burst Upon San Diego

by Frank Gormlie 10.08.2014 Activism

By Frank Gormlie / OB Rag

It was October 7th, in the year 2011, that the Occupy Wall Street movement hit San Diego.

In a huge outpouring of demonstrators, up to 4,000 San Diegans marched through the Gaslamp District of downtown San Diego – mainly protesting for social and economic justice, against the state of the economy and the role of banks and Wall Street responsible for the financial downturn. Occupy San Diego was born in a giant – for San Diego – protest in solidarity with the rest of the country and particularly those in New York City – where the Occupy movement began.

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Thumbnail image for November 2014 Elections: When You Skip Voting It’s Not Rebellion, It’s Surrender

November 2014 Elections: When You Skip Voting It’s Not Rebellion, It’s Surrender

by Doug Porter 10.06.2014 Economy

An Introduction to SD Free Press General Election Coverage

By Doug Porter 

It’s time to get out the vote again!? For those of us who live in the City of San Diego the November general election will be our third trip to the polls this year.

As we’re learning from watching the voter-suppression efforts succeed in 22 states since 2010, your vote must mean something; otherwise they wouldn’t be trying to take it away from you. Of course, your right to vote means nothing if you don’t exercise it.

Over the next few weeks the San Diego Free Press will be presenting coverage of the candidates and issues we hope will be of interest to progressive-minded voters. While this may not be the most exciting election ever, the results of general elections have a broad impact on how we are governed and how our taxes are spent.

(The Monday thru Friday Starting Line Column will be on hiatus thru October 12th.)

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