Report: Border Patrol Union Officials Working with Hate Groups

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By Doug Porter

A newly released report from the Center for a New Community (CNC) says there is a systemic pattern of behind-the-scenes collusion between officials of unions associated with the Border Patrol and prominent anti-immigrant hate groups.

Last year’s protests in Murrieta, California are cited in “Blurring Borders: Collusion between Anti-Immigrant Groups and Immigration Enforcement Agents” as an example of Border Patrol agents coordinating with anti-immigrant forces. On July 1st, 2014, anti-immigrant activists used civil disobedience to block federal buses carrying refugee women and children to a Border Patrol processing center.   [Read more…]

Student Loan Default a Growing Trend?

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By John Lawrence

With over a trillion dollars in outstanding student loans, young college graduates are being forced to take jobs they hate in order to pay them back. Their futures consist of debt peonage for as far as the eye can see. Some are opting out of a lifetime of death-in-debtorhood and choosing instead to start over living the life that they foresaw when they enrolled in college in the first place. Such a one is Lee Siegle whose June 6 opinion piece in the New York Times laid out his rational for defaulting on his student loan.

His decision was made based on choosing life over death …   [Read more…]

Poetry at a Budget Meeting

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By Ernie McCray

I had the honor of spending a day with a room full of progressive School Board Members from around San Diego County.

I wasn’t so sure, at first, as the subject was: Budgets. Whenever I got my budget sheets at my schools, it might as well have been expressed in hieroglyphics – I just can’t relate to language like “Total Available Funds minus Total Outgo.” Gives me vertigo.

I was there, though, to kick things off. And in doing that I shared three poems and one went like this:

Our schools now,
at this stage
of a rapidly aging New Century,
are about to introduce
our kids
to the realm of Ethnic Studies…   [Read more…]

A Small Restoration Is a Big Deal in Mission Bay

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By Robert Little / The OB Rag

There is a lot of action at the corner of Pacific Beach Drive and Crown Point Drive in Pacific Beach these days. The visible construction of grading for a small restoration project behind the marsh fence started in May of this year but the preparations started more than two years ago and the covering of the bare sandy soil will take at least six months to complete. The work is restricted to the portion of the marsh owned by the University of California and managed by UCSD.   [Read more…]

“The Way” Won’t Cut It

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By Ernie McCray

I ran across a graphic on Facebook the other day that broke down “32-take-away-12=20″ in two different ways: the “old fashion” way and the “new” way.

The “new” way was seen as “Satanic” and, with a click onto a website, I read that Louis C.K., one of my favorite comedians, was ticked off that his daughters had gone from loving math to crying about it.

I thought, as I looked at the math visual before me and contemplated whatever it was that was going on with an incredibly funny man’s daughters at school, that both the “old fashion” way and the “new” way got to the correct answer rather nicely. They’re simply ways. And all the ways work. For somebody.   [Read more…]

From the TPP to the Death of Tenure: Neoliberalism Hurts Us All

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Depending on how things line up, this week may be when we learn whether or not the House of Representatives delivers Obama a win on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a bipartisan effort that will more thoroughly enshrine a neoliberal structure in U.S. law in the service of bolstering corporate control of our democracy.

Of course this only provides more depressing evidence in support of recent research on the state of American democracy by scholars James N. Druckman from Northwestern University and University of Minnesota’s Jacob R. Lawrence showing that “presidents from both Republican and Democratic parties mainly serve and are guided by the wishes of the wealthy and political elites and exploit public opinion in order to serve those ends.”   [Read more…]

‘Empty the Tanks’ Campaign to Hit San Diego’s SeaWorld This Weekend

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Animal rights activists from throughout Southern California will gather in San Diego this weekend in a kick-off for a world-wide campaign called “Empty the Tanks” with demonstrations against SeaWorld.

The main demonstration is on Saturday, June 6th outside SeaWorld from 10am to 1pm, at the intersection of SeaWorld Drive and SeaWorld Way. The goal is to advocate for marine mammals held captive worldwide for entertainment and profit.   [Read more…]

Use of Public Funds without Oversight Mars Escondido Charter Schools

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By Nina Deerfield and Rebecca Nutile

Editor Note: This is part three of the series about charter schools in Escondido. Part one here and part two here.

Public education advocates around the country are taking a closer look at charter schools, their finances, their admission and expulsion policies, as well as their questionable academic results. These schools, while privately run, receive millions of taxpayer dollars annually, yet oversight is difficult because charter schools are exempt from much of the Education Code that governs traditional public schools.

Public dollars with little public oversight have created environments in which irregularities and questionable practices–both academic and financial—are thriving. At Alianza North County, we’re taking a closer look at these taxpayer-funded schools in Escondido. One such unusual practice is occurring at the city’s most popular and controversial charter school.   [Read more…]

C.H.E. Cafe Makes SOHO “10 Most Endangered List” for 2015

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By Monty Kroopkin

The Save Our Heritage Organization (SOHO) has announced its 10 Most Endangered List for local historic sites for 2015. The C.H.E. Café is on the list. The list was revealed at SOHO’s annual People In Preservation (PIP) dinner on May 21, 2015.

According to SOHO President Jaye MacAskill, it was explained during the PIP Awards dinner that “Ché Café is one of those beloved, old hangouts at UCSD that devoted students and alumni will always want to revisit. It may be the last remnant of 1960s counterculture on this campus, and a symbol of free speech served up with an earthy menu. Which is to say, Ché Café is beloved not at all by the university. SOHO supports students and others who argue that history, ‘even history rooted in revolutionary ideas and discourse’ deserves a place at the increasingly crowded UCSD table.”   [Read more…]

Dems Back Debt-Free College as Issue Moves Into Election Spotlight

Legislation aimed at reducing the burden of student debt takes gains support as Democrats court millennial voters. (Photo: thisisbossi/flickr/cc)

By Deirdre Fulton / Common Dreams

Nine additional Democratic senators on Wednesday came out in support of a resolution calling for debt-free public college, bringing to 20 the total number of Senate Dems who support the measure, introduced only a month ago by Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).

The resolution (pdf) calls on federal and state governments, along with higher education institutions, to work in concert to lower tuition costs, increase financial aid, and reduce the burden of existing student debt.   [Read more…]

Religion Permeates Escondido’s Charter Schools

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By Rick Mercurio/ Alianza North County

Escondido’s largest charter schools embrace—some would say, promote–Christianity, despite their status as taxpayer-funded public schools. Reported practices at Classical Academy and Dennis Snyder’s charter schools run counter to the Bill of Rights, which is a sad twist of irony, since Snyder espouses his patriotism and love for American values.

Examples of religion in those charter schools abound, though parents and students who are bothered are reluctant to speak up for fear of retribution. And of course, the vast majority of charter parents do not complain. Many send their kids to charters for that very reason: they want religion in their students’ education, but they want taxpayers to foot the bill rather than having to pay tuition at private religious schools.   [Read more…]

Small-s Socialist Bernie Sanders Runs for President

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Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders formally entered the 2016 presidential contest yesterday.

Sanders’ entry into the race changes the dynamic on the left side of the political aisle. Up until now, coverage of the Democratic prospects for 2016 has consisted of a tape loop of Republican scandal mongering.  On some levels you might consider him Democrats’ answer to Ron Paul: an outsider with an agenda feared by party insiders and a wave of social media support.

There are other candidates jumping into the fray soon, including Democrat Martin O’Malley (Maryland) and Republicans George Pataki (New York), Rick Santorum (Pennsylvania), Lindsey Graham (South Carolina), and Rick Perry (Texas). Today I’ll focus on coverage and analysis of Sanders.   [Read more…]

Partisan Politics Go Unchecked in Escondido’s Publicly Funded Charter Schools

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By Rebecca Nutile / Alianza North County

In today’s world of education “reform,” the charter school sector has grown beyond its original intent of being a laboratory for public schools, into networks of poorly-regulated schools of varying quality with a quasi-public status. In these publicly-funded/privately managed schools, subtle and not-so-subtle partisan politics often go unchecked. And while charter schools are not required by law to adhere to many parts of the education code, they are supposed to be held to the same standards as traditional public schools in the areas of political partisanship and the separation of church and state.

In Escondido, Escondido Charter High School, Heritage Elementary and Heritage Digital Academy have become points of controversy and division in the community. Most know them as the controversial school with strong ties to conservatives in Escondido City government that took over a heavily-used library branch.   [Read more…]

Sweet Memories of Perry Elementary

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By Ernie McCray

There’s a school that means the world to me: Oliver Hazard Perry Elementary. It’s the first school to which I was assigned after earning a teaching degree.

It was a place of colorful personalities: a teacher who sang opera beautifully and wore a hairpiece that could be identified as a wig immediately; a school nurse with a drawl as southern as any character’s on Hee Haw; a lovely and entertaining secretary who made the school office as funny and lively as The Carol Burnett Show…

It was a place of uncommon camaraderie where we: put potlucks together practically every other week; dined together monthly at fine places to eat; played volleyball after school; partied wildly at the drop of a hat, with lampshades on the head and stuff like that…   [Read more…]

If You Google “Pint of Science…”

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By Mukul Khurana

Pint of Science is not the kind of event one thinks of when looking for things to do around town. But San Diego is changing. Not only has the cultural and art scene been steadily changing for the better in the past decade or two, but even the content is getting “meatier.” Cleverly, one of the first events locally was titled: “Science of San Diego: Beer, Brains, and Beaches.”

That describes San Diego pretty well and it also shows that the organizers have a sense of humor. The idea of pairing beer and science makes sense as a way of making the average San Diegan interact with science on a casual basis. Not all of us are involved in PhDs.   [Read more…]

Activists Demand a Stand from Congressman Scott Peters as Trade Vote Nears

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The political struggle over allowing the president fast track authority in negotiating a Pacific Rim trade deal is coming to a head.

A coalition of labor, environment, faith and community groups converged on the offices of Congressman Scott Peters yesterday, vowing not to leave until he committed to a position on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

The occupation/sit-in ended Thursday evening after the group received word via the labor council’s Richard Barrera that the Congressman had agreed to face-to-face meeting to further discuss his position on the issue. (Don’t hold your breath.)   [Read more…]

Chargers Stadium Deal May Be Dead on Arrival

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The press conference staged by Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s Citizens’ Stadium Advisory Group (CSAG) hadn’t even happened yet when one well-connected reporter took to the twitter, saying the National Football League wasn’t going to be receptive to their ideas.

Early Monday morning news accounts were all about how the group had arrived at a plan for a new football stadium in San Diego with no tax increase required.

Interestingly enough, the announcement did not include any elected officials. Former Mayor Jerry Sanders was the highest profile person listed on the press release.   [Read more…]

The Fight for Progressive Tax Reform Continues: It’s Time to Make It Fair

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When Proposition 13 was first approved by voters in 1978 it was sold as a protection for single-family homeowners. But what voters were not told is that Prop. 13 contained giant loopholes that allow big corporations and wealthy commercial property owners to avoid paying their fair share of local property taxes.

This gives tax avoiders an unfair advantage over smaller, competing businesses that are paying their part and deprives our communities of much-needed revenue. As a result, California has made deep cuts to public safety, fallen behind in student funding, and been forced to close parks and libraries.

Now the battle to reform Proposition 13 is on in earnest.   [Read more…]

The Planet Earth Is In Your Care (A Letter to the University of Arizona’s Class of 2015)

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Dear University of Arizona Class of 2015:

The Alumni Association of our beloved U of A asked past graduates to share words of wisdom with you.

My first thought is to give forth with some lofty advice like “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

Now that’s definitely something for you to consider but, due to the troubles in the world facing your generation, you’ve got some serious work to do.   [Read more…]

The For-Profit College Scam

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By Dawn Lueck / Other Words

This spring, around 100 indebted college grads came up with a novel strategy for dealing with their crushing debt: They simply weren’t going to pay it.

I’m a former corporate finance manager for Corinthian — and I support the debt strikers. I agree with the Debt Collective, a grassroots organization with which I’m affiliated, that the federal government should cancel Corinthian students’ loans.

Most students at for-profit colleges like Corinthian are targeted because of their vulnerable circumstances. They have dire financial needs and, because they’re often the first in their families to attend college, they don’t have the kind of knowledge and experience about college admissions that wealthier students do.   [Read more…]

Is Jade Helm 15 The Obamapocalypse?

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In today’s column I’m looking at the latest and best bit of right wing paranoia, Corinthian College’s political connections, a study about the causes of rising tuition for public higher education, an officer-involved fatality in Mira Mesa and a whole lotta dead trees…

An inter-agency training exercise set for this summer is stoking fears of an invasion or military take-over of Texas. And maybe even southern California.

Yes, folks, this is the Big One. After six years of hysteria over Death Panels, Sharia Law, and Big Brother coming to get your guns, the wingnut class has deemed Jade Helm 15 to be the Obamapocalypse.   [Read more…]

The Closing of Corinthian Colleges Leaves Thousands of Students with Unhappy Choices

By Doug Porter

On Sunday, April 26th, the for-profit Corinthian Colleges, Inc. closed its doors. Twenty eight campuses, plus online options, spread over five states were gone. Ten thousand of the sixteen thousand students then-enrolled at those colleges are from California.

The predatory recruiting and loan sales practices of Corinthian left many students with tens of thousands of dollars in debt. The U.S. Department of Education is urging students to considering transferring to other schools, including at least 13 other for-profit institutions with corporate owners subject to state or federal investigations.

While the former students are now eligible for complete forgiveness of their federal student loans, the Education Department is working hard to avoid a potential $214 million payout. The problem for many of these students is that their completed credits are not transferable to schools accredited as public institutions; they can keep (and run up further) their debt or start over.   [Read more…]

San Diego’s Vanity Documentary: How Smart Were We?

By Doug Porter

You’d have to be a real hermit to miss the stories coming from multiple media outlets recently about San Diego’s inclusion in “National Geographic’s Smart Cities” series. The breathless coverage bragged about millions of viewers, more millions on Facebook and what a great deal it was for the city.

A bunch of local institutions, including local governments, ponied up chunks of money to get our fair city a higher profile. I’m looking at the deal today and thinking we got played for suckers.

Maybe we were oversold on just how good that deal was. Maybe nobody said what we were really buying was “Paid Programming” on a Fox cable channel. Jeez, I wonder if we’ll be scheduled next to a documentary on Juicing Machines for the Millennium?   [Read more…]