Government

Thumbnail image for Video Pick: Which Side Are You On?

Video Pick: Which Side Are You On?

by Anna Daniels 09.01.2014 Activism

Wanted:  A Living Wage

By Anna Daniels

It is useful exercise to remind ourselves that the battle for an increased minimum wage/sick leave benefit in San Diego is not a new one. Peel back the right wing maker versus taker meme and you get Howard Zinn, placing today’s minimum wage struggle firmly in our collective history of bitter class conflict between the rich and the poor and working class.

In 1944, when Franklin Roosevelt was running for his third term, he emphasized the need for an economic bill of rights as a vehicle for addressing the limitations of the political Bill of Rights. This economic bill of rights would have constitutionally guaranteed that workers have a living wage, would not have to work more than a certain number of hours and that the people would be entitled to vacations and healthcare. An economic bill of rights never materialized. Today, here in San Diego, we are experiencing the results of this omission.

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Thumbnail image for A Community Preparing for the Future by Addressing the ‘Facts’ of the Matter

A Community Preparing for the Future by Addressing the ‘Facts’ of the Matter

by Ernie McCray 08.30.2014 Activism

By Ernie McCray

Recently, a man said I should wait for the “facts” because of feelings I shared when I was (and I still am) grieving the “fact” that Michael Brown had been shot unarmed in the streets of Ferguson, Missouri.

Oh, it seems like the only time Americans talk about justice and fairness and deal with terms like “facts” is when black folks are involved. I mean like students of color at one time were denied college admissions as a way of American life. Affirmative Action Programs were created to address this problem and immediately they were attacked because they were deemed as “unfair” to white students.

Now “facts” have become a code word for keeping black people in our place when it comes to issues of justice. A black boy lies dead in his own blood and the “let’s wait for the facts” crowd, the KKK among them, have raised over $400,000 through GoFundMe for Darren Wilson, a cop, for whom there are very few “facts” other than the “fact” that he was the one who took a young brother’s life.

And speaking of “facts,” comments on the GoFundMe website are in “fact,” chilling to the bone, downright scary.

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California Legislature Passes Bill to Protect Temp Workers

by Source 08.30.2014 Business

220px-Californiastatecapitol By Michael Grabell / ProPublica

The California legislature has passed a bill that would hold companies legally responsible if the temp agencies and subcontractors they hire cheat workers out of their wages or put them in harm’s way.

Labor officials across the country have increasingly expressed concern about the rapid growth of the temporary staffing industry since the recession. They have also noted the push by hotels and warehouses to subcontract work that is part of their core business, such as cleaning guest rooms and unloading trucks.

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Waiter! There’s Some Snot in My Soup!

by Doug Porter 08.28.2014 Business

By Doug Porter

Opponents of the City Council ordinance allowing earned sick days for workers in San Diego continue to stand in front of shopping centers and grocery stores to collect signatures for a referendum suspending the law until June 2016.

Meanwhile, Jason Cabel Roe, the GOP strategist who the San Diego Daily Transcript calls a “business consultant,” says “We’re hearing from a lot of small businesses about how they’re panicked about the potential costs…”

That’s right, they’d rather have their employees work sick. Think about that next time you eat in a restaurant. Your server (or cook or busboy) may well have opted to work while ill rather than lose a day’s pay. After all, according to a study by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, 81% of food service workers don’t have a choice.

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Thumbnail image for More Evidence Pointing to Charter City ‘Savings’ Fallacy

More Evidence Pointing to Charter City ‘Savings’ Fallacy

by Source 08.28.2014 Activism

by Don Greene / Escondido Democratic Club

Part of the pro-city charter mantra we hear from Mayor Abed and the other members of the city council majority is about savings. Especially savings when it comes to eliminating prevailing wages from city construction projects. In a recently released survey, the ‘savings’ that Sam & Co continue to promote are becoming harder and harder to find.

The City of Carlsbad – a charter city in North San Diego county and the favorite, “let’s-be-more-like-them” example promoted by the Mayor – answered a survey on Prevailing Wages and associated savings. The results were somewhat lackluster. When asked the question, “What savings have been realized on average for those contracts where non prevailing wages have been applied?” the answer was telling:

“We have found savings to be hard to ascertain. Bid prices might be lower on the front end but there is some suspicion that total project costs may impact initial savings (change orders, costly project delays, more labor by city employees, etc.)”

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Our Tax Dollars at Work

by At Large 08.27.2014 Cartoons

  Known for mixing history and culture with contemporary themes, Eric J. Garcia always tries to create art that is much more than just aesthetics. Born and raised in Albuquerque’s South Valley, Garcia earned his BFA from the University of New Mexico and went on to get his MFA from the School of the Art Institute […]

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Thumbnail image for Game of Drones: What Are the Rules of the Game for Civilian Drone Use?

Game of Drones: What Are the Rules of the Game for Civilian Drone Use?

by At Large 08.27.2014 Activism

By Lawrence A. Herzog

On a recent Sunday morning, I was hiking up the back streets of Soledad Mountain in La Jolla. Arriving on top and prepared to enjoy the stunning aerial view of our Pacific coastline, I suddenly heard a disturbing, loud, buzzing sound. As I poked my head around one of the black, granite-covered walls of the Veteran’s Monument, a small robot-sized helicopter jumped out, hovering just above me.

I was staring at, in today’s parlance, a drone.

“What the heck”? My eyes were soon drawn to its source, a man standing near the edge of the main parking area, operating a small remote control, with the drone now buzzing over toward him.

Curious, I walked over and said, “Hi, I was wondering, do folks need some kind of permit to operate near a Veteran Memorial site?” The drone operator did not respond. Within minutes, however, he was gone.

End of story? I think not.

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Thumbnail image for Yazidi Moon

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 Ocean Acidification Could Cause Many Species To Go Extinct

Ocean Acidification Could Cause Many Species To Go Extinct

by John Lawrence 08.26.2014 Environment

By John Lawrence

As the amount of carbon dioxide pumped into the atmosphere continues to increase, a certain portion of that gets absorbed by the oceans. This year alone some two and a half billion tons of CO2 will be absorbed by the oceans. That represents seven pounds pumped into the seas by every American.

Oceans cover seventy percent of the earth’s surface, and everywhere the oceans and the atmosphere come into contact there is an exchange of gases. When this exchange is in balance, there is no problem. But when the atmosphere’s gaseous composition has been changed, which it has since the industrial revolution, the exchange becomes lopsided. More COgoes into the ocean than comes out.

Since the start of the industrial revolution, humans have burned through enough fossil fuels to add 365 billion metric tons of carbon to the atmosphere. Deforestation has added another 180 billion tons. Each year we add another nine billion tons or so, and that amount has been increasing 6 percent annually. Today the concentration of carbon dioxide in the air is 400 parts per million (PPM). This is higher than it has been at any time in the last 800,000 years.

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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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Stop Freaking Out About ISIS

by Source 08.25.2014 Government

By Mark Sumner/ Daily Kos

Now that Ferguson, Missouri, is not producing enough tear gas to keep CNN’s attention, I couldn’t help but notice Chuck Hagel bouncing in his chair, talking about how ISIS is a greater peril than anything mankind has faced since the saber-toothed tiger. Somewhere, just off screen, John McCain is preparing two lists: people we should have bombed, and people we should bomb now.

There’s a big CNN fear graphic on the screen right this moment asking “Does ISIS have cells in the US?” There’s a queue extending out into the parking lot of politicos waiting their turn to shake a finger at President Obama for not rushing back to the White House to deal with this Urgent Threat of Unprecedented Proportion. While wearing a tie. As God intended.

You know how much threat ISIS represents to the United States? None. That’s how much. Exactly none. If there was a value less than none, then it would be that, but there’s not, so none is the answer.

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Thumbnail image for Abed, Diaz Spar at Escondido Chamber Mayoral Forum

Abed, Diaz Spar at Escondido Chamber Mayoral Forum

by Source 08.22.2014 Government

Escondido Democratic Club

There were few surprises as candidates for Escondido Mayor in the November election met for a forum August 20, sponsored by the Escondido Chamber of Commerce.

Mayor Sam Abed and Deputy Mayor Olga Diaz repeatedly demonstrated the starkly different choice before voters.

Perhaps the ‘news’ was the presence of Stephen Siaw, an unexpected newcomer to the race and to city politics. It was Siaw’s first appearance at a public candidate forum. The approximately 100 people in attendance welcomed him warmly.

Chamber Governmental Affairs chair Kevin Svetich asked a wide-ranging mix of questions that covered the key issues.

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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 Big Oil Has Spent $63 million on Lobbying in Sacramento Since 2009! 

Big Oil Has Spent $63 million on Lobbying in Sacramento Since 2009! 

by Source 08.21.2014 Business

The oil industry is spending over $1 million per month

By Dan Bacher 

 / DailyKos

While there are many powerful industries based in California, ranging from the computer and high tech industry to corporate agribusiness, no industry has more influence over the state’s environmental policies than Big Oil.

An ongoing analysis of reports filed with the California Secretary of State shows that the oil industry, the largest and most powerful corporate lobby in Sacramento, collectively spent $63,947,616 lobbying California policymakers between January 1, 2009 and June 30, 2014.

The Western States Petroleum Association, led by President Catherine Reheis-Boyd, the former chair of the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative to create so-called “marine protected areas” in Southern California, topped the oil industry lobby spending with $26,969,861.

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Thumbnail image for El Machete Illustrated: Can you Wrap Up These Leftovers?

El Machete Illustrated: Can you Wrap Up These Leftovers?

by At Large 08.20.2014 El Machete Illustrated

Known for mixing history and culture with contemporary themes, Eric J. Garcia always tries to create art that is much more than just aesthetics. Born and raised in Albuquerque’s South Valley, Garcia earned his BFA from the University of New Mexico and went on to get his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of […]

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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 How San Diego’s P100 Program Screwed Diego and Anna

How San Diego’s P100 Program Screwed Diego and Anna

by John Lawrence 08.19.2014 Editor's Picks

By John Lawrence

San Diego’s P100 program involves intrusive, invasive home searches by law enforcement officials from the DA’s office for everyone that applies for welfare benefits.

These searches are unannounced and the potential welfare beneficiary must be at home whenever the investigator chooses to come or else they will be denied benefits. This makes it difficult for someone who has even a part time job.

When the investigator comes, as we reported last time, he will look for any evidence that the applicant has lied on her application. That could be a pair of work boots in a single mother’s closet or a pair of sexy panties in her underwear drawer, evidence of a boyfriend who could help her pay bills.

Some of these situations approach the Kafkaesque as stifling bureaucracy is combined with clueless non sequiturs on the part of the DA’s office to produce epidemic frustration and humiliation for poor people applying for a modest amount of help. Such was the case for a Latino couple, Diego and Anna Alvarez, who jumped through seemingly impossible hoops while trying to get a little help. The following is freely adapted from Matt Taibbi’s book, The Divide.

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As Abortion Rights Shrink, What’s the Best Language to Use to Protect Women’s Options?

by Source 08.19.2014 Activism

As leaders like Planned Parenthood are dropping “pro-choice” language, is there a smart alternative—and should there be one?

By Alyssa Figueroa / AlterNet

Planned_Parenthood_HCR
Across America, reproductive freedom is shrinking. Even with Alabama’s recent court victory protecting abortion rights in that deep red state, the overwhelming trend is very discouraging.

Red-state Republicans have shut down clinics in states like Texas. The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld protesters’ right to harass women going to clinics. State legislatures haveenacted 21 new abortion restrictions so far this year. Worse yet, recent research has found that while many young women support the substance of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark Supreme Court ruling that affirmed the right to end pregnancies, they are still apt to label themselves pro-life.

What’s going wrong? There’s no one answer. But a striking development is that the reproductive health movement is backing away from its longtime “pro-choice” label. Planned Parenthood has recently decided to drop it in favor of newer messaging that seeks to connect abortion with a wide range of women’s issues.

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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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War Weary

by At Large 08.17.2014 Activism

By Jay Powell

Weary.
That’s what they say we are.

The chicken hawk sabre rattlers
Are yellin’ at Obama ‘cause
He won’t put real boots on the ground
But they won’t say exactly that cause they know we are

(war) weary.

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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 Escondido Rolls the Dice With Charter City Ballot Measure

Escondido Rolls the Dice With Charter City Ballot Measure

by At Large 08.15.2014 Government

By Murtaza Baxamusa

Despite several warnings about the taxpayer costs and risks, Escondido’s politicians have decided to place a charter city ballot measure before their voters this November. Escondido will thus join Costa Mesa and Arroyo Grande in voting on a charter, despite the fact that voters rejected similar measures in these cities two years ago.

The public may not know what a charter is, and why it is important. Some may recollect that in 2012, Costa Mesa became the “Wisconsin of the West” by proposing a new city charter that would outsource city jobs, outlaw collective bargaining on public projects, exempt itself from prevailing wages for construction workers, and limit union dues from being used for political advocacy. Well, 59 percent of voters in Costa Mesa rejected it, and state legislature stepped in to ensure that the chartering process was not being abused to rush through ideologically motivated laws.

State legislation now requires that a new charter city ballot appear on a statewide general election. This November is the first time that these cities can pass new charters under this law. Therefore, the charters in Costa Mesa, Escondido and Arroyo Grande are back on the ballot.

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Thumbnail image for Is the Obama and EU Face-Off With Putin a New Cold War? What Forces Are Driving the Confrontation? Part II

Is the Obama and EU Face-Off With Putin a New Cold War? What Forces Are Driving the Confrontation? Part II

by At Large 08.15.2014 Government

Written by Frank Thomas  (Part 1 can be found here.)

Some Questions Raised

As Germany’s gifted Chancellor Angela Merkel said recently: “Putin lives in a different reality.”

Putin’s brain, Aleksandr Dugin (the author of Eurasianism) has reinvigorated Putin’s policy for expanding Russia’s sphere of influence to Russian-speaking communities in bordering nations. Dugin is an unsparing advocate of the Russian insurgents working near or within the Ukraine.

Mervyn Bendle writes ,“Under Dugin’s influence, fear of Atlanticism now pervades the Russian defense establishment and Putin. Recognizing the limitations of traditional military action, Dugin advocates a program of ideological warfare, subversion, disinformation, demoralization, destabilization, and insurgency, with special forces, sponsored militias, and other covert services in the vanguard.”

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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 Who Runs San Diego?  Papa Doug the Kingmaker

Who Runs San Diego? Papa Doug the Kingmaker

by Eva Posner 08.13.2014 Business

By Eva Posner / Democratic Woman’s Club

Last week we provided an overview of Doug Manchester, the U-T, and the influence this combination has on the electorate of San Diego County.

This week, the goal is to delve a bit deeper, using a recent issue to illustrate the intensity of collusion with the publisher of the region’s largest paper and other powers that be.

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