Government

Thumbnail image for San Diego PD Stench Reaches Los Angeles

San Diego PD Stench Reaches Los Angeles

by Doug Porter 07.22.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

The status quo types around San Diego seem to think there’s nothing wrong with our police department’s enforcement methods, particularly when it comes to not-really-human types like strippers.

You haven’t seen our District Attorney or our City Attorney holding a press conference, promising to investigate the SDPD’s recent “enforcement raids.” Mayor Faulconer can’t be bothered by questions about violations of people’s constitutional rights.

 And the UT? Nothing to see here, folks… Just cops doing their jobs…

At least the Los Angeles Times editorial board knows an outrage when they see one.

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Thumbnail image for San Diego For-Profit Universities Making Tons of Money Handing Out Worthless Degrees

San Diego For-Profit Universities Making Tons of Money Handing Out Worthless Degrees

by John Lawrence 07.21.2014 Business

Ashford University and University of Phoenix Worst Offenders Targeting Returning Vets

By John Lawrence

Everyone wants to better themselves, right, by getting a college education. Most of all the Iraq and Afghanistan vets transitioning into civilian life. To that end our politicians in Washington have crafted a GI Bill that allows them to do just that at taxpayer expense.

Problem is most of that money is being gobbled up by for-profit universities like the University of Phoenix and Ashford University which don’t even qualify for state financial aid. These universities attract and recruit students by advertising heavily and “selling” them on the value of one of their degrees.

When many of the students graduate, they can’t get a job based on a degree which potential employers say is worthless. And despite the GI bill, many of them take on additional student loan debt.

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Thumbnail image for Looking Back at the Week at SDFP and OB Rag: July 13-19

Looking Back at the Week at SDFP and OB Rag: July 13-19

by Brent E. Beltrán 07.20.2014 Activism

Compiled by Brent E. Beltrán

Starting today San Diego Free Press will publish a new column every Sunday morning called Looking Back at the Week. This new column will feature links to articles from the previous week from SDFP and OB Rag’s regular and at-large contributors including Doug Porter, Frank Gormlie, Jim Miller, Ernie McCray, John Lawrence, Anna Daniels, Junco Canché, Brent E. Beltrán, and others. In case you missed their articles during the week this will be your chance to catch up on what they’ve been writing about.

This week’s edition features articles on the minimum wage increase, the Federal Reserve, immigration, DeMaio flush with Koch and Tea money, SDFP and OB Rag receiving awards, the OB community plan, two Junco toons, Jews speaking out against Gaza offensive, The Orphan of Zhao, Neighborhood House, and more.

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Thumbnail image for Jewish Voice for Peace San Diego Condemns the Israeli Offensive in Gaza

Jewish Voice for Peace San Diego Condemns the Israeli Offensive in Gaza

by Source 07.18.2014 Activism

By David Deutsch, Jonathan Graubart, and Avital Aboody, Jewish Voice for Peace, San Diego

Jewish Voice for Peace San Diego (JVPSD) is the local chapter of the national Jewish Voice for Peace, an organization devoted to the pursuit of peace, social justice, equality, and human rights in Israel-Palestine.

While most mainstream American Jewish organizations have long abandoned moral responsibility when it comes to Palestinians, we insist upon holding Israel accountable for its crimes, which include a nearly fifty-year occupation, a denial of Palestinian self-determination, repeated war crimes, and systematic human rights abuses.

We oppose Israel’s latest offensive on the Gaza Strip, labeled Operation “Protective Edge.” As of July 18th, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights released figures that estimated more than 80 per cent of the 260 Palestinian victims to have been killed so far were civilians. They also reported that a further 1,920 Palestinians had been wounded as a result of the conflict that began on July 8th.

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Thumbnail image for The Story of How Community Planning Came to O.B.

The Story of How Community Planning Came to O.B.

by Frank Gormlie 07.18.2014 Activism

Staff: This is the second part of a 2-part series published this week. The series is loosely based on a talk by Frank Gormlie at the February 21, 2013 OB Historical Society monthly meeting. Here is Part 1

______________

The Twists and Turns of the Community Plan for OB

By Frank Gormlie

Last we left off was the Spring of 1972, when the City Planning Department canceled or postponed all its meetings or workshops on the Pen. Inc sponsored Precise Plan. This was due to the establishment of a substantial opposition to the plan, which was in the form of a damning survey of resident attitudes toward development, high-rise and density increases, and a petition calling for a building moratorium signed by thousands.

So, in the spring and summer months of 1972, the crisis was over – at least temporarily as Ocean Beach had awoken, and its residents had successfully halted the threatened onslaught of massive development.

There appeared to be a lull … for about 6 or 7 months.

City Steps Up Drive to Have Planning Commission Approve Precise Plan

The lull didn’t last. In early 1973, the city began making noises about getting the same old Precise Plan before the San Diego Planning Commission for its approval.

This once again caused activists to mobilize, and about 20 people – from OB Ecology Action, the OB Rag and Save OB Committee – met in mid February to plan an organizing meeting. Its goal: to once and for all put together a planning committee for Ocean Beach.

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Thumbnail image for Groups Sue Feds over Lack of Lawyers for Kids in Deportation Process

Groups Sue Feds over Lack of Lawyers for Kids in Deportation Process

by Source 07.18.2014 Government

ACLU and allies seek to require government to provide children with legal representation

By ACLU San Diego & Imperial Counties

SEATTLE – The American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Southern California, American Immigration Council, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, Public Counsel, and K&L Gates LLP today filed a nationwide class-action lawsuit on behalf of thousands of children who are challenging the federal government’s failure to provide them with legal representation as it carries out deportation hearings against them.

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Thumbnail image for DeMaio Campaign Lines Up at the Money Fountain for Both Koch and Tea

DeMaio Campaign Lines Up at the Money Fountain for Both Koch and Tea

by Doug Porter 07.17.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

Recent campaign finance reports reveal extensive financing from both Koch Brothers and Tea Party affiliates for Congressional candidate Carl DeMaio.

Incumbent (CA-52) Congressman Scott Peters campaign organization fired off a press release this morning calling attention to his opponents’ backers. 

“Clearly the Tea Party recognizes a kindred spirit in Carl DeMaio, which is why they’re investing so heavily in his candidacy,” said Alex Roth, communications director for the Peters campaign in the press release. “The question is what these groups will expect in return if DeMaio is elected to Congress.”

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Thumbnail image for Protesters Urge Brown to Protect California’s Water by Banning Fracking 

Protesters Urge Brown to Protect California’s Water by Banning Fracking 

by Source 07.17.2014 Business

$500 fine doesn’t apply to corporate water hogs

By Dan Bacher 

As the State Water Resources Control Board approved new emergency regulations to fine residential “water hogs” up to $500 a day, Californians Against Fracking urged Governor Jerry Brown to ban the environmentally destructive, water intensive oil drilling practice known as hydraulic fracturing or “fracking.”

A dozen activists rallied outside of the EPA building in Sacramento where the regulations were approved. They held signs including, “When in Drought Ban Fracking,” “You Can’t Have Your Water and Frack It Too,” and “Save Our Water: Ban Fracking.”

“It’s critical to California’s future that we conserve water in the face of the serious drought,” according to a statement from Californians Against Fracking. “If the Governor and the State Water Board are really serious about protecting California’s water supplies, the Governor needs to ban fracking and similar methods. These techniques permanently poison and remove millions of gallons of water from the water cycle. If the Governor stops fracking, not only will he save Californians’ water from being wasted during this historic drought, but he’ll also protect their health and climate as well.”

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Thumbnail image for The End of Pot Prohibition As We Know It

The End of Pot Prohibition As We Know It

by Source 07.17.2014 Government

Without federal leadership, you can count on marijuana legalization to keep spreading one state at a time.

By Emily Schwartz Greco and William A. Collins / OtherWords

How much longer will it take before the United States declares a truce in the Drug War?

This latter-day prohibition is taking an immense toll. And the stakes ought to be low, given that most Americans don’t want anyone jailed for being caught with small amounts of pot.

But it does require some courage to pipe up. So thank you, former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, for joining the swelling chorus that wants to see marijuana legalized.

“The distinction between marijuana and alcoholic beverages is really not much of a distinction,” Stevens said during an interview with NPR’s Scott Simon in April.

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Thumbnail image for The Story of How Community Planning Came to Be in Ocean Beach – How Ocean Beach Was “Saved”

The Story of How Community Planning Came to Be in Ocean Beach – How Ocean Beach Was “Saved”

by Frank Gormlie 07.17.2014 Activism

By Frank Gormlie / OB Rag

I have a story, and it’s a story about urban planning in Ocean Beach during the mid-1970′s – and how community planning came to be here in OB. It is a story about how a crisis of over-development encrusted the village of OB – and then it’s a story about how OBceans responded to that crisis -  a crisis that affected much of coastal of San Diego and of the rest of the Southern California.

It is a great and wonderful story about how a small village rebelled against a top-down blueprint for OB, a blueprint that would have benefited the elite who drew it up. It’s a story how the small village blocked a plan that would have literally paved the way for the community to be redeveloped into a San Diego version of Miami Beach.

It’s the story of  how Ocean Beach saved itself, and how the small, seaside community led the way within the great city of San Diego and in the great state of California in actually forming the very first neighborhood planning committee that was democratically-elected.

And finally, it is a story about how the successes of grassroots activists in Ocean Beach revolutionized urban planning for the citizens and residents of not only Ocean Beach, but throughout San Diego and the state.

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Thumbnail image for Inane “Six Californias” Measure May Be the Perfect Encapsulation of the GOP

Inane “Six Californias” Measure May Be the Perfect Encapsulation of the GOP

by Source 07.16.2014 Business

By David Atkins /thereisnospoon / Hullabaloo

It looks like that measure to divide California into six states may be heading to the ballot after all:

Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tim Draper will submit signatures Tuesday to put what could be one of the most dramatic startups ever on the ballot – a plan to divide California into six states.

Draper, a multimillionaire known as the Riskmaster, and his team are expected to announce in Sacramento that they’ve gathered more than enough signatures to put the Six Californias measure before state voters.

The measure, a constitutional amendment, needs 807,615 valid signatures to qualify. Because the deadline has already passed for November, the plan could end up on the November 2016 general election ballot.

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Thumbnail image for I am Teaching College in my Pajamas

I am Teaching College in my Pajamas

by Source 07.16.2014 Education

By vickijean /DailyKos

Don’t you love those commercials for online universities? You can go to college at home, in your pajamas!! Well, I teach at a small state-located university and I am now training special education teachers on the Master’s level, at home, everyone in pajamas. Sort of.

Where do I start? First, my comment on teaching at a state-located university. For those of you not in the ed. biz, that may need some clarification. When I first came here, 23 years ago, we considered ourselves a state university. With budget cuts, we began calling ourselves a state-sponsored university. Now with GOP governor and legislature, we think of ourselves as state-located. The state provides less than 30% of our funding.

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Thumbnail image for San Diego Becomes Largest US City to Pass Minimum Wage Hike and Earned Sick Days Policy

San Diego Becomes Largest US City to Pass Minimum Wage Hike and Earned Sick Days Policy

by Doug Porter 07.15.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

Supporters of a hike in local minimum wages left nothing to chance yesterday as a city council decision on a proposal by Todd Gloria neared. Over 400 hundred people showed up at city hall for a 6pm hearing, filling the council chambers and two overflow rooms. Many wore pink signs indicating their support.

Email and social media reminders abounded during the day, including a mid-day Raise Up San Diego-led “Twitterstorm.” More than 100 people testified before the council. Highlights included former basketball star Bill Walton standing up in favor of the measure and United Foodservice and Commercial Workers’ Mickey Kasparian giving an impassioned speech.

In the end, the City Council did the right thing, voting 6-3 to enact by ordinance a minimum wage hike, with raises in three stages effective January, 2015. This means the measure will not be placed before the voters in November.

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Thumbnail image for Darrell Issa Leads the GOP Charge to Exploit Refugee Children

Darrell Issa Leads the GOP Charge to Exploit Refugee Children

by Doug Porter 07.14.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

San Diego Congressman Darrel Issa has never been accused of being camera shy. Since taking over as chairman of the House Oversight Committee in 2011 he’s done his best to to keep the media fixated through a series of open-ended investigations: Solyndra, Fast & Furious, the IRS, and Benghazi.

Since immigrant children being subpoenaed to testify wouldn’t provide much in the way of good optics-what if they cried?–, Issa’s tackling the current humanitarian crisis at the border with bluster and bloviating.

Along with three resolutions that could trigger civil actions against the Obama administration for its decision to ignore laws passed by Congress on issues related to immigration, Obamacare and welfare, he’s joined with other California Republicans in introducing legislation (HR5079) allowing for  the accelerated deportation of unaccompanied children to countries that do not share a direct border with the United States.

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Thumbnail image for What Kind of City Are We? It’s Time to Raise the Minimum Wage

What Kind of City Are We? It’s Time to Raise the Minimum Wage

by Jim Miller 07.14.2014 Business

“The bottom line is that the minimum wage in 2013 is far less now than it was in 1968 despite the economy’s productivity more than doubling, and low-wage workers attaining far more education.”Economic Policy Institute

By Jim Miller

The San Diego City Council will consider today whether to pass an ordinance or put forth a ballot measure to increase the city’s minimum wage and provide earned sick days for local workers. Since the last time I wrote on this subject in late April, the original proposal of raising the minimum wage to the local Self-Sufficiency Standard of $13.09 with five earned sick days has been significantly lowered in order to address the concerns of opponents.

The current proposal keeps the initial five earned sick days but now only raises the minimum wage to $9.75 in 2015 and $10.50 in 2016 before stopping at $11.50 in 2017 and indexing it to inflation after January of 2019.

Thus, despite the fact that the original proposal fell short of the landmark $15 an hour passed in Seattle and being fought for elsewhere around the country, the City Council still bent over backwards to appease the fears of those clamoring that any increase in the minimum wage would spell disaster for small businesses and the local economy. And they did this even though the preponderance of evidence shows that minimum wage increases elsewhere have actually helped the economy.

The response to this compromise from the Chamber of Commerce and company was to essentially flip the Council the bird and reaffirm their opposition to any measure that moves beyond the state’s minimum wage.

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Thumbnail image for The World We’ve Constructed Is Far Beyond George Orwell’s Worst Nightmare

The World We’ve Constructed Is Far Beyond George Orwell’s Worst Nightmare

by Source 07.13.2014 Government

Orwell’s chilling vision of the future in ’1984′ is happening today in the form of media manipulation and unnecessary wars.

By John Pilger / AlterNet

The other night, I saw George Orwell’s 1984 performed on the London stage. Although crying out for a contemporary interpretation, Orwell’s warning about the future was presented as a period piece: remote, unthreatening, almost reassuring. It was as if Edward Snowden had revealed nothing, Big Brother was not now a digital eavesdropper and Orwell himself had never said, “To be corrupted by totalitarianism, one does not have to live in a totalitarian country.”

Acclaimed by critics, the skilful production was a measure of our cultural and political times. When the lights came up, people were already on their way out. They seemed unmoved, or perhaps other distractions beckoned. “What a mindfuck,” said the young woman, lighting up her phone.

As advanced societies are de-politicised, the changes are both subtle and spectacular. In everyday discourse, political language is turned on its head, as Orwell prophesised in 1984. “Democracy” is now a rhetorical device.  Peace is “perpetual war.” “Global” is imperial. The once hopeful concept of “reform” now means regression, even destruction. “Austerity” is the imposition of extreme capitalism on the poor and the gift of socialism for the rich: an ingenious system under which the majority service the debts of the few.

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Thumbnail image for Video Pick: More DIY with Hobby Lobby and The Snatchel Project

Video Pick: More DIY with Hobby Lobby and The Snatchel Project

by Anna Daniels 07.12.2014 Activism

By Anna Daniels

The fallout from the supposedly “narrow” Supreme Court decision regarding Hobby Lobby was immediate. Similar cases making their way to the Supreme Court at the same time were returned to the lower courts. One of those cases requests an exemption from providing any form of birth control and it is likely that it will be granted.

A few days after the Hobby Lobby decision, the Court granted a waiver to Wheaton College. The issue was not the provision of birth control–Wheaton, a religiously affiliated institution was exempted. Instead, the men of the Court saw fit to waive their requirement of filling out the federally mandated form to receive the exemption, which Wheaton deemed onerous. Justices Sotomayor, Ginzberg and Hagan and were not amused and wrote a scathing dissent.

It is misleading and a mistake to define the Hobby Lobby decision in terms of religious based restrictions that can be exercised by certain employers over a woman’s access to birth control.

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Thumbnail image for Carl DeMaio’s Solutions for the Border Refugee Crisis? “Send ‘em Home” and “Send Me Money”

Carl DeMaio’s Solutions for the Border Refugee Crisis? “Send ‘em Home” and “Send Me Money”

by Doug Porter 07.11.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

Reasonable voices are making themselves heard over the rabble clamoring for a quick and dirty solution to the Central American refugee crisis. Carl DeMaio, who’s running for San Diego’s 52nd Congressional seat, isn’t one of them.

The failed mayoral candidate and former city councilman has posted a “Secure Our Borders Now” petition on Facebook. You’re supposed to think that by signing this appeal the gov’t will know that you support “ ensuring the United States remains secure from the threat of drugs, guns, and criminals coming through our borders.” Fill out the form, hit send, and voila! Carl’s donation page appears, while your plea goes into a virtual dumpster.

It took some effort but Voice of San Diego’s Scott Lewis got DeMaio’s actual position (beyond weasel words) on this issue: “Send them home. Don’t give them hearings for asylum. Don’t screen them to ensure they’re not being trafficked.”

I suppose we can now add “send me money” to that list.

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Thumbnail image for How Government Begets Government

How Government Begets Government

by Norma Damashek 07.11.2014 Columns

By Norma Damashek

As I stated last time, bare facts come in many shapes and sizes.  So do governments.

Today we’ll uncover some basic facts about how government begets government.  Don’t be surprised at how many partners are needed for the act.  Your role is just to follow the bouncing ball.

The first bounce is on the Declaration of Independence – the pugnacious pronouncement signed by 56 residents of Britain’s 13 American colonies, dated July 4, 1776, proclaiming: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men…” 

Now bounce ahead to 1789, landing on a polished gem called the preamble of the United States Constitution“We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

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Thumbnail image for San Diegans Rally on Behalf of Central American Refugee Children

San Diegans Rally on Behalf of Central American Refugee Children

by Brent E. Beltrán 07.10.2014 Activism

Acceptance and Love in the Face of Bigotry and Hate

By Brent E. Beltrán

On the evening of July ninth approximately 200 people from San Diego gathered for a rally and vigil at the Federal Building Downtown to show their solidarity with the refugee children of Central America.

The rally, called Demonstration in SOLIDARITY with the National Action for the Children and a Vigil for Love, was part of a series of actions across the US showing support for the children.

The refugees came to the forefront of America’s consciousness after bigots decided to block the buses these children were riding in. The buses were transporting these unaccompanied minors to get processed at an immigration facility in Murrieta, Ca.

The blocking of the buses unleashed a moral crisis in Murrieta and across the country as angry, mostly white people, let loose their bigoted ways against children whose only crime was to escape the violence of their own countries, much of which was instigated by past US policies in the region.

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Thumbnail image for A Lack of Affordable Housing and Low Wages Equals Business as Usual in San Diego

A Lack of Affordable Housing and Low Wages Equals Business as Usual in San Diego

by Doug Porter 07.10.2014 Business

By Doug Porter

This morning’s UT-San Diego ran a front page fairy tale about a resolution of the dispute between affordable housing advocates and developers regarding so-called linkage fees on new building projects in the city. We’re told that a plan released by “San Diego’s housing officials and the business community” Wednesday would “double” commercial building fees dedicated to affordable housing.

Hogwash.

The real story here is that wealthy developers and their lobbyists have effectively torpedoed the very idea of linkage fees in favor of “broadening out” the search for funding sources–which means proposing to stick those of us who actually pay taxes with the tab. Given San Diego’s historic adversity to even incremental tax hikes, this means nothing will be done.

Oh, and, by the way, no advocates for affordable housing have signed on to this “grand plan.”

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Thumbnail image for How the War on Drugs and the War on Terror Merged Into One Disastrous War on All Americans

How the War on Drugs and the War on Terror Merged Into One Disastrous War on All Americans

by Source 07.10.2014 Government

The consequences are measured in lives, limbs and cash.

By Alex Kane / AlterNet

It was 1971 when President Richard Nixon declared drug abuse “public enemy number one in the United States.” With those words, Nixon ushered in the “war on drugs,” the attempt to use law enforcement to jail drug users and halt the flow of illegal substances like marijuana and cocaine.

Thirty years later, another president, George W. Bush, declared war on another word: terrorism. But the war on drugs hadn’t ended yet.  Instead of one failed war replacing another soon-to-be-failed war, both drugs and terrorism remain targets for law enforcement and military action that have resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands and have cost billions of dollars.

In fact, the war on terror and the war on drugs have merged to form a hydra-headed monster that rapaciously targets Americans, particularly communities of color. Tactics and legislation used to fight terrorism in the U.S. have been turned on drug users, with disastrous consequences measured in lives, limbs and cash. And money initially used to combat drugs has been spent on the war on terror. From the Patriot Act to the use of informants to surveillance, the wars on drugs and terror have melted into one another.

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Thumbnail image for Central American Refugee Children Forced on a Dangerous Journey

Central American Refugee Children Forced on a Dangerous Journey

by Source 07.10.2014 Government

The U.S. government has had a direct hand in creating the conditions of these migrants’ impoverishment and displacement

By Justin Akers-Chacon / Socialist Worker

The arrival of Central American refugees, including many young children, has garnered much attention in the U.S. media and among the anti-immigrant right.

True to the dominant right-wing discourse emanating from Washington, D.C. over the last decade, the knee-jerk reaction has been to analyze this latest development through the “tough on enforcement” framework. This has allowed the spotlight to be turned toward the actions of small groups of racists and reactionaries in Murrieta, Calif., giving them a national platform to promote a spectacle of resistance to immigration, using the coded racist rhetoric of white nationalism.

Lost in all of the noise is the plight of tens of thousands of children, why they are migrating or their basic human rights.

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Thumbnail image for District Attorney Dumanis Holds up Three Fingers, Tells Media to Read Between the Lines.

District Attorney Dumanis Holds up Three Fingers, Tells Media to Read Between the Lines.

by Doug Porter 07.09.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis appeared on KUSI-TV’s morning talk show today to release a copy of her letter of recommendation written for the son of indicted Mexican financier Susumo Azano.

A consortium of media organizations including City News Service, inewsource, KFMB News 8, KNSD/NBC 7, KPBS, KSWB/Fox 5, the San Diego Daily Transcript, San Diego Press Club, Society of Professional Journalists San Diego, U-T San Diego, and Voice of San Diego had made repeated requests for a copy of the document.

At 5pm yesterday a deadline passed for what was essentially a demand letter (the last thing you do before you sue somebody) written by attorney Guylyn Cummins on behalf of the media organizations.

KUSI, it turns out, wasn’t one of those news organizations, apparently not wanting to displease a powerful prosecutor (whose office–wink,wink– can provide reliable news tips). Or maybe it’s just because the station is proud of their record of sucking up to politicians.

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Thumbnail image for Minimum Wage Increase, Earned Sick Days Proposal Set for Full City Council Hearing July 14th

Minimum Wage Increase, Earned Sick Days Proposal Set for Full City Council Hearing July 14th

by Doug Porter 07.08.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

The full San Diego City Council is set to hear arguments over proposals increasing the minimum wage and allowing for up to five earned sick days. The measure being considered is Council President Todd Gloria’s attempt at comprise from an earlier proposal.

The specifics of the current plan are:

  • $9.75 Jan 2015
  • $10.50 Jan 2016
  • $11.50 Jan 2017
  • Indexed to inflation after Jan 2019
  • 5 Earned Sick days

Advocates say earned sick days will impact 285,000 people, with wage increases affecting more than 170,000 people.  They estimate an additional $265 million will be pumped into the local economy.

Yet to be decided is whether the council will simply enact an ordinance or put it before the voters in November.

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