Government

Thumbnail image for As Study Shows Poverty Rising in San Diego, Campaign to Shame Restaurant Industry Over Wages Emerges

As Study Shows Poverty Rising in San Diego, Campaign to Shame Restaurant Industry Over Wages Emerges

by Doug Porter 09.18.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

The poverty rate in San Diego has risen over the past year according to data released by U.S. Census Bureau this week. A total of 209,045 San Diegans (15.8%)  lived below the federal poverty level last year, including more than 64,000 children (21.9%) of all children in the city.  

The release of this report comes two days after the San Diego Chamber of Commerce claimed success in a referendum campaign effectively halting implementation of a local minimum wage increase. Much of the money for that campaign reportedly came via the California Restaurant Association.

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Thumbnail image for Inside an Outsider’s Campaign for Political Office – An Unprecedented Win

Inside an Outsider’s Campaign for Political Office – An Unprecedented Win

by Lori Saldaña 09.18.2014 Activism

By Lori Saldaña / Part Four of Four

Yesterday Lori Saldaña discussed the realities of putting together a door-to-door campaign.

I’ll always remember the shock, joy and celebration my volunteers, friends and family experienced when the first voting results came in on Election night, shortly after 9 pm. I was leading in the 3-way results by 10 points, with 40% of the vote going to me and  30% going to each of my two opponents.  The number varied little over the ensuing hours, ultimately staying there for the remainder of the night.

We had overcome the odds and won big, despite being outspent by a ridiculous amount.

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Thumbnail image for Chamber of Misery’s Million Dollar Campaign Halts San Diego’s Minimum Wage Increase

Chamber of Misery’s Million Dollar Campaign Halts San Diego’s Minimum Wage Increase

by Doug Porter 09.17.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce CEO Jerry Sanders took to the airwaves yesterday to announce his group of paid canvassers had gathered 56,000 signatures (at up to $12 each) towards implementing their plan to keep the working poor in poverty for as long as possible.

There was no longer any pretense about a “small business coalition” fighting to save mom and pop stores from bankruptcy or simply getting this issue before the voters. This campaign was about the power of the wealthy to dictate policy to the city. This was and is about the sustaining an economic model that asks taxpayers to subsidize lower tiers of workers via government programs while corporations rack up record profits.

By the time financial reports reveal just how much money was spent by the Chamber and their corporate allies in the hospitality industry spent to gather signatures, the San Diego clerk’s office will have certified the results. I’ll venture a guess that they spent over a million bucks, probably not including the hotel rooms provided for vagabond canvassers from as far away as Michigan and Ohio.

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Thumbnail image for Inside an Outsider’s Campaign for Political Office – “We Walk, We Win”

Inside an Outsider’s Campaign for Political Office – “We Walk, We Win”

by Lori Saldaña 09.17.2014 Activism

By Lori Saldaña / Part Three of Four 

Yesterday Lori Saldaña discussed the path to her decision to mount a grass-roots campaign for the California Assembly in 2004. She really didn’t have a choice: all the political pros around thought she was too much of an outsider.

I decided to give up on getting support from Sacramento. My volunteers and I adopted the motto “We Walk, We Win.”

A typical weekday would be: make calls to raise money in the morning (rarely more than a few hundred dollars), walk precincts in the afternoon (rarely actually talking to voters at that time of day), then teach in the evening. On weekends I would walk 4 precincts: 2 on Saturday, 2 more on Sunday.

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Thumbnail image for San Diego Taxi Cartels Punish Drivers Seeking Reforms

San Diego Taxi Cartels Punish Drivers Seeking Reforms

by Doug Porter 09.16.2014 Business

By Doug Porter

Cab drivers in San Diego who have stood up for reforming industry regulations have been unilaterally punished by company owners in recent days. Drivers are asking the city to lift a cap on the number of permits issued for taxis. The two sides are headed for an epic showdown before a City Council committee this week.

Cab company owners are desperately trying to preserve a lucrative franchise enabled by taxpayers. San Diego’s taxi drivers are ‘independent contractors’ who have virtually no control over the way they’re allowed to run their “business” of driving a cab. Mostly they eke out a living under terms set by a few anointed property owners (in this case the property is the license required to operate) who set terms and conditions.

One driver who dared to grant an interview with San Diego 6 News following a press conference hosted by City Councilwoman Marti Emerald and City attorney Jan Goldsmith was asked to “turn in his keys” (industry parlance for you’re fired).

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Thumbnail image for Inside an Outsider’s Campaign for Elected Office – Battle Lines Are Drawn

Inside an Outsider’s Campaign for Elected Office – Battle Lines Are Drawn

by Lori Saldaña 09.16.2014 Activism

By Lori Saldaña / Part Two of Four

In Part One of this series, Lori Saldaña discussed her motivations and personal considerations leading up to her run for the California Assembly in 2004. At the end of yesterday’s installment, she’d just been told by a Los Angeles woman’s organization at the end of a fundraising presentation that they viewed her a good candidate for school board, not the statehouse.

They ultimately endorsed my opponent- a woman with no prior elected experience who had worked as a pollster for the state teacher’s union. This basically meant she had the support of many of the “progressive” insiders in Sacramento and, therefore, the capacity to raise lots and lots of money.

As far as they were concerned, money was the key to winning. My policy work, community ties, Presidential appointment etc. paled in comparison.

Fortunately, I was unwilling to accept these evaluations as the final say on my qualifications to run, or my ability to serve in state-level office.  I kept looking for support in the district, ignoring the “third house” in Sacramento and focusing on developing a grassroots campaign.

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Thumbnail image for Corporate Deserters Seek to Continue Doing Business in the US While Paying Taxes to Foreign Governments

Corporate Deserters Seek to Continue Doing Business in the US While Paying Taxes to Foreign Governments

by John Lawrence 09.16.2014 Business

By John Lawrence

Corporations are relentless about setting up tax avoidance schemes and finding new and improved ways of getting out of paying taxes.

One method is to set up a corporate subsidiary in the Cayman Islands which doesn’t require any taxes to be paid. This works well for collecting royalties on patents because the patents can just be transferred to the subsidiary, and, voila, no taxes need be paid at all. Other companies which do a great deal of selling abroad have money piling up in foreign jurisdictions.

US law requires them to pay taxes on this money when they bring it back into the US. So these companies like Microsoft, Apple and Qualcomm are always lobbying for a “tax holiday”, which would allow them to bring this poor, lonely money home without paying taxes on it. Corporations are people, remember, and money is their Mother’s Milk.

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Thumbnail image for Vets 360

Vets 360

by At Large 09.13.2014 Film & Theater

SDFP videographer interviews members of the organization Veterans 360

Video by Horacio Jones

Upon moving into my new office I ran into an organization across the hall called Veterans 360 which is dedicated to helping veterans. Since I always felt that veterans have gotten a raw deal from the government in exchange for their honorable services to the country, I decided this would be the perfect opportunity to find out more about what could be done to help veterans and also find out for myself why they are having such a hard time getting back into civilian life.

Rick Collins, the founder of Veterans 360 was very accommodating and even helped to recruit some veterans who told us about their personal challenges since separating from the military and what they think needs to be done to alleviate the problem.

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Thumbnail image for Escondido Council Candidate Forum Reveals Stances on Golf Course, Charter City Propositions

Escondido Council Candidate Forum Reveals Stances on Golf Course, Charter City Propositions

by Source 09.13.2014 Government

By Rick Moore / Escondido Democratic Club

There were few surprises at the Chamber of Commerce Council Candidate Forum September 10, and few in the audience to see them.

The candidates all participated, several of them admitting this was their first time in a forum, giving one of only a few chances for voters to compare them in action. (The League of Women Voters will provide another opportunity at 6 p.m. Thursday, September 25 in Council Chambers at City Hall.)

The 7:30 a.m. start time was clearly part of the attendance problem. There were fewer than 50 people in the audience.

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Thumbnail image for City Threatened with Lawsuit Over Illumina Economic Incentives Deal

City Threatened with Lawsuit Over Illumina Economic Incentives Deal

by Doug Porter 09.12.2014 Business

By Doug Porter

A citizen group represented by Attorney Cory Briggs has announced its intention to file a lawsuit blocking the city’s economic incentives package with Illumina, Inc.

An email sent to Mayor Kevin Faulconer and the City Council this week set a deadline of September 23rd for rescinding the agreement. The communique claims the approval process violated a City Charter provision requiring any deals made by the council lasting more than five years to include a public hearing and a legal notice published 10 days in advance of that hearing.

The Economic Development Assistance Agreement with Illumina, Inc, was approved on August 7th as a “Consent Item.” The ten year deal includes a promise to rebate $1.5 million in sales and use taxes in return for retaining “over 100 middle-wage manufacturing job opportunities” in San Diego.

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Thumbnail image for San Diego Needs to Regulate the Initiative Industry

San Diego Needs to Regulate the Initiative Industry

by Lori Saldaña 09.12.2014 Courts, Justice

By Lori Saldaña

It’s time to point out the obvious: San Diego is becoming a city governed not by democratic process, and not by elected officials who achieved office after being supported by the most voters. It is increasingly run by checkbook politics, flush with funds deposited by businesses intent on overriding the votes of the City Council.

Former Mayor Sanders may have left City Hall, but he learned how to take the power with him. For the past year he has been able to demonstrate this power by pushing aside Council policies on community planning and now minimum wage. He is actively supporting conservative interests that hire signature gatherers to do this dirty work in public, while he and others in the Chamber ranks raise and bundle money and write checks behind the scenes.

During my 4 years serving on the Elections Committee in the State Assembly, I learned that the petition process in California is deeply flawed. Established in 1911, intended to “reform” corrupt government practices, it has evolved into the one place where campaign financing law needs the most reform. As it stands, weak statutes and lack of oversight allow unconstitutional amendments such as Prop. 8 to be placed on the ballot and wreak havoc with people’s lives.

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Thumbnail image for Beating the War Drums: Beware the Advice of Mission Creeps Cheney and Kissinger

Beating the War Drums: Beware the Advice of Mission Creeps Cheney and Kissinger

by Anna Daniels 09.10.2014 Activism

Are we getting our war on?

By Anna Daniels

Nothing like starting the morning with the Wall Street Journal headline “Cheney Is Still Right” followed by a New York Times correction to their own article in which Dick Cheney was described as “President.” The media has chosen unprosecuted war criminal Dick Cheney as the warm up act for President Obama’s address to the American people this evening, Wednesday September 10, and it does not bode well.

It is impossible to expect any encouraging news tonight about the US’s continued presence in the political and moral quagmire of Iraq and anticipated involvement in the same in Syria. We elected a president–twice– who promised to a war weary citizenry a withdrawal of the US presence in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Now he is assuring us that we will not be involved up to our collective necks (again) in the complicated geo-politics of the region, only up to maybe our knees or waist.

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Thumbnail image for There’s Always a Bad Smell Downwind of Carl DeMaio

There’s Always a Bad Smell Downwind of Carl DeMaio

by Doug Porter 09.10.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

Voters in the 52nd Congressional District come November will get to make their choice between the former City Councilman and incumbent Democrat Scott Peters. Today I’ll argue that this choice is more than ideological; it’s a question of character. 

What differentiates DeMaio in my mind from others who I disagree with (including Congressman Peters from time to time) is the way he does business. A couple of recent examples serve to illustrate my point. (And I’ll remind you of some past incidents that bolster my contention.) 

Having lost out on an endorsement from the US Chamber of Commerce last week, candidate DeMaio sought to change the subject by rolling out what he insisted was a series of women-friendly proposals. 

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Thumbnail image for No Regrets, Mr. Cheney?

No Regrets, Mr. Cheney?

by Eric J. Garcia 09.10.2014 Cartoons
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Thumbnail image for Living the Wage is Indeed a Challenge in San Diego

Living the Wage is Indeed a Challenge in San Diego

by At Large 09.10.2014 Activism

By Todd Gloria / President, San Diego City Council

My morning ritual on most days is to buy a cup of my favorite coffee in Hillcrest. This week I did not do that. I couldn’t because I was trying to live on the minimum wage. After paying for housing and taxes, I had $51 left to spend on all my expenses including food and transportation. This meant carefully considering how to spend every penny, and I couldn’t afford my morning coffee.

My reduced consumption wasn’t limited to coffee. I knew this challenge would require a drastic reduction in what I was able to contribute to the local economy.  I didn’t eat out this week. I didn’t dry clean my clothes. I skipped washing my car. The businesses that I did patronize saw far less of my money than they would in an average week.

As I struggled to live on $51 for one week, I didn’t lose sight of the fact that this is just an experiment for me. For thousands of San Diegans, roughly 38% of us, this is their life every single day.

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Thumbnail image for San Diegans to Demonstrate Against Supreme Court Justice Scalia – Thursday, Sept. 11th

San Diegans to Demonstrate Against Supreme Court Justice Scalia – Thursday, Sept. 11th

by Staff 09.10.2014 Activism

By Staff / OB Rag

Scalia: an Utter Moral Failure

US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia will be attending the California State Bar Convention that’s being held in San Diego. Justice Scalia will be there on Thursday, September 11.

Women Occupy San Diego and the San Diego Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild will demonstrate against the appearance at 11:30 a.m. Hyatt Grand, 1 Market Place. The demonstration focuses on the Supreme Court’s attacks on the rights of women, workers, minorities, and honest elections.

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Extreme Weather Watch: August 2014 – Southwest US May Face Megadrought

by John Lawrence 09.09.2014 Environment

By John Lawrence

Extreme Weather WatchThree new studies do not bode well for the future of the American southwest. California is in the midst of the worst drought in recorded history. However, this may be just the beginning. There have been megadroughts before. And scientists are now 99.99% certain that climactic changes responsible for this extreme weather condition are caused by human activity which spews greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere.

And as the drought continues in California, record amounts of groundwater are being pumped by corporations which are bottling and selling it in other states. Due to crippling drought in California, there’s been a crackdown on watering lawns and washing cars. Yet Nestle has continued its bottling operations, adding to the national debate over corporate right and common good.

Farmers in the Central Valley are also pumping record amounts to make up for the lack of water from above ground sources. Recently a bill was passed which Governor Jerry Brown is expected to pass regulating groundwater for the first time.

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Thumbnail image for Dirty Energy’s Big Lie Campaign About California’s So-Called Hidden Gas Tax

Dirty Energy’s Big Lie Campaign About California’s So-Called Hidden Gas Tax

by Doug Porter 09.08.2014 Business

By Doug Porter

Perhaps you’ve seen the the nagging ads on the internet. Or read the one of numerous op-ed pieces published in the dead tree media.

Their messages are simple. The California Drivers Alliance wants you to be afraid of an increase (a tax!) in gas prices come January.  And they want you to believe this increase is some part of a covert agenda.

The truth of the matter here is that the only thing covert going on is the financial backing of the oil and gas industry for groups appearing to be grass-roots organizations started by ordinary people. As is the case whenever astroturfing is involved, the truth is the last thing they’d like consumers to know about.

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Thumbnail image for For the Love of Taxi Workers: Hundreds of Immigrant Taxi Workers Mobilizing to Fight for Their Freedom

For the Love of Taxi Workers: Hundreds of Immigrant Taxi Workers Mobilizing to Fight for Their Freedom

by At Large 09.08.2014 Activism

By Sarah Saez

For the past three years San Diego’s community of taxi drivers have become my family.

We’ve been through a lot together through ups and downs of winning and losing policy battles, having to say goodbye to drivers we’ve lost to tragedies on the job mixed with moments of pure joy when drivers are able to come together to raise their collective voices for change.

As independent contractors taxi drivers are as marginalized as they come with no protections from labor law but virtually no control over the way they’re allowed to run their “business” of driving a cab.

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Thumbnail image for The San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce: Oppressed Underdog?

The San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce: Oppressed Underdog?

by Jim Miller 09.08.2014 Business

A Pathetic Attempt to Re-Write History

By Jim Miller

Recently UT-San Diego sat down with San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce CEO Jerry Sanders for an interview so he could lay out the Chamber’s “new” aggressive political action plan.

During the course of the interview Sanders was steadfast in his insistence that the Chamber exists to respond to the mythic hegemony of labor in San Diego politics.

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Thumbnail image for Obama Reneges on Using Executive Action to Implement Immigration Reform Until After Midterm Election

Obama Reneges on Using Executive Action to Implement Immigration Reform Until After Midterm Election

by Brent E. Beltrán 09.07.2014 Desde la Logan

San Diegans Speak Out Against the President’s Unwillingness to Help the Latino Community

By Brent E. Beltrán

Latinos throughout the United States woke up yesterday morning to the news that President Obama had decided not to use his executive powers to push immigration reform forward until after the November election.

For months the President has said he would do whatever he could to implement reforms for millions of undocumented immigrants in the US. He kept the Latino community’s hopes up only to have those hopes crushed in an act of political cowardice.

Once again the President, whose administration has deported more people than any other President in American history (over 2.2 million!), has chosen to play politics while undocumented immigrants continue to live in fear of being kicked out of the country.

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Thumbnail image for City Government: Why Can’t We Run it Like a Business?

City Government: Why Can’t We Run it Like a Business?

by Norma Damashek 09.05.2014 Columns

By Norma Damashek

Last time we met we figured out how San Diego was begotten. 

Now it’s time to unravel the purpose of city government and discover what’s it all about when you sort it out…  

We’ll start the sorting process with a couple of facts.

Then we’ll go for the jackpot question: why can’t city government be run like a business?

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Thumbnail image for Who Runs San Diego: The Use and Abuse of the Transient Occupancy Tax

Who Runs San Diego: The Use and Abuse of the Transient Occupancy Tax

by At Large 09.03.2014 Business

By Cory Briggs / A Project of the Democratic Woman’s Club

TOT – this small word may bring to mind a cute little child, a deep-fried mashed potato, or a dash of your favorite adult beverage. But in San Diego, TOT, an acronym for Transient Occupancy Tax, stands for missed opportunities, fiscal irresponsibility, and a shameful abrogation of civic responsibility to the moneyed interest of hoteliers.

The recent implosion of the convention center expansion and what I hope will be the legal rejection of its elder, uglier stepsister, the Tourism Marketing District (TMD) tax, are primers on how the people who run San Diego seek to use your money to line their pockets with the help of a complicit mayor and city council.

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Thumbnail image for DeMaio Dissed by US Chamber of Commerce

DeMaio Dissed by US Chamber of Commerce

by Doug Porter 09.03.2014 Business

By Doug Porter

San Diego’s “New Republican” candidate for the 52nd Congressional District actively sought and failed to get the endorsement of the United States Chamber of Commerce.

Instead, the pro-business group endorsed Democratic incumbent Scott Peters, saying “We will encourage the business community to vigorously support your candidacy.”

This makes Peters unique in that he’s supported by (some) organized labor groups and the largest pro-business lobbying group in the U.S. The Chamber’s lobbying expenditures in 2013 totalled $74,470, 000. In the 2012 Congressional elections they spent $33 million in support of mostly Republican candidates.

I’ll suspend judgement for a moment about just how scummy the U.S. Chamber is as an organization to crack wise about the DeMaio campaign’s reaction.

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Thumbnail image for Bernie Sanders: I Want To Know If Ordinary People Are Ready to Stand and Fight

Bernie Sanders: I Want To Know If Ordinary People Are Ready to Stand and Fight

by Source 09.03.2014 Activism

US Senator from Vermont is touring the country to capture the pulse of populist sentiment and to see whether or not hunger exists for a real ‘political revolution’

By Jon Queally / CommonDreams

The Independent U.S. Senator from Vermont Bernie Sanders has a hunch about the American electorate, but he says the only way to be sure is to go out and meet them.

It’s called the ‘Fight For Economic Justice Tour,’ but it’s really what the self-identified Social Democrat described earlier this year as his attempt to travel the country in order to gauge the country’s hunger for a grassroots ‘political revolution’—couched in a possible presidential bid—to challenge the economic inequality and corporate malfeasance that have severely wounded the nation’s democracy and are strangling its promise of shared prosperity.

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