Government

Thumbnail image for Unraveling the Border Refugee Crisis

Unraveling the Border Refugee Crisis

by Doug Porter 07.31.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

At some time over next few days, President Obama will issue of executive orders pertaining to immigration. Likely options include reordering the priority list of deportation cases to dramatically expanding the 2012 “deferred action” program.

Those orders could mean allowing millions of family members to get work permits, or even allowing work permits for even broader groups, such as undocumented immigrant parents of U.S. citizens or virtually everyone who’s not considered a high priority to deport.

You can take it to the bank that the nativist wing of the GOP will be outraged. I expect to see more reporting disparaging refugees and undocumented residents. I am doubtful we’ll see a boost in reporting pointing towards the historical roots of the current crisis. So today I’ll call out a couple of stories going beyond the usual pap served up in the media.

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Thumbnail image for Kaiser Family Foundation: 3.4 Million Uninsured Californians Now Covered

Kaiser Family Foundation: 3.4 Million Uninsured Californians Now Covered

by Source 07.31.2014 Government

By Joan McCarter / Daily Kos

The Kaiser Family Foundation has been conducting a longitudinal panel survey on the uninsured in California. The organization focused on that state because California has had such a large portion of the nation’s uninsured, and its experience has national implications. As does the finding that, thanks to California’s success with Obamacare, there are 3.4 million fewer uninsured people now.

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Thumbnail image for An OB Victory! City Council Unanimously Approves OB Community Plan

An OB Victory! City Council Unanimously Approves OB Community Plan

by Frank Gormlie 07.30.2014 Activism

With a 9 to zip vote, the San Diego City Council approved the Ocean Beach Community Plan Update, yesterday, the 29th of July and in the middle of the afternoon. Immediately, the 150 plus OBceans jumped to their feet with whoops of delight and sustained applause that went on for minutes.

It was an emotional day for OB, with the Council vote culminating a very long process of updating the community’s urban design blueprint, a blueprint that will significantly affect OB for the next 20 to 30 years.

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Thumbnail image for How Your Local Library Can Help You Resist the Surveillance State

How Your Local Library Can Help You Resist the Surveillance State

by Source 07.30.2014 Activism

By Melissa Morrone / Waging Nonviolence

A woman was trying to apply for a job at a major retailer. She had to fill out an online form that prompted her to create a username and password, and then enter personal information down to the last four digits of her Social Security number.

“How do you know if it’s real?” she asked me, already agitated because her computer session was about to time out. The last time she tried to do something like this, she ended up on some sort of scam website.

As a librarian, I talk with people all the time who are uncertain about who and what to trust online. Teaching information literacy, whether in a classroom or one-on-one, is a big part of what we do, and knowing how to use the Internet safely is an ever more important skill given the extent to which online platforms are part of our lives. But public library staff, overworked and under-funded, often aren’t equipped to assist their communities with tasks such as learning to use encryption and anti-tracking tools. We have a critical function in technology education, and there’s so much more we could be doing.

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Thumbnail image for Requiem for a Overachieving School Principal

Requiem for a Overachieving School Principal

by Doug Porter 07.29.2014 Columns

An Abrupt and Controversial Reassignment at the School for Creative and Performing Arts Leaves Parents Angry

By Doug Porter

Mitzi Lizarraga ran San Diego Unified’s School for the Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA)  for seven years. Test scores improved, the school was named one of the best in the country repeatedly over the past 4 years and students were sought after by prestigious colleges and universities.

On Tuesday, June 10th, two days before graduation this year, she was gone. Students and staff were told Ms. Lizarraga was attending to an urgent and personal matter. “Interim” Principal Dr. Jenna Pesavento would be tasked with handing out diplomas to departing seniors.

But some seniors weren’t buying it. Graduation, usually one the high points in the life of a high school student, was fraught with rumors and dissension. Some seniors were talking about boycotting the ceremony. Other seniors wanted to hold up signs. Students were upset, some even in tears. Parents were in disbelief and did not understand what was happening.

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San Diego’s P100 Program Targets the Poor and Vulnerable While Letting the Rich and Powerful Off the Hook

by John Lawrence 07.29.2014 Culture

By John Lawrence

black-mom-3-kids-250x250[1]Since 1997, San Diego County has required all families applying for California’s version of welfare called CalWORKs to submit to warrantless, suspicionless, unannounced home searches and interrogations by District Attorney investigators.

As of June 2013 about 150,000 families, or about 9,300 families each year, have been subject to these searches. This policy, called Project 100% or P100, diverts money away from the poor and has not been shown to be effective at detecting or preventing fraud.

San Diego is the only place in the whole nation which has such an intrusive, untargeted policy making it America’s finest city – NOT – for the poor and vulnerable. These searches are a violation of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution which forbids “unreasonable searches” of peoples’ homes.

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Thumbnail image for As the Downtown Drama on Minimum Wage Plays Out, Fast Food Workers Talk Civil Disobedience

As the Downtown Drama on Minimum Wage Plays Out, Fast Food Workers Talk Civil Disobedience

by Doug Porter 07.28.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

Mayor Faulconer and his Chamber of Commerce puppeteers may not be willing to acknowledge it, but the train has left the station when it comes to minimum wages. They may think they can stop it, but they are wrong. The momentum to do something, anything about rampant economic inequality in the US is reaching critical mass.

Hizzoner met privately with advocates for increasing the minimum wage and earned sick leave on Friday, telling them while he appreciated their concerns, he was planning on vetoing an ordinance proposed by City Council President Todd Gloria. Any veto will likely be overridden by the Democratic super-majority on the Council.

Opponents of the measure are also threatening an initiative drive, which would have the effect of postponing implementation until a vote takes place in June, 2016. They are pointing to self-sponsored surveys saying as many as 14% of businesses would leave the city should the increases occur.

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Thumbnail image for Gone with the Wind Escondido Style

Gone with the Wind Escondido Style

by At Large 07.27.2014 Activism

Many expressed their sense of shame of living in a city that is fearful of Brown people and children.

By Fredi Avalos, Ph.D.

The City of Escondido, California represents a civilization gone with the wind. Well, almost. The shifting political winds were easy to observe at the City’s planning commission meeting July 22. In front of more than 200 people and an estimated 250 who rallied outside City Hall, the commission reaffirmed their previous vote not to allow a foster care facility to operate for refugee children fleeing their countries’ violence and repression in Central America.

The children would have been housed in a vacant elder care facility in a quiet semi-rural neighborhood. The facility has its own parking and would be funded entirely by federal money. It is estimated the facility would bring in at least 100 jobs paying well over minimum wage and would increase revenue for the city a total of $8.5 million a year. Escondido tax payers would pay nothing but would gain a great deal fiscally. So what is the problem?

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Thumbnail image for Looking Back at the Week at SDFP and OB Rag: July 20-26

Looking Back at the Week at SDFP and OB Rag: July 20-26

by Brent E. Beltrán 07.27.2014 Books & Poetry

Compiled by Brent E. Beltrán

This week’s edition of Looking Back at the Week features articles by San Diego Free Press and OB Rag regulars and at-large contributors on Comic-Con, a proud day for activism, stinky SDPD, the Mayor’s climate indifference, GOP wanting to impeach, minimum wage, Obama and Cap America, Neighborhood House, for-profit colleges, who runs San Diego, bare facts, native solidarity, El Machete, OB planning and lots more.

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Thumbnail image for PPIC Poll: 51 Percent of Likely Voters Would Back $11.1 Billion Water Bond

PPIC Poll: 51 Percent of Likely Voters Would Back $11.1 Billion Water Bond

by Source 07.26.2014 Economy

By Dan Bacher

The Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) has just released the results of a statewide survey revealing that a “slim majority” of likely voters, 51 percent, would support the $11.1 billion water bond.

The survey, “Californians and the Environment,” also indicated that support for a lower bond amount is slightly higher. The bond has been postponed twice so far, first in 2010 and then in 2012, because lack of voter support.

The poll was published as California Legislature continues to discuss downsizing a controversial $11.1 billion state bond for water projects that is currently on the November ballot. The measure was authorized by the water policy/water bond package of 2009 that creates a clear path to the construction of the twin tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

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Thumbnail image for Howling at the Moon: GOP on Track for Obama Impeachment

Howling at the Moon: GOP on Track for Obama Impeachment

by Doug Porter 07.25.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

Yes indeedy. A majority (57%) of self described Republicans in a CNN poll released this morning say President Barack Obama should be impeached.

On Thursday the House Rules Committee approved legislation authorizing a lawsuit against the President, claiming he has overstepped his executive powers in delaying coverage mandates and granting waivers regarding the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. The full house is expected to vote on authorizing the lawsuit next week.

Also on the radar for Congress is a show-down over re-authorization of the Export-Import Bank (a corporate welfare program supported by the Chamber of Commerce) with the potential to trigger another government shutdown come October 1st.

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Thumbnail image for President Obama Meets the New Captain America

President Obama Meets the New Captain America

by Junco Canché 07.25.2014 Cartoons
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Thumbnail image for Environment, Climate Change Don’t Seem to be on Mayor Faulconer’s Agenda

Environment, Climate Change Don’t Seem to be on Mayor Faulconer’s Agenda

by Doug Porter 07.24.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

Delay, deny, and deflect are the backbone of the Party of No’s strategy in politics. Our confrontation-adverse mayor would seem to be favoring the first of those options when it comes to environmental considerations affecting San Diego.

Yesterday organizations concerned with the potential impacts of climate change packed a hearing of the City Council’s Environment Committee to urge Mayor Faulconer to quit stalling on this important issue. The presence of representatives of the American Lung Association San Diego Chapter, California Nurses Association, Environmental Health Coalition, San Diego Coastkeeper and San Diego 350 made it clear that this issue is important to many San Diegans.

Councilmembers David Alvarez, Marti Emerald and Ed Harris voted for a resolution urging Mayor Faulconer to reduce pollution and prepare San Diego for the impacts of climate change with strategies to measurably reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the next 20 years. Councilmember Lorie Zapf voted in opposition.

A draft Climate Action Plan released during the interim administration of Council President Todd Gloria has gone nowhere in recent months.

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Thumbnail image for From Unist’ot’en Camp: What Does Solidarity Look Like?

From Unist’ot’en Camp: What Does Solidarity Look Like?

by Will Falk 07.24.2014 Activism

By Will Falk

Each night Unist’ot’en Clan spokeswoman, Freda Huson, and her husband Wet’suwet’en hereditary chief Toghestiy fall asleep on their traditional land not knowing whether the Royal Canadian Mounted Police are going to storm their bridge in the depths of night.

Each winter, when Freda and Toghestiy ride their snowmobiles down forestry roads to bring in supplies, to hunt, or to check their traplines, they don’t know whether they will find piles of felled trees maliciously dragged across their paths.

Each time Freda and Toghestiy leave their territory for a few days they don’t know if they will return to find another attack in an old tradition of cowardly arson perpetrated by hostile settlers on Wet’suwet’en territories leaving smoking embers where their cabin once stood.

I ponder this as I sit in a workshop with other settlers during the 6-day Unist’ot’en Action Camp – a series of workshops hosted on the traditional territories of the Unist’ot’en Clan of the Wet’suwet’en Nation to promote strategic planning and co-ordination in the struggle against the spread of fossil fuel pipelines.

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Thumbnail image for Who Runs San Diego? Introduction to a Series

Who Runs San Diego? Introduction to a Series

by Source 07.23.2014 Columns

By Eva Posner & Linda Perine / Democratic Woman’s Club

Relationships and money trails tell us who wields the power in our community.

It is hard to imagine, that in the 5th largest county in the United States, only a handful of people have any real influence on the day to day decisions that effect the lives of over 3 million people. But it’s true. And a lack of voter participation isn’t helping.

In both the February 2014 election to replace Bob Filner as Mayor of San Diego and in the June primary voter turnout was abysmally low. Overall voting turnout in the County in June was an anemic 27.2%, but many precincts registered in the single digits.

Pundits and analysts give many reasons for the lack of engagement: voter fatigue, uninspiring candidates, disillusionment surrounding the Filner debacle, and the lack of a culture of voting in areas with a large immigrant influence. We are told that working two (maybe three) jobs with transportation issues, childcare and other deterrents make it difficult to get to the polls. And indeed, all these causes had some influence on the undeniable “none of the above” message from the electorate.

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Thumbnail image for The Shooting Down of Malaysian Airliner Reminds Us When the U.S. Shot Down an Iranian Airbus in 1988

The Shooting Down of Malaysian Airliner Reminds Us When the U.S. Shot Down an Iranian Airbus in 1988

by Frank Gormlie 07.23.2014 Government

Navy Ship Responsible From San Diego

The shooting down of the Malaysian airliner over eastern Ukraine on Thursday, July 17th – allegedly by separatists fighting the Kiev government – killing all 295 people on board, has shocked the world, and has intensified the demands for sanctions on those responsible.

But if no sanctions materialize, it wouldn’t be the first time a civilian plane carrying hundreds of passengers was shot down by combatants – with nothing happening to those responsible.

In fact, a lot of the general elements are the same. But the incident that I am reminded about is the day – back in early July 1988, when two US military missiles fired from U.S. Navy ship Vincennes hit Iran Air Flight 655, killing all 290 passengers and crew members on board.

Nothing – I repeat – nothing ever happened to the U.S. because of this incident. It did go a long way in creating a deep distrust towards America by an entire generation of Iranians.

But nothing happened. No sanctions. No boycotts. No United Nations condemnations. Nothing. Most Americans alive then have probably forgotten about it.

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Thumbnail image for Going to San Diego Comic-Con? Put On Your Mask for the Surveillance Camera Network

Going to San Diego Comic-Con? Put On Your Mask for the Surveillance Camera Network

by Source 07.23.2014 Courts, Justice

By Dave Maass / Electronic Frontier Foundation

In the TV series Person of Interest, two government artificial intelligence programs—one gone rogue—can access virtually every surveillance camera across New York City, including privately operated ones in places like parking garages, hotels, and apartment complexes. The creators of the show try to stay one step ahead of modern technology. So the question is: do cities really create a network of interconnected private and public security cameras?

Yes, they do. If you’re going to San Diego Comic-Con (and the Person of Interest team is), you’ll want to pull on your Batman mask or slather on the Sith paint if you’re passing any of the marked locations on this new map. You might very be under surveillance as part of the San Diego Police Department’s “Operation Secure San Diego.”

Operation Secure San Diego—ostensibly intended so first responders could get a view of a crime as it’s happening—encourages private businesses to allow the cops to access their surveillance video cameras. It also gives officers sitting in their squad cars the power to tap directly into live feeds. The first to share its streams was Hotel Indigo, a hotel popular with the Comic-Con set in San Diego’s Gaslamp district.

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Thumbnail image for NYTimes Profiles the “Part-Time Hell” Offered to American Workers

NYTimes Profiles the “Part-Time Hell” Offered to American Workers

by Source 07.23.2014 Business

By Dartagnan / Daily Kos

The latest tripe from the Republican Party attempts to distract from its purposeful obstruction of all initiatives or legislation designed to create new jobs, by accusing the Obama Administration of fostering a “part-time” economy.

In reality the prevalence of “part-time only” jobs arising from the residue of the Bush Recession reflects the gradual realization by corporate America that it no longer needs to hew to the pretense of actually caring about workers and can, with impunity, impose hiring policies designed solely to fatten its bottom line.

An expanded field of semi-skilled workers constantly warned against unionizing, a population of nervous and insecure skilled workers deathly afraid of losing their health care and livelihoods, and the propagation of anti-union legislation funded by right-wing think tanks and their Republican tools in state legislatures have all led to an atmosphere of passive acquiescence to predatory hiring practices.

This has little or nothing to do with the Administration and much to do with a relatively new ethic of corporate greed and indifference run amok. It implicates businesses and corporations at every level, but it is particularly visible in retail and service industries.

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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

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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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