Media

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

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

by Doug Porter 04.27.2015 Business

By Doug Porter

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

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

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

Read the full article → 0 comments
Thumbnail image for Activists to Rep. Scott Peters: Do the Right Thing on Fast Track, Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)

Activists to Rep. Scott Peters: Do the Right Thing on Fast Track, Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)

by Doug Porter 04.24.2015 Activism

By Doug Porter

People representing organized labor, environmental and faith groups staged a rally outside the offices of Rep. Scott Peters yesterday, urging him to oppose legislation limiting congressional oversight on trade agreements currently being negotiated.

The demonstration at Peters office is symbolic of a larger political battle being waged over the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership(TPP). Business groups and most Republican legislators are supporting the Obama administration, contending an agreement is necessary as an important counterweight to China’s growing clout in the region.

In Washington on Thursday the so-called Fast Track legislation cleared an important hurtle as House Ways and Means Committee voted 25-13 in favor. A companion “fast-track” bill cleared a Senate panel on Wednesday and both are now ready for action in their respective chambers.

Today I’ll do my best–this is complicated–to give you an overview of what’s going on.

Read the full article → 4 comments
Thumbnail image for Reader-izing San Diego’s CityBeat Weekly

Reader-izing San Diego’s CityBeat Weekly

by Doug Porter 04.22.2015 Business

While I’m guessing some coverage of interest to progressives will continue to appear, the heart and soul of the organization appear to be headed in another direction.

.
By Doug Porter

There’s trouble afoot at San Diego CityBeat, the alt-weekly known for its focus on local progressive politics, arts, and music.

Editor Dave Rolland and associate editor Kelly Davis both cited plausible professional reasons as they exited the publication in March, with Rolland promising readers “our departure does not foretell CityBeat’s demise.”

Incoming editor Ron Donoho started off vowing to “continue this alt-weekly tradition,” and pledging to “stink up the place if our local leaders foul things up.” Unfortunately these promises were woven into a bizarre scatological analogy, ending with “if we see brown, we’ll flush it down.”

Read the full article → 6 comments
Thumbnail image for Mission Valley Watch

Mission Valley Watch

by Frank Gormlie 04.21.2015 Activism

Editor: This is the launch of what we hope is a regular report in the San Diego Free Press, via our online media partner, the OB Rag.

Somebody needs to be watching Mission Valley – the long congested corridor that is literally the heart of San Diego. And certainly, it’s not the City of San Diego that is watching Mission Valley – or rather watching out for it. And certainly, it’s not the major mainstream media in this town either that are watching Mission Valley – with one HUGE exception: the nearly-exclusive and obsessive focus on the Qualcomm Stadium site.

Yet Mission Valley certainly does need to be watched because the construction projects that are being built and are in the pipeline to being built in the next few years will quite double – or even triple – the current population of the Valley of 20,000 San Diegans. The projects will double the number of housing units that are already there.

The problem with this is that there isn’t even the public infrastructure now that is required to serve the thousands of current Mission Valley residents, much less the needs of (and this is a conservative estimate) a future populace that has undergone growth of one hundred percent. The projects planned and even approved will further destroy what remains of the once, lush green valley that in earlier days, held the promise of becoming the Central Park or the Golden Gate Park of San Diego.

Read the full article → 6 comments
Thumbnail image for When Did Lawyer Cory Briggs Stop Beating His Fake Wife?

When Did Lawyer Cory Briggs Stop Beating His Fake Wife?

by At Large 04.19.2015 Editor's Picks

By Regnad Kcin

High-profile San Diego lawyer Cory Briggs has engaged in egregious false matrimony, according to a months-long EyeNewSores investigation.

A host of experts assert that Briggs has made questionable and possibly fraudulent deals while claiming the woman he’s shacked up is his wife. The EyeNewSores team will examine these deals in future weeks, publishing exclusive headlines revealing a side to this so-called public interest lawyer that some may find shocking.

EyeNewSores has discovered that Briggs, a key figure in the resignation of former Mayor Bob Filner, may or may not have battered his alleged ‘wife,’ according to sources close to a high profile attorney and elected official famous for his ethics and fair play.

Read the full article → 13 comments
Thumbnail image for On Equal Pay Day (and Every Other Day) Trickle-Down Continues to Fail

On Equal Pay Day (and Every Other Day) Trickle-Down Continues to Fail

by Doug Porter 04.14.2015 Activism

By Doug Porter

The second Tuesday in April marks the observance of Equal Pay Day. This calendar date hypothetically represents the length of time past New Years’ Day many women must work at the same job in order to match what men make in a year.

The day is a symbolic means of illustrating the differences in pay existing throughout the economy based on gender, despite legislative actions aimed a rectifying the problem dating back to 1869.  The National Committee on Pay Equity offers up a variety of programs for addressing inequities tied to gender.

This pay gap is one important part of a much larger picture of discrimination and inequality rampant in the Millennial Gilded Age.

Read the full article → 5 comments
Thumbnail image for Let’s Make History: Going All In for $15 on April 15th

Let’s Make History: Going All In for $15 on April 15th

by Doug Porter 04.13.2015 Activism

By Doug Porter

What started out as protests against wages paid to workers in fast food restaurants in a few big cities has become a nationwide movement, encompassing retail, home care, security, child care, and airport workers, along with adjunct college professors.

On Wednesday, April 15th, while much of the traditional news media is camped outside post offices trying to interview the vanishing breed of Luddites using snail mail to file their taxes, these modern-day fighters for fair wages will be protesting in over 200 cities nationwide.

As was true with the civil rights movement of the 20th century, an increasing number of persons of conscience are joining in with those brave enough to challenge an injustice.If you’re aware of the ever-increasing level of economic inequality and sick of the system that primarily rewards those at top, this is an opportunity to spend a few hours doing something more than tsk-tsking at articles posted in social media.

Read the full article → 1 comment
Thumbnail image for The White House’s New Executive Order On Cyber Crime is (Unfortunately) No Joke

The White House’s New Executive Order On Cyber Crime is (Unfortunately) No Joke

by Source 04.09.2015 Activism

By Nadia Kayyali and Kurt Opsahl / DeepLinks Blog

On the morning of April 1st, the White House issued a new executive order (EO) that asserts that malicious “cyber-enabled activities” are a national threat, declares a national emergency, and establishes sanctions and other consequences for individuals and entities.

While computer and information security is certainly very important, this EO could dangerously backfire, and chill the very security research that is necessary to protect people from malicious attacks.

Read the full article → 0 comments
Thumbnail image for Can John Oliver Do for Mass Surveillance What He Did for Net Neutrality?

Can John Oliver Do for Mass Surveillance What He Did for Net Neutrality?

by Source 04.07.2015 Culture

By Joan McCarter/Daily Kos

On Sunday, John Oliver had what is easily the most educational and fun half hour of journalism on the surveillance state that you’re ever likely to see, including an interview with Edward Snowden.

What John Oliver did for net neutrality last summer, he’s doing now for an issue that’s pretty damned important, too. Namely, the government sucking up all your electronic communications in the name of national security.

As he points out in opening the segment, June 1 is a key date: that’s when Section 215 of the Patriot Act has to be renewed, tweaked, or ended.

Read the full article → 0 comments
Thumbnail image for Will Mickey D’s Dollar Deal Super-Size April 15 Protests?

Will Mickey D’s Dollar Deal Super-Size April 15 Protests?

by Doug Porter 04.03.2015 Activism

By Doug Porter

The national ‘conversation’ about inequality shifted a bit this week with a press release from fast food giant McDonald’s announcing it was planning a pay raise for employees of its company-owned stores.

The significance of the announcement isn’t the extra dollar on top of whatever is the local minimum wage for the less than 10% of the company’s workers. WalMart, Target, and a growing number of other large retailers operations have made similar announcements in recent months.

These pay increases are too little, too late. A study released by Americans for Tax Fairness earlier this week says increases to $9 (in 2015) and even $10 (in 2016) will still leave  workers dependent on food stamps, Medicaid and six other taxpayer-funded programs to survive. And McDonald’s announcement has simply added fuel to the fire in the bellies of low wage workers planning on staging protests nation-wide on April 15th.

Read the full article → 1 comment
Thumbnail image for SeaWorld Steals a Page from the Scientology Playbook

SeaWorld Steals a Page from the Scientology Playbook

by Doug Porter 04.01.2015 Activism

By Doug Porter

A book tour by a former SeaWorld trainer critical of the company’s treatment of Orcas has led to the theme park releasing a five year old cell phone video depicting the author using racial slurs during a drunken conversation.

Critics of SeaWorld are saying this action is just another example of a sub rosa campaign by a company seeking to defend itself against charges that it mistreats the animals it keeps in captivity. The company saw one million fewer customers in 2014 as compared  to the previous year.

While the latest move by SeaWorld had led La Jolla’s Warwick’s bookstore to cancel a signing event for “Beneath the Surface” author John Hargrove, it appears to have energized protesters organizing an Easter Sunday demonstration at the company’s Mission Bay location.

Read the full article → 2 comments
Thumbnail image for The New American Order: On the Path to Plutocracy

The New American Order: On the Path to Plutocracy

by At Large 03.24.2015 Editor's Picks

1% Elections, The Privatization of the State, a Fourth Branch of Government, and the Demobilization of “We the People”

By Tom Engelhardt / TomDispatch

Have you ever undertaken some task you felt less than qualified for, but knew that someone needed to do? Consider this piece my version of that, and let me put what I do understand about it in a nutshell: based on developments in our post-9/11 world, we could be watching the birth of a new American political system and way of governing for which, as yet, we have no name.

Whatever this may add up to, it seems to be based, at least in part, on the increasing concentration of wealth and power in a new plutocratic class and in that ever-expanding national security state. Certainly, something out of the ordinary is underway, and yet its birth pangs, while widely reported, are generally categorized as aspects of an exceedingly familiar American system somewhat in disarray.

Read the full article → 1 comment
Thumbnail image for The Public Education Reporting Charade

The Public Education Reporting Charade

by Jim Miller 03.23.2015 Columns

What if it turned out that education reform, with its teacher-blaming assumptions, got it all wrong in the first place?

By Jim Miller

Recently, with “California’s Public Education Charade,” UT-San Diego shocked no one by publishing yet another anti-union, teacher-bashing editorial that attacks California’s “dominant Democratic Party” for believing that “what’s good for the California Teachers Association and the California Federation of Teachers is good for California. And what’s good for students, who cares?”

The sins of California’s Democrats, the State Board of Education, and their sinister union bosses include the decision to “suspend the Academic Performance Index [API] for a second year as the state moves to a more complex system of evaluating school and district performance” and failing to robustly follow the lead of the misguided Vergara decision which blamed tenure for the struggles of low-income minority students. California, the editorial board laments, has made it “even more difficult to fire bad teachers.”

Of course, these are precisely the kind of oft-repeated yet totally unfounded assertions one hears about public education and teachers from not just the mouthpiece of Manchester but from far too many in the media. Just because they keep saying it, however, doesn’t make it true.

Read the full article → 3 comments
Thumbnail image for Here Come the Obama ‘Vote or Die’ Squads

Here Come the Obama ‘Vote or Die’ Squads

by Doug Porter 03.19.2015 Columns

By Doug Porter

Following a speech before the City Club of Cleveland yesterday, President Obama responded to a question about the influence of money in elections by talking about universal voting as a solution.

Cue the conservative outrage: “Obama calls for mandatory voting in U.S.,” screamed one headline. At UT-San Diego the headline was toned down to “OBAMA FLOATS IDEA OF MANDATORY VOTING IN U.S.”

This story is a really sad commentary on the state of American “journalism.” The President spends and hour and a half speaking about economic policy in front of a business group. This one quip is going to end up being passed around on the internet as something along the lines of ‘The Black Panthers Are Going to Force People to Vote.” There’s probably an email smoldering in my backup account as I’m writing this.

Read the full article → 11 comments
Thumbnail image for Many Battles Being Fought Over Climate Change

Many Battles Being Fought Over Climate Change

by Doug Porter 03.05.2015 Activism

By Doug Porter

The State of California Water Resources Control Board says residential water conservation is not working and there are rumblings about adopting permanent, rather than emergency water conservation measures.

Former Todd Gloria staffer Nicole Capretz has started a non-profit group to keep pressure on the City of San Diego as the Climate Action Plan moves from concept to reality. Activist groups, led by the local chapter of 350.org and the Environmental Health Coalition staged a rally in Balboa Park on Monday to urge local leaders to move decisively.

And a two-decade-long study by scientists with the University of Southern California offers up proof that declining air pollution is measurably improving children’s health.

There’s all this and much more in today’s news wrapup…

Read the full article → 3 comments
Thumbnail image for Three Groups Vying to Buy UT-San Diego

Three Groups Vying to Buy UT-San Diego

by Doug Porter 03.04.2015 Columns

By Doug Porter

A report by media analyst Ken Doctor in Capital New York’s media column says UT-San Diego owner “Papa” Doug Manchester has been actively looking to sell for six months now.

The story indicates the Tribune Publishing, parent company for the Los Angeles Times, is close to making a deal with an estimated $80-90 million price tag, which will not include the company’s real estate assets. Questions surrounding UT-San Diego’s $60 million in pension obligations prevented the company from completing the sale during a short-term exclusivity agreement.

Two other groups are reported to be putting together financing to buy San Diego’s daily. A group led by philanthropist Malin Burnham and former Cox executive Bill Geppert told Doctor they’d raised about half the money needed to buy the company, which they’re proposing be run as a non-profit entity. Former UT-San Diego CEO John Lynch says he’s submitting an offer for the paper this week including its real estate assets for an investors group including venture capitalist Ron Burkle.

Read the full article → 1 comment
Thumbnail image for 22nd Annual San Diego Latino Film Festival Media Kick-Off Party (Video)

22nd Annual San Diego Latino Film Festival Media Kick-Off Party (Video)

by Horacio Jones 03.04.2015 Culture

By Horacio Jones

For 22 years the San Diego Latino Film Festival put on by the Media Arts Center has brought great independent cinema to San Diego. It has become a unique event that many locals look forward to every year.

This year the film festival has moved their venue to AMC Fashion Valley 18 and has a new sponsor – San Diego County Lexus Dealers. During the Media Kick-Off Party I caught up with festival founder Ethan van Thillo, who gave a preview about what to expect during this year’s film festival. Several local filmmakers and actors were also in attendance and I interviewed Adriana Bush about her local documentary “Jessica Fights Back.” I also got to speak with a young local actress, Johanna Trujillo about her starring role in “Lake Los Angeles.”

Read the full article → 0 comments
Thumbnail image for Not the News in San Diego: Homeless Human Shot and Killed (Video)

Not the News in San Diego: Homeless Human Shot and Killed (Video)

by Doug Porter 03.02.2015 Business

By Doug Porter

A shocking confrontation caught on video involving a mentally ill homeless man in Los Angeles who was gunned down as police tried to evict him from a street-side tent is getting nationwide news coverage.

The Washington Post, the New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Seattle Times and of course the Los Angeles Times all covered the story. But you’ll have to dig to find it at UT-San Diego. It’s not in the today’s edition. (You can find it online if the paper’s search engine is working.)

This video cuts to the chase on three major issues facing this country; how we treat the mentally ill, our homeless population and the willingness of police to use firepower over brain power.

Read the full article → 13 comments
Thumbnail image for Golden Hill’s 25th Street Nightmare Gives the Lie to Faulconer’s Infrastructure Fantasy

Golden Hill’s 25th Street Nightmare Gives the Lie to Faulconer’s Infrastructure Fantasy

by Jim Miller 03.02.2015 Columns

By Jim Miller

A little over a week ago I was amused to see the Turko Files run a couple of segments “exposing” a disastrous Golden Hill renovation project on 25th Street that I had covered nearly six months earlier in late August of 2014. The KUSI angle was, appropriately, how bad the endless construction has been for local small businesses who have suffered through the scatter-shot planning and surreal whack-a-mole approach to getting the job done more“efficiently.”

Neighborhood residents might recall how Mayor Kevin Faulconer claimed his administration would change the game back in April of 2014 when he opined, “It’s a mindset that’s changing, and it says do it all at once. It’s taken awhile and it’s been frustrating for us, it takes more planning. So now, we do all of the projects at once – pipes, streets – so you don’t have to come back six months, two years later.”

What he didn’t consider was whether the residents of Golden Hill would dig it any better if his “efficient” new mindset of “doing it all at once” just meant that the work would keep going with no end in sight for the foreseeable future. Indeed, as bad as it is to live through the interminable disaster that is 25th Street, the political ironies are rich beyond words.

Read the full article → 12 comments
Thumbnail image for Newt Gingrich Happy Talk at the Times of San Diego

Newt Gingrich Happy Talk at the Times of San Diego

by Anna Daniels 02.27.2015 Media

One big helping of pre-digested revisionist twaddle

By Anna Daniels

The lead business story in the February 26 Times of San Diego reports that Newt Gingrich has joined the strategic advisory board of San Diego-based Pathway Genomics Corp. The former Speaker of the House’s bona fides for this position are taken directly from Gingrich’s own site gingrichproductions.com or from countless other sites which uncritically regurgitate the same information:

…During his time in Congress, he helped save Medicare from bankruptcy, shepherded Food and Drug Administration reform to help the seriously ill and initiated a new focus on scientific research, prevention and wellness.

This engenders severe cognitive dissonance for those of us who were breathing and sentient during the Gingrich years.

Read the full article → 4 comments
Thumbnail image for The Unnecessary Parts of the ‘Chargers Are Going to Leave’ Narrative

The Unnecessary Parts of the ‘Chargers Are Going to Leave’ Narrative

by Doug Porter 02.23.2015 Columns

By Doug Porter

The prospect of San Diego losing its beloved football team provides an opportunity to examine the worst of what the local media does in terms of misleading people about the relative importance of news.

Many stories in the local news media outlets seem based upon the belief this potential business decision (by an entity dependent on taxpayer largess for its profitability) is of critical importance for San Diegans. While I certainly appreciate the emotional connection between fans and sporting organizations, much of what I’ve read in the last few days is simply not connected to any reality that I’m aware of.

Putting this in perspective, the Chargers “fan base” ranks in the bottom half of National Football League, according to data compiled by Nielsen Scarborough, who looked at the percentage of adults who have watched, attended or listened to the NFL team in that market in the past year. Despite what team boosters say, San Diegans are decidedly lukewarm about most pro sports.

Read the full article → 8 comments
Thumbnail image for Republicans Stand Up for Racism as Court Blocks Immigration Programs

Republicans Stand Up for Racism as Court Blocks Immigration Programs

by Doug Porter 02.17.2015 Columns

By Doug Porter

A Federal District Court Judge in Brownsville, Texas has issued a ruling temporarily blocking President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration.

While the White House says the ruling will be appealed and many legal analysts say the injunction won’t stand up to challenges on appeal, the uncertainty involving the legal process represents a psychological victory for the nativist core of the Republican Party.

GOP leaders have cheered the ruling, saying it proves President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration exceeded his legal authority. Millions of other folks feel otherwise.

Read the full article → 1 comment
Thumbnail image for Racism Matters: Why We Do This Thing

Racism Matters: Why We Do This Thing

by Doug Porter 02.16.2015 Columns

By Doug Porter

This week the San Diego Free Press is taking a bit of a pause from our usual routine to focus on Race and Racism. Previous thematic efforts include War and Peace back in November and Guns in the week following the second anniversary of the sandy hook shootings.

While this daily column normally concerns itself with reviewing what other media are covering, I’m taking a minute out to encourage readers to join us on this journey of reflection and discussion. (And, yes, there is other news further down in the column.)

We’ve got an array of perspectives to share with readers this week. Today, Susan Grigsby and Jim Miller are looking into race & racism history, both nationally and locally. Looking into the drafts already completed for the week there are essays on the impact of racism on young black girls, inside looks by several writers on their developing racial consciousness, a late night tour of Old Town along with the ghosts of Cortez and the Kumeyaay and a terrific piece by Ricardo Levins Morales on whites fighting racism.

And there’s more… I hope you’ll read, comment on and share what we’re posting this week. Racism Matters is more than a slogan for us; it’s a core value.

Read the full article → 2 comments
Thumbnail image for Brian Williams’ Career Takes Some Friendly Fire

Brian Williams’ Career Takes Some Friendly Fire

by Junco Canché 02.12.2015 Cartoons
Read the full article → 0 comments
Thumbnail image for Is it a Bird? Is it a Plane? No, it’s Super Mayor! Kevin Faulconer Descends on New York

Is it a Bird? Is it a Plane? No, it’s Super Mayor! Kevin Faulconer Descends on New York

by Doug Porter 02.10.2015 Columns

By Doug Porter

Remember the days when San Diego was broke and broken?

Well, fear not citizens, happy days are here again. At least that’s the good news message our always-smiling mayor is busy delivering on the east coast this week.

The headline on yesterday afternoon’s press release from the Mayor’s office reads: “Mayor Faulconer to Share San Diego’s Comeback Story with National Media Outlets”.

Read the full article → 6 comments