A Defining Issue for the 2016 Elections Will Be the Trans Pacific Pact (TPP)


By Doug Porter

The United States and 11 other Pacific Rim nations have agreed to the largest regional trade accord in history, one promising to set international commerce standards affecting 40% percent of the world’s economy.

The deal culminates years of negotiations setting up mechanics for a global economy as the basis for future prosperity. These negotiations never involved questioning the premise of neo-liberal policies as the foundation for economic development in the years ahead. In a nutshell, this means “marketplace” will be the final arbiter in the global economy.

The rules of the economic game, as laid out in previous trade-pacts, are seen by the left as driving forces in the widening of economic inequality. This, along with parochial and nationalist concerns on the right, sets up the Trans Pacific Pact (TPP) as a defining political battle as the US heads into an election year.   [Read more…]

Do All “Black Lives Matter?”

Two Moms

By Ernie McCray

Damn. One day I’m writing a piece concerning discrimination against lesbians and gays, making a pitch for us to let the now proverbial Adam and Steve or Alanna and Eve feel at ease in just being themselves.

And the very next day, to my dismay, I hear of a little 5-year-old black girl who is kicked out of a school, the Mt. Erie Christian Academy, because she has two moms.

Whoa, right back where I started from. Another story about “beliefs.” Christian beliefs. But I just have to say I can’t see Christ turning some child away from a school with some lame excuse like “The Bible says homosexuality is a sin,” making that little girl, in essence, a victim of her mothers’ sins.   [Read more…]

San Diego Democrats to Progressive Base: We’re Just Not That Into You

via Facebook

By Jim Miller

Last week over at the San Diego Union-Tribune, Logan Jenkins had some fun pondering what might happen if the “Dems go dark” this upcoming mayoral election.   His conclusion?  It would push Faulconer to the top-tier of Republican candidates for Governor in 2018:

And, it should be deduced, a cakewalk sweetens Faulconer’s prospects in Sacramento.

In 18 months or so, Republicans will be looking for a governor candidate who can appeal to Latinos and independents as well as the conservative base. The Democrats have a long electable bench. Republicans? Not so much.

If Faulconer is re-elected by a landslide in a major Democratic city, he’s going to rise to the top tier of the GOP’s A+ list.

  [Read more…]

As Secret Trade Talks Reveal Cracks, Demonstrators Aim Death Blows at TPP

stop tpp banner

Pacific trade deal opponents hope that if Atlanta round fails, pro-corporate TPP could be knocked off track indefinitely

By Deidre Fulton / CommonDreams

As trade ministers from around the world continued meeting in Atlanta on Thursday for final-stretch negotiations on the corporate-friendly Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), civil society groups demonstrated on the streets in a final salvo against a deal they describe as “a wholesale auction of our rights, our freedoms, and our democracy to multinational corporations who put profits over people.”

“They’re getting close, but we can stop them,” reads the Citizens Trade Campaign’s call-to-action. “If we do, and the Atlanta round fails, many believe the TPP could be knocked off track indefinitely.”   [Read more…]

Oregon College Massacre, More Gun Nut Excuses


By Doug Porter

A very disturbed 26-year-old man killed nine people and injured seven others at a community college in Oregon on October 1st. He was killed in a gunfight with police officers responding to 911 calls.

The President made his 15th appearance to address the nation following a mass shooting. He was obviously very angry and frustrated.

The blowback from the right edge of the flat-earthers was, as usual, both ignorant and infuriating.   [Read more…]

SANDAG’s Gary Gallegos: ‘Transit is not going to work for every person in the region’

Gary Gallegos

By Sam Ollinger / BikeSD

“We are not going to put everybody on a bike, we are not going to take everybody out of their car, transit is not going to work for every person in the region.” – Gary Gallegos, executive director of SANDAG, San Diego’s Metropolitan Planning Organization. January 8, 2014.

“the SANDAG plan is to spend more than half the $204 billion on mass transit, adding five new Trolley lines, 32 new rapid bus lines and 275 miles of new bikeways, as well as 160 miles of freeway lanes intended to help transit and encourage carpools and van pools. The net effect would be to reduce county greenhouse gas emissions by considerably more than state targets.” – UT Editorial Board

I don’t know what sort of drugs the UT Editorial Board is consuming, because if they bothered to read SANDAG’s own analysis they would have seen that implementing the existing Regional Transportation Plan (scheduled for a SANDAG board vote on October 9th) in its current form is going to increase the region’s greenhouse gas emissions.   [Read more…]

University Contract Workers Wages –Or Lack Thereof– in the Crosshairs


By Doug Porter

Today (Oct 1), some contract employees working on University of California facilities will be seeing a pay hike to $13 an hour. The university system is California’s third largest employer and the largest employer in San Diego.

Earlier this year UC President Janet Napolitano announced a plan to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour over a three-year roll-out for all workers, including contract ones, and today’s bump is just the first stage.  

Or maybe they won’t be seeing that raise. The Los Angeles Times reports the Department of Labor has launched an investigation into long-time contractor Performance First Building Services failure to pay overtime to workers cleaning up after sporting events at UC Berkeley.   [Read more…]

Return to Delano: the 50th Anniversary of the Delano Grape Strike

delano excerpt

By Maria E. Garcia

A few weeks ago, when the United Farm Workers (UFW) posted that there would be a celebration commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Delano Grape Strike, I posted a simple sentence on Facebook: ” San Diego is anybody going?” Within a few minutes my friend Gloria Serrano-Medina responded with a simple “vamos” and with that one word a decision to be part of that celebration was made.

This would not be my first trip to the Forty Acres, the parcel of land in Delano, California that in 1966 became the headquarters for the United Farm Workers of America, the first permanent agricultural labor union in the United States.   [Read more…]

Ta-Nehisi Coates, ‘Unflinching’ Voice on Racism, Declared MacArthur Genius

Ta-Nehisi Coates

‘Writing without shallow polemic and in a measured style, Coates addresses complex and challenging issues such as racial identity, systemic racial bias, and urban policing,’ declared the MacArthur Foundation.

By Sarah Lazare / Common Dreams

Journalist, author, and leading voice on anti-black racism in America, Ta-Nehisi Coates, was revealed Tuesday to be one of 24 recipients of the 2015 MacArthur Genius awards.

“Writing without shallow polemic and in a measured style, Coates addresses complex and challenging issues such as racial identity, systemic racial bias, and urban policing,” declared the foundation. “He subtly embeds the present—in the form of anecdotes about himself or others—into historical analysis in order to illustrate how the implications of the past are still experienced by people today.”   [Read more…]

School Board Trustee Praised, Defended and Investigated, All in a Day at San Diego Unified


By Doug Porter

School Board Trustee Marne Foster is at the center of several controversies in the San Diego Unified School District. A meeting of the trustees yesterday featured numerous TV trucks lined up outside, partisans and opponents inside, along with three distinct actions and enough drama for a cable mini-series.

Documents released by the district answered many questions raised concerning the School of Creative and Performing Arts, at the center of the current controversy. Responding to charges that Trustee Foster had intervened in school affairs on behalf of her son, the district’s documents amounted to a master class in how to respond to a political controversy: hit’em [critics] hard and hit ‘em long. This situation is far from resolved, however.

Also, the school board authorized an investigation into Trustee Foster’s involvement in a fundraiser on behalf of her son’s college fund and a claim filed against the district allegedly by the child’s father. And they passed a resolution praising Foster for her work promoting equity in the district.  Confused yet? It is complicated, to be sure.   [Read more…]

I Hope We Can Finally Just Let Adam and Steve Be

Marriage Equality

(No Matter What our Beliefs Happen to Be)

This Kim Davis situation is just too familiar for my liking, too much like it has always been in this country based on what I’ve seen in 77 years.

I mean I have no idea what this woman’s work entails in a day. But one of her tasks seems, to me, like a dream job, where all she’d have to do is a little soft shoe with jazz hands and a big smile and sing: “Howdy do. Congratulations, you two. Here’s your marriage license. Toddle-oo!”

But she can only do that for “Adam and Eve.” “Adam and Steve” or any woman whose honey is a she has to be insulted by her for all the world to see because of what her scripture has taught her to believe.   [Read more…]

Stand Up for Planned Parenthood on #PinkOutDay in San Diego


By Doug Porter

Today’s the day. Three months into the latest effort by the self-righteous right to make women’s health into a wedge issue, supporters of Planned Parenthood are standing up for their cause.

There are 4 “Pink Out Day” events in San Diego County and 249 actions around the country planned for September 29th. Coincidentally (okay, maybe not), this is also the same day Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards will face off against the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

Back in July, an organization called the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) released a series of videos purporting to show Planned Parenthood doctors selling parts from aborted fetuses to researchers for profit, which would have been illegal. The videos were selectively edited. The people behind the CMP have a long history of harassing medical personnel and women visiting clinics.   [Read more…]

Why We Must End Upward Pre-Distribution to the Rich

sdfp income-inequality

By Robert Reich / RobertReich.Org

You often hear inequality has widened because globalization and technological change have made most people less competitive, while making the best educated more competitive.

There’s some truth to this. The tasks most people used to do can now be done more cheaply by lower-paid workers abroad or by computer-driven machines.

But this common explanation overlooks a critically important phenomenon: the increasing concentration of political power in a corporate and financial elite that has been able to influence the rules by which the economy runs.   [Read more…]

Bush AND Obama Both Responsible for Screwing Up the Middle East

army teamwork

Regime Change Was Their Common Theme

By John Lawrence

Obama wanted it to be part of his legacy that he ended two wars, those in Iraq and Afghanistan, which were started by his predecessor, George W Bush along with his vice President Dick Cheney. Only it’s not working out entirely as he planned, and he’s coming in for a lot of criticism from, among others, Cheney himself. In a new book, Exceptional, Why the World Needs a Powerful America, written with daughter Liz Cheney, Cheney criticizes Obama while defending his own legacy. Cheney has been in full self-rehabilitation mode ever since he stepped down as George W Bush’s brain.

The criticism now is that Obama left Iraq too soon and thus created a power vacuum that ISIS has filled. No doubt ISIS stepped into the vacuum created by the departure of Saddam Hussein, but the part that Cheney is missing is that his administration took out Saddam for no valid reason whatsoever and created the power vacuum in the first place. As long as Saddam was in power, no group such as al Qaeda or ISIS could possibly have gained a foothold in Iraq.

As Colin Powell said recently on Meet the Press, and I paraphrase, you can’t take out the guy at the top if there is no structure beneath him to support a stable government and expect good results. Certainly neither George W Bush, who wanted to create western style democracies in the Middle East using war as a means, nor Barack Obama, who wanted to do the same thing by encouraging the youth to rise up after getting rid of despicable dictators, have achieved the results they were hoping for.   [Read more…]

Congressional Values: “Zippidy do-da, zippidy day.”


By Doug Porter

Speaker of the House John Boehner was singing the classic Disney ditty as he walked in for a Friday morning press conference where he shocked just about everybody by announcing his resignation.

While Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is considered a probable successor to Boehner as Speaker, it’s worthwhile to look at the recently concluded 10th annual Value Voters Summit for some context about the changes taking place.

It was, after all, the crowd at the political conference for American social conservative activists that gave a standing ovation after hearing news of the Ohio congressman’s resignation.   [Read more…]

Taking the Leap: Imagine a New World

healthy planet

By Jim Miller

Last week the Pope came to America and delivered his groundbreaking message about the interrelated problems of climate change and economic inequality as well as the moral imperative to act to address them.  

We heard this message at the same time we learned that we have lost half the world’s marine animals since 1970 and that Exxon’s own research had confirmed the human role in climate change decades ago even as they were heavily funding efforts to block solutions.  During all of this, we were also reminded that every GOP candidate for President has absolutely nothing to offer in the face of this deadly threat.  

Clearly we need to change the game and do it quickly.  But how?     [Read more…]

Carlsbad Referendum Signatures Stun Caruso, City Council Pals

via Citizens for North County Facebook

Strawberry Field Owner’s Campaign Donations Revealed

By Richard Riehl

It must have been quite a shock for L.A.’s Caruso Affiliated executives to see the stack of signed petitions delivered to the Carlsbad city clerk’s office last Thursday. The 9,000 signers of the referendum petition are calling for a public vote on the developer’s plan for a lagoon-view shopping center, as promised in the title of the initiative, Measure to be Submitted Directly to the Voters.

When the Carlsbad city Council unanimously approved his plan on August 25, Caruso had already spent nearly $3 million on signature gatherers and a blizzard of glossy, full-color mailers to persuade 20,000 Carlsbadians that his plan to build a shopping mall was all about saving the Strawberry Fields.

The day after the council voted, a grassroots group, Citizens for North County, announced its plan to launch a referendum drive. Caruso had to redouble his marketing campaign. But this time his mailers, accompanied by daily prime time TV ads, featured headshot photos of and quotes from all five city Council members, as well as the owner of the Strawberry Fields. Each repeated the lie that signing the referendum would destroy the Strawberry Fields, despite the promise of Prop D to preserve them, passed by voters in 2006. The Caruso mailer included a detachable, postage-paid card to return to the city clerk for signers of the referendum to have their names withdrawn.   [Read more…]

California’s Renewables Progress Commendable But Emission Of Global CO2 Still Exponential

Photo by Atmospheric Infrared Sounder

By Frank Thomas

California continues its remarkable legislative breakthroughs in going green under the SB 350 Clean Energy and Pollution Reduction Act of 2015. Legislation just passed sets two goals for 2030: 50% of state utility power from renewables and a 50% increase in energy efficiency of buildings. The provision for a 50% reduction in petroleum use for cars and trucks failed to pass as did the SB 32 bill that sets GHG emission targets for 2030 and 2050.

Still, the sweeping new mandates passed call for DOUBLING energy efficiency and using renewables for HALF of California’s electricity generation by 2030. It is uncertain how fast and to what extent transportation electrification will proceed California’s aim to step up its commitment to clean energy acknowledges the scientific reality we humans don’t have the luxury of lots of time to transition FAST to renewable energy and much improved energy efficiency.   [Read more…]

What Happened To the Central American Refugee Crisis?

Photo by Tony Webster

By Vanessa Ceceña

Minors and families chose, and continue to choose, the dangerous and lengthy journey from Central American to the U.S.-Mexico border, simply because it’s a more appealing option than remaining in their communities of origin.

Many flee the proliferation of gang violence, the continued lack of economic opportunities. Others travel to reunify with family members whom they have not seen for years. Last year we witnessed the greatest surge of Central Americans arriving to our border seeking refuge. By the end of fiscal year 2015, a total of 26,685 unaccompanied minors had arrived at the Southwest U.S.-Mexico border.   [Read more…]

Haggen Stores Closing: Corporate Greed Costs Eight Thousand Jobs in California


By Doug Porter

Less than six months since taking over 146 Albertsons and Vons locations, the Haggen grocery chain has announced closings for all its locations in California, Arizona and Nevada. Twenty-five stores in San Diego county will be shuttered, just two days before Thanksgiving.  (More inside)

Pope Francis gave his long-awaited address to Congress yesterday. Local faith, community and labor activists took the opportunity to amplify the pontiff’s messages on the social justice and the environment, holding a press conference and a packed interfaith forum at St. Paul’s Cathedral. (More Inside)

There are many noteworthy events coming soon:

  • Point Loma Democrats will feature a presentation by Rabbi Laurie Coskey on the fight for $15 movement,
  • The Center on Policy Initiatives will hosting the Spotlight on Justice Awards, and
  • Organized labor is stepping up its game with the 2015 San Diego Conference on Labor and Community Solidarity.

(Details and more events inside)   [Read more…]

Climate Change Fixers’ Bag of Tricks


By Sarah “Steve” Mosko / Boogie Green

Halting global warming is the chief environmental challenge of our time.

While heat-trapping carbon dioxide (CO2) is not the only greenhouse gas (GHG), it’s the most abundant and longest-lived in the atmosphere and contributes the most to global warming. In March, atmospheric CO2 content reached a new high of 400 parts per million, already past the 350 limit many scientists believe is a safe level above which we risk triggering irreversible consequences out of human control.

Second only to China as the largest CO2 emitter, it’s incumbent on the United States to lead the world in addressing global warming. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates that the window of time to avoid the worst effects is just a few decades. Yet the United States has not adopted even a nationwide strategy.   [Read more…]

Poverty and Pollution in San Diego, Bike Lane Madness in Coronado, Labor Troubles in Oceanside


By Doug Porter

America’s Finest City and its neighbors have got a lot of work to do.

The Center on Policy Initiatives has finished crunching the 2014 census data released last week, finding the number of San Diegans living in official poverty continues to increase. Seniors, children and minority populations are disproportionally impacted, with 41.5% of adults living in poverty reporting they had jobs in 2014.

The Climate Action Campaign and Circulate San Diego released a report on Wednesday critical of regional planning proposals, saying current efforts will undermine one of the main goals of the city’s climate action plan.

The icing on the cake for the day was a report from KPBS about a successful effort in Coronado to halt additional bike lanes based on citizen complaints about “paint stripe pollution.”   [Read more…]

The Pope Heard Round the World


By Hutton Marshall / SD350.org

The Pope is in town.

Not this town, unfortunately — he’s in Washington, D.C.  Pope Francis will give a historic address to Congress, where he is expected to speak on the escalating climate change crisis. This closely watched event will further solidify his stature as an acknowledged global leader of the climate change movement.  He caps the year in Paris with an address to world leaders at the UN-sponsored climate change summit.

Earlier this year, Pope Francis released his Encyclical Letter entitled “On Care for our Common Home.”  A passionate, comprehensive 40,000-word exhortation about caring for the planet, the Encyclical weaves modern climate science together with teachings from Catholicism and other religions, to build the case that caring for Earth’s climate is a moral obligation, a matter of justice for the poor and vulnerable. He thus breaks down the barriers between religion and science, and between environmental stewardship and social justice.

Pope Francis is by no means a rogue actor in using his papal authority to speak out on climate change. As the Encyclical notes, previous popes have spoken to the same issues.   [Read more…]

DeMaio-Reed Pension Measure Flops, For Now


By Doug Porter

Former City Councilman Carl DeMaio, along with former San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, are headed back to the drawing board, following the failure of their latest pension “reform” ballot proposal to gain traction in California.

DeMaio and Reed were hoping to attract funding and political support for a pension reform initiative involving voter approval for each and every future plan throughout the state, negating what is now part of the collective bargaining process.

The California Republican Party failed to endorse the measure during its Anaheim convention last weekend. DeMaio and Reed cried foul last month after the State Attorney General’s office gave the proposed reforms ballot language not to their liking.   [Read more…]

The Citizens’ Watch of Mission Valley: “Manchester Project” Approved and Work Begins on Valley’s Largest (and Only) Park


To outsiders, Mission Valley at times feels like it’s in its own intense universe. Other times, it seems like San Diego’s own “black hole”- once you enter Mission Valley, you immediately get swept into its traffic craziness and grid-lock.

But what happens in Mission Valley deeply affects the rest of San Diego, especially the coastal areas directly to the west – like Ocean Beach, the Peninsula, Mission Beach, PB – but also other nearby communities such as Clairemont and Grantville. Because of this close proximity these other communities are impacted by both the increases in population and density in Mission Valley and – due to the lack of infrastructure in the valley – are also impacted by strains on their infrastructure.

Because of these – let’s call them – interconnections – , we have been running a series of articles about what is being developed and being planned in Mission Valley. With these articles, we’ve instituted a type of ‘Citizen Watch of Mission Valley’ – and here, we continue this irregular series on the continued development and destruction of Mission Valley. Here’s our latest: …   [Read more…]