Politics

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 DIY Resistance: Find Rock Bottom

DIY Resistance: Find Rock Bottom

by Will Falk 09.18.2014 Activism

By Will Falk

The August San Diego sun was hot. I spread a white blanket on the white concrete floor of a patio behind another mental health hospital, opened the book I asked my mother to bring me – Derrick Jensen’s Dreams, and tried to make myself as comfortable as possible.

The sun beat down and the sweat pooled on my palms. I closed the book not wanting my sweat to blur Jensen’s exploration of the role of the supernatural in resisting this culture of death. I couldn’t focus anyway. I couldn’t forget why I was there.

It was my second suicide attempt in four months.

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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 Why We March : Stepping Forth for a Planet in Peril

Why We March : Stepping Forth for a Planet in Peril

by Source 09.17.2014 Activism

By Eddie Bautista, La Tonya Crisp-Sauray, and Bill McKibben / TomDispatch

On Sunday, September 21st, a huge crowd will march through the middle of Manhattan. It will almost certainly be the largest rally about climate change in human history, and one of the largest political protests in many years in New York. More than 1,000 groups are coordinating the march — environmental justice groups, faith groups, labor groups — which means there’s no one policy ask. Instead, it’s designed to serve as a loud and pointed reminder to our leaders, gathering that week at the United Nations to discuss global warming, that the next great movement of the planet’s citizens centers on our survival and their pathetic inaction.

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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 Inside an Outsider’s Campaign for Elected Office – Motivations and Considerations

Inside an Outsider’s Campaign for Elected Office – Motivations and Considerations

by Lori Saldaña 09.15.2014 Activism

By Lori Saldaña /Part One of Four

As I listen to news reports on Hilary Clinton’s activities in Iowa, and the “Ready for Hillary” campaign theme that has spread for the past year, I think of my own motivations and considerations when I first discussed the possibility of becoming a candidate for State Assembly 12 years ago.

Ms. Clinton has discussed the impending birth of her  grandchild as something that gives her pause.   She is a veteran of decades of campaigns and elections, and understands what I did not in 2002: time with family often disappears, subsumed by the demands of a competitive election.

Her reflections on becoming a grandmother for the first time remind me of my own grandmother- Dorothy Brecht. In her 97 years of life she saw women earn the right to vote, men take to skies in planes for the first time, and then land on the moon. She wanted very much to see her granddaughter become the first in our family to hold elected office.

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Thumbnail image for Grass Roots Campaign For Mayor Heats Up In Imperial Beach : Serge Dedina Wants To Increase Civic Participation

Grass Roots Campaign For Mayor Heats Up In Imperial Beach : Serge Dedina Wants To Increase Civic Participation

by At Large 09.15.2014 Activism

By Barbara Zaragoza

While campaigns in Imperial Beach generally begin on Labor Day, Serge Dedina, co-founder and executive director of WildCoast, has been walking the streets of IB since last May. His run for mayor also happens to be the most comprehensive grass roots campaign in Imperial Beach history.

“No one has ever had more volunteers. No one has integrated the door-to-door campaigning with social media and email blasts. We have a list of 80 volunteers and on a weekly basis we are getting 10-12 people to walk,” said Dedina.

His campaign is gaining traction thanks to his unusual approach.

“My volunteers and I started walking throughout the summer between 5 and 7 days a week. Volunteers will be walking every Saturday until Election Day. That’s the difference with my campaign. It’s really fueled by walking and our volunteers and then the enthusiastic reception in the community.”

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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 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 The Fight to Save the Minimum Wage Hike Intensifies in San Diego

The Fight to Save the Minimum Wage Hike Intensifies in San Diego

by Doug Porter 09.11.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

The struggle for a better life for nearly two hundred thousand San Diegans continues, as the forces of reaction desperately fight back following passage of an ordinance increasing the local minimum wage by the City Council.

The San Diego Chamber of Commerce, with assistance from corporate hotel and restaurant corporations, has funded a campaign to force the issue to a referendum, which would have the effect of delaying any increase until July, 2016. While their sales pitch started out with the premise that citizens needed to vote on such a measure, it has gotten increasingly desperate in recent days.

The paid canvassers used by GOP consultant Jason Roe and the big business funded “Small Business Coalition” have quit in droves, mostly because they are unable to collect enough signatures to make a living. The bounty for names on their petitions has risen from roughly $2 per signature to $7 each at retail locations and $10 each if done door-to-door.

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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 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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Thumbnail image for Are You Ready to ‘Disrupt’? Climate Movement Readies Global Mobilization

Are You Ready to ‘Disrupt’? Climate Movement Readies Global Mobilization

by Source 09.10.2014 Activism

In less than two weeks, the ‘Climate People’s March & Mobilization’ is set to make its mark on history. A new film helps explain where the movement came from and where it’s going.

by Jon Queally/ CommonDreams

On Sunday, Sept. 7, a new documentary film highlighting the intertwined story of the climate crisis and the growing social movement which has grown in response to it was released online for national screenings that took place in people’s home and public meeting spaces.

At just under an hour long, the film—titled ‘Disruption’—was produced with a stated goal to “galvanize a new wave of climate action and climate leadership” across the globe and comes just weeks before the ‘People’s Climate March‘ being organized for New York City that will take place on Sunday, September 21.

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Thumbnail image for I’m No Longer Ready for Some Football

I’m No Longer Ready for Some Football

by Doug Porter 09.09.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

There was a time, back when I ran a sports bar in Washington DC, when celebrating our national gladiator sport was a near obsession for me. Televised games (no matter who was playing), betting pools, fantasy teams and the ultimate thrill of a couple of actual seats in an stadium were a big deal. 

Not any more. The onset of the NFL marketing mix this year leaves me feeling empty. And sad. And mad.

It’s no longer about the triumph of the human spirit over adversity. (It never was, but that’s another story.) Now its about brain damage. Now it’s about closing the ranks to hide egregious behavior. Now it’s about money, power and a platform for flaunting greed.

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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 What Happens When Reality Isn’t Good Enough

What Happens When Reality Isn’t Good Enough

by Bob Dorn 09.09.2014 Media

By Bob Dorn 

No question, the news will make you cranky.

GOOGLE News’ll make you cranky, too. Worse, it also makes you think you’re smarter than everybody else, an unfortunate combination of attitudes if you value reaching out to your fellow human being.

It’s good for us to remember Google News and other engineering marvels are designed and managed by mere mortals.

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Thumbnail image for Staving Off Traffic Jams Along the Information Super-Highway

Staving Off Traffic Jams Along the Information Super-Highway

by Source 09.09.2014 Activism

Every major consumer group, a nationwide coalition of mayors, and thousands of startups and small businesses have joined millions of people in urging the FCC to save Net Neutrality.

By Timothy Karr / OtherWords

There was no vacation for the Internet this summer.

While many Americans slipped away to the beach, Internet users were busy defending the openness of a network that has become this era’s engine for free expression, ingenuity and just about everything else.

The threat comes from Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler, who has proposed new rules that would fundamentally change the workings of the Web — leaving its fate in the hands of a few powerful phone and cable companies.

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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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