Politics

Thumbnail image for Calling Out the Liars Behind the Anti Minimum Wage Campaign in San Diego

Calling Out the Liars Behind the Anti Minimum Wage Campaign in San Diego

by Doug Porter 08.22.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

Paid signature gatherers, many from out of town, fanned out across the city this week trying to persuade voters to support a Chamber of Commerce led effort to block a  minimum wage increase for San Diegans.

City Council President Todd Gloria, a very high profile local politician and author of the minimum wage/sick days ordinance, had the presence of mind to make an instagram video as he was approached outside an uptown post office.

“Have you signed the petition so the state can’t force the city of San Diego to increase the minimum wage yet?” the signature-gatherer asked. “I support raising the minimum wage,” Gloria answered.

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Thumbnail image for Abed, Diaz Spar at Escondido Chamber Mayoral Forum

Abed, Diaz Spar at Escondido Chamber Mayoral Forum

by Source 08.22.2014 Government

Escondido Democratic Club

There were few surprises as candidates for Escondido Mayor in the November election met for a forum August 20, sponsored by the Escondido Chamber of Commerce.

Mayor Sam Abed and Deputy Mayor Olga Diaz repeatedly demonstrated the starkly different choice before voters.

Perhaps the ‘news’ was the presence of Stephen Siaw, an unexpected newcomer to the race and to city politics. It was Siaw’s first appearance at a public candidate forum. The approximately 100 people in attendance welcomed him warmly.

Chamber Governmental Affairs chair Kevin Svetich asked a wide-ranging mix of questions that covered the key issues.

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Thumbnail image for Groups Call ALS Bucket Challenge a Baby Killer

Groups Call ALS Bucket Challenge a Baby Killer

by Doug Porter 08.21.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

Talk about your buzzkill.

Everybody, it seems, has been doing the ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) challenge lately. Actor Charlie Sheen, San Diego Chargers safety Eric Weddle and even Mayor Kevin Faulconer have had buckets of iced liquid dumped on them as part a nationwide fundraising campaign.

While public figures locally have gone out of their way to be conscious about the drought faced by Californians, there’s always a crank somewhere looking to be a spoiler.

In the case of the ALS challenge it’s a certain Catholic Archdiocese and the we’re-not-a-hate-group types at the American Family Association (AFA). You might remember the AFA from their ‘don’t buy Harvey Milk stamps campaign’.

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Thumbnail image for The Grand Experiment at Voice of San Diego

The Grand Experiment at Voice of San Diego

by At Large 08.21.2014 Columns

By Linda Perine / Democratic Woman’s Club

When Voice of San Diego (VOSD) began online publication nearly a decade ago  the excitement in progressive San Diego was palpable. Here, finally, was an answer to the biased reporting that had been a hallmark of the UT for years (even before it was purchased by Doug Manchester).

The world of journalism was being revolutionized as the print media model became too expensive and cumbersome to compete in an instant access world. Slate and Salon opened their digital doors, and it seemed a new dawn of accountable news reporting was upon us.

San Diego journalist/entrepreneur Neil Morgan and Buzz Woolley founded VOSD. Those were the days of Enron by the Sea, pension underfunding, indicted council members, resigning Mayors and special elections (sound familiar?).

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Thumbnail image for Don’t Sign It! Chamber of Commerce Led Group Seeks to Block Minimum Wage Increase

Don’t Sign It! Chamber of Commerce Led Group Seeks to Block Minimum Wage Increase

by Doug Porter 08.19.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

As expected yesterday, the City Council voted to override Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s veto of San Diego’s Earned Sick Day / Minimum Wage ordinance. The vote was 6-2, with all Democrats supporting and Republicans Mark Kersey, and Scott Sherman opposed. Councilwoman Lori Zapf did not attend the meeting.

Not long after the council vote Chamber of Commerce CEO Jerry Sanders dialed up the media, announcing they’d be collecting signatures to force a referendum on the ordinance, hoping to suspend (until the June, 2016 elections) an increase in pay for an estimated 172,000 local workers, along with denying access to earned sick days to 279,000 individuals.

Raise Up San Diego, the alliance of community, faith and labor groups supporting the ordinance passed by the City Council has announced it will mount an educational campaign urging people to decline to sign the referendum petitions.

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As Abortion Rights Shrink, What’s the Best Language to Use to Protect Women’s Options?

by Source 08.19.2014 Activism

As leaders like Planned Parenthood are dropping “pro-choice” language, is there a smart alternative—and should there be one?

By Alyssa Figueroa / AlterNet

Planned_Parenthood_HCR
Across America, reproductive freedom is shrinking. Even with Alabama’s recent court victory protecting abortion rights in that deep red state, the overwhelming trend is very discouraging.

Red-state Republicans have shut down clinics in states like Texas. The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld protesters’ right to harass women going to clinics. State legislatures haveenacted 21 new abortion restrictions so far this year. Worse yet, recent research has found that while many young women support the substance of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark Supreme Court ruling that affirmed the right to end pregnancies, they are still apt to label themselves pro-life.

What’s going wrong? There’s no one answer. But a striking development is that the reproductive health movement is backing away from its longtime “pro-choice” label. Planned Parenthood has recently decided to drop it in favor of newer messaging that seeks to connect abortion with a wide range of women’s issues.

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Thumbnail image for SeaWorld: A Bigger Cage Doesn’t Change Anything

SeaWorld: A Bigger Cage Doesn’t Change Anything

by Doug Porter 08.18.2014 Business

By Doug Porter

 After a bad week in the stock market and a bad first half of the year at the turnstile, the company behind SeaWorld announced a series of moves it obviously hopes will enhance the image of its water parks.

The plans include doubling the size of its orca environment, contributing an additional $10 million to research on the species and establishing an independent advisory committee of scientists to oversee its orca program.

The new orca environment, dubbed the Blue World Project, will cover 1.5 acres at 50 feet deep and 350 feet in length. The new habitat will have 10 million gallons of water, up from 5.6 million. Visitors will be able to view the orcas from a 40-foot-tall glass wall below the water line.

The editorial board at UT-San Diego was impressed. Not many other people seemed to share their near-gushing sentiment.

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Thumbnail image for War Weary

War Weary

by At Large 08.17.2014 Activism

By Jay Powell

Weary.
That’s what they say we are.

The chicken hawk sabre rattlers
Are yellin’ at Obama ‘cause
He won’t put real boots on the ground
But they won’t say exactly that cause they know we are

(war) weary.

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Thumbnail image for Is the Obama and EU Face-Off With Putin a New Cold War? What Forces Are Driving the Confrontation? Part III

Is the Obama and EU Face-Off With Putin a New Cold War? What Forces Are Driving the Confrontation? Part III

by At Large 08.16.2014 Culture

By Frank Thomas and John Lawrence

Parts 1 and 2 can be found here and here.

So Why is This Obama’s Problem (J. Lawrence)

Without any cooperation from Congress, Obama is relegated to using his executive powers to try and effect some meaningful action on his domestic agenda for which the Congressional Republican response is, “Let’s sue him.” The Republican House not only will not cooperate with Obama on any level, they actively oppose his every move. They are worse than a “Do Nothing” Congress; they are an active “Try to Make Obama Fail No Matter What He Does” Congress. The only legislation the Republicans in Congress would support is if Obama suddenly came to them and proposed a massive tax reduction for the rich and a concomitant tax increase on the poor and middle class. Or if he proposed to do away with Medicare and Social Security. Then they would line up in support of Obama and cheer him on.

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Thumbnail image for San Diego City Council Supermajority Prepares to Save the Day

San Diego City Council Supermajority Prepares to Save the Day

by Junco Canché 08.15.2014 Cartoons
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Thumbnail image for Escondido Rolls the Dice With Charter City Ballot Measure

Escondido Rolls the Dice With Charter City Ballot Measure

by At Large 08.15.2014 Government

By Murtaza Baxamusa

Despite several warnings about the taxpayer costs and risks, Escondido’s politicians have decided to place a charter city ballot measure before their voters this November. Escondido will thus join Costa Mesa and Arroyo Grande in voting on a charter, despite the fact that voters rejected similar measures in these cities two years ago.

The public may not know what a charter is, and why it is important. Some may recollect that in 2012, Costa Mesa became the “Wisconsin of the West” by proposing a new city charter that would outsource city jobs, outlaw collective bargaining on public projects, exempt itself from prevailing wages for construction workers, and limit union dues from being used for political advocacy. Well, 59 percent of voters in Costa Mesa rejected it, and state legislature stepped in to ensure that the chartering process was not being abused to rush through ideologically motivated laws.

State legislation now requires that a new charter city ballot appear on a statewide general election. This November is the first time that these cities can pass new charters under this law. Therefore, the charters in Costa Mesa, Escondido and Arroyo Grande are back on the ballot.

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Thumbnail image for Is the Obama and EU Face-Off With Putin a New Cold War? What Forces Are Driving the Confrontation? Part II

Is the Obama and EU Face-Off With Putin a New Cold War? What Forces Are Driving the Confrontation? Part II

by At Large 08.15.2014 Government

Written by Frank Thomas  (Part 1 can be found here.)

Some Questions Raised

As Germany’s gifted Chancellor Angela Merkel said recently: “Putin lives in a different reality.”

Putin’s brain, Aleksandr Dugin (the author of Eurasianism) has reinvigorated Putin’s policy for expanding Russia’s sphere of influence to Russian-speaking communities in bordering nations. Dugin is an unsparing advocate of the Russian insurgents working near or within the Ukraine.

Mervyn Bendle writes ,“Under Dugin’s influence, fear of Atlanticism now pervades the Russian defense establishment and Putin. Recognizing the limitations of traditional military action, Dugin advocates a program of ideological warfare, subversion, disinformation, demoralization, destabilization, and insurgency, with special forces, sponsored militias, and other covert services in the vanguard.”

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Thumbnail image for Ferguson, Missouri: Racism, Riots and Reactions

Ferguson, Missouri: Racism, Riots and Reactions

by Doug Porter 08.14.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

In Ferguson, Missouri an unarmed young man was gunned down in the street last Saturday by a police officer. According to multiple witnesses 18 year old Mike Brown was shot multiple times, even after he faced the officer and raised his hands. His body lay in the street in the August sun for four hours after the shooting.

People who live in that community believe the shooting was just another example of the racism they face everyday. Ferguson’s population is near two-thirds African-American; just three of the 53 officers on the police force are not white. The authorities have done nothing but confirm their worst fears at every turn.

For the past four nights there have been confrontations between police and demonstrators. Last night things escalated. Following a announcement from a bulhorn on top of an armored vehicle saying “your right to demonstrate is not being obstructed”  there were unprovoked police attacks on crowds and in the surrounding neighborhoods using smoke bombs, tear gas, stun granades and rubber bullets.

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Thumbnail image for Is the Obama and EU Face-Off With Putin a New Cold War? What Forces Are Driving the Confrontation?

Is the Obama and EU Face-Off With Putin a New Cold War? What Forces Are Driving the Confrontation?

by John Lawrence 08.14.2014 Politics

By Frank Thomas and John Lawrence

Part 1

Some History (J. Lawrence)

Obama and Putin are locked in a dance reminiscent of the Cold War. But their maneuverings don’t represent a Cold War not even a cool one. In fact it’s more about placing themselves in the most noticeable positions on the world stage, something that each of their constituencies find familiar and even sentimental. Every world leader likes to lead the news, and Obama and Putin are no exceptions.

But first some history. Catherine the Great, one of the supposedly “enlightened despots” of Europe who hobnobbed with the French philosophes, nevertheless expanded the Russian Empire in a quest to attain a warm water port in the Crimea. Her armies fought a war with the Ottoman Empire (modern day Turkey) for control of the Black Sea. Peter the Great had opened Russia up to the Baltic Sea, founding St. Petersburg on the Baltic Coast, but Catherine was determined to expand her southeastern frontier and develop a permanent Russian presence on the Black Sea.

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Thumbnail image for Less Than Meets the Camera’s Eye: Part II

Less Than Meets the Camera’s Eye: Part II

by Bob Dorn 08.14.2014 Editor's Picks

Bush cut me off, saying, “Yes, I know your name,” and looked peeved, as if he’d stepped on a popsicle or a roach.

By Bob Dorn

In fall 1976, George H.W. Bush was in San Diego trying to clean up a mess that I and another Evening Tribune reporter had made for the agency he was then directing. I’d been tipped by a friend of mine, Newsweek’s stringer in San Diego, that the magazine was about to do a story on a Nazi criminal who was living somewhere in North County.

She had no more than that, and only a name, Edgars Laipenieks. Martin Gerchen and I worked our way through our thin list of federal sources and all the cross directories then available and got nowhere. So, we picked a Solana Beach neighborhood at random and started going door to door. It wasn’t long before we knocked on a door of a man who had a realtor’s directory of residents of the area.

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Who Runs San Diego? Papa Doug the Kingmaker

by Eva Posner 08.13.2014 Business

By Eva Posner / Democratic Woman’s Club

Last week we provided an overview of Doug Manchester, the U-T, and the influence this combination has on the electorate of San Diego County.

This week, the goal is to delve a bit deeper, using a recent issue to illustrate the intensity of collusion with the publisher of the region’s largest paper and other powers that be.

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Thumbnail image for Faux News, Environmental Views At Issue in 52nd District Congressional Race

Faux News, Environmental Views At Issue in 52nd District Congressional Race

by Doug Porter 08.13.2014 Business

By Doug Porter

Representative Scott Peters’ fight to keep his seat in the 52nd Congressional District continues to make the news. The National Journal and other media outlets ran stories yesterday about fake news sites being funded by the National Republican Congressional Committee; a quick search confirmed Peters was among their targets.

Climate Progress ran an article touting both Peters and opponent Carl DeMaio as unusual because both candidates agree that climate change is real- except that they couldn’t find a environmental activist willing to endorse DeMaio’s record.

Finally, former assemblyman Nathan Fletcher came out of his self-imposed political exile this morning to endorse Peters, Jack Harkin (former chair of the local United Veterans Council) and other veterans at a press conference in Balboa Park.

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Thumbnail image for Less Than Meets the Camera’s Eye: Part I

Less Than Meets the Camera’s Eye: Part I

by Bob Dorn 08.13.2014 Editor's Picks

“What was surprising was Reagan’s ah-shucks, shambling kind of entry walk into the room.”

By Bob Dorn

I’ve met two Presidents of the United States (POTUS, the now fashionably artless acronym via the Secret Service) and they both happened to be Republicans: George HW Bush and Ronald Reagan. I can say with as much confidence as I can name the day I was born that they were far less extraordinary than a lot of other people I’ve met.

I was a nobody who happened to be making a living as a reporter, a more difficult practice these days than it used to be, which is another story, and more difficult to tell than this one. I don’t feel that I earned what I know about the two who appear in the paragraph above. I just happened to be in the right place when they exposed themselves.

Reagan was Governor at the time, and I was at UC Santa Barbara working part time for an upstart weekly in Goleta. It was during the achingly slow march of the Board of Regents toward imposing tuition on students attending the world’s best free university. In August 1967 the weekly sent me up to UCLA to cover the meeting everyone knew would be the showdown between Reagan and The Board of Regents.

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Thumbnail image for San Diego’s Genome

San Diego’s Genome

by Norma Damashek 08.12.2014 Columns

By Norma Damashek / Numbers Runner

A couple of weeks ago I wrote that San Diego’s switch to a strong mayor style of government begat “a fresh load of scandal, farce, confusion, and dysfunction….”

But can we lay the blame on the switchover?  Does the form of government really control the outcome?

Not necessarily.  In fact, a recent on this very subject suggests there is no direct connection between the form of city government (city manager… strong mayor) and how well local government serves the public.

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Thumbnail image for Sorry, Pantene, You’re Holding Women Back Too

Sorry, Pantene, You’re Holding Women Back Too

by Source 08.12.2014 Business

The shampoo company could do a lot more to further feminine empowerment.

By Jill Richardson / OtherWords

A Pantene commercial that tells women to stop apologizing and “#ShineStrong” has gone viral. It contrasts scenes of women saying things like “Sorry, can I ask a stupid question?” with snippets of them behaving in an assertive way.

Pantene’s commercial makes a good point, but there are bigger problems holding women back — including the role that beauty products play in our culture.

For me, author Laura Kipnis explains it best. “Femininity, at least in its current incarnation, hinges on sustaining an underlying sense of female inadequacy,” she says in her book The Female Thing: Dirt, Envy, Sex, and Vulnerability.

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Thumbnail image for GOP Gubernatorial Candidate Neel Kashkari’s Workers’ Paradise: North Dakota

GOP Gubernatorial Candidate Neel Kashkari’s Workers’ Paradise: North Dakota

by Doug Porter 08.11.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

I attended Voice of San Diego’s Politifest on Saturday, held at Liberty Station. It was a gorgeous San Diego morning for what was dubbed a ‘civic festival.’ Republican gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari and Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins were invited to strut their stuff.

Politifest is in the tradition of the days when grand public rallies were held to support candidates and causes–with a little bit of the 60’s teach-in thrown in for good measure. The main difference is that this annual event doesn’t have a cause beyond civic involvement. 

There weren’t a whole lot of people there–once you accounted for all those participating in some fashion–but those that did attend were the kind of people who take their policy seriously. Alternately it could be called it Wonkfest; or Politicon (with craft beer! and food trucks!). The nerd in me was glad they do this.

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Thumbnail image for Isn’t the U.S. Pot Thing Frustrating? Great Success, Popular Support and Ugly Backlash

Isn’t the U.S. Pot Thing Frustrating? Great Success, Popular Support and Ugly Backlash

by Source 08.10.2014 Government

The nation has a split personality when it comes to pot.

By Don Hazen, April M. Short, Jan Frel, Steve Rosenfeld, and Tana Ganeva / AlterNet

In the robust efforts to legalize and decriminalize cannabis in the U.S., a slightly modified line from Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities applies: “These are the best of times, these are the worst of times.”

Despite huge success on many fronts, including legalization in two states with boffo success in Colorado (and two more states likely on the way), pot arrests remain astronomically high across the country. More than 750,000 were recorded in 2012, with pot arrests actually increasing in some states and the District of Columbia. The blue state of New York led the way with 125,000 arrests out of more than a million estimated users, or roughly 6% (the second highest percentage of pot smoker arrests next to Louisiana.)

It is ironic that in New York, progressive mayor Bill de Blasio was elected on a “Tale of Two Cities” theme, but police chief Bill Bratton’s NYPD continues to arrest pot users in high numbers. Those users are mostly black and Puerto Rican youth, which contributes to the massive inequality in the Big Apple that de Blasio says he wants to change. To illustrate the schizoid nature of our country’s relationship to pot, Brooklyn district attorney Kenneth Thompson has said he would not waste time and resources to prosecute everyday pot smokers, but Bratton says we are going to keep arresting them anyway.

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Thumbnail image for Mayor Faulconer’s First 100 Days: Veto Minimum-Wage Ordinance and Stalling on City’s Environmental Policies

Mayor Faulconer’s First 100 Days: Veto Minimum-Wage Ordinance and Stalling on City’s Environmental Policies

by Frank Gormlie 08.10.2014 Business

By Frank Gormlie / OB Rag

Mayor Kevin Faulconer has been in office now just a little over one hundred days. And if this start to his administration is an indicator, the remainder of his term as mayor may be cause for some very rough going for San Diego environmentalists and minimum-wage supporters.

Faulconer’s actions – or, rather, inactions, around environmental policies have made eco-advocates furious.

To the more immediate news, Friday, the 8th day of August, Faulconer formally vetoed the minimum-wage and sick-day ordinance passed by the City Council on July 28th.  The measure would if enacted increase the hourly minimum wage to $9.75 on Jan. 1, $10.50 in January 2016 and $11.50 in January 2017, plus it provided access to five earned sick days.

The Council, with a 6 to 3 current ratio of Dems to Repubs, is expected to over-ride the Mayor’s veto, and the measure will become law. But then, in turn, this is expected to set the stage for an extremely divisive referendum effort by businesses and the Chamber of Commerce seeking to overturn the ordinance – which will be placed on hold until the referendum issue is settled.

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What Could Have Been

by Source 08.09.2014 Culture

By Lucas O’Connor

FaulconerOn Friday, Kevin Faulconer made his position official and vetoed the City Council’s increase of the city’s minimum wage. We know Faulconer has long been fundamentally opposed to wage protections that strive to keep people out of poverty, likewise the big-money orgs who paid the way for his campaign. So while the move is hardly a surprise, it’s nevertheless bizarre.

The good folks who worked on Faulconer’s mayoral campaign have been remarkably open about their core strategy of manufacturing an image of Faulconer as a moderate in order to win. Since taking office, that approach has generally continued. This stripped-down compromise on minimum wage could have been the last step in that process, and everyone could have gone to happy hour 20 months early. But here we are. Why?

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Thumbnail image for Two Billion At Risk: The Threat of Limited Nuclear War

Two Billion At Risk: The Threat of Limited Nuclear War

by Source 08.09.2014 Activism

Robert Dodge, Ira Helfand / Common Dreams

As physicians we spend our professional lives applying scientific facts to the health and well being of our patients. When it comes to public health threats like TB, polio, cholera, AIDS and others where there is no cure, our aim is to prevent what we cannot cure. It is our professional, ethical and moral obligation to educate and speak out on these issues.

That said, the greatest imminent existential threat to human survival is potential of global nuclear war. We have long known that the consequences of large scale nuclear war could effectively end human existence on the planet. Yet there are more than 17,000 nuclear warheads in the world today with over 95% controlled by the U.S. and Russia. The international community is intent on preventing Iran from developing even a single nuclear weapon. And while appropriate to stop the spread of nuclear weapons, there is precious little effort being spent on the much larger and more critical problem of these arsenals.

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