Thumbnail image for The United Taxi Workers Victory and the Struggle for a New Labor Movement

The United Taxi Workers Victory and the Struggle for a New Labor Movement

by Jim Miller 11.17.2014 Activism

By Jim Miller

Last Monday’s victory for the United Taxi Workers of San Diego provided a much-needed boost for local labor.

After a year that has included some tough losses at the polls and the effort to save the minimum wage ordinance, it was inspiring to see the taxi drivers (largely East African immigrant workers) burst into celebration and pour out of Golden Hall chanting “USA!” as they embraced each other, mounted the planter boxes, and cheered for joy.

It was the kind of genuine expression of collective exuberance that comes when workers feel, perhaps for the first time, that they have taken ownership of their lives and destinies.

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Thumbnail image for Water Conservation San Diego Style: Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

Water Conservation San Diego Style: Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

by Lori Saldaña 11.17.2014 Editor's Picks

By Lori Saldaña

Are you taking steps to help conserve water in your household? Maybe added low-flow fixtures, or taken out grass, or received rebates from the city for installing rainwater tanks?

If so- congratulations for being part of voluntary solutions!  Now it’s time to up your conservation game with some of the new mandatory requirements. An insert was included in water bills this month, advising us that water restrictions started Nov. 1 in San Diego. The city wants us to be sure to follow the dates/times when watering is allowed.

However, because of the city’s billing method, even if you follow these guidelines, it may not impact the actual amount charged on your water bills in any significant way. This is because much of the costs are not for the water coming INTO your house, but for disposing of water after it’s been used and flows OUT of your house.

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Thumbnail image for Trailblazing Effort Needed on San Diego Climate Action Plans

Trailblazing Effort Needed on San Diego Climate Action Plans

by At Large 11.17.2014 Activism

By Jeffrey Meyer

With the recent release of a new United Nations report on the global impact of climate change, we are given still another chilling warning that we are facing catastrophe unless we accelerate efforts to confront this crisis.

The release of this report comes on the heels of a court decision rejecting the San Diego County climate action plan and the ongoing development of this state-mandated plan by the City of San Diego. It raises the stakes for everyone and compels us to reach higher and dig deeper for community solutions to this crisis.

The warning from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is an urgent signal for our city and county officials to not only meet state laws on reducing greenhouse gas emissions but to explore higher standards.

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Thumbnail image for Looking Back at the Week at SDFP and OB Rag: November 9-15

Looking Back at the Week at SDFP and OB Rag: November 9-15

by Brent E. Beltrán 11.16.2014 Looking Back at the Week

Compiled by Brent E. Beltrán

This week’s edition of Looking Back at the Week features articles by San Diego Free Press and OB Rag regulars, irregulars, columnists, and at-large contributors on war & peace, DeMaio conceding, the taxi drivers’ victory, SD’s political shuffle, labor unrest, tired Mexico, the voting cycle, Honky, extreme weather, and, as always, bucketfulls of OB news.

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Thumbnail image for A Week of War and Peace at the San Diego Free Press

A Week of War and Peace at the San Diego Free Press

by Anna Daniels 11.16.2014 Culture

By Anna Daniels

One week ago, the SDFP editorial board sent a short email to its writers and contributors, asking for their thoughts on the topic of War and Peace.  We were curious to see if there was an interest in this broader theme that would go beyond the usual media treatment of  Veterans Day.

Our email was immediately filled with responses. Writers sent articles, video links and poetry. We were frankly surprised at the interest.  It told us two important things.

It is apparent that there are few opportunities for civic engagement on this topic and its complex historical and contemporary elements.  It also told us that the San Diego Free Press is in a unique position to provide a platform for that civic engagement.

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Thumbnail image for Don’t Ask the Pentagon Where Its Money Goes

Don’t Ask the Pentagon Where Its Money Goes

by Source 11.16.2014 Economy

It won’t tell.

By Medea Benjamin / OtherWords

President Barack Obama proudly signed the law that repealed the Pentagon’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, freeing lesbian, gay, and bisexual Americans (although not trans people) to openly serve in the military four years ago.

But when it comes to budgeting, the concept lingers on. “Don’t ask us how we spend money,” the Pentagon basically says. “Because we can’t really tell you.”

Every taxpayer, business, and government agency in America is supposed to be able to pass a financial audit by the feds, every year. It’s the law, so we do our duty. There’s one exception: the Pentagon.

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Thumbnail image for US: ‘No Nation Is Perfect.’ ‘We Crossed the Line.’ (But Don’t Expect Accountability for Legacy of Torture)

US: ‘No Nation Is Perfect.’ ‘We Crossed the Line.’ (But Don’t Expect Accountability for Legacy of Torture)

by Source 11.16.2014 Military

Despite earlier indications, White House tells panel in Geneva that U.S.  will abide by UN Convention Against Torture… for the most part

Jon Queally, staff writer /CommonDreams

The Obama administration indicated that it will back away from a position held by the previous administration that claimed the United States is not obligated to abide by the UN Treaty Against Torture when operating on foreign soil. That’s the good news.

In comments made before the UN Committee Against Torture during hearings that began in Geneva, acting U.S. legal advisor Mary McLeod told the panel, “The US is proud of its record as a leader in respecting, promoting and defending human rights and the rule of law, both at home and around the world.”

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Thumbnail image for México Está Cansado… (Mexico is tired of…)

México Está Cansado… (Mexico is tired of…)

by Junco Canché 11.15.2014 Cartoons
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Thumbnail image for Veterans For Peace Give Out 2,300th Sleeping Bag Set in Downtown San Diego

Veterans For Peace Give Out 2,300th Sleeping Bag Set in Downtown San Diego

by At Large 11.15.2014 Activism

By Gil Field

Veteran members, associate members, and friends and supporters of the San Diego Veterans For Peace, Chapter #91 are proud to announce that in October 2014 the 2300th sleeping bag set was given out to the homeless in downtown San Diego!

It is through the generous on-going financial contributions of friends and the general public that our Compassion Campaign is able to indefinitely continue this humane life-saving program.

In December 2010 the San Diego chapter of the national Veterans For Peace organization began the “Compassion Campaign” — an outreach effort to help displaced homeless veterans. Ignited by conversations with many homeless veterans on the street in downtown San Diego, the chapter membership determined that the lives of homeless veterans and non-veterans downtown could improve significantly if given basic equipment – like a sleeping bag, as many were sleeping rough on hard pavement each night with only a light blanket, their jacket, or nothing.

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Thumbnail image for ‘Tis the Season for Labor Unrest: Walmart Activists Sit-In, Port Truckers Walk Off, Contract Workers March in DC

‘Tis the Season for Labor Unrest: Walmart Activists Sit-In, Port Truckers Walk Off, Contract Workers March in DC

by Doug Porter 11.14.2014 Business

By Doug Porter

Coast to coast labor actions on Thursday, November 13th, provided a preview of what’s to come in the not-so-distant future as workers who’ve been marginalized and abused in the so-called post recession economy begin voicing their frustrations. The tactic of short, sudden strikes starting with restaurant workers in New York City several years ago is going nationwide.

America’s biggest retailer saw an daytime sit-in by about 20 employees at its Crenshaw store. Off duty Walmart employees sat along aisles at that location holding signs resembling those used in the first retail sit-down strike at Woolworth in 1937.

Store Managers came by and checked IDs and discount cards to verify that those involved really were WalMart employees. Protesters were out of their uniform and off the clock, their mouths covered with green tape and the word strike written across it symbolizing their claims about the company’s illegal efforts to silence workers who are calling for better jobs.

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Thumbnail image for SDFP Street Beat: North Park Jack in the Box, South Park Target, Uptown Regional Bike Corridor Update

SDFP Street Beat: North Park Jack in the Box, South Park Target, Uptown Regional Bike Corridor Update

by Anna Daniels 11.14.2014 Activism

By Anna Daniels

Renovation, Rebuild or Turducken?

The North Park Preservation lawsuit against Jack in the Box/City of San Diego is moving forward, with a Summary Judgment hearing before Judge Prager on Friday, November 21.

The group filed the suit when Jack in the Box underwent renovations and a rebuild that the community maintains are violations of city zoning and the community plan. Also at issue is that the city did not correctly permit the project.

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Thumbnail image for The US Military is a Major Contributor to Global Warming

The US Military is a Major Contributor to Global Warming

by John Lawrence 11.14.2014 Environment

The US Military: Protecting Our Freedom While Destroying Our Planet

By John Lawrence

The impact of the US military on climate change is enormous due to its excessive consumption of fuel oil. The US must spread its influence across the oil producing parts of the world in order to protect its supply of oil.

The US military consumes huge amounts of oil so that it may preserve strategic access to oil in order to get the oil it needs to preserve strategic access to oil and so on in a never ending loop. Insatiable militarism is the single greatest institutional contributor to the growing natural disasters intensified by global climate change.

The US military is the largest single consumer of energy in the world. If it were a country, the Department of Defense (DoD) would rank 34th in the world in average daily oil use, coming in just behind Iraq and just ahead of Sweden.

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Thumbnail image for Women’s Perspectives and Changing Roles In the US and Iraq War

Women’s Perspectives and Changing Roles In the US and Iraq War

by Lori Saldaña 11.14.2014 Gender

By Lori Saldaña

In March 2010, Katherine Bigelow made history at the Academy Awards, by winning in the Best Director category. This was the first time a woman had done so in the Academy’s history. She won for her film “Hurt Locker,” about men who disarm IED’s (improvised explosive devices) in Iraq.

“Hurt Locker” was also was named Picture of the Year, and won for Best Sound Editing- so congratulations for all that, too, Ms. Bigelow. Well done.

If you haven’t seen it, “Hurt Locker” is an amazing and suspenseful film — with hardly a woman character in it. Ms. Bigelow managed to capture the drama, setting, heat and dust of Iraq very well. Yet you would never know the reality of women in Iraq from this movie.

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Thumbnail image for Geo-Poetic Spaces: Kristallnacht

Geo-Poetic Spaces: Kristallnacht

by Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes 11.14.2014 Books & Poetry

By Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes

It’s Kristallnacht
whenever anger picks up a stone
and throws it
through a neighbor’s window
shattering glass
into blades
sparks slashed from rocks
adding fire to eternal flame

Whenever an Israeli settler
builds a house
on land stripped from Gaza
Zionism becomes Lebensraum

Yesterday’s Synagogue
is today’s Mosque
leveled by Sunni shock troops
using the latest wonder-weapons made in Amerika …

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Thumbnail image for Are You Ready for the 2016 Political Shuffle in San Diego?

Are You Ready for the 2016 Political Shuffle in San Diego?

by Doug Porter 11.13.2014 Business

By Doug Porter

The results have yet to be certified for this year’s election results, but that hasn’t prevented various political players around town from lining up support for the next step in their careers. There’s already some action and plenty of rumors to share today.

City Councilman Ed Harris was first out of the gate yesterday, by way of a story in the OB Rag announcing his intention to seek termed-out Assemblywoman Toni Atkins position representing the 78th District in 2016.

Anthony Bernal, currently employed as Director of Business and Community Projects for Council President Todd Gloria, has thrown his hat in the ring to replace his termed-out boss in the Third District.

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Thumbnail image for Stand with Indigenous Peoples, Stop the Pipelines

Stand with Indigenous Peoples, Stop the Pipelines

by Will Falk 11.13.2014 Activism

As so often happens, Native Americans are leading the fight to save the world.

By Will Falk

While half of the world’s species are disappearing, while the remaining 48 hunter/gatherer societies are literally fighting for their survival, while 32 million acres of rainforest are cut down a year, and while three hundred tons of topsoil are lost a minute, we are again at war with those who would destroy the planet.

There have been many wars fought on behalf of our life-giving land in North America. The overwhelming majority of those killed in defense of the land have come from peoples like the Sioux, the Cheyenne, the Nez Perce, the Black Hawks, and the Apache. Native Americans have long stood in the way of this destructive culture. It is time that we join with Native Americans and other dominated peoples around the world who are at war. It is time that we, the privileged in this settler culture, step off our pedestal and onto the battlefield to place our bodies in harm’s way like so many indigenous people have before us and continue to do today.

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Thumbnail image for I Wanted to Write an Anti-War Poem, But…

I Wanted to Write an Anti-War Poem, But…

by At Large 11.13.2014 Books & Poetry

By Emmanuel Ortiz

Ever since the war started,
One year ago today,
I have wanted to write an anti-war poem.
For each of the last 365 days
I have been trying to write
To voice my opinion
In opposition to this war.

But nothing has come out.

After five days of watching
And not watching
Bombs fall on Iraq
I thought I had it
When some white boy
During a soccer game
Told me to “go back to Baghdad”
And as my fists found his temples
In retaliation for the bombs that were obliterating theirs
I remember thinking to myself
Amidst the slow-motion home-movie haze
“This will make a great poem”
A poem about
How he mistook
Mesoamerica for Mesopotamia
Borinken for Babylon.
And why Baghdad
Instead of Brasilia, Beijing, Beirut, Bogotá, Bombay,
Even Bi-racialville U.S.A.

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Thumbnail image for Learning About Counter-Recruitment With Project YANO (Youth And Non-Military Opportunities)

Learning About Counter-Recruitment With Project YANO (Youth And Non-Military Opportunities)

by At Large 11.13.2014 Activism

By Jesus Mendez-Carbajal / Draft NOtices

In the past nine months as Project YANO’s 2013-2014 student intern, I have learned an immense amount of information about U.S. militarism, its far reach, and counter-recruitment. I have been directly impacted on multiple levels.

I have grown mentally through the knowledge I have gained and also personally through the interactions and relationships I have built with youth, advisors, teachers, mentors, and Project YANO supporters, volunteers and board members.

I have had the pleasure of working with students who look like me, engaging low-income youth of color who have stories and backgrounds similar to my own.

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Thumbnail image for The Natural Voting Cycle

The Natural Voting Cycle

by Eric J. Garcia 11.13.2014 Cartoons
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Thumbnail image for SeaWorld Stock Tanks As Financials Disappoint and Protests Continue

SeaWorld Stock Tanks As Financials Disappoint and Protests Continue

by Doug Porter 11.12.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

Attendance and revenues continue to fall at SeaWorld, according to financial reports released today. The stock market reacted to the news, sending shares in the company down 10.3% by mid-day. 

Third-quarter net income fell 28%, revenues fell 8% and  attendance at SeaWorld’s parks also declined year-over-year, with attendance in the third quarter totaling 8.4 million visitors, down from 8.9 million a year ago.  According the Bloomberg’s Business Insider, the price for stock in SeaWorld has fallen 51% since the movie Blackfish premiered on July 19, 2013. 

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Thumbnail image for After the Wars, City Heights

After the Wars, City Heights

by Anna Daniels 11.12.2014 City Heights: Up Close & Personal

By Anna Daniels

Why does City Heights physically look the way it does and why does it have such distinctive demographics? The case can be made that City Heights has been shaped both by design–the adoption of the Mid-City Plan in 1965– and by happenstance in the form of the fall of Saigon one decade later.

The Mid-City Plan provided a blueprint of sorts for stimulating business and commercial growth that is reflected in the built environment.  The fall of Saigon and the subsequent resettlement of Southeast Asian refugees in City Heights also became a blueprint of sorts for influencing the ever changing demographics of the individuals who would move within the built environment.

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Thumbnail image for Extreme Weather Watch: October 2014 – Drought in Australia and Brazil

Extreme Weather Watch: October 2014 – Drought in Australia and Brazil

by John Lawrence 11.12.2014 Editor's Picks

By John Lawrence

Australia experienced its second warmest October on record. A number of records were set during the month in particular for the warmest October day on record for Australia as a whole. Nationally-averaged rainfall during October was 59% below the long-term mean which made October 2014 Australia’s seventh-driest October on record.

Large parts of Australia continue to be affected by drought. Drier than normal conditions from October to December are forecast for broad areas of Eastern, Central and Northern Coastal areas of Australia. Temperatures over 50C or 120F are forecast as Australia heads into its summer.

Australian farmers are feeling less confident as prices for wool, grains, dairy products and beef go down. A quarter of farmers expect conditions to deteriorate, around 20% expect the performance of their farm business to worsen and 25% expect their farm income to fall.

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Thumbnail image for War & Peace: In My Classroom

War & Peace: In My Classroom

by Lori Saldaña 11.12.2014 Books & Poetry

By Lori Saldaña

My students wear their battle scars
In their brains, on their skin, thru their 10 key dexterity
They enter the computer lab with aching hearts and minds, hand me a
Veterans Affair ID card in exchange for
A textbook, a software program, a few hours on the keyboard
I watch them, marveling at their resiliency …

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Thumbnail image for San Diego Rep’s “Honky” Navigates the Murky Waters of Race, Rhetoric and Basketball Shoes

San Diego Rep’s “Honky” Navigates the Murky Waters of Race, Rhetoric and Basketball Shoes

by Alejandra Enciso Guzmán 11.12.2014 Culture

An interview with playwright Greg Kalleres about the West Coast premier

By Alejandra Enciso Guzmán

Greg Kallares felt inspired while writing TV commercials for Jordan and Nike during his undergraduate years in New York. As his insight into the advertising industry grew and his own writing progressed he felt the need to write a play.

“I was very much inspired by the industry,” Kalleres told the San Diego Free Press. “It is a very white industry. I was struck by how white it was and how comical it became to watch people discuss the demographics with a certain level of discomfort.”

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Thumbnail image for La Jolla Shores Sundown

La Jolla Shores Sundown

by At Large 11.12.2014 Books & Poetry

By Karen Kenyon

You are rolled up in your blanket now,
perhaps 40 feet feet from my car
olive brown, army-colored,
here by the peaceful Pacific
tree-willow blue,
Paler near us, darker
near the horizon.

It’s almost time for the green flash,
but you don’t care. …

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