Escondido’s Lyin’ King Sees Riches in the Safari Highlands Ranch Proposal

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By Don Greene / Escondido Democrats

In one of the more poignant scenes in the movie, The Lion King, Musafa says to young Simba, “Look, Simba, everything the light touches is our kingdom.” It seems that we have a touch of that same attitude on our City Council. As Mayor Abed and the rest of the council majority look out to the east, you can almost hear him say the same thing.

Instead of birthrights and becoming King of the Animals, Abed speaks in our hypothetical of property rights and becoming King of the Developers. The land he looks over is the proposed Safari Highlands Ranch project, a 1084-acre land annexation and subsequent 550-home development, in unincorporated Escondido, just north and west of the San Diego Zoo’s Safari Park.

This project, and the means by which they intend to bring it to fruition, fits the S.O.P. of Abed and the council majority; they work the backroom deals with the developers and other agencies and put on a happy face with the public.   [Read more…]

Battle Lines Form in California Over Ambitious Climate Change Bills

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Big Oil Goes Into Big Lie Mode With Campaign

By Nadia Prupis / Common Dreams

California lawmakers are preparing to face off with the state’s powerful fossil fuel industry in a battle over two potentially groundbreaking climate change bills.

The more contentious legislation in question, the Clean Energy and Pollution Reduction Act of 2015 (SB350), would increase California’s share of electricity from renewable energy sources to 50 percent and reduce the state’s use of oil in half by 2030—the equivalent of removing 36 million cars and trucks from the roads over the next 15 years—through new technology and more efficient planning.

The second piece of legislation, the California Global Warming Solutions Act (SB32), would raise mandates for oil refineries and power companies, among other big polluters, to lower their greenhouse gas emissions.   [Read more…]

Looking Back at the Week: August 23-29

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By Doug Porter

This week’s edition of Looking Back at the Week features articles, commentaries, columns, toons and other work by San Diego Free Press regulars, irregulars, columnists, at-large contributors.

Twenty San Diegans contributed videos, poems, essays and analysis this week.

(Brother Brent Beltrán is having technical difficulties, so I’m substituting today. Any mistakes or omissions are still entirely his fault. You can send him all your hate mail though; he likes that.)

Step inside to catch up with all the latest from the San Diego Free Press….   [Read more…]

My Day in Court, Short and Bittersweet

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By Bob Dorn

I had the distinction of being the first person thrown off a jury peremptorily in a courtroom this week. Before any evidence was introduced in this criminal misdemeanor case (a DUI), and before prosecution and defense had opened their arguments, the judge was forced to dismiss me from service.

It was the Deputy DA who had me thrown out. I’m not sure I understand why he did it. In legal terms, it was a peremptory challenge, and it means the attorney who exercised this right, the Deputy DA, could object to my presence on the jury without offering any cause or reason.

Was it my blue eyes? Do I look like a drunk? My curriculum vitae? Was it something I said?   [Read more…]

NLRB Ruling Could Be a Game Changer for Unions

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By Doug Porter

A Reagan-era standard allowing corporations to maintain an arms-length relationship with their workforces fell by the wayside yesterday as the National Labor Relations Board ruled in favor of the Teamsters in a dispute with California recycler Browning-Ferris Industries.

The bottom line here is that big companies may be held responsible for what goes on in the workplace. Organized labor is pleased with the decision. Wall Street isn’t. The actual ruling concerned the use of temporary employees. What people are reacting to are its game changing implications.

There are lots of poorly informed (meaning full of crap) analyses being passed off in various media accounts.  To use a baseball analogy, just because a team acquires a high performance player doesn’t mean they’ll have a winning season. Just ask the San Diego Padres.   [Read more…]

Street Repairs Could Jump Start Municipal Internet

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By Jose Caballero

It’s no secret that when it comes to streets San Diego has a rough ride. We were recently ranked 8th worst in the nation for our roads, costing drivers $843 a year in maintenance costs. Mayor Faulconer has said he will fix them over the next 5 years. However, he’s missing a major opportunity if they just put down new pavement.

In February, the Federal Communications Commission preempted state laws banning municipal internet services, allowing cities, meaning San Diego could build networks featuring lightning fast, gigabit, fiber to the premise (FTTP) service, which would be among the fastest anywhere in the world. This has been done successfully in Chattanooga, TN and Wilson, NC, with other cities from Seattle to Baltimore considering making their own systems.
  [Read more…]

Camping On Mt. Palomar On the Edge of the Wilderness

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By Frank Gormlie

Camping to me is a lot of fun, but I only get to do it maybe once a summer. But feeling burnt by the daily challenges and pressures of society, I needed some quiet time doing some car-camping. This time I chose to camp on Mt. Palomar – the large mountain with the famous observatory (which was closed) that guards San Diego County on its north-side.
Taking off Thursday morning, I arrived at the top around 1 pm. Usually I take S6 up the steep incline, but its twists and turns are too hairy for a relaxed cruise up the mountain. So, for the first time ever, I took the alternate route, S7, which begins on the western edge of Lake Henshaw.   [Read more…]

Welcome to TrumpLand: A Local Example of Bigotry USA! USA! Style

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By Doug Porter

I’ve been trying not to say too much about The Donald. He’s playing the media like a great violinist plays a Stradivarius. He says jump and the stenographers posing as journalists say “how high?”

I can no longer remain silent in the face of the hate-mongering coming from this public figure aimed at Latinos. He’s giving ammunition to assholes, and there are real consequences, even on the streets of San Diego.

When a well-known and respected public advocate can’t take his child to a park without being race baited, it’s time to stand up and say No More. And, yes, it is precisely the rhetoric favored by Donald Trump that’s encouraging an upswing in bigotry.   [Read more…]

SANDAG’s Transportation Plan is Stuck in Reverse

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By Hutton Marshall / SanDiego350.org

Climate change is a local issue that reaches every corner of the globe. Human activities, especially burning coal, oil and gas, are pumping heat-trapping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. More than any other time in human history, we’re seeing unlivable marine habitats, rising seas that threaten to subsume coastal societies, and, on land, increases in extreme weather including droughts, floods and severe storms. The changes are happening everywhere, but the effects are felt locally. And the solutions have to come from changes we make in every community.

At SanDiego350, a local nonprofit fighting climate change, we believe that San Diego is at an important crossroads where we must decide how we will reduce our contribution to Earth’s looming climate crisis.  Once a month in the San Diego Free Press we’ll discuss some of these issues, and how San Diegans can help address them.   [Read more…]

Women’s Equality Day: Celebrating the Success of Militant Protest

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The argument of the broken pane of glass is the most valuable argument in modern politics.–Mrs Emmeline Pankhurst

By Doug Porter

Women’s Equality Day (August 26th) marks anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, giving women the right to vote.

There are observances this week in San Diego, including a re-enactment of an early-century Suffrage march in Balboa Park.

Organizations including the League of Women Voters, the United Nations Women’s Equity Council, the Older Women’s League and others, will join members and supporters of the Women’s Museum at 5pm for a Rally on Thursday, (Aug 27th) at the Kate Sessions Statue, at the 6th Avenue end of the Cabrillo Bridge, followed by a parade across the bridge info the Organ Pavilion where the last free concert of the summer will be held at 6:30pm.

While this commemoration will be celebratory in nature, it’s important to remember, as Frederick Douglass once said, “Power never concedes nothing without a demand.” In many sanitized versions of US history, the struggle leading up to that victory is depicted as controversial only because women left their roles as wives and house-makers to protest. The reality of what transpired is considerably different.   [Read more…]

But First …

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Living with ADHD in a distractive world

By Jeeni Criscenzo

I was surprised at the number of comments made to a recent post I put on Facebook about Attention Deficient Disorder with a photo of my desk that included such strange things as a small brown egg and a ½” diamond drill bit. It seems that my incessant state of distraction is a common problem in people my age (aka Seniors).

One person informed me that there is such a thing as Age-Activation Attention Deficit Disorder – AAADD ! Another linked to a comical video about a woman who went from one task to another without getting anything accomplished.

I didn’t laugh. When you have spent your life dealing with an inability to focus alternating with hyper-focusing, both to the detriment of yourself and everyone around you, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) isn’t very funny.   [Read more…]

Nail Salon Workplaces Need A Touch Up

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By Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez

Today I am convening an informational hearing in the Capitol as Chair of the Select Committee on Women in the Workplace, bringing together stakeholders to discuss the challenges faced in the industry and to hear personal testimony from nail salon workers. I’m encouraged to be joined by the Chairs of four other Assembly Committees and other legislators to begin the collaborative process we need to achieve the change these workers need.

Recent in-depth coverage in the New York Times revealed shocking, systematic abuse going on right under the noses of thousands of nail salon customers every day. The reports found employees living in squalor and isolation, underpaid or completely unpaid, and ravaged by health problems possibly connected to chemicals they handle on the job. It echoed and expanded upon reporting done recently in California, drawing new attention to deeply troubling working conditions in the nail salon industry across the country.

Today’s hearing is an important start to ensure that the employees of these salons are effectively covered by California’s workplace safety and wage and hour laws. These laws should guarantee all workers fair treatment and safe working conditions, and it’s our responsibility to make sure they work.   [Read more…]

Women Lowriders in San Diego County: Marisa Rosales and The Hudson

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By Barbara Zaragoza / South Bay Compass

Lowriding is an art that also pushes car technology to the limits. Car Clubs members are like family and lowriders spend decades restoring cars to exactly how they looked and rode in the 1960s and 1970s.

Are there problems in the lowriding community? Yes, but probably not the ones you think. Lowriders, with their images of voluptuous girls on the front hoods, still remains a manly art form. Yes, nowadays diverse males from all ethnic and socio-economic groups join together in these car clubs, but they are still predominantly male. In San Diego County, Mayra Nuñez explains there are about seven women lowriders total, each in different car clubs.   [Read more…]

Privatizing Pensions and Idolizing Profit in the 21st Century

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By Doug Porter

Los Angeles Times columnist Michael Hiltzik has been on a tear recently, rolling out essays challenging the validity of claims made by those who claim privatizing retirement is the way of the future.

At the core of these conservative/libertarian arguments against public support for defined pensions is a fundamental belief in the supremacy of the “market” as a force in society. 

The problem with this viewpoint comes when actual results for those programs participants are measured. The market has no obligation other than profit, which is only guaranteed for those managing the transactions.   [Read more…]

The Day Nancy and I Got Together

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By Ernie McCray

I’ve been thinking about my dearly departed Nancy with August 23rd a day away as I write. It was on that day, in 1975, forty years ago, that I moved in with her, in her little apartment on 24th and Russ, next to Golden Hill Park.

So I find myself celebrating that day, in my thoughts, remembering with a little quiver, what I had to do to start a life with her: break another woman’s heart, my wife, a woman I loved. If I regret anything in life it’s causing her such misery and pain.

But, especially when I look back on it, I was following my destiny, the dictates of my soul, wherein I knew as instinctively as I breathed, that I had no choice, in the cosmos, but to be with Nancy, that the two of us were soul-mates, destined to be together as the stars are meant to be aligned in the sky.   [Read more…]

Tyranny of the Majority: The American Winner Take All System

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No wonder that, among the 21 democracies in Western Europe and North America, the United States is next to last in voter turn-out…

By John Lawrence

A lot of people these days are concerned with getting the money out of politics. That’s an admirable goal, but it doesn’t solve the problem that’s built right into the American political system: a voting system in which the majority rules and there is no minority representation because the winner takes all. At every level the US is divided up into districts whether its state assembly and senatorial districts, US Congressional districts, San Diego city council districts or what have you. Citizens in a particular district can only vote for one candidate and the candidate with the most votes wins in that district.

Even states can be considered voting districts and in each state you can vote for two US Senators, just not at the same time. If there are candidates you like outside of your district, you have no democratic decision making process with which to vote for them. For example, I can’t vote for Bernie Sanders for Senator because I’m not a resident of Vermont. Similarly, I can’t vote for Elizabeth Warren because I’m not a citizen of Massachusetts. The US voting system on every level is archaic.   [Read more…]

Are the NFL Chargers Causing the NCAA Aztecs to Lose?

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By Bill Adams /UrbDeZine

Are the San Diego National Football League (NFL) Chargers causing the San Diego State University Aztecs football team to lose games and fans?  If so, which is worse for San Diego, losing its NFL franchise to another city, or sub-optimal performance and attendance at Aztecs football games?

While these question at first appear both absurd and provocative, there have been several studies that can answer these questions  – at least to some degree.  Moreover, the studies go further. The studies indicate that the success of a college sports team has an effect on the regional economy.

First, winning by a university’s sports teams increases both the number and the quality of its student applications.  It hardly needs be said that the number and quality of student applications facilitates everything from funding to prestige, and ultimately the growth of a university.  This explains in large part why university administrations continue to fund even money-losing or scandal-ridden high profile sports like football and basketball.   [Read more…]

It’s Strike Three for San Diego Unified’s School Board President, But She’s Not Out

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By Doug Porter

San Diego Unified President Marne Foster was in the news over the past few days, and not in a positive light.

The State Attorney General’s office, according to a story in the Union-Tribune, is asking pointed questions about a fundraiser held last month to help pay off debt and college costs for her sons.

On August 19th, the San Diego Unified School District issued a response to a grand jury report on ethics questions concerning Foster, essentially telling the panel to “shove it.”

Mario Koran at Voice of San Diego posted a piece today on Foster, filling in the blanks on long standing allegations about her role in the firing of a highly ranked school principal who refused to go along with special privileges for the School Board Trustee’s son.   [Read more…]

Why Teach? In Defense of the Public Good

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By Jim Miller

These days it seems a new school year can’t start without being greeted by yet another pronouncement that my profession and/or higher education itself is heading for the dustbin of history. Last year around this time, I pondered the proclaimed death of the English major and this year the front page of the most recent issue of Harper’s is bemoaning “The Neoliberal Arts: How College Sold Its Soul.”

In this insightful piece William Deresiewicz hits on themes familiar to anyone who has been around higher education for the last few decades. Neoliberal education is a product of “market fundamentalism,” an “ideology that reduces all values to money values. The worth of a thing is the price of a thing. The worth of a person is the wealth of a person. Neoliberalism tells you that you are valuable exclusively in terms of your activity in the marketplace—in Wordsworth’s phrase, your getting and spending.”   [Read more…]

San Diego Takes the Lead in Greenpeace Strike

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By Andrew J. Mackay and Bryan Kim

On August 5, 16 of 19 canvassers for Greenpeace in San Diego walked off the job. They were followed by a majority of the Sacramento office. 22 total employees of the Frontline program, Greenpeace’s in-house fundraising program, have had enough of labor policies that give them no job security.

The strike, led by two veteran canvassers in Socialist Alternative San Diego, comes against an organization that claims to be progressive. However, Greenpeace uses a quota system where even veteran fundraisers can be fired for missing quota two or three weeks consecutively. Senior workers bring in six or seven times their salary in recurring donations, yet are routinely fired. Morale is understandably very low. But choosing to resist, they have mobilized in defense of their jobs and dignity. Non-profits beware: the persuasive skills developed by your employees can be used against you. Instead of selling Greenpeace, organizers now sell the strike against it.   [Read more…]