Thumbnail image for Reflections of Love

Reflections of Love

by Ernie McCray 10.16.2014 Books & Poetry

By Ernie McCray

I was asked to write something that rhymes for Steve, a friend of mine, who was celebrating entering his 70’s and these words came to me:

In a spirit of love,
with feather weight ease,
I say to my dear friend, Steve,
who has just turned 70,
that he
has reached an age
where you can truly
do or say pretty
much anything
you damn well please.
Cuz the world doesn’t
give a hoot
about an old-assed coot.

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Thumbnail image for Darrell Issa’s Latest Crusade: Proving  the EPA is Too Pro-Environment

Darrell Issa’s Latest Crusade: Proving the EPA is Too Pro-Environment

by Doug Porter 10.15.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

It’s been nearly four years since Congressman Darrell Issa assumed leadership of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and he has yet to successfully complete any of his crusades against the forces of evil in the Obama administration.

His term is coming to an end with the start of the next Congress in January, and Issa’s embarked on one final campaign to shore up his legacy: proving the Environmental Protection Agency is pro-environment.

Since 2008 Issa has been successful in garnering headlines, giving right-wing mythology enough credibility to get repeated on the evening news and ruining the lives of any federal bureaucrat foolish enough to try and stand up to his bullying.

But the sad fact is that no actual reforms have emerged out of any of his quests, mostly because he’s unable to prove the underlying premise calling for those reforms. Not that he really cares; the goals have always been to malign the current administration and to tap into the fundraising potential of those poor souls suffering from Deranged Obama Syndrome.

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DIY Resistance: I Love You, Dad

by Will Falk 10.15.2014 Activism

By Will Falk

“Your mother and I are worried about you,” my dad said looking down into the beer his hands cradled on a wood table in the Morris Inn at the University of Notre Dame.

We came to Notre Dame to honor two now decades-old father and son traditions. The first, seeing Fighting Irish football games together, serves to support the second, honest face-to-face communication in a comfortable environment.

I travelled all the way in from Victoria, BC. My dad came in from San Francisco. For a family that has moved as much as ours, Notre Dame comes as close to representing home as anywhere.

“We’re just worried about you,” my dad said again. “We’re worried you’re not going to be able to support yourself.”

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Thumbnail image for SDFP Street Beat: Sherman Heights Streets, SDG&E’s High Pressure Gas Lines in the Mid-City, Artificial Turf in Pacific Beach Schools

SDFP Street Beat: Sherman Heights Streets, SDG&E’s High Pressure Gas Lines in the Mid-City, Artificial Turf in Pacific Beach Schools

by Staff 10.15.2014 Activism

By Staff

The San Diego Free Press receives emails about quality of life issues from residents across the city and county. These issues receive little if any media coverage and inadequate attention from policy makers and enforcement agencies.  We have decided to provide a civic forum for those issues in our weekly Street Beat column.

Sherman Heights Street Conditions

Sherman Heights resident Remy Bermúdez sent the following email to Councilman Alvarez, Mayor Faulkner and Council President Gloria:

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Thumbnail image for Massive Dumping of Fracking Wastewater into Aquifers Shows Big Oil’s Power in California

Massive Dumping of Fracking Wastewater into Aquifers Shows Big Oil’s Power in California

by At Large 10.15.2014 Business

By Dan Bacher

As the oil industry spent record amounts on lobbying in Sacramento and made record profits, documents obtained by the Center for Biological Diversity reveal that almost 3 billion gallons of oil industry wastewater were illegally dumped into Central California aquifers that supply drinking water and irrigation water for farms.

The Center said the wastewater entered the aquifers through at least nine injection disposal wells used by the oil industry to dispose of waste contaminated with fracking (hydraulic fracturing) fluids and other pollutants.

The documents also reveal that Central Valley Regional Water Quality Board testing found high levels of arsenic, thallium and nitrates, contaminants sometimes found in oil industry wastewater, in water-supply wells near these waste-disposal operations.

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Thumbnail image for Down-Ballot Races in San Diego You Need to Know About

Down-Ballot Races in San Diego You Need to Know About

by Doug Porter 10.14.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

While there is no rule saying a ballot must be filled out completely to be valid, there are four contests you should know and care about as we approach the 2014 general election.

Exhibit A is why we should care about down-ballot races is Judge Gary Kreep, who’s now lurking around Department 7 in the central courthouse, handling a full calendar of landlord-tenant disputes.

People voted for Kreep because the only thing they’d heard (if they’d heard anything at all) were rumors, spread via a suspicious robocall campaign saying his opponent was soft on crime.

So Kreep ascended to the court after defeating 30 year veteran prosecutor Garland Peed a couple years back. His margin of victory was two-fifths of 1 percent.

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Thumbnail image for The Co-Op Movement – Democratizing the Ownership of Wealth One Step at a Time

The Co-Op Movement – Democratizing the Ownership of Wealth One Step at a Time

by John Lawrence 10.14.2014 Business

By John Lawrence

It has finally dawned on the American consciousness that wealth is being concentrated among fewer and fewer people. In fact just 400 Americans own more wealth than the bottom 180 million taken together.

Thomas Piketty in his ground breaking book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, shows the dynamic behind this dramatic rise in wealth among the upper echelon of society while everyone else, in particular the middle class, is being left in the dust.

It wasn’t supposed to happen this way. Labor saving devices and later computers and automation were supposed to create a virtually utopian society in which everyone could work less and have an ever increasing standard of living.

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The Other Congressional Races in San Diego: The 50th’s Duncan Hunter, Best Party Animal on Capitol Hill

by Doug Porter 10.14.2014 Editor's Picks

By Doug Porter

The following analysis represents my opinion. The SD Free Press editorial board may or may not agree with me. For all our articles on the upcoming election, check out our 2014 Progressive Voter’s Guide.

Green Area is the 50thI’m sure the residents of San Diego’s 50th Congressional District would be proud to know about their Congressman Duncan D. Hunter making the positive side of  Washingtonian Magazine’s Best & Worst of Congress list this year.

That’s right, Hunter came in first in the polling of Congressional staffers as “Best Party Animal” in the House of Representatives.

He was among those singled out in 2010 by the GOP leadership, according to a story appearing in Roll Call, for private conversations asking them to curb their inappropriate behavior.

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You Too, Carl?

by Junco Canché 10.14.2014 2014 June Primary
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Thumbnail image for Thousands March in St. Louis Demanding Justice, End to Police Violence

Thousands March in St. Louis Demanding Justice, End to Police Violence

by Source 10.13.2014 Activism

‘The killing of innocent black youth is systemic… It has to stop — everywhere.’

By Jon Queally / Common Dreams

Several thousand community members marched alongside activists from around the country in downtown St. Louis on Saturday as they demanded attention be paid to a national trend of police violence and called for justice in the case of Michael Brown, a local unarmed black teenager who was shot and killed by a white police officer, Darren Wilson, in the suburb of Ferguson on August 9th.

Though more than two months have now gone by, local citizens and their allies from across the country expressed anger, frustration, and sadness that so far no charges have been brought against Officer Wilson. “Arrest him now! Arrest him now!” was both a stated demand and a chanted refrain during the march.

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Thumbnail image for Et Tu, Carl? The Politics of Personal Destruction in San Diego

Et Tu, Carl? The Politics of Personal Destruction in San Diego

by Doug Porter 10.13.2014 Business

By Doug Porter

Last week sexual harassment accusations against congressional candidate Carl DeMaio went national by way of stories in Politico.com and CNN. Today we’ll follow up on developments in this story over the weekend.

A Saturday morning fundraiser featuring house speaker John Boehner in Pacific Beach for the 52nd district GOP candidate was notable for the absence of local politicos and a handful of protesters waving “Dirty DeMaio” signs.

The irony of the counter demonstration, reminiscent of reaction in some quarters to our former mayor’s boorish behavior, was the presence of Jess Durfee.  Back in the days when Durfee headed up county Democrats it was he chose to disregard warnings about Filner from a delegation of party women.

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Thumbnail image for Notes From the Education Wars: Marshall Tuck and the Plot Against Public Education

Notes From the Education Wars: Marshall Tuck and the Plot Against Public Education

by Jim Miller 10.13.2014 Columns

By Jim Miller

After my column last week on the battle between Tom Torlakson and the corporate education reform machine backing Marshall Tuck, I was pleased to see The Nation magazine’s special issue on schools. The writers aptly note that the struggle in American education is not one of the “status quo” versus “reform,” but rather, it is between a kind of educational class war dressed up as reform and a more progressive vision that seeks to empower all kids equally.

As the lead editorial observes:

The havoc wreaked by so-called education reform has had the upside of crystallizing a movement of parents, teachers, school staffers and kids who are fighting for education justice. Schools . . . are still a vital social safety net for children. A truly progressive vision for public education shouldn’t focus on stories of how a few kids competed their way out of blighted neighborhoods. Instead, it should focus on taking back that stream of money going to charter chains and corporate tax cuts and redirecting it toward schools anchored in strong communities and using proven methods for teaching kids—the very methods deployed in schools where the rich send their children. Indeed, the most disadvantaged kids should get even more support for their schools than their privileged suburban counterparts. Without education equity, we don’t have an educational system at all—we have a rigged rat race that starts in kindergarten. 

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Thumbnail image for Looking Back at the Week at SDFP and OB Rag: October 5-11

Looking Back at the Week at SDFP and OB Rag: October 5-11

by Brent E. Beltrán 10.12.2014 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 the upcoming November election, dirty DeMaio, being moonstruck, Alvarez compromising on the winter shelter, extreme weather, the history of the Neighborhood House, scarred cities, Michael Brown and buckets of OB news. Now go catch up on the past week at SDFP.

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The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Sailors, Pachucos and Life In-Between

by Maria E. Garcia 10.11.2014 Culture

Part III of the Not so Great Depression and World War II Come to Logan Heights

By Maria E. Garcia

World War II PosterThe Depression and the advent of World War II brought social and economic change to Logan Heights. Residents who lost their jobs and savings during the Depression found a scapegoat for their anger and fears in the form of their neighbors of Mexican descent.

These residents, many of whom who had been actively recruited by American business owners, ranchers and farmers in the early twentieth century were now seen as job stealers and a burden to the welfare system. They were denied employment, dropped from the welfare rolls and actively repatriated to Mexico. Sixty percent of the repatriated individuals were American citizens.

Several men that I have interviewed told of their mothers crying when they heard we were at war. Men were enlisting and being drafted. The whittling away of the Logan Heights population which first occurred during the repatriation, became even more apparent when so many of the men, often the household’s primary breadwinner, went off to war. An unprecedented number of women entered the workforce in the canneries and defense industry as a result.

But there was an influx of a new group in Logan Heights–sailors. …

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Thumbnail image for Lego Ends Shell Contract After Greenpeace ‘Save the Arctic’ Campaign

Lego Ends Shell Contract After Greenpeace ‘Save the Arctic’ Campaign

by Source 10.11.2014 Activism

By Nadia Prupis / Common Dreams

Lego announced on Thursday that it would not be renewing its marketing contract with Shell, after Greenpeace campaigned for several months for the Danish toy maker to end its decades-long partnership with the oil giant.

As part of its push to call on Lego to end the contract, Greenpeace created a video that depicted a pure, wholesome Arctic landscape, built from Legos, that slowly flooded with oil as various characters wept and drowned.

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Thumbnail image for Who Runs San Diego? Some Taxpayers Are More Equal Than Others at the County Taxpayers Association

Who Runs San Diego? Some Taxpayers Are More Equal Than Others at the County Taxpayers Association

by At Large 10.10.2014 Business

The Nerd, the Negotiator, the Pretender and its Protégé

By Linda Perine / Democratic Woman’s Club

This week’s article is a little more complex than some of our previous looks at Who Runs San Diego?.  When David (Cory Briggs) slays Goliath (Hoteliers Financing District) – that’s a good story!  When some (Sea World and certain electeds) tell us it’s OK to imprison and mistreat our sweet Shamu,  LOTS of folk get mad.  When our CD2/lifeguard good guy (Ed Harris) takes on tenants (Belmont Park) that seem a little moochy,  you can pump your fist.

My job this week, yes, I am the aforementioned “Nerd”, is to go behind the curtain of these and other deals involving our beaches, bays, parks, taxing authority and other civic assets to take a look at an organization that pretends to work for all taxpayers, but in reality represents its well- connected, conservative  donors.

By now it should be crystal clear that the regular folk of San Diego need someone tough and savvy to look out for us:  To stand up to the bigwigs, to call their bluff;  to fight for the greater good and get us the better part of the bargain.  We need a champion to make sure the taxpayer, not Papa Doug or the downtown elite, the affluent and the connected, get to skim the cream off the top.  After all – those bays and parks and waterfronts and beaches and taxing authority belong to us.

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Thumbnail image for Prop 48: Are Casinos Coming to Your Neighborhood?

Prop 48: Are Casinos Coming to Your Neighborhood?

by Doug Porter 10.10.2014 Business

By Doug Porter

It’s funny how people who normally couldn’t be bothered to pick up a gum wrapper off the sidewalk will become environmental activists when it suits their economic interests. In this instance we have “environmental concerns” being voiced by groups who are themselves exempt from the laws.

With Prop 48 we also have people who have worked hard to give the gambling industry a better image funding ads telling people to be afraid about casinos built in their neighborhood.

California, land of opportunity, where there’s a sucker born every minute.

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Thumbnail image for Latino Mayoral Forum Shows Cultural Chasm in Escondido

Latino Mayoral Forum Shows Cultural Chasm in Escondido

by Source 10.10.2014 Nov 2014 Election

By Rick Moore / Escondido Democratic Club

You have to give Mayor Sam Abed credit. He tried his best to ‘make nice’ with Escondido’s Latino community, but all he accomplished was to reinforce his image as a disconnected white guy who cannot comprehend how his policies and actions come across. Stephen Siaw was almost as bad, but one wonders whether he may come from a less judgmental place.

The occasion was a Mayoral candidate forum for the Latino community sponsored by the La Raza Law Association of San Diego County, MANA of North County and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. It was held at the Escondido Senior Center October 3. About 50 people attended. Carlos Gonzalez of Univision moderated.

The questions were tough and focused on Latino issues. (They were provided in advance to the candidates.) The answers held few surprises for those who have been monitoring the candidates so far in the campaign.

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Thumbnail image for Geo-Poetic Spaces: Cities Have Scars

Geo-Poetic Spaces: Cities Have Scars

by Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes 10.10.2014 Books & Poetry

By Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes

Cities have scars
war wounds
that maim walls of viscera
neighborhoods live with
long after
the instruments of infliction
are dust

Cities have scars
decapitated domes
cauterized arteries
bearing witness to gain’s loss …

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Thumbnail image for DeMaio Accuser Comes Forward; Candidate Denies Sexual Harassment, Bribery Attempt Allegations

DeMaio Accuser Comes Forward; Candidate Denies Sexual Harassment, Bribery Attempt Allegations

by Doug Porter 10.09.2014 Editor's Picks

By Doug Porter

A press conference called by Congressional candidate Carl DeMaio went awry yesterday after Los Angeles Times reporter Tony Perry asked questions regarding allegations of sexual harassment made by a former campaign staffer.

DeMaio’s denial (an “absolute lie”) was the lede in a UT-San Diego story on the presser, which made it seem as though the candidate himself had raised the subject. The Republican candidate is challenging first-term Democratic representative Scott Peters in California’s 52nd district.

Politico.com has posted a story this morning that includes an interview with the accuser, who says he was offered $50,000 to sign a non-disclosure agreement prior to parting ways with the campaign. The DC-based publication also says it has obtained a copy of a never aired radio interview with 29 year old Todd Bosnich describing in “explicit detail how, over the course of more than six months of employment, DeMaio became increasingly aggressive in his sexual behavior toward him.”

There a lot more to this, and today we’ll tell you what we know. This story dates back to last spring, and takes several twists and turns along the way.

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Thumbnail image for Latina Olga Diaz Aims for the Top Spot in Conservative Escondido

Latina Olga Diaz Aims for the Top Spot in Conservative Escondido

by At Large 10.09.2014 Editor's Picks

By Don Greene

In North County politics, Olga Diaz is an anomaly.  Currently, as the Deputy Mayor of Escondido, Olga has achieved something that no one else has done in 126 years:  She is the first Latina elected to the City Council.  That’s nothing to sneeze at. Once named the 11th Most Conservative City in the United States, Escondido can be a lonely place for a Latina, especially if she fits the description of Olga Diaz.

Diaz describes herself as an environmentalist. She as championed the rehabilitation of Escondido Creek, turning it from a concrete, channelized flood control basin to a 7-mile linear park in the heart of the city.  She also describes herself as a feminist, a progressive, and, if those weren’t enough, a Democrat.

Being all these things should not be automatic detriment to a candidate or politician, but in Escondido, things are a little different.  Recently, at a Republican Central Committee meeting, current mayor, Sam Abed, declared that “Escondido is the Republican capitol of San Diego County.” It is much of that type of bravado that gets the city into a lot of legal troubles.  It was some of that legal trouble that launched Diaz’s political career.

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Thumbnail image for A Very Determined Carol Kim Runs for City Council in District 6

A Very Determined Carol Kim Runs for City Council in District 6

by Doug Porter 10.09.2014 Nov 2014 Election

By Doug Porter

Meet Carol Kim. She lived in District 6 before deciding to run for City Council. Her idea of campaigning is spending 40 hours a week going door-to-door, meeting potential constituents. She’s the mother of two children; a professional whose work evaluating results for agencies could easily translate into public service as a watchdog for the public interest.

The race for city council in District 6 is an important contest for Democrats. A win by Kim gives the party an effective counterweight to the Chamber of Commerce alliance seeking domination over San Diego. The district’s voters are almost evenly divided between Democrats (33.6 percent), Republicans (31.7 percent) and Decline to State voters (29.5 percent).

The people who advocate for money as free speech for corporations; who oppose communities controlling their own destinies; and who champion an economic model making middle class taxpayers subsidize lower paid workers for highly profitable companies are lined up against Carol Kim.

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Thumbnail image for David Alvarez Brokers Compromise on Siting of Winter Homeless Shelter

David Alvarez Brokers Compromise on Siting of Winter Homeless Shelter

by Brent E. Beltrán 10.09.2014 Desde la Logan

Barrio Logan to host this year but won’t be considered in 2016

By Brent E. Beltrán

With his back against the wall, and a community within his district upset with the continued siting of the winter shelter in their neighborhood and the negative impact it brings, Councilmember David Alvarez stepped up and brokered a compromise.

Though the shelter will return this coming winter the City Council voted unanimously (with Councilmember Marti Emerald absent due to health reasons) with Mr. Alvarez’s motion to not have the location at Newton Avenue and 16th Street in Barrio Logan considered by the Housing Commission in 2016.

It’s rare that Republican City Councilmembers vote on anything positive for Barrio Logan. This compromise is one of the few times in recent memory and a welcome sight. It also shows Mr. Alvarez’s ability to get deals done when needed.

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Thumbnail image for Hello From Guantanamo

Hello From Guantanamo

by Eric J. Garcia 10.09.2014 Cartoons
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Thumbnail image for Moonstruck!  Watching the Lunar Eclipse in San Diego

Moonstruck! Watching the Lunar Eclipse in San Diego

by Anna Daniels 10.08.2014 City Heights: Up Close & Personal

By Anna Daniels

Did you see the moon earlier this morning? At 3 am, when I rousted myself out of bed, it was already Part Deux of San Diego’s total lunar eclipse –the moon glowed a reddish umber behind the earth’s shadow. It was mysterious and somewhat confusing –the “rabbit” in the moon that was so clearly visible when I went to bed earlier had disappeared.

Holding coffee cups in one hand and binoculars in the other, My Beloved and I sat on the side of the house craning our necks upward. Watching an eclipse from start to finish is the cosmic equivalent of watching paint dry–long moments of nothing seeming to happen, then voila! the moon is occulted. Or it is whole again, a shining coin pulled from night’s pocket.

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