Thumbnail image for Let Them Eat Tips

Let Them Eat Tips

by Source 10.18.2014 Business

Marriott’s push to get guests to subsidize its crummy pay for the people who clean hotel rooms is a disgrace.
By Jim Hightower / Other Words

Just when you thought the plutocratic profiteers running America’s exploitative, low-wage economy couldn’t get any more clueless, self-serving, pious, and mingy — along comes Lady Maria of Marriott, magnanimously saying: “Let them eat tips.”

Marriott International supports the political notion that America is divided between a few noble “makers” (like them) and a mass of “takers” (you, me, and the rest of us). Its approximately 4,000 hotels in 78 countries and territories have more than 690,000 rooms and operate under 18 different brand names that range from plebeian chains like Fairfield Inn & Suites to the luxury Ritz-Carlton properties.

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Thumbnail image for Memo to Jerry Sanders & Doug Manchester: The City Council Minimum Wage Ordinance WAS the Compromise

Memo to Jerry Sanders & Doug Manchester: The City Council Minimum Wage Ordinance WAS the Compromise

by Doug Porter 10.17.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

It ain’t over ‘till it’s over.

The City Clerk certified the results of a referendum drive backed by the Chamber of Commerce and other dark money interests yesterday. They sought to delay an ordinance passed by the City Council increasing the local minimum wage and allowing for earned sick days by placing it on the June 2016 ballot.

They achieved their goal by perverting a system originally designed to protect the public from the undo influence of the Southern Pacific Railroad and other would-be oligarchs.  Hired guns from around the country were flown in and paid up to $12 per signature after other canvassers quit in droves, unable to face the public with the lies required of them to earn a living.

This was a matter of economic justice for nearly 200,000 San Diegans who would be impacted by this ordinance; for the working women who would see the wage gap shrink by 22%; for the 10,000 veterans working at or near minimum wage; and for the restaurant employees who are forced to choose between working while sick or paying the rent.

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Thumbnail image for Geo-Poetic Spaces: The Ishtar Gate

Geo-Poetic Spaces: The Ishtar Gate

by Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes 10.17.2014 Books & Poetry
By Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes 

Sell the car
before it’s repossessed
mortgage the house
before you’re forced into foreclosure

Board the next flight to Berlin
purchase an S-Bahn ticket
back to Babylon’s blue gate
Its oasis of Palms
will make you weep
until the desert sand is washed from your eyes …

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Thumbnail image for Who Runs San Diego? The Lincoln Club’s Role in Our Shadow Government

Who Runs San Diego? The Lincoln Club’s Role in Our Shadow Government

by Jim Miller 10.17.2014 Business

By Jim Miller /  A Project of the Democratic Woman’s Club

In the last several installments of this series, we have focused on the interlocking network of moneyed interests who dominate San Diego’s media landscape in order to “manufacture consent” as well as the ways in which moneyed interests are able to feed at the public trough and/or manipulate local government to serve their interests.

Another key player in the effort to preserve the hegemony of San Diego’s shadow government that deserves attention is the Lincoln Club, a stealthy nexus of economic and political power. In essence, the Lincoln Club is a political entity bent on maintaining San Diego’s de facto private government led by the local power elite in perpetuity by any means necessary.

While most folks are familiar with the goals and retrograde agenda of the Republican Party U.S.A., the Lincoln Club (which does much of the local Right’s bidding come election time) is still relatively unknown outside of political circles.

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Thumbnail image for In Defense of Uncertainty in the Development Approval Process

In Defense of Uncertainty in the Development Approval Process

by At Large 10.17.2014 Business

By Murtaza H. Baxamusa, Ph.D., AICP / San Diego UrbDeZine

Nobody likes uncertainty.

Certainly not the developers of a billion dollar mixed-use project that encounters community opposition due to traffic impacts. Nor the public transportation agency that runs into fairy shrimp on the future route of a trolley line. Nor the city planners for multifamily housing around a transit station that face a revolt from their single-family neighbors.

Hence, there is a concerted effort by planners and policymakers locally and statewide, to reduce uncertainty in development project approvals. It takes the form of reducing discretion of public bodies, streamlining permit approvals through the use of specific plans and categorical exemptions, reforming the California Environmental Quality Act, and limiting opportunities for legal challenges to projects.

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Thumbnail image for Rising Paranoia Brought to You by Fox News

Rising Paranoia Brought to You by Fox News

by Junco Canché 10.17.2014 Cartoons
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Thumbnail image for Emails Cast Doubt on DeMaio Harassment Defense; Survey Says Voters Undecided

Emails Cast Doubt on DeMaio Harassment Defense; Survey Says Voters Undecided

by Doug Porter 10.16.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

There are new developments in the storyline about a ex-policy aide who claims congressional candidate Carl DeMaio sexually harassed him.

The ultra-conservative Washington Examiner has posted a story referring to internal DeMaio campaign emails show accuser Todd Bosnich remaining in a high level position following disclosure of the plagiarism scandal for which he was supposedly fired.

UT-San Diego and 10News released the results yesterday of a SurveyUSA poll in the wake of disclosure of the sexual harassment allegations that seems to indicate voters haven’t decided what to think about the scandal. Digging down into the polling data, there are indications suggesting independent voters are reacting negatively.

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How to Destroy Mission Valley

by Frank Gormlie 10.16.2014 Business

By Frank Gormlie / OB Rag

If you want to destroy Mission Valley, what’s coming down the development pipeline will surely do it for you. There are four massive residential and commercial projects and another giant handful of minor ones- all in various stages of blueprints, planning and construction – heading for this landmark river canyon. If all are built – the total impact would permanently damage Mission Valley to the point where the Valley that we now know would no longer be there.

Some old-timers believe Mission Valley was destroyed a long time ago, when it was a long, lush valley of dairy farms and agricultural fields. Then the hotels, resorts, golf courses and freeways came and Mission Valley lost its beauty, serenity, and its soul.

Ironically then, there’s also another group of “old-timers” – a special group – a group of Mission Valley landowning families – who have their own plans to develop and damage the Valley even further.

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Force Feeding Liberty

by Eric J. Garcia 10.16.2014 Cartoons
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Thumbnail image for San Diego’s German Film Festival Opens with an Explosive Journey into “The Dark Valley”

San Diego’s German Film Festival Opens with an Explosive Journey into “The Dark Valley”

by Jim Bliesner 10.16.2014 Culture

By Jim Bliesner

The fourth annual German Film Festival in San Diego opened on October 11 with “Das Finstere Tal” (The Dark Valley). It is an Austrian Western set in the Tyrol Mountains on the Italian border.  The film, directed by Austrian Andreas Prochaska,was the winner of eight German Film Awards.

“Das Finstere Tal” centers on a small family cult whose leader has six sons. They carry out a reign of terror upon the members who seek sanctuary in the camp, cradled in a crevice of the steep Tyrol Alps.

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Thumbnail image for The Secret of the San Diego Growth Machine: Another Case for Nancy Drew

The Secret of the San Diego Growth Machine: Another Case for Nancy Drew

by Norma Damashek 10.16.2014 Activism

By Norma Damashek

Albert Einstein searched for a unified theory that would unite the forces of nature (he had his eye on relativity and electromagnetism).

I, too, have been searching for a unified theory—albeit a more modest one—to unite the forces of nature (human, in this case) that make San Diego the chronically backwater/ amorphous/ uninspired/ tunnel-visioned/ closed-shop/ quasi-corrupt/ rigidly-manipulated/shady city it is.

Come join the search. Just follow the trail of clues, click on a sampling of news links about San Diego, and you’ll discover a unifying theme that even Einstein would find surprising.

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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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Thumbnail image for DIY Resistance: I Love You, Dad

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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Thumbnail image for You Too, Carl?

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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