Thumbnail image for Geo-Poetic Spaces: Esslingen

Geo-Poetic Spaces: Esslingen

by Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes 02.20.2015 Books & Poetry

By Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes

Hope is half-timbered
across the Neckar River

Minds float into eyes
before the miracle
named Esslingen

A 500 year old story
preserved as a city
talking out on
a limb

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Thumbnail image for Whites Fighting Racism: What It’s About

Whites Fighting Racism: What It’s About

by Source 02.20.2015 Activism

By Ricardo Levins Morales  / Ricardo Levins Morales Art Studio Blog

Note: I was asked by SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice – a group which organizes white folks against racism) to write a few paragraphs offering a perspective on white solidarity. It was to open a national organizing conference call. What I wrote follows:

White people are taught that racism is a personal attribute, an attitude, maybe a set of habits. Anti-racist whites invest too much energy worrying about getting it right; about not slipping up and revealing their racial socialization; about saying the right things and knowing when to say nothing.

It’s not about that. It’s about putting your shoulder to the wheel of history; about undermining the structural supports of a system of control that grinds us under, that keeps us divided even against ourselves and that extracts wealth, power and life from our communities like an oil company sucks it from the earth.

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Thumbnail image for America’s Finest City Can’t Be Bothered with Slum Lords

America’s Finest City Can’t Be Bothered with Slum Lords

by Doug Porter 02.19.2015 Activism

By Doug Porter

A recalcitrant landlord at the top of a review of 2013 code compliance complaints in San Diego is the focus of a story written by Megan Burks and published jointly by KPBS/Voice of San Diego.

It’s a horrifying account, replete with tales of mold, asthma, raw sewage and armies of vermin. And a city government seemingly incapable of doing anything about it.

Landlord Bankim Shah owns nearly 90 properties in the San Diego area along with managing apartments owned by others. One-third of the 62 formal complaints filed against him since 2001 are, according to the story, “for conditions so bad state law says no one should be forced to live in them.”

We learn that Shah has been to court exactly once–in “2011 for renting a building to a medical marijuana dispensary.”

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Thumbnail image for Fabiani Runs Roughshod Over Mayor’s Stadium Task Force

Fabiani Runs Roughshod Over Mayor’s Stadium Task Force

by Junco Canché 02.19.2015 Cartoons
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Thumbnail image for The San Salvador and Junípero Serra: Celebrating Spanish Catholic Domination

The San Salvador and Junípero Serra: Celebrating Spanish Catholic Domination

by At Large 02.19.2015 Culture

By Steven Newcomb / OB Rag

Early this year, 2015, the Maritime Museum of San Diego is scheduled to launch a replica of the colonizing Spanish ship called “San Salvador” (“Holy Savior”). That was the ship which Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, in 1542, sailed into the Kumeyaay bay of the Kumeyaay Nation’s territory. As a result of that voyage, the society of the United States now typically calls that bay, and the city adjacent to it, by the Catholic name, “San Diego” (“Saint Diego”).

Cabrillo sailed up the Baja peninsula under a royal commission that the Spanish crown had granted to a vicious and deadly psychopath, a conquistador named Pedro Alvarado. The royal commission authorized Alvarado “to discover and conquer” places he was able to reach by sailing northward along the Baja peninsula. When Alvarado was killed in Guatemala, the Spanish viceroy charged Cabrillo with sailing north on the basis of that royal commission.

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Thumbnail image for The “Darrell Hammond Project” at the La Jolla Playhouse

The “Darrell Hammond Project” at the La Jolla Playhouse

by Alejandra Enciso Guzmán 02.19.2015 Culture

By Alejandra Enciso Guzmán

When the name “Darrell Hammond” is heard or read, the immediate association is with Saturday Night Live and comedy. Hammond holds the title for being the longest running cast member on the show (14 years), as well as for the most impressions by a single Saturday Night Live cast member: Bill Clinton, Regis Philbin, Dan Rather, John Travolta, Jesse Jackson, Richard Dreyfus, Jay Leno, Donald Trump and Sean Connery in the ever-popular “Celebrity Jeopardy” skits. He also has the distinction of being the person that has said the show’s catch phrase “Live From New York, It’s Saturday Night!” the most often.

In 2011, Hammond released his memoir “God, If You’re Not Up There, I’m F*cked: Tales of Stand-Up, Saturday Night Live and Other Mind-Altering Mayhem.” It was so well received that Hammond scaled the piece to a live performance. “The Darrell Hammond Project,” co-written with Elizabeth Steins, is the result.

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Thumbnail image for Chargers’ Point Man Calls Out Mayor’s Malarkey On Stadium Task Force

Chargers’ Point Man Calls Out Mayor’s Malarkey On Stadium Task Force

by Doug Porter 02.18.2015 Columns

By Doug Porter 

Chargers’ special counsel Mark Fabiani has done San Diego a huge favor by pointing out the obvious. He’s single-handedly challenged the existing political narrative about the politics of the process being used in deciding on the advisability of building a new stadium.

You won’t find me among those pining away for the possibility of a new football stadium in America’s Finest City, even though I sometimes wonder if I’m addicted to watching games. 

First, there’s the silliness of taxpayers being expected to subsidize a rich man’s game in return for the possibility of an endorphin rush at some future time. And then there’s my sense that the long-term prospects for the sport aren’t very good, what with players’ health issues, spousal abuse scandals, and anything having to do with Patriots’ coach Bill Belechick.

(Malarkey was the best synonym I could come up with for “bullshit,” a word that’s too easy to use when describing the goings on at San Diego’s city hall.) 

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Thumbnail image for A Path Chosen in Black History

A Path Chosen in Black History

by Ernie McCray 02.18.2015 From the Soul

By Ernie McCray

When I look back at my own little chapter of Black History, I feel grateful that I found a path that enabled me to survive a society that sought to deny me a life of dignity. I unknowingly set out on this path on my first day of school, when my knuckles were seemingly knocked to kingdom come because I had dozed off, as if I had a choice in a room sizzling at 100 and some degrees with a fan (itself struggling to stay awake) blowing across a pail of water as though that could lower the temperature in that room to any degree. I swear I heard that fan wheeze. Talking Tucson, Arizona, August or September of 1943.

I remember thinking, back then, as I looked at my hands, surprised to see my knuckles still there, “What the hell kind of welcome was that?” And I knew, as much as a five-year old can know such things, that someday I would be a teacher.

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Thumbnail image for It Was Syrian Kurd Leftists Who Kicked Islamic State Out of Kobani

It Was Syrian Kurd Leftists Who Kicked Islamic State Out of Kobani

by Frank Gormlie 02.18.2015 Editor's Picks

By Frank Gormlie / OB Rag

In international news, the recent liberation of the Syrian city of Kobani from the control of Islamic State (ISIS) fighters by Syrian Kurd rebels was a little reported story which popped up briefly for its 15 minutes on the mainstream media roulette wheel of fame. Then it disappeared. But the under-reported little story – a story with a huge irony – deserves retelling.

The story – which can be pieced together from a number of media reports – involves the identity of the major fighting force that kicked ISIS out of Kobani, a city of 200,000 mainly ethnic Kurds in north Syria, a stone’s throw from the Turkish border.

It turns out it was a group of Syrian Kurd leftists who kicked ISIS’ ass, if you forgive the vernacular, after 4 months of intense house-to-house fighting, at times room-to-room, and pushed them out of the city entirely. It was the People’s Protection Units, a local leftist organization, and its affiliate, the Women’s Protection Units, that have collective command structures and believe in the equality of women, and – in fact – have numerous women commanders in the fighting units.

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Thumbnail image for Pop Artist Mark Maze is a One-Man Electronic Dance Music Scene

Pop Artist Mark Maze is a One-Man Electronic Dance Music Scene

by Layla Marino 02.18.2015 Culture

By Layla Marino

Collaborations rule the landscape nowadays in pop music. Since the cusp of the 21st century, there has been a growing emphasis on the producers and writers of pop songs as well as the performing singers. This trend began largely in hip hop with characters like Lil’ John and Pharrell Williams of the Neptunes, but quickly spread to include other genres.

Along a similar timeline, EDM grew out of the underground rave scene, where producers were the only stars. As EDM and pop combined, famous singers and famous producers joined forces to create tracks which have the wild beats and danceability of rave music, but the verse-chorus-verse song structure and iconic singers of the classic pop song.

Today it’s not at all unusual to see rave producers like Tiesto and Steve Aoki teaming up with the likes of Nelly Furtado and Iggy Azalea. In fact these collaborations may be more common than not in 2015. London singer/songwriter Mark Maze has become an exception in pop and EDM, as he both writes and performs all of his music and vocals.

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Thumbnail image for Can You Imagine a Supreme Court Composed Exclusively of Black Women or Latinas?

Can You Imagine a Supreme Court Composed Exclusively of Black Women or Latinas?

by Source 02.18.2015 Courts, Justice

How about one composed exclusively of black lesbians?

By Melissa Harris-Lacewell/ The Arena, Politico

The Supreme Court figures prominently in one of my favorite thought experiments for students in my politics courses.

I try to get the students to think about the Supreme Court as an institution across time rather than as a static entity. Therefore, when we think about race and gender representation on the court we should take the court as a whole, stretching back to our nation’s founding, rather than as a snapshot from the contemporary moment. When we do this we realize that although the court looked pretty diverse when it had two white women and an African American man represented, it is a nearly entirely white, male institution across its whole history.

Despite its racial and gender homogeneity we believe that the legal reasoning and precedents set by those earlier courts are valid. …

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Thumbnail image for Sometimes the Simple Things are the Most Fun

Sometimes the Simple Things are the Most Fun

by Judi Curry 02.17.2015 Culture

Try going to the “ZION” Market one day

By Judi Curry

As much as I hate to admit it, I have a birthday coming up at the end of the week. As a general rule I would just as soon forget the day and move right on to the next one.

Perhaps many of you know that I am a “host mother” to foreign language students in the US to hone their English skills. My latest student is the 413th student I have housed since 1992, when my husband and I began this adventure. I have had students from all over the world; each one unique in their own way; and with the exception of only three students I asked to have removed from my home, it has been a wonderful experience.

Yuri, one of my two students right now will be leaving me in March after being here for one year. Ever since she arrived she has been “threatening” to cook a Japanese meal for me. (Yes, I have cooked one for her – but she keeps saying “I will cook one for you.”) And, apparently, now is the time for a great adventure.

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Thumbnail image for Republicans Stand Up for Racism as Court Blocks Immigration Programs

Republicans Stand Up for Racism as Court Blocks Immigration Programs

by Doug Porter 02.17.2015 Columns

By Doug Porter

A Federal District Court Judge in Brownsville, Texas has issued a ruling temporarily blocking President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration.

While the White House says the ruling will be appealed and many legal analysts say the injunction won’t stand up to challenges on appeal, the uncertainty involving the legal process represents a psychological victory for the nativist core of the Republican Party.

GOP leaders have cheered the ruling, saying it proves President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration exceeded his legal authority. Millions of other folks feel otherwise.

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Thumbnail image for Conversion to Renewable Energy is Going Too Slow to Avoid Catastrophe – Part 3

Conversion to Renewable Energy is Going Too Slow to Avoid Catastrophe – Part 3

by John Lawrence 02.17.2015 Business

By Frank Thomas and John Lawrence

Renewable Solutions Are Here Now and Technically Feasible Today

It is now clear, at least from a technical perspective, that we could eliminate fossil fuels over a period of 20 to 40 years. That’s if we went full steam ahead without being blocked by fossil fuel corporations, the politicians beholden to them and various other vested interests who stand to profit from the status quo.

In 2009 Mark Jacobson, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University and Mark Delucchi, a research scientist at the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Davis, came up with a detailed, groundbreaking road map for just how this could be accomplished. Their study showed how 100% of the world’s energy could be supplied by wind, water and solar (WWS) resources by as early as 2030. Their paper, which appeared in Scientific American, is called “A Plan for a Sustainable Future by 2030.”

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Thumbnail image for Five Reasons Losing an NFL Football Team is Good for a City

Five Reasons Losing an NFL Football Team is Good for a City

by Source 02.17.2015 Culture

By Bill Adams / UrbDezine

My family will attest, I’m a San Diego Chargers football fan. During football season, not only is the TV tuned to Chargers games, but so are multiple strategically located radios around the yard, lest I miss any action while attending to a honey-do task or breaking up an argument between my children.  Then there are the pre and post game shows, and wasted hours reading about the draft, trades, and other team side shows. Lest I forget to mention, I’m also a San Diego County resident – just outside the city’s boundaries.

However, the Chargers are one of several NFL teams, along with the St. Louis Rams and the Oakland Raiders, considered likely to move to another city unless they receive a new football stadium.  The likely recipient city: Los Angeles.

Ironically, each of these teams have been previous occupants of Los Angeles.  Whether the Chargers  remain in the San Diego or move to greener pastures is almost certainly tied to whether they receive a new stadium.  The same is true of the others. Teams argue that older stadiums are not capable of being modified to provide the modern amenities and environment to allow the teams to be financially competitive, i.e., maximize profits — lest anyone forget that NFL teams are private profit-driven businesses, not public assets.

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Thumbnail image for Almost White

Almost White

by Bob Dorn 02.17.2015 Culture

By Bob Dorn

We all can act stupid around race. The more stupid about it we are the more racist we become.

Some of us are a tiny bit stupid, enough to think we can say “Bragh” or “Carnal” and thereby get past the barriers between people by saying magic words. To one degree or another we carry with us when we go to work or school the delusion that we can know by their color, or dialect, or accent who’s likely to be a friend to us.

I had a good friend who used to say, “To assume is to make an ass out of u and me.

Beyond the merely unconscious screw-ups lay (and lie) the racists themselves, the ones who consciously bring stupidity with them as a tool to alarm the inexperienced, and to insult the people who’ve already had to endure the stupidities. I don’t want to talk about them. We all know who they are. They make their livings letting us know who they are.

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Thumbnail image for ‘Black Girls Matter': Report Exposes System Oppression of Often-Ignored Groups

‘Black Girls Matter': Report Exposes System Oppression of Often-Ignored Groups

by Source 02.17.2015 Education

Girls of color routinely punished by institutions and ignored by school-to-prison pipeline reformers, report finds

By Nadia Prupis /Common Dreams

Girls of color regularly face harsher school punishments than their white counterparts, while simultaneously being ignored by legislative and community efforts to close the school-to-prison pipeline, despite the proven negative impacts of zero-tolerance discipline which exposes minority girls to expulsion, violence, and arrest, a new study released Wednesday has found.

Punitive disciplinary policies “negatively impact Black girls and other girls of color. Yet much of the existing research literature excludes girls from the analysis, leading many stakeholders to infer that girls of color are not also at risk,” according to the report, titled Black Girls Matter: Pushed Out, Overpoliced and Underprotected.

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Thumbnail image for Racism Matters: Why We Do This Thing

Racism Matters: Why We Do This Thing

by Doug Porter 02.16.2015 Columns

By Doug Porter

This week the San Diego Free Press is taking a bit of a pause from our usual routine to focus on Race and Racism. Previous thematic efforts include War and Peace back in November and Guns in the week following the second anniversary of the sandy hook shootings.

While this daily column normally concerns itself with reviewing what other media are covering, I’m taking a minute out to encourage readers to join us on this journey of reflection and discussion. (And, yes, there is other news further down in the column.)

We’ve got an array of perspectives to share with readers this week. Today, Susan Grigsby and Jim Miller are looking into race & racism history, both nationally and locally. Looking into the drafts already completed for the week there are essays on the impact of racism on young black girls, inside looks by several writers on their developing racial consciousness, a late night tour of Old Town along with the ghosts of Cortez and the Kumeyaay and a terrific piece by Ricardo Levins Morales on whites fighting racism.

And there’s more… I hope you’ll read, comment on and share what we’re posting this week. Racism Matters is more than a slogan for us; it’s a core value.

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Thumbnail image for Talking about Race and Racism in San Diego

Talking about Race and Racism in San Diego

by Anna Daniels 02.16.2015 Activism

By Anna Daniels

The San Diego Free Press editorial board invites you to participate in our examination of race and racism throughout the week of February 16. This past year has revealed how deeply fraught and painful our national conversation on that topic has become.

In May of 2014, months before the shooting death of unarmed Michael Brown in Ferguson Missouri, before the choke-hold death of Eric Garner and the shooting death of twelve year old Tamir Rice, journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote “The Case for Reparations” which appeared in the The Atlantic.

He observes that Americans talk about “race” but not “racism” and makes the case that “Whiteness and blackness are not a fact of providence, but of policy—of slave codes, black codes, Jim Crow, redlining, GI Bills, housing covenants, New Deals, and mass incarcerations.”

A discussion of race and racism in San Diego requires a broad lens, given our history as well as current events.

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Thumbnail image for San Diego’s Racial Unconscious: History is the Narrative that Hurts

San Diego’s Racial Unconscious: History is the Narrative that Hurts

by Jim Miller 02.16.2015 Battle for Barrio Logan

…the insistence on what one might call “San Diego exceptionalism,” the notion that our city is somehow free of the same troubled history as the rest of the country, is at the heart of our city’s failure to truly serve the needs of all San Diegans. 

By Jim Miller

Last week, leading up to this week’s special focus on race and racism, the San Diego Free Press posted a story about a new report released by the Equal Justice Institute (EJI) that notes how, “Capital punishment and ongoing racial injustice in the United States are ‘direct descendants’ of lynching, charges a new study, which found that the pre-World War II practice of ‘racial terrorism’ has had a much more profound impact on race relations in America than previously acknowledged.”

This hidden history of racial terrorism in America is far more influential than many of us would prefer to acknowledge. As EJI Director Bryan Stevenson observes, “I also think that the lynching era created a narrative of racial difference, a presumption of guilt, a presumption of dangerousness that got assigned to African Americans in particular—and that’s the same presumption of guilt that burdens young kids living in urban areas who are sometimes menaced, threatened, or shot and killed by law enforcement officers.”

And if a lack of awareness or outright denial of the significance of our racist past is a problem in the United States at large, San Diego is certainly not immune though our civic religion—banal self-promotion by the tourism industry—would have us think otherwise. But underneath the official ahistorical pastiche of styles and fantasies designed to aid commerce and nature-packaged-as-spectacle there is another story.

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Thumbnail image for How the Racists of the South Have Ruled This Nation from the Very Beginning

How the Racists of the South Have Ruled This Nation from the Very Beginning

by Source 02.16.2015 Politics

By Susan Grigsby / Daily Kos

It all started with a Constitution that allowed slavery to continue unmolested in the Southern states, only limiting the importation of additional slaves after 1808.

In addition to requiring the return of escaped slaves to the slave labor camps, it required them to be included in the census as three-fifths of a free person for taxation and representation.

Because seats in the House of Representatives are based on population, not on the number of registered voters or even on the number people eligible to vote, but of total population—including people held in slavery, even if each was only considered three-fifths of a man—the South received more than their fair share. And it was not just extra House seats that their slave population provided, but also additional muscle in the Electoral College that selects the president.

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Thumbnail image for Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina Promises Civic Engagement

Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina Promises Civic Engagement

by At Large 02.16.2015 Editor's Picks

By Barbara Zaragoza

Ask an Imperial Beach resident, such as Jessica Hogan—small business owner of the Wave Café on Seacoast Drive—what she thinks about Serge Dedina and she’ll give you the optimism that comes with new promises and visions: “I love our new mayor. I have high hopes for our new mayor.”

Serge Dedina took office on December 10th after he won the elections by 43 votes. He gave his first State of the City Address on Monday, February 9th to a packed audience at the Boys & Girls Club. Members of the Fire Department, the Women’s Club and even Chula Vista Mayor, Mary Salas, attended.

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Thumbnail image for Looking Back at the Week: Feb 8-14

Looking Back at the Week: Feb 8-14

by Brent E. Beltrán 02.15.2015 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, at-large contributors and sourced writers on west coast ports’ labor unrest, our super mayor taking over New York, marriage equality and SCOTUS, bike share and helmets, immigration and the not so GOP, the class war, Brian Williams’ friendly fire, a youth party, stopping vicious dogs, and a pocketful of news from OB.

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Thumbnail image for The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Three Women Who Worked at Neighborhood House and Became Part of the Community

The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Three Women Who Worked at Neighborhood House and Became Part of the Community

by Maria E. Garcia 02.14.2015 Activism

Miss Gertrude Peifer, Mrs. Wilfreda Brackett and Miss Julie McClure

By Maria E Garcia

Last week I wrote about three women who shaped the direction of Neighborhood House from the 1920’s to World War II. The leadership of Mary Snyder, Rebecca Halley and Anita Jones reflected the influence of the newly recognized profession of social work and the progressive era’s spirit of social reform.

There are three more women during the same time period and into the early 1950’s who deserve recognition for their contributions to Neighborhood House and the Logan Heights community.

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Thumbnail image for Community Planning Boards Have Democratic Elections Because of One Group From Ocean Beach

Community Planning Boards Have Democratic Elections Because of One Group From Ocean Beach

by Frank Gormlie 02.14.2015 Activism

The Ocean Beach Community Planning Group Was the Forerunner to OB’s Planning Board

By Frank Gormlie / OB Rag

On March 10, the Ocean Beach Planning Board will hold its annual election of Board members. It will take place at the OB Rec Center. Every resident, property owner and business-owner in Ocean Beach is authorized to vote – with ID proving residency.

One of the main reasons that this election is going forward in March – as it has been for the last 39 years – is because of the vision and diligence of a small group that existed back in the 1970s. It was the persistent push over a several-year period during the mid-70s for an election of this nature – a democratic election – to a neighborhood planning committee by an organization called the Ocean Beach Community Planning Group that was ultimately responsible for this democratic gain for communities.

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