On Human Trafficking

Mari’s story is harrowing and heartbreaking, but hardly unique.

By Brooke Binkowski

This week, I visited a home in Tijuana for young girls who have been trafficked — bought and sold into slavery, sometimes across international borders, sometimes not, but always horrifically abused and tortured either psychologically, physically, or both — and spoke with them, an adult trafficking victim, and Alma, who started the home.

The issue of human trafficking is enormous and difficult to fully appreciate, so I will only focus on thing: a woman I met who I’ll call Mari.

Mari is 40 years old. She was born in Mexico, and spent the first few years of her life in Tijuana. She had always heard that the United States were where you could go to make money to take care of your family, so when a friend of her parents said he was going to the US, she asked him to take her along.   [Read more…]

The Starting Line – Community Activists Take Aim at San Diego’s Budget Priorities

As Citizens Clamor for a Better Life, Downtown Types Scheme to Take it Away

 By Doug Porter

After years of suffering through cutbacks and slights of hand, residents from some of San Diego’s poorest neighborhoods packed a City Council public budget hearing last night. An event that in the past might have been focused on saving city services from further budget cuts was instead about creating positive visions and improving people’s lives.

More than 300 hundred people submitted requests to speak to Council members on topics relevant to the needs of their communities in Mayor Bob Filner’s proposed budget for FY 2014.  Speakers addressed the hearing in four languages, advocating for free bus passes for needy students, a better bike infrastructure, more library hours and improvements in the way city’s taxicabs are regulated.

Although only 100 of those who signed up actually got to speak for their allotted minute, the size and determination of the groups in attendance made a clear impression on the Council.   [Read more…]

An Afternoon with Pancho Segura

by Hilary Paul McGuire, USPTA

Seated in a wheel chair watching his son Spencer Segura play at the Bobby Riggs Tennis Club and Museum in Encinitas, CA was 92-yearold Pancho Segura.

His full mane of neck-length silver hair bespoke his presence from afar. His imposing form hovered as a sentinel over the courts.

I showed him my newly-released book Tennis Saves: Stewart Orphans Take World By Racket. Though I’m a long-time USPTA pro, he didn’t know me from Adam. With scarcely a sidewise glance, he growled, “Everyone writes a book—too many books. Tennis books don’t sell, not even my Little Pancho.” Caroline Seebohm published that much-touted biography in 2009.
  [Read more…]

The Starting Line – Mayor Crashes Press Conference to Defend City Against Dubious Hotel Deal

City Attorney Jan Goldsmith’s attempted to undercut Mayor Bob Filner’s questioning of the pending hotel tax-but-not-a-tax deal by staging a hastily called press conference yesterday afternoon. Things didn’t work out quite like Goldsmith hoped.

As Goldsmith stood before the assembled media questioning the legality of the Mayor’s proposals, Filner joined the audience, initially sitting in the back row.

After Goldsmith failed to answer a 10News reporter’s questions about whether the City Attorney had offered his legal advice to the Mayor, Filner hijacked the conference by answering “No”. The local media has played up the drama of the situation while largely ignoring (except for the Voice of San Diego) the real issues at stake.

Goldsmith’s intent was. I believe, part of a coordinated effort to bring pressure on Filner   [Read more…]

The Starting Line – Voting Rights; Don’t Take Them for Granted

In case you haven’t noticed, San Diego Free Press has a terrific story up here about local efforts at “Poll Watching” underway via the Election Integrity Project and True The Vote, organizations with connections to the Tea Party movement. Our citizen journalists have been ‘watching the watchers’ over the past few months.

It’s pretty obvious from reading their materials that the underlying idea behind these ‘watchers’ is voter intimidation of certain classes of people that they have deemed to be suspicious. In practice—despite claims to the contrary—this has generally meant people of color, students, and other groups whose voting history runs counter to the conservative cause.

Despite promises from True The Vote founder Catherine Engelbrecht earlier this year to recruit and train a million volunteers to watch the polls, the group has fallen far short of that goal. For example, Election Integrity Maryland has only about 200 recruits. Nevada Clean Up the Vote has about 700. And our SDFP observers also report a sharp decline in volunteer participation in local efforts More Inside…

Also: LA Mass Transit Exploring San Diego Link, Encinitas’ Parents Still Threatening Legal Action Over Yoga Classes

  [Read more…]

The Starting Line – Local Labor Activist Banned from All Walmart Stores

Skirmishes between Walmart and labor groups continued yesterday, as 200 angry protesters showed up at a meeting of investors and analysts earlier today at Walmart’s headquarters in Bentonville, Ark.

Here in San Diego local AFL/CIO leader Lorena Gonzalez paid her first visit ever to a Walmart, visiting the College Grove store with a letter for the store manager asking the retailer to improve employee pay and benefits, and require store contractors to pay a living wage.

The store manager refused to even shake hands with Gonzalez, keeping hands in his pockets as she asked him to accept the letter.

He responded with a notice banning Gonzalez from ever setting foot in any Walmart store, and called the police.   [Read more…]