The Fish Stinks From the Head – Tales of Woe About San Diego’s MTS and NCTD Transit Authorities

By Doug Porter

“The fish stinks from the head” is an old Turkish metaphor used to attribute poor leadership as the cause for dysfunctional enterprises.

News accounts from the past 24 hours about San Diego’s Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) and the North County Transit District (NCTD) speak to seriously misplaced priorities, along with racism and sexism in both organizations.

In today’s UT-San Diego there is a story detailing how officials with the Metropolitan Transit System have declined to offer discounts for low income students. A pilot program, funded by both the school district and the City Council will now be cut by more than half.

Yesterday reporter Brad Racino at inewsource/KPBS broke a major story about sex and age bias in employment policies within the North County Transit District.    [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 –San Diego Mayoral Education Debate Fails to Advance USD Power Play on Schools

There have been so many debates between City Councilman Carl DeMaio and Congressman Bob Filner that even an earnest politico like myself has become inured to them. DeMaio and Filner have circled around each other like snarling cats, making lots of noise but not really inflicting much damage. One candidate sneers. The other becomes combative. And so forth.

So it comes as a real shocker that these aspirants actually agreed on something, rising above the partisan fray at a University of San Diego debate last night to concur that the job of Mayor in San Diego does Not include expanding the power of that office to oversee city schools. And the debate must have been a real disappointment for USD’s Center for Education and Law Policy (CEPAL) which has tried repeatedly to sell local policy makers and voters on the idea that undermining the power of an elected school board was the only way to ‘save’ San Diego Schools.

One local reporter Tweeted this characterization of the debate: “Moderator: Do you support mayoral control of schools? Candidates: No. Moderator: But c’mon, do you support mayoral control of schools?”   [Read more…]

Is awareness of HIV enough?

By Kit-Bacon Gressitt / Excuse Me, I’m Writing

July is National HIV Awareness Month. Increasing awareness is one of those concepts that has a nice noncontroversial quality, and there are all manner of things happening to that end. There’s the International AIDS Conference coming up July 22-27 in Washington, D.C., the paraders and booths that will populate PRIDE San Diego (July 20-22), even the sociable North County Connection ad in San Diego Gay & Lesbian News, which links to lots of HIV information.

But is awareness enough?

If you’re approaching 45 years or more, you might remember the discovery of AIDS in 1981 and its cause, HIV, shortly thereafter. Remember the controversies? Remember the panic? Remember the prejudice? Remember the deaths?

A lot of us lost loved ones — gay and straight — in the early days of HIV/AIDS awareness.

Then testing and treatment progressed, we learned more about the virus and its transmission — most commonly through anal or vaginal sex or sharing needles with an infected person — and a whole lot of us were more careful. We got tested regularly, we practiced safe sex, we insisted our partners get tested before we bedded them down.

Now a lot of us have loved ones — gay and straight — who are living long lives with HIV treatment, having families even.

So, is awareness enough?   [Read more…]