A Community Preparing for the Future by Addressing the ‘Facts’ of the Matter

By Ernie McCray

Recently, a man said I should wait for the “facts” because of feelings I shared when I was (and I still am) grieving the “fact” that Michael Brown had been shot unarmed in the streets of Ferguson, Missouri.

Oh, it seems like the only time Americans talk about justice and fairness and deal with terms like “facts” is when black folks are involved. I mean like students of color at one time were denied college admissions as a way of American life. Affirmative Action Programs were created to address this problem and immediately they were attacked because they were deemed as “unfair” to white students.

Now “facts” have become a code word for keeping black people in our place when it comes to issues of justice. A black boy lies dead in his own blood and the “let’s wait for the facts” crowd, the KKK among them, have raised over $400,000 through GoFundMe for Darren Wilson, a cop, for whom there are very few “facts” other than the “fact” that he was the one who took a young brother’s life.

And speaking of “facts,” comments on the GoFundMe website are in “fact,” chilling to the bone, downright scary.   [Read more…]

The Dog Days of August in San Diego: It’s All Filner All the Time…

By Doug Porter

It’s day three of mediation between embattled Mayor Bob Filner and the representatives of officialdom seeking his removal from office.  The count on women alleging sexual harassment increased to 18 today, and the local political scene continues to roil with the repercussions of what would seem to be the Mayor’s eminent demise.

One local report says that talks could drag on for weeks.  And the Mayor could simply walk out, forcing a deeply flawed legal process to remove him to play out.  He’s already demonstrated the imperiousness of the thick political hide he’s developed over the years.

Participants in the sessions going on in a downtown office building being run by retired judge Lawrence Irving are operating under a pledge not reveal the substance of negotiations. Rumors persist, however, that the obstacles to any settlement include limiting the city’s liability and the method by which the Mayor’s resignation will be announced.

Any potential deal will require approval of the City Council, which is not scheduled to meet again until August 28th.   [Read more…]

Victor Ochoa – Mural Maestro of Chicano Park

By Frank Gormlie

As we were sitting in Victor Ochoa’s studio garage in Golden Hill the other day, I realized that even though we’d been friends since the late 1970’s, I didn’t know a whole lot about his earlier life before those heady days of the Seventies decade. I was wondering whether he remembered that I had helped arrange for him to be hired to paint murals at the Che Cafe up at UCSD – way back in in 1980 and 81. He did but he had a few different details.

“This is my favorite garage,” Victor said, as we settled in for our talk. Surrounding us on three sides inside the garage were painting materials and large plastic bins holding more painting stuff stacked up on shelves, brushes, cans of paint piled on each other, cans of spray paint in a shallow closest. There was a gas-powered airbrush machine that looked like a cross between a lawn mower and a Mars Rover.

In one corner, he had set up a type of shrine to his past, his family, his culture, with various memorabilia of his life. On another wall were posters of Pancho Villa and of more recent Chicano heroes, like Corky Gonzalez, and local activist Marco Anguiano. And along part of one of the walls were the books, the notebooks, the 3-ring binders, paper records, the manuscripts, the slides.   [Read more…]

The Starting Line – San Diego’s Double Standard on Electioneering Dirty Tricks

Last week I reported on misleading mailers being sent to residents in San Diego’s District 4. There’s a special election on March 26th for the City Council seat vacated late last year by Tony Young. I profiled District 4 and the nine candidates last week.

Chances are nobody will win this contest outright (50%+1 is required), so the real deal next Tuesday is about who will make it into the runoff. And it looks to me like our local Republicans, even though they don’t have anything more than a token candidate in the race, are trying their best to influence the outcome.

This contest is important to all San Diegans because the winner will likely be a key vote on a City Council hesitant to get with Mayor Filner’s program to shift the emphasis of development away from downtown and towards the many neighborhoods of our city. And it’s already very clear that our downtown interests aren’t going to give up their privileged position at the public trough without a fight.   [Read more…]

The Starting Line – Sequestration, Implementation, Discrimination, Frustration… Compared to What?

Happy sequestration day. 

The sky most likely won’t fall at 11:59pm tonight when President Obama signs the order implementing terms of a deal struck with Congress designed to be so odious that no person in their right mind would allow it to happen.

That should tell us a lot about the current mental state of the nation’s politicians. But it doesn’t.  The horrible deal, as it turns out, isn’t all that horrible, at least in the short run.

Guess who won’t be feeling the effects of sequestration?  From Bloomberg News:

The cuts, known as sequestration, will have no impact on the president, U.S. lawmakers and other top government officials. It is especially ironic that Congress, which has the power to avert the reductions, has nothing to lose in the negotiations, said Dan Gordon, former head of federal procurement in the Obama administration.


The Starting Line – They’re Coming for Your Guns and Other NRA Falsehoods

The national conversation over gun regulations continues to dominate the news cycle. The Senate Judiciary Committee hearings yesterday saw astronaut Mark Kelly directly confronting the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre over the shooting of his wife, former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

Giffords (D-Ariz.) was the first witness called yesterday, and at the end of the day it was her seventy two word statement that still echoed in the halls of Congress:

 Speaking is difficult but I need to say something important.

Violence is a big problem. Too many children are dying – too many children. We must do something.

It will be hard. But the time is now. You must act. Be bold. Be Courageous. Americans are counting on you. Thank you.

  [Read more…]

The Starting Line – Mayor Calls San Diego Summit in Response to Sandy Hook Shooting

Mayor Bob Filner, along with representatives from the San Diego Police Department and San Diego Unified, hosted a sit-down yesterday to talk about local responses and precautions in the wake of Friday’s school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

The Mayor cited his own struggle over talking with his two grandchildren about the Sandy Hook tragedy as being a motivation for calling the meeting. Police Chief William Landsdowne mentioned his opposition to legal assault weapons as the video tape from NBCNews7 rolled, quickly qualifying his statement as being a political matter not necessarily germane to the matters at hand.

A video monitoring system installed throughout San Diego schools over the past couple of years will now be interfaced with laptops in police cars, giving them the ability to see situations in real time as they respond to a situation. One thousand cameras are in place, covering hallways, lunchrooms, offices and building exteriors, according to SDUSD police Lieutenant Joe Florentino.   [Read more…]

The Starting Line – San Diego GOP Sets Out to Test the Definition of Insanity

San Diego Republicans, in an attempt to prove that they really aren’t the ‘anti-science’ party are conducting a field trial designed to prove the veracity of the commonly used definition of insanity.  You know, the quip that goes, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

A press release issued yesterday proudly announced that, on the heels of getting their asses handed to them in 2012, the local Republican Party branch is sticking with the same management team.   Heh, heh. Quote:

Preparing to take advantage of mid-term election opportunities, the Republican Party of San Diego County tonight elected its leadership team for the 2014 election cycle.

  [Read more…]

The Starting Line – Grover Norquist, Pink Unicorns and A Ray of Hope

As (largely untrue) reports fly through the blogosphere and interwebs about reports of movement between the Congressional political blocs on various aspects of the impending ‘fiscal cliff’ crisis, the man at the center of it all, Grover Norquist is certainly having his moments in the spotlight.

Steve Inskeep of NPR gave Norquist air time this morning to prattle on about how it really isn’t true that Republicans are lining up to jump ship and break their pledges not to raise taxes. He likened talk of accepting tax increases in exchange for spending cuts by Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina to believing in a pink unicorn.   [Read more…]