By Doug Porter
Interim Mayor Todd Gloria has decided to draw a line in the sand against business interests seeking to overturn the Barrio Logan Community plan, telling KPBS yesterday he’s not in favor of reversing a City Council vote despite imminent referendums.
Should the rest of the Democrats on the City Council decide to stand firm on the subject this means voters citywide will weigh in on the community plan, opposed by shipbuilding interests who say a proposed nine block buffer zone is a threat to the future of their industry in San Diego.
The City Council will probably vote on whether to repeal the Barrio Logan Community Plan Update on Tuesday, Dec. 17. If the misinformation campaign waged by opponents in connection with gathering signatures for the two ballot measures is any indication, we can expect an all-out and very negative media blitz over the coming weeks.
The Barrio Logan situation also provides an excellent vehicle for understanding the differences between mayoral candidates David Alvarez and Kevin Faulconer. Alvarez grew up in the community and still suffers from asthma likely caused by industrial pollution. Faulconer used events featuring signature gatherers for the shipbuilding interests as campaign backdrops.
Among the claims made by signature gathers employed on behalf of the shipbuilders were completely fabricated tales about the Navy pulling out of the area, along with assertions the community plan was really a ploy by developers to build condominiums in Barrio Logan. In fact, no residential construction is allowed in the buffer zone.
“To repeal that plan would be to consign Barrio Logan to this mish-mash of uses that are unhelpful for kids and that are bad for businesses in that community,” he said. “I’m not interested in repealing the ordinance or the resolution. Of course that means that the proponents of the referendum are going to cost taxpayers a significant amount of money for us to pursue it. So be it. I think that’s regrettable, I hoped that we wouldn’t come to this point.”
Gloria said the council has repealed its measures in the past under threat of referendums, and “all that’s gotten us is more of these referendum challenges.”
“This in part informs my opinion” on the Barrio Logan plan, he said.
“Nine blocks of Barrio Logan will not make or break the maritime industry,” Gloria said.
Instead, Gloria said he thinks the city should focus on ending federal sequestration, which he said is a bigger threat to the maritime industry.
Bravo, Mr. iMayor. Now, about that hotel tax/fee money…
Fast Food Workers Make Their Voices Heard
iMayor Todd Gloria was also front and center yesterday at a downtown rally in support of fast food workers around the country protesting and striking for higher wages.
More than 100 people showed up in front of a Wendy’s Restaurant on Broadway at noon. A few of the fast food employees in the crowd were brave enough to be interviewed by the TV cameras on hand.
Violeta Gonzalez told East County Magazine reporter Nadin Abbott:
[she has] been working for Wendy’s at 101 Broadway downtown for a year. She is also a student at Center City Community College. Gonzales told ECM that she started at $8.00 and after a year she received an increase of only ten cents. She added that she only gets 15 hours a week and that is not enough to pay bills, rent, food and transit fees. “I am still looking for a second job,” she said.
Acting Mayor Todd Gloria told ECM that the City of San Diego “has taken numerous steps” to increase wages, including a prevailing wage ordinance, which means any workers with contracts with the city will get better pay. He came to this event to support the workers. He later told the crowd, (over a hundred strong) that as the son of a maid and a gardener he understands and came to offer moral support to the workers.
East County Magazine also reported on a confrontation following a similar protest at a McDonald’s in Bonita. A group drove to the home of Bob Sutherland, who owns 13 franchises locally attempting to deliver petitions concerning an employee who was allegedly fired for giving a hamburger to a homeless man. They were blocked by Chula Vista police and left shortly after being told the road was on private property.
The movement around fast food workers’ wages is indicative of the growing public awareness of income disparities in this country.
From a recent San Diego Reader article:
A study by the University of Illinois and the University of California-Berkeley poignantly shows that fast food is not as cheap as you think. Wages are so low that your taxes pay to keep the workers from starving. More than half (52 percent) of families of front-line fast-food workers are enrolled in tax-supported programs such as Medicaid and food stamps; that’s double the percent in the total workforce.
Twenty percent of people working in fast-food jobs are living at or near the poverty level. The families of more than half of the fast-food workers employed 40 or more hours a week are enrolled in public assistance programs. Almost two-thirds of public-benefits spending goes to families with a working member.
There are almost 25,000 fast-food workers in San Diego earning a median wage of $9.14 an hour. An adult with one child needs to make $22.83 an hour working full time just to afford the basics, according to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
There was no coverage of the San Diego demonstrations in the print edition of UT-San Diego.
The Bitcoin Bubble, Busted
UCSD grad student Sarah Meiklejohn is quoted in a New York Times article today dealing with the dark side of the virtual currency world. Dreams of freedom shared by users —it’s unregulated and exists only at the whim of market demand—turn out to be a nightmare, according to the article.
“There is absolutely no consumer protection in any sector of the Bitcoin economy,” said Sarah Meiklejohn, a graduate student at the University of California, San Diego, who researches the industry.
After writing a paper on Bitcoin transactions this year, Ms. Meiklejohn said she began receiving emails almost daily from victims of theft who asked her to help track down the perpetrators. Ms. Meiklejohn said that despite the long odds of success, she had generally offered to help, knowing that the victims had nowhere else to turn.
“I figure I can at least respond to them and provide some sense they are being heard,” Ms. Meiklejohn said.
For those of you wondering what all this Bitcoin business is all about, here’s a New York Times video explainer.
Today’s War on Christmas Update
A Los Angeles Times op-ed by Jonathan Zimmerman gives a little historical perspective on the holiday, one that Sarah Palin who’s hawking a book on the “War” and American Family Association president Tim Wildmon seem to have missed.
Despite what Palin and Wildmon would have you believe, the first war on Christmas was waged by devout Christians. The holiday wasn’t a reflection of their religious heritage; instead, Christmas was a sin against it.
Start with our Puritan forebears in Massachusetts, who between 1659 and 1681 made it illegal to celebrate Christmas. (Lawbreakers were fined 5 shillings.) As the Puritans correctly argued, there was no historical or biblical reason to think that Christ was born on Dec. 25. The date was chosen because of its proximity to the winter solstice, making Christmas a pagan holiday in Christian garb.
But there was more. In Europe, Christmas was marked by drinking, dancing and card playing. In one ritual, peasants and workers would sing carols outside the homes of their lords and employers, demanding food and libation.
On This Day: 1865 – The 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified. The amendment abolished slavery in the U.S. 1884 – The construction of the Washington Monument was completed by Army engineers. The project took 34 years. 1969 – Four people died during a free concert given by the Rolling Stones. One of the deaths was a stabbing that occurred near the stage at the Altamont Speedway.
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