Listen to the Garibaldi fish
By Will Falk
Garibaldi fish have a lot to say about the Barrio Logan Referendum Vote.
I learned this the other day snorkeling in La Jolla Cove when a Garibaldi fish attacked me. The fish, named after the Italian freedom fighter Giuseppe Garibaldi, sprang out of thick plants as an orange flash thumping me square between the eyes on my mask.
I swam too close to a Garibaldi fish family nest threatening the babies. Garibaldi fish will attack any predators that may eat their young no matter how large including sharks and humans.
The Garibaldi fish, in his actions and even his name, demonstrates a basic law of life: When an intruder threatens the physical well-being of you and your loved ones, in a home you’ve lived in for generations, you protect your body and the body of your loved ones.
Now, I did not mean to startle the Garibaldi family. I had no intention to eat them. I merely wanted to see them, but the Garibaldi fish spoke firmly that he did not want me there. I swam away because I recognized another basic law of life: When someone’s physical well-being is in jeopardy, and yours is not, and they ask you to leave, stop, or they say no, you respect that decision. This goes for fish, this goes for sexual partners, this goes for Barrio Logan. I do not live in Barrio Logan. But, they have expressed their desire and we must honor that.
I have been horrified by the logic being used by many San Diegans outside of Barrio Logan who argue that if the new community plan is implemented it will cause a loss of jobs and hurt the San Diego economy making this a city-wide issue.
First, it has been successfully demonstrated that jobs will not be lost.
Next, let’s examine who is taking which side in the battle for Barrio Logan. We can add the unions to the side of the new community plan. The union workers have the most invested in the success of maritime industry on the local level. If the new community plan was going to force maritime industry to leave, the union workers certainly would oppose it.
This forces us to realize that this isn’t really about local economy at all. Consider the main players in maritime industry. There’s NAASCO (of Exxon-Valdez oil spill infamy) owned by General Dynamics headquartered in Falls Church, VA. General Dynamics is at least headquartered in North America, while the next player, BAE Systems, is headquartered in London, England.
Now, where have you heard this scenario before? An organization headquartered in a European city like London, Paris, Madrid, or Rome exploits communities half a planet away. There’s another word for this tactic. It’s called colonization.
Let’s look at this another way. Ian King is the CEO of BAE Systems and lives in Plymouth, England. According to the 2010 BAE Systems Annual Report, King makes a base salary of 935,000 British pounds. He has one son with his wife. What if we asked King to move to Barrio Logan? What if we gave King the incidences of asthma faced by Barrio Logan? Do you think King would put his family in this kind of danger?
Me neither. So why is it ok that his company wants to keep Barrio Logan in that danger?
The referendum will go to a city-wide vote on June 3, 2014 making every voter in the city a player. The problem with this is not every voter has as much to lose if the new community plan is voted down. Residents of Barrio Logan are the only voters with their real physical bodies on the line. It is Barrio Logan children getting asthma from maritime industry. It is Barrio Logan residents breathing in toxins.
And Barrio Logan has already spoken. Twice. First, the Planning Commission approved the new plan, then the City Council approved the new plan.
There are many San Diego residents that are worried their checkbooks might feel the effects of Barrio Logan’s new community plan. I realize that some San Diego residents confuse their checkbooks for body parts, but the reality remains: a checkbook is not a pair of lungs. Barrio Logan’s lungs are in danger, and they set their boundaries, the basic laws of life say the rest of us should respect that.
Barrio Logan said no. Maritime industry refused to stop. Barrio Logan said no again. Maritime industry still has not stopped. We have the power to stop maritime industry. Listen to the Garibaldi fish.
I recently moved to San Diego from Milwaukee, WI where I was a public defender. I am looking for life outside of law. My first passion is poetry and I am interested in the way the land speaks through the poet. If you can’t find me drinking too much coffee in Cafe Calabria, I’ll be on a rock somewhere in Joshua Tree.