By Doug Porter
Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom held a press conference yesterday, rolling out details of a proposed ballot initiative aimed at reducing gun violence in California. The setting for the announcement was San Francisco’s 101 California St. office building, site of a 1993 mass shooting.
The measure, co-authored by the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, includes provisions of bills that have stalled at the state Capitol or were vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown in recent years.
Owners would be required to dispose of weapons with high capacity magazines grandfathered in after the 1999 ban. Ammunition sellers would be licensed and required to do point-of-sale background checks on every purchase of ammunition. A process would be established to seize guns from people prohibited from owning them because of their criminal records and federal authorities would be automatically notified of each addition to the state’s databased on prohibited firearms owners.
Needless to say, gun groups are locking and loading.
From the Sacramento Bee:
“Protecting civil rights and lawfully owned personal property from police state gun grabbers like Gavin Newsom has to be everyone’s first priority,” Firearms Policy Coalition President Brandon Combs said in a statement. “If Gavin Newsom wants to declare war on law-abiding gun owners and Second Amendment rights, we’re certainly going to bring the fight to him….”
…Newsom argued that the proposals will help prevent illegal gun trafficking in California – which he said has an estimated 34,000 guns in the possession of convicted criminals – by closing loopholes that allow weapons to slip into the wrong hands. He blasted the National Rifle Association and other gun rights advocates for blocking previous legislative efforts.
“You can intimidate politicians,” he said. “Hell, you’ve been effective. But you can’t intimidate the public. That’s why we’re bringing this to the ballot.”
SeaWorld Doubles Down On Orcas
The corporate owners of SeaWorld announced yesterday that they’ll be taking the California Coastal Commission to court over conditions attached to a permit request allowing the San Diego water park to expand its orca tanks.
Last week the Commission stipulated a ban on breeding captive killer whales as part of approving construction of two orca pools, one filled with 5.2 million gallons of water and the other with a capacity of 450,000 gallons, to replace the current 1.7 million gallon tank.
What this means for SeaWorld is that, when its current crop of ocras gets too old to play tricks on command, there will be no more Shamu/killer whale shows.
“As a regulatory board charged with managing coastal development and related land-use decisions, the Coastal Commission went way beyond its jurisdiction and authority when it banned breeding by killer whales at SeaWorld,” said Joel Manby, president and CEO of Orlando-based SeaWorld Entertainment…
…PETA Director of Animal Law Jared Goodman accused SeaWorld officials of “blowing smoke.”
“The California Coastal Commission acted fully within its authority when, as a condition of its approval of building new tanks, it placed a ban on breeding orcas,” Goodman said. ” The (commission’s) jurisdiction over marine mammals is expansive. Although the Coastal Act focuses on protecting open spaces and wildlife in their native state, it contains no limiting language that excludes captive wildlife.
SeaWorld’s decision to fight this ruling is just another example of a corporation unable to adapt to changing public perceptions. Even if they win the lawsuit, they’ve lost.
As Union Tribune columnist Dan McSwain pointed out not long ago:
Public opinion — and thus potential customers — are moving inexorably toward greater rights for animals and away from watching captives jump through hoops. The sooner SeaWorld accepts this market reality, the sooner one of San Diego’s great tourist attractions will stop sinking.
The company has underperformed theme-park competitors such as Disney and Universal for years. But its real troubles began with the 2013 release of “Blackfish,” a low-budget film that became an Internet and cable news sensation with its all-too-visual criticism of SeaWorld’s treatment of orcas and their trainers.
Falling attendance followed. Profit as of June 30 plummeted 75 percent compared to the previous 12-month period. SeaWorld’s stock closed Friday at $18.15, down 53 percent from a May 2013 peak reached a few months before CNN started replaying “Blackfish.”
WalMart Doubles Down on Greed
Speaking of companies without a clue, the value of Walmart stock plummeted to a 30-year low yesterday, costing the Walton heirs owning stock in the company more than $11 billion. The company’s annual shareholder report, which had previously projected modest increases in profits, is no looking at losses as high as 12 percent.
WalMart executives blamed the company’s falling fortunes on incremental pay increases being given to employees around the country. Many of those employees have seen those wage increases disappear from paychecks as store managers, forced to cling to the company’s old ways of doing things, cut hours to meet corporate performance expectations.
It doesn’t have to be that way. The company’s old way of doing things makes their stores less attractive to consumers. Hours get cut, inventory fails to get replenished, employee morale sags, customers have negative experiences… it’s a downward spiral…
Costco pays employees an average of $21 an hour plus benefits. That’s a far cry above Walmart’s average wage of $8.81 an hour and zero benefits. Yet Costco’s profits are up 29 percent this year, and the company continues to experience substantial growth. The company’s 2015 growth has blown analysts’ predictions out of the water.
Aside from the fact that Costco isn’t exploiting its workforce in order to make a few people rich, there are several key differences between Costco and Walmart. For example, the CEO of Costco makes a reasonable salary, with a total compensation package worth just over $5 million. In comparison, Walmart’s CEO took home $25.6 million in 2014. In January of the same year, the company’s former CEO, Mike Duke, walked away with $140 million in deferred pay as part of a severance package.
That was nothing compared to the $3.1 billion that the three Walton heirs took home in 2014; all while crying about how the company cannot afford to pay their workforce a fair wage.
The facts speak for themselves. The only thing that has ever prevented Walmart from raising wages for the average employee is the insatiable greed of the company’s owners and executives.
UCSD Fraternity’s ‘Rush Boobs’ #Fail
The administration at UCSD is reportedly investigating an incident where a woman was asked to bare her breasts in a photo as part of a rush week promotion.
From NBC 7:
Sophomore Rachel Friedman said she received an unexpected request Thursday for a revealing selfie from a fraternity member she barely knows.
“He wanted my breasts and to say ‘rush’ and the name of his fraternity,” Friedman said.
According to a Facebook message, the member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) said he and his fellow fraternity members were charged with getting “rush boobs” for rush week.
Sigma Alpha Epsilon isn’t exactly the kind of fraternity you’d expect to find at the University of California San Diego, a school better known for its research than its parties.
The SDSU chapter of the frat was named in reports concerning on-campus sexual assaults in 2014.
SAE chapters garnered national publicity three times over the past two years.
In 2014, the chapter at Clemson University hosted a “Cripmas” party in reference to the Southern California-based African-American crips gang. The chapter “suspended all activity indefinitely”, according to the SAE national office.
In March 2015, the national organization of Sigma Alpha Epsilon closed the University of Oklahoma chapter after a video surfaced showing members chanting a song which featured the racial slur, “ni***r,” and made reference to lynching…
A spokesman for national SAE headquarters told NBC chapter officers had already suspended the members responsible for the incident, saying, in part:
The Sigma Alpha Epsilon headquarters is aware of the completely inappropriate and unacceptable requests by one of our new members. The national organization and its leaders do not tolerate behavior of this kind, nor is it part of any activity or expectation by the fraternity. Our membership experience is based on concepts that promote the development of brothers — and not on the kind of immature behavior that stereotypes the Greek-letter community.
Upcoming Events in San Diego
Sunshine Noir ll Book Release Party
Friday, October 16th, 6pm Free
1815 Main St, Suite B, San Diego
Sign Up & Info
Come celebrate the release of City Works Press’s 10th Anniversary book–SUNSHINE/NOIR II: Writing from San Diego and Tijuana as the final celebratory event of the San Diego City College International Book Fair. There will be readings, music, art, tacos, and MORE!
Columnist Note: I probably should mention that several San Diego Free Press editors and contributors are included in this book.
San Diego Wage Hearing
Saturday, Oct. 17th, 10am
4855 Seminole Dr.
Sign Up & Info
A Wage Board will be formed locally to investigate the reality of living on the current minimum wage and to make a determination, based on the testimony they hear, as to whether or not San Diegans need a raise.
The wage board will hear testimony from workers, economists, academics, students, and labor leaders. The stories will be real and will provide an honest picture of the current life of poverty pay in the San Diego region.
Invest in San Diego Families
Report release on San Diego County safety net enrollment
Wednesday, Oct. 21st, 2pm
Christ the King Catholic Church
29 32nd St., San Diego
Sign Up & Info
In 2010, The Rose Institute found low enrollment rates of San Diego’s eligible population and found: “our eligibility estimates indicate that, among the state’s largest counties, San Diego enrolls the lowest proportion of eligible persons for Medi-Cal, the Food stamps program and CalWORKs.”
5 years later, a new report from the Center on Policy Initiatives will release the data and that answers whether our county has improved.
The event is sponsored by Invest in San Diego Families, a coalition of community groups, faith-based organizations, working families and others who are challenging the county to invest in clients, services and communities to stimulate the economy and create a San Diego that works for everyone.
20th Annual October 22;
National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression
and the Criminalization of a Generation
Thursday, October 22, 6pm
City Heights/Weingart Library and Performance Annex
3795 Fairmount Ave
Sign Up & Info
October 22nd is a day that people around the nation have mobilized every year since 1996 for a National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation. It is crucial that we bring forward a powerful National Day of Protest in cities and towns across the U.S. to challenge the ongoing violence against the people. This October 22nd, stand with thousands across the country to express our collective outrage, creativity, and resistance in response to the crimes of this system. On October 22nd.
5pm Set up and poster making
6pm Rally at City Heights Performance Annex
Continue Rally and Candlelight Vigil
Overpass Light Brigade Message “Stop Police Terror”
Conscious Hip Hop performance by Mad Dog Blue
*******WEAR BLACK, FIGHT BACK!******
2015 San Diego County Democratic Convention
Democrats from all over Southern California will converge on Escondido to hear from statewide and local candidates and elected officials (including Atty Gen. Kamala Harris) … participate in stimulating trainings and panel discussions … and network/socialize.
Renowned linguist and messaging guru George Lakoff will be the featured speaker at the mid-day luncheon, discussing how Democrats can re-frame the debate based on fundamental progressive values.
On This Day: 1859 – Abolitionist John Brown lead 18 men, including five free blacks, in an attack on the Harper’s Ferry ammunition depot, the beginning of guerrilla warfare against slavery. 1916 – Margaret Sanger opened the first birth-control clinic in New York City. 1966 – Joan Baez and 123 other anti-draft demonstrators were arrested for blocking the entrance to the Armed Forces Induction Center in Oakland.
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