By Doug Porter
The San Diego City Council unanimously approved a resolution on Tuesday opposing the mere thought of a transfer of Guantanamo Bay detainees to the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.
This was an act of political cowardice based on fear-mongering, led by Councilman Chris Cate, seeking to bolster his conservative cred. Now he’s officially a “manly man,” capable of staring down imagined threats no matter where they are imagined.
The fact of San Diego not being under consideration as a detainee destination wasn’t as important as a four-year-old assessment survey that included a look at local facilities. Sites actually under consideration are in Colorado, Kansas, and South Carolina. In addition, Congress has passed a defense spending measure barring the transfer of prisoners to US soil.
This situation a classic example of the “boogie man” theory of politics. Somehow, the country with the largest penal system, the most guns per capita and military expenditures greater than the next 10 countries combined could not possibly keep its citizens safe if a hundred-odd detainees (with more than half cleared for release) were brought to US soil.
Behind the Scenes at the Starbucks War on Christmas
Having fallen for that set of ridiculous right-wing talking points, it only makes sense that the next meeting of the City Council should consider taking a stance on the Starbucks red coffee cup controversy.
“Did you read about Starbucks? No more Merry Christmas on Starbucks,” GOP candidate Donald Trump told a rally ahead of Tuesday night’s GOP debate.
The coffee chain’s Christmas cup has featured winter-themed designs since it first appeared in 1997. From minimalist snowflakes and hand-drawn reindeer to a winking snowman and decorative ornaments, each year the design is distinctive and different from the last. This year it’s red, with a green company insignia. It has never, mostly because it’s worldwide company appealing to consumers of different faiths, included any religious symbols on its cups.
Somehow this gets interpreted by “former television and radio evangelist” Joshua Feuerstein as:
“Starbucks removed Christmas from their cups because they hate Jesus,” he wrote, asking followers to use the hashtag #MerryChristmasStarbucks and to ask baristas to write “Merry Christmas” on their cups instead of their names.
Feuerstein made a video with this same load of crap talking points that been viewed more than 12 million times. There’s a reason Feuerstein is a “former” evangelist…
…Take it from somebody with personal experience with the man, writing at Daily Kos:
As despicable as this guy was, I took him at his word that he was just a preacher with an obvious persecution complex. However, I have since learned that Feuerstein is much worse than that: he’s a con artist.
First off, he is an entitled brat who apparently lives quite well sponging off of his mega-rich parents. Yet he is not above e-begging his duped followers to raise money for a $20,000 camera that he claimed he absolutely had to have to make YouTube videos.
His followers, unable to think of anything better to donate to, gladly gave him the money and Joshua utterly ****** thanked them. Yet all of his videos since he has raised the funds, from the bakery harassment video to his latest red cup diatribe, have been shot on a cellphone. People rightfully asked where the camera was that he promised to buy. He was even confronted directly and admitted he didn’t buy it after all. Meanwhile, his social media is filled with pictures of outrageously expensive shoes, jewelry and watches. I mean VERY Expensive Watches.
On his site, you can buy T-shirts, DVDs, books, and even become a monthly “partner” where he asks that you give him 50 dollars a month so he can supposedly stop people from committing suicide. I have no idea what kind of suicide prevention requires a monthly installment plan, but then again, I’m not a con-man.
Don’t you just love the War on Christmas? On to other news…
Fight for Fifteen Takes to the Streets
You wouldn’t know it from reading the Union-Tribune (online version, at least) today, but the Fight for Fifteen protests are alive and kicking in San Diego.
Yesterday there were local actions throughout the day, including walkouts and picket lines at fast food restaurants, mid-afternoon rallies at City College and the government office building on Front Street, along with a late afternoon event at the civic center plaza.
“Workers began striking at 5 a.m. at McDonald’s and it has moved on from there,” said Crystal Page with SEIU.
A coalition of at least 30 union and social justice organizations sponsored events around California. Its efforts coincided with protests in several major cities, including New York, Cleveland, Chicago, Seattle and Los Angeles.
In San Diego, about 1,000 protesters converged at City Hall for a rally in the evening, where speakers included Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins andAssemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, both San Diego Democrats.
There were rallies at 500 locations in 270 cities around the country. Many of the events yesterday focused on translating the energy behind the street protests into action at the ballot box in upcoming elections.
In the San Diego June 2016 election, voters will vote on the San Diego measure which includes a raise to $11.50 for people working in the City of San Diego. It also includes five earned sick days. In November of 2016, California voters will decide on a ballot measure that includes a $15 minimum wage. Both measures currently poll as favorable among voters.
Fight for Fifteen actions yesterday included a demonstration outside the GOP debate in Wisconsin, where the candidates all argued against an increase in the minimum wage. Donald Trump went so far as to say wages (in general, I think) are too high.
Hoo-boy. I can’t wait to see this slogan: “A Vote for Trump is a Vote for a Pay Cut” in TV ads.
A Big Problem with Proposition 47
There have been lots of feature stories, editorials, and op-eds about the decision by California voters one year ago to, among other things, downgrade many non-violent offenses from felonies to misdemeanors.
Now the American Civil Liberties Union has weighed in with a study. It seems as though some law enforcement agencies are not in agreement with the will of the electorate.
From the Union-Tribune:
A new report from the ACLU of California scolds law enforcement officials for “a disappointing level of resistance” in their response to Proposition 47, the landmark ballot measure that downgraded drug possession and some theft crimes from felonies to misdemeanors a year ago.
“Some are making irresponsible and inaccurate statements linking Prop. 47 and crime,” the report says. “Others are falsely claiming that they are no longer able to arrest people for petty crime or that a misdemeanor is not a ‘real’ penalty. These statements are both untrue and counterproductive.”
The report released Tuesday also found wide differences in how law enforcement agencies are adapting to Proposition 47, which sought to reduce the state’s prison and jail populations.
The willingness of police and sheriff’s departments to adapt to the state’s changing criminal justice landscape will ultimately determine whether Proposition 47 will be successful in reducing incarceration rates, the report said.
A Big Problem with the Bali Hai Restaurant
It’s was bad news back in July for the Bali Hai Restaurant, when 50 plus attendees came down with food poisoning following the awards dinner for the San Diego Society of Professional Journalists.
What restaurateur in his right mind would want that kind of publicity?
And, trust me, it was really bad for those of us who got sick.
County Health inspectors determined this was due to foodbourne illness. The culprit may have been the ice machine.
SDSPJ president Matt Hall contacted Bali Hai co-owner Larry Baumann by phone and sent him a letter, asking for a full refund for the banquet, the thought being the monies could be set aside for a scholarship program.
Baumann failed to even respond to the outreach. A call to his insurance company was also not returned.
Needless to say, the group has decided to end its relationship with the Bali Hai, and are looking for a new location willing to host a 150 or hungry and thirsty journalists for their 2016 banquet.
That’s how you turn bad publicity into terrible publicity.
The Voice of Racism at Voice of San Diego?
Last week Kathleen Harmon, a long-time activist in San Diego’s black community, posted a well-produced video on YouTube urging people to call out Liam Dillon at Voice of San Diego for his racism.
She went on to say “…racism is still alive in San Diego and the leader is Liam Dillon. Liam has ruined the lives of many minorities through his yellow journalism.”
A second video was posted on Monday evening, this one shot in a dark room with a TV blaring in the background and almost the same word-for-word message.
I know of people who’ve tried to communicate with Ms. Harmon and she refuses to engage or provide specifics. She has refused to meet with VOSD editor Scott Lewis unless he suspends Liam first.
This is bizarre. I’m not including links to the video because it doesn’t have any examples or facts to back up the assertions.
I went back and read two years worth of his writings in one sitting. What is it that makes Liam Dillon different than any other person at Voice of San Diego? Or City Beat? Or even the mainstream media? How is Dillon a “leader?” Which minorities has he hurt?
Two theories have emerged in my research on this subject:
- Somebody has confused Dillon with VOSD’s Mario Koran, who’s written stories critical of School Board trustee Marne Foster that are considered by some to be racist attacks. (I have also written stories about Foster. My daughter went to the school at the center of the original controversy.)
- Ms. Harmon has engaged in this quest in collaboration with an individual who is likely to be mentioned in upcoming investigative reports. Yesterday VOSD published a report by Dillon very critical of the business practices and political activities of tow truck company owner Nash Habib.
The problem with these theories is that mutual acquaintances who know Ms. Harmon tell me she’s too sharp to fit into either of these scenarios.
She tweeted on November 7th about upcoming protests at Voice of San Diego, SDG&E and American Medical Response. Again, no follow up. No reasons, not even a time or date.
I understand how Voice of San Diego is viewed as a ‘white’ institution and there certainly are plenty of people out there who dislike the outlet. I just don’t get how Liam Dillon is the boss of anything beyond the keyboard on his laptop.
On This Day: 1831 – Nat Turner was hanged in Jerusalem, VA, accused of inciting a violent slave uprising. 1918 – World War I came to an end when the Allies and Germany signed an armistice. This day became recognized as Veteran’s Day in the United States. 1919 – A confrontation between American Legionnaires and Wobblies during an Armistice Day Parade in Centralia, Wash., results in six deaths. One Wobbly reportedly was beaten, his teeth bashed in with a rifle butt, castrated and hanged: local officials listed his death as a suicide.
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bob dorn says
From Liam Dillon, on then-mayor Bob Filner, late in 2012: “He’s a white New York Jew representing a Latino-majority district on the country’s border with Mexico.” The quote appeared on January 15, 2013 in The San Diego Free Press article I wrote well before the Democratic mayor was forced to resign over sexual abuse allegations. The article was titled Filner Farts at the Cotillion, and was my attempt to show the extent to which Filner had alienated the press in this town.
I’m a white, ex-New York Jew and I don’t see how this is anything but a simple statement of fact. It doesn’t seem racist to me.
bob dorn says
Filner was born and raised in Pittsburgh and his sole connection to New York was his attendance and graduation from Cornell University way upstate. “White New York Jew” seems like racism to me.
I, too, thought he WAS from New York! No wonder I don’t see anything wrong — it’s totally inaccurate and I didn’t even know.
Well, that settles it; confusing New York for Pittsburgh makes it racist in my book, too.
Sorry, Mr. Dorn, I still don’t see racism here. Mild bigotry perhaps, but certainly not racism.
And nothing to get offended over, either.
bob dorn says
Short letters are a difficult form. It might help you to know that the press after Filner’s elections was full of language calling him impatient, rude and arrogant. The word most often used was abusive, and this preceded the allegations that brought him down. Absent that context “white New York Jew” might seem to you “mildbigotry” but from a journalist’s viewpoint it looks like conclusive evidence Dillon was aiming low and missing the truth.
I saw some/many of those adjectives used in the press; it’s all pretty much true, isn’t it? Are you contending that pointing out an ethnic stereotype (abrasive Jew) is now racist? Again I state, no more than mild bigotry. And if the writer indeed was perpetrating such, not cool.
But how does this affect a Black activist? How is it racist??
bob dorn says
You’re going to have to come up with something better than “it’s all pretty much true, isn’t it?” What’s true is, Dillon and his editors, and the SD-UT, felt free to treat
Filner differently than they did more conventional (and Republican) politicians. And their standards of proof were pretty loose.
Oh, so now the complaint is that some political folks got unequal treatment from some members of the press? Change hats often, Mr. Dorn?
And, again, what’s racist — or new — about any of that??
Doug Porter, what do you personally think of Kathleen Harmon’s call out? Is it personal,revenge wrapped in political rhetoric? If that is your opinion…why?
Doug Porter says
It’s my opinion based on conversations I’ve had with contacts (some of which go back 4 decades) around San Diego, my experiences in organizing protests and the little voice inside of me. Something isn’t right here and, as I said to you on twitter today, I’m open to being proven wrong. For now, all we can do is wait for Ms Harmon to show her hand.