By Doug Porter
The infamous rockscaping in and around East Village was installed as part of the city’s preparation for Major League Baseball’s 2016 All-Star game on July 12. The wishes of the surrounding community, the supposed reason for the installation, were actually not considered.
Even as emails on the situation were made public on Wednesday by Kelly Davis at Voice of San Diego , local gendarmes were rousting homeless people who’d moved to surrounding neighborhoods as a result of the city’s actions.
Trust me. It’s a juicy column today. I’ve got stories on US Senators being brave, secret files on Trump, and a strong candidate for hypocrite of the year.
— Michael McConnell (@HomelessnessSD) June 16, 2016
From Voice of San Diego:
In late April, homeless advocates discovered the city was installing jagged rocks under Interstate 5 at Imperial Avenue to discourage camping. The motivation seemed clear: Imperial leads straight to Petco Park, home of this year’s All-Star Game. The rocks, advocates argued, were part of a larger effort—similar to one in San Francisco before this year’s Super Bowl—to get homeless people out of the area.
But a city spokesman told a different story. He said it was at the request of residents of Sherman Heights, a working-class neighborhood several blocks east of Petco Park.
“The new landscaping along Imperial Avenue is meant to address safety concerns raised by neighborhood residents in Sherman Heights who use it as their main connection to Downtown,” public works spokesman Bill Harris wrote in an April 25 email.
Photos of the rockscaping and police sweeps of homeless people in the area led to protests at City Hall. The city continued to peddle the story about concern for residents of Sherman Heights.
SDFP columnist and homeless advocate Jeenie Criscenzo wrote about reaction to the protests:
Last week, homeless advocates, including myself, confronted the mayor for authorizing installation of a $57,000 rock bed under an overpass where homeless people frequently camped. On social media, we were accused of being bleeding hearts who were giving aid and comfort to creatures who don’t deserve our concern. They called the ugly barrier that was built without a shred of effort to be attractive, a “rock garden”! When one of our group spoke at City Council about the inhumanity of using pest-control tactics to repel human beings, two councilpersons actually giggled!
City Councilman David Alvarez has demanded an apology. Residents of the Sherman Heights area reported that displaced homeless people were pushed onto the sidewalks and alleyways around residences after the installation of the rockscaping.
Via Voice of San Diego:
Alvarez, whose district includes Sherman Heights, believes city officials used residents as a scapegoat after people questioned the rocks project. Homeless advocates held a press conference condemning the project.
All residents wanted was better lighting under the overpass, Alvarez said — a request that’s yet to be fulfilled.
“I feel very offended on behalf of the Sherman Heights community for being used by a city spokesperson claiming all of this was at their request,” he said in an interview. “The request was very simple — it was about lighting. Somebody at some point made the decision to allow these rocks to be placed there. That was not what the community asked for.”
It should surprise no one that the blame for this fiasco now falls on one former city employee. The mayor’s office knows nothing. The Padres, as host team for the All-Star game, know nothing. Nobody knows nothing.
In other MLB News, a series of “free” concerts on the embarcadero sponsored by Budweiser on the weekend prior to the All-Star game have been announced.
From the Union-Tribune:
A limited number of tickets for the July 8 and 9 All-Star concerts here will be made available first to San Diego Padres’ season ticket-holders, who can register for them online. Members of the public can obtain free standing-room-only tickets — based on availability — beginning Friday at 10 a.m., online only, at: AllStarGame.com/concerts.
Maybe headliners Gwen Stefani, OneRepublic and Tori Kelly can ask for a few tickets for homeless people.
Violence Prevention Filibuster Succeeds
Senate Democrats, led by Chris Murphy (D-Ct), staged a fifteen-hour-long filibuster yesterday and succeeded in getting GOP to leaders to allow votes on banning people on the terrorist watch list from obtaining firearms licenses and on expanding background checks to gun shows and Internet sales.
From Talking Points Memo:
The Connecticut senator invoked the mass shooting of 20 children and six teachers at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in his home state to shame his fellow legislators for their lack of action.
“I’ve had enough. I’ve had enough of the ongoing slaughter of innocents, and I’ve had enough of inaction in this body,” Murphy said when he kicked off the filibuster at 11:21 am on Wednesday.
The legislation on barring the sale of guns and explosives to people it suspects of being terrorists was first proposed by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) one day after a couple killed 14 at an office holiday party in San Bernardino, California.
Unlike Senator Ted Cruz’s filibuster (he read from Dr. Seuss) on Obamacare, the subject of gun violence was discussed throughout the day and night.
Most of his fellow Democratic senators had no idea the filibuster was coming. But two of them — New Jersey’s Cory Booker and Connecticut’s Richard Blumenthal — quickly helped, asking questions to give Murphy a rest from talking without forcing him to yield the floor.
More and more Democratic senators stepped forward to ask questions. By 8:30 pm, more than 15 of them had spoken. By a little after 10 pm, 38 of 46 Democratic senators had joined the effort.
As they did, the story ricocheted around social media. Murphy, sounding surprised, said close to midnight that his office had received more than 10,000 phone calls since he began talking.
Lest anybody get too excited about this, remember: the GOP consented to allow a vote on a measure (expanded background checks) supported by 85% of the American public.
— Matt Mendes (@10NewsMendes) June 16, 2016
News of the Trump
The Donald is getting mighty upset with all those Republicans who are queasy about falling in line behind his candidacy.
From The Hill:
“You know the Republicans — honestly folks, our leaders have to get tougher,” he said at a rally in Atlanta. “This is too tough to do it alone, but you know what I think I’m going to be forced to.”
“Our leaders have to get a lot tougher,” he continued. “And be quiet. Just please be quiet. Don’t talk. Please be quiet. Just be quiet to the leaders because they have to get tougher, they have to get sharper, they have to get smarter. We have to have our Republicans either stick together or let me just do it by myself.”
Trump’s comments come amid signs that GOP leaders are increasingly worried about being tied to his campaign.
The Democrats had their own controversy over Donald Trump yesterday when it was revealed that “Russian Hackers” had broken into their databases and stolen their opposition research on the presumptive GOP presidential candidate. DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said no financial documents were compromised.
Eh, not-so-fast. This morning all kinds of files were floating around the internet, including donor lists.
Hacker Guccifer 2.0 sent a message to the DNC’s security company:
Shame on CrowdStrike: Do you think I’ve been in the DNC’s networks for almost a year and saved only 2 documents? Do you really believe it?
All-Natural Food for Duncan Hunter’s Kids
Congressman Duncan Hunter’s campaign finance scandal continues to grow. The Union-Tribune’s Watchdog investigators have reason to believe campaign funds were used to pay for lunches at the private school attended by his three children.
At issue are campaign reports filed several weeks back listing $1,300 spent with Ki’s restaurant in Cardiff-by-the-Sea in 2015 and early 2016. Ki’s provides school lunch delivery to Christian Unified Schools.
Hypocrite, thy name is Duncan Hunter. From the UT:
In Congress in 2010, Hunter opposed legislation that would increase spending on school lunch programs for the poor, saying “ it spends too much and expands the influence of government.”
This year, he backs a Republican effort to loosen some school food health standards, such as allowing more processed foods. The effort is opposed by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the PTA.
Ki’s meals for Christian Unified students are billed as all-natural, “free of preservatives, hormones, antibiotics and fillers.”
On This Day: 1903 – Mary Harris “Mother” Jones led a rally in Philadelphia to focus public attention on children mutilated in the state’s textile mills. Three weeks later the 73-year-old led a march to New York City to plead with President Theodore Roosevelt to help improve conditions for the children. 1976 – In Soweto, thousands of school children revolted against the South African government’s plan to enforce Afrikaans as the language for instruction in black schools. 1999 – The Circuit Court of Appeals said that a 1992 federal music piracy law does not prohibit a palm-sized device that can download high-quality digital music files from the Internet and play them at home.
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