By Doug Porter
The mayor’s campaign to rid downtown of homeless humans in the days leading up to Baseball’s All-Star Game continues, even as record heat blanket’s the region.
Advocates for the homeless are operating a ‘cooling station’ at 14th & L, offering cold water, shade, and bandanas, serving more than 200 people on Sunday. They are asking for volunteers to help in offering support during the heat wave.
The San Diego Police Department and the California Highway Patrol have been deployed to sweep up encampments.
It’s no small irony that these actions are taking place on World Refugee Day. The streets of America’s Finest City are an involuntary home for humans who’ve fallen through the cracks left by the neo-liberal economy.
The assumption of market supremacy as the societal norm and diminishing social services as the concept of the public good is replaced with “individual responsibility” are hallmarks of the economic outlook underlying the current humanitarian crisis.
Via former Assemblywoman and Mayoral candidate Lori Saldaña:
Today (June 20) is World Refugee Day. It is also the day that Mayor Kevin Faulconer has authorized a massive “sweep” to clear tents, tarps, and other personal belongings from areas downtown.
Whether from economic or political crisis, displaced families with no safe, permanent housing face increased health risks on a daily basis. They are more likely to be victims of violent crime. Women and young people are more vulnerable to rape and sexual assault.
Forcing people away from shelter, and/or to pack up their belongings and move on the hottest day of the year, will add to physical and emotional stress that may result in more emergency responders being called to manage their care. That cost falls on all San Diegans- both in economic and humane ways.
Please join other volunteers in distributing cold water and providing some comfort to people on this hot day. We will be at the shaded area at 14th & L Street, near the Tailgate parking lot for PetCo Park.
And please call Mayor Kevin Faulconer and ask him to stop the downtown cleansing and criminalization of people in preparation for the MLB All-Star Game in a few weeks. Contact the Mayor today: Phone: (619) 236-6330 Email: email@example.com
Police are herding everyone into Neil Good Day Center creating a health and safety hazard. pic.twitter.com/uDbFWpteBa
— Michael McConnell (@HomelessnessSD) June 20, 2016
It’s Hot, Hot, Hot!
Today marks the Summer Solstice, and the southwestern United States is seeing record temperatures. One hundred thirty people die every year from heat exposure– more than flooding, tornadoes, and lightning.
At least three large wildfires are burning in the region, covering an area larger than Paris.
And over 30 million people are under heat warnings or advisories.
It’s the hottest start to summer ever in three states — California, New Mexico and Arizona — according to CNN Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri.
From City News Service, via KPBS:
Monday is expected to be the hottest day of a heat wave that has pushed temperatures into the triple digits in inland portions of San Diego County and set records in several locales.
High temperatures that broke records Sunday were 106 degrees in Alpine, 117 degrees in Borrego Springs, 109 degrees in Campo, 93 degrees in Chula Vista, 104 degrees in El Cajon, 103 degrees in Escondido, 93 degrees on Palomar Mountain and 106 degrees in Ramona, according to the National Weather Service.
(Un) Happy Refugee Day
Today is World Refugee Day, a United Nations commemoration dedicated to raising awareness of the situation of refugees throughout the world. The U.N. refugee agency annual report says refugees and internally displaced people increased worldwide to a record 65.3 million at the end of 2015.
From the Associated Press:
With stark detail, UNHCR said that on average, 24 people had been displaced every minute of every day last year — or 34,000 people a day — up from 6 every minute in 2005. Global displacement has roughly doubled since 1997, and risen by 50 percent since 2011 alone — when the Syria war began.
More than half of all refugees came from three countries: Syria, Afghanistan and Somalia.
Turkey was the “top host” country for the second year running, taking in 2.5 million people — nearly all from neighboring Syria. Afghan neighbor Pakistan had 1.6 million, while Lebanon, next to Syria, hosted 1.1 million.
The Union-Tribune has a story about a Normal Heights church assisting refugees from Haiti:
Many were living in Brazil, which took in thousands of Haitians following the 2010 earthquake. But the migrants described escalating tensions there, in part because of Brazil’s dismal economic state, and said that jobs were increasingly difficult to come by, and authorities have been making harder for them to stay.
The vast majority plan to travel to Florida, where family members await, and where a well-established Haitian community has the resources to ease the transition into the United States. Not one of the migrants interviewed said they want to return to Haiti, citing dire economic conditions and few opportunities, even for the middle class and well-educated.
The SDFP published an article about a family from Burma’s 220-year journey courtesy of the Nile Sisters Development Initiative, a group aiding newcomers and migrants to San Diego beyond the initial allocation period.
Supermarket Strike Vote Underway
Tens of thousands United Food and Commercial Workers Union clerks and meat cutters at stores owned by Kroger (locally known as Ralphs) and Albertsons (includes Vons stores) are voting today on whether to authorize a strike — a move that comes after three months of negotiations over contracts that expired March 6.
From East County Magazine:
According to the union, the contract proposal is filled with concessions and would drastically impact workers’ take‐home pay, and devastate their health care coverage.
Once our members see this insulting proposal, I am confident that we will have overwhelming strike authorization,” Kasparian said.
The contract between the Workers and the Grocery Stores expired more than three months ago. According to the UFCW, Albertsons/Vons makes $7.7 million in profits a week. Ralphs makes $69 million in profits a week.
Plots and More Plots in Orlando
The FBI has released edited transcripts of three conversations Orlando gunman Omar Mateen had with police dispatchers during the mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub.
From the Associated Press:
During the 50-second call with a dispatcher, Mateen “made murderous statements in a “chilling, calm and deliberate manner,” said Ronald Hopper, FBI assistant special agent in charge in Orlando.
However, there is no evidence Mateen was directed by a foreign terrorist group, and he was radicalized on his own, Hopper said.
Mateen’s name and the groups and people to whom he pledged allegiance were omitted from the excerpt. But the FBI has previously said he pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State.
Why would the FBI be redacting information previously made public? This tidbit, via Alternet might be relevant:
Before Omar Mateen gunned down 49 patrons at the LGBTQ Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, the FBI attempted to induce his participation in a terror plot. Sheriff Ken Mascara of Florida’s St. Lucie County told the Vero Beach Press Journal that after Mateen threatened a courthouse deputy in 2013 by claiming he could order Al Qaeda operatives to kill his family, the FBI dispatched an informant to “lure Omar into some kind of act and Omar did not bite.”
While self-styled terror experts and former counter-terror officials have criticized the FBI for failing to stop Mateen before he committed a massacre, the new revelation raises the question of whether the FBI played a role in pushing Mateen towards an act of lethal violence…
…Mateen, for his part, displayed many of the psychological characteristics that typify both FBI informants and those they attempt to ensnare in bogus terror plots. Raised in a troubled home by an abusive mother and an apparently eccentric father, Mateen exhibited signs of erratic, violent behavior throughout his life. His ex-wife told reporters that he physically abused her and was “unstable and mentally ill.” He transformed from a chubby adolescent to a burly young man with the help of steroids, yearning all along for a career in law enforcement.
Seven months into a job as a prison guard in 2007, Mateen was fired for threatening to bring a gun to class. He settled on a career as a low level security guard for G4S Security Solutions, a global security firm that employed him for nine years. Though Mateen’s applications to two police departments were rejected, he was able to pass a G4S background check and receive several guard assignments. (The world’s third largest private employer, G4S has accumulated a staggering record of human rights abuses, including accusations of child torture.)
On This Day: 1943 – Striking African-American auto workers were attacked by KKK, National Workers League, and armed White workers at Belle Isle amusement park in Detroit. Two days of riots followed, 34 people are killed, more than 1,300 arrested. 1947 – Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel was murdered in Beverly Hills, at the order of mob associates angered over the soaring costs of his project, the Flamingo resort in Las Vegas. 1967 – Muhammad Ali was convicted in Houston of violating Selective Service laws by refusing to be drafted. The Supreme Court later overturned the conviction.
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