San Diego’s Minimum Wage: Which Side Are You On?

September 3, 2014 by Anna Daniels

Wanted: A Living Wage – Video by Pete Segeer

By Anna Daniels / San Diego Free Press

RaiseTheMinimumWageA

It is useful exercise to remind ourselves that the battle for an increased minimum wage/sick leave benefit in San Diego is not a new one. Peel back the right wing maker versus taker meme and you get Howard Zinn, placing today’s minimum wage struggle firmly in our collective history of bitter class conflict between the rich and the poor and working class.

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Say “No” to Mayor Faulconer’s Library Budget Shell Game

May 20, 2014 by Anna Daniels

Power not budgetsLibrary materials budget reduced by $500,000 to pay for pilot after-school program

By Anna Daniels / San Diego Free Press

Update: San Diego Citizens packed the council chambers last night – Monday, May 19th- in a three hour budget hearing. Members of the Library Organizing Project testified against the proposed raiding of the materials budget to pay for an after school homework program. They also raised concerns about proposed library open hour schedule.

All libraries will close at 7PM, which is restricts program activities in the evening for working people. …

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National Poetry Month Ends April 30th: Ending with a Bang, not a Whimper

April 30, 2014 by Anna Daniels

Nigel Howe Creative Commons

“Poetry doesn’t belong to those who write it but to those who need it.”

By Anna Daniels

So, is

“April the cruelest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.“? ——— T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land

or is April when

“the ponds open
like black blossoms,
the moon
swims in every one;
there’s fire
everywhere…“? ————Mary Oliver, Blossom

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Twenty Years of NAFTA: Capital freely crosses borders while people can’t

January 7, 2014 by Anna Daniels

By Anna Daniels / San Diego Free Press

In 1993, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was sold to the American public with grand promises. NAFTA would create tens of thousands of good jobs here. U.S. farmers would export their way to wealth. NAFTA would bring Mexico’s standard of living up, providing new economic opportunities there that would reduce immigration to the United States.Public Citizen NAFTA’s Broken Promises 1994-2013

NAFTA-20-Years-Later-1-Million-Jobs_issuebannerOn January 1, 1994, a trilateral free trade zone was established in North America. This treaty with the United States, Mexico and Canada resulted in the mass relocation of factories and capital south of the Mexican border. Then President Bill Clinton asserted that NAFTA was going to “promote more growth, more equality and better preservation of the environment and a greater possibility of world peace.”

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What My Mother Said: “Derby Day! Time to Sow Seeds!”

May 7, 2013 by Anna Daniels

By Anna Daniels / San Diego Free Press

Derby_Day_soda tinMy mother loved the horses. She grudgingly attended sulky races at The Meadows race track in western Pennsylvania, but it was flat racing that captivated her heart. She and my father would argue for days about the line up for the Kentucky Derby and lay bets with the local bookie; only the stupid or insane would dare to carry on a conversation anywhere close to the television set during the broadcast of this event.

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The Incredible Lightness of Being Able to Understand Mayor Filner’s 2014 Budget

May 3, 2013 by Anna Daniels
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Community Power Affecting Budget Decisions that Impact Our Neighborhoods

by Anna Daniels / San Diego Free Press

It is highly unusual for a group of strangers to smile broadly at each other and enthusiastically confess that the workshop they had just attended on how to read the City’s Capital Improvement Budget had been really interesting and very worthwhile.
That is exactly what happened a few weeks ago when I got into the elevator with a group of people with whom I had just attended the Community Budget Alliance‘s hands on budget workshop held in City Heights. It’s budget season…
(Come inside for insight into the City’s Budget.)

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Why Do You Have a Fence in Front of Your Home?

April 12, 2013 by Anna Daniels
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Thoughts on defensible spaces and private places

By Anna Daniels / San Diego Free Press

…Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out, …
Robert Frost, Mending Wall

A few days ago I realized that every single piece of residential property on my City Heights block, save one, has a fence and or a gate between the residence and the street. The business at the end of the block is also completely fenced.

I only became conscious of this fact after spending a number of hours last month walking along the side streets north of University Avenue a few blocks east and west of 30th Street in North Park. This area looks in many ways like the City Heights side streets off of University Avenue, farther to the east, where I now live.

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San Diego Street Trees: My Love-Hate Relationship with Palm Trees

April 3, 2013 by Anna Daniels
Thumbnail image for San Diego Street Trees:  My Love-Hate Relationship with Palm Trees

The palm at the end of the mind,
Beyond the last thought, rises
In the bronze distance. On Mere Being, Wallace Stevens

Street trees in urban areas are important. They provide a human scale to our surroundings and soften the mind numbing linearity of vast expanses of concrete. They clean the air we breathe and provide much appreciated shade. On an often unconscious level they impact our feelings about a street or neighborhood’s economic status and safety, which is to say its desirability as a place to walk or live.

A specific iconic tree can define where we live on a particular street or in the city of San Diego itself. For many residents of Ocean Beach, that iconic image is of a Torrey Pine. I can remember a spectacular late afternoon descent over the downtown cityscape which had been turned into a massive violet bouquet of blossoming jacaranda. And of course, there are the eucalyptus in Balboa Park and lining Park Boulevard.

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The Holiday Celebrations Continue: Three Wise Men and a Rosca, Orthodox Christmas and Rusyns

January 7, 2013 by Anna Daniels

This was a wonderful year for Christmas lights in my City Heights neighborhood. They cheerfully, often exuberantly, illuminated the night from the day after Thanksgiving until the day after New Year’s. It is sad to see them extinguished, put away, for yet another year, although ours stay up in the house year round. You can never have enough illumination in the darkness…

But that is not to say the seasonal celebrations are over- far from it. Sunday January 6th is the Three Kings Day celebration in Mexico and other Spanish speaking cultures; it is also Orthodox Christmas Eve for those religious traditions based upon the Julian calendar, as opposed to our Gregorian calendar. What that boils down to is that I have to order my rosca de reyes so that I can take it to our Orthodox Christmas Eve dinner.

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Do I need a California ID to vote? Where is my Polling Place? The Quick and Easy Guide to Election Day

November 5, 2012 by Anna Daniels

Here are some frequently asked questions about election day voting in San Diego County. The source for all of the information below is provided by the League of Women Voters at smartvoter.org unless otherwise specified. Information in Spanish, Vietnamese, Chinese and Filipino here.

When are the polls open?

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The Wreckage that Mayor Jerry Sanders Leaves Behind

September 13, 2012 by Anna Daniels
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“Sanders said another savings in the works will come from using managed competition to lower the cost of city employees performing jobs that private companies can do for less. One such job is residential trash services. San Diego city employees are paid to collect trash. Most other California cities contract with a private company and residents pay for their own trash services.

“We don’t have to have government employees mow the laws in our parks. We don’t have to have government employees pick up trash,” Sanders said. Mayor Jerry Sanders reviews his legacy at La Jolla luncheon La Jolla Light 9/11/12

Three months to go in the last term of our first strong mayor — Jerry Sanders, and the legacy polishing tour has begun.

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“Go Pee Pee for Daddy” and Other Tales of the Dog

July 7, 2012 by Anna Daniels

Originally posted at San Diego Free Press

San Diego seems to be in love with dogs. We have dog parks for big dogs and dog parks for small dogs. Dog owners, complete strangers to each other, stand on street corners in North Park with their pets and discuss the details of life with a shar pei or bichon frise while said animals enthusiastically explore each others nether portions.

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“God Don’t Make Junk.” Conversations with my Evangelical Christian Neighbor

June 27, 2012 by Anna Daniels

City Heights has got religion. A distinctive characteristic of my community is not only the sheer number of religious establishments located here, but the diverse forms that religious expression takes. There are the storefront Evangelical and Pentecostal Christian churches that have sprung up along University and El Cajon Boulevard, with names like La Esposa del Cordero, the Shepherd’s Wife, and signs with the exhortation Pare de Sufrir, to stop suffering.

There are Buddhist temples, botánicas, a mosque, a tiny Russian Orthodox church, and familiar Catholic and Baptist churches as well. Religious services are conducted in Spanish, Creole, Russian, Chinese and Vietnamese, to name just a few of the languages routinely spoken besides English. I do not know if other languages besides Arabic are used at the mosque located adjacent to the Somali neighborhood known as Little Mogadishu. There are also shamans and babaloas living quietly among us.

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Did County Supervisor Ron Roberts Do A $1.56 Million End Run Around the General Plan?

June 26, 2012 by Anna Daniels

Originally published at San Diego Free Press

“The process of public engagement [in developing the County of San Diego General Plan] had hundreds of hearings over 10 years…So the implication is that anything that is coming forward now would be inconsistent. It would be amazing if there is going to now be wholesale General Plan amendments.”

San Diego County Planning Commissioner Michael Beck, Nov. 9, 2011 interview with KPBS

Last Wednesday, June 20th, the County Board of Supervisors held a hearing for 137 private property requests that would require amending the County’s new General Plan, …

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Stop the Secret Power Plant Deal in University City!

June 23, 2012 by Anna Daniels
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What happens when you combine strong mayor Jerry Sanders with a Canadian firm’s desire to build an 800 MW gas-fired power plant in San Diego? You get a secret plan that is being fast tracked through the City Council with the intent of a November ballot measure to enable passage. You also get “business as usual” at City Hall. Hear more about the proposal and what you can do on Monday, June 25, 6pm at the University Community Planning Group meeting, Forum Hall, UTC Mall (above Wells Fargo Bank).

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Coffee, City Heights Style- A Blend of Cultures in Every Cup

June 21, 2012 by Anna Daniels

From San Diego Free Press

It probably should come as no surprise that the diverse community of City Heights delivers up equally diverse coffee drinking experiences. The one unifying quality to the coffee here is a certain “robustness–” this IS City Heights after all.

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Send a Vagina-gram! If the Government is in it, we’re going to keep saying it.

June 18, 2012 by Anna Daniels

From San Diego Free Press

If it feels like open game season has been declared on women, your feelings are absolutely correct. Our putatively job creation obsessed Congress has been singularly incapable of delivering the goods. They seem instead to have settled for the deeply gratifying right wing pursuit of scuttling Obama’s and the Dem’s attempts to actually do something about jobs, tuition relief for students, tax fairness and infrastructure investments.

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Within These Whispering Walls – What My House Told Me About City Heights

June 13, 2012 by Anna Daniels

Editor: “City Heights – Up Close & Personal” is a weekly column by Anna Daniels at the San Diego Free Press, our own upstart launched last week. One of the aims of the SD Free Press is to cover long-ignored and forgotten communities around San Diego.

The home my husband and I bought in City Heights over two decades ago is a four mile straight shot along University Avenue from the little house we had rented in North Park for six years. Despite the short distance, the trips east to our new home were initially disorienting.

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Final San Diego City Budget Hearing Today – Monday, June 11th – Modest Increases Anticipated for Core Services

June 11, 2012 by Anna Daniels

The San Diego City Council will cast its final vote at 2:00 pm today – Monday, June 11th, on Mayor Jerry Sanders’ budget for fiscal year 2013. Sanders released his budget in April. Stronger than projected although still modest revenue increases this past year enabled Sanders to address General Fund cuts that have occurred with regularity over the past years, with libraries and park and recreation being hit particularly hard.

The City Council held two public hearings since April on the budget. Council members then released their own budget recommendations with input from the Office of Independent Budget Analysis (IBA). Mayor Sanders subsequently released a revised budget in May. The City Council will vote on that revised budget today.

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Bill Clinton, Irwin Jacobs and San Diego – the Wisconsin of the West

June 2, 2012 by Anna Daniels
Thumbnail image for Bill Clinton, Irwin Jacobs and San Diego – the Wisconsin of the West

“The best lack all conviction while the worst are filled with passionate intensity.” Second Coming, William Butler Yeats

President Bill Clinton was in Wisconsin on Friday, June 1, stumping for Milwaukee Democratic Mayor Tom Barrett. Barrett is running against Governor Scott Walker in the upcoming recall election on June 5th and the race is a tight one.

Walker, who rode into office with a six point victory over Barrett in the 2010 mid-term elections, immediately focused upon dismantling the public employee collective bargaining laws in the state, reducing the number of individuals eligible for BadgerCare, the state’s health insurance safety net, lowering taxes on the wealthiest, and slashing the budget for education.

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OB Rag Endorsements for June 5th California Primary

May 24, 2012 by Anna Daniels
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ENDORSEMENTS PRIMARY ELECTION JUNE 5, 2012

CITY OF SAN DIEGO MAYOR

  • BOB FILNER

US REPRESENTATIVE 51ST DISTRICT

  • DENISE MORENO DUCHENY

Go Inside for the rest of our endorsements ….

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A Ragster’s Personal Endorsement of Denise Moreno Ducheny in the 51st Congressional District

May 21, 2012 by Anna Daniels
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Another Endorsement That Hasn’t Happened Yet (But Still Could)

I didn’t realize that my House congressional district had been redrawn until a Juan Vargas campaign walker knocked upon my door in City Heights. I had to stop and think a moment. I had spent a number of yes, dramatic years, in Susan Davis’ district and it took me a moment to process the impact of the redistricting and that now I’m in the 51st Congressional District.

It took me less than a minute to respond to the question whether I would support Juan Vargas. When asked I said “No. Absolutely not and I’ll tell you why. He went missing on the single payer healthcare vote earlier this year.” Vargas ducked the vote, twice, despite receiving thousands of calls urging him to support the bill.

Vargas was presented with the “Spineless Rubber Chicken” award for sitting out a critical vote on this particular issue. We have a Democratic governor and a Democratic majority in the California legislature and the single payer health care option with dental coverage for our families and neighbor is dead, lacking two votes.

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Tonight at 6pm is Working Citizens’ Opportunity to Address San Diego City Budget

May 14, 2012 by Anna Daniels

There is an evening public budget hearing tonight,

Monday, May14, beginning at at 6pm,

on the 12th floor of city hall, 202 C street.

This is the evening hearing scheduled for working San Diegans to attend and give them two cents on the San Diego City budget.

Are Your Library Services “Good Enough?” Mayor Sanders and the City Council Think So

Outgoing Mayor Jerry Sanders recently declared an end to the structural deficit problems facing the city by virtue of his eight year reign of awesomeness. Revenues this past year were a modest 1.9% higher than anticipated, and Sanders was able to play the kindly king, distributing some of the revenue to deserving city departments in fiscal year 2013.

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Nothing Screams Moderate and Independent like Nathan Fletcher Signing the Grover Norquist Pledge!

May 1, 2012 by Anna Daniels
Thumbnail image for Nothing Screams Moderate and Independent like Nathan Fletcher Signing the Grover Norquist Pledge!

I’m leaving party politics. I’m leaving behind a system that is completely dysfunctional.”

Nathan Fletcher, announcing his mayoral run as an Independent

_____

“Is you is or is you ain’t my baby
Maybe baby’s found somebody new
Or is my baby still my baby true?”

Louis Jordan

Nathan Fletcher’s recent decision to leave the Republican Party and campaign as an Independent has resulted in two interesting responses. A group of local executives, inspired by Fletcher’s decision, has formed a “Movement to the Middle.” Their pledge declares “I am not a Democrat. I am not a Republican. I am an American.” It is worth noting that these shakers and movers also support Fletcher’s candidacy.

The U-T San Diego’s editorial board, clearly in the Carl DeMaio camp, took Fletcher to task for what they perceived as the muddle of mush in the middle. Did this mean Fletcher would negotiate with those evil labor unions? Does Independent mean “compromise is always good?”

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Doonesbury Day #6 : the U-T San Diego Blackout Continues, Trudeau Talks Comedy Malpractice, And No, We Won’t Shut Up

March 17, 2012 by Anna Daniels
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This is the sixth and final day in which “Doonesbury creator” Gary Trudeau satirizes Texas’ state mandated health care requirements for women seeking an abortion. Trudeau depicts a woman in the first trimester of an unwanted pregnancy as she undergoes a state mandated transvaginal sonogram, listens to her physician provide a state mandated detailed description of her possibly 2 ½ inch fetus, and then waits another state mandated 24 hours before having the abortion.

Are these really the same people who are frothing at the mouth about “big government mandated Obamacare?” My shit detector just hit “10.”

In an interview earlier this week with the Washington Post Trudeau explains the impetus for this week’s strips:

“For some reason, the GOP has chosen 2012 to re-litigate reproductive freedom, an issue that was resolved decades ago. Why Santorum, Limbaugh et al. thought this would be a good time to declare war on half the electorate, I cannot say. But to ignore it would have been comedy malpractice.”

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Doonesbury – Day #4: The San Diego U-T blackout continues…

March 15, 2012 by Anna Daniels
Thumbnail image for Doonesbury – Day #4: <i>The San Diego U-T</i> blackout continues…

A few words about political cartoons, U-T’s Steve Breen, and the blackout.

Over the past few days Doonesbury creator Gary Trudeau has depicted a woman’s experience in a Texas abortion clinic. The woman has been introduced to the shaming room, pronounced a suspected slut, and has been Rick Rolled, as Governor Rick Perry casts aside the woman’s own doctor’s health assessment to present a legislative edict of his own.

Trudeau has been a comic strip artist since 1970. He is also a Pulitzer Prize winning comic strip artist ( 1975), and political satirist and social commentator. It is therefore not a surprise that his cartoons riff off of the mainstream news and delivers them up with a distinctive point of view. This is what political satirists and commentators do.

That is what U-T San Diego’s own political cartoonist, Steve Breen does—he draws political cartoons that represent his own distinctive point of view. Breen was born in 1970, the same year that Trudeau became syndicated, and he has won two Pulitzer Prizes (1998, 2009).

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San Diego U-T Dumps Doonesbury All Week For Supporting Women’s Reproductive Rights

March 12, 2012 by Anna Daniels
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Comics about women’s reproductive rights simply not “appropriate”

Doonesbury cartoonist Gary Trudeau takes on Texas’ controversial abortion laws this week, but you won’t see them in our big bold San Diego U-T. U-T editor Jeff Light joins a number of equally feckless editors in places like Kansas City, MO, pulling the strip completely, or providing “replacements.” Father knows best…

In today’s Doonesbury strip, a Texas woman walks into an abortion clinic and is introduced to the shaming room.

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International Women’s Day Rallying Cry: “We Will Remember in November!”

March 8, 2012 by Anna Daniels
Thumbnail image for International Women’s Day Rallying Cry:  “We Will Remember in November!”

I arrived at the Federal Building while the San Diego Occupellas were still practicing. This Women Occupy group rewrites the lyrics of well know songs with punchy occupy themes. As one of the speakers would later point out, 99% of women use contraception, which is just one more reason to be part of the Occupy movement.

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The Right Wing Sex Orgy: Aspirin, the Holy Inquisition, Blunt Force, Zygote People and of course the Vaginal Probe!

February 20, 2012 by Anna Daniels
Thumbnail image for The Right Wing Sex Orgy: Aspirin, the Holy Inquisition, Blunt Force, Zygote People and of course the Vaginal Probe!

Over the past few weeks a seemingly endless parade of dour old pontificating shriveled up white guys have set us straight on contraception, abortion, sex and even the definition of life itself. They have done it at all levels of government, from the pulpits and on the airwaves.

Now that they have fixed the economy, brought back jobs and lowered the deficits, those who have been aptly described as “the best minds of the thirteenth century” can now turn their attention to what they really seem to enjoy—sex talk and lots of it!

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Why Does It Take a Village to Put a Roof on the OB Library?

January 31, 2012 by Anna Daniels
Thumbnail image for Why Does It Take a Village to Put a Roof on the OB Library?

Editor: While repairs are going on, Ragster Anna Daniels looks into the funding for the new roof on the OB Library. About two weeks behind schedule, the re-opening of the Ocean Beach branch will now be around the first of March.

It all started with a forwarded email which expressed shock that the OB Library’s Spanish barrel tile roof had recently been replaced with crappy looking shingles. I sat here in City Heights and conjured up the image of the Ocean Beach library where supporters have protested potential budgets far too many times in the past four years. What a crime to sacrifice the architectural integrity of the building to a badly needed new roof done on the cheap!

I immediately called library administration to get the story on this. According to the spokesperson, the old wood shake roof has been replaced by custom composite tile. I had “mis-remembered” a Spanish barrel tile roof and so did others! This custom tile maintains the same “look” but provides fire retardant capabilities that the shake roof didn’t.

End of story? Not quite. I asked about the funding source for the new roof and was surprised to learn that there were multiple sources, which included building maintenance funds, a donation from the OB Friends of the Library and a

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