Press Conferences and Vanity Shovels Cannot Hide the Truth About San Diego’s Crumbling Infrastructure

April 11, 2014 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for Press Conferences and Vanity Shovels Cannot Hide the Truth About San Diego’s Crumbling Infrastructure

By Doug Porter / San Diego Free Press

Newly elected Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s been on quite a tear lately, putting forth a smiling face at press conferences in various neighborhoods around the city. Yesterday cameras rolled as the mayor and local politicos including Councilman Todd Gloria posed and preened over a gateway renovation project on 25th Street in Golden Hill.

Hizzoner says he’s making good on campaign promises to direct more monies (50% of revenue growth, as I recollect) toward street and infrastructure repair. He proudly announced yesterday that $22 million of the anticipated $35 million growth in next year’s inflow would be dedicated to that cause.

It played real well on TV. Sadly, the truth of the situation is that revenue growth, which will likely come from an improving economy, can’t even begin to address the $1 billion hole San Diego faces when it comes to the basic the basic physical and organizational structures and facilities needed locally.

Read the full article → 0 comments

Continuing Scandal: No Consequences for Balboa Park Centennial Screw Ups

March 28, 2014 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for Continuing Scandal: No Consequences for Balboa Park Centennial Screw Ups

By Doug Porter / San Diego Free Press

The mismanagement of efforts to stage a year-long centennial celebration of the 1915 Panama-California exposition continues to make headlines today.

A City Council committee order an audit of public funds spent by Balboa Park Celebration Inc. yesterday. A follow-up hearing on April 23 was set by Councilman David Alvarez to measure progress toward production of records and along with information on the shutdown of BCPI.

Voice of San Diego drew upon its network of movers and shakers (a side benefit of continual fund raising) to produce a report on centennial efforts including points of view from insiders and those close to the soon-to-be-defunct nonprofit celebration committee.

Read the full article → 1 comment

City Council Makes First Step Towards Raising the Minimum Wage in San Diego

March 26, 2014 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for City Council Makes First Step Towards Raising the Minimum Wage in San Diego

By Doug Porter / San Diego Free Press

The room was packed Monday, March 24th, for a meeting of the Economic Development and Intergovernmental Relations Committee as Councilman Todd Gloria successfully gained approval to draft ballot language on a measure proposed for the November ballot raising the minimum wage and granting paid sick leave for San Diegans.

Gloria will consult with City Attorney Jan Goldsmith and bring the measure back for consideration by the committee on April 30th. We can only hope the City Councilman president has the language double-checked by an outside attorney who doesn’t have a vested ideological interest in the measure failing.

Read the full article → 0 comments

Increasing San Diego’s Minimum Wage: If You’re Not at the Table, You’re on the Menu

March 21, 2014 by Doug Porter

raiseminwageBy Doug Porter / San Diego Free Press

The ‘Improving Wages and Working Conditions’ measure is set to be introduced at the City Council Economic Development and Intergovernmental Relations (EDIR) Committee on Monday morning. In addition to calling for an increase in the minimum wage, the proposed initiative would also guarantee workers up to five earned sick days.

While serving as iMayor, Councilman Todd Gloria made a bold pledge to get a measure before the voters that would raise local minimum wages. He’s now softened that pledge a bit making it clear that the actual amount of any increase is negotiable. And the opening negotiating position for the Chamber of Commerce (and their as yet silent allies) is: Zero.

Read the full article → 0 comments

The Sound of One Fin Flapping – San Diego’s SeaWorld ‘Debate’

March 18, 2014 by Doug Porter

Orca in a bowlBy Doug Porter / San Diego Free Press

A couple of weeks back Assemblyman Richard Bloom introduced AB 2140, legislation that would put a stop to the practice of using orcas as performers, along with ending captive breeding programs and trafficking of the species in California.

SeaWorld, which has been in major damage control mode since release of the Blackfish documentary last fall, has seized upon this opportunity to bring its story to the media. There has been a virtual blitzkreig of coverage about the many wonderful accomplishments of this salt water-based amusement park.

Read the full article → 9 comments

San Diego: Jobs Picture Not Looking Good From the Bottom Up

March 11, 2014 by Doug Porter

By Doug Porter / San Diego Free Press

An article in the UT-San Diego business section about employment opportunities caught my eye this morning. While the local picture may be slightly better than the national projections, due to the presence of defense and tech industries, the prognosis for hiring remains heavily weighted towards low paying industries.

Today we’ll take a look at this story and other recent economic reports, along with what they portend for the growing national movement in support of increasing the minimum wage.

Read the full article → 0 comments

City Left Holding the Bag as Balboa Park Centennial Group Folds Up Shop

March 6, 2014 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for City Left Holding the Bag as Balboa Park Centennial Group Folds Up Shop

Piñata formerly known as Mayor Filner blamed

By Doug Porter / San Diego Free Press

The Balboa Park Celebration, Inc., a group empowered by former San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders to organize a centennial celebration of the Panama-California Exposition, is calling it quits.

Despite having $2.8 million in taxpayer-funded startup monies and a contract giving them exclusive control over the nation’s second oldest urban cultural park, the organization is dissolving its corporate entity and handing back its responsibilities to the City of San Diego.

Read the full article → 1 comment

The Dark Side of the 2015 Balboa Park Celebrations

February 24, 2014 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for The Dark Side of the 2015 Balboa Park Celebrations

By Doug Porter / San Diego Free Press

A non-profit group set up by the city to create a world class year long celebration of the centennial of the 1915 Panama-California Exposition in Balboa Park hasn’t produced much of anything concrete to date, despite spending millions of dollars in public monies. And they’re making the claim that their lack of progress is nobody’s business.

Citizen activist David Lundin’s inquiries into the machinations of the group responsible for planning the Balboa Park Centennial Celebration have stirred up quite a fuss. After reading reports about difficulties and missed deadlines by the entity (Balboa Park Celebrations, Inc) he filed a series of requests for documents (ala Public Records Act).

Read the full article → 2 comments

New Mayoral Vote Count Decreases Faulconer’s Percent Over Alvarez

February 24, 2014 by Doug Porter

Click Here for Alvarez vs Faulconer Runoff Election Coverage!By Doug Porter / San Diego Free Press

A New and Interesting New Mayoral Vote Count

The County Registrar of Voters released a follow up (although not final) report on Friday, showing the mayoral contest between city council members Kevin Faulconer and David Alvarez to be closer than originally announced. Faulconer’s win was apparently by six percentage points instead of the widely reported eight points(52.89% vs 47.11%).

Read the full article → 1 comment

San Diego Council Likely to Approve Protection for Seals at La Jolla Children’s Pool

February 24, 2014 by Doug Porter

By Doug Porter / San Diego Free Press

The San Diego City Council is expected to adopt a proposal prohibiting public access to the beach at the Children’s Pool during harbor seal pupping season.

A staff report saying municipal and other laws against animal abuse have not been effective in preventing harassment of the seals will be presented at today’s (Feb 24) council meeting.

The proposal before the council would bar people from using the Children’s Pool from Dec. 15 to May 15 each year, when the seals are giving birth and weaning their young. The report calls for this proposed action as the “the minimum step” in preventing the harassment of seals.

Read the full article → 3 comments

Another Day, Another San Diego Police Sex Scandal

February 21, 2014 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for Another Day, Another San Diego Police Sex Scandal

By Doug Porter

Police Chief Bill Lansdowne called a press conference [Wednesday] evening to announce yet another reported incident of sexual misconduct involving a SDPD officer.

One of the women contacting the SDPD following allegations against officer Christopher Hays, provided information leading to yet another officer, who is now under investigation for allegedly touching and exposing himself to a female arrestee.

Read the full article → 3 comments

Candidates Jockeying for Kevin Faulconer’s District 2 Seat – OB’s Newsom Picks Up Endorsement from Women’s Group

February 19, 2014 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for Candidates Jockeying for Kevin Faulconer’s District 2 Seat – OB’s Newsom Picks Up Endorsement from Women’s Group

By Doug Porter / San Diego Free Press

The dust hasn’t settled from the February special election, but the jockeying for a soon-to-be-open position on the San Diego City Council in District 2 is getting into high gear.

Run Women Run, the non-partisan group advocating for increased female participation in electoral politics, announced their support for Gretchen Newsom as the interim appointee this morning. Let the politicking begin!

Read the full article → 2 comments

Questions Arise Over Chief Lansdown’s Call for “Outside Audit” of Police Misconduct From All the Accusations of Sexual Assaults

February 18, 2014 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for Questions Arise Over Chief Lansdown’s Call for “Outside Audit” of Police Misconduct From All the Accusations of  Sexual Assaults

By Doug Porter / San Diego Free Press

News accounts concerning incidents of sexual assault by San Diego Police Department officers have finally reached critical mass. Chief of of Police William Lansdowne told UT-San Diego on Saturday the department has decided to seek an outside auditor “to take a hard look at how the department handles misconduct and how it can better weed out rogue cops.”

Incoming Mayor Kevin Faulconer issued a statement on Sunday declaring his intention of meeting with Lansdowne “in the coming days to discuss an independent audit as part of my broader goal of rebuilding the police department and ensuring we are recruiting and retaining the best officers to serve San Diegans.”

Read the full article → 2 comments

Alvarez vs Faulconer: It Ain’t Over ‘till You’ve Voted

February 11, 2014 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for Alvarez vs Faulconer: It Ain’t Over ‘till You’ve Voted

Here’s all you need to know: “Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.”

By Doug Porter

As the mayoral election campaigns enter their final hours of campaigning there is unanimity on one point- the election results will be determined by turnout.

After all the in-person campaigning, all the advertising and all the debates, it’s going to comedown to how motivated voters are. Media reports say the mail-in ballots already received (but not counted) seem to favor Kevin Faulconer (counting districts he carried in the last election).

Read the full article → 7 comments

Goldsmith’s Ploy to ‘Slut Shame’ Woman in Cop Sexual Assault Case Raises Calls for City Attorney’s Resignation

February 5, 2014 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for Goldsmith’s Ploy to ‘Slut Shame’ Woman in Cop Sexual Assault Case Raises Calls for City Attorney’s Resignation

Editor: Yesterday Doug Porter at San Diego Free Press raised questions – reposted below – about San Diego City Attorney Jan Goldsmith’s use of a private investigator to follow around and find dirt on a recent victim of a sexual assault case involving a San Diego Police officer. At the conclusion he offered his own “rant” calling for Goldsmith’s resignation – citing a host of other possible abuses by the Office of City Attorney.

Porter also reminded us that there is already a “Recall Goldsmith” Facebook page generated in the aftermath of Chalkgate.

But importantly, on top of all this hubbub – other calls have been raised calling for Jan Goldsmith’s resignation. Through comments to articles about this at various news sites, voices are expressing outrage and are joining Porter’s call for Goldsmith to step down. (Porter also has more on Goldsmith here.)

By Doug Porter / San Diego Free Press

“Jane Doe” is one of thirteen women who sued the City of San Diego following the arrest of SDPD officer Anthony Arevalos for sexually assaulting women while on duty by threatening them with arrest. It was her courage in filing a complaint that triggered an investigation leading to an arrest of the officer.

Read the full article → 0 comments

LGBT Leaders to Call for San Diego County Clerk’s Resignation

January 28, 2014 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for LGBT Leaders to Call for San Diego County Clerk’s Resignation

Leaders of the local LGBT community will call for the resignation of County Clerk Earnest Dronenburg on Tuesday, presenting documentation they say proves he overstepped his legal authority, violated his oath of office and imposed his religious views on marriage into his non-partisan office.

Following the US Supreme Court decision that effectively overturned California Proposition 8 (banning same sex marriages) last summer, Dronenburg petitioned the state supreme court to issue a a writ of mandate requesting that the state hold off on issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Read the full article → 1 comment

The Story Behind Those Illegal Campaign Contributions in San Diego

January 22, 2014 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for The Story Behind Those Illegal Campaign Contributions in San Diego

By Doug Porter / San Diego Free Press

The big story today concerns the dark side of campaign finance. A complaint unsealed in federal court yesterday indicates that law enforcement agencies are building a case around illegal contributions made by Mexican businessman Susumo Azano to candidates in recent San Diego elections.

Ravi Singh, owner of ElectionMall Inc., and retired SDPD detective Ernesto Encinas have already been charged with conspiring to funnel more than $500,000 of illegal contributions to various campaign committees during 2012 and 2013. The candidates’ names are redacted in the federal complaint, which refers to them as c1, c2, c3, and c4

Read the full article → 1 comment

Raising the Minimum Wage: at the Heart of the Differences Between Faulconer and Alvarez

January 17, 2014 by Doug Porter

By Doug Porter / San Diego Free Press

San Diego iMayor Todd Gloria’s call for increasing the minimum wage during the State of the City address on Wednesday is drawing sharp reaction from the local wannabe plutocracy. What Gloria proposed was putting any such proposal before the voters next November. The very idea scares the crap out of them.

You take it to the bank that these “checkbook” democracy types who see it as their duty to pay signature gatherers to spread misinformation getting their corporate vetoes of city council actions blessed at the ballot box will now act to make sure that a proposal via our elected representatives never makes it before the voters.

Read the full article → 7 comments

As Temperatures Drop, Occupy Activists and Vets for Peace Reach Out to San Diego Homeless

December 9, 2013 by Doug Porter

Homeless and coldBy Doug Porter / San Diego Free Press

It’s easy to make light of the colder weather Southern California has experienced over the past few days. People from the east county were joking on Twitter this morning about having to use spatulas to clear their windshields of frost. But for the thousands of San Diego’s who live on the streets, the chilly temperatures are pure torture.

While the weather conditions locally can’t compare with those in northern tier cities, it doesn’t take below freezing temperatures to induce hypothermia, a potentially fatal drop in body temperature, usually caused by prolonged exposure to cold temperatures. And San Diego simply lacks enough shelter space for its homeless population when the temperature drops. Four people have died from exposure in the Bay Area in the past weeks and well over 700 die annual from exposure to the elements.

Read the full article → 1 comment

Many Tears Shed for Madiba Nelson Mandela, the Man Who Could Not Cry

December 6, 2013 by Doug Porter

via Nelson Mandela Foundation

By Doug Porter / San Diego Free Press

The media today is dominated by coverage of Nelson Mandela’s death at age 95. Following a few fast facts designed to put this great man in perspective, I’m reposting the best of the obituaries I’ve seen posted today. (It’s long, but worth it)

Facts you might not see in today’s mainstream media coverage:

  • During his 27 years of imprisonment he was forced to labor in Robben Island’s limestone quarry. The dust damaged his tear ducts, and when released, he could not cry.
  • He was never a pacifist, never a Gandhi and never afraid to assert the absolute right of the oppressed to fight back
  • The South African government banned photos of Mandela in prison. When he was released in 1990, few South Africans knew what he looked like.
  • Even after serving as the first Black President of South Africa and receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, Mandela remained on the US terrorist watch list, requiring special certification from the State Department to enter the country. In 2008 George W Bush signed a bill fixing this just prior to his 90th birthday.
  • Mandela’s arrest in 1962 came as the result of a CIA informant, allowing the South African police to nab him at a roadblock, even though he was disguised as a chauffeur.
Read the full article → 0 comments

San Diego’s Special Mayoral Election: Meet the Candidates – Part 2

October 7, 2013 by Doug Porter

Six Candidates You May Not Be Familiar With

Special ElectionBy Doug Porter (Part 1 can be accessed here)

Last Friday, we took a look at a bunch of things we know about the five Big Name candidates. (Editor’s Note: since then Bruce Coons has withdrawn and has thrown his support behind David Alvarez.)

Today we’re looking at the Rest of the Pack: six men with a variety of reasons for wanting the job of mayor that you might not ever have heard about.

The following are introductions to the candidates and are mostly in their own words. The wording and formatting of the candidates’ statements are taken directly from the City Clerk. This isn’t such a big deal with the major candidates, but as you’ll see, some of the minor candidates struggled with it.

So, come on inside and take a look …

Read the full article → 0 comments

San Diego’s Special Mayoral Election: Meet the Candidates – Part 1

October 4, 2013 by Doug Porter

The five big name players, in alphabetical order

Following the resignation of Bob Filner it seemed for a while like everybody wanted to be Mayor of San Diego. Nearly forty people pulled the paperwork, hinted to the news media or issued press releases proclaiming their willingness to become the top political player in America’s eighth largest city. Now we are down to 11 men (there are no women candidates) who say they want the job.

Political pollsters will tell you that, after the President, most voters identify with the mayor of their city as being the personification of their government. Loyalty to one’s country trumps civic pride, but not by much–which might explain the passion surrounding the rise and fall of Bob Filner.

Read the full article → 2 comments

Despite Government Shutdown, ObamaCare Starts Today

October 1, 2013 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for Despite Government Shutdown, ObamaCare Starts Today

Survey says nearly three fourths of the population thinks the GOP’s tactic is a bad idea

By Doug Porter

The crapola has hit the fanola.  Eight hundred thousand Americans are officially furloughed. Another million or so are being asked to come to work without pay.

Why? Because Congress passed a health care law after debating it for 18 months. The President signed the law. The Supreme Court (mostly) upheld the Constitutionality of the law. And now a group of three dozen or so extremists in the House of Representatives say “no way”.

Read the full article → 1 comment

Stagnation in San Diego – “What Economic Recovery?”

September 23, 2013 by Doug Porter

By Doug Porter

The Center for Policy Initiatives (CPI) released its annual number crunching report for San Diego yesterday based on 2012 Census data, and picture painted within isn’t pretty.

Despite media reports about how “things are getting better”, CPI’s data point to the reality that the economic recovery has passed by most households and employees in the San Diego region.

“People have less money to spend, even those working full-time,” said CPI Research Director Peter Brownell in a press release. “The wealthiest saw their incomes increase in 2012, but when we hear talk of economic recovery, it hasn’t reached most people in our region.”

Read the full article → 0 comments

History is Being Made! Modern Day People and Actions Worth Honoring on Labor Day

September 2, 2013 by Doug Porter

fb_laborday_5By Doug Porter

While the image of Labor Day as one of rest, recreation and charred meats has been drilled into our collective consciousness by the mavens of Madison Avenue, I want to interrupt this program to point out that history is being made this year.

Today we’ll be taking a look at some the people locally and nationally on the front lines of the fight for decent wages and working conditions.

Writer Bob Dorn met fast food workers Debra Flores and Diego Riosat our city’s first Fight for Fifteen demonstration last Thursday and serves up a big serving of what their lives are like.

Jim Miller writes about the history of Labor Day, how it’s meaning has been lost and what’s being done to get the ‘move’ back into the labor movement these days.

Read the full article → 3 comments

Lining Up to Piss on Filner’s Political Grave

August 23, 2013 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for Lining Up to Piss on Filner’s Political Grave

By Doug Porter

As this is being written before the San Diego City Council’s meeting today, I’m operating under the assumption that the deal negotiated with Mayor Bob Filner will be approved. It’s hard for me to see any other conclusion to this kabuki theater.

A political writer with the Los Angeles Times is saying via Twitter this morning that the deal will involve Filner not formally quitting until the end of August and that he’ll be making a televised speech following the council meeting.

The timing of Filner’s exit has to do with the potential dates for runoff elections.

Attorney Gloria Allred took to the airwaves yesterday to demand her pound of flesh, warning against any deal that didn’t help her share of any settlement with her client.

Read the full article → 3 comments

San Diego’s 10News & the GOP Scum That Feeds Them

August 22, 2013 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for San Diego’s 10News & the GOP Scum That Feeds Them

Editor: We realize that by now this is old news, especially in light of a probable deal involving Mayor Filner’s resignation, but if you haven’t heard about this, it’s worth sharing.

By Doug Porter

Nobody likes to hear bad news about people important in their lives. Lately a lot of folks have been piling on KPBS for its role in bringing accusers in the Mayor Filner harassment scandal to the forefront. But if you want to see some really mean coverage designed to denigrate, you need to move down the channel listings a bit.

Our local ABC affiliate, KGTVs 10News has sunk to a new low. They’ve published embarrassing photographs of a woman purported to be Mayor Filner’s press secretary taken at her bachelorette party last weekend in Las Vegas.

Read the full article → 1 comment

Deal Reached: Filner’s Likely Finished, Details to Be Announced Friday

August 22, 2013 by Doug Porter

By Doug Porter

Editors: Note this story was posted at 7:45pm Wednesday, and updated at 6 & 8am Thursday, Aug. 22.

Following three days of negotiations held in San Diego’s Federal Building, City Attorney Jan Goldsmith informed the media Wednesday evening just before 7pm that a proposed settlement has been reached.

Monday morning started with a mediation session including Filner, City Attorney Jan Goldsmith, lawyer Gloria Allred, City Council President Todd Gloria, and Councilman Kevin Faulconer. The gathering was presided over by J. Lawrence Irving, a former federal judge who is highly sought after as a mediator.

Read the full article → 6 comments

The NRA Targets the San Diego Zoo and Environmental Groups for Opposing Lead Ammo Use by Hunters

August 7, 2013 by Doug Porter

By Doug Porter

The National Rifle Association is continually expanding its activities on many different fronts, and thenewest of these campaigns, HuntForTruth.Org, has listed the San Diego Zoo as one of the non-governmental organizations it plans to “expose.”

Joining the Zoo as targets of this group are the Peregrine Fund, the Ventana Wildlife Society, the California Condor Recovery Team, the Raptor Education Group, the Center for Biological Diversity, and the Natural Resources Defense Council. All have urged the Environmental Protection Agency to ban hunters from using lead ammunition because of its effects on eagles, condors, swans and other birds.

The NRA announced this campaign via a press release recently, touting it as a means “to educate and assist lawmakers, regulators, hunters, recreational shooters and the general public about the efforts to ban lead ammunition nationwide”.

Read the full article → 2 comments

North Park Says “Get Back, Jack!”

August 6, 2013 by Doug Porter

bad jackBy Doug Porter

Residents in North Park have called for a rally this afternoon at 5pm to protest the continuing denigration of their neighborhood by Gag-in-the-Bag, aka Jack in the Box, at 30th & Upas Streets.

After the company violated the terms of a construction permit for renovation of its fast food restaurant at the location, the Mayor’s office intervened and called upon the City Attorney to issue a stop work order.

From a letter to the group by City chief of staff Lee Burdick:

Read the full article → 1 comment