Supreme Court: Gay Marriage Is Constitutional

June 26, 2015 by Doug Porter
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A More Perfect Union: Let’s Just Call it “Marriage” Now

by Doug Porter

The Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling Friday morning was a historic victory for gay rights. The majority said the Constitution requires that same-sex couples be allowed to marry no matter where they live.

“They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.”

“No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were.

As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage.

Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves.

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All Aboard! Get Ready for the Great White Line Skyway

June 23, 2015 by Doug Porter

skyway white lineBy Doug Porter

Last Friday – June 19 – we learned about a proposal moving forward to add a two-mile long aerial tram from Balboa Park to the Bay. County Supervisor Ron Roberts, … found $75,000 i… to fund a “let’s do this!” study. … To nobody’s surprise, SANDAG’s transportation committee loved the idea, directing its staff to start making the “Skyway” operational in 5 years or so.

Since San Diego’s light rail system has color coded routes, it only makes sense to stick with this scheme. So let’s call this newest leg the “White Line.” Because that’s who it will be serving: white people and assorted tourists looking for a cheap thrill.

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San Diego Restaurants Guilty of Wage Theft, Labor Law Violations and Discrimination

June 17, 2015 by Doug Porter
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SDSU and CPI Study Found 3/4’s of Employees Victims of Wage Theft

By Doug Porter / San Diego Free Press

A study by San Diego State University Department of Sociology and the Center on Policy Initiatives found persuasive evidence of widespread wage theft, labor law violations and widespread discrimination in restaurants throughout San Diego.

If you went in to a grocery store and took something without paying, you’d face arrest. If you robbed a bank you’d be eligible for jail time. Both are thefts. Both are crimes.

But if you’re an employer in the restaurant industry and fail to pay an employee’s wages –also a crime–, chances are good to excellent that you’ll get way with it. So this morning we’re learning there’s a crime wave going on in San Diego. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

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Representatives Scott Peters and Susan Davis Disappoint on Trade Bill

June 16, 2015 by Doug Porter
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By Doug Porter

On Friday the House of Representatives used a legislative maneuver to block President Obama’s path to fast track legislation on the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP).

One good thing about Friday’s vote is that we now know where Representatives Susan Davis and Scott Peters stand on the issue. Both voted to advance the measure despite weeks of intensive citizen/grassroots/labor lobbying for a no vote. Both did so knowing they’d face the wrath of the coalition opposed to TPP in future elections.

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Trans Pacific Partnership Fast Track Authority Vote Set for Today – Friday, June 12

June 12, 2015 by Doug Porter
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By Doug Porter

Republican leaders in the House of Representatives have set a Friday deadline for a vote on a bill giving the President fast-track authority on commercial treaties currently being negotiated.

The legislation would allow the executive branch to submit trade agreements to Congress for an expedited, up-or-down vote without amendments was passed by the Senate last month. President Obama has said he wants to complete a 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership and send it for approval under that procedure.

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After Hours Demolition of Historic Movement Birthplace Angers LGBTQ and Preservation Activists

June 2, 2015 by Doug Porter

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By Doug Porter

Shortly after 5pm on Friday, May 29, one of San Diego’s two remaining historic Saltbox houses was bulldozed by contractors working for developer HG Fenton. Adjoining properties were left untouched. And what some consider the birthplace of the local LGBTQ movement became a pile of rubble.

Local LGBTQ activists and the Save Our Heritage Organization (SOHO) had hoped to work out a deal to save the property, either by incorporating architectural details into the finished development or by moving the house to another location. A Friday morning conversation between representatives of the Lambda archives and the developer made no mention of the building’s impending destruction.

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What’s Next for the “New” San Diego Union-Tribune?

May 27, 2015 by Doug Porter
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By Doug Porter / San Diego Free Press

Tuesday, May 26th was the day when the reality of the Tribune Company’s acquisition of San Diego’s daily newspaper became apparent for many who work there. The rest of us are going to have to wait for a while to see how things shake out. [Ed. made minor changes.]

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What’s Going On With the Stadium and the Chargers?

May 20, 2015 by Doug Porter
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By Doug Porter

Little green men from Mars could have seized city hall on Monday the 18th and I doubt anybody would have noticed.

The Mayor’s stadium advisory group presented its vision for building a facility worthy of consideration by the National Football League and its San Diego Chargers franchise. And that was the talk of the town.

Tuesday’s UT-San Diego had eight, count’em, eight stories about the team and the stadium proposal. (At least that’s what I saw on their web site. There could be more…)

Columnist Kevin Acee displayed some skepticism in the sports section:

A starting point will be the amount of money the Chargers are being asked to contribute.

There is the $300 million initial investment, which is at least $100 million more than the team has said it can give. Then there is the rent, almost $476 million in payments over 30 years ($10 million in the first year with a 3 percent annual increases), of which the city would realize $173 million.

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The Race to Replace Marti Emerald

May 18, 2015 by Doug Porter

marti emeraldBy Doug Porter

One month ago City Councilwoman Marti Emerald made the surprising announcement via Facebook that she would not be running for re-election.

Emerald, who was considered a shoo-in for another term in District 9, endorsed her chief of staff Ricardo Flores as the ‘perfect candidate’ for 2016 at a press conference. Today we’ll take an early look at how the race to replace her is shaping up in an overwhelmingly Democratic council district.

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Dark Clouds on San Diego’s Horizon

May 13, 2015 by Doug Porter
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By Doug Porter / San Diego Free Press

Developments over the past few days bode poorly for San Diego’s image and civic pride.

One of the main tourist attractions, the football team, the successor to the downtown development agency and the home for Comic Con are all in turmoil.

Controversies have arisen concerning the lone Democrat on the Board of Supervisors and the sheriff’s department is being investigated for civil rights violations arising out of the arrest of a mentally handicapped man.

So many stories, so little time to tell them all:

Sex and Drugs at SeaWorld …. COME INSIDE

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Security Forces Clash with Baja California Farmworkers

May 12, 2015 by Doug Porter
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By Doug Porter

Police raids and street protests in Baja California have led to scores of injuries in the latest round of labor strife over pay and working conditions in San Quintin, an agricultural region producing produce sold in the United States.

This weekend’s violence followed the failure of Interior Minister Luis Miranda Nava to show up for a meeting with leaders of farm worker organizations in the area.

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The “Reader-izing” of San Diego CityBeat

April 24, 2015 by Doug Porter

City Beat coverWhile I’m guessing some coverage of interest to progressives will continue to appear, the heart and soul of the organization appear to be headed in another direction.

.By Doug Porter

There’s trouble afoot at San Diego CityBeat, the alt-weekly known for its focus on local progressive politics, arts, and music.

Editor Dave Rolland and associate editor Kelly Davis both cited plausible professional reasons as they exited the publication in March, with Rolland promising readers “our departure does not foretell CityBeat’s demise.”

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Manufacturing Consent for a New Stadium in San Diego

April 22, 2015 by Doug Porter
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By Doug Porter

Two months ago prospects for building a new football stadium were waning. The thinking was that San Diego had done too little, too late to accommodate the demands of the Chargers for a new facility. The football team, it seemed, was ready to head north for a more obliging locale.

Now, thanks to a blizzard of press releases and the timely release of a think tank study, the tide may be turning. Today we’ll take a look at those developments and the role they may play in shaping public opinion.

Back on February 2nd a certain columnist (me) noted :

“The only thing more likely to be declared dead on arrival than any plan coming out of the newly ensconced Citizens’ Stadium Advisory Group for San Diego is the budget proposal the President is sending to the Republican-controlled congress.”

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Super Sized #Fightfor15 Protests, Value Meal Press Coverage

April 16, 2015 by Doug Porter

ff9By Doug Porter

I spent most of yesterday traveling around San Diego with roughly three dozen fast food workers. The local version of the nationwide Fight for 15 movement made a statement at ten locations around town, taking to the streets both in North Park and downtown.

The mostly brown and black workers on the bus were those who’d committed to taking a day off from work (there were others that came and went) to let the world know they wanted a better life. Two were older, having spent more than two decades in the business. Some had families to support. Some brought their kids along. Others were trying to go to community college on a fast food paycheck. All of them believed they could make a difference, even if they were just paying it forward.

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Let’s Make History: Going All in for $15 on April 15th

April 14, 2015 by Doug Porter

SD Fight for 15By Doug Porter

On Wednesday, April 15th, while much of the traditional news media is camped outside post offices trying to interview the vanishing breed of Luddites using snail mail to file their taxes, these modern-day fighters for fair wages will be protesting in over 200 cities nationwide.

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SeaWorld Steals a Page from the Scientology Playbook

April 2, 2015 by Doug Porter

…And Meanwhile Easter Sunday SeaWorld Protest Gains Momentum

Pink Protest Poster

By Doug Porter

A book tour by a former SeaWorld trainer critical of the company’s treatment of Orcas has led to the theme park releasing a five year old cell phone video depicting the author using racial slurs during a drunken conversation.

Critics of SeaWorld are saying this action is just another example of …

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Old Town Mobilizing to Save Historic Trees from City Project

March 25, 2015 by Doug Porter

old town 2By Doug Porter / San Diego Free Press

Old Town residents are scrambling to save aging California Pepper Canopy trees from removal along a corridor bordering State Historic Park and the City Golf Course.

Back in late August Mayor Kevin Faulconer and other city officials staged a press conference in Old Town to announce a major infrastructure project.

The Mayor proclaimed the Juan Street Replacement Project to be “…a perfect example of the city’s one dig philosophy….” In addition to replacing the water main, the street would be repaved and sidewalks would be replaced.

This is story best told with photos.

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The Uptown Battle for Safer Bike Routes

March 24, 2015 by Doug Porter

CD4_Uni1By Doug Porter

There’s a special meeting of the Uptown Planners today – Tuesday (March 24) to discuss overriding the SANDAG Regional Bike Plan in Mission Hills and Hillcrest. Cycling advocates are expected to face off against various organizations and people opposed to proposed traffic changes in the area.

This meeting is, I think, symbolic of a larger battle going on over the future of transportation in the city. While all the organizations involved give lip service to the Climate Action Plan’s goal of 18% bike mode share in Uptown by 2035, there are individuals who come across as negative about actually doing anything to achieve the goal.

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The Rep’s Oedipus El Rey: A Greek Classic Meets Chicano Mysticism

March 18, 2015 by Doug Porter

Photo: Daren Scott

By Doug Porter / San Diego Free Press

We are fortunate to live in a city where theater and the performing arts flourish. San Diego’s offerings are enriched by companies large and small; those that hew to tradition and those willing to stretch the limits of artistic expression.

The San Diego Repertory Theatre has been at it for nearly four decades, “promoting a more inclusive community through work that nourishes progressive and social values.” The current production of Oedipus El Rey speaks to those values through a modern day adaptation of Sophocles’ classic Greek drama, first performed in 429 B.C.

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Three Groups Vying to Buy U-T San Diego

March 6, 2015 by Doug Porter
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By Doug Porter

A report by media analyst Ken Doctor in Capital New York’s media column says U-T San Diego owner “Papa” Doug Manchester has been actively looking to sell for six months now.

The story indicates the Tribune Publishing, parent company for the Los Angeles Times, is close to making a deal with an estimated $80-90 million price tag, which will not include the company’s real estate assets. Questions surrounding U-T San Diego’s $60 million in pension obligations prevented the company from completing the sale during a short-term exclusivity agreement.

Two other groups are reported to be putting together financing to buy San Diego’s daily. A group led by philanthropist Malin Burnham and former Cox executive Bill Geppert told Doctor they’d raised about half the money needed to buy the company, which they’re proposing be run as a non-profit entity.

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Faulconer’s First Year: Mostly Doing Nothing, But Looking Good While Doing It

March 4, 2015 by Doug Porter
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By Doug Porter

Unlike the women performing on the field at Chargers’ games, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer is getting paid for his cheer-leading efforts.

The local daily paper ran a puff piece on Sunday, celebrating Faulconer’s first year in office, reporting on the “nearly unanimous praise” for making San Diego a “vastly different place than it was under the tumultuous tenure” of he-who-cannot-be-named-without-contempt.

Largely airbrushed out of history was former interim mayor Todd Gloria, whose reward for leadership following the fall of Filner was to get booted out of the position of City Council President, lest he actually accomplish any items proposed during his tenure.

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The Unnecessary Parts of the ‘Chargers Are Going to Leave’ Narrative

February 24, 2015 by Doug Porter

end is near

By Doug Porter

The prospect of San Diego losing its beloved football team provides an opportunity to examine the worst of what the local media does in terms of misleading people about the relative importance of news.

Many stories in the local news media outlets seem based upon the belief this potential business decision (by an entity dependent on taxpayer largess for its profitability) is of critical importance for San Diegans. While I certainly appreciate the emotional connection between fans and sporting organizations, much of what I’ve read in the last few days is simply not connected to any reality that I’m aware of.

Putting this in perspective, the Chargers “fan base” ranks in the bottom half of National Football League, according to data compiled by Nielsen Scarborough, who looked at the percentage of adults who have watched, attended or listened to the NFL team in that market in the past year. Despite what team boosters say, San Diegans are decidedly lukewarm about most pro sports.

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Chargers Give San Diego the One-Finger Salute

February 20, 2015 by Doug Porter

By Doug Porter / San Diego Free Press

The drama surrounding the San Diego Chargers’ pursuit of a stadium–somewhere, anywhere–is turning out to be much more entertaining than much of the action on the field in recent years. Today I’ll look around at what’s been said and do my best to provide some insight.

Yesterday the team let it slip–as a story in the Los Angeles Times was going to press–that they were working on a joint stadium deal with the Oakland Raiders for a facility in Carson, California, a city of less than 100,000 people with a history of shady dealings.

The coverage at ESPN included a nugget from an unidentified source saying the teams had been working together on this deal for the past nine months. The Chargers, by the way, denied inquiries from the St. Louis media about a deal in LA just a few weeks back.

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Chargers’ Point Man Calls Out Mayor’s Malarkey On Stadium Task Force

February 19, 2015 by Doug Porter
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By Doug Porter

Chargers’ special counsel Mark Fabiani has done San Diego a huge favor by pointing out the obvious. He’s single-handedly challenged the existing political narrative about the politics of the process being used in deciding on the advisability of building a new stadium.

You won’t find me among those pining away for the possibility of a new football stadium in America’s Finest City, even though I sometimes wonder if I’m addicted to watching games.

First, there’s the silliness of taxpayers being expected to subsidize a rich man’s game in return for the possibility of an endorphin rush at some future time. And then there’s my sense that the long-term prospects for the sport aren’t very good, what with players’ health issues, spousal abuse scandals, and anything having to do with Patriots’ coach Bill Belechick.

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Labor Unrest Spreads to Refineries, West Coast Ports, SoCal Edison and Football Stadiums

February 10, 2015 by Doug Porter

Gas refinery strikeSo, why are gas prices going back up?

By Doug Porter

Local gasoline prices have increased by roughly 20% over the past few weeks. Retailers dependent on imported goods are voicing concerns about bottlenecks in supplies coming through west coast ports. And that could be bad news for consumers. There’s more to the story than what you’ve likely seen or heard.

While the factors surrounding both these development are complex, a major element in each are labor unions seeking safe working conditions. In what amounts to a sad commentary on the state of the news media in the U.S. the coverage has been largely one dimensional, leading with management’s pronouncements about wages and benefits.

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Chargers’ Stadium Dreams Destined to be Dashed

February 3, 2015 by Doug Porter

Qualcomm StadiumBy Doug Porter

The only thing more likely to be declared dead on arrival than any plan coming out of the newly ensconced Citizens’ Stadium Advisory Group for San Diego is the budget proposal the President is sending to the Republican-controlled congress.

Today we’ll start out by looking at what the composition of the Faulconer’s task force tells us about the impossibility of their task ….
On Friday Mayor Kevin Faulconer introduced a nine-member stadium task force including what UT-San Diego called “financial experts, prominent developers, longtime government leaders and a former Chargers executive.”

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City Budget Requests, Unpaid Glitter Unicorns and Congressional Follies

January 29, 2015 by Doug Porter

san diego sealBy Doug Porter

There’s lots to report on, starting with the annual wish lists for the coming fiscal year’s City of San Diego budget. The consensus item among the city council’s lists is finding more money for paying police.

A local non-profit’s Facebook posting seeking unpaid interns (along with paying positions) to participate in building support for increased minimum wages came under fire yesterday. But things aren’t always as they seem; I think there is another agenda at play here.

And the 114th Congress is off to a great start, unless you want to count passing meaningful legislation as part of it’s goals.

Gimme Money, Honey

The San Diego City Council Budget Review Committee hearing Wednesday morning gave local representatives a chance to air their budgetary preferences for the coming fiscal year.

They’re hoping the mayor will consider requests for police pay raises, new fire stations, new parks, longer hours at recreation centers and street upgrades favoring pedestrians and cyclists for funding out of a projected surplus of $63 million for the coming year.

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What’s the Fix for San Diego’s Crumbling Infrastructure?

January 23, 2015 by Doug Porter

infrastructure sdBy Doug Porter

Pssst! Got a spare two billion dollars? That’s a number being talked about in the search for a comprehensive approach to fixing San Diego’s deteriorating streets, pipes and public spaces.

The City of San Diego has issued a report outlining what it says are our infrastructure needs over the next five years, and it isn’t pretty.

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Policing the Police: San Diego’s Problems

January 14, 2015 by Doug Porter
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By Doug Porter

As police departments nationwide are facing increasing scrutiny, local law enforcement agencies are finding themselves under the spotlight.

A news story based on internal documents obtained by the local NBC affiliate on use of force reveals the San Diego Police Department documented 16,238 incidents in which an officer used force in 2014.

A report in Voice of San Diego calls points out what I think are questionable “crime prevention” practices by the County Sheriffs Department at the Lemon Grove trolley station.

And then there’s the promise of a soon-to-be-released report from the Police Executive Research Forum under contract by the US Justice Department on SDPD practices instituted in the wake of several years of scandals and lawsuits regarding sexual misconduct.

Those stories are largely looking at the problem from the “top down,” based on information gleaned from departmental reports and interviews with officials.

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2014 Wrap Up: The Tide Turns on Rape Culture, Climate Change and Same Sex Marriage

January 5, 2015 by Doug Porter

startinglinelogoBy Doug Porter

The term rape culture became mainstream in 2014. Practices and behavior in society excusing or otherwise tolerating sexual violence were exposed. Activists around the country took to the streets to push back.

Examples, ranging from the callousness of the San Diego City Attorney’s office accusing a sexual assault victim of trying to bribe a police officer with her underwear to investigations into the widespread accommodation of rape in college fraternities, were given wide media coverage.

The ecological crisis facing the planet was another subject getting increased attention this year. Hundreds of thousands of people marched in New York and other cities, including San Diego, in September demanding action on man made climate change. …

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