Will the Balboa Park Make-Over Include Rockscaping for the Homeless?

July 5, 2016 by Doug Porter

Yesterday the sweeps continued- Photo via Michael McConnell

By Doug Porter

What kind of a city is it that entertains funding a new stadium, a convention center expansion, a major events arena, gondolas, and a parks make-over, but can’t figure out a short term solution to homelessness other than criminalizing it?

That would be San Diego.

Yes, I know it’s apples and oranges–different pots of money are involved, some are subject to voter approval and others will only be indirectly supported by the taxpayer…

But … where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Presently there are a lot of moving parts in play when it comes to the future of America’s Finest City. Let me lay out a couple items for your consideration.

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Will California Legalize Marijuana in 2016?

June 30, 2016 by Doug Porter

If there’s any group capable of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory in California, it’s marijuana activists.

AUMA 2016By Doug Porter

The polling has never been better. This year 60% of likely California voters are inclined to legalize the consumption of marijuana for recreational use, up from 54% last year.

The political prognosis has never been better. Four states and the District of Columbia have already legalized pot and another eight states are considering giving voter approval to the idea.

So California’s Adult Use of Marijuana Act qualifying for the November ballot should be good news, right? Not so fast. We’ve been here before. In 2010 Proposition 19 started out with strong polling and had decent financial backing, as I recollect.

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Big Win for Women’s Rights! Supreme Court Strikes Down Texas Restrictions on Abortion Provider Law

June 27, 2016 by Doug Porter

supreme court building“Today women across the nation have had their constitutional rights vindicated.” —Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights

By Doug Porter

The Supreme Court’s 5-3 ruling in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt will affect millions of women in several states. The case, arising from a Texas law, is the most important abortion rights case in a generation.

Justice Steven Breyer penned the majority opinion, which said in essence:

Both the admitting privileges and surgical center requirements place a substantial obstacle in the path of women seeking a previability abortion, constitute an undue burden on abortion access, and thus violate the Constitution.

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Baseball’s All-Star Game in San Diego: Rocks for the Homeless?

June 17, 2016 by Doug Porter

anti homelessBy 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.

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2016 Primary Election Results and Analysis for San Diego

June 9, 2016 by Doug Porter

Election Returns

Editor: The following election results and analysis were put together by Doug Porter on Wednesday, June 8th, for his column at San Diego Free Press – and all vote tallies are as of yesterday’s numbers.

By Doug Porter

It ain’t over ‘till it’s over. But it’s mostly over in San Diego. Most of the ballots for the June 2016 primary election have been tallied. The remaining 285,000 ballots uncounted as of Wednesday morning are provisional and late arriving mail-in ballots. A few close races may change, but if history is any guide, what you see in the way of results the day after the election is what you get.

A multi-year campaign for an increase in the local minimum wage came to a close as voters overwhelmingly approved City Proposition I. For me personally, and for tens of thousands of San Diego workers, the last item on the ballot was the most important one.

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It’s the Primary – Progressives – and Time to Vote!

June 6, 2016 by Doug Porter

ballot box san diegoProgressive Primary Voting Guide for San Diego

Endorsements by OB Rag and San Diego Free Press

By Doug Porter

If you haven’t voted in San Diego yet, now is the time to get focused, and I’m here to help.

While there are many candidates and issues on the ballot, let me remind readers that a Yes vote on Proposition I will have the most immediate impact locally. More than 170,000 hard-working San Diegans will get a badly needed, overdue raise and access to five earned sick days a year.

What I hope to do here today is offer one-stop shopping for those of you just getting around to making your ballot box decisions.

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San Diego Becomes Ground Zero in Presidential Contests (For a Few Days, Anyway)

May 23, 2016 by Doug Porter

Via the Sanders campaign

Sanders, Clinton and Trump, Oh My! – Plus Updates on Mayor and City Council Races

By Doug Porter

As May slides into June, enthusiasm about election contests big and small is sweeping San Diego. Hope, an elusive feeling in an era of pessimism, is in the air.

Democrats Senator Bernie Sanders and ex-President Bill Clinton both campaigned in the area. Presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump is holding a rally at the Convention Center on Friday, prompting promises of protests from activists throughout the region.

Away from the bright lights and big crowds, campaigning for local offices has reached a fevered pitch. Democrats, environmentalists, and organized labor are providing volunteers, who are going door-to-door in City Council contests, backing up direct mail campaigns. Republicans are carpet bombing the city with money for TV ads, slick (and often questionable) mailers and paid canvassers.

The good news from my perspective is that early ballot returns show a high level of interest in the primary from Democratic voters.

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Much Ado About Money – County Supervisors on the Primary Ballot

May 20, 2016 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for Much Ado About Money – County Supervisors on the Primary Ballot

By Doug Porter

Back in 2010, San Diego became the seventh county in California to impose term limits on its Board of Supervisors. Voters approved of the idea by better than a two to one margin. Unions, which typically oppose term limits, actually funded the effort.

This electoral groundswell happened for a reason, namely the billions in funding flowing through (and overly generous reserges in) county coffers. The ability of just five elected officials to shape the county’s priorities in big and small ways amounted to a ticket to lifetime tenure in part because supervisors also draw their own district lines.

There are two contests for County Supervisor appearing on 2016 primary ballots in San Diego. They only appear on ballots for voters living in the districts involved. (First District Supervisor Greg Cox – who represents Ocean Beach and Point Loma – is unopposed and therefore, won’t be on the ballot)

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Progressive San Diego Voter Guide for June 2016 Primary

May 19, 2016 by Doug Porter

imageBy Doug Porter

Over the past few months the San Diego Free Press and the OB Rag have reported on the candidates and causes central to the June 2016 primary elections.

We have combined our research and analyses with information from public sources to create a progressive voter guide for electoral contests appearing on ballots in the San Diego region.

This guide includes links to candidate websites, symbols indicating endorsements and a short overview of contests, along with links to our reporting.

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Who Are the San Diego Democrats Who Aren’t Really Democrats?

May 18, 2016 by Doug Porter

Feeling #theBern AND the Burn in San Diego Politics

carpet saleBy Doug Porter / San Diego Free Press

This started out to be a column addressing the increasing awareness of the Bernie movement on finding like-minded progressive candidates on the ballot. It ended up be an exploration of the Dark Side of both local politics and the newly ascendant supporters of the Democratic Socialist from Vermont.

For those of interested in short lists for city offices, here it is: if you like Bernie, then Lori Saldaña for Mayor, Bryan Pease for City Attorney, Sara Saez for D9 City Council, and Jose Caballero for D7 City Council…

… Except that the Progressive Democratic Club says if you support Bernie you should vote for Ed Harris for Mayor.

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An Analysis of Ballot Measures for the June 2016 Primary

May 13, 2016 by Doug Porter

ballot sampleVote ‘Aye’ on San Diego’s Proposition ‘Eye’

By Doug Porter

If there one issue symbolic of San Diego politics, it’s the fight for a bump in the local minimum wage. Almost two years after a majority of the city’s elected representatives voted for a measure increasing wages (in baby steps) and allowing for earned paid sick leave, the voters will have a say on the issue.

I won’t mince words here. If you live in the City of San Diego, vote YES on the referendum on Earned Sick Leave and Minimum Wage, which will appear on the June 7th ballot as Proposition I.

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Don’t Be Bored by Board of Education Races

May 12, 2016 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for Don’t Be Bored by Board of Education Races

Ignore those school board races on your 2016 primary ballot at your own peril. The County Board of Education, with its half-billion-dollar budget and influence over the 42 school districts in San Diego, is the target of Republicans reportedly funded by charter school businesses.

Now I don’t have a problem with the concept of charter schools as an option for parents seeking differing educational approaches. I do have a problem with the charter school industry, which all-too-often has hidden financial malfeasance and an exploitive working environment behind the banners of “choice” and “opportunity.”

Most of all, I believe that a robust public education system is fundamental to democracy. Public education has been the primary battleground for a cultural war going back decades and now it has become fair game for hedge fund operators and profiteering.

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Are San Diego Superior Court Judges Adverse to Open Seat Contests?

May 9, 2016 by Doug Porter

San Diego CourthouseBy Doug Porter / San Diego Free Press

Nobody cares much about judicial electoral contests. And apparently the current batch of judges in Superior Court would like to keep it that way. At least that was the conclusion I drew after talking with more than a dozen local attorneys and prosecutors.

The 2012 judicial elections, where birther lawyer Gary Kreep upset Deputy District Attorney Garland Peed, were a national embarrassment. Since that time, “open seat” judicial contests have all but vanished in San Diego.

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America’s Finest City Preparing for a Visit from Donald Trump

May 4, 2016 by Doug Porter

trump logo

Presumptive Republican Nominee May Descend on San Diego on Sunday, May 8th

By Doug Porter

Officials in San Diego are preparing for an as yet unannounced visit on Sunday, May 8th by presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump, according to a report broadcast on 10News Tuesday night.

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The 2016 Mayoral Contest: Lori Saldaña Aims to Offer a Choice, Not an Echo

April 29, 2016 by Doug Porter

Lori Saldana official picBy Doug Porter

If you buy into the notion, currently in vogue with supporters of Senator Bernie Sanders, of Democratic party orthodoxy as being little more than Republican lite, then Lori Saldaña would the logical choice to vote for in the upcoming San Diego mayoral primary.

The former assemblywoman has an activist pedigree, a history of hard-fought grassroots campaigns, and the enmity of the local political establishment.

In January Saldaña launched an independent campaign to challenge Kevin Faulconer, undaunted by a million dollar war chest (including PACs) and the advantages accompanying incumbency in America’s Finest City. The current mayor’s single greatest accomplishment thus far, in my opinion, has been directing the public relations players at his disposal in a non-stop symphony of praise for their leader, so it ain’t gonna be easy.

Environmental Activism, Plus

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The 2016 Mayoral Contest: Ed Harris Takes a Stand Against Business as Usual

April 28, 2016 by Doug Porter

“The City is a huge landlord. It has to quit giving away our own assets.”

By Doug Porter

Ed-Harris-camp-fotoEd Harris wasn’t supposed to ruffle any feathers during his appointed term on the San Diego City Council.

The former marine and lifeguard union leader was supposed to be a bookmark, holding down the Second District seat vacated by now-Mayor Kevin Faulconer until election day rolled around. The city charter terms for this temporary tenure included a proviso barring him from actually running for the seat in fall 2014 election.

Then it came time for the kind of wink, wink, nod, nod agreement involving trading off public assets for political gain considered normal in America’s Finest City. Harris surprised a lot of people by taking a principled and public stand against what he believed was a sweetheart deal involving proposed lease terms of Belmont Park to Pacifica Enterprises.

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Gannett Makes Offer to Buy San Diego Union-Tribune and Its Parent

April 26, 2016 by Doug Porter

Via Twitter

By Doug Porter

If you don’t like what you’ve been seeing in the San Diego Union-Tribune lately, wait a couple of months. Seriously. The newspaper of record in America’s Finest City may soon have new owners.

Newspaper publisher Gannett has gone public with an offer to buy Tribune Publishing after getting a less-than-enthusiastic response to a private offer made on April 12th.

The proposed deal would fold the Tribune’s nine daily newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times and the San Diego Union-Tribune into a media monolith publishing USA Today and newspapers in 107 other cities.

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The Other Big 2016 California Primary: U.S. Senate

April 22, 2016 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for The Other Big 2016 California Primary: U.S. Senate

By Doug Porter

California’s primary counts this year. While media coverage of presidential candidates wooing voters in the Golden State is steadily increasing, another primary contest with national implications is flying under the radar.

Sen. Barbara Boxer’s retirement creates the first open U.S. Senate seat in California in more than two decades. Based on the activity level of Sen. Dianne Feinstein recently, it could be a while until the next opportunity presents itself.

It turns out the Presidential contest is so unstable at this point it’s left to curious voters to go online for information. There are 39 candidates from 6 political parties running for President. I’ll write about some of them in future columns.

The Official Voter Information Guide for the California Presidential Primary landed in my mailbox yesterday, and it’s got nothing on the various partisan contests for the top job in the nation. The guide does contain information about Proposition 50 and, again, I’ll get around to this soon.

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Mayor Faulconer’s Republican Unicorns: Jobs! And the Minimum Wage Veto

April 20, 2016 by Doug Porter

Kevin Faulconer headshot colorrevers Kevin Faulconer headshot

The Committee for Slave Wages and Free Puppies for Everybody Lives On

By Doug Porter

Have you seen the Falconer for Mayor ads in social media yet? San Diego’s incumbent mayor is claiming credit –sort of– for a 34% drop in local unemployment since he was elected. If you buy into this claim, you’ll love the expected follow-up ads claiming credit for the sun rising, the sun setting, and better-than-usual surf in Ocean Beach.

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Replacing Rasputin: A Subtext of the Election Contest for San Diego City Attorney

April 19, 2016 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for Replacing Rasputin: A Subtext of the Election Contest for San Diego City Attorney

By Doug Porter

Termed-out City Attorney Jan Goldsmith felt free to drop the pretense of serving all the public last week during his introduction of Texas Senator Ted Cruz at a campaign rally in Mission Valley.

“We believe in jobs, freedom and security. You know something? The Democrats don’t believe in these values,” Goldsmith said. So much for my theory that he wasn’t an ideologue.

There are four Democrats and one Republican running for the City Attorney slot. I emailed them all late last week, asking their reaction to Goldsmith’s comments. The responses are listed in the order I received them.

Democrat Bryan Pease, activist attorney who Feels the Bern:

Funny–if you switch the word “Democrats” with “Republicans” in his quote, it would be objectively accurate based on measurable criteria and outcomes of their policies.

Democrat Gil Cabrera, attorney & former chairman of the San Diego Ethics Commission (Not reappointed by former Mayor Jerry Sanders):

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San Diego’s Earth Fair 2016: All in for the Environment

April 18, 2016 by Doug Porter

Hey! That's SDFP Editor Doug Porter with a message

Sunday, April 17th. EarthFair Day.

Having heard all the warnings about trying to drive to Earth Fair–not to mention the irony–, I took the bus.

The Number 7 bus was a half hour late and it dropped me on the corner of Park & University. It wasn’t going anywhere near that mess in Balboa Park. Eventually, the Balboa Park “shuttle” appeared. After quibbling with the driver when he asked for another fare, we sped three blocks south only to get in line. Hurry up and wait.

Traffic was held up at Roosevelt Junior High by the police so the people who drove could turn left across traffic towards parking lots. Even on Earth Day, it’s cars first in San Diego. #CarsRule #Pedestrians&BusRidersDrool.

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City Council Races Beg the Question: When is a Democrat Not a Democrat?

April 14, 2016 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for City Council Races Beg the Question: When is a Democrat Not a Democrat?

By Doug Porter

Are there candidates running for City Council in Districts 3 and 9 supported by interests with a history of backing Republicans really Democrats? Do campaign donations define a public official?

Is Bernie Sanders a Democrat? Is Hillary Clinton just a Republican in drag? How about Congressman Scott Peters after his votes on refugees and trade? Are people who used to be Republicans ever to be trusted? Where do you draw the line?

In this column I’ll explore these questions as they impact a couple of local contests…

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Will the Trump Campaign Wipe Out in California?

April 12, 2016 by Doug Porter

trump TP rollBy Doug Porter

The candidates running for the Republican presidential nomination are looking to the June 7th California primary to be the final showdown. One hundred seventy-two delegates are up for grabs, and there is a big-money push underway in the nation’s most populous state.

Donald Trump is now mathematically unable to seal the deal until the last day of the primary calendar. Senator Ted Cruz, who is holding rallies in Orange County and San Diego today, is ahead of the other candidates in terms of grassroots organizing and campaign infrastructure.

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Ballot Box Basics for San Diegans: What You Need to Know About the 2016 California Primary

April 7, 2016 by Doug Porter

vote smart buttonMassive Voter Turnout Expected

By Doug Porter

California’s June elections are looking to be like the OK Corral of presidential primary contests this year. With Senators Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders both besting their party’s frontrunners by 13 points in Tuesday’s Wisconsin voting, the Golden State’s large lode of delegates is rapidly gaining in significance.

Better than 600,000 Californians have registered to vote online or updated their information in the last three months, says California Secretary of State Alex Padilla in a letter to Gov. Jerry Brown.

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First Look at San Diego’s June 2016 Primary Ballot

April 1, 2016 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for First Look at San Diego’s June 2016 Primary Ballot

By Doug Porter

The 2016 primary season is officially upon us. Today I’m presenting a quick review of what San Diego City voters can expect to see on June 7 (Or earlier if voting by mail). This is just the first of what will be many columns and articles over the next two months. And, yes, we’ll be talking about other contests throughout the region.

After months of hand-wringing in the pundit class, we now have two viable challengers to incumbent Mayor Kevin Faulconer. Odd-numbered city council districts are up for grabs, and three of those will choosing somebody new to represent residents.

There are ballot measures A thru I, most of which are updates to the City Charter. Just about the time your eyes will want to glaze over from all the legalese coming from Measure G, there will be two significant choices to follow. Stay Awake. These are important decisions.

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Assault on Public Employee Unions Fizzles at the Supreme Court

April 1, 2016 by Doug Porter

Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association Gets Split Decision

By Doug Porter

Friedrichs-v.-California-Teachers-AssociationRebecca Friedrichs, the elementary school teacher honored with a ‘Torch of Freedom Award’ at the San Diego County Republican Party’s annual Lincoln-Reagan dinner last weekend, won’t be celebrating this weekend.

[On Tuesday, March 29th], in a single-sentence order, the Supreme Court announced that the judgment of a lower court rejecting an effort to defund public sector unions “is affirmed by an equally divided court.”. A four-decade-old opinion protecting public sector unions will live to see another day.

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13,000 San Diegans Show Up for Bernie Sanders

March 23, 2016 by Doug Porter

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Si Se Puede! Sanders Wows Young and Diverse Crowd

By Doug Porter

The big news yesterday wasn’t that Senator Bernie Sanders spoke in San Diego. It was the diverse crowd of 13,000 plus people who put their lives on hold for a day to stand up for a better world.

The line to get into the San Diego Convention Center started in the wee hours of the morning. By the time the doors opened at 4pm the line stretched forever. Halls D&E were filled with the first ten thousand or so people in line, and an overflow room was opened. And then a second overflow room was opened.

It is an article of faith among some Sanders supporters that their candidate gets short changed by the media. Today we’ll examine a sampling of local mainstream coverage of yesterday’s events.

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Plastic Bag Industry Seeks the ‘Freedom’ to Pollute by Confusing California Voters

March 21, 2016 by Doug Porter

plastic bag ban logoBy Doug Porter

The California legislature passed a ban on many uses of plastic bags back in 2014. Gov. Brown signed it and the American Progressive Bag Alliance, representing bag manufacturers, dumped $3.2 million to get signatures for a referendum on the November 2016 ballot. So now the law is on hold.

Not content with a simple up or down vote on the matter, the industry is now in the process of gathering signatures for a second measure mandating fees from grocery bag sales be used for environmental projects. If you think this sounds too good to be true for an idea ultimately emanating from the dirty energy industry, you’re right.

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SeaWorld Calls It Quits on Orca Breeding, Promises to End Killer Whale Shows

March 18, 2016 by Doug Porter

SeaWorldBy Doug Porter

Starting off with the admission that Americans’ attitudes about orcas have changed dramatically, SeaWorld CEO Joel Manby has announced –via an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times the end of the company’s controversial breeding programs and the phasing out theatrical killer whale shows at all its locations.

SeaWorld has been the target of nationwide protests over its treatment of captive orcas in recent years. Revenues and attendance began a steady decline following the release of the documentary “Blackfish,” which spotlighted the animals’ living conditions and the dangers posed to their handlers.

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It’s Time for Some Changes at the San Diego Police Department

March 16, 2016 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for It’s Time for Some Changes at the San Diego Police Department

By Doug Porter

Will the City Council expand oversight of the San Diego Police Department? That’s the question being considered on Wednesday, March 23rd as a city council committee considers an amendment to the charter making the Community Review Board on Police Practices more transparent and accountable.

Evidence that there may be a problem with oversight keeps piling up. The ACLU and 26 other groups have called upon the Department of Justice for an investigation into the SDPD’s use of force when encountering people living with mental illness.

A preliminary report from an independent study following up on concerns of racial profiling by the SDPD was delayed for eight months so the information wouldn’t come out “piecemeal.”

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