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.”

Incoming editor Ron Donoho started off vowing to “continue this alt-weekly tradition,” and pledging to “stink up the place if our local leaders foul things up.” Unfortunately these promises were woven into a bizarre scatological analogy, ending with “if we see brown, we’ll flush it down.”

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Manufacturing Consent for a New Stadium in San Diego

April 22, 2015 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for Manufacturing Consent for a New Stadium in San Diego

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
Thumbnail image for Three Groups Vying to Buy U-T San Diego

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

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

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
Thumbnail image for Policing the Police: San Diego’s Problems

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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San Diego Police: Tell Us About Your Stingray Cell Phone Spy System

December 22, 2014 by Doug Porter

Police gps trackerBy Doug Porter

A lawsuit filed by the First Amendment Coalition aimed at getting the San Diego Police Department to disclose how it uses cell phone tower simulators to collect data has been covered by multiple local news outlets over the past days.

Two things strike me in studying these accounts: a mostly blind eye towards how this latest news fits into a pattern of opaqueness by the SDPD and a lack of understanding about the true nature of the technology in question.

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Cuba Sí! Decades of Failed Foreign Policy Come to an End

December 18, 2014 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for Cuba Sí! Decades of Failed Foreign Policy Come to an End

By Doug Porter

A mutual release of prisoners Wednesday, Dec. 17, marks beginning of the end of the United States embargo against the island nation of Cuba. Cuba released jailed American Alan Gross along with an unnamed non-American intelligence ‘asset.’ The US released three Cubans accused of running a spy operation in the South Florida expatriate community.

The Associated Press reports the two governments are starting talks on normalizing full diplomatic relations; trade and banking ties are will be at the top of the agenda. Observers expect each country to attempt to open embassies in each other’s capitals during 2015.

While these actions are not part of any overall shift in US foreign policy, the repercussions throughout the hemisphere will be reminiscent of the establishment of normalized relations with China in the 1970’s. It’s a big deal. A really big deal.

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SDSU Students Fight Fraternity Rape Culture

December 11, 2014 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for SDSU Students Fight Fraternity Rape Culture

By Doug Porter

Students at San Diego State University participated in a march and sit-in on Tuesday, demanding the school take action in response to sexual assaults and harassment. The protest was triggered by reports of people associated with fraternity houses yelling obscenities, waving dildos and throwing eggs at a Nov. 21st anti-rape march called Take Back the Night.

Their demands included an open forum with SDSU President Elliot Hirshman during the spring semester, along with the resignations of fraternity members of the Sigma Phi Epsilon and Delta Sigma Phi from various posts on the campus.

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Torture Tuesday: A Study in Manufacturing Consent

December 9, 2014 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for Torture Tuesday: A Study in Manufacturing Consent

By Doug Porter

If you are unfortunate enough to be aware of the news today, you’ll be a witness to our country’s greatest exercise in what Walter Lippmann and subsequently Noam Chomsky called ‘manufactured consent.”

I’m referring to the release of the heavily redacted summary of the the Senate Intelligence Committee report on the use of torture. By the end of the day, via the conclusions of the chattering class, the American public will know three things:

  • US policy following the 2001 Al Qaeda attacks included broadly worded permissions to engage in torture.
  • There is controversy over whether torture was effective.
  • Oversight of the intelligence apparatus in the government is a danger to our national security.
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I’m in San Diego and I Can’t Breathe

December 5, 2014 by Doug Porter

Eric Garner's last words

By Doug Porter

The national chattering class finally found a dead black man they can get behind on Dec. 3rd as a grand jury in Staten Island refused to indict the policeman who was videotaped choking Eric Garner.

Since videos exist showing both the arrest and the subsequent four minute delay before officers attempted CPR, it’s not possible to easily weasel out of the conclusion this was -at a minimum- a case of criminally negligent homicide, as concluded by Fox legal expert Judge Andrew Napolitano. Eric Garner’s last words

The “best” lame excuses coming out of the flat-earther set were that Garner died because he was obese or that the “nanny state” laws taxing tobacco were to blame. Nobody’s called him a “thug”–yet.

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Mounting Protests Over 43 Kidnapped and Massacred Mexican Students Hit San Diego

November 19, 2014 by Doug Porter

Missing-students-AyotzinapaBy Doug Porter

Unrest in Mexico, triggered by the disappearance and probable execution of 43 students in the state of Guerrero is reaching a fevered pitch. Nationwide demonstrations in Mexico on November 20th are prompting activists north of the border to hold protests that day. Here in San Diego, a protest is scheduled for Thursday at the Mexican Consulate (1549 India St) in Little Italy.

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Are You Ready for the 2016 Political Shuffle in San Diego?

November 17, 2014 by Doug Porter

startinglinelogoBy Doug Porter

The results have yet to be certified for this year’s election results, but that hasn’t prevented various political players around town from lining up support for the next step in their careers. There’s already some action and plenty of rumors to share today.

City Councilman Ed Harris was first out of the gate yesterday, by way of a story in the OB Rag announcing his intention to seek termed-out Assemblywoman Toni Atkins position representing the 78th District in 2016.

Hey, there’s plenty more. …

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California’s Proposition 47 Passed. Now What?

November 7, 2014 by Doug Porter

ca_prison21By Doug Porter

One of the big electoral victories for what I’d call sane people this week was the passage of Proposition 47. Simple drug possession and property crimes valued under $950 are now misdemeanors, effective immediately, punishable by up to a year in a county jail. … Law and order–or should I call them “lock ‘em and leave ‘em”– types are taking to the airwaves to fan the kind of (mostly irrational) fears responsible for California’s decades long dance with draconian detention policies.

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November 2014 Election Analysis and Results

November 6, 2014 by Doug Porter

sf minum wageBy Doug Porter

History repeated itself last night. Going back to Franklin D Roosevelt, where the party of Herbert Hoover picked up seven US Senate seats and eighty-one US House seats, the political party of a second term president usually gets its ass kicked in the final mid-term election of that administration. It happened to Presidents Eisenhower, Reagan, and Bush.

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While DeMaio ‘Burns Inside With a Desire’, Another Sexual Misconduct Claim Materializes

November 4, 2014 by Doug Porter

Carl Demaio Allegations-300x168“Carl DeMaio burns inside with a desire to change things for the better. We could use far more elected officials with such passion and drive.”
UT San Diego, October 4th

By Doug Porter

On the eve of the election a Navy veteran has come forward to add a second voice to accusations regarding sexual harassment by congressional candidate Carl DeMaio.

Coincidence? I think not. …

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November 2014 Progressive Procrastinator’s Voting Guide: OB and San Diego Edition

November 3, 2014 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for November 2014 Progressive Procrastinator’s Voting Guide: OB and San Diego Edition

By Doug Porter

A big deal is being made over the large percentage of California voters who’ve opted to use the vote-by-mail ballots. While right-wing efforts in other states are focused on Voter ID laws and other variants of Jim Crow, the don’t vote effort here on the left coast is focused on spreading doubt about the reliability of the mail in system.

A mistake in mailing out ballots in Sacramento becomes evidence of a state-wide “glitch ridden ballot system”, according to Breitbart.com. Their “concern” is sooo touching. They’d like you to be afraid of mail-in voting, mostly because they’re afraid that other-than-Republican voters are discovering how easy it can be to use.

Sadly, a disturbing large percentage of those ballots will be left out of the count because people never got around to filling them out. If you’re one of those people who’ve put off filling out your ballot, here’s a handy-dandy cheat sheet

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