Rebuild San Diego: Snake Oil or Cure for Local Infrastructure?

January 27, 2016 by Doug Porter

post-office-potholeBy Doug Porter

This week local politicos will be making the rounds, led by Mayor Kevin Faulconer and City Councilman Mark Kersey, promising to repair San Diego’s infrastructure. Potholes big enough to be named, geysers from broken water mains regular enough to be a tourist attractions and crumbling sidewalks unsafe at any walking speed are facts of life in America’s Finest City.

Smiling faces from city hall will be front and center in the media, pitching Councilmember Kersey’s “Rebuild San Diego” ballot measure promising three decades worth of improvement with no tax increases. If it sounds too good to be true, that’s because it probably is.

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Bringing the ‘White Line’ Gondolas to San Diego

January 21, 2016 by Doug Porter

tram1By Doug Porter

An editorial in the Union-Tribune waxes poetic about the virtues of building a mass transit system for the white people in San Diego– a network of “skyway” gondolas.

Saying it’s “one idea that does not get the attention it deserves,” the UT goes on to predict Ron Roberts, now chairing both the Board of Supervisors and SANDAG (and vice chair of the Metropolitan Transit System board), will use his perch to seek funding for the concept.

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What Mayor Kevin Faulconer Bought Into When He Endorsed Marco Rubio

January 12, 2016 by Doug Porter

San Diego Mayor Enlists as One of 7 Rubio’s California Co-Chairs

Kevin FaulconerBy Doug Porter

You know things are getting bad when Howard Kurtz at Fox News says Republicans are freaking out over The Donald.

The billionaire reality show host has disrupted the hopes of the conservative elite of a youngish version of Saint Reagan to preside over the final dismemberment of the New Deal.

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Sea World & Mission Bay: No Place to Play?

January 7, 2016 by Doug Porter

seaworld2A group called Save Everyone’s Access has filed suit, seeking to halt construction of SeaWorld’s Blue World Project. The proposed addition to the waterpark would incorporate a 50-foot-deep, 1.5-acre-wide, ten-million-gallon tank to house killer whales and a 40-foot below-grade viewing area for visitors.

According to a story by Dorian Hargrove in the Reader, the group is asking a judge to order the park to study the potential environmental impacts related to toxic waste buried in the area back when it was used as a city landfill.

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‘We Told You So’ in Ocean Beach

January 7, 2016 by Doug Porter

One condominium complex in Ocean Beach was featured on newscasts throughout the region. Resident Johnny Caito made a YouTube video featuring the area around Saratoga and Abbott Streets.

The OB Rag ended up calling the units The Million Dollar Condos. Years of community opposition to building what some considered to be a fortress-type structure on the beach front ended with the OB Planning Board approving the plans in November 2011.

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Why the 2016 Race for City Attorney Matters

December 31, 2015 by Doug Porter

By Doug Porter

jan goldsmithThere is no more important local electoral contest than the race for City Attorney. This relatively obscure office has been the part of government where dreams come to die, the priorities of the modern-day landed gentry are enforced, and the political will of the city’s business interests is turned into policy.

Incumbent City Attorney Jan Goldsmith, elected in 2008, deserves credit for molding his agency into a politically powerful entity. While his record is far from spotless, the more general thrust of developing a well-coordinated keeper of the flame for business interests has proven to be a valuable asset for the local moneyed classes.

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A Sneak Preview of 2016 Elections in San Diego

December 30, 2015 by Doug Porter

ballot box san diegoBy Doug Porter

Over the last few days of 2015 I’ll engage in speculation about what to expect for the coming year.

Here we’ll take a quick look at what San Diegans will be asked to vote on, a logical move since we’re headed into a presidential election year with a gaggle of ballot measures vying for voter approval in California. Later on in the year I’ll do in-depth profiles of candidates and ballot measures.

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San Diego DA Bonnie Dumanis Spins the News in Quest to Justify Fatal Police Shooting in Midway District

December 29, 2015 by Doug Porter

Midway cop shot vid blast3By Doug Porter

County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis’ absolution of a San Diego Police officer in the shooting death of 42-year-old Fridoon Rawshan Nehad turns out to have been nothing more than poorly orchestrated spin.

Facing an impending court-ordered release of damning evidence, the DA released a made-for-the-media video and pleaded with the press to use her version of events.

A subsequent release of information by an attorney representing Nehad’s family casts strong doubt on that ‘version’ of the story.

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Environmental Activists in Paris and San Diego: We Want More

December 15, 2015 by Doug Porter

climate greetingsBy Doug Porter

One hundred ninety nations reached an agreement in Paris this past weekend, theoretically setting the world on a path towards reducing carbon emissions. The San Diego City Council is poised to bless the long awaited Climate Action Plan. People took to the streets of Paris and the byways of Balboa Park over the weekend to affirm their commitment to seeing the challenges of climate change acted upon.

At last!–or so we’re told–there are processes in place to help save the planet, or at least, humanity’s position at the top of the food chain. The truth, however, is much different that the hype. Consider these deals “hope” without the “change.”

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In San Diego and Elsewhere, Increasing Demands for Police Reform

December 10, 2015 by Doug Porter

San diego police carsSDPD Union Contracts Under Scrutiny

By Doug Porter

Despite promises of increased transparency and action to prevent misconduct, the San Diego Police Department continues to draw criticism.

Law enforcement agencies around the country are under increasing scrutiny, as reports about use of excessive force, sexual assault, and abuse of power surface. Here, I’ll take a look at recent developments both locally and nationally.

Taking things one step further, activists associated with Black Lives Matter have broadened their Campaign Zero to include researching police union-negotiated labor agreements in many jurisdictions with the aim of flagging provisions delaying the interrogation of officers being investigated for use of force and used in erasing documentation of abuse.

San Diego is one of the cities under scrutiny.

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Donald Trump’s Audacity of Hate

December 9, 2015 by Doug Porter

Make America white againBy Doug Porter

The debate went on inside my head throughout the night as I drifted in and out of dreams. Should I call out this latest batch of hate-mongering from The Donald?

Or am I just giving him what he wants? The man sees his polls drop in Iowa and he’s at the ready with some new bit of outrage to keep his name in the headlines.

‘If you see something, say something’ won the debate. Plus, I realized Trump’s merely surfing the wave of fear empowered by his fellow chicken hawks and amplified by the media. Today I’ll examine reaction to the latest proclamations from the GOP candidate.

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Anti-Muslim Bigotry in San Diego; Trump’s Racist Rampage Continues

November 25, 2015 by Doug Porter

who you should fear

By Doug Porter / San Diego Free Press

A female Muslim student at San Diego State University was assaulted on campus last week. An unknown male, believed to be a SDSU student, pushed her and pulled her by her hijab while making hate comments and threats based on her religious appearance.

An unidentified pregnant woman, dressed in a traditional Muslim headscarf and pushing her child in a stroller in Mission Valley, was stopped by an unidentified man making racially charged threats. He went so far as to push her stroller back into her.

Those are just the most recent two of the 170 reported threats against Muslims in San Diego this year, according to officials with the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

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San Diego, We Have a Use of Deadly Force Problem

November 18, 2015 by Doug Porter

Midway cop shoot protest 5-10-15

Editor: The following commentary by our colleague Doug Porter on the over-use of deadly force by San Diego area law enforcement was originally posted a week ago at SDFP, but it is as relevant today as last week.

By Doug Porter /San Diego Free Press

It should surprise no one that County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis called a press conference [November 9th] announcing that charges will not be filed against the San Diego Police officer who shot and killed Fridoon Rawshan Nehad in the Midway District last April.

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Are You Scared Yet? Proposition 47 Anniversary Marked by Fear Mongers

November 6, 2015 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for Are You Scared Yet? Proposition 47 Anniversary Marked by Fear Mongers

By Doug Porter

One year ago this week, California voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 47. The measure downgraded many non-violent offenses from felonies to misdemeanors and contained provisions allowing those already incarcerated to petition for release.

Passage of the law marked an important second step (the first being a voter-approved measure in 2012 easing “three-strikes” convictions) in moving the state apparatus away from an incarceration-centric approach to law breakers.

Those with vested interests, both moral and economic, in what I’ll call the prison-industrial complex, remain horrified at the implications of reshaping society’s treatment of bad behaviors. Prior to and since the passage of Proposition 47 law and order types warned of impending doom as evil-doers, freed from the prospect of prison, would spark a crime wave.

Be Very Afraid: PR Campaign Ahead

In the past week, San Diegans have been treated to op-eds from law enforcement figures warning about “the safety and security of our communities” (Sheriff Bill Gore, VOSD) and “our communities at risk of being victimized by repeat offenders” (SDPD Chief Shelly Zimmerman, UT).

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The Fall of the Haggen Grocery Chain: A 21st Century Morality Story

November 4, 2015 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for The Fall of the Haggen Grocery Chain: A 21st Century Morality Story

By Doug Porter

The collapse of the Haggen grocery store chain just over month ago was a sad moment for neighborhoods and thousands of employees throughout California. More than two dozen stores in the San Diego region will soon be (or already are) closing, leaving some vacant properties behind and about a thousand employees wondering about paychecks as the holidays approach.

Now, thanks to reporting by the Seattle Times, we know the inside scoop on how this deal came down, and it ain’t pretty. Private equity investors flipped the real estate for cash, handed operations to an overwhelmed management team and will see their risks marginalized by the bankruptcy courts.

It’s all legal; another example of greed run amok. They win, we lose. And we’re supposed to accept this as the “natural order” of things in a market economy.

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Marijuana and Tax Measures Vie for California 2016 Ballot

November 2, 2015 by Doug Porter

legalizeBy Doug Porter

As we come down the stretch into the final year before the 2016 general election, there are competing interests backing ballot measures seeking to legalize recreational marijuana use and increase taxes on upper-income earners in California.

The downside in this situation is the possibility of enough confused voters rejecting the choices on the ballot on both issues. And you can bank on opponents of legalization and tax increases will do their best to sow doubt and confusion.

Divisions in the pro-pot camp led to the defeat of Proposition 19 in 2010, despite not having a competing measure on the ballot and polling showing voters favoring legalized marijuana. Advocates for tax increases in 2012 were divided between competing propositions, but a strong effort on the part of organized labor gave Proposition 30 the votes needed to win.

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“My Days at the ‘Door ‘ ” – Excerpt From Sunshine Noir II

October 19, 2015 by Doug Porter

door mayor

By Doug Porter

The San Diego Door and its antecedents were a big part of the alternative media scene in America’s Finest City over a eight year period starting in October,1966 when the Good Morning, Teaspoon published its first edition.

By December, 1971, when I first climbed up the steps of the paper’s Victorian stick mansion at 2445 Albatross Street just north of downtown, the paper had gone through ‘free love’, hippie druggie and counterculture phases and a half-dozen names. It had evolved to become a publication with anti-establishment news and alt-culture reviews, featuring powerful graphics and color.

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The Democratic Presidential Debate’s Big Winner Was …

October 14, 2015 by Doug Porter

cnn debate setBy Doug Porter / San Diego Free Press

The consensus view as expressed in the mainstream media I read this morning was Hillary Clinton as “winner” of the October 13th Democratic Presidential debate, hosted by CNN. Not so fast… There’s more to this story…

Polling, social media, and focus groups told a different story, hailing the performance of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. We’ll take a look at some of the commentary on the events of the evening. I’m happy to report the debate was informative and not boring at all.

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Stand Up for Planned Parenthood on #PinkOutDay in San Diego

September 29, 2015 by Doug Porter

Pink out logoBy Doug Porter

Today’s the day. Three months into the latest effort by the self-righteous right to make women’s health into a wedge issue, supporters of Planned Parenthood are standing up for their cause.

There are 4 “Pink Out Day” events in San Diego County and 249 actions around the country planned for September 29th. Coincidentally (okay, maybe not), this is also the same day Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards will face off against the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

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Junipero Serra’s Sainthood Dismays Many

September 24, 2015 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for Junipero Serra’s Sainthood Dismays Many

By Doug Porter

Eighteenth century Franciscan missionary Junipero Serra was canonized by Pope Francis this week. Hailed by the church as “the evangelizer of west in the United States” and reviled by descendants of the indigenous people living along the coast, Serra’s ascension to sainthood is a controversial move.

The expulsion of the Jesuit order from the Spanish colonies by King Carlos III brought Serra to Baja California. In 1769, the government, fearful of intrusions by Russian traders to the north, dispatched the Franciscans to what we now call California. Serra founded nine missions, starting with the Mission San Diego de Alcalá and went about the business of ‘civilizing’ the local inhabitants.

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SDPD Chief Invokes Ferguson Effect Falsehood to Block Body Cam, Video Evidence

September 10, 2015 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for SDPD Chief Invokes Ferguson Effect Falsehood to Block Body Cam, Video Evidence

By Doug Porter

Chief Shelly Zimmerman, Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s choice to instill public confidence in the San Diego Police Department, has pulled “the boogie man” out of her bag of tricks in an attempt to justify less transparency with the public.

She told a federal court last week, according to NBC7, “the release of video showing a fatal, officer-involved shooting could jeopardize that officer’s life and provoke violence against his law enforcement colleagues.”

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As Medicare Turns 50, It’s Time to Grow the Program

July 30, 2015 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for As Medicare Turns 50, It’s Time to Grow the Program

By Doug Porter

On July 30, 1965 President Lyndon Johnson signed legislation creating the Medicare program. After more than five decades of failed attempts dating back to President Theodore Roosevelt, at least some Americans were eligible for coverage under a federal health insurance program.

Today more than 54 million people are covered by Medicare. It’s far from perfect, but it’s a damn sight better than the alternatives being proposed by the GOP. In fact, many of the problems facing medicare can be addressed by e x p a n d i n g the program, an idea gaining currency nationally.

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Lies and More Lies: Planned Parenthood as the New ACORN

July 28, 2015 by Doug Porter

planned-parenthood-scandal-leadBy Doug Porter

The Republicans appear to have settled on their wedge issue for 2016. You know, the thing that drives fear and/or disgust in a certain class of voters so they’ll ignore all those pesky economic policies they’re likely to get screwed by.

In 2008 a loosely organized entity named ACORN fit the bill. Manufactured imagery of brown people doing something wrong was perfect for an election where the leading candidate was a person of color. Most people still don’t realize the charges brought against the community organizing group turned out to have been false.

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Confronting ALEC’s ‘Everybody Does It’ Defense

July 22, 2015 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for Confronting ALEC’s ‘Everybody Does It’ Defense

By Doug Porter / San Diego Free Press

Mike Huckabee, Scott Walker, Ted Cruz. How can you lose?

If the spinmeisters at the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) hoped media coverage would focus on the three GOP presidential candidates genuflecting before their annual gathering of corporate lobbyists and state legislators this week in San Diego, they may be proved wrong.

A barrage of press releases and public statements from a wide spectrum of public interest organizations combined with the growing certainty that San Diegans would actually show up in large numbers to protest the closed-door right wing strategy meeting has begun to shift coverage away from the celebrity angle to questions about just what might be going on inside the Manchester Grand Hyatt hotel.

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A Who’s Who of ALEC’s Corporate Overlords Meeting in San Diego Beginning Today

July 22, 2015 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for A Who’s Who of ALEC’s Corporate Overlords Meeting in San Diego Beginning Today

By Doug Porter

Day One – today the 22nd – of the American Legislative Exchange Council’s 2015 Annual Meeting actually started Tuesday morning (July 21), the day before most delegates were slated to arrive. The joint ALEC Board of Directors and ‘Private Enterprise Advisory Council’ Meeting will last throughout the day. It is this meeting that will set the agenda for the coming year.

Let’s look at the membership of the ‘Advisory Council’ in order to gain insight into the policies and priorities of ALEC in the coming year. Tomorrow, the Center for Media and Democracy’s Brendan Fischer and Mary Bottari will fill-in the blanks with a post entitled Hot Topics at ALEC’s 2015 Meeting in San Diego.

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San Diego Activists Go All Out for Anti-ALEC Protests

July 21, 2015 by Doug Porter

Alec Mtg

Labor, Environmental and Community Groups Plan Multiple Actions

By Doug Porter

A wide range of organizations, some of whom rarely get involved in non-electoral politics, are calling upon San Diegans to put on their protesting shoes during the upcoming annual meeting of the American Legislative Council (ALEC).

Protests, press conferences, teach-ins, rallies and guerrilla theater will be happening throughout the coming week commencing on Tuesday, July 21st as ALEC delegates are checking in. Buses will coming in from the Los Angeles/Long Beach areas on Wednesday for what organizers expect will be the largest events of the week.

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Chargers Stadium Financing Plan: Sell City Owned Unicorns and Fairy Dust

July 14, 2015 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for Chargers Stadium Financing Plan: Sell City Owned Unicorns and Fairy Dust

By Doug Porter

This whole deal with using public money to build a stadium for a privately owned football team just keeps getting stranger.

Yesterday we learned the idea of using funds from developments adjacent to the Mission Valley site to fund the project was off the table. Ancillary development has been part of every stadium plan proposed over the past 15 years. That’s $225 million just vanishing. Gone. Poof!

Then where’s the stadium construction funding coming from? Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s spokesman, Craig Gustafson, emailed Scott Lewis at Voice of San Diego: “The plan the City/County team is developing is based on negotiations and discussions with the Chargers and the NFL.”

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Hugs Offered to Hating Hecklers at Murrieta Immigration Rally

July 3, 2015 by Doug Porter

Murrieta mural July_1_15

Editor: The following is an update on the one year commemoration in Murrieta held on July 1.

By Doug Porter

The 75 or so people who came to Murrieta, California on July 1st to commemorate resistance to last year’s bus blockade gathered around a stage in the Town Square park under the watchful eyes of a dozen or so police officers. Situated just few yards away behind yellow caution tape, anti-immigration types screamed obscenities and racist insults through multiple bullhorns.

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Murrieta, the Town Without Pity, Remembered One Year Later Today – July 1st

July 1, 2015 by Doug Porter

murrieta poster

Editor: As we repost an excerpt of Doug Porter’s column at SDFP, he and another San Diego Free Press editor, Anna Daniels, are on their way up to Murrieta, “the town without pity”. Stay tuned for an update.

By Doug Porter

Latino and Human Rights activists are returning to Murrieta, California on July 1st to commemorate the anniversary of a historic confrontation that laid bare the racism in Southern California for the world to see.

It was one year ago self-styled patriots, acting on rumors and innuendo, blockaded busloads of refugee women and children from Central America on their way to a Border Patrol processing center.

The angry anti-immigrant protesters, seen on TV news across the country chanting of “Go home!’ and “We don’t want you!,” were tacitly encouraged by local authorities. (It was the local police who actually stopped the buses)

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Supreme Court: Gay Marriage Is Constitutional

June 26, 2015 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for Supreme Court: Gay Marriage Is Constitutional

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.”

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