Civil Rights

Taxes and Inequality in California: Who Pays a Bigger Share?

April 20, 2015 by Jim Miller

cal tax formBy Jim Miller

Last week was Tax Day and with it came the annual ritual of bemoaning our ever-rising taxes and complaining about the endless growth of big government.

Indeed just a few days after Tax Day, I gave a talk at a local college on the history of income inequality and workers’ struggles in which I made a comparison between the stark odds workers face today in the Fight for $15 with the similarly steep hill they faced 100 years ago before the rise of the American Labor Movement and the reforms that came with the New Deal.

As is usually the case, however, a few folks in the audience just could not get their heads around the idea that it was not all government’s fault.

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Eduardo Galeano, Sacrilegious Women

April 17, 2015 by Source

Editor Note: Acclaimed author and champion of social justice Eduardo Galeano died on April 13, 2015. Democracy Now! provides a tribute here.

From TomDispatch.com

south americaHis book Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent came out in 1971 and proved to be the first vampire thriller of our American imperial age. Its blood-sucker of a plot was too outrageous not to be mesmerizing: a country called the United States declares a “good neighbor” policy for those living in its hemisphere because they just look so tasty, and then proceeds to suck the economic blood out of country after country.

Hollywood never topped it. “True Blood” and “The Vampire Diaries” couldn’t hold an incisor to it; Buffy was a punk by comparison.

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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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Legal Complaint Filed against Civic San Diego in Superior Court

April 16, 2015 by Source

Plaintiffs seek community benefits and oversight of public funds

accountabilityEditor: Yesterday, April 15, our online partner, the San Diego Free Press, published a copy of the news release on the legal complaint just recently filed against Civic San Diego in Superior Court by the San Diego County Building and Construction Trades Council and Dr. Murtaza Baxamusa, a CivicSD Boardmember. We are – as SDFP did – providing their news release and a link to the complete filing below without analysis at this time.

SAN DIEGO, CA – A legal complaint was filed April 10th in the San Diego Superior Court against Civic San Diego (CivicSD) and the City of San Diego

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Going All in for $15 Today! All Day Coverage by San Diego Free Press

April 15, 2015 by Staff

good jobs fair wagesSan Diego Free Press editor Doug Porter – from the OB Rag’s online media partner – will be spending the day at the locations listed below.

Doug will be tweeting throughout the day, so check our twitter feed at the San Diego Free Press.

Here’s the list of times and locations for protests on Wednesday:

7 am – Fast Food Worker Strike: 2345 El Cajon Blvd, San Diego, CA
8:30 am – Fast Food Worker Strike: 2829 El Cajon Blvd, San Diego, CA
11 am – Security Officer Event:750 B Street San Diego, CA
Noon – State Workers Event: 1350 Front St, San Diego, CA

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Buy Now Pay Later: How San Diego School Districts Were Hoodwinked by Wall Street

April 15, 2015 by John Lawrence

cab-picBy John Lawrence

In 2009 then Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law AB 1388 which eliminated prudent controls over how much debt school districts could enter into. Wall Street bankers then swarmed all over the state promoting Capital Appreciation Bonds (CABs), the equivalent of payday loans for school districts.

One fantastic advantage of these loans was the “buy now, pay later” aspect. School districts could get their money now and not have to raise taxes on current residents. Easy money. There would not have to be any payments made for 20 years. Current residents would be off the hook. But their children and grandchildren would enter an era of crushing debt when the bill became due.

And Wall Street is patient, very patient.

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Conversations at the Catfish Club: “The Answer is Love”

April 14, 2015 by Ernie McCray

The Answer is LoveBy Ernie McCray

I sat at a Catfish Club luncheon the other day listening to Leon Williams and Reverend George Walker Smith converse about days of yore and their thoughts about today’s world.

Leon was the first black to hold a seat with the San Diego City Council and the San Diego County Board of Supervisors.

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Teachers and Students Fight for 15

April 13, 2015 by Jim Miller

faculty forward

By Jim Miller

I have noted in this column that, “most colleges in America run on the backs of adjunct instructors who don’t receive the same pay for the same work as do the shrinking pool of full-time faculty” and that the “Exploitation of contingent labor is not just a problem for employees at Starbucks, Walmart, and fast food chains where workers are fighting for $15 an hour; it is an epidemic in the academy as well.”

Fight for 15 organizers will be at 4 PM at Scripps Cottage on San Diego State University’s campus, we will stand with them as teachers and students from across the city will come together with workers, community activists, people of faith, and others to call for basic fairness and economic justice for all working people.

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Can John Oliver Do for Mass Surveillance What He Did for Net Neutrality?

April 9, 2015 by Source

John Oliver

By Joan McCarter/Daily Kos

On Sunday [April 5], John Oliver had what is easily the most educational and fun half hour of journalism on the surveillance state that you’re ever likely to see, including an interview with Edward Snowden.

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Chicano Leader Takes “U-T San Diego” to Task for Negative Reporting of Chicano Community

April 8, 2015 by Source
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Open Letter By Herman Baca – President of Committee on Chicano Rights

April 8, 2015

As the Chicano community and the Chicano Park Steering Committee (CPSC) prepares to celebrate the 45th Anniversary of historic Chicano Park, Ms. Tommie Camarillo, Chairperson of the CPSC, and longtime Chicana activist has raised issues of the U-T’s historical negative reporting of the Chicano community.

Ms. Camarillo responded to a 3-29-15 U-T article on Barrio Logan and accused the U-T reporter of not doing his homework, research and history on Barrio Logan.

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Ending Racial Profiling (Or Not) at a RISE Urban Breakfast Club Forum

April 7, 2015 by Ernie McCray

Skin ColorBy Ernie McCray

A couple of weeks or so ago I dined with a number of friendly folks at a RISE Urban Breakfast Club forum that asked, concerning Community-Police Relations, “Can we build a safer San Diego together?”

The answer seemed to be “Yeah, we can,” …

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Crushing the Occupy Movement – How Wall Street Used Government Forces to Suppress Political Dissent

April 3, 2015 by Source
Thumbnail image for Crushing the Occupy Movement – How Wall Street Used Government Forces to Suppress Political Dissent

by gulfgal98Follow / DailyKos /March 28, 2015

It has been over two years since the Occupy Movement was brutally destroyed by a coordinated national effort led by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security. Since that time, much documentation has been released under the Freedom of Information Act. Even though they are heavily redacted, these documents provide a frightening window into how far corporate America along with the federal, state, and local governments acting as their agents were willing to go to destroy a populist social movement like Occupy.

Despite all the documentation we have, there are still many out there who are in denial about these facts. After reading some recent comments that misrepresent what happened to the Occupy Movement, I decided to review how Occupy was so brutally squelched by Wall Street and corporate America using government forces as their agents acting upon their behalf.

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This Land Is Our Land? Not If Republicans Have Their Way

April 3, 2015 by Source

By Joan McCarter / Daily Kos

Vermillion Cliffs, NM

One of the 43 amendments passed by Senate Republicans in Thursday’s (3/26/15) vote-a-rama was a sop to extremist state legislatures in the west who have been pushing states’ rights bills that would allow the states to sell off the federal public lands within their borders. That’s right, congressional Republicans—federal representatives—want to allow states to seize and sell off the nation’s heritage.

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The quest for justice for the 43 Mexican students continues

April 3, 2015 by Source

Video: The San Diego March for Ayotzinapa

By Horacio Jones / San Diego Free Press

ayotizinapa march san diego March_2015When I heard that the families of the “normalistas” were coming to San Diego I was keen to do a story on their caravan. Ever since I heard about the kidnappings I felt compelled to do whatever I could to support their cause against the “narcos” and the Mexican government.

I feel that the only way things will change in Mexico is through the grassroots efforts of people like these who are tired and disgusted with the current state of Mexican politics.

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Lena Horne: A Great Lady Who Broke the Color Line

April 2, 2015 by John Lawrence

Lena Horne was the first black woman to get a contract with a major Hollywood Studio

lena horrne 1By John Lawrence

Born into a black bourgeoisie family in 1917, Lena Horne was signed up in the NAACP by her grandmother, Cora Calhoun Horne, a college graduate, at the age of two. The Hornes owned a four-story residence in the Bedford-Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn.

The distinguished Horne family included teachers, activists and a Harlem Renaissance poet. Lena’s uncle became dean of a black college.

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Nuclear Shutdown News – March Edition

March 31, 2015 by Michael Steinberg
Thumbnail image for Nuclear Shutdown News – March Edition

By Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the continuing decline of the US nuclear industry, and highlights efforts of those who are democratically working to bring about a renewable energy future. As nuclear plants in the US are approaching or surpassing their 40 year operating life, their ability to operate properly and safely lessens, creating more and more problems across the nation.

Here’s our March report:

Diablo Canyon – Last Nuke Plant in California

On February 20 a Federal Court of Appeals in Washington DC rejected an attempt by Pacific Gas & Electric and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to quash a lawsuit filed by environmental group Friends Of the Earth (FOE). According to FOE, the suit alleges that the “NRC illegally allowed PG&E to alter Diablo Canyon’s nuclear plant license.” …

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March 28, 1971 – The Most Violent Day in Ocean Beach History

March 27, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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44th Anniversary of Collier Park Riot Spurs Comparisons

The hour was getting late at the meeting of the Ocean Beach Town Council Board of Directors. It was January 21st in the year 1971 – 44 years ago. The hour was getting late but the meeting was lively as the topic was hot.

The subject was whether the City of San Diego would sell off to developers a large portion of land in northeast Ocean Beach called “Collier West” – so named because it was the western section of a much larger piece of property donated to the public by David C Collier – the “Father of Ocean Beach”.

A older male member of the Board was getting agitated – he started to shake as he half stood up to speak. It was Ray Perine, a slightly balding middle-aged and well-known grassroots activist. Not a radical by any means, Ray cleared his throat.

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Donna Frye: An Ode to Open Government – ‘Let the Sun Shine In’

March 26, 2015 by Source
Thumbnail image for Donna Frye: An Ode to Open Government – ‘Let the Sun Shine In’

By Donna Frye

This past week, March 15 – 21, the annual celebration called Sunshine Week took place throughout the nation. It was started over 10 years ago by the American Society of News Editors, with its goal being to –

“enlighten and empower people to play an active role in their government at all levels, and to give them access to information that makes their lives better and their communities stronger.”

From news organizations large and small, the public learned about Sunshine Week and why open government matters. The Des Moines Register ran a series of editorials, guest views and features on the importance of open government. The Washington Post encouraged us to “think about how the federal government can be more open to the public” as they checked “on recent efforts to increase transparency.”And the Sioux Falls Business Journal noted in their headline that “every week should be Sunshine Week in S.D.”

I agree, but it’s too bad that headline was about South Dakota and not San Diego. For the most part, Sunshine Week in San Diego came and went, and almost no local newspapers or media took any notice. Their silence was deafening.

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Midway Area Gets a “Legal” Pot Dispensary

March 25, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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The Point Loma Peninsula has a pot shop! The San Diego Planning Commission on March 19th voted 4 to 2 to approve a medical marijuana dispensary in the Midway area of the Point.

The Point Loma Patients Cooperative is the 4th such dispensary to be allowed under San Diego’s stringent requirements. It’s located at 3452 Hancock Street.

The other dispensaries allowed include an Otay Mesa storefront that just opened last week, and 2 more – one in San Ysidro and the other in Kearny Mesa. Both are are expected to open this spring. Allegedly, the City is supposed to allow a total of 36 dispensaries within city boundaries.

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Public Memorial Celebration at Petco Park for Hodad’s Mike Hardin

March 24, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for Public Memorial Celebration at Petco Park for Hodad’s Mike Hardin

This Saturday, March 28th, a public memorial and celebration of Mike Hardin’s life will be held at Petco’s “Park in the Park”. Hardin is mostly associated with his infamous Hodad’s OB burger joint.

His eatery was showcased on national television foodie shows, such as the features on the popular TV show, “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” hosted by Guy Fieri.

Hardin died of a heart attack in early February.

The “Celebration of Life” event at Petco Park’s Park in the Park in downtown San Diego runs from 11:11 a.m. until 12:30 p.m.

Saturday’s tribute is being organized by Hardin’s family, employees and friends. The pubic is invited – it’s free to attend and, according to organizers, “open to everyone who ever knew Mike or knew his burgers.”

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San Diego Cops and the OB Rag Finally Agree on Something

March 24, 2015 by Source
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“OB Time” Sees Common Appreciation of Homeless

By the Old OB Hippie

Yup, that’s right. San Diego cops and the OB Rag finally agree on something. And it has to do with the homeless and how things keep getting repeated.

At a recent Ocean Beach Town Council meeting, two high-ranking police officers were seen and overheard shaking hands and speaking with Frank Gormlie, editordude of the OB Rag, back at the rear of the large room at the Masonic Center before the meeting began.

It turns out, the officers were thanking the Rag for publishing an article about how “good citizens” complained about the hippies back in 1968 and their “aggressive panhandling” and “public urination” – which had then been updated and re-worded; everywhere “hippie” was written in the article, “homeless” was substituted in.

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Witnesses and Photos Sought of Ocean Beach’s ‘Most Violent Day’ in History

March 23, 2015 by Frank Gormlie

OB Collier-Pk-riot-2-edIt’s coming up on the 44th anniversary of the most violent day in the history of Ocean Beach – the March 28, 1971 Collier Park Riot. After San Diego police charged a peaceful gathering of hundreds of OBceans, young people and students, street fighting between cops and civilians broke out – and for hours a riot raged in north OB, from what today is Collier Park, all the way to the beach, about a mile.

It was the day that Ocean Beach was – in a real sense – like Ferguson, Missouri.

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San Diego Finally Allows 1st “Legal” Pot Shop 19 Years After California Voters Passed Measure

March 20, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for San Diego Finally Allows 1st “Legal” Pot Shop 19 Years After California Voters Passed Measure

The City of San Diego has finally allowed the opening of the City’s very first medical marijuana dispensary. (NBC7 )

This opening of the first “legal” pot shop in San Diego comes 19 years after California voters passed Prop 215, making medical marijuana legal.

And the County of San Diego has only allowed one dispensary to open to date – a storefront opened last summer in an unincorporated area outside El Cajon.

The shameful history of nearly 2 decades for both the City and County of San Diego that viewed together initiated delays, stalls, and outright resistance to the spirit of Prop 215, stands in deep contrast to the wishes of the state’s voters.

On this issue at least, the implementation of the medical marijuana law, our local governments have been very undemocratic as they have quite openly stymied what the voters, the people, wanted.

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Federal Report on San Diego Police: Mediocre on Criticism – Light on Sanctions

March 18, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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DOJ Report Fails to Address Racial Profiling by San Diego Cops

A Federal report on the San Diego Police Department was just released Tuesday, March 17th, taking the Department to task on a lack of accountability for officer misconduct and a lack of adequate supervision of officers, while making 40 recommendations for improvement.

But significantly, the Department of Justice report does not address the serious claims that other recent reports have made about how the San Diego Police Department in fact practices racial profiling in its stops and searches of motorists, as well as in its shootings of civilians.

Overall, then, the Federal report is mediocre in its criticisms of the Department and light on its sanctions. No one person or officer is brought to account. No one is punished. No heads are rolling. The officer misconduct is not much more than a few bad apples tarring the reputation of a great, even “progressive” police department.

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Conversion to Renewable Energy is Going Too Slow to Avoid Catastrophe – Part 5

March 18, 2015 by John Lawrence

Chris Tse via Flickr

Talking About Capitalism and Climate Change

By Frank Thomas and John Lawrence

In a title not usually expected at a scientific conference, University of California San Diego geophysicist Dr. Brad Werner presented a paper entitled Is the Earth Fucked? at the Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) in December 2012.

Dr. Werner explained that the title represented the expression of depression by scientists working in the field of the public’s inability to respond to what scientists are telling them about global warming.

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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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What We Lose with a Privatized Postal Service

March 17, 2015 by Source

zzpostofficeAmerica’s founders recognized that commerce requires a common infrastructure.

By Katherine McFate / Other Words

Did you know that when you ship a package through Federal Express, the U.S. Postal Service often carries it the last mile?

Last year, the Postal Service delivered 1.4 billion packages for FedEx and UPS. In fact, it delivers the last mile for almost a third of FedEx packages. The 618,000 Postal Service workers also delivered nearly 66 billion pieces of first-class mail — that’s more than 100,000 pieces per carrier.

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More On Civic San Diego: The Push-Back Begins and Just Who Are the Stakeholders?

March 17, 2015 by Source
Thumbnail image for More On Civic San Diego: The Push-Back Begins and Just Who Are the Stakeholders?

Editor: Our online media partner, the San Diego Free Press, has of late been shining a spotlight on Civic San Diego. In doing so, it has been providing much needed observation, commentary and discussion on the activities of this separate organization, a nonprofit that is unaccountable to the voters of the city, but that is in charge, apparently, of San Diego’s future.

Here inside is Doug Porter’s Pushback on Civic San Diego Accountability: Here Comes the “Uncertainty” Ploy published on March 16th and Anna Daniels’ Civic San Diego and Its Stakeholders published today, March 17th.

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San Diegans Mobilize for Government Action on Climate Change

March 16, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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On a hot afternoon last Sunday, March 15th, 250 San Diegans rallied and marched – and called on the US government to act on the climate change crisis.

About 150 demonstrators had gathered by 2 pm at the San Diego Civic Center Plaza, as the band the Swamp Critters encouraged them through song to come out and protest. Organized by a loose coalition that involved OB’s People’s Food Store Cooperative and the OB Green Store, as well as the Sierra Club, 350.org, and a couple of Democratic clubs – from Pt Loma and La Jolla, the protest was part of a series the coalition plans leading up to next November.

After a few speakers, the group pushed out of the Plaza, down 3rd Avenue and Broadway, taking the short walk in the streets to the Federal Building. A few police cars escorted the peaceful march the few blocks that then gathered for a second rally. Once in the shade of the massive Federal Building, another band welcomed the crowd. A dozen people got up and danced to the music of Captain Viejo before a few more speakers thanked and exhorted those present to continue the struggle.

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San Diego’s Climate Mobilization – Sunday March 15th

March 13, 2015 by Source
Thumbnail image for San Diego’s Climate Mobilization – Sunday March 15th

San Diego organizers are planning a “People’s Climate Walk and Rally for Mobilization” this Sunday, March 15th. And local OBceans are playing an important role in the event. In concert with demonstrations and rallies across the country, it is –

“a call to the United States Government to immediately commence a national World War II-style mobilization to transition the U.S. from fossil fuels to sustainable energy, including solar, wind and water.”

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