Civil Rights

Dr. Sanjay Gupta: “I Am Doubling Down On Medical Marijuana”

March 14, 2014 by Source

sanjayguptaweedCannabis prohibition is a “Draconian system where politics override science”

By Paul Armentano / NORML

CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta is “doubling down” in his advocacy for patients to have legal access to cannabis as a therapeutic agent.

In a commentary featured on the CNN website today, Gupta writes: “I am more convinced than ever that it is irresponsible to not provide the best care we can, care that often may involve marijuana. I am not backing down on medical marijuana; I am doubling down.”

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Bringing an End to State Sanctioned Sexual Assault, Rape Culture and Law Enforcement Impunity

March 11, 2014 by Source

united logoBy Cathy Mendonça / United Against Police Terror

The San Diego police department’s scandal involving officers accused of preying on women who they came in contact with while in uniform and on duty needs to be addressed.

First, former officer Anthony Arevalos is serving an eight year sentence for molesting female drivers during traffic stops in the Gaslamp quarter from 2009 to 2011. As a result, Chief William Lansdowne implemented changes within the department to help uncover the potential for other rogue officers to go unnoticed.

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Remembering the UCSD “Compton Cookout”, the Noose, and their Aftermath

March 5, 2014 by Source

An Open Letter : Four Years After the “Winter of our Discontent”
Jorge Mariscal / UCSD Professor of Literature

Fnann Keflezighi / UCSD ‘11
Patrick Velásquez /San Diego Chicano/Latino Concilio
UCSD DemonstrationFour years ago, the fragile tranquility of the La Jolla campus was shattered by a series of events now known as the “Compton Cookout.” (Ed.: see OB Rag coverage here.)

As much as administrators would like to erase the “Cookout” and its aftermath, it is crucial that we remember the events of February 2010.

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Secret Report Damning Use of Force by Border Patrol Obtained by LA Times

March 3, 2014 by Source
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By Southern Border Communities Coalition

Southern border communities continue to call for transparency from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) after the Los Angeles Times published a story on a report critiquing the agency’s use of force policy.

The PERF Report – an independent review by the Police Executive Research Forum commissioned by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection — evidently says border agents deliberately provoked confrontations that led to avoidable violence.

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Now Is the Time to Save Our Postal Commons

March 3, 2014 by Source
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By Matt Stannard / Nation of Change

Editor: There are too many links in the original for us to provide them, so please go to the original article for those links.

For some, the postal service has become an ideological punching bag, proof that “government programs” don’t work and that the state inevitably bureaucratizes services better left to the private sector. In the case of the postal service, this narrative lacks a critical element: fidelity to truth.

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A Mindful Walk Down a Dark and Slippery Slope

March 3, 2014 by Source

Here’s what the Zen manual advises for a stress-free existence: notice… let it go… then smile.

Truth is, I’m not ready for bliss. And it’s not for lack of trying. You know how it is once you’ve noticed certain things… how can you let them go? Maybe tomorrow.

Right now I can’t help noticing someone’s big bad joke. Here’s how it goes:

A guy walks into a bar, orders a beer on tap, and announces that the annual advent of Sunshine Week is just around the corner.

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What’s Left: Surrender or Resurgence?

March 3, 2014 by Jim Miller

education01By Jim Miller

Just when you thought the Obama administration’s education policy couldn’t get any worse, it did.

Last week Obama nominated founder and CEO of New Schools, Ted Mitchell, to the second highest post at the Department of Education.

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Arizona Dreaming

February 27, 2014 by Ernie McCray

AZ VetoBy Ernie McCray

Growing up in Arizona
I used to have simple dreams:
Eating in any cafe;
sitting anywhere in a movie theatre
or skating at the rink
at any time on any day;
attending any school
I could get myself to
and swimming in any pool.

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New Pot Dispensary Rules for San Diego: One of OB’s Own Will Have to Move

February 26, 2014 by Source
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Editor: The San Diego City Council just passed new zoning rules allowing for medical marijuana dispensaries to legally open throughout the City. The new plan only lets about 4 dispensaries for each of the city council districts.

One of the zoning rules is that the dispensaries cannot be within 1000 feet of each other – or schools, playgrounds, etc. This will mean that one of OB’s pot dispensaries on Voltaire Street will need to move as they are definitely within that limit currently.

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Why Surging Support for Marijuana Is Hurting the GOP and Will For Years to Come

February 25, 2014 by Source

mjgop2Don’t expect a major turnaround from the GOP on cannabis, just electoral pain across America.

By CJ Werleman / AlterNet

As the movement to expand access to marijuana grows across the country, the Republican Party, with the exception of its kooky libertarian wing, has a bad case of reefer madness. Gov. Rick Perry, who’s no stranger to moments of mental madness, equated marijuana use to murder, while Gov. Chris Christie has more or less said he’d prefer dead kids to stoned kids. During the 2012 election, Mitt Romney promised to “fight tooth and nail” against pro-marijuana legalization.

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Another Day, Another San Diego Police Sex Scandal

February 21, 2014 by Doug Porter
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By Doug Porter

Police Chief Bill Lansdowne called a press conference [Wednesday] evening to announce yet another reported incident of sexual misconduct involving a SDPD officer.

One of the women contacting the SDPD following allegations against officer Christopher Hays, provided information leading to yet another officer, who is now under investigation for allegedly touching and exposing himself to a female arrestee.

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A Challenge to Kevin Faulconer: End Homelessness Now

February 18, 2014 by Source

houston homelessBy John Lawrence / San Diego Free Press

You kibitz with the homeless in your campaign ads. Now that you’re Mayor Kevin Faulconer, are you really going to do anything about it? Or are you going to continue to procrastinate. Other cities are ending homelessness from Phoenix to Salt Lake City to Nashville.

You have the model to follow. It’s a no-brainer. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Just follow their successful models. You don’t have to continue to study the problem in order to address it ten years from now.

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The Process to Replace Faulconer in District 2 – ‘Just the process, not the politics’

February 17, 2014 by Source
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Here is the replacement process to select whomever will fill Kevin Faulconer’s District 2 seat on the City Council:

From Chet Barfield / Office of Interim Mayor Todd Gloria

1. A 30-day clock starts on the day Kevin is sworn in as Mayor, which we think will be around March 3. The county Registrar of Voters has 28 days (from Feb. 11) to count the ballots and certify the results. Because the election wasn’t that close, it could take less than 28 days. Upon receiving registrar certification, the Clerk will ask the Council President to docket acceptance of those findings at the next possible meeting.

2. Council approves the election results and Kevin is sworn in as Mayor. This begins a 14-day application period (calendar days) for candidates wanting to fill the interim D2 vacancy. They must reside in the old District Two – as the boundaries existed before being redrawn last year – because that’s the pool from which Kevin was elected.

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Tanya Winter – San Diego Activist for All Seasons – Passes

February 17, 2014 by Frank Gormlie

Editor’s Note: We received the news that Tanja Winter passed away on February 9, 2014. She was an activist extraordinaire and lived much of her in San Diego and was in the thick of the city’s peace movement. Tanya moved to the Bay Area in 2011 to be close to her family. This article was published in 2011 and provides a glimpse into her life and stands out as a lesson for all of us. The date for a celebration of her life in San Diego has not been determined at this time.

When Tanja Winter – the matriarch of San Diego’s progressive community – was 12 years old, she watched as German Nazis troops rolled into Prague where she lived, in what was then Czechoslovakia. It was 1939 and she was coming home from school. She vividly recalls that awful scene to this day – all the adults were standing around weeping.

Over seven decades later, I’m sitting in her living room in La Jolla Shores, ….

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Black History Month: Reflecting on Moments Filled with Hope

February 11, 2014 by Ernie McCray


There are moments when I want to sing out loud, “I’m Black and I’m Proud” and just get up and dance in my joy, doing the do like James Brown used to get us to.

I felt like that the other day as I listened to Harold K. Brown, a hero of mine, reminisce about when he and other San Diego activists marched and chanted and sat-in and demanded an end to the practices that various organizations and companies utilized, in town, to keep folks like me down.

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In the Battle for the Soul of San Diego David Alvarez Stands for All of Us

February 10, 2014 by Jim Miller

1658660_769012429793127_570456494_oBy Jim Miller

San Diego is on the national stage again.

As the final week of the dead heat mayoral showdown unfolded, Politico reported on “the battle for San Diego,” the Sacramento Bee’s Dan Walters pondered whether the race would be a harbinger of things to come in California politics, and the New York Times covered “a battle of ideology in a city unaccustomed to that sort of election,” astutely noting, as I did here at the San Diego Free Press during the primary, that this contest is “a test of whether yet another big-city Democrat can be elected by riding a wave of populism, much as Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York did last fall.”

And that test is happening because last November David Alvarez defied the pundits and political insiders and beat the prohibitive favorite, Nathan Fletcher, in the race to face Kevin Faulconer in the run-off to be San Diego’s next mayor. This was a seminal moment for San Diego—perhaps the biggest political upset in the history of the city.

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The Water Crisis: Dealing With the Shower Police

February 7, 2014 by Source

xshower-curtain-By Will Falk / San Diego Free Press

I have a problem with some of the people I call the “shower police.” These are the people yelling about how we all need to take shorter showers because of the water crisis. They deem anyone a hypocrite who accuses corporations and the government of being the worst water offenders while not enthusiastically letting a night of the strongest urine fester in their bathrooms.

My problem with the shower police is not that they’re wrong that we all need to live as simply as possible. We do. My problem with that shower police is not that they’re wrong that we all must endure much more than funky bathrooms. We will.

My problem is that the shower police often confuse personal change with social change.

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Point Loma High Students Honor “Blackfish” Director and Her Expose of SeaWorld Treatment of Orcas

February 4, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for Point Loma High Students Honor “Blackfish” Director and Her Expose of SeaWorld Treatment of Orcas

Hundreds of Point Loma High School students honored the director of the controversial film “Blackfish” – the expose on SeaWorld’s treatment of their Orcas – on Monday, Feb. 3rd.

Director Gabriela Cowperthwaite came to the campus after some film students had produced their own film criticizing SeaWorld and addressed an assembled group of them. She told them she wanted her documentary about the water-park’s captive killer whales to persuade SeaWorld to discontinue “using animals as entertainment.” Cowperthwaite also told the students that they need to form their own opinions on the issue.

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Snowden Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

February 4, 2014 by Source
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Former NSA contractor named for ‘contributing to a more stable and peaceful world order’

From Alajezeera America

Two Norwegian lawmakers say they have nominated former NSA contractor Edward Snowden for the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize.

Socialist lawmakers Baard Vegard Solhjell, a former environment minister, and Snorre Valen said [last week] that the public debate and policy changes “in the wake of Snowden’s whistle-blowing (have) contributed to a more stable and peaceful world order.”

Snowden fled to Russia, where he has requested temporary asylum after leaking classified security documents detailing widespread phone and email surveillance by the National Security Agency. In some cases, the agency shared the data with British, French and other countries’ intelligence units. The files also showed that the agency spied on international heads of state, spurring a fierce debate on privacy, sovereignty and security issues.

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Beyond Orwell’s Worst Nightmare

February 4, 2014 by Source
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Orwell never could have imagined that the NSA would amass metadata on billions of our phone calls and 200 million of our text messages every day. — Marjorie Cohn

By Marjorie Cohn

“Big Brother is Watching You,” George Orwell wrote in his disturbing book 1984. But, as Mikko Hypponen points out, Orwell “was an optimist.” Orwell never could have imagined that the National Security Agency (NSA) would amass metadata on billions of our phone calls and 200 million of our text messages every day. Orwell could not have foreseen that our government would read the content of our emails, file transfers, and live chats from the social media we use.

In his recent speech on NSA reforms, President Obama cited as precedent Paul Revere and the Sons of Liberty, who patrolled the streets at night, “reporting back any signs that the British were preparing raids against America’s early Patriots.” This was a weak effort to find historical support for the NSA spying program. After all, Paul Revere and his associates were patrolling the streets, not sorting through people’s private communications.

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Faulconer’s Fantasy History TV Ad: “Times When Union Cronies Ruled San Diego”

February 3, 2014 by Jim Miller

Faulconer is hoping that you just won’t remember that the pension scandal occurred under a Republican mayor

rewrite-historyBy Jim Miller

As we head down the stretch run of the campaign to elect San Diego’s next mayor, Kevin Faulconer’s anti-union hysteria has reached critical mass.

In his latest TV ad a very serious woman’s voice warns us that despite the fact that “We need progress in San Diego,” David Alvarez wants to “take us back to times when union cronies ruled San Diego.” She goes on to warn us that Alvarez is being brought to you by “union bosses” who want “lavish pensions” and “no accountability” while “streets crumble” and “neighborhoods suffer.”

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In the Fog: The Struggle for Power, Territory, and Justice in the Mexican State of Michoacán

February 2, 2014 by Source


“We are not paramilitaries, we are working people and we have helped to liberate our towns. The government or any cartel doesn’t support us.”

By Clayton Conn / Upside Down World

Members of a self-defense group in Paracuaro, Michoacan with federal police.

Over the past several weeks, the national and international press has been swarming in the Mexican state of Michoacán as armed clashes have erupted between members of the Knights Templar drug cartel, armed civilians, and security forces of the federal police and army in the region known as Tierra Caliente.

Much of the coverage depicts a scene where local townspeople, fed up by a decade of cartel threats, extortions, kidnappings, murders, along with corruption by municipal and state authorities, have taken up arms to restore security and peace in their communities.

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NSA Spy – the Most Boring Pointless Job in the World?

January 29, 2014 by Source
Thumbnail image for NSA Spy – the Most Boring Pointless Job in the World?

By John Filthy

In the ongoing international debate over NSA spying there are few voices of reason. The NSA would like you to think they are the eye on the pyramid of the great seal. An all-seeing all-knowing department of the most powerful government on earth. A division of James Bonds and Bondettes with the latest gadgetry spying on all manner of digital communication to protect the world from the scariest terrorist de jour.

On the other side of the same coin are the whistle blowers like Edward Snowden. He has now joined the ranks with Julian Assange and the Wikileaks hacktivists. They fancy themselves a gang of revolutionaries striking fear in the heart of evil government ‘leaders’, and corporate CEOs. Digital warriors, exercising their superior-hacking skills to bring nefarious secrets into the light of day. The truth is not nearly as sexy as the media, the NSA, or the hacktivists would have you believe.

In reality NSA spies are cubicle-dwelling keyboard jockeys not tuxedo-wearing international men of mystery.

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LGBT Leaders to Call for San Diego County Clerk’s Resignation

January 28, 2014 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for LGBT Leaders to Call for San Diego County Clerk’s Resignation

Leaders of the local LGBT community will call for the resignation of County Clerk Earnest Dronenburg on Tuesday, presenting documentation they say proves he overstepped his legal authority, violated his oath of office and imposed his religious views on marriage into his non-partisan office.

Following the US Supreme Court decision that effectively overturned California Proposition 8 (banning same sex marriages) last summer, Dronenburg petitioned the state supreme court to issue a a writ of mandate requesting that the state hold off on issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

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Indigenous People of Michoacán Organize to Defend Themselves Against Drug Cartel

January 28, 2014 by Source

First Statement from the Self-Defense Group of Aquila, Michoacán


Written by The Self-Defense Council of Aquila, Michoacán
Translated by Scott Campbell of Upside Down World

Reposted from San Diego Free Press

Aquila, Michoacán?, January 18, 2014

From the Self-Defense Group of Aquila, Michoacán to the general public:

Today, the residents of the municipal seat of Aquila, tired of the extortions, rapes, killings, kidnappings and all sorts of criminal acts committed by the Knights Templar; given the complete abandonment of the citizenry by the municipal and state governments who for 12 years did not provide the security needed for our people to have a peaceful and dignified life; …

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A Good Moral Philosopher Would Go Hungry These Days

January 27, 2014 by Source

sdfp HomelessStreet04.large
Long running disregard for the care of mentally ill exacerbates chronic homelessness, creates public safety dilemma.

By Bob Dorn / San Diego Free Press

Today (ed., January 22) the park rangers moved out the couple living across the street in our dilapidated corner of Balboa Park.

I wasn’t sorry to see them go. I wasn’t happy to see them go. Homelessness long ago became another national shrug. No one’s to blame any more, neither the Republicans nor the Democrats, maybe not even the very wealthy, …

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Mayoral Race Polling, Pensions, and Plutocracy

January 27, 2014 by Jim Miller

yo voteBy Jim Miller

Last week a new poll by Public Policy Polling (PPP) funded by the Democratic Party came out that showed the race to become San Diego’s next mayor a dead heat with Alvarez at 46% and Faulconer just behind with 45%.

In another poll, Latino Decisions and the Latino Victory Project appraised Latino voters on the race and got radically different results than both the earlier Survey USA/UT-SD poll, a Republican Party poll , and the more recent PPP effort showing that Alvarez leads 75%-10% among Latino voters.

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It’s All About Love, Isn’t It?

January 21, 2014 by Ernie McCray

flickr.comBy Ernie McCray

Why is it so hard for people to love one another, especially when all it takes is a mere gesture, a smile, a gentle meeting of the eyes, a willingness to listen to our fellow human beings with an open heart?

We much too often blow easy opportunities to express our love. Like the situation in La Jolla with the organizers of the annual La Jolla Christmas Parade. They won’t even consider using an adjective other than Christmas …

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Marjorie Cohn: Will Court Beat Back NSA’s Police State Desires?

January 21, 2014 by Source
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By Marjorie Cohn / Common Dreams

Edward Snowden, who worked for the National Security Agency (NSA), revealed a secret order of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), that requires Verizon to produce on an “ongoing daily basis … all call detail records or ‘telephony metadata’ created by Verizon for communications (i) between the United States and abroad; or (ii) wholly within the United States, including local telephone calls.”

The government has admitted it collects metadata for all of our telephone communications, but says the data collected does not include the content of the calls.

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David Alvarez is the Living Embodiment of King’s Dream; Faulconer, Its Antithesis

January 20, 2014 by Jim Miller

mlk basic incomeBy Jim Miller

This year our ritual celebration of the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. comes in the midst of a contentious mayoral election. And while some might try to bracket this year’s remembrance off from the ugly fray, that would be a mistake. As I noted in an earlier column on this subject, remembering “a sanitized version of King as a vanilla saint who called on us to just move beyond our differences does a disservice to him and his legacy” because “[o]ur collective remembrance of MLK is most useful when it troubles us.”

And King would be deeply troubled to see where we are today nationally and locally. Yes, the man who said, “one day we must come to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring” would be profoundly disturbed by the fact that we are living in an era of historic economic inequality.

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