Columns

After the Minimum Wage Win: the Battle Continues

July 21, 2014 by Jim Miller

Closeup of business people standingBy Jim Miller

San Diego’s progressive community got a well deserved shout-out last week in the national media with The Nation praising the good work of our city’s “expanding progressive base.”

More specifically, the article noted that the local movement to raise the minimum wage was comprised of many of the same folks who formed the community-labor alliance behind the David Alvarez mayoral campaign:

That coalition, Raise Up San Diego, includes the Center for Policy Initiatives as well as labor unions, immigrant rights groups and service providers.

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Feeling Hawaii

July 15, 2014 by Ernie McCray
Thumbnail image for Feeling Hawaii

by Ernie McCray

I’ve been to the islands of Hawaii four times, thoroughly enjoying the unparalleled beauty each time. How can one not?

Maui. The Hana Highway. The howling trade winds, the sudden rains, the rainbow eucalyptus, with its bright green inner bark and blue, purple, orange and maroon tones. The wonders of the Seven Sacred Pools.
Kauai. The Garden Isle. Waimea Canyon, the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific,” wild chickens everywhere. ‘Opaeka’a Falls after a heavy rain. The wet and dry caves.

Oahu. City life. Waikiki Beach. …

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What Kind of City Is San Diego? It’s Time to Raise the Minimum Wage

July 14, 2014 by Jim Miller

By Jim Miller

raise min wageThe San Diego City Council will consider today whether to pass an ordinance or put forth a ballot measure to increase the city’s minimum wage and provide earned sick days for local workers.

Since the last time I wrote on this subject in late April, the original proposal of raising the minimum wage to the local Self-Sufficiency Standard of $13.09 with five earned sick days has been significantly lowered in order to address the concerns of opponents.

The current proposal keeps the initial five earned sick days but now only raises the minimum wage to $9.75 in 2015 …

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America Has a Koch Problem

July 8, 2014 by Judi Curry

Move-on sponsored movie “Koch Brothers Exposed: 2014 Edition” shown in households all over the nation.

By Judi Curry

Bill from the Swamp CrittersSenator Bernie Sanders sent out an email telling Move-on members that “ . . . our great nation must not be hijacked by right-wing billionaires like Charles and David Koch. For the sake of our children and our grandchildren, we must fight back, and we must do it now in advance of November’s elections.”

I had heard of the Koch brothers for months; I was somewhat aware of the dastardly deeds they were doing throughout our country, and decided to attend the showing of this documentary at “The Hippie House” recently with approximately twenty of our Pt. Loma/Ocean Beach neighbors.

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The City “Dudette” meets the Real Cowboy!

July 7, 2014 by Judi Curry

Cowboy.

By Judi Curry

Weeks ago I said that I was going to stop my on-line dating sites. To a certain degree that was true; those sites that cost money I have now eliminated; those that are free I have kept. About 3-4 months ago I began corresponding with “Cowboy.” When he told me he lived in North Dakota – near Fargo – no less – I knew that there was no purpose in continuing our relationship, but it just seemed to continue, sometimes talking or texting 20-30 times a day.

After only a short period of time – maybe 3 weeks, he told me that we had texted over 2000 times! What in the world did we talk about? I don’t know, really, but our conversations went on and on, and pretty soon we were talking on the phone. For an honest-to-goodness cowboy I was impressed with his knowledge and truly enjoyed our conversations.

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What the Supreme Court’s Harris v. Quinn Decision Means for Workers and American Democracy

July 7, 2014 by Jim Miller

David Sachs/SEIU via Equal Times

By Jim Miller

After last week’s slew of bad Supreme Court rulings much of the media attention rightfully went to the horrendous “Hobby Lobby” case where the rights of corporations were deemed more important than the rights of women.

But there was another big decision where the Supreme Court surprised some observers and ruled narrowly on Harris v. Quinn, the case which could have gutted public sector unions and virtually wiped out their ability to play in American politics by ending all public sector unions’ ability to collect agency fees. As the Daily Kos noted of the case:

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San Diego Grit: Remembering Tony Gwynn

June 23, 2014 by Jim Miller

IMG_20140619_142336_131By Jim Miller

Tony Gwynn died last week and it stopped me. In part it was because he died too soon at 54, only four years older than me and many of my friends who grew up watching and admiring his skill as a player. As is always the case when someone who has been a part of your collective experience goes, there is a new hole in your life, that sense that something’s missing that won’t come back except as a ghost, a haunting memory.

But it was more than that. With the death of Gwynn, San Diego lost the last of his kind, a Southern California product who went to school at SDSU, came up with the Padres, and stayed here for his entire career, …

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“How Do You Train a Kangaroo Retriever?”

June 17, 2014 by Judi Curry
Thumbnail image for “How Do You Train a Kangaroo Retriever?”

By Judi Curry

As my Golden Retriever “Buddy” was quickly losing his ability to stand or walk, I decided it was time to start looking for another dog. I hoped that the new dog would breathe some life into Buddy, and although I had been looking for months for the “right” dog, none came to the forefront. None, that is, until I found “SHADOW”, aka Thomas, at the Baja Animal Sanctuary. He was just what I thought Buddy and I needed.

Although we cannot be sure of Shadow’s heritage, he appears to be a pure Retriever, but what kind is in question. You see, I think I have the “Superman” of the Retriever genre. He can’t leap buildings in a single leap, but he sure as hell can jump over the coffee table, with all the geegaws on it, to jump up on the couch to watch the people go by.

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What’s Wrong with the Recent Court Decision for Teachers

June 16, 2014 by Jim Miller

BlueRobot / Foter / Creative Commons AttributionBy Jim Miller and Kelly Mayhew

Last week’s decision in the Vergara v. the State of California lawsuit that undermined tenure and seniority rights was a profound slap in the face to teachers who have committed their careers to improving the lives of our children. It was yet another significant victory for those who are seeking to impose corporate education reforms by pitting teachers against children in a cynical, destructive, and utterly counterproductive fashion.

As tenured professors in the community college system, union members, and parents of a child in California’s public school system, we have a unique perspective on this matter. …

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Common Kindness Is Not Dead – and How ‘I Blew It!’

June 11, 2014 by Judi Curry
Thumbnail image for Common Kindness Is Not Dead – and How ‘I Blew It!’

Have you ever wished that you had done something but by the time it happened it was too late to act upon it? That happened to me yesterday. Let me tell you the story.

I had a massage at my favorite massage therapist’s office. Usually I pay in cash but I was short today so I wrote her a check. Had a wonderful rub down at “Mary’s Therapies” in Ocean Beach, and left about noon.

About 2:00pm, Mary called to tell me that she thought she had lost my check. She couldn’t find it anywhere and wanted me to know. I talked about stopping payment on it but she told me she had already endorsed it and added her account number on it so I figured that no one else could cash it. I thought I’d wait a few days and see what happens.

Two hours later there was a knock on my door.

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June Gloom: Inequality for All, Really

June 9, 2014 by Jim Miller

plutomoney-470x219By Jim Miller

“When you skip voting it’s not rebellion, it’s surrender.”

That was the apt Facebook meme doing the rounds last week after a brutal primary election where a pathetically low turnout led to a very good night for Republicans and the corporate interests they represent. Of course this was not at all unexpected as June primaries have always been lethargic affairs, but this one was even more embarrassing.

Indeed, with labor significantly depleted after losing a big mayoral special election and fractured local Democrats still reeling, the right saw an opportunity to go for the kill and they did, outspending the Democrats in nearly every race and burying the community of Barrio Logan under a mountain of corporate-funded bullshit.

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Restaurant Review: the “New” OB Noodle House Bar 1502

June 5, 2014 by Judi Curry
Thumbnail image for Restaurant Review:  the “New” OB Noodle House Bar 1502

OB Noodle House Bar 1502

4993 Niagara
Ocean Beach, CA 92107
619-255-9858

Weeks ago when I was told that the OB Noodle House was going to open up their second restaurant I made a note to myself to try it before it became as busy as the original restaurant on Cable. For some reason I never found time to get there – probably lacking a date – and I did not try it until yesterday, June 4th.

My friend Mary and I had just had an acupuncture treatment upstairs from the restaurant, and since it was 4:30pm on Farmer’s Market Wednesday with a great parking place, we decided to have a bite to eat before going home.

There are some vast differences between this new restaurant and the original one.

Perhaps the biggest is that this one has a full liquor license. And, unlike the original, one can actually have a drink outside.

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‘Rite Aid Carded Me When I Bought Beer and I’m a Great Grandmother!’

June 4, 2014 by Judi Curry
Thumbnail image for ‘Rite Aid Carded Me When I Bought Beer and I’m a Great Grandmother!’

“You want to see my what??!!”

The most exciting thing that has happened to me in 50 years happened just the other day. Right here in our own Ocean Beach. I am still giggling as I write this report. Let me set the stage:

I am not a beer drinker. I will cook with it, but I do not think that I ever ordered beer to drink except when I went out with the man that became my husband back 40 years ago.

We were at the race track and he ordered a glass of the brew. Not wanting him to think that we did not have anything in common, I ordered one too. I didn’t want him to know that I didn’t like it so every time he went to cash a ticket – and he was lucky that day – I poured a little bit more out. When the glass was empty he asked me if I wanted another one, but I told him that one was my limit. As best as I can recall that was the only time I ordered a beer.

Recently I have gone back to on-line dating, in spite of my saying that I would not do so again. But I didn’t know where I could legitimately meet members of the opposite sex, and, at the same time, get fodder for my articles, so I returned to OKCupid, and Mingle, which are free sites, and Match.com, which is a paid service.

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Five Reasons to Vote on June 3rd

June 2, 2014 by Jim Miller
Thumbnail image for Five Reasons to Vote on June 3rd

By Jim Miller

What if they had an election and nobody came?

That’s the feel that this June’s primary has to it and, after a nasty and seemingly unrelenting political year from the Filner scandal on, it’s understandable that folks are burned out and/or disgusted enough to stay home.

Nevertheless, while most San Diegans are meeting tomorrow’s election with a collective shrug, there are a number of things at stake that will affect our lives and the future of our local and statewide democracy in important ways.

Here are a few key areas that should motivate progressives to get to the polls: jpallan via flickr

1) The balance of power in the city is at stake.

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“Yes” on Props B & C is the Way to Support the Barrio Logan Community

May 31, 2014 by Ernie McCray
Thumbnail image for “Yes” on Props B & C is the Way to Support the Barrio Logan Community

by Ernie McCray

Here we go.

Same old same old politics in San Diego. The “Big Boys” have to get their way. They want us to vote “No” in opposition to a plan that was created to make a community healthy and safe.

And mayor, Kevin Faulconer, who has billed himself as an “independent” leader, has, as such, been going around talking about how when Propositions B & C are voted down, “it will be our opportunity to pass a plan that works to protect our families, to protect our economy.”

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Many Thanks, Maya

May 29, 2014 by Ernie McCray
Thumbnail image for Many Thanks, Maya

by Ernie McCray

I miss you, Maya,
but you will forever reside
in the breezes of
the breaths of fresh air
you gifted us with
when you were here,
ever so lovely and dear,
so wise beyond any years,
captivating us with your smile
and your wit
and your humor, all the while,
teaching us the ways of “We,”
you, him, her, them, me -
all of humanity.

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San Diego City Works Press Calls for Submissions for Its Anthology – “Sunshine/Noir II” – Writings from San Diego and Tijuana

May 27, 2014 by Jim Miller

SDCWPBy Jim Miller

San Diego City Works Press is soon approaching its 10-year anniversary. SDCWP is run by a 100% non-profit collective and is the only small literary press in San Diego that focuses primarily on the publication of local writers with an emphasis on our region that moves beyond the postcard version of our reality.

In an era where commercial forces and hegemonic instrumentality are drowning out what remains of literary culture, we have persisted against the odds. We invite all interested parties to be a part of our beautifully useless endeavor.

To celebrate our anniversary, we are putting together a second edition of our first anthology, Sunshine/Noir II. All local writers are encouraged to submit work for consideration.

See the relevant details inside:

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What’s at Stake With Propositions B and C?

May 12, 2014 by Jim Miller

“Everyone who wants to preserve community control over the planning process should be afraid because your community will be next!” –Georgette Gomez, Associate Director of the Environmental Health Coalition

EHC SpeakerBy Jim Miller

As we head toward the June 3rd election, the same corporate interests who spent big money to fund a petition drive based on lies to force a vote on the Barrio Logan Community Plan are now funding an equally dishonest campaign to defeat it.

As the San Diego Reader recently noted, the No on B and C Campaign’s sleazy tactics include teaming former mayor and current corporate front man Jerry Sanders up with a “crooked ex-admiral” to repeat the same bald-faced lies about how the Barrio Logan Community Plan will kill jobs and drive the Navy out of San Diego.

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A Look at a “Dangerous Friendship”

May 6, 2014 by Ernie McCray

By Ernie McCray

unnamedA couple of years ago at a showing of “Sing Your Song,” a documentary that highlights Harry Belafonte’s role in pursuits for human and civil rights, I met Ben Kamin, a scholar who has written much about the social struggles of those times. I just finished reading, with delight, his latest book, “Dangerous Friendship.”

The book puts the spotlight on Stanley Levison, a little known figure in the civil rights movement, who fully dedicated his life to helping Martin Luther King.

Regarding this man, Clarence Jones, another prominent aide to Martin, says “I am extremely upset, and I get angry, 24/7, and have been for many years about the glaring omission of the name and history of Stanley Levison in the civil rights chronicle.”

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Remember the Folks Who Brought You the 8-Hour Day?

May 5, 2014 by Jim Miller

By Jim Miller

8hours1Last week, May Day came and went and, while there was a small march downtown, most people barely noticed. Indeed most Americans don’t know much about May Day and if they do, they associate it with the state sponsored holiday in the former Soviet Union.

The truth of the matter is, however, that May Day has deep American roots. It started in 1866 as part of the movement pushing for the 8-hour day.

As historian Jacob Remes reminds us:

The demand for an eight-hour day was about leisure, self-improvement and freedom, but it was also about power. When Eight Hour Leagues agitated for legislation requiring short hours, they were demanding what had never before happened: that the government regulate industry for the advantage of workers.

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Raise Up San Diego – Do the Right Thing About the Minimum Wage

April 28, 2014 by Jim Miller

raiseuplogoBy Jim Miller

These are still tough times for most working people in the United States. We are in the midst of a new Gilded Age of historic economic inequality. The rich are carving out a bigger slice of the pie at the expense of nearly everyone else in America. As I noted in my column last week, corporate profits are at their highest level in 85 years and employee compensation is at the lowest level it has been in 65 years.

And this is happening despite the fact that the average American worker is more educated and more productive than ever before. The result of all this is a declining middle class, economic instability, and the hijacking of our democracy by moneyed interests.

Here in San Diego, we have one of the highest costs of living in the United States, ….

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My Mellow Birthday

April 28, 2014 by Ernie McCray

Maria, Lyric and MeBy Ernie McCray

I like my birthdays mellow and this year’s was just that, a little time with my querida and some of my family at her house and before they arrived I stretched out in my easy chair and listened to Lila Downs sing corridos in ways only she can. Oh, that voice of hers was born in some special place.

Lila warmed my insides and made me want to dance, so I got my 76 year old body up and put some Maceo on. The Maceo James Brown used to call out to when he yelled to the beat, “Macio! Hit me! Take me to the bridge!” when he wanted to take the jam to a different groove, making everybody want to move.

And Maceo had me getting down like I was the hippest coolest stepper in town. My mood, at this point, was easy and sweet, and that directed how I moved my feet, as I enjoyed my special day.

In between, my little Soul Train routine, my mind wandered here and there, about places I’ve been, things I’ve seen, countries I’d like to see. Cuba occupied most of those thoughts and that historic island isn’t that faraway. …

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A Difficult Decision: Saying Goodbye to My Dog Buddy after a Wonderful Ten Years

April 28, 2014 by Judi Curry

Buddy in the pool in better times

By Judi Curry

As a mother, an Office Manager, and a School Principal I have been called on to make some difficult decisions. But no decision has been more difficult that the one I had to make just the other morning. The heartache and grief supersedes anything I have ever had to do.

I have had the most wonderful companion for over 10 years. He was born on my birthday many years after I came into this world. He was always so happy to see me; he always had a smile on his face; he never questioned decisions I made; never argued with me, and made me feel better after having a difficult day. That is why this decision is so hard to make. Of course I am talking about my Golden Retriever.

I’ll never forget the first day we met him at the Golden Retriever rescue in Temecula.

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An Update on Pumbaa the Shar Pei’s Recovery: Still Not Out of the Woods

April 15, 2014 by Judi Curry

Pumbaa getting rehab in the pool

Editor’s Note: Last month Judi Curry wrote about Pumbaa the Shar Pei, who is receiving canine rehab with Judi’s dog Buddy.

By Judi Curry

Daisy took Pumbaa to the ortho-vet in Sorrento Valley. He wants to run some more tests on the doggie, but it is nice to know that he has started eating again, and is again being exercised in the pool.

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Rogue Rooster Joke Is Cruel for All in South Ocean Beach

April 10, 2014 by Judi Curry
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Editor: The Widder Curry asks: “Is OB South going to the birds?” Her original article began well enough but within a few days in her neighborhood, the atmosphere smelled like rotten eggs, with neighbor pitted against neighbor. Help us figure out what is going on in the usual placid southern reaches of Ocean Beach.

by Judi Curry

When I wrote this story a few days ago, I wrote it with “tongue in cheek.” After all, waking up to the calls of a horny rooster is not usual in Pt. Loma. (Hell … it’s been a long time since I have woken up to a “horny” anything!) But what has happened to this story is amazing and very sad. Here is the original story: …

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March Madness Bringing out “The Thinker” in Me

April 1, 2014 by Ernie McCray
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by Ernie McCray

My highlight of the 2014 March Madness Tournament was the Arizona Wildcat win over the San Diego State Aztecs in the Sweet 16. What a great game.

It was, however, a bittersweet win for me because, although I used to play for the U of A and the school is in Tucson, the town in which I made my debut as a homosapien, the Aztecs are my team too as San Diego is the town I came to when I decided that my “running around looking for shade trees” days were through. So my rejoicing after the game was somewhat tame. But I did do a little jig. For about an hour.

But no matter who ended up as the victor it would have been a win-win situation for me in that I absolutely love both teams and SDSU had an opportunity to reach the field of eight teams for the first time. That would have been wonderful for them. But It’s going to happen someday at some time. I like that their coach feels the same way and tells his guys so. Such stated beliefs would be music to an athlete’s ear. It’s how hopes are inspired, especially when the notion is realistic as it is with the boys from Montezuma Mesa.

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Cookie Store Review: “The CraVory” in the Midway

April 1, 2014 by Judi Curry
Thumbnail image for Cookie Store Review: “The CraVory” in the Midway

“The CraVory”
3960 W. Point Loma Blvd
San Diego, CA 92110
800-591-2571
info@thecravory.com

When cupcake stores began to open up in San Diego, I visited a few of them to see what the offerings were for the day. Some of them were very pretty; some of them were very tasty; some of them unique. But they all had the same thing in common – they were, in my estimation – very expensive.

My handyman – Warren – asked me the other day if I had been to “The CraVory” yet, and when I look puzzled he told me it was a store that sells only cookies. Granted, a variety of cookies, but just cookies. He told me he had tried some, and thought they were good, but, …

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Zen and the Art of Baseball

March 31, 2014 by Jim Miller

IMG_4475By Jim Miller

It’s spring and opening week is here and that makes me very happy. Baseball helps me live. It’s perhaps the best American manifestation of the kind of daily ritual that enables us to achieve a small portion of the balance and harmony we need to provide ballast against the chaos of the world.

Whether it’s playing the game or simply contemplating it, baseball provides one with precisely the kind of focused yet purposeless activity that can take you out to the ballgame and into the heart of the moment.

It’s the stillness at the heart of the game that I love, the empty space out of which motion and grace emerge–the pregnant nothing that gives birth to the artful something. And baseball, like art, is gorgeously useless and inefficiently slow.

Perhaps that slowness is why baseball has given ground to the more brutal, time-driven, managerially efficient game of football. We go from the Taylorized, competitive realm of the corporate world to a gladiatorial weekend on the gridiron that celebrates many of the same values.

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Notes from the Class War: Killing “The Year of the Populist” in the Crib?

March 24, 2014 by Jim Miller

By Jim Miller

democratic-party-where-are-youRecently, in “Neoliberalism and Its Discontents: What’s Left Beyond More Impoverished Choices?”, I continued my analysis of the national debate that followed the publication of Adolph Reed’s sharp criticism of what qualifies as the “left” in the contemporary American political landscape.

After that column was posted, Reed wrote yet another piece in American Prospect, this time responding to Harold Meyerson’s dismissal of his call for a left less tethered to a Democratic Party increasingly colonized by Wall Street and other corporate interests.

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What Will Happen to Pumbaa, the Shar Pei?

March 24, 2014 by Judi Curry

pumbaa - TrishBy Judi Curry

Sometimes one hears a story that is so sad that you don’t even want to know the details because you know that you are helpless to do anything about it. Sometimes you hear a story that might have a happy ending if only the right set of circumstances happen in the right amount of time. Such is the sad tale of Pumbaa.

Just a little background information: I have a 13 year old Golden Retriever – 91 in adult years – older than me! He has been having severe hip problems in the last year or so and he is having acupuncture once a week and swim therapy twice a week.

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