The Financialization of America: Wall Street Doesn’t Help Homeless

October 21, 2016 by John Lawrence

MoneyThe Business of America is No Longer Business — It’s Finance

By John Lawrence

The rich today are making money not from making things, but by manipulating money. This is being done in such a way that it is driving the inequality process. It is ruining the middle class while exporting their jobs.

The tax structure of the US engineered by Ronald Reagan, Alan Greenspan and their Republican followers has incentivized the creation of great wealth in a few hands while driving the majority of people into poverty.

So-called trickle down economics has only spurted up.

While the rich have many ways of escaping paying taxes, middle class people are stuck paying them to a larger and larger extent. The government needs money to operate, and, if the rich don’t pay their fair share, the middle class has to make up for it. US tax policy makes sure that it does.

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Make the Convention Center Better, Not Bigger

October 20, 2016 by Source

convention center

By David McCullough / UrbDeZine

Earlier this year, a hosted panel of local decision makers was brought together to discuss future of San Diego. Much of the conversation was around the convention center expansion.

If you’ve been following the local news, you’ve noticed much of the dialog is about the benefits of a larger meeting space.

The conversation is often about the need for more space to keep Comic-Con in San Diego or the heavy regional impact, the tax revenues, or the attention it all brings to our city. At the end of the panel discussion, a younger, seemingly naive gentleman stood up to ask a question. The question was, “Why do we need a larger convention center when it seems vacant for most of the year?”

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San Diego 2016 Progressive Voter Guide

October 14, 2016 by Staff


The editors of the OB Rag and the San Diego Free Press are pleased to present our 2016 General Election Progressive Voter Guide.

We believe this is a historic election, one that will set the course of the United States for decades to come. If there ever was an election where voting was important — this is it.

The candidacy of Donald Trump is no accident. It is a consequence of decades of building a constituency for a market-driven political economy by capitalizing on fear, bias, and ignorance.

The ballot this year is long and complicated. Not everything is as it seems. Practitioners of deception have deliberately crafted personas and propositions in a manner to trick people into voting against their best interests. There are an equal number of voting decisions to be made on less-than-perfect candidates and causes.

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Avoiding Privatization’s Slippery Slide

October 14, 2016 by Source

Second graders on the first day of school

By Donald Cohen / Capital & Main

Last Wednesday was a big day for In the Public Interest. We released one of our longest and most wide-ranging reports, How Privatization Is Increasing Inequality.

The report describes how the privatization of public goods and services disproportionately impacts poor individuals and families, and people of color. It pulls together issues that at a glance appear unrelated—like private prisons, charter schools and privatized water—to show that handing control of such things as education and infrastructure to the private sector is fueling an increasingly unequal society.

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OB Needs to Have a Discussion About What it Means for So Much of OB to Be Concentrated in the Hands of So Few

October 11, 2016 by Frank Gormlie


A bunch of us at the OB Rag feel that Ocean Beach needs to have a conversation, a discussion – let’s say – about what it means to have so much of Ocean Beach concentrated in the hands of so few people.

We recently published The Ocean Beach Empire of Michael Mills, about how one man and his trusts owned 241 units in OB.

Looking at things one way – if there are 2-3 people living behind each one of those 241 doors, that’s between 480 to 720 people. If the total population of OB something like 12,000, that would put something like 1 out of every 16 to 25 residents in a Mills building.

What does that mean? What are the consequences of that?

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The How of Trump’s Little-to-No Personal Tax Payments

October 11, 2016 by Source

By Frank Thomas

taxeesIn recognition of Trump’s extremely complicated tax situation, James Stewart in a recent NY Times article asked him to just simply submit ten numbers – adjusted gross income and actual federal taxes paid over his last 5 year returns.

That seems a simple request for Trump to respect. But the legally allowed complex tax concessions given to real estate developers complicates making judgments about Trump’s moral business integrity and obligation to expose his returns.

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SANDAG vs. Clairemont Over Empty Lot Near Future Trolley Station

October 10, 2016 by Source


An empty lot on Clairemont Drive in Bay Park is at the center of a lot of debate.

San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) is considering using eminent domain to take over the private property for public use. It needs the property as a staging area while it builds a new trolley station. Then, the plan is to use the land for a park and ride.
By Jim LaMattery

The question was asked at the “Choose or Snooze” event on October 1st, “Why doesn’t the Board of Directors of SANDAG want to work with Protea Properties in developing the Vacant Lot?”

Rory Devine of NBC Channel 7 News asked me the same question. Julie Stalmer, while preparing her article for the Reader, asked me the same question.

Allow me, for the moment, to put on my my “real estate broker” hat. In my opinion, the reason for the Closed Session vote to continue eminent domain action against the new owner of the lot, Protea, is very clear.

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Today Is the 5th Anniversary of San Diego’s Occupy Wall Street Movement

October 7, 2016 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for Today Is the 5th Anniversary of San Diego’s Occupy Wall Street Movement

On October 7th, 2011 – a long 5 years ago – the Occupy Wallstreet movement burst upon the San Diego scene.

Upwards of 4,000 demonstrators marched through downtown San Diego’s Gaslamp District, rallied at Civic Center Plaza at City Hall – renamed “Freedom Square” for awhile -, and then returned to Children’s Park – all the while protesting the inequalities of the American economy. A tent encampment was set up – which moved the very next day to the plaza at City Hall.

It was on that October 7th that San Diego had very visibly and demonstrably joined the nation-wide movement – then a world-wide movement – against the disparities of the financial system. Local activists had been meeting for a couple of weeks and had planned the large protest.

The numbers of San Diegans who turned out was stunning – on October 7th, 2011, I was there, see my full account : :

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Props 59 and 60 – Dirty Money and Filthy Sex

October 7, 2016 by Doug Porter

Props 59 & 60

Why are these measures even on the ballot?

By Doug Porter

The Constitution of the United States begins with “We the People.” It doesn’t say “We the Corporations” or “We the Fat Cats.”

I get it. Every person who believes in our representative democracy should be appalled by the Supreme Court (Citizen’s United) decision giving corporate entities the power to fund elections thru super-Pacs under the guise of “free speech.” This needs to change.

Proposition 59 asks California’s elected officials to work to overturn Citizens United, through supporting a constitutional amendment or other means. And if they don’t like what Prop 59 asks them to do, that’s okay, because it’s simply advisory in nature. Since it’s on the ballot and because I’m personally repulsed by the notion of living in an oligarchy, I’ll vote yes.

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News from Ocean Beach and Point Loma – Early October 2016

October 3, 2016 by Frank Gormlie


….OB’s First EV Charging Station Under Construction

….The Joint Moves Its Fence

….Rumors About 7-Eleven

….Ocean Beach Town Council Board Election Results….Kilowatt Brewing Still Under Construction

… Former Shades Being Scrapped

. …Status of Jensen’s Move into Old Fresh & Easy


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One Giant Victory for Mankind Cooperative … Narcotics Task Force, Not So Much

October 3, 2016 by Source
Thumbnail image for One Giant Victory for Mankind Cooperative … Narcotics Task Force, Not So Much

By Terrie Best /San Diego Americans for Safe Access /October 3, 2016

On Thursday, September 29th, a permitted cannabis co-op operator – who was raided by the Narcotic Task Force Team 9 seven days after permitting – braved the downtown police station in order to retrieve the thousands of dollars worth of medicinal cannabis products illegally snatched by Team 9. A local NBC camera and Daily Dab TV were there to document the transaction.

Mankind Cooperative’s products were confiscated in June of last year as one of the co-op principles, 41 year old Ebon Johnson was operating a delivery service for qualified patients from his home. Tenant improvements were being made to Mankind’s retail location on Miramar Road and the Co-op was serving its patients with a home delivery service

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From Mission to Microchip: An Interview with California Labor Historian Fred Glass. Part 2

October 3, 2016 by Jim Miller

California Labor

Here’s Part 1

By Jim Miller

In my Labor Day column , I gave a shout out to Fred Glass’s seminal new labor history of California, From Mission to Microchip: A History of the California Labor Movement. As Glass notes in his introduction, his history of working people in the Golden State is much broader than a narrow chronicle of unions:

To learn more about this story and what about it is most important, I am pleased to present the second installment of my three-part interview with Fred Glass, author, teacher, union member, and long-time Communications Director for the California Federation of Teachers.

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Measure A: Mish Mash That Doesn’t Focus Enough on Climate Change

September 30, 2016 by John Lawrence

Measure A Doesn’t Do Enough to Get Cars Off the Road

By John Lawrence

Trolley (1)In a nutshell, Measure A is a something-for-everybody approach that doesn’t do enough to concentrate on climate change. A full on effort to get cars off the road and people onto public transit would do much more. That means more trolley and light rail lines paralleling major freeways.

Measure A brings up more questions than answers. It seems that the whole purpose of Measure A is just to do the same things that SANDAG has already been doing, but at a faster pace. They already duped the voters into a half-cent sales tax hike with TransNet, which is an ongoing pot of money. With it, SANDAG is supposed to be doing the right thing in terms of San Diego County infrastructure. The only reason they would need more money is to speed up the process of combatting global warming. This measure does not do that.

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Proposition 52 – Keep MediCal Funding Where It Belongs

September 28, 2016 by Doug Porter

By Doug Porter

Back in the bad old days of the great recession, the California legislature diverted hundreds of millions in funding derived from a tax hospitals pay. The federal government kicks in matching funds for these taxes flowing back to the hospitals through MediCal, so it’s a sweet deal. Hospitals pay one dollar to get two back, more or less.

The recession is over, and the hospitals want their original deal back in place.

So they raised a boatload of money to put Proposition 52 before the voters. This is a “lockbox” measure, designed to give voters the opportunity to say that funds raised for or by a certain purpose must be spent in that general area as well.

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The Ocean Beach Empire of Michael Mills

September 27, 2016 by Frank Gormlie


Slumlord Owns 241 Housing Units in OB

Many OBceans struggle long and hard to earn the financial resources to purchase their one house, condo or apartment. Many never obtain enough to make the plunge into buying property in Ocean Beach. It is so expensive to buy a home here at the coast, that it’s prohibitive for most.

Not Michael Mills, the notorious slumlord of Ocean Beach.

Mills has a virtual empire in OB. He and his trusts own 241 homes, condos and apartments in the Ocean Beach area. Imagine that. Two-hundred and forty-one units. And many of these units are within multi-unit apartments. Look at that map. See the list.

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The Debate Over San Diego’s Measure A

September 27, 2016 by Source
Thumbnail image for The Debate Over San Diego’s Measure A

Editor: Yesterday, we posted an unequivocal statement by our regular columnist Jim Miller, who along with Nicole Capretz, and Nick Segura, advocate progressives should not vote for Measure A. Today, we publish South OB Girl’s report of a debate on A at last Sunday’s Point Loma – OB Democratic Club event.

Gretchen Newsom and Anthony Montalvo discuss Measure A … and the Democrats (and Republicans) aren’t so sure about it

By South OB Girl

Let’s take a look at Measure A. Measure A proposes a plan for transportation infrastructure changes in our city.

The Republican Party of San Diego County and the San Diego County Democratic Party both agree on one thing – vote No on Measure A this November. BOTH parties are opposed to Measure A. Labor is divided and City Councilmember endorsement is also divided.

A presentation of both sides — “Yes on A” and “No on A” — occurred on Sunday Aug 25th, at the Point Loma-OB Democratic Club’s monthly meeting.

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Chargers Stadium Ballot Measure C — as In Chutzpa

September 22, 2016 by Doug Porter

This is a rendering. They have no actual plans drawn up.

By Doug Porter

There are two items on the ballot for City of San Diego voters related in some fashion to the construction of a place for the local NFL franchise to play.

Measure C, backed by the San Diego Chargers ownership, is an effort to get a stadium/convention center built. The group’s committee is a cash machine, taking in tens of thousands of dollars (nearly) daily, all from the same source.

Measure D is primarily backed by interests with investments in nearby properties, namely the Moores family. For monetary reasons, it’s just about dead in the water. D is on the ballot, but the money spigot was turned off May 3.

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American Consumption Shouldn’t Keep Economy Afloat

September 22, 2016 by John Lawrence

By John Lawrence

This is Part 2 of Buddhist Economics: Economics As If People Mattered. Part 1 can be found here.

Buddhist EconomicsThe Buddhist approach is that consumption is merely a means to human well-being. The aim should be to attain a maximum of well-being with a minimum of consumption.

It would also be considered salutary to produce much of what is needed for human well-being by one’s own hands rather than being a total participant in the cash economy. This is anathema to capitalist economists and bankers who thrive on interest from bank loans in order that consumers can purchase more stuff on borrowed money and go into more debt.

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Keeping San Diego Seafood Local

September 21, 2016 by Source


Sustainable Seafood / Slow Food Urban San Diego

On August 24th, stakeholders of San Diego fisheries began meeting with Protea Waterfront Redevelopment about their plans to redevelop the Downtown waterfront. This meeting was important. That the fishing community is meeting at all with the likely developer may affect whether our local and sustainable seafood industry will persist, diminish or flourish in the redevelopment.

The Port of San Diego envisions redeveloping the “Central Embarcadero” an area that includes Tuna Harbor, where the majority of San Diego’s active commercial fishermen dock their boats.

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From Mission to Microchip: An Interview with California Labor Historian Fred Glass – Part 1

September 19, 2016 by Jim Miller

mission-to-microchip-cover CaliforniaBy Jim Miller

In my Labor Day column , I gave a shout out to Fred Glass’s seminal new labor history of California, From Mission to Microchip: A History of the California Labor Movement. As Glass notes in his introduction, his history of working people in the Golden State is much broader than a narrow chronicle of unions.

To learn more about this story and what about it is most important, I am pleased to present the first installment of my three-part interview with Fred Glass, author, teacher, union member, and long-time Communications Director for the California Federation of Teachers.

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News and Notices from Ocean Beach and Point Loma – Mid-September 2016

September 16, 2016 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for News and Notices from Ocean Beach and Point Loma – Mid-September 2016

OBcean Partners with National Geographic to Get Plastic Out of the Oceans

OB Home Broken Into and Robbed During Fumigation

Belching Beaver Opens

Azucar’s Owner Gets a Plug at San Diego Mag

R-Rated Puppet Show at OB Playhouse

Jensen’s in Point Loma: Hiring Fair and Block Party

Gretchen Newsom in the News and It Wasn’t About OB


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Buddhist Economics: Economics as if People Mattered

September 15, 2016 by John Lawrence

Economics Should Be About People, Not About Wall Street

By John Lawrence

Buddhist EconomicsIn Buddhist economics there is the concept of “right livelihood.” Work is considered an essential component of human life just as play and leisure. Work of a craftsmanlike nature, work which is satisfying–not work that is stultifying, of an assembly-line nature. Work that nourishes the soul; this kind of work results in right livelihood.

By the same token, there is “right consumption.” This is as contrasted with the unlimited consumption advanced Western societies and pushed on their citizens through advertising and other means in order to have economic “growth” and to increase GDP.

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With No Contest in 4 San Diego Council Races, District 9 Matters

September 14, 2016 by Doug Porter


By Doug Porter / San Diego Free Press

What was supposed to be an epic, high-dollar struggle for the partisan upper hand on the San Diego City Council never came to pass. Odd-numbered districts elect representatives in 2016, and Republicans were hoping to gain a majority on the theoretically non-partisan body.

Of the five City Council districts having primary contests in June, only one will have a meaningful contest for the general election. In three (3,5,& 7) of those districts, there won’t even be a choice on the November ballot.

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California Governor Signs Farmworker Overtime-Pay Bill

September 13, 2016 by Source

farmworker-handsBy Melody Gutierrez / SFGate / September 12, 2016

Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill Monday that will give farmworkers in California overtime after an eight-hour day, a move advocates say will right a decades-old injustice.

The bill, AB1066 by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, will give the people who work in California’s farm fields the same overtime rights that other workers were granted under federal law during the Great Depression. Gonzalez called it a “historic day” that was long overdue. “These workers are doing backbreaking work so that we can eat,” Gonzalez said. “The fact is, they are not treated fairly under the law and that’s wrong. This is a 78-year-old wrong, and there is nothing better than fixing that.”

The agriculture industry, business groups and Republican lawmakers said the bill will hurt farmers …

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Peninsula Beacon Reporter Responds to OB Rag Critique

September 9, 2016 by Source

Editor: We published our critique on September 7th of a nearly month-old Peninsula Beacon article about the homeless of Point Loma written by Dave Schwab. Here below is Dave Schwab’s response, which concludes with ideas we can certainly get behind.

By Dave Schwab

As a newspaper reporter, it is my job to be fair, impartial and objective. Just like Star Trek, there is a sort of non-interference directive involved there. Journalists are observers, not players participating.

The views of people quoted in stories we write are THEIRS, not necessarily ours. Just like there are lots of different types of homeless, from those who are totally victims of circumstances to those who are entirely responsible for how and where they are, i.e. serial inebriates.

There seemingly is a panhandler on every corner. Are all of these people truly down and out, or are they just doing this as an easy way to survive while avoiding working? I have heard police testify, from personal experience, that panhandlers are working in shifts on corners, spelling one another then sharing the proceeds at the end.

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On San Diego Homeless Awareness Day, the Peninsula Beacon Missed the Point

September 7, 2016 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for On San Diego Homeless Awareness Day, the Peninsula Beacon Missed the Point

Local Newspaper Sends Out Mixed Message About Homeless

About 3 weeks ago, August 17th was the “San Diego Homeless Awareness Day” – a day set up by various media sources around San Diego to bring a new awareness of those less fortunate and who live on the streets and in the shelters.

And about 20 of San Diego’s media sources carried or ran or printed or published 40 or so articles and posts about the homeless and homelessness today.

The OB Rag – along with our sister publication, the San Diego Free Press – joined this effort to highlight the plight of our area’s citizens who have no home, other than the streets, and we both posted a series of articles from the writers of the SDFP and OB Rag. (For other articles from the publications on the homeless, visit the SD Homeless Aware website.)

Many of the articles and posts painted and reflected compassionate understandings of the homeless and their plight, with efforts to examine the underlying reasons for so many homeless in one of the richest nations on earth. This day of awareness followed – by a little over a month – a serial murderer who preyed on sleeping homeless men in San Diego.

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Happy Labor Day, California Style

September 5, 2016 by Jim Miller

Labor Day Cardiff Kook

By Jim Miller

Last year my Labor Day column, “Happy Labor Day?: The Jury is Out,” began by starkly pondering the potentially devastating effects a bad Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association ruling at the Supreme Court might have had not just on public sector unions but on the labor movement as a whole.

Later, in the same column, I looked more hopefully at the potential for organizing contingent workers, like those involved in the Fight for $15 movement.

The twelve months that followed that column brought good news for labor on multiple fronts. First, with the long, strange journey of the Friedrichs case that came to the Supreme Court with a good chance of passing before everything was turned upside down by Justice Scalia’s death, a 4-4 split decision that was a victory for unions, and finally the Court’s refusal to rehear the case.

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Will Governor Brown Do the Right Thing for Farmworkers?

September 2, 2016 by Doug Porter


By Doug Porter

After two years and more than five thousand proposed laws, resolutions, and constitutional amendments, the current version of the California Legislature wrapped up its session in frenzied fashion.

Wednesday, August 31st saw more than one hundred bills up for consideration. Now it’s up to the Governor to say yea or nay on legislation affecting all aspects of life in California.

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-80), who successfully shepherded 19 of 20 bills through the legislature this year, is leaving nothing up to chance with her hard-fought victory on AB 1066, gradually phasing in standards for farmerworker overtime.

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Illumina, Inc.: Wealth Creation – San Diego Style

August 30, 2016 by Anna Daniels

By Anna Daniels

black-hole-money1Around this time last year, the city of San Diego signed an Economic Development Assistance Agreement with Illumina, Inc.

It was approved on August 7th, 2015 as a “Consent Item” without pre-hearing noticing. The ten year deal included a promise to rebate $1.5 million in sales and use taxes in return for retaining “over 100 middle-wage manufacturing job opportunities” in San Diego.

SDFP editor Doug Porter wrote at the time:

Illumina is in the genomics business, and it is exactly the kind of company the city should be encouraging to put down roots and prosper here. This deal made by the Faulconer administration, however, is exactly the kind of governance the city doesn’t need.

So how is Illumina doing one year later? What has the public received in return for its largess?

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Women’s Equality Day – August 26

August 26, 2016 by Source
Thumbnail image for Women’s Equality Day – August 26

From National Women’s History Project

At the behest of Rep. Bella Abzug (D-NY), in 1971 the U.S. Congress designated August 26 as “Women’s Equality Day.”

The date was selected to commemorate the 1920 certification of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, granting women the right to vote. This was the culmination of a massive, peaceful civil rights movement by women that had its formal beginnings in 1848 at the world’s first women’s rights convention, in Seneca Falls, New York.

The observance of Women’s Equality Day not only commemorates the passage of the 19th Amendment, but also calls attention to women’s continuing efforts toward full equality. Workplaces, libraries, organizations, and public facilities now participate with Women’s Equality Day programs, displays, video showings, or other activities.

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