UCSD’s CHE Cafe Facing Eviction Next Week

October 23, 2014 by Doug Porter

By Doug Porter

A ruling by Superior Court Judge Katherine Bacal on Tuesday, Oct. 21 may well mean the end of the road for the C.H.E. Cafe, a student run cooperative at UCSD.

The co-op will have five calendar days to vacate once a written order is signed by the judge and the university files a writ of possession, meaning the group could be evicted by the middle of next week.

Supporters of the C.H.E.were vague about their future plans when speaking with the news media following the court decision, saying they were considering further legal actions and promising to continue protest activity and lobbying.

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Notes From the Education Wars: Marshall Tuck and the Plot Against Public Education

October 13, 2014 by Jim Miller

marshall-tuck-getting-chased-by-families-670x250By Jim Miller

After my column last week on the battle between Tom Torlakson and the corporate education reform machine backing Marshall Tuck, I was pleased to see The Nation magazine’s special issue on schools. The writers aptly note that the struggle in American education is not one of the “status quo” versus “reform,” but rather, it is between a kind of educational class war dressed up as reform and a more progressive vision that seeks to empower all kids equally.

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Tom Torlakson Versus the Corporate Education Reform Machine

October 6, 2014 by Jim Miller

The Most Important Race on the Ballot is the One No One is Talking About

DFER real democrats

By Jim Miller

This fall in San Diego the Peters vs. DeMaio and Kim vs. Cate showdowns are getting all the attention, but my pick for the most important race on the ballot is one that nobody is taking note of at the statewide level—and that’s a problem. The race in question is for . . . (wait for it) . . . State Superintendent of Public Instruction!

O.K. I know, Superintendent of Public Instruction races don’t usually get peoples’ hearts pumping, but if you are dismayed by the full-court-press assault on teachers, public education, and democratic local control over schools, …

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Student Loan Debt: The Only Debt You Can’t Discharge in Bankruptcy

October 3, 2014 by John Lawrence

By John Lawrence

6a00d8341cca9453ef01b7c6e93f43970bToday’s students are being crushed with John Bunyan’s proverbial burden on their backs – student loan debt. Until relatively recently this debt could have been discharged in bankruptcy.

Then all that changed when Sallie Mae, the Student Loan Marketing Association, was privatized in 2004. Albert Lord, the new CEO, and his lobbyists went to work to change the laws so that student loans could not be discharged in bankruptcy. Today the cumulative student loan debt is more than $1 trillion.

While a generation ago a high school diploma was considered sufficient for a decent middle class entry level job, today it’s a college diploma even if the job itself could be easily accomplished by a person with just a high school education.

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Santa Monica Ave. School Crosswalk Officially Sanctioned

October 2, 2014 by Matthew Wood
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Ribbon Cutting Ceremony Officially “Opens” the OB Elementary Crosswalk

By Matthew Wood

The crosswalk outside of Ocean Beach Elementary School that has been a decade in the making finally got a proper introduction on Wednesday.

City Councilman Ed Harris was on hand for a formal ribbon-cutting ceremony with OB Elementary Principal Marco Drapeau and parents of the school’s students. They used the opportunity to tout next week’s National Walk to School Day with a pre-class assembly.

“We’re trying to promote walking and biking to school,” Harris said. “In order to do that you gotta have safe routes. All these things have been lacking for years.”

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Fifty Years Later: Who Really Won the Battle of Berkeley?

October 1, 2014 by Staff

As student activists return to campus to celebrate the 1964 Free Speech movement that galvanized for social justice, big questions remain about the direction of higher education since those radical days of upheaval and hope

mario-free-speechBy Barbara Garson / Common Dreams

I’m going back to the Berkeley campus this week for the fiftieth reunion of the Free Speech Movement. You may have heard in some history class about Mario Savio and the first student sit-in of the sixties. That was us FSMers at Berkeley.

It will feel a bit surreal. The university that had 801 of us arrested is welcoming us back by hanging Free Speech banners on the building we occupied. Home like a victorious football team! But it’s not a real victory because …

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Friends of OB Library Having Book Sale – Sat., Sept. 27

September 26, 2014 by Staff
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The Fall Book Sale will be held on Saturday, Sept. 27, from 9:30 to 12:30, at the historic library, 4801 Santa Monica Ave., in OB, 92107. It’s the Friends of the OB Library at it again.

In addition to their usual eclectic variety of gently used books, DVD’s, and CD’s, Kathy Blavatt, chief author, and members of the Ocean Beach Historical Society will be signing and selling the fabulous new history of Ocean Beach produced in the Images of America series.

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American Football Fantasy

September 12, 2014 by Source

By Jay Powell

football punchI enjoy American-style football because I enjoy the variety of plays, the effort, the amazing feats that occasionally occur during a game. The incredible runs. Completed forward passes. (I think the forward pass is one of the finest inventions of mankind) Intercepted passes and run backs from kickoffs.

I only played dis- or intentionally un- organized football in various intramural and amateur leagues or just plain back lot, mud ball where we refereed ourselves. We sanctioned players who wanted to hurt people. We loved playing the game.

What can we do to incentivize that part of the game and dis-incentivize all the behavior that is really just sanctioned violence …

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Yes on Proposition 47: The Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act of 2014

September 3, 2014 by Ernie McCray

To end felony sentencing for drug possession and petty theft crimes

By Ernie McCray

I would like to invite readers to a Community Mobilization Meeting to hear what can be done to help pass Proposition 47 in November.

The meeting is on Thursday, September 4th

Sherman Heights Community Center
2258 Island Ave, San Diego, CA 92102
RSVP to Margaret (

Yes on 47If “Yes on 47″ passes, California will be the first state to end felony sentencing for drug possession and petty theft crimes. This would permanently reduce incarcerations and shift one billion dollars, over the next five years, from state corrections to K-12 school programs and mental health and drug treatment. I love the sound of that. And it’s about time we get our minds off punishing people and focus on helping them become better human beings.

Details of the Act:

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Why Read? In Defense of Uselessness

August 18, 2014 by Jim Miller

happyfaceBy Jim Miller

While I still deeply love my chosen profession of teaching after twenty-five years of work at various colleges with the last seventeen of those at San Diego City College, it’s hard not to notice the constant drumbeat of critics casting doubt on the value of my life’s work in the humanities.

Whether they be corporate education reformers bent on imposing a business model on colleges or techno-boosters with a zeal to toss all that I hold dear into the dustbin of history, there is a long line of naysayers.

As David Masciotra recently noted in “Pulling the Plug on English Departments” in The Daily Beast, “The armies of soft philistinism are on the march and eager to ditch traditional literature instruction in favor of more utilitarian approaches . . . It is easy to observe the sad and sickly decline of American intellectual life, through the cultural and institutional lowering of standards, when prestigious publications promote the defense, if not the celebration, of lower standards.”

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Orcas Saving Humans

August 6, 2014 by Marc Snelling
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By Marc Snelling

Oral history of orcas saving humans stretches out for a millennia.

Haida, Tlingit, Nuxalk and other peoples of the Northwest have kept stories and names alive for many generations.

For example, Natsilane being saved from attempted drowning by his jealous brothers is a Haida and Tlingit story.

Nuxalk stories of Ista and Patsallht recount traveling with killer whales and how they got their black color. K’aa gwaay, the five finned killer whale of legends is carved on totem poles such as Ts’aahl Llnagaay at the Haida Heritage Center in Kay Llnagaay (Skidegate BC).

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San Diego For-Profit Universities Making Tons of Money Handing Out Worthless Degrees

July 31, 2014 by Frank Gormlie

Ashford University and University of Phoenix Worst Offenders Targeting Returning Vets

amPhxMagBy John Lawrence / San Diego Free Press

Everyone wants to better themselves, right, by getting a college education. Most of all the Iraq and Afghanistan vets transitioning into civilian life. To that end our politicians in Washington have crafted a GI Bill that allows them to do just that at taxpayer expense.

Problem is most of that money is being gobbled up by for-profit universities like the University of Phoenix and Ashford University which don’t even qualify for state financial aid. These universities attract and recruit students by advertising heavily and “selling” them on the value of one of their degrees.

When many of the students graduate, they can’t get a job based on a degree which potential employers say …

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Lessons for a New Gilded Age: Labor Studies Courses at City College

July 28, 2014 by Source

history-labor-unionsBy Kelly Mayhew

There’s been a lot of discussion of economic inequality recently in wake of Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century.

As many economists have observed, American workers are more educated and more productive than ever and are driving record profits for corporations while they’re seeing their wages stagnate or decline as the wealth accumulated by the top 1% of earners has skyrocketed. Robert Reich has been on a crusade to emphasize the historic importance of our current economic inequality crisis, and people like Paul Krugman have noted that we are living in “a new gilded age.”

Here in San Diego we are in the midst of seeing this writ large as the battle to raise the minimum wage rages on with a community-labor alliance advocating for the rights of low-wage workers while the city’s economic elite push back hard.

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Timeline and History behind the Che Cafe dispute at UCSD

July 25, 2014 by Source

Historical Timeline and Parties Course of Dealing

By Che Cafe Collective

A. Inception to 2008

The Ché Café Collective began approximately 34 years ago, on or about May 1, 1980. Since that time, the Ché Facility, 1000 Scholars Drive South, has been leased continuously by Plaintiff from Defendant, the Regents of the University of California. It has been and currently is used to operate a café, library, and a music-and-theater programming space, and to host other student organizations and events.

As one of the original buildings of Camp Matthews, the Ché Facility was originally used by the University of California, San Diego (“University”) as a diner and cafe in the 1960’s, called “The Coffee Hut.” It is known as the original student center. When there was an attempt to turn it into a faculty club, students argued that since student fees had paid for the building and its maintenance for many years, students should rightly take possession and operate it from that time forward.

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Judge Rules the UCSD Che Cafe Gets a Stay

July 11, 2014 by Source

… and the Struggle Continues

From Press Release from Che Cafe Collective:

The Che Café Collective, a world renowned cultural icon and UCSD landmark that operates as an all-ages music venue, performance space and cafe, will not be so easily uprooted by University officials after over three decades of continuous operation and huge support from students and the public.

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OB Elementary Principal Reflects on His First Year

July 11, 2014 by Matthew Wood
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By Matthew Wood

It’s the middle of summer and the halls of Ocean Beach Elementary School are desolate.

The kids are long gone, having hit the beach or camp or family vacation and otherwise soaking in the three-month summer break. Teachers have been dismissed to recharge for a few student-less months.

Yet here’s principal Marco Drapeau, sitting at his desk, sifting diligently through paperwork as the rest of the world around him goofs off.

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More on UCSD’s Che Cafe: Alumni Appeal to Save the Historic Cafe

June 20, 2014 by Source

Dear UCSD Activist Alumni,

By Monty Reed Kroopkin

ucsd alumniThe OB Rag and San Diego Free Press have published a fine article, written by the Che Cafe Collective. Please circulate it widely. OB Rag / SDFP editor, Frank Gormlie, is an alum of UCSD. Alumni of the UCSD co-ops are mounting a call for all alumni to write to the University telling them we are cancelling the “planned giving” that we previously intended to do upon our demise, until and unless they back off and treat the Che Cafe and all the co-ops with proper respect.

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Few Are Left Fighting For The Ché Cafe at UCSD

June 20, 2014 by Source

che cafe logoBy Kyle Trujillo, UCSD Undergrad

On Wednesday of finals week, June 11, I cut short a study session and hurried across campus to Scholar’s drive to the Ché Cafe Collective. I knew it as the Che. Besides, it had recently been stripped of its “collective” status. It was the first time I was going to a meeting and not a show.

As I approached the colorful building I slowed down to listen. The walls could talk. The faces of Rigoberta Menchu, Malcom X, Martin Luther King Jr., Karl Marx, former student Angela Davis, and a prowling black panther.

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Ché Café Served 30-Day Eviction Notice, UCSD Cites Code Violations

June 19, 2014 by Source

Statement and press release from the Ché Café Collective

che-cafe[1]By Davide Carpano, student at UCSD and member of the Ché Café Cooperative

The Ché Café, a 34-year-old student-run cooperative at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), has been under attack by the administration for the past two months and was served with a 30-day notice of eviction on June 13, 2014.

The notice was given to the students and their lawyer during a meeting initiated by the University to discuss on the future of the Ché. The student members of the Ché were under the impression that this meeting was part of the informal mediation and dispute resolution process they had requested several weeks ago.

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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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My Maria and SDSU’s Multicultural and Social Justice Program

May 21, 2014 by Ernie McCray


By Ernie McCray

She’s really something, my Maria. Maria Nieto-Senour. College professor by way of the Mexican barrios of San Antonio and Austin and the inner-cities of Detroit. Mo-Town.

At any moment she’ll be retired which means she gets to hang out with me more. I can’t wait because she’s fun to be around and she’s about as loving a human being as one could be.  

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Memory Against Forgetting: The May 1970 Peace Memorial at UCSD

May 15, 2014 by Source
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Editor: the following is based on a speech delivered by the author, Niall Twohig on last Friday, May 9th, in front of a group of fifty gathered in Revelle Plaza at UC San Diego to unveil The May 1970 Peace Memorial. The Memorial is dedicated to George Winne, who immolated himself and died as a protest against the Vietnam War in May of 1970, plus it’s dedicated to those students who carried on the May 1970 Student Strike.

By Niall Twohig

Why a memorial for May 1970? Why a memorial for peace? Why now?

To suggest some answers, I want to ask you, the reader, to take an imaginative leap back in time to May 1970.

In order to make this leap, we have to remember that the U.S. was waging an unpopular proxy war in Southeast Asia, made all the more unpopular after the invasion of Cambodia at the end of April.

If we found ourselves transported to May 1970, this would be all too apparent. We would see the images?the aerial views of bombs upon bombs pulverizing the Vietnamese countryside, images of GIs burning huts, footage of badly burnt villagers running from the firestorm of napalm, photos of rows upon rows of mutilated bodies scattered in the fields and anonymous soldiers packed away in coffins draped in stars and stripes.

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May 1970 Student Strike Against Vietnam War to Be Commemorated at UCSD May 9th

May 7, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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UCSD Students to Honor George Winne’s Self-Immolation and Protests 44 Years Ago

Forty-four years ago exactly, college and university campuses across America exploded in violent and non-violent protests against President Nixon’s expansion of the Vietnam war. It was May 1970.

Over the course of the month, the nation would witness more than 450 university, college and high school campuses being shut down by student strikes that involved more than 4 million students. It was the largest American student protest before and since.

During protests, National Guardsmen killed four students at Kent State University on May 4, 1970 in Kent, Ohio, and Jackson city police and Mississippi state troopers killed one student at Jackson State College and a high schooler passerby, in Jackson, Mississippi on May 15.

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My Day As a Crossing Guard

April 24, 2014 by Matthew Wood
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By Matthew Wood

You might have heard about the new crosswalk that opened next to Ocean Beach Elementary School on Santa Monica Avenue. We’ve certainly talked about it enough.

Now that the crosswalk is finally in place and the street is open again, you would think that all is safe with the school and the only looming threat for the kids are this week’s spelling quiz and forgetting their backpack.

But that’s not the case, as I learned firsthand.

In talking to the two volunteer crossing guards – Wayne Simard and Joseph “Moondoggie” Pina – they said it’s still pretty crazy in the morning rush and that people still don’t always stop for the kids.

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Historic Win for Labor and New Direction in University of California System

April 22, 2014 by Source

By Daniel Gutiérrez / San Diego Free Press

La Jolla, California — On Tuesday, April 15th, UAW Local 2865, representing graduate student-workers across the University of California system, reached a tentative agreement with UC management regarding the procurement of all-gendered bathrooms and lactation stations.

UC management succumbed to the necessities demanded by UAW Local 2865, acknowledging that both all-gendered bathrooms and lactation stations are a labor right to graduate student-workers. The historic achievement was reached after the union went on strike for two days early this month, in which nearly two dozen students were arrested and many others intimidated.

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Reverse Robin Hood Funding Threatens San Diego

April 22, 2014 by Source
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By Laura Barrett / Huffington Post / April 21, 2014

San Diego’s sunny beaches and beautiful college campuses can be deceptive. The city’s soaring housing costs force university students and low-income families to sleep on couches and to depend on free meals. Many, too, end up living out of cars. The waiting list for Section 8 housing is 10 years long, and as a result, families are being forced to move out of state.

According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, a renter in San Diego’s Metropolitan Statistical Area would need to earn $26.58 an hour to afford a fair market two bedroom apartment, yet, the average renter’s wage is just $17.28. Despite this, the City of San Diego is trying to take away federal money that provides a source of relief.

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Student Threatens Teacher Online at Point Loma’s The Charter School – 17 Year Old Arrested

April 17, 2014 by Source

Student was arrested Wednesday in connection with the violent online threats

By Monica Garske and Omari Fleming / NBC 7

A 17-year-old San Diego student was arrested Wednesday for posting statements on social media websites in which he allegedly threatened to shoot a teacher and open fire on a school, the San Diego Police Department confirmed.

According to police, one of the threatening messages was posted online Wednesday. In that post, the student threatened to shoot a teacher at The Charter School of San Diego in the Point Loma area. The suspect is a student at that school, police said.

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Ernie McCray: Speaking Straight from the Heart

April 7, 2014 by Staff

Ernie McCray Unsung Hero

Recipient of the Phi Delta Kappa Unsung Hero Award

By Staff

On April 3, Ernie McCray was honored by the San Diego Chapter of Phi Delta Kappa, an international association for professional educators. The Kappan awards bestowed earlier in the evening were for individuals and organizations that have made a substantive difference for those wishing to become educators and for children within the school system.

Ernie’s award came later in the evening, after the recognition of Partner in Education, Educator of the Year, and Leadership. Those of us who know Ernie would be hard pressed to sum up his presence and contributions in just one category– he is known by thousands of students, parents and colleagues as an extraordinary educator; he has been a tireless advocate for peace and justice in the streets and in our schools; you can find him from time to time on a stage, acting and reading his poetry; and he has a following on the San Diego Free Press and OB Rag where he contributes essays and poetry. Unsung Hero is a pretty good fit and that was his award designation.

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OB Elementary Crosswalk Coming In Over Spring Break

April 4, 2014 by Matthew Wood
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UPDATE: A sign on Santa Monica Boulevard says the street will be closed through April 14 between Sunset Cliffs Boulevard and Ebers Street. So much for the project getting done by the end of spring break. Good luck to all the parents taking their kids to school this week. It should be interesting.

By Matthew Wood

It’s not all fun and games at Ocean Beach Elementary School during spring break.

Santa Monica Avenue has been closed between Sunset Cliffs Boulevard and Ebers Street all week as workers have been frantically trying to finish putting in a much-anticipated crosswalk outside the school.

The project was supposed to be finished before students came back on Monday, but as of Friday morning, there was still a big hole in the street and a construction crew working frantically to get the job done. Rain earlier in the week helped to delay the construction.

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UCSD Graduate Students Strike After Just Demands Not Met

April 4, 2014 by Source

Strikers disrupt classes and block public thoroughfares in protest against unfair labor practices while upper level administrators continue to receive exorbitant salaries and enjoy a culture of lavish living

By Daniel Gutiérrez

Grad student strikers and their allies block a pedestrian walkway at UCSD.

Graduate students at the University of California, San Diego represented by the United Auto Workers Local 2865 initiated a two-day strike Wednesday, April 2nd, that will end today Friday, April 4th. The strike at UCSD is part of a statewide action occurring at all the campuses of the University of California for these reasons.

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