Politics

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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Black Breastfeeding Week 2016

August 29, 2016 by Source
Thumbnail image for Black Breastfeeding Week 2016

By South OB Girl

San Diego based photographer Vanessa Simmons has attracted quite a bit of attention nation wide with her “Normalize Breastfeeding Tour.” She has previously been featured in Vogue, The Huffington Post, and here at The OB Rag/San Diego Free Press.

Vanessa started Normalize Breastfeeding in 2014 – a project intended to bring awareness to breast-feeding through photography.

And August is National Breastfeeding Month (which many of us may not have known). And August 25 – 31st is Black Breastfeeding Week.

Black Breastfeeding Week (BBW) was created because for over 40 years there has been a gaping racial disparity in breastfeeding rates. The most recent CDC data show that 75% of white women have ever breastfed versus 58.9% of black women.

BBW is intended to focus on the racial disparity and draw attention to the issue. Here are the top 5 reasons behind BBW :

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To the Victor Belong the Spoils

August 29, 2016 by Source

By Norma Damashek / NumbersRunner

Centaur and nymph, Tuileries Garden, ParisWhat is it about brute force and macho swagger that mesmerizes so many people?

Picture this: you’re at a crowded carnival. See that big beefy guy up on stage – the one with bulging pecs and thighs like a steel vise? Watch as he picks up that mallet, swings it high overhead, and smashes it down – smack on target. The bell at the top almost shatters with a ringing endorsement of this big tough guy. We all cheer.

Picture another carnival. Onstage is an international lineup of muscle-flexing politicians. See the iron-fisted man of steel Vladimir Putin? the vicious hanger-on Bashar al-Assad? how about the take-no-prisoners Kim Jong-un? And whoa! there’s a joker in the pack – the one with a muscle-bound mouth. Could it be the Donald, our very own wild card? Even he gets cheers.

Now picture a different carnival setting. Let’s make it city hall in sunny San Diego. Man-o-man, the politics on this stage are a feminist fantasy come true – not a grandstanding, fulminating, intimidating, testosterone-laden blowhard in sight (at least, not since Papa Doug Manchester pulled out at the U-T).

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San Diego Unified First School District in California to Call for Pension Funds to Divest from Fossil Fuels

August 29, 2016 by Source

San Diego Unified School Board meeting, July 26, 2016

By Anne Marie Tipton / SanDiego350.org

The San Diego Unified School District’s (SDUSD) Board of Education unanimously passed a resolution on July 26th calling on the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (STRS) and the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS) to divest their investment portfolios of stocks in fossil fuel companies.

Recognizing the threat of global warming, the resolution also supports last year’s state legislation, SB 185, which requires PERS and STRS to divest from coal stocks. Most of SDUSD’s employees belong to these huge retirement systems.

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The Sordid Saga of the Saratoga Torrey Pine – A Chronology

August 26, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

OB Torrey protest ed goodtree dist

Some of us who were involved in the unsuccessful effort to save the Torrey Pine at 4652 Saratoga Avenue, thought it necessary to develop a written account of the saga of the Torrey called “Esperanza” – or “Hope”.

A chronicle was needed telling the story of how it came to be that the city and its contractor cut down the 90-year old, 80-foot tall on Monday, August 22nd.

The following, then, is a chronology of the Torrey Pine and its removal. (Much is taken from an anonymous “Critique of Saratoga Torrey Pine Chronology”, some is from a “Fact Sheet” from the city’s Transportation & Storm Water division, the remainder from this reporter’s notes and memories.)

________________

Unusually strong storms, beginning in the winter of 2015/2016, brought down a number of widely-reported trees and large limbs around the city, and as a result, there was a city-wide heightened awareness of large trees and their vulnerability.

Late January – early Feb – Strong winds brought down a large pine tree on Talbot Street in Point Loma – that caused some damage – and reportedly a 100-year old Torrey pine tree in the courtyard at OB Elementary School fell with no damage or injuries.

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A Sneak Peek at the 35 (!) Local Measures Appearing on San Diego Ballots

August 26, 2016 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for A Sneak Peek at the 35 (!) Local Measures Appearing on San Diego Ballots

By Doug Porter

Labor Day used to be the traditional start of the Fall Election season. That’s no longer the case with the increasing popularity of mail-in ballots driving endorsements and campaigning further backward on the calendar.

August 24th’s endorsement session of the San Diego Democratic Central Committee proves the point. Dozens upon dozens of candidates and ballot measures were considered. The really big deals were the top four ballot measures.

In a nutshell, the Dems opposed SANDAG’s Measure A and the Lilac Hills Measure B, stayed neutral on the Chargers’ Measure C, and supported the Citizens Plan Measure D.

In fairness to the partisans for and opponents of these marquee measures, the final vote tells just part of the story. The opposition came up just one vote short in the Democrats meeting of opposing the Chargers’ stadium proposal.

If this all seems like gibberish to you, you’re at the right place. Here’s your first peek at the 35 (!) ballot measures to be presented to voters in various parts of San Diego County for the 2016 general elections.

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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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OB Town Council Gets an Earful – Complaints about Torrey Pine, Candidate Statements, and Ideas About Newport Ave

August 25, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

OBTC meet 82416 council

From expressions of anger about the recent Torrey Pine removal, to impassioned statements by Board candidates, to studied brows deep in thought on how to improve Newport Avenue, the Ocean Beach Town Council meeting last night, Wednesday, Aug. 24th, exhibited a gamut of emotions and “passions”.

Anger of Residents on How City Handled Torrey Pine

Anger at how the City handled the Torrey Pine on Saratoga came out among residents during the non-agenda public comment period at the opening of the meeting. The Masonic Center community room filled up with sixty people, at least one news camera and reporter, as acting chair Gio Ignolia attempted to guide the at times contentious forum.

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Why Does Dean Spanos Hate the Homeless?

August 23, 2016 by Source

spanos cate adBy Bill Adams / UrbDeZine

“Why does Chris Cate want the Chargers to leave San Diego? Please call and ask him.”

That was the headline in an ad Dean Spanos, the Chargers owner, ran this past week targeting 2nd year City Council member Chris Cate, who is on the leadership committee of the No Downtown Stadium – Jobs and Streets First! coalition.

Nearly all of the City Council members have voiced opposition to Spanos’s audacious public money grab to fund a downtown stadium for his pro-football team (Ballot Measure C. – disingenuously entitled “Citizens Initiative” – full text).

But Cate has taken the extra step of being a leader on the coalition.

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Open Letter to Mayor and San Diego City Council from OB Town Council on Short Term Vacation Rentals

August 23, 2016 by Source

STVR image Aug016 ed2

RE: Short Term Vacation Rentals

Dear Mayor Faulconer and City Councilmembers:

The object of the Ocean Beach Town Council (OBTC) is to express the will and represent the welfare of the OB community. The OBTC has hosted and held public meetings over the past year to gather community input as it relates to vacation rentals.

On February 9th 2016, the OBTC sent a letter to Councilmember Lori Zapf to formally respond to her short-term vacation rental (STVR) memorandum and to provide feedback from Ocean Beach on what a new STVR ordinance should encompass to protect our quality of life and community.

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Why We Need to Pass Proposition 55 in November 2016

August 22, 2016 by Jim Miller

brown prop 30

By Jim Miller

As many of us in education circles remember, before the passage of Proposition 30 in 2012, the funding situation for schools and colleges in California was dire.

The question was not IF there were going to be cuts, but rather, how large they would be and how much damage they would do to our students, our profession, and to the communities we serve.

But fortunately, in the wake of the Great Recession and the Occupy movement, the questions of economic inequality and social justice were in the air and we in the California Federation of Teachers, along with our community allies, were able to muster a successful campaign first for the Millionaire’s Tax and then for the passage of Proposition 30, the compromise measure that was forged with Governor Brown.

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Torrey Pine: OB Asked for a Community Forum – Here’s the City’s Answer

August 22, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

OB Torrey cut truck
The Ocean Beach community had asked the City to hold a community forum on the health and dangers of the Torrey Pine in the middle of the 4600 block of Saratoga Avenue.

Monday morning, bright and early, came the City’s response.

Out before 6:30 this morning – Monday – yellow police tape had been spread out, a dozen police officers stood their positions and Atlas Tree Service showed up and began cutting down the Torrey named Esperanza – Hope. By 9:30 a.m. all the branches were down – including one with a birds’ nest – and all that remained was the huge trunk.

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Miramar Air Show Sends the Wrong Message

August 19, 2016 by Source

Editor: The following piece by Dave Patterson ran in the Op-Ed pages of the San Diego Union-Tribune, August 18, 2016.

By Dave Patterson

Given our quagmire in the Middle East it’s high time that we gave some thought to how our politicians and military contractors promote war as the answer to our problems. In San Diego the promotion of war is anchored in the annual Miramar Air Show.

According to the air show Web page, it’s the largest in the world, with as many as 500,000 people attending. What they don’t tell us is that the air show is designed to appeal to our senses, not our intellect, and when we participate we get an adrenaline high and exciting memories to take home. We also take home the potential burden of our military people and civilians being injured or killed just to provide us those thrills. We also forget that the very nature of war is about death and destruction, not fun and games.

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San Diego Veterans to Protest Miramar Air Show

August 18, 2016 by Source

“Bannering” against upcoming airshow on August 18

By San Diego Veterans for Peace

miramarEach year, San Diego hosts the giant Miramar Air Show, which is attended by up to 500,000 people.

This air show is typical of many other air shows around the country in that it attempts to glorify and glamorize war and militarism, as well as being an excellent opportunity for defense contractors and the overall military industrial complex to sell products which lead to the deaths and injuries of so many people on earth.

The San Diego Veterans For Peace, with veteran members of all five services, is opposed to these “war shows” and is asking the public to stay home and to provide more wholesome entertainment to their children and families than the Miramar Air Show provides.

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Community-Funded Arborist Report: The Ocean Beach Torrey Pine Is “Low Risk”

August 17, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

An arborist report just released to the City by those OBceans who have been attempting to save the Torrey Pine on Saratoga, states :

“The mature Torrey pine in front of 4652 Saratoga Avenue presented low risk at the time of my assessment made on Monday, August 15, 2016.”

The Tree Risk Assessment by Bradley Brown, a Board Certified Master Arborist, was sent to members of the City by John Ambert, chair of the OB Planning Board. It included pages of matrices that arborists use, plus a 2-page written report, with photos.

The Ocean Beach community funded Arborist Brown’s services, and specifically, he was hired by the residents and supporters on Saratoga, via a GoFundMe page put up by the group Friends of the Peninsula Trees.

Brown also stated in his report:

“I observed no significant defects or secondary disorders in the subject tree. … The trunk base showed no signs of significant mechanical damage or discoloration. … The tree appeared healthy and vigorous.”

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San Diego Sandbags Efforts to Shelter Homeless People

August 17, 2016 by Source

City snubs California law for emergency shelters

By Jeeni Criscenzo

If the City of San Diego really wanted to solve the ever increasing problem of homelessness, they might be willing to try something more innovative than eliminating 98% of the areas previously designated as suitable for emergency shelter without a Conditional Use Permit.

I first became of aware of a map in the City of San Diego General Plan, Housing Element called Figure 1 Areas Suitable for Emergency Shelters – November 2006. Amikas, a non-profit I founded with four other homeless advocates in 2009 to work with homeless women and children with a focus on veteran women, was considering the Midway Post Office as a potential site for veteran housing. The map was required by California Senate Bill 2 (SB2) also known as the Cedillo Bill.

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Why Does Homelessness Persist in America’s Finest City?

August 17, 2016 by John Lawrence

Housing is Not a Human Right in the US

by Sandro Montefusco from il lavoro culturale, republished under a Creative Commons License

By John Lawrence

Why does homelessness persist in the world’s richest nation? The simple answer is that having a roof over one’s head is not a human right in this society.

Fortunate people, those with a home and a car and other assets will not vote to give others what they possess even on the most basic level. Article 25 of the 1948 United Nations Declaration of Human Rights states:

(1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being ….

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Trump’s Daughter Is Vacationing With Putin’s Girlfriend

August 16, 2016 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for Trump’s Daughter Is Vacationing With Putin’s Girlfriend

Just when you thought the 2016 Presidential race couldn’t get any crazier, here come reports that Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka is actually vacationing in Croatia with Putin’s girlfriend, Wendi Deng Murdoch.

From an August 14 article on People online:

Ivanka Trump is taking a break from the campaign trail to vacation with friends. The daughter of GOP nominee Donald Trump shared a scenic snap with Wendi Deng Murdoch, the ex-wife of billionaire media mogul Rupert Murdoch, from Dubrovnik, Croatia.

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Man Who Wants to Overturn 6 Gun Laws Has Business in Ocean Beach

August 16, 2016 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for Man Who Wants to Overturn 6 Gun Laws Has Business in Ocean Beach

It turns out that the guy leading 6 petition drives against new California gun restrictions recently signed into law has a business “headquartered” right here in Ocean Beach.

Barry Bahrami has launched campaigns to qualify his six referendum to go up against the gun control laws signed by Gov. Jerry Brown.

Barry Bahrami is also the CEO of Commercial Network Services, an online business that touts itself “a global online service provider specializing in hosting low latency algorithmic trading systems, virtual private networks …” and other virtual trading services.

And Commercial Network Services are indeed headquartered in OB, right at the OB Business Center, at “4876 Santa Monica Ave # 111, San Diego, CA 92107” according to his site. Now, true, we’re talking a PO Box here as “headquarters” – but it is an Ocean Beach connection.

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Is Anybody Judging the Judges? The California Legislature Wants Answers

August 16, 2016 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for Is Anybody Judging the Judges? The California Legislature Wants Answers

By Doug Porter

A joint committee of the California Legislature has authorized an audit of the Commission on Judicial Performance, the only entity that can discipline or remove a state judge.

A coalition of two dozen groups reflecting a wide range of interests, led by the Center for Judicial Excellence wrote letters, made calls and sent emails to urge the Joint Legislative Audit Committee (JLAC) to call for the audit.

“The Center for Public Integrity gave California an ‘F grade’ on its 2015 report card for judicial accountability, said Kathleen Russell, the executive director of the Center for Judicial Excellence in a press release.

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The Plight of Adjunct Teachers

August 16, 2016 by Source

adjunct facultyBy Mimi Pollack / San Diego Free Press

Here in California, adjunct teachers are like the comedian, Rodney Dangerfield, in the community college world. They get some respect, but not a lot, despite being the backbone of the system.

More classes are taught by part-time teachers than full-time teachers. The ratio has been as high as 70% part-time teachers to 30% full-time teachers.

Part-time teachers are paid by the hour; whereas, full-time teachers receive a salary and if one calculates the hourly rate, it is higher. The various districts do this because it saves them money.

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‘Not So Fast’ – Some Ocean Beach Residents Are Saying – ‘We’re Not Ready to Give Up on Torrey Pine’

August 15, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

OB Torrey Hope 81516

‘Not so fast,’ some residents of Ocean Beach are saying – to any giving up of saving the historic Torrey Pine on Saratoga Street. There’s been some momentum against the sentiment expressed in a press statement sent out over the weekend from one group of residents saying that they’re ready to let the City chop down the tree called “Hope” (Esperanza).

There was some dissent within the group when it was decided to send out the statement. And that stance has led to the group enlisting the services of a second arborist just recently.

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Notes on the Dog Days of Summer: It’s Already Over for Trump

August 15, 2016 by Jim Miller

Image by Thierry Ehrman on Flickr.

By Jim Miller

In late July, I was at the American Federation of Teachers convention in Minneapolis, Minnesota watching Hillary Clinton address a hall of thousands of educators as a handful of #Black Lives Matters and assorted other protesters tried, unsuccessfully, to disrupt her speech, which inspired a few angry delegates to start yelling, “Get them out! Arrest them!” until a wiser soul chimed in with, “Aren’t we supposed to be different than Trump?”

For the most part, Clinton’s speech was a laundry list of interest group button-pushing, but I was pleased to see how far the primary seemed to have forced her to adopt Sanders-like positions and rhetoric on things like affordable higher education.

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Reprieve for Ocean Beach Torrey Pine Holds for Now – Residents Continue to Mobilize – Demand Time for Independent Analysis

August 12, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

OB Saratoga 4600 block google

This morning – Friday, August 12th – around 7 a.m. on the 4600 block of Saratoga Avenue in the heart of Ocean Beach, there were no signs of Atlas Tree Service trucks or crews, no signs of of any city officials or police barricades and patrol cars, and the ubituious ‘no parking’ signs were nowhere to be seen.

In stead, about 2 dozens residents and supporters were sitting or milling around, some of them giving interviews to the nearly half-dozen TV stations and reporters. These folks were responsible for the City’s last-minute temporary reprieve issued yesterday evening – backtracking on their plans to chop down the giant Torrey Pine across the street from where people were sitting this morning.

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City Declares a Temporary Halt to the Removal of the Saratoga Torrey Pine

August 11, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

Just got off the phone (7:38 pm Thurs.) with Katie Keach, contact person for the City on the issue, and she confirmed that the City is indeed “temporarily” delaying the destruction of the Torrey Pine – “Esparenza” – on Saratoga in OB. Keach stressed that the City still stands by its assessment that the tree needs to be removed, and the delay is only “temporary”.

Just this evening – mere hours after the City sent out a notice it was proceeding with the removal – the City backtracked and sent another notice out to the media stating:

“The City of San Diego has temporarily suspended plans to remove a failing tree from 4652 Saratoga Avenue in OB that had been slated for Friday morning, August 12th. The work had been scheduled for Friday morning.

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Here’s City’s Announcement of Taking Down Torrey Pine

August 11, 2016 by Source

Here’s the announcement – without our comment – by the City that the Torrey Pine on Saratoga will be chopped down on Friday morning, August 12th.

Thursday, Aug. 11, 2016

Contact:
Katie Keach at 619-847-8274 or kkeach@sandiego.gov

Unsafe Tree to be Removed

Tree Cannot Be Saved, Must Be Removed to Protect Homes

San Diego – The City of San Diego today alerted community members that a failing tree would be removed from 4652 Saratoga Avenue in Ocean Beach on Friday, Aug. 12, starting at 7 a.m.

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DA Dumanis Subpoenaed in Campaign Conspiracy Case

August 11, 2016 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for DA Dumanis Subpoenaed in Campaign Conspiracy Case

By Doug Porter

San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis has been and is expected to testify in federal district court on Monday at the trial of Mexican businessman Jose Susumo Azano Matsura.

Defense attorney Michael Wynne has been questioning witnesses about the DA’s direct knowledge of illegal campaign contributions and told freelance reporter JC Playford in an on-the-street video about the summons.

Although their initial support for her campaign is at the core of the government case against Azano and his co-conspirators, prosecutors have this far crafted a case that avoids avoiding linking her to any participation or awareness of illegal activities.

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Saving the Saratoga Torrey Pine – a Waiting Game

August 10, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

OB Torrey protest shift 3 ed1

Organizers Have Created Tree Watch Shifts – Zapf and Mayor Are No-Shows

Directly across the street from “Esparenza” – the name protesters have given the Torrey Pine target for chopping – is a small group of local residents sitting in chairs, eating, talking, reading.

They’re the current shift on Saratoga Street doing a “watch” for any signs of Atlas Tree Service crews or equipment. If they are sighted, then the call goes out to dozens of residents and supporters to gather at the Torrey Pine.

They were there today, Wednesday, by 7 a.m. – some having breakfast and coffee. They told this reporter that an Atlas “scout” truck drove by to check them out and just drove on.

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San Diego Chargers Stadium: Q&A with Barrios Against Stadiums

August 10, 2016 by Brent Beltran

BASTA-NDSInterview by Jeffrey Siniard / Bolts From The Blue

Please provide a little background on the group Barrios Against Stadiums (B.A.STA!). Who is involved, and what are the aims of the group?

B.A.STA! is a grassroots, barrio based, loose knit formation of residents, artists, activists, small business owners and allies creating a movement. The sole purpose of this movement is to prevent a football stadium/convention center from being built in the East Village of San Diego, just a few short blocks from our historic barrios.

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Sanders Tells Backers Immediate Aim of Political Revolution Must Be to Defeat Trump

August 10, 2016 by Source

The revolution ‘will continue until we create a government which represents all of us and not just the 1 percent,’ Sanders writes in new op-ed

By Andrea Germanos / Common Dreams

Bernie SandersBernie Sanders has again urged his supporters to back Hillary Clinton, writing Friday that “Donald Trump would be a disaster and an embarrassment for our country if he were elected president.”

In an op-ed published at the Los Angeles Times, Sanders contrasts the two leading candidates on everything from tax policy to climate change to healthcare, and says that the “immediate task” of his political revolution is to make sure the real estate mogul doesn’t end up in the White House.

Sanders criticizes Trump’s campaign for being “based on bigotry,” and says that his Supreme Court justice nominees “would preserve the court’s right-wing majority.” Clinton’s appointees, in contrast, would be “prepared to overturn” Citizen United and “would protect a woman’s right to choose, workers’ rights, the rights of the LGBT community, the needs of minorities and immigrants, and the government’s ability to protect the environment.”

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