Politics

Just Say No! to Minimum Wage Surcharge on Ocean Beach and San Diego Restaurant Bills

January 5, 2017 by Source

By John Loughlin

Restaurateurs make a political statement by adding a surcharge to ‘cover’ the cost of paying the poorest workers a higher wage.

The Union-Tribune article helpfully provides a list of restaurants to boycott as well as some to support.

Back in May 2016, David Cohn speaking at a CREW event:

“It is so easy to vote for that [minimum wage] increase, but it is going to really raise your cost of entertainment and spark a new round of inflation that we haven’t seen since the 1970s.”

He was reported as predicting that the results could lead to menu prices increasing a minimum of 30% over the next few years. From Jan 1, 2017 the Cohn Restaurant Group is adding a 3% surcharge to cover ‘mandated’ cost increases.

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Why Don’t OB and San Diego Restaurants Add ‘Free Market’ Surcharges to Customer Bills?

January 5, 2017 by Anna Daniels

High-end Ocean Beach and San Diego Restaurants Poised to Add Surcharge for “government mandated” Costs to Business

By Anna Daniels

Over the past ten years consumers have absorbed higher costs at the check-out counter for all manner of goods. Remember when gasoline costs spiked and affected more than gas at the pump?

Everything from the potted plants at the local nursery to grocery items reflected an attendant price increase. Remember when the cost of coffee went up? What about the shortage of cheese and how that was reflected in higher consumer costs?

These consumer cost increases reflect everything from volatility in the commodity market to shortages caused by natural disasters to price fixing. We weren’t handed restaurant checks or grocery bills with a surcharge added for “free market” or “act of god” or “corporate greed.”

So why are some San Diego restaurants considering a surcharge on bills to cover the most recent “government mandated” wage hike which raises the minimum wage to $11.50 an hour?

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Russian Hacking and the 2016 Presidential Election

January 4, 2017 by Doug Porter

The Chickens Come Home to Roost

By Doug Porter / San Diego Free Press

Serious People are claiming that news accounts about Russian meddling in US elections are somehow equivalent to the Weapons of Mass Destruction stories peddled in the run-up to the US invasion of Iraq. Or a liberal version of the group-think on the Trumpian right about millions of illegal aliens voting for Hillary Clinton.

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AARP’s Spineless Response to Social Security, Medicare Privatization Threat

January 4, 2017 by Anna Daniels

By Anna Daniels

AARP, the American Association of Retired Persons, recently sent a call to action letter to its members about the need to secure future Social Security benefits. That opening line should have generated a sigh of relief from AARP’s 37.8 million members over the age of 50 who have been following the rumblings from the new Republican Congress to privatize Medicare and Social Security.

Read a little further and you find out that AARP is not alerting us to the potential unraveling in 2017 of two wildly popular and essential components of our social safety net–but rather the potential insolvency of Social Security in 2034. Imagine that your house has been doused in gasoline and an arsonist is standing close by with a box of matches but you are being told that your problem is that you aren’t saving enough money to tent the place for termites seventeen years into the future.

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Summary of 2016 Nuke Shutdowns

January 2, 2017 by Michael Steinberg

Nuclear Shutdown News December 2016

By Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the decline and fall of the nuclear power industry in the US and beyond, and highlights the efforts of those working to create a nuclear free world.

Here is our December 2016 report:

1. Summary of 2016 nuclear shutdowns.

This year continued the acceleration of the permanent shutdowns of US nuclear plants.

On December 8 nbcchicago.com reported that the Palisades nuke plant on Lake Michigan would be shut down in 2018, according to its owner, Entergy of New Orleans. NBC said Palisades was “too old and dangerous,” and a chronic money loser.

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My New Year’s Resolution for 2017: Abandon Hope

January 2, 2017 by Jim Miller

By Jim Miller

Abandon HopeThe era of hope is over. We are done with the messianic rhetoric about the arc of history bending toward justice and the false notion that, despite all signs pointing to the contrary, we were making real progress toward the grand goals of addressing the deep inequities in our society or moving toward a more sustainable future and becoming more just. We weren’t.

We bought hope and got polite neoliberalism with some padding on its sharp edges, and the delusion that we were better than we are.

Now the gloves are off and the wolves’ teeth are bared. There is no pretty bullshit to mask the fact that the future is grim and the worst are full of passionate intensity. Being responsible and respectable won’t save us; neither will looking to make a deal with the devil.

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Veterans For Peace Statement on Syria

January 2, 2017 by Source

Veterans for Peace logo: dove with olive branch superimposed on army helmetBy Veterans for Peace

The war in Syria has been ongoing for five years, with the situation in Aleppo, once Syria’s most populous city, having deteriorated over the past four years into a multi-proxy war and a humanitarian disaster.

We have seen strong disagreements within the peace movement on the reasons behind this war, and on what our response should be. Those disagreements even exist within our ranks. As we struggle through the complexities of the war, we recognize that most of us are far removed from it, fortunate to be safe in our homes and able to voice these disagreements without fear of reprisal.

However, our mission at Veterans For Peace has not changed. We oppose war.

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Left Behind: Myrtle Cole’s Committee Appointments and Neighborhoods South of 8

December 30, 2016 by Anna Daniels

By Anna Daniels / San Diego Free Press

Myrtle Cole

San Diego City Councilwoman Myrtle Cole’s contentious election as Council president last week culminated with her appointments to the various City Council committees.

Few of us know that these committees exist or what they do, but by the time issues are brought before the full City Council for legislative action they have been discussed and pretty much finalized in a committee.

Cole’s appointments to the Public Services and Livable Neighborhood (PS&L) committee denies a seat at the table for those of us who live in communities south of 8. Her selection of Council members Chris Cate (chair), Lorie Zapf (vice chair), Barbary Bry, and Chris Ward is enraging, deeply concerning and unacceptable. Here’s what PS&L does:

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Fighting the Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” Decision

December 29, 2016 by John Lawrence

Wolf-Pac: A PAC Dedicated to Getting Money Out of Politics

By Paul Keleher and John Lawrence

The United States Supreme Court held (5–4) on 21 January 2010 that freedom of speech prohibited the government from restricting independent political expenditures by a nonprofit corporation.

The principles articulated by the Supreme Court in the case have also been extended to for-profit corporations, labor unions and other associations.

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Why We Still Need Feminism

December 28, 2016 by Source

Woman holding sign with heart-shaped cut-out reading: My Body, My Business, Mind Yours

Until recently, American women didn’t even own their own bodies.

By Jill Richardson / Other Words

From his campaign rhetoric to his transition appointments, our next president has placed himself squarely in a conservative movement calling itself the “alt-right.” That movement, the Los Angeles Times reports, “generally embraces and promotes white nationalism, racism, anti-Semitism, homophobia, transphobia, and misogyny.”

As a privileged, white, and heterosexual woman, I’ve never considered my rights under attack to the same degree as the other groups in that list. But to this incoming bunch, feminism is a dirty word.

Maybe it’s time to review what feminism is, and why it emerged in the first place.

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Censored 2016: Underreported Stories of the Year

December 27, 2016 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for Censored 2016: Underreported Stories of the Year

By Jim Miller

Project CensoredIn my final column of 2015, I wrote about the most underreported story of the year according to Project Censored’s annual list: “2016 will be the year when half of the world’s wealth will be controlled by the top 1%.” After reporting the dismaying details of that story, I ended with the following analysis:

So putting this all together, we are just about to end a year where we learned that global plutocracy is becoming more and more firmly entrenched and that the beneficiaries of that very system are not just responsible for an immoral level of economic inequality and human suffering but also for speeding us toward an apocalyptic end to the climate crisis.

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The Benefits of Community Choice Energy and How California Utilities Aim to Block Them

December 23, 2016 by Source

Graphic depicting Community Energy Choice model

By Tyson Siegele / SD350.org

In California, the fight is on between renewable energy advocates and the old guard electric utilities. All across California, cities and counties have been moving to implement Community Choice programs because they provide cheaper, cleaner, locally generated electricity. In fact these programs are so good, the utilities hope you never hear about them.

Before we get to the conflict and intrigue, let’s look at the basics of this new approach to buying electricity. Community Choice Energy (CCE), also known as Community Choice Aggregation, is a way for cities, counties or regions in California to look out for their own energy interests, a hybrid between regulated and deregulated electricity supply

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Why Privatizers Look Forward to 2017

December 22, 2016 by Source

Earth excavator

By Donald Cohen / Capital & Main

“We’re just going to throw it up against the wall and see if it sticks.”

That’s what Steve Bannon, Donald Trump’s chief strategist and cofounder of the website Breitbart, said a few weeks ago about Trump’s plan to rebuild America’s infrastructure.

That pretty much fits with what we know so far. Trump wants to “invest” $1 trillion in fixing and building roads, bridges, water pipes and other infrastructure. But by “invest” he means using massive tax breaks to convince private investors to spend the money.

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City to Halt Coastal Mansions Permitted Through Affordable Housing Program

December 21, 2016 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for City to Halt Coastal Mansions Permitted Through Affordable Housing Program

The good news is that the City of San Diego has halted a decade’s old practice of allowing large single-family homes to be built in coastal areas expedited under the City’s affordable housing and sustainability program.

The bad news is that the City’s Development Services Department allowed single-family mansions to be built at all under a program that they were ineligible for – for a decade.

We reported in an earlier post about this program and how developers of single-family units had their projects expedited and how one big-time insider was able to take advantage of his connections:

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Oklahoma Residents Taking Action Against Frackers But Is It To No Avail?

December 21, 2016 by John Lawrence

FrackersEarthquake Capital of US

By John Lawrence

We have written previously about the fact that Oklahoma is now the earthquake capital of the US. It seems forcing all the waste products from fracking down deep wells has disturbed the earth enough to cause a lot of earthquakes there.

In addition to jolting the nerves of Oklahomans, it is destroying their property. In 2014, there were over twice as many earthquakes recorded in Oklahoma as in California, making Oklahoma the most seismically active state in the contiguous United States by a substantial margin.

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It’s Official : America Is in Distress – Place Your Flag Stamp Upside Down

December 20, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

With the Electoral College vote on December 19th confirming Donald Trump as the next president, it is now official that the United States of America is in distress.

We are calling on our readers and supporters to d0 something every day to signify this distress.

And one of these things can be as small as placing your American flag stamps upside down every time you mail something.

The upside down American flag is a time-honored tradition of demonstrating in a small way that the country is in trouble, in distress.

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One Person, One Vote: Time to Eliminate Electoral College

December 20, 2016 by Anna Daniels

By Anna Daniels / San Diego Free Press

Yesterday, December 19, electors cast their votes in the Electoral College against a backdrop of protests across the country, including here in San Diego.

For the second time in some of our memories, the winner of the popular vote lost the Electoral College vote.

Democrats howled after Al Gore’s loss in 2000 and agreed that something must be done about the Electoral College. All of the sound and fury ultimately signified nothing–here we (Democrats) are again.

A useful thought experiment is to imagine what would have happened if Trump had won the popular vote and not the Electoral College. Do you seriously think that we would be hearing about anything except how the election was stolen from Trump?

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Five San Diego Protests Planned for Trump Inauguration Weekend

December 20, 2016 by Doug Porter

By Doug Porter

The ugly reality of the Trump era is coming more into focus every day as announcements about billionaires, generals, and bigots joining his cabinet are made.

I’m looking ahead to the activist actions being planned for the weekend of the inauguration. In addition to local events, there are already rallies, demonstrations, and marches planned for more than 60 cities worldwide.

The local events are still not quite focused, and I expect the lineup will change over the next month. The one that looks to be the biggest will be the Women’s March on January 21st. You can read about them all following next week’s events listed below.

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Progressive Stocking Stuffers for the Impending Trump Era

December 19, 2016 by Jim Miller

A Handful of the Most Important and Interesting Books of 2016

By Jim Miller

If you just can’t bring yourself to give up on the sordid consumer frenzy and go all in for a Buy Nothing Christmas, then perhaps getting your loved ones a few good books to help them navigate the dark near-future is the next best thing.

Here is my annual list of a handful of some of the most instructive stand-out books of 2016:

1. Back in the Spring, I wrote the following about Thomas Frank’s Listen, Liberal Or What Ever Happened to the Party of the People?:

Thomas Frank has written the most important political book of 2016,

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San Diego Trump Opposition March – Horton Plaza – Mon., Dec. 19th

December 19, 2016 by Source

#LoveCanWin
Trump Opposition March

Monday, December 19 -9am-6pm
Horton Plaza
For More Information

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Air Politics (Or Is It Just Gas?)

December 16, 2016 by Source

By Bob Dorn /San Diego Free Press

Because America fell to a fascist coup d’etat only a few weeks ago it’s not too early to talk about how it happened.

First and above all others, the Democratic Party was a necessary player in this debacle. Loyalists will be outraged seeing that in print. After all, they’ll say, we need now more than ever to grow more united, to bond again as Democrats because… stronger together.

But that mother-loving phrase failed, didn’t it? It was empty of substance, like so many others the Dems put up. No one bought it.

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Barrio Logan’s Marine Terminal Expansion Moves Toward Sustainability

December 15, 2016 by Brent Beltran
Thumbnail image for Barrio Logan’s Marine Terminal Expansion Moves Toward Sustainability

[Editor: On Tuesday, Dec. 13th, more than 40 community members from Barrio Logan, Logan Heights and Sherman Heights attended a hearing to urge Port of San Diego commissioners to reduce pollution and incorporate community benefits into the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal Expansion plan.

According to the California Environmental Protection Agency’s environmental justice screening tool, CalEnviroScreen, Barrio Logan remains among the worst five percent of neighborhoods suffering from the cumulative impacts of pollution in California. You can read the press release from the Environmental Health Coalition here.

SDFP Editor Brent Beltrán was one of the speakers. Here is what he said.]

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Trump’s Cabinet Picks: A Basket of Deplorables

December 15, 2016 by John Lawrence

Trump's Cabinet PicksA Secy of Labor Who Doesn’t Believe in the Minimum Wage

By John Lawrence

Trump has chosen fast food executive Andrew Puzder as Secretary of Labor. Puzder is chief executive of CKE Restaurants, the corporation that owns Hardee’s and Carls Jr fast food chains.

The corporation has 3300 locations in 42 states and 28 countries. Puzder has advocated replacing human beings with machines in fast food restaurants.

He famously said, “They’re always polite, they always upsell, they never take a vacation, they never show up late, there’s never a slip-and-fall, or an age, sex, or race discrimination case.”

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The Humiliating Ruin of Mitt Romney

December 15, 2016 by Source

Photo by DonkeyHotey

By Brett Warnke / San Diego Free Press

The emperor Tiberius famously retreated to Capri engaging in every torment and excess imaginable. One of his favorites was tossing his foes off the cliffs onto the rocks while, down below, his soldiers would beat the fallen bodies with oars.

Now, two thousand years later, it’s not a revolution or an emboldened left that mercilessly tossed the Bush and Clinton dynasties—along with Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, and now Mitt Romney off the headlands and onto the cliff rocks, it was Donald Trump.

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Open Letter to Electors: Exercise Judgement and Choice

December 15, 2016 by Source

Editor: The following Letter to Electors promulgated by Daniel Brezenoff and signed by electors, law professors and many others, is being published in newspapers across the country.

San Diego event on December 19 listed at end of article.
_______________________

Esteemed Electors:

We, a bipartisan coalition of Americans including Electors, scholars, officials, and concerned citizens write to you in the spirit of fellowship, out of our sense of patriotism, and with great urgency.

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Developer – Insider Benefits from Affordable Housing Program By Building Coastal McMansions

December 14, 2016 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for Developer – Insider Benefits from Affordable Housing Program By Building Coastal McMansions

A developer and political insider – a former chairman of the San Diego Planning Commission – appears to have benefited big-time from a City of San Diego affordable and sustainability housing program – that he was ineligible for – by being allowed to construct single-family McMansions at the coast.

Tim Golba of Golba Architecture was given the green light by the City’s Development Services Department to obtain the permits for his single family home projects through the city’s “Affordable/In-Fill Housing and Sustainable Buildings Expedite Program.” We know this, thanks to the diligence of the Voice of San Diego.

The program is supposed to allow for building permits to be processed in half of the normal time, for a $500 fee, …

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San Diego City Council, Day One: New Faces, Old Politics

December 14, 2016 by Doug Porter

san-diego-city-council-chambersBy Doug Porter

Love rescue me, come forth and speak to me,” lyrics from a Bob Dylan/U2 song, echoed across Horton Plaza as current and newly-elected city officials, including the mayor, city council and city attorney, streamed into the Balboa Theater on Monday, Dec. 12th.

The Voices of Our City Choir, most of whom are homeless, were there serving as a reminder of the inhumane practices that are the end result of years of neglect, greed, and incompetence in local government.

Speakers at the People’s Inaugural, representing the voices of the dispossessed and downtrodden, called out for Emergency Humanitarian Action, urging the Mayor to suspend the ticketing, arrest of, and stay away orders for unsheltered homeless San Diegans.

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Making Sense of the CIA’s Story on Comrade Trump’s Campaign

December 13, 2016 by Doug Porter

Comrade Trump'sBy Doug Porter

On Friday afternoon, the Washington Post dropped a bombshell of a story making the claim that disinformation/hacking efforts during the 2016 presidential campaign were aimed at supporting the candidacy of President-elect Donald Trump.

On Saturday, the New York Times took it a step further, reporting that the Russians had also hacked the Republicans’ data, but didn’t disclose it out of antipathy to the Clinton campaign.

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National Presidential Popular Vote: Clinton Leads Trump by Over 2.8 Million

December 12, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

As a continuing public service, we publish the latest in the 2016 National Presidential Popular Vote.

As of Monday, Dec. 12th, Hillary Clinton leads Trump by over 2.8 million votes – 2,844,030.

These continuing series of public service announcements would not be necessary except for the fact that Trump continues to proclaim that he won in a “landslide”.

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San Diego Labor Opposes Dakota Access Pipeline

December 12, 2016 by Jim Miller

nodapl02 DAPLBy Jim Miller

The Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) and the heroic struggle against it have ignited a big battle inside of American labor. Earlier this fall an excellent article in Common Dreams outlined the split over DAPL at the national level with key trades unions and AFL-CIO leader Richard Trumka backing the pipeline and criticizing the protests while other large national unions were issuing statements supporting the Standing Rock resistance.

Here in California and elsewhere, Trumka’s letter in support of the pipeline received strong condemnation.

For instance, a response to it that I penned as chair of the California Federation of Teachers Climate Justice Task Force challenges the AFL-CIO leader in the strongest possible terms:

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