Labor

OSHA Wins Case Against SeaWorld Involving Death of Orca Trainer

April 11, 2014 by Source
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From OH&S / Apr 11, 2014

OSHA has won the appellate case involving its enforcement case against SeaWorld of Florida LLC following the death of killer whale trainer Dawn Brancheau on Feb. 24, 2010. A 2-1 decision issued April 11 by a panel of three judges of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit found that SeaWorld “recognized its precautions were inadequate to prevent serious bodily harm or even death to its trainers and that the residual hazard was preventable.”

“The remedy imposed for SeaWorld’s violations does not change the essential nature of its business,” the majority opinion written by Judge Judith W. Rogers states. “There will still be human interactions and performances with killer whales; the remedy will simply require that they continue with increased safety measures.”

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Democrats’ Revenge: San Diego City Council Appointment of Ed Harris Tilts Council Left

April 8, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for Democrats’ Revenge: San Diego City Council Appointment of Ed Harris Tilts Council Left

Appointment of Democrat Is Complicated even with “Super-majority”

The Democrats on the San Diego City Council took revenge on their Republican colleagues yesterday by appointing another Democrat to the Council. As of 5pm Monday, April 7, there are now 6 Democrats to the 3 Republicans on the Council after they choose Ed Harris, a lifeguard and union head – and Democrat, to take the seat to represent District 2.

This retaliatory measure was, in no small part, revenge for the defeat of the Democratic candidate in the last mayor’s election, where David Alvarez lost to Republican Kevin Faulconer. Faulconer vacated his seat for the 2nd District when he stepped up to the mayor’s floor of City Hall.

With a 6 to 3 tilt, the City Council now leans left, …

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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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A Review of “Cesar Chavez” the Film: Sí, Se Puede

April 3, 2014 by Source
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By Byron Morton

Cesar Chavez shows the political evolution and the struggles of the man behind the movement during the 1960s to organize the farm workers in California. Through the United Farm Workers (UFW) Chavez (played by Michael Peña) brings bargaining rights and dignity for the impoverished farm workers. The UFW motto during this time was “Sí, se puede” or yes, it is possible.

It is important to remember at that time in the 1960s the National Labor Relations Act of 1935 did not protect farm workers and others. The Act “is a foundational statute of US labor law which guarantees basic rights of private sector employees to organize into trade unions, engage in collective bargaining for better terms and conditions at work, and take collective action including strikes if necessary.”

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UCSD Grad Students Protest Controversial Employment Policy

April 3, 2014 by Source

UCSD grad students protesting.Doctoral students rally against the 18 Quarter Limit

By Daniel Gutiérrez

La Jolla, California — Students at the University of California, San Diego stormed the Office of Graduate Studies Tuesday, April 1, to protest a controversial employment policy implemented across the University of California.

The “18 Quarter Limit” restricts doctoral students by only allotting them 18 quarters to be teaching assistants, readers, or graduate student researchers. Such positions, if secured, reduce a graduate student’s tuition from roughly $5,200 a quarter to a mere $196. The action came on the eve of the two-day strike that will be held April 2nd and 3rd at UCSD.

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Outgoing CEO Paul Jacobs to Shareholders: Tell Your Congressman to Give Qualcomm a Tax Break!

March 26, 2014 by Source

pauljacobs1By John Lawrence / San Diego Free Press

In his final message after more than eight years as chief executive officer of Qualcomm Inc. (QCOM), Paul Jacobs on March 4 gave employees shareholders what he called a “homework assignment.” “Send your Congress people your opinion that you’d like American companies to be able to bring offshore money back to the United States to either reinvest or return to shareholders”, said Jacobs, now executive chairman of the San Diego based chipmaker, which has $21.6 billion in overseas profits.

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City Council Makes First Step Towards Raising the Minimum Wage in San Diego

March 26, 2014 by Doug Porter
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By Doug Porter / San Diego Free Press

The room was packed Monday, March 24th, for a meeting of the Economic Development and Intergovernmental Relations Committee as Councilman Todd Gloria successfully gained approval to draft ballot language on a measure proposed for the November ballot raising the minimum wage and granting paid sick leave for San Diegans.

Gloria will consult with City Attorney Jan Goldsmith and bring the measure back for consideration by the committee on April 30th. We can only hope the City Councilman president has the language double-checked by an outside attorney who doesn’t have a vested ideological interest in the measure failing.

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

March 24, 2014 by Jim Miller

By Jim Miller

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

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

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San Diego to Hold Hearing on Raising Minimum Wage – Monday, March 24

March 21, 2014 by Source

By Miriam Raftery / East County Magazine

Should workers have the right to earned sick days? Should the minimum wage be raised in San Diego? A City Council committee will hold a hearing on these issues on Monday, March 24 at 9:30 a.m. at City Hall.

A new organization, Raise Up San Diego will hold a rally outside Council Chambers at 202 C Street in support of these proposals.

“Come be part of history as the Improving Wages and Working Conditions measure is introduced at the Economic Development and Intergovernmental Relations Committee,” an e-mail invitation from the organization states.

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Increasing San Diego’s Minimum Wage: If You’re Not at the Table, You’re on the Menu

March 21, 2014 by Doug Porter

raiseminwageBy Doug Porter / San Diego Free Press

The ‘Improving Wages and Working Conditions’ measure is set to be introduced at the City Council Economic Development and Intergovernmental Relations (EDIR) Committee on Monday morning. In addition to calling for an increase in the minimum wage, the proposed initiative would also guarantee workers up to five earned sick days.

While serving as iMayor, Councilman Todd Gloria made a bold pledge to get a measure before the voters that would raise local minimum wages. He’s now softened that pledge a bit making it clear that the actual amount of any increase is negotiable. And the opening negotiating position for the Chamber of Commerce (and their as yet silent allies) is: Zero.

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Cheswick’s Bartenders Pass the Boot in OB to Help Firefighters

March 6, 2014 by Matthew Wood
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By Matthew Wood

For years, Cheswick’s West bartenders Allie Shea and Shelly Hutchison would ring the bell behind the bar whenever one of the local fire trucks would drive by on Newport Avenue to show their love.

Now they do it with a purpose: To raise money for the Fallen Firefighters Foundation (link). That’s because every time one of the trucks drives by, the bar passes around the firefighter’s boot they have perched behind the bar for everyone to donate.

“Every time they drive by, we ring it. People love it,” Hutchison said.

The idea to raise money came about after Shea took part in the San Diego Memorial 911 Stair Climb at the Hilton Bayfront last year. More than 900 people gathered to climb 110 stairs in honor of the firefighters who died on Sept. 11, 2001.

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Now Is the Time to Save Our Postal Commons

March 3, 2014 by Source
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By Matt Stannard / Nation of Change

Editor: There are too many links in the original for us to provide them, so please go to the original article for those links.

For some, the postal service has become an ideological punching bag, proof that “government programs” don’t work and that the state inevitably bureaucratizes services better left to the private sector. In the case of the postal service, this narrative lacks a critical element: fidelity to truth.

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The “Alvarez Effect” and the Future of San Diego

February 17, 2014 by Jim Miller

By Jim Miller

Alvarez14DNobody thought this was going to be easy.

Back in July, at the height of the Filner debacle, I predicted a dire outcome, noting that “in a recall or special election in an off year, the electorate is guaranteed to be more conservative and definitely not favorable” for a progressive replacing Bob Filner because, “Faulconer would have a huge fundraising advantage garnering support from all the usual suspects downtown and benefit from an energized base geared up to hand it to the liberals, unions, minorities, and other foul ‘special interest groups’ that they’ll blame for bringing us the evil that was Bob Filner. With the Democrats dispirited, humiliated and divided, it might not even be much of a fight.”

As it turned out, David Alvarez stepped up and offered progressives hope, and the labor movement surprised everyone by actually being able to raise more money than the Faulconer forces. Sadly, on Tuesday, many of us were crying in our beer instead.

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Cohn’s New “OB Warehouse” About to Open on Newport – Old Portugalia Sign Finally Gone

February 14, 2014 by Matthew Wood
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Ding dong, the wicked sign is gone.

You know the one I’m talking about. The Portugalia sign – that garish Ed Hardy-tattoo-esque design (that yes, included a cross) painted two stories tall over the now shuttered club on Newport Avenue – has finally been removed, thanks to Tim Spann and the folks at Cohn Restaurant Group.

Spann, who is in charge of signage and some of the interior design for the new OB Warehouse, aided in taking down the old and now out-dated sign – which lorded over the upstanding exteriors of Newport Avene like an hulking gargoyle. Its reign over the village is finally over, as the new “OB Warehouse” sign went up on Wednesday.

We got a sneak peek inside the new place, …

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In the Battle for the Soul of San Diego David Alvarez Stands for All of Us

February 10, 2014 by Jim Miller

1658660_769012429793127_570456494_oBy Jim Miller

San Diego is on the national stage again.

As the final week of the dead heat mayoral showdown unfolded, Politico reported on “the battle for San Diego,” the Sacramento Bee’s Dan Walters pondered whether the race would be a harbinger of things to come in California politics, and the New York Times covered “a battle of ideology in a city unaccustomed to that sort of election,” astutely noting, as I did here at the San Diego Free Press during the primary, that this contest is “a test of whether yet another big-city Democrat can be elected by riding a wave of populism, much as Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York did last fall.”

And that test is happening because last November David Alvarez defied the pundits and political insiders and beat the prohibitive favorite, Nathan Fletcher, in the race to face Kevin Faulconer in the run-off to be San Diego’s next mayor. This was a seminal moment for San Diego—perhaps the biggest political upset in the history of the city.

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The Women Volunteers of the San Salvador

February 10, 2014 by Judi Curry

Eager volunteers work long hours recreating Cabrillo’s galleon at Spanish Landing

judy2

Editor: We covered the building of the San Salvador by San Diego volunteers back in May of 2012 and posted a photo essay of the wonderful reconstruction of the Spanish galleon. Here, Judi Curry continues our coverage with a special focus on the women volunteers, the Women of the San Salvador.

By Judi Curry

The Maritime Museum of San Diego is building a $5 million replica of San Salvador, the galleon Cabrillo guided here in 1542 when he became the first European to explore what is today known as San Diego Bay. The museum has dedicated a construction site for the ship which was donated by the San Diego Port District on public land at Spanish Landing, 2 miles from where its main collection of historic vessels are docked on North Harbor Drive.

Thirty-five months have passed since the keel was first laid in March of 2011. This three-masted galleon, totaling 88 feet of beautiful wood will weigh 200,000 tons when completed. Plans call for the ship to open as a paid attraction in 2014, when it joins the museum’s other ships at the nearby embarcadero.

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Hanging Out With the Crew of the OB Firehouse

February 6, 2014 by Matthew Wood
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Editor: A few months ago, OB Rag reporter Matt Wood had the privilege of spending the day with OB firefighters – the crew of C Division at the Ocean Beach No. 15 Firehouse. His post was part of the Rag’s continuing series of articles about the public servants who serve the people of Ocean Beach – our effort to put faces on good folks who often go unknown to the neighborhoods they serve.

Matt’s story got great feedback and he was invited back again – this time to hang out with one of the other two divisions. Here’s his account of that day with them.

By Matthew Wood

The A Division is losing its leader. Instead of mourning the loss of a tremendous firefighter, they are taking the opportunity to celebrate.

Division captain Bryon Wenger will retire later this month as he closes in on 38 years fighting fires, 27 of them in San Diego and the last few (he can’t completely remember how long) here in OB.

To celebrate, Wenger is going for a run. Specifically, on his last day he’s going to run all the way from his home in Lakeside to the station on Voltaire. That’s 24 miles, nearly the length of a marathon.

“Well, not quite a marathon,” Wenger says with a smile.

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Faulconer’s Fantasy History TV Ad: “Times When Union Cronies Ruled San Diego”

February 3, 2014 by Jim Miller

Faulconer is hoping that you just won’t remember that the pension scandal occurred under a Republican mayor

rewrite-historyBy Jim Miller

As we head down the stretch run of the campaign to elect San Diego’s next mayor, Kevin Faulconer’s anti-union hysteria has reached critical mass.

In his latest TV ad a very serious woman’s voice warns us that despite the fact that “We need progress in San Diego,” David Alvarez wants to “take us back to times when union cronies ruled San Diego.” She goes on to warn us that Alvarez is being brought to you by “union bosses” who want “lavish pensions” and “no accountability” while “streets crumble” and “neighborhoods suffer.”

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Mayoral Race Polling, Pensions, and Plutocracy

January 27, 2014 by Jim Miller

yo voteBy Jim Miller

Last week a new poll by Public Policy Polling (PPP) funded by the Democratic Party came out that showed the race to become San Diego’s next mayor a dead heat with Alvarez at 46% and Faulconer just behind with 45%.

In another poll, Latino Decisions and the Latino Victory Project appraised Latino voters on the race and got radically different results than both the earlier Survey USA/UT-SD poll, a Republican Party poll , and the more recent PPP effort showing that Alvarez leads 75%-10% among Latino voters.

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Raising the Minimum Wage: at the Heart of the Differences Between Faulconer and Alvarez

January 17, 2014 by Doug Porter

By Doug Porter / San Diego Free Press

San Diego iMayor Todd Gloria’s call for increasing the minimum wage during the State of the City address on Wednesday is drawing sharp reaction from the local wannabe plutocracy. What Gloria proposed was putting any such proposal before the voters next November. The very idea scares the crap out of them.

You take it to the bank that these “checkbook” democracy types who see it as their duty to pay signature gatherers to spread misinformation getting their corporate vetoes of city council actions blessed at the ballot box will now act to make sure that a proposal via our elected representatives never makes it before the voters.

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The United Nations in My Closet.

January 15, 2014 by Source
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By John Filthy

People don’t often look at where their clothes come from. We don’t often think about who made them. Our closets are full of garments made by people making less than a dollar an hour. Don’t let the price of those Nike sneakers throw you. They weren’t expensive to make. They are expensive because you will pay. The profits do not go to better working conditions. Just ask the workers who survived the Savar garment-factory collapse in Bangladesh. The factory that manufactured clothes for Walmart, among others, killed 1,129 people and injured 2,515 when it collapsed on April 24, 2013.

I’m one of those hippy-clone-activist-types. I actually care where my clothes come from and read labels. I’m also a cheapskate and like to wear clothes that look like rags to some. Blame Johnny Rotten and Kurt Cobain. I didn’t invent the fashion. I must look homeless at times because people are always trying to gift me clothes. My better half is always trying to get me to throw clothes out. She is astounded that I can remember where I got each piece of clothing and how old some of them are.

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50 Is the New 65: Older Americans Are Getting Booted from Their Jobs — and Denied New Opportunities

January 9, 2014 by Source

Age discrimination could be headed for you, sooner than you think

ByLynn Stuart Parramore / AlterNet

Age-DiscriminationIn every corner of America, millions of people are terrified of losing their jobs and falling into financial ruin. Men and women with impressive professional achievements and credentials are being let go, nudged out and pushed aside. They are pounding the pavement and scouring the job sites, but find themselves turned away even for the most basic retail jobs. Not because they aren’t competent. Not because they lack skills. But simply because they have a gray hair or two.

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Micro-Farm in Point Loma Looking for Community Gardeners

January 8, 2014 by Staff
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A micro-farm that has been producing organic crops on upper Voltaire Street for nearly two years is now opening itself up for community gardeners.

Herb En Routes- run by Paige and Danielle- has been growing sustainable and local produce on .25 acres on a previously vacant lot at 4113 Voltaire. They were selling organically grown produce to local restaurants, such as Tender Greens, To The Point Cafe, Farmhouse Cafe, and the Pearl Hotel and Restaurant.

Paige and Danielle have now decided this endeavor is a bit too time consuming for them. So, they have decided to turn the farm into a community garden to allow them to work towards other careers but still continue to serve the community.

Starting this month, there are garden plots for rent, starting at $16 a month.

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U-T San Diego Shafts its Employees, Blames Obamacare

January 7, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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By Doug Porter / San Diego Free Press

Employees of the UT-San Diego are the latest casualties in the sordid saga of the right wing’s assault on the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare.

UT Publisher Doug Manchester has made opposition and denigration of the President’s health insurance reform agenda a top priority since the day he bought the paper. His editorial pages have been (figuratively) screaming about the impending end of Western Civilization for months on end. The ACA’s primary pillar—the individual mandate—was actually a conservative counter-proposal to President Clinton’s attempt to implement universal health care nearly two decades ago.

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“The Defining Challenge of Our Time”: Four Things Obama Should Do To Really Start Addressing Inequality

December 9, 2013 by Jim Miller

Obama_inequalityspeechBy Jim Miller

Just as he did last summer during the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, President Obama addressed the issue of economic inequality last week during a speech on the minimum wage and health care, which he delivered in one of the poorest neighborhoods in Washington D.C. His message was stark and pointed as he told the crowd that, “The combined trends of increased inequality and decreasing mobility pose a fundamental threat to the American dream, our way of life and what we stand for around the globe.”

Sounding a populist note, Obama decried the fact that American workers at the bottom end of the pay scale are continuing to “work their tails off and …”

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On Black Friday: I Would Prefer Not To

December 2, 2013 by Jim Miller

walmartBy Jim Miller

As the Salon story reposted here on Black Friday noted there were about 1,500 protests around the country on our annual day of consumer madness mostly designed to shine a light on the horrendous corporate practices of Walmart, America’s beloved externalizing machine. While Walmart’s propaganda insists that the company is a provider of good jobs and many benefits to our communities, the facts suggest otherwise.

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Redemption Time: Alvarez Beats the Odds and Keeps Hope Alive

November 25, 2013 by Jim Miller

Alvarez megaphone

By Jim Miller

Last Tuesday, fortune favored the bold. David Alvarez defied the pundits and political insiders and beat the prohibitive favorite, Nathan Fletcher, in the race to face Kevin Faulconer in the run-off to be San Diego’s next mayor. This was a seminal moment for San Diego—perhaps the biggest political upset in history of the city.

It just wasn’t supposed to happen.

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Riding Along With the Crew of the Ocean Beach Fire Department

November 21, 2013 by Matthew Wood
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By Matthew Wood

Growing up in the Ocean Beach area, Ryan Ybarra had a dream in life: To become a fire fighter at the OB Fire House No. 15. He waited for his opportunity, even enduring a hellacious commute from a job at a fire department the Los Angeles area back to his wife and kids in OB.

Finally, about two years ago, a position opened up at the OB station on Voltaire and Ebers and Ybarra grabbed it. Didn’t matter to him that he lost the seniority he had built up. Or that he had to go through training and the department’s probation program. He knew he was home.

“And I’ll probably finish here,” he said with a smile. “As a kid, I always wanted to work in OB. That commute (from L.A.) just about killed me. But it was definitely worth it.”

Ybarra is an engineer on the 12-man crew at OB fire house. The guys were nice enough to give me access to their daily routine, and even ride along in the fire truck to their daily workout regimen.

Here’s a bit about how it works:

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Absent Progressive Uproar, Social Security and Medicare Face Axe

October 22, 2013 by Source

The lines are being drawn for a ‘Grand Bargain’ and the Democrats’ continued willingness to give away role as defenders of safety net and earned benefit programs, say critics, is deeply worrying

capitol hillBy Jon Queally / Common Dreams

If U.S. citizens are increasingly concerned that the Democratic Party is no longer willing to fight off the right-wing attack on Social Security, Medicare, and other key social programs, Sen. Dick Durbin, President Obama and other party leaders have recently offered plenty of evidence to increase that worry.

Since the end of the government shutdown and standoff over the debt limit ended last week, Obama has repeatedly said that he wants to find a “balanced” solution to the ongoing budget debate with Republican lawmakers.

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The Widder Curry Meets Mayoral Candidate David Alvarez in Ocean Beach

October 14, 2013 by Judi Curry
Thumbnail image for The Widder Curry Meets Mayoral Candidate David Alvarez in Ocean Beach

“Meet and Greet” Is Covered by Famous OB Rag Columnist

A “meet and greet” was held on Sunday, Oct. 13th, in Ocean Beach to introduce us to David Alvarez, a candidate running for the position of Mayor of San Diego.

It was the first time that many of the attendees had ever met Mr. Alvarez, and there was great interest from the over 50 people in attendance in what he had to say, how he said it, and what he sees for the future of San Diego. He gave willingly of his time, and spent almost three hours answering every question asked. It is interesting to note that at no time did he evade the questions, and from this observation was honest and sincere in what he said.

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