Labor

The 2016 Mayoral Contest: Lori Saldaña Aims to Offer a Choice, Not an Echo

April 29, 2016 by Doug Porter

Lori Saldana official picBy Doug Porter

If you buy into the notion, currently in vogue with supporters of Senator Bernie Sanders, of Democratic party orthodoxy as being little more than Republican lite, then Lori Saldaña would the logical choice to vote for in the upcoming San Diego mayoral primary.

The former assemblywoman has an activist pedigree, a history of hard-fought grassroots campaigns, and the enmity of the local political establishment.

In January Saldaña launched an independent campaign to challenge Kevin Faulconer, undaunted by a million dollar war chest (including PACs) and the advantages accompanying incumbency in America’s Finest City. The current mayor’s single greatest accomplishment thus far, in my opinion, has been directing the public relations players at his disposal in a non-stop symphony of praise for their leader, so it ain’t gonna be easy.

Environmental Activism, Plus

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“This Mayor Has Got to Go!” Faulconer Opponents Say at Town Council Debate

April 28, 2016 by Frank Gormlie
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Mayor Kevin Faulconer wasn’t too popular at last night’s Ocean Beach Town Council meeting during the “mayoral dialogue”.

First, he didn’t show.

Second, both his opponents, former-Assemblywoman Lori Saldana, and San Diego Lifeguard leader Ed Harris, trained their sights on Faulconer and not on each other.

And third, this was Ocean Beach – the liberal bastion of the city – which usually votes Democratic; Kevin Faulconer is a Republican.

But still, Faulconer used to represent Ocean Beach – and the rest of District 2 – when he sat on the City Council. And the crowd of the 80 or so good-natured souls in attendance probably would have applauded him if he had showed. But he didn’t and neither did his aide, John Ly.

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Mayor Faulconer’s Republican Unicorns: Jobs! And the Minimum Wage Veto

April 20, 2016 by Doug Porter

Kevin Faulconer headshot colorrevers Kevin Faulconer headshot

The Committee for Slave Wages and Free Puppies for Everybody Lives On

By Doug Porter

Have you seen the Falconer for Mayor ads in social media yet? San Diego’s incumbent mayor is claiming credit –sort of– for a 34% drop in local unemployment since he was elected. If you buy into this claim, you’ll love the expected follow-up ads claiming credit for the sun rising, the sun setting, and better-than-usual surf in Ocean Beach.

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Replacing Rasputin: A Subtext of the Election Contest for San Diego City Attorney

April 19, 2016 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for Replacing Rasputin: A Subtext of the Election Contest for San Diego City Attorney

By Doug Porter

Termed-out City Attorney Jan Goldsmith felt free to drop the pretense of serving all the public last week during his introduction of Texas Senator Ted Cruz at a campaign rally in Mission Valley.

“We believe in jobs, freedom and security. You know something? The Democrats don’t believe in these values,” Goldsmith said. So much for my theory that he wasn’t an ideologue.

There are four Democrats and one Republican running for the City Attorney slot. I emailed them all late last week, asking their reaction to Goldsmith’s comments. The responses are listed in the order I received them.

Democrat Bryan Pease, activist attorney who Feels the Bern:

Funny–if you switch the word “Democrats” with “Republicans” in his quote, it would be objectively accurate based on measurable criteria and outcomes of their policies.

Democrat Gil Cabrera, attorney & former chairman of the San Diego Ethics Commission (Not reappointed by former Mayor Jerry Sanders):

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City Council Races Beg the Question: When is a Democrat Not a Democrat?

April 14, 2016 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for City Council Races Beg the Question: When is a Democrat Not a Democrat?

By Doug Porter

Are there candidates running for City Council in Districts 3 and 9 supported by interests with a history of backing Republicans really Democrats? Do campaign donations define a public official?

Is Bernie Sanders a Democrat? Is Hillary Clinton just a Republican in drag? How about Congressman Scott Peters after his votes on refugees and trade? Are people who used to be Republicans ever to be trusted? Where do you draw the line?

In this column I’ll explore these questions as they impact a couple of local contests…

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Immigrants Shouldn’t Be Locked Up for Being Poor

April 13, 2016 by Source

jail_cell_1336162381_600x275By Michael Tan, Staff Attorney, Immigrants’ Rights Project, ACLU

In the federal criminal bail system, judges are required to consider someone’s financial ability to pay a bond and determine if alternative conditions of supervision — check-ins, travel restrictions — are enough to get the person to show up for court.

But such protections don’t apply to immigrants locked up in detention centers. The result is that people like Cesar Matias, a gay man from Honduras, end up jailed simply because they’re poor.

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Statement by Ed Harris – Candidate for San Diego Mayor

April 11, 2016 by Source
Thumbnail image for Statement by Ed Harris – Candidate for San Diego Mayor

Editor: Here we post, unedited, a statement from Ed Harris who is running for San Diego’s mayor. We do welcome statements from other candidates.

A mayoral debate has been set for the next OB Town Council meeting for Wednesday, April 27th. Harris and Lori Saldana have confirmed for the debate, but Mayor Kevin Faulconer has not.

Progress, Not Politics

By Ed Harris

Kevin Faulconer is a nice enough guy. He’s worked hard to build an image as a down-to-earth
problem solver. His political handlers claim that polls show he’s viewed favorably by most
voters. In fact, they say he’s done such a good job that he’s now a contender to be California’s
next governor.

So an obvious question is, why am I running against him for mayor in the June 7 primary
election?

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Here’s to the Folks Who Demanded the Impossible and Brought Us the $15 an Hour Minimum Wage: The Labor Movement

April 11, 2016 by Jim Miller

Marching Inside Wendy's just one year ago... (SEIU Photo)

By Jim Miller

Time to give credit where credit is due. It was not the noblesse oblige of individual politicians or the Democratic Party that brought us the $15 dollar an hour minimum wage, it was the labor movement.

Surely, the governors of New York and California and their fellow Democrats in those statehouses deserve credit for listening to the cry for economic justice and having the good sense to do the right thing, but the historic victory of the Fight for $15 that we have just celebrated would never have come to pass without the bold vision and prolonged struggle of working people standing together and demanding what many called impossible.

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First Look at San Diego’s June 2016 Primary Ballot

April 1, 2016 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for First Look at San Diego’s June 2016 Primary Ballot

By Doug Porter

The 2016 primary season is officially upon us. Today I’m presenting a quick review of what San Diego City voters can expect to see on June 7 (Or earlier if voting by mail). This is just the first of what will be many columns and articles over the next two months. And, yes, we’ll be talking about other contests throughout the region.

After months of hand-wringing in the pundit class, we now have two viable challengers to incumbent Mayor Kevin Faulconer. Odd-numbered city council districts are up for grabs, and three of those will choosing somebody new to represent residents.

There are ballot measures A thru I, most of which are updates to the City Charter. Just about the time your eyes will want to glaze over from all the legalese coming from Measure G, there will be two significant choices to follow. Stay Awake. These are important decisions.

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Assault on Public Employee Unions Fizzles at the Supreme Court

April 1, 2016 by Doug Porter

Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association Gets Split Decision

By Doug Porter

Friedrichs-v.-California-Teachers-AssociationRebecca Friedrichs, the elementary school teacher honored with a ‘Torch of Freedom Award’ at the San Diego County Republican Party’s annual Lincoln-Reagan dinner last weekend, won’t be celebrating this weekend.

[On Tuesday, March 29th], in a single-sentence order, the Supreme Court announced that the judgment of a lower court rejecting an effort to defund public sector unions “is affirmed by an equally divided court.”. A four-decade-old opinion protecting public sector unions will live to see another day.

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13,000 San Diegans Show Up for Bernie Sanders

March 23, 2016 by Doug Porter

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Si Se Puede! Sanders Wows Young and Diverse Crowd

By Doug Porter

The big news yesterday wasn’t that Senator Bernie Sanders spoke in San Diego. It was the diverse crowd of 13,000 plus people who put their lives on hold for a day to stand up for a better world.

The line to get into the San Diego Convention Center started in the wee hours of the morning. By the time the doors opened at 4pm the line stretched forever. Halls D&E were filled with the first ten thousand or so people in line, and an overflow room was opened. And then a second overflow room was opened.

It is an article of faith among some Sanders supporters that their candidate gets short changed by the media. Today we’ll examine a sampling of local mainstream coverage of yesterday’s events.

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America, Got Fascism?

March 21, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

Trump supporters n text js

Okay, America – are we ready for fascism?

Is this a legit question these days? It happens that a lot of political commenters, pundits and journalists are asking the question: ‘is the good ol’ US of A ready for an American brand of fascism, in the form of the Donald Trump for president movement?’

As the presidential campaign season degenerated into racist and xenophobic diatribes by the Republican front runner, with those images of Trump supporters pledging their loyalty to him in Hitleresque salutes, after that scene in Chicago when the Trump rally was cancelled, triggering skirmishes between Trump supporters and demonstrators, it seems everybody is forming an opinion of whether Donald Trump is a fascist, comparing him to Hitler and Mussolini, and other dictators.

Those denouncing Trump as a fascist include who you’d expect – progressive and liberal journalists and commentators, like Bob Dreyfus on TomDispatch, who called Trump a “proto-fascist”, or like Robert Reich who called Trump out as a fascist. Also, moderate columnist Dana Milbank writing in the Washington Post sees Trump as flirting with fascism.

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Ireland: an 800 Year Political Struggle

March 16, 2016 by Michael Steinberg
Thumbnail image for Ireland: an 800 Year Political Struggle

The following article originally appeared in 1988 in Justice Speaks, a publication of Black Workers For Justice, in North Carolina.

Almost 30 years later, Ireland is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Easter uprising of 1916, which eventually freed most of the country from British rule.

But the nation is still one of many around the globe that has yet to complete its “Unfinished Revolution,” because that phase of the struggle ended with its northeastern region partitioned in the 1920s into a new entity, “Northern Ireland,” so that places like Strabane still remain under British domination and occupation to this day.

by Michael Steinberg

On November 29th [1988] the European Court of Human Rights ruled that a British law allowing Britain to detain suspects for up to 7 days without charging them is a breach of the European Convention of Human Rights. The court’s decision is a blow to Britain’s attempts to crush the 800-year old Irish national movement. While the British government incorrectly portrays this as a religious conflict, in reality it is a political struggle for liberation and independence from British rule.

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Meet Sarah Saez: Candidate for San Diego City Council District 9

March 14, 2016 by Jim Miller

Sarah-Saez-Organizer-225x300By Jim Miller

Sarah Saez is best known locally for her work on the heroic United Taxi Drivers of San Diego campaign. As labor leader Richard Barrera noted after their big win in 2014:

The victory by UTWSD comes five years after drivers, improperly classified as independent contractors and without NLRB recognition, came together and organized a strike to protest their wages, benefits and working conditions.

Despite constant harassment, retaliation and intimidation by permit holders and dispatch companies over the last five years, and despite obstruction by public agencies, these workers stuck together, fought back against injustice, and prevailed.

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San Diego Raise the Wage Campaign Begins Door to Door Campaign

March 11, 2016 by Doug Porter

raise the wageAdvocates for an increase in the local minimum wage are wisely ignoring mutterings from the Chamber of Commerce ilk about a muted opposition response to an upcoming referendum.

This June San Diegans will be voting to increase San Diego’s minimum wage to $11.50 per hour and allow workers to earn up to five sick days per year. The increase of the minimum wage to $11.50 would be phased in through 2017 with indexing to inflation starting on January 1, 2019:

  • $10.50 – June, 8, 2016
  • $11.50 – January 1, 2017
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Gonzalez Bill Opens the Door for Rights of Gig Economy Workers

March 11, 2016 by Doug Porter

uber graphicBy Doug Porter

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez has (re-)introduced legislation (AB 1727) ensuring that independent contractors working in the gig economy are allowed workplace rights currently enjoyed by conventional employees.

Thus begins what will likely be a multi-year struggle to redefine the role of labor in the 21st century.

The rights under consideration include negotiating as a group, communicating with customers and the public, boycotting or critiquing a hosting platform’s business practices, and reporting publicly or to law enforcement any practices in violation of local, state, or federal laws.

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International Women’s Day: A Google Doodle, 79 Cents on the Dollar and a Dollop of Socialist History

March 8, 2016 by Doug Porter

women's day protest By Doug Porter

We should all be thankful that retailing moguls haven’t been able to figure out a way to make International Women’s Day a sales event.

In San Diego, a mid-day downtown (7th & B) demonstration heralded the struggles of Immigrant Women around the world, calling out poverty, abuse and exploitation in the janitorial workforce.

Today we’ll take a look around the media world to see what is happening with regard to women on March 8, 2016.

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Whiskey Tango Foxtrot? San Diego Democrats Set to Shoot Themselves in the Foot Again

March 3, 2016 by Doug Porter

Ed Harris via Point Loma Democratic Club

By Doug Porter

News of a credible Democrat entering the race for mayor of San Diego barely made it onto social media yesterday before intra-party sniping began. The political party with majority registration in America’s Finest City couldn’t even field a candidate, and now its past bad behavior is threatening to sabotage a chance at salvation.

This should have been a serious bump in the road to Kevin Faulconer’s primary coronation, namely that a third well-known candidate made the 50%+1 threshold more difficult, with former City Council member Ed Harris jumping into the mayoral race, according to papers filed with the city clerk.

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Ed Harris to Run for San Diego Mayor

March 2, 2016 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for Ed Harris to Run for San Diego Mayor

Another big name has entered the San Diego mayoral contest – Ed Harris – who represented Ocean Beach and Point Loma and the rest of District 2 for most of 2014 as an interim councilman – is in the race.

Harris – a Democrat – announced Tuesday he’s throwing his hat in the ring (any other analogies out there?).

Besides sitting on the City Council, Harris has been the head of the city’s lifeguards union. Harris has been a strong advocate for getting better health care for lifeguards, and has been alerting the City to a looming lifeguard shortage, as many experienced people are retiring over the next 2 years.

While on the City Council, he continued his support for labor issues, as well as community issues. He took issue with the City contracts with businesses leasing Belmont Park, popularizing the view that the City wasn’t getting enough out of the deal. His efforts were overturned later by Councilwoman Lorie Zapf, who won the seat in the primary.

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What A New Supreme Court Means for Unions, Education Funding, and the Future of California

February 22, 2016 by Jim Miller

Photo by tedeytan

By Jim Miller

With the death of Antonin Scalia on February 13th, public sector unions in America were given a reprieve from what was sure to be a bad ruling in the Friedrichs v CTA case before the Supreme Court.

As Michael Hiltzik explained in the Los Angeles Times:

The target of the Friedrichs lawsuit, and several others just like it, is the “agency” or “fair share” fee. Under the law and according to a 1977 Supreme Court decision known as the Abood case, unionized public employees can be assessed nonmember fees to cover solely the cost of negotiations and contract enforcement, without being compelled to join the union and support its political activities by paying full union dues. That’s the arrangement in California.

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June Vote Set for San Diego Minimum Wage Increase

February 11, 2016 by Doug Porter

Todd Gloria

By Doug Porter

Voters in the city of San Diego will get a chance to weigh in on an ordinance providing stepped increases in the minimum wage and up to five earned sick days annually in the June 2016 primary election.

A historic wrong will be righted with public approval of the measure, implementation of which was delayed by a deceptive petition campaign financed by out of town interests whose business model depends on government assistance to their employees.

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Quality Of Life Coalition Calls on SANDAG to Place Vision on Ballot

February 8, 2016 by Jim Miller

quality of lifeBy Jim Miller

In a recent interview, Naomi Klein discussed the reality facing anyone interested in promoting meaningful climate action.

The “structural problem” we face, according to Klein, is that people can “simultaneously understand the medium to long term risks of climate change” and still believe it is in their “short term economic [or political] interest” to continue business as usual.

This is precisely the situation concerned San Diegans face when dealing with the San Diego Association of Governments’ (SANDAG) limited vision when it comes to taking the actions needed to address the pressing threat of climate change at the local level.

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Lessons From 1965: Why Employment-Based Reform Is Xenophobia In Disguise

February 1, 2016 by Source
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By Carlos Batara

Politics is a game of unintended consequences. One needs to look no further than the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

As a San Diego / San Bernardino immigration lawyer, it is not uncommon to hear immigration activists praise the virtues of the Act. Yet, a retrospective review reveals that it was politics as usual. Benevolence was not the foremost consideration of most in Congress.

The Civil Rights Connection: Fact And Fiction

The Act was inspired by the Civil Rights Act as well as our nation’s quest for ethnic diversity and racial equality. In some political corners, the immigration bill was characterized as a progressive extension of the civil rights movement.

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Whither 2016 Ballot Measures?: The Oracle Jerry Brown Weighs In

January 25, 2016 by Jim Miller

Photo by Freedom To Marry

By Jim Miller

As I noted in my New Year’s column, many in California’s labor and progressive circles had high hopes for ballot measures extending Proposition 30’s taxes on the rich to fully fund education and for raising the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour.

But it did not take long for Governor Jerry Brown to rain on his presumed allies’ parade.

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Reader Rave: ‘Lets Recognize San Diego’s Good Samaritans’

January 15, 2016 by Source

medalBy Mic Porte

San Diego hosts many people. We advertise our world famous beaches, attractions and weather to the world. We invite people to come. We pay fancy advertising campaigns on the billboards of Times Square in New York City at New Year’s.

The police, fire-rescue, lifeguards and Coast Guard cannot patrol every inch of coastline, border, road, etc. It is a tribute to the Good Samaritans among us that there are not more tragedies along the coast, on the roads and in other public places.

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Baby Skylar Rae Arrives in Sedona

January 4, 2016 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for Baby Skylar Rae Arrives in Sedona

My grand-daughter finally arrived on January 2nd in the New Year – Skylar Rae Seguin was born at 4:50 a.m. Sedona, Arizona time.

She and mom – Michelle – and dad – Forrest – are all doing fine. Tired but fine.

Skylar came in and weighed 7 pounds 12 ounces, and was 20 inches in length.

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What’s Up With the OB Rag? – Editordude in Sedona Waiting for Daughter’s Baby

December 28, 2015 by Staff

Yeah, we know. The OB Rag has been down a number of days just recently.

And it’s all because Editordude took off for Sedona, Arizona last week – where his daughter, Michelle, is about to give birth.

December 28th is her “due date” but as anybody whose ever been a mother knows, the due date is a statistical figure and not every baby is big on statistics.

So, editordude is hanging out in Sedona – along with some other relatives – waiting for the birth.

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“Refugees, Late Summer Night” by Steve Kowit – An Excerpt From Sunshine/Noir II

December 22, 2015 by Source

By Steve Kowit

Woke with a start, the dogs barking out by the fence,
yard flooded with light. Groped my way to the window.
Out on the road a dozen quick figures
hugging the shadows: bundles slung at their shoulders
& water jugs at their hips. You could hear,
under the rattle of wind, as they passed,
the crunch of sneakers on gravel. Pollos. Illegals
who’d managed to slip past the Border Patrol, …

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News from Ocean Beach and Point Loma – Mid-December 2015

December 14, 2015 by Frank Gormlie

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@ Will New Vegan Restaurant at Sunset Plaza Be a “Drive-up”?

@ OB Christmas Tree Has Given Twice But Why So Many Cops?

@ Lifeguards May Halt Rescues in Polluted Water Until Healthcare Coverage Improves

@ Midway Fatal Shooting by Cop – Victim’s Brother Speaks Out – ‘No way was he attacking the cop’

@ Three Surfers Rescued Dec. 12th – One With Head Injury – Another Surfer Rescued Off Ladera
@ Newport Ave to Get a Make-Over
@ OB’s Dave Martin Joins Pt Loma Association Board
@ Props for OB’s “Holiday Parade”
@ Short Term Rentals Ordinance Goes Back to the Drawing Board and Peninsulans Weigh in
@ Short Term Rentals Slip

@ OB Makes “Young and Single” Neighborhood List – Duh!
@ Hearing for Point Loma Man Charged with Human Trafficking
@ Homeless Guy in PB Protests McDonalds
@ “Grimace Rock” Off Tourmaline a Hidden Danger
@ Some Reminiscing About Point Loma During World War II

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In San Diego and Elsewhere, Increasing Demands for Police Reform

December 10, 2015 by Doug Porter

San diego police carsSDPD Union Contracts Under Scrutiny

By Doug Porter

Despite promises of increased transparency and action to prevent misconduct, the San Diego Police Department continues to draw criticism.

Law enforcement agencies around the country are under increasing scrutiny, as reports about use of excessive force, sexual assault, and abuse of power surface. Here, I’ll take a look at recent developments both locally and nationally.

Taking things one step further, activists associated with Black Lives Matter have broadened their Campaign Zero to include researching police union-negotiated labor agreements in many jurisdictions with the aim of flagging provisions delaying the interrogation of officers being investigated for use of force and used in erasing documentation of abuse.

San Diego is one of the cities under scrutiny.

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