January 2012

My – We Certainly Look After Our Own, Don’t We….

January 31, 2012 by Jack Hamlin

Some of you may remember me being a wet blanket to Doug Porter’s request for ideas on how to get arrested for free speech. I very school marm-ily suggested it constituted conspiracy, a felony in California. Be careful and don’t run with scissors.

Then about a week later, several members of Occupy San Diego disrupted the Mayor’s State of the City Address. They did so with the now familiar “Sound Check!” and their follow-up chorus until they were arrested for an anti-free speech law at council meetings and…..conspiracy. And along with the misdemeanor disruption charges, they were charged with felony conspiracy charges as well. Chicken shit, yes…but arrested and charged with a felony nonetheless. [Editor: DA Dumanis has decided not to charge them with felonies and has kicked their case back to the City Attorney.]

Well today, groggily over coffee I read about a Deputy DA and a Cop who conspired to destroy a traffic ticket. A Court Summons! A Court Document! A complete circumvention of the judicial process by those very people who are tasked with “protecting” us. A nose thumbing at those of us who are preyed upon daily at their discretion. Those who have sworn to uphold the constitution and wield authority in an even handed way….deep breath….

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Ocean Beach Planners’ Agenda for Wed. Feb 1, 2012: Should the Board bring the fight with the City to the network of community planners?

January 31, 2012 by Frank Gormlie
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The regular monthly meeting of the OB Planning Board is this Wednesday, February 1st. The Board begins its meetings sharply at 6pm at the Ocean Beach Rec Center, located at 4726 Santa Monica Avenue.

The big ticket item on their agenda this month is whether the OB Board should approach the city-wide organization of recognized community planners, called the Community Planners Committee of (CPC), about the fight the Board is having with the City of San Diego over the City’s granting of improper variances.

The fight centers over the 5100 block of West Point Loma Boulevard and how the City is allowing property owners to circumvent the Ocean Beach Precise Plan with these multiple variances.

In a nutshell, the City has of late been granting multiple variances to property owners on that block which allow them to bypass the requirements of the Precise Plan – which since the mid-Seventies has governed building and construction in Ocean Beach. The Board maintains that these variances are improper – even illegal some say – because the City is using them to get around the zoning in that area, a zoning that was established years ago.

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Why Does It Take a Village to Put a Roof on the OB Library?

January 31, 2012 by Anna Daniels
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Editor: While repairs are going on, Ragster Anna Daniels looks into the funding for the new roof on the OB Library. About two weeks behind schedule, the re-opening of the Ocean Beach branch will now be around the first of March.

It all started with a forwarded email which expressed shock that the OB Library’s Spanish barrel tile roof had recently been replaced with crappy looking shingles. I sat here in City Heights and conjured up the image of the Ocean Beach library where supporters have protested potential budgets far too many times in the past four years. What a crime to sacrifice the architectural integrity of the building to a badly needed new roof done on the cheap!

I immediately called library administration to get the story on this. According to the spokesperson, the old wood shake roof has been replaced by custom composite tile. I had “mis-remembered” a Spanish barrel tile roof and so did others! This custom tile maintains the same “look” but provides fire retardant capabilities that the shake roof didn’t.

End of story? Not quite. I asked about the funding source for the new roof and was surprised to learn that there were multiple sources, which included building maintenance funds, a donation from the OB Friends of the Library and a

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Left and Right Join Together in Mobilization Against National Defense Act – Plan Joint Actions at Congressional Offices – Friday, Feb 3rd

January 31, 2012 by Staff
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In a clear sign that grassroot activists on the left and on the right are joining together to fight the National Defense Act that President Obama signed into law on the last day of 2011, San Diego progressives and tea party groups are mobilizing starting this week in joint actions against local Congressional representatives.

Activists and organizers at both of the ideological ends of the political spectrum are extremely upset and concerned with provisions of the NDAA that will allow the government to pick up and detain American citizens indefinitely without charges and without trials.

A group in San Diego has formed the Save the Bill of Rights; they meet weekly, have a website and facebook, and are planning at least two actions in the upcoming weeks.

On Friday, February 3rd, protesters will simultaneously mobilize at both Duncan Hunter, Jr’s office in El Cajon and at Susan Davis’ office in Normal Heights. Hunter is a Republican and Davis is a Democrat. Both voted for the bill when it was before the House of Representatives. Not too long after that vote late last year, local San Diegans staged a brief sit-in at Davis’ office on Adams Avenue.

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First Cuppa Coffee – Tuesday, January 31st, 2012 – Don’t Tweet on Me Edition…

January 31, 2012 by Doug Porter
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Don’t Tweet On Me…. It’s no secret that our government is working overtime to use social media in their quest to protect Americans from the scrounges of terrorism and European socialism. From Boing Boing: “Two U.K. tourists landing in L.A. were detained and deported because of tweets joking about “diggin’ up” Marilyn Monroe and “destroying” America.” We feel much safer now.

Mexico journal… One of the most curious things about living in San Diego is the near universal ignorance of what’s transpiring in the southern half of our realm, i.e., the Mexican part of our region. While the excuses for this blind eye may be plentiful—language, culture, crime, racism, etc—that doesn’t alter the fact that they are still just excuses. And excuses, as any motivated explorer of the universe will tell you, are for losers. So we’ve made it part of our mission to be inclusive beyond the usual scare stories about cartels and narco-terrorists.

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Why Closure of the Strait of Hormuz Could Ignite a War and a Global Depression

January 31, 2012 by Source
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Hormuz-Mania

By Michael T. Klare / TomDispatch.com / January 31, 2012

Ever since December 27th, war clouds have been gathering over the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow body of water connecting the Persian Gulf with the Indian Ocean and the seas beyond. On that day, Iranian Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi warned that Tehran would block the strait and create havoc in international oil markets if the West placed new economic sanctions on his country.

“If they impose sanctions on Iran’s oil exports,” Rahimi declared, “then even one drop of oil cannot flow from the Strait of Hormuz.” Claiming that such a move would constitute an assault on America’s vital interests, President Obama reportedly informed Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei that Washington would use force to keep the strait open. To back up their threats, both sides have been bolstering their forces in the area and each has conducted a series of provocative military exercises.

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Widder Curry’s Research on Internet Boy Toys

January 31, 2012 by Judi Curry
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In my last article, I discussed my experience of getting back into the dating world. I ended by saying that I would do some more research, purely in the interest of helping other widows find lasting happiness in an otherwise lonely situation.

I only signed up with one dating service, initially. If you remember it was a site for seniors, yet my first date with my “boy toy” was with a man younger than my youngest daughter – 27 years younger than me. He was sexy, well toned, and either after my money (sic) or my bed. Maybe both. That relationship ended with him hanging up on me.

As a good researcher, I decided that I really needed to be signed up with more than one dating site, so I signed up with three more. I used the same profile; the same pictures, and the same physical description. I thought about reducing my age – but wanted to be honest. Why? Who knows?

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Pacific Beach Residents Rally For Local Control Over Alcohol Licensing

January 30, 2012 by Frank Gormlie
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About 100 Residents Protest Violence and Drunkenness in Their Community

Last Friday, January 27th, approximately one hundred residents of Pacific Beach rallied on the boardwalk next to the Crystal Pier. They were there because they had complaints of too much drunkenness and violence caused by all the bars and restaurants in their neighborhood serving booze to young people. They want more local control over alcohol licensing.

The group held a silent march from the Pier to Fanuel Street with lots of signs (one sign stood out – it read: “drunk people are un-cool”.

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New York Times Looks at Purchase of U.S. Newspapers – Including the U-T

January 30, 2012 by Source

Online Ambitions, and a Dash of Real Estate, Drive Newspaper Deals

By Tanzina Vega / New York Times / January 29, 2012

IF the future of media is digital, who would want to buy a newspaper? Many people, it turns out.

Investors acquired the newspapers in several major American cities in the second half of 2011, including The San Diego Union-Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Omaha World-Herald, The San Francisco Examiner and the 16 newspapers that made up The New York Times Company’s Regional Media Group.

Seventy-one daily newspapers were sold in the United States last year, for a total “just under $800 million,” said Owen Van Essen, president of Dirks, Van Essen & Murray, a company that specializes in newspaper mergers and acquisitions.

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Hallelujah! the Brighton Street Beach Restrooms Are Under Construction !

January 30, 2012 by Source
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By Gail Powell / Special to the OB Rag

Hallelujah! The time is upon us; the poor, put upon and forgotten citizens of Ocean Beach. We have lived for many years without a decent toilet to relieve ourselves in while visiting North Ocean Beach. However, the city gods of plumbing have descended on the dead end of Brighton Street and fencing and signage have gone up.

This terrible situation has been well-documented by the OB Rag previously. In fact, in September 2009, the Union/Tribune, in a story written by Helen Gao, cited:

“Restrooms near Dog Beach need to be demolished and it will take 18 months to replace – meanwhile 10 portable toilets set up. The city is leasing them for $1,341 per month.”

Actually, it is only now that work has begun on a public toilet for North OB and Dog Beach.

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“We All Count”- the Annual San Diego Homeless Tally in Ocean Beach

January 30, 2012 by Christine Schanes
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At 4am, on Friday morning January 27th, hundreds of volunteers left dozens of deployment centers throughout San Diego to count homeless people. Called, “We All Count,” this annual enumeration of homeless people in San Diego is run by the San Diego Regional Task Force on the Homeless.

The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has mandated that beginning in 2005, agencies receiving HUD funding needed to count the homeless people in their cities on a bi-annual basis.

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Top Ten Reasons To Support the Millionaires Tax

January 30, 2012 by Jim Miller
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Governor Jerry Brown has been getting a lot of media coverage lately for his efforts to promote his ballot measure which he is selling as a way to stop further cuts to education in the coming years and help solve California’s seemingly eternal budget crisis. While the mainstream media has showered much attention on Brown, whose initiative would temporarily raise taxes on those earning over $250,000 and raise the sales tax on all Californians, very little notice has gone to the Millionaires Tax, which is vastly superior to the governor’s measure for many reasons.

While I have written about the Millionaires Tax in a previous column for the OB Rag and for Labor Notes , it is worth reviewing the central arguments why California voters should support the Millionaires Tax rather than the Governor’s initiative. What are the top ten reasons to support the Millionaires Tax?

1. The Millionaires Tax is a permanent tax increase on millionaires while the Governor’s initiative is a temporary 4-year measure that will not bring in enough revenue to restore the cuts that have been made to education, infrastructure, and vital public services—not here in San Diego or anywhere else in the state.

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A Few Words On Diana, Our Beloved Friend

January 30, 2012 by Ernie McCray
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(Note from Ernie: This was written in memory of Diana Gail Shipley, a dear friend and educator who was an inspiration to many people throughout San Diego. She lost a courageous battle with pancreatic cancer on January 5, 2012. I submit it here so that readers could just get an inkling of what a remarkable human being she was.)

When Diana arrived in heaven,
I can imagine the Almighty looking at her going:
“Diana.
Hm, hm, hm.
My Sister, my Sister, my Sister.
I know how you battled what ailed you
so I forgive you for arriving CP time
but I just want to tell you
that I’m so glad to greet you
because you were just what I had in mind
when I came up with this whole idea of Humankind.”
I mean wasn’t someone like Diana what a Creator must have wished for among His creations, someone:

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First Cuppa Coffee – Monday, January 30, 2012

January 30, 2012 by Doug Porter
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Corporate Personhood Understood… Canvas for a Cause will be hosting a teach-in at Freedom Plaza (Civic Center) this afternoon at 4pm. Rachel Scoma and Holly Hellerstedt will be discussing how corporate personhood affects progressive movements and grassroots activism, including Target’s lawsuit against Canvass for a Cause, a group that solicits public support for Progressive causes.

Latest SDPD Crime Initiative: Illegal Chalking… Those Occupy San Diego folks continue to find new and creative ways to get arrested. A young woman was arrested yesterday at the Civic Center for drawing with Crayola Sidewalk Chalk. Bail was set at $5000. Likely she won’t actually be charged with anything in court, but if she wants out of jail, it’ll cost her $500. Here’s the video that she made.

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Over 400 Arrests – Including Journalists – at Occupy Oakland Action

January 29, 2012 by Source

By Gavin Aronsen / Mother Jones / January 29, 2012

On Saturday, Occupy Oakland re-entered the national spotlight during a day-long effort to take over an empty building and transform it into a social center. Oakland police thwarted the efforts, arresting more than 400 people in the process, primarily during a mass nighttime arrest outside a downtown YMCA. That number included at least six journalists, myself included, in direct violation of OPD media relations policy that states “media shall never be targeted for dispersal or enforcement action because of their status.”

After an unsuccessful afternoon effort to occupy a former convention center, the more than 1,000 protesters elected to return to the site of their former encampment outside city hall. On the way, they clashed with officers, advancing down a street with makeshift shields of corrogated metal and throwing objects at a police line. Officers responded with smoke grenades, tear gas, and bean bag projectiles. After protesters regrouped, they marched through downtown as police pursued and eventually contained a few hundred of them in an enclosed space outside a YMCA. Some entered the gym and were arrested inside.

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First Cuppa Coffee: Friday January 27. 2012 Edition

January 27, 2012 by Doug Porter
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Here it is–Our daily roundup of things we think you might want to know. It’s part “three dot journalism”, part link sharing and usually a little wiseass in tone. We’ve been playing with the concept for a while and today it was decided we should go “live”. By this time next week we’ll be up seven days a week, so do stop in… And we invite you to contribute your links, events and netwise advice to ATTN CUPPA c/o OBRagBlog@Gmail.com

Party tonight! Winston’s is hosting a CD release party tonight with the Styletones, an original soul band whose website claims “their combined superpowers are so dangerous that they have been known to spontaneously alter the gene pool of the performance venue.”

The party you missed: The Sunlight Foundation reports that we missed Congressman Brian Bilbray’s birthday bash at the Bali Hai last night. With tickets starting at a mere $250 per person, we’re sure a good time was had by all. Meanwhile, Democrat Scott Peters who, (along with Lori Saldana) hopes to replaced Bilbray come November picked up an endorsement from the San Diego Democratic Equality Club last night. Saldana may have the progressive votes in this race, but Peters has the Democratic establishment behind him.

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Liberty Station Christmas Event Turns Into a Scrooge-style Nightmare

January 27, 2012 by Source
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“My deer got Scrooged,” said Diana Frieling, owner of California Reindeer Rentals in central California. “I don’t have the heart to tell them.”

by Kelly Bennett / Voice of San Diego / Jan. 26, 2012

Hyped as an epic holiday tradition-to-be, A Christmas Tabernacle in Liberty Station last month turned into a yuletide nightmare. Scores of performing groups and small businesses haven’t been paid for their involvement, ranging from carolers and ballet companies to reindeer owners.

Jamie Sutton was selling Christmas. The 31-year-old businessman dreamed of fathering an epic tradition in San Diego, the Christmas-only version of popular but religion-neutral events like Balboa Park’s December Nights. Last summer, he made his way around town wooing vendors and performers, painting them into his Rockwellian vision.

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Did you see this? A video of more violence by cops at a UC campus a week ago

January 27, 2012 by Source
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Editor: Here’s some news that fell under the radar: police go on a violent rampage on another UC campus, injuring and arresting students. This was up at UC Riverside on Thursday, January 19th. Check out the video on the original site.

By Jamie Applegate / The Daily Californian / Originally published Jan. 20, 2012

Police officers arrested two protesters and struck several others with plastic pellets during a demonstration Thursday [1/19/12] surrounding the UC Board of Regents meeting at UC Riverside.

The two individuals arrested — identified as Kenneth Ehrlich, 39, and Humberto Rivera, 25 — were booked on suspicion of felony assault on a police officer, according to Riverside campus spokesperson Kris Lovekin.

Nine police officers also sustained minor injuries, and about 11 people in the crowd suffered bruises from the pellets, Lovekin said.

For UC Riverside junior Stephen Fong, the protests on his campus marked a dramatic shift in the atmosphere of the student body.

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Only $13,375 more needed to save Palomar Mountain State Park

January 27, 2012 by Source
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By Miriam Raftery / East County Magazine / January 26, 2012

Last week, we reported that Friends of Palomar Mountain State Park launched a pledge drive to save this beautiful place from closing forever. They asked the state to keep the park open if their group can raise $60,000 to fill the gap between revenues and operating expenses. Already, $16,625 has been raised.

Today [1/26/12], chairman Rick Barclay revealed, “We’ve received a generous matching pledge challenge from Mr. & Mrs. Robert S. Wilson of Rancho Santa Fe: If we can raise $30,000 in pledges and donations, they’ll match that amount.”

Now only $13,375 more is needed to reach the $60,000 total.

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Attorney General and Sierra Club join law suit against SANDAG’s flawed transportation plan

January 27, 2012 by Source
by Lucas O’Connor / Two Cathedrals / January 26, 2012

Some big news for sleepy little San Diego this week, as both Sierra Club of California and Attorney General Kamala Harris joined a local lawsuit challenging SANDAG’s 2050 regional plan.

For her part, the Attorney General had previously weighed in on the plan, cautioning that it failed to meet the state’s standards for emissions reductions and warning of trouble on the horizon if action wasn’t taken. And yet, no action was taken. Despite being explicitly warned that its plan would have significant legal problems, SANDAG’s leadership just went ahead and did it anyways. And now SANDAG Chairman Jerome Stocks is very sad that the state’s Attorney General would spend tax dollars to ensure the law is followed.


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Did Twitter Just Commit Social Suicide?

January 27, 2012 by Source
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By Mark Gibb / rsn – Forbes / January 27, 2012

Starting today, we give ourselves the ability to reactively withhold content from users in a specific country – while keeping it available in the rest of the world. We have also built in a way to communicate transparently to users when content is withheld, and why.

With those words earlier today, in a blog posting titled “Tweets still must flow” the management of Twitter’s went over to the dark side and may well have dug their own grave.

In what can only have been a fit of corporate insanity, Twitter announced that it has the ability to filter tweets to conform to the demands of various countries.

Thus, in France and Germany it is illegal to broadcast pro-Nazi sentiments and Twitter will presumably be able to block such content and inform the poster why it was blocked.

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Suit Filed to Restrict Harmful Naval Sonar Training Off West Coast

January 27, 2012 by Source
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Groups Claim National Marine Fisheries Service Fail to Protect Thousands of Whales, Dolphins, Sea Lions and Other Animal Life From U.S. Navy Warfare Training Exercises Along the West Coast

By Ed Joyce / KPBS / January 26, 2012

A coalition of conservation and American Indian groups sued the National Marine Fisheries Service Thursday, Jan. 26, over the use Navy’s use of sonar and other training exercises. The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Northern California.

It claims the National Marine Fisheries Service failed to protect thousands of whales, dolphins, porpoises, seals and sea lions from U.S. Navy warfare training exercises along the coasts of California, Oregon, and Washington.

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I Call on You – Oh, Mighty Sonoran

January 27, 2012 by Ernie McCray
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Oh, Mighty Sonoran,
I fight back tears
for what they’ve
done to God’s Brown Children,
Sonorans for hundreds of years,
for how they’ve
banned their studies,
lied about their heroes,
stolen books filled with their histories
like purse snatchers
abusing passers-by
on dangerous urban streets
while they cried in their classroom seats.

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Keystone Pipeline XL – A Line in the Sand – Part 1

January 26, 2012 by Mike James

Part One – A Summary.

What is the proposed Keystone XL pipeline?

It was the latest project to move DilBit, diluted Bitumen, from Canada to oil refineries in the United States.

What is Bitumen?

Bitumen is tar (think the La Brea Tar Pits) or natural asphalt (it is a key component of the asphalt we drive on). Bitumen after extensive processing and refinement can become a form of fuel oil (gasoline, diesel, jet fuel).

With the high cost (economically and environmentally) of extraction and processing of Bitumen, it has only recently became profitable due to the high price of a barrel of oil.

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What has happened to women’s rights?

January 26, 2012 by Judi Curry
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Who has made MAN the guardian of women’s rights? Who has sanctioned other women telling other females that they are wrong because they want to have an abortion. Did you hear a candidate for President of the United States of America say, when it involves a woman pregnant from a rape, “Make The Best Out Of A Bad Situation”. Yes, that is what candidate Rick Santorum said when he commented on his opposition to abortion.

A woman’s body is her own. It does not belong to anyone else except that woman. No one should be able to tell a woman what to do with her body. Not her family; not her husband; not her significant other; not her religion. What she decides to do with it should be between her and her doctor. No one else.

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Occupy San Francisco Takes Over Vacant Hotel

January 25, 2012 by Michael Steinberg

Editor: Check out the following report by former OBcean Michael Steinberg who now lives in San Francisco. Apparently, the Occupy movement in San Diego is not the only one with problems with the daily fishwrap.

On January 20 Occupy protestors took over a 600 unit vacant hotel in San Francisco. But the San Francisco Chronicle missed the point. Actually it missed a lot of them.

As the final action of January 20th’s Wall Street West San Francisco protests, activists marched to the former Cathedral Hill Hotel at Geary and Van Ness and took it over.Why? The San Francisco Chronicle’s report the next morning only informed us that, upon arriving and being greeted by riot cops, “Some activists threw bricks and bottles, injuring two officers, one in the chest and one in the arm.” Also that “40 people broke in through a back entrance and loudly cavorted in the 600-room hotel for two hours. When they threw furniture from the roof, several dozen police cleared the building.”

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US Supreme Court Upholds Need for Warrant for GPS Tracking

January 25, 2012 by Source
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The Court considers the 4th Amendment implications of new surveillance technologies.

Jacob Sullum / Reason.com / January 25, 2012

“If you win this case,” Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer told Deputy Solicitor General Michael Dreeben during oral argument in U.S. v. Jones last fall, “there is nothing to prevent the police or the government from monitoring 24 hours a day the public movement of every citizen of the United States.” That prospect, Breyer said, “sounds like 1984.”

Fortunately, the government did not win the case. But the Court’s unanimous decision, announced on Monday, may not delay Breyer’s 1984 scenario for long. Unless the Court moves more boldly to restrain government use of new surveillance technologies, the Framers’ notion of a private sphere protected from “unreasonable searches and seizures” will become increasingly quaint.

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SDG&E to PUC: ‘We don’t need no stinkin’ hearings!’

January 25, 2012 by Source
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By Don Bauder / San Diego Reader / January 24, 2012

San Diego Gas & Electric has told the California Public Utilities Commission that there is no need for local public hearings now on its attempt to get customers to pick up uninsured costs of the 2007 wildfires. Recently, the Mussey Grade Road Alliance asked for such a hearing.

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Has the Occupy Movement Co-opted the Medical Marijuana Issue?

January 25, 2012 by Source
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By Gail Powell / Special to the OB Rag

The Occupy movement has some people thinking that the anti-Wall Street political group has co-opted the medical marijuana issue. Where once the closing of dispensaries would have incited the wrath of medical marijuana activists; now many of those same people are off doing their Occupy thing. That is not to say that the issues of the people supporting the utilization of medical marijuana is dead: it is not.

And I do not wish to make it seem that political protesters are dilettantes who jump from one exciting activity to another. But the federal pressure on the clinics that has come down from the Obama administration is a part of the bigger picture of injustice from the national level filtering malice upon the local level.

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Citizens’ Review Board Gets an Earful About Police Harassment of San Diego Occupiers

January 25, 2012 by Rocky Neptun

Most stood and spoke with pride and respect, cradling their cause reverently, boldly, while others barely concealed their rage with fiery speeches. They told of being knocked to the ground, punched, the burn of mace in their faces, shoved against concrete walls, brutally dragged to police vans, being booked into jail on outrageous felony charges; all in retaliation for using their U.S. Constitutionally guaranteed rights of free speech and free assembly.

Forty citizens gathered at the San Diego Citizens’ Review Board on Police Practices, Tuesday evening, January 25, pleading with its 23 members to investigate not only the San Diego Police Departments continuing harassment of the Occupy San Diego movement but the SDPD’s frightening new policy of allowing police officers to change, modify and make new laws on the spot.

Middle-class housewives, small business owners, veterans, an attorney, college students, even downtown employees passing by, victimized by the sustained police violence in the Civic Center Plaza.

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