Want to Know How Much Water Your Neighbors Use?

February 12, 2016 by Anna Daniels

City of San Diego residents—look at your water bill

By Anna Daniels / San Diego Free Press

Click for larger imageWe were told last year that our water rates in the City of San Diego would go up on January 1st of 2016. That prompted me to look a little more closely at the most recent bill which includes December and January.

This year’s bill for the winter months, when outside watering was unnecessary, broke a hundred dollars for the first time.

Yes, the rates have gone up. But in addition to the amount due, other information on the bill caught my eye.

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“Sunshine/Noir II” Is for Bibliophiles

October 15, 2015 by Anna Daniels

San Diego City Works Press’ distinctive approach to book as object

Editor: Here is Anna Daniels’ intro to an anthology on the underside of the San Diego – Tijuana region, “Sunshine/ Noir II“, which was just published by City Works Press – and includes a work by Anna Daniels herself, plus works by Doug Porter, Brent Beltran and OB Rag editor Frank Gormlie. Daniels, Porter, Beltran and Gormlie are also editors at the San Diego Free Press, where this was originally published.

By Anna Daniels

Sunshine-Noir-II-WEB“Books are now obsolete, so the library bureaucracy has long sought to become a quasi adult education institution or after-school study venue or someplace in between.” – Former California Assemblyman Larry Stirling on the Central Library.

Contrary to former California Assemblyman Larry Stirling’s recent misinformed and exceedingly dull assertion that “books are now obsolete” the book publishing industry is doing quite fine. It is only doing so well because there continues to be people who want to own and read books, whether in hard copy, paperback or electronic form.

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San Diego Free Press Celebrates!

August 17, 2015 by Anna Daniels
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By Anna Daniels

The San Diego Free Press celebrated its third birthday on August 8 with a Galastravaganzaversary party at Border X Brewing. Wow–three years!

It has been an astoundingly active year for this unique all volunteer operated San Diego media presence. Contributors and editors have provided another year of progressive views with a distinctly grassroots perspective on the topics of labor, the environment, immigration, criminal justice, politics and government.

Our approach–multi-media and multi-genre– reflects the talents and interests of our contributors. Video essays, personal narratives, cartoons and poetry are essential …

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Demolition of North Park LGBTQ Historical Site – a Clerical Error?

June 3, 2015 by Anna Daniels

Paisley Abbey gargoyle 6By Anna Daniels / San Diego Free Press

Doug Porter recently wrote about the after hours demolition of one of San Diego’s two remaining historic Saltbox houses. The Bernie Michels-Thom Carey house at the corner of Florida Street and El Cajon Blvd was bulldozed by contractors working for developer HG Fenton this past Friday, May 29.

San Diego 6News has reported that the demolition permit may have been issued in error and that the city’s Development Services Department is conducting a “forensic review.” If that is the case, it is one helluva oops. A dozen red roses and a Hallmark card won’t put humpty dumpty back together again.

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Public Scrutiny Turns Civic San Diego Board Testy and Defensive

May 1, 2015 by Anna Daniels

Civic’s Community Benefit Policy enactment a study in #democracyfail

civicsd board meeting

By Anna Daniels / San Diego Free Press

The Civic San Diego Board of Directors and President Reese Jarrett scored a victory at their April 29 board meeting. Civic San Diego, which describes itself as a “city-owned non-profit that is the entrepreneurial development partner for targeted urban neighborhoods” approved its own Community Benefit Policy with one dissenting vote after two hours of board discussion and public testimony.

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Civic San Diego Willing to Bury City Rep on Meaningless Advisory Board

April 23, 2015 by Anna Daniels

nothingburgerEx-officio City staff on New Market Tax Credit Advisory Board = CivicSD’s latest nothingburger

By Anna Daniels

The latest news about Civic San Diego has been appearing courtesy of Lyle Moran in The Daily Transcript, which unfortunately operates behind a pay wall.

Moran reports on the unexpected departure of CivicSD CFO and COO Andrew Phillips, who couldn’t pass up the opportunity to accept an invitation to work at the western division of Jones Lang LaSalle and CivicSD board member Cynthia Morgan, an attorney at Higgs Fletcher and Mack and new mother who wants to spend more time on her career and with her family.

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The Morphing of Civic San Diego and the Need for City Council Oversight

March 16, 2015 by Anna Daniels

diceFocus on March 18th Public Safety and Livable Neighborhood Committee Meeting

By Anna Daniels / San Diego Free Press
This past October, Reese Jarrett, newly hired President of Civic San Diego (CivicSD), appeared before the Public Safety and Livable Neighborhood Committee of the San Diego City Council. The committee chairwoman, District 9 council member Marti Emerald, directed a number of pointed questions toward CivicSD staff, followed by additional questions from District 4 council member Myrtle Cole.

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The Ocean Beach Library Was on the Original Expansion List

January 15, 2015 by Anna Daniels
Thumbnail image for The Ocean Beach Library Was on the Original Expansion List

Veteran Librarian Advises OB on How to Proceed to Get OB Back on the List

By Anna Daniels

Here’s some historical info that may be helpful in presenting your case to Councilwoman Zapf, Mayor Faulconer AND new library director Misty Jones:

“In 2002, the City Council approved a program to build or improve 24 libraries throughout San Diego, including a New Central library.”

Ocean Beach was on that original expansion list.

As recently as 2008, Ocean Beach appeared on a list of City of San Diego & CCDC Projects. The construction costs were $10,186,500 for an expansion to 15,000 square feet.

In 2010, over $2M in capital improvement funds were (I vaguely remember) used to fix the roof and other maintenance.

Thirteen years have passed and why is Ocean Beach (and so many other branches) on hold?

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What’s 80% White, 80% Male and 92% Christian? Welcome to the 114th Congress!

January 12, 2015 by Anna Daniels

What does the 114th Congress say about our representative democracy?

By Anna Daniels /San Diego Free Press


Did you know that our brand new 114th Congress is the most diverse Congress in our history? Women! African Americans! An African American woman! The 114th Congress is being hawked like a new and improved box of breakfast cereal. This newly minted diversity is relative of course.

A Washington Post article notes that “Congress actually gets slightly more Christian, with nine more Christians, five fewer Jewish members, one fewer Buddhist and one fewer unaffiliated member.” John Boehner, who was re-elected Speaker of the House, opened the 114th Congress with “This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad.”

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The Day after the Elections: Same as It Ever Was?

November 6, 2014 by Anna Daniels

By Anna Daniels

bilingualvoteWednesday dawned in City Heights much like every morning here, with the cough and sputter of cars starting, the occasional twitter of birds, a siren shrieking on El Cajon Boulevard. Kids will pass by the house on their way to school. …

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Where Is My Polling Place? And Other Last Minute Election Questions in San Diego

November 4, 2014 by Anna Daniels

By Anna Daniels

vote 2014This is for all you super busy people and procrastinators out there who haven’t turned in your mail ballot yet or figured out where you need to vote on Tuesday.

If you are still figuring out which way to vote for candidates and propositions, check out our SDFP Progressive Procrastinators Guide. You can find all of our November 2014 election analysis and coverage in the SDFP Voter Guide for Progressives. And if this is your first visit to the San Diego Free Press, we hope you’ll bookmark this site and come back for more grassroots news and progressive views.

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MTS Ad Policy: Incoherent, Inconsistent and Anti-Democratic

October 30, 2014 by Anna Daniels

San Diego’s publicly funded transit system bites the hand that feeds it

By Anna Daniels / San Diego Free Press

MTS Poster3MTS – you are a craven, pathetic mess. When Alliance San Diego launched a non-partisan effort to increase awareness about elections in communities with historically low voter turnout like my community of City Heights, they approached San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) with the intention of buying printed bus ads.

The ads would include the message Vote for San Diego, along with the date of the election. Images of native San Diegans were included with motivational messages such as “Vote for what’s best for your community.”

Did I say that Alliance San Diego’s intention was to buy bus ads? They weren’t asking for a public service freebee. MTS declined the request and herein lies the tale of how our publicly funded, public benefit agency proceeded to simply make sh*t up. …

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An Abbreviated Voter Guide to Electing Judges

October 23, 2014 by Anna Daniels

justice scalesBy Anna Daniels / San Diego Free Press

Editor note: The OB Rag and the San Diego Free Press have not endorsed any judges. The opinions in the article are those of the author.

Does this sound familiar? ” I’m filling out my ballot and there are 14 judges. Who do I vote for and specifically not for?” The usual means at our disposal for choosing voter nominated candidates and propositions are noticeably absent when voting for judges. It is therefore easy to blow off this obscure exercise in democracy until you wake up one day to find out that you have been Kreep’d, as in San Diego Superior Court Judge Gary Kreep.

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San Diego’s Minimum Wage: Which Side Are You On?

September 3, 2014 by Anna Daniels

Wanted: A Living Wage – Video by Pete Segeer

By Anna Daniels / San Diego Free Press


It is useful exercise to remind ourselves that the battle for an increased minimum wage/sick leave benefit in San Diego is not a new one. Peel back the right wing maker versus taker meme and you get Howard Zinn, placing today’s minimum wage struggle firmly in our collective history of bitter class conflict between the rich and the poor and working class.

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Say “No” to Mayor Faulconer’s Library Budget Shell Game

May 20, 2014 by Anna Daniels

Power not budgetsLibrary materials budget reduced by $500,000 to pay for pilot after-school program

By Anna Daniels / San Diego Free Press

Update: San Diego Citizens packed the council chambers last night – Monday, May 19th- in a three hour budget hearing. Members of the Library Organizing Project testified against the proposed raiding of the materials budget to pay for an after school homework program. They also raised concerns about proposed library open hour schedule.

All libraries will close at 7PM, which is restricts program activities in the evening for working people. …

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National Poetry Month Ends April 30th: Ending with a Bang, not a Whimper

April 30, 2014 by Anna Daniels

Nigel Howe Creative Commons

“Poetry doesn’t belong to those who write it but to those who need it.”

By Anna Daniels

So, is

“April the cruelest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.“? ——— T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land

or is April when

“the ponds open
like black blossoms,
the moon
swims in every one;
there’s fire
everywhere…“? ————Mary Oliver, Blossom

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Twenty Years of NAFTA: Capital freely crosses borders while people can’t

January 7, 2014 by Anna Daniels

By Anna Daniels / San Diego Free Press

In 1993, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was sold to the American public with grand promises. NAFTA would create tens of thousands of good jobs here. U.S. farmers would export their way to wealth. NAFTA would bring Mexico’s standard of living up, providing new economic opportunities there that would reduce immigration to the United States.Public Citizen NAFTA’s Broken Promises 1994-2013

NAFTA-20-Years-Later-1-Million-Jobs_issuebannerOn January 1, 1994, a trilateral free trade zone was established in North America. This treaty with the United States, Mexico and Canada resulted in the mass relocation of factories and capital south of the Mexican border. Then President Bill Clinton asserted that NAFTA was going to “promote more growth, more equality and better preservation of the environment and a greater possibility of world peace.”

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What My Mother Said: “Derby Day! Time to Sow Seeds!”

May 7, 2013 by Anna Daniels

By Anna Daniels / San Diego Free Press

Derby_Day_soda tinMy mother loved the horses. She grudgingly attended sulky races at The Meadows race track in western Pennsylvania, but it was flat racing that captivated her heart. She and my father would argue for days about the line up for the Kentucky Derby and lay bets with the local bookie; only the stupid or insane would dare to carry on a conversation anywhere close to the television set during the broadcast of this event.

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The Incredible Lightness of Being Able to Understand Mayor Filner’s 2014 Budget

May 3, 2013 by Anna Daniels
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Community Power Affecting Budget Decisions that Impact Our Neighborhoods

by Anna Daniels / San Diego Free Press

It is highly unusual for a group of strangers to smile broadly at each other and enthusiastically confess that the workshop they had just attended on how to read the City’s Capital Improvement Budget had been really interesting and very worthwhile.
That is exactly what happened a few weeks ago when I got into the elevator with a group of people with whom I had just attended the Community Budget Alliance‘s hands on budget workshop held in City Heights. It’s budget season…
(Come inside for insight into the City’s Budget.)

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Why Do You Have a Fence in Front of Your Home?

April 12, 2013 by Anna Daniels
Thumbnail image for Why Do You Have a Fence in Front of Your Home?

Thoughts on defensible spaces and private places

By Anna Daniels / San Diego Free Press

…Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out, …
Robert Frost, Mending Wall

A few days ago I realized that every single piece of residential property on my City Heights block, save one, has a fence and or a gate between the residence and the street. The business at the end of the block is also completely fenced.

I only became conscious of this fact after spending a number of hours last month walking along the side streets north of University Avenue a few blocks east and west of 30th Street in North Park. This area looks in many ways like the City Heights side streets off of University Avenue, farther to the east, where I now live.

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San Diego Street Trees: My Love-Hate Relationship with Palm Trees

April 3, 2013 by Anna Daniels
Thumbnail image for San Diego Street Trees:  My Love-Hate Relationship with Palm Trees

The palm at the end of the mind,
Beyond the last thought, rises
In the bronze distance. On Mere Being, Wallace Stevens

Street trees in urban areas are important. They provide a human scale to our surroundings and soften the mind numbing linearity of vast expanses of concrete. They clean the air we breathe and provide much appreciated shade. On an often unconscious level they impact our feelings about a street or neighborhood’s economic status and safety, which is to say its desirability as a place to walk or live.

A specific iconic tree can define where we live on a particular street or in the city of San Diego itself. For many residents of Ocean Beach, that iconic image is of a Torrey Pine. I can remember a spectacular late afternoon descent over the downtown cityscape which had been turned into a massive violet bouquet of blossoming jacaranda. And of course, there are the eucalyptus in Balboa Park and lining Park Boulevard.

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The Holiday Celebrations Continue: Three Wise Men and a Rosca, Orthodox Christmas and Rusyns

January 7, 2013 by Anna Daniels

This was a wonderful year for Christmas lights in my City Heights neighborhood. They cheerfully, often exuberantly, illuminated the night from the day after Thanksgiving until the day after New Year’s. It is sad to see them extinguished, put away, for yet another year, although ours stay up in the house year round. You can never have enough illumination in the darkness…

But that is not to say the seasonal celebrations are over- far from it. Sunday January 6th is the Three Kings Day celebration in Mexico and other Spanish speaking cultures; it is also Orthodox Christmas Eve for those religious traditions based upon the Julian calendar, as opposed to our Gregorian calendar. What that boils down to is that I have to order my rosca de reyes so that I can take it to our Orthodox Christmas Eve dinner.

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Do I need a California ID to vote? Where is my Polling Place? The Quick and Easy Guide to Election Day

November 5, 2012 by Anna Daniels

Here are some frequently asked questions about election day voting in San Diego County. The source for all of the information below is provided by the League of Women Voters at smartvoter.org unless otherwise specified. Information in Spanish, Vietnamese, Chinese and Filipino here.

When are the polls open?

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The Wreckage that Mayor Jerry Sanders Leaves Behind

September 13, 2012 by Anna Daniels
Thumbnail image for The Wreckage that Mayor Jerry Sanders Leaves Behind

“Sanders said another savings in the works will come from using managed competition to lower the cost of city employees performing jobs that private companies can do for less. One such job is residential trash services. San Diego city employees are paid to collect trash. Most other California cities contract with a private company and residents pay for their own trash services.

“We don’t have to have government employees mow the laws in our parks. We don’t have to have government employees pick up trash,” Sanders said. Mayor Jerry Sanders reviews his legacy at La Jolla luncheon La Jolla Light 9/11/12

Three months to go in the last term of our first strong mayor — Jerry Sanders, and the legacy polishing tour has begun.

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“Go Pee Pee for Daddy” and Other Tales of the Dog

July 7, 2012 by Anna Daniels

Originally posted at San Diego Free Press

San Diego seems to be in love with dogs. We have dog parks for big dogs and dog parks for small dogs. Dog owners, complete strangers to each other, stand on street corners in North Park with their pets and discuss the details of life with a shar pei or bichon frise while said animals enthusiastically explore each others nether portions.

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“God Don’t Make Junk.” Conversations with my Evangelical Christian Neighbor

June 27, 2012 by Anna Daniels

City Heights has got religion. A distinctive characteristic of my community is not only the sheer number of religious establishments located here, but the diverse forms that religious expression takes. There are the storefront Evangelical and Pentecostal Christian churches that have sprung up along University and El Cajon Boulevard, with names like La Esposa del Cordero, the Shepherd’s Wife, and signs with the exhortation Pare de Sufrir, to stop suffering.

There are Buddhist temples, botánicas, a mosque, a tiny Russian Orthodox church, and familiar Catholic and Baptist churches as well. Religious services are conducted in Spanish, Creole, Russian, Chinese and Vietnamese, to name just a few of the languages routinely spoken besides English. I do not know if other languages besides Arabic are used at the mosque located adjacent to the Somali neighborhood known as Little Mogadishu. There are also shamans and babaloas living quietly among us.

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Did County Supervisor Ron Roberts Do A $1.56 Million End Run Around the General Plan?

June 26, 2012 by Anna Daniels

Originally published at San Diego Free Press

“The process of public engagement [in developing the County of San Diego General Plan] had hundreds of hearings over 10 years…So the implication is that anything that is coming forward now would be inconsistent. It would be amazing if there is going to now be wholesale General Plan amendments.”

San Diego County Planning Commissioner Michael Beck, Nov. 9, 2011 interview with KPBS

Last Wednesday, June 20th, the County Board of Supervisors held a hearing for 137 private property requests that would require amending the County’s new General Plan, …

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Stop the Secret Power Plant Deal in University City!

June 23, 2012 by Anna Daniels
Thumbnail image for Stop the Secret Power Plant Deal in University City!

What happens when you combine strong mayor Jerry Sanders with a Canadian firm’s desire to build an 800 MW gas-fired power plant in San Diego? You get a secret plan that is being fast tracked through the City Council with the intent of a November ballot measure to enable passage. You also get “business as usual” at City Hall. Hear more about the proposal and what you can do on Monday, June 25, 6pm at the University Community Planning Group meeting, Forum Hall, UTC Mall (above Wells Fargo Bank).

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Coffee, City Heights Style- A Blend of Cultures in Every Cup

June 21, 2012 by Anna Daniels

From San Diego Free Press

It probably should come as no surprise that the diverse community of City Heights delivers up equally diverse coffee drinking experiences. The one unifying quality to the coffee here is a certain “robustness–” this IS City Heights after all.

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Send a Vagina-gram! If the Government is in it, we’re going to keep saying it.

June 18, 2012 by Anna Daniels

From San Diego Free Press

If it feels like open game season has been declared on women, your feelings are absolutely correct. Our putatively job creation obsessed Congress has been singularly incapable of delivering the goods. They seem instead to have settled for the deeply gratifying right wing pursuit of scuttling Obama’s and the Dem’s attempts to actually do something about jobs, tuition relief for students, tax fairness and infrastructure investments.

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