OB People’s Organic Food Market – Worker-Owned Co-op – in the Gig Economy

June 21, 2016 by John Lawrence
Thumbnail image for OB People’s Organic Food Market – Worker-Owned Co-op – in the Gig Economy

The Gig Economy: Okay If the Profits Went to the Giggers

By John Lawrence

There’s nothing inherently wrong with the idea of working a job here and a job there according to the worker’s convenience and other activities.

The problem is that the profits go to some centralized corporation rather than being spread out among all the giggers in proportion to their participation in the system.

gig economy

If Uber or Lyft were a co-op, the profits would go to all the worker/owners instead of a handful of investors.
Then the gig economy would offer not only a technique for working at one’s convenience and fitting into one’s schedule whether that schedule might be educational or child care or surfing or whatever.

Read the full article → 12 comments

Democracy in Action at City Council Rules Committee

June 16, 2016 by John Lawrence

By John Lawrence

City Council Rules CommitteeOn Wednesday, June 15, 2016, there was a well-attended meeting of the Rules Committee of the San Diego City Council.

Many diverse topics were covered, some at exhaustive lengths. The meeting lasted over three hours with a dozen or more speakers pleading their causes.

Most were asking the Rules Committee to take issues to the full City Council for consideration on the November ballot.

There was a discussion of the nature of the voting system.

The way it is right now someone running for office who gets 50% of the vote plus one in the June primary is considered elected.

Read the full article → 0 comments

Of Dentistry in Tijuana and Cross Border Friendship

June 15, 2016 by John Lawrence

Dr. Garcia & staff with Judy

By John Lawrence

I have been writing about my friend Dr. Luis Garcia for almost 10 years. That’s how long he has been doing my dental work in Tijuana at the Baja Oral Center.

Over the course of those years, Dr. Garcia has become much more than my dentist; he has become my friend. Way back in 2007 I had broken my front tooth off by biting into an English muffin that was hard as a rock.

Read the full article → 4 comments

Extreme Weather Watch: May 2016 – Canada Burns, India’s Extreme Heat Record, US Tornadoes

June 8, 2016 by John Lawrence

Too Hot to Go Outside

Extreme Weather WatchBy John Lawrence

A city in western India set an all-time heat record of 123.8 degrees F in May. Authorities issued a severe heat wave alert which means that people can expect temperatures of 117 degrees F or more. In addition, drought is affecting much of the country. The heat will probably not let up until the monsoon rains come sometime in June.

The prolonged heat wave has already killed hundreds and destroyed crops in more than 13 states. Hundreds of small farmers have reportedly killed themselves, and tens of thousands have been forced to abandon their lands and live in squalor in urban slums in order to eke out a living.

Rivers, lakes and dams have dried up in many parts of the western states of Rajasthan, Maharashtra, and Gujarat, and groundwater supplies are severely depleted.

Read the full article → 0 comments

Is Affordable Housing In the City of San Diego an Oxymoron? – Part 4

May 16, 2016 by John Lawrence

Section 8 Rental Assistance is a Cruel Jokesection 8

By Katheryn Rhodes and John Lawrence

Approximately 46,000 households in San Diego are on a waiting list to obtain a federal Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8). The average wait time to obtain a housing voucher is 8 to 10 years.

Nobody’s housing needs remain constant over a period of time that long. Many people on the waiting list will have died before they are called for their Section 8 rental assistance voucher. Cruel irony.

In theory, the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program will pay the balance of a rent payment that exceeds 30% of a renter’s monthly income.

Read the full article → 0 comments

From 1969 Original SD Free Press Article on San Diego’s Critical Housing Shortage – ‘So What Is New?’

May 11, 2016 by John Lawrence

housing fistJL: This article was originally published in the 1969 print edition of the San Diego Free Press. It follows on to our 4 part series on affordable housing in San Diego. So what else is new? Nothing except the price of real estate. [Items in parentheses are my updated comments.]

Rent Going Up? Planning to Move? Welcome to the Street

By John Lawrence

The housing situation in San Diego, especially for people with low incomes, bears all the earmarks of a terminal illness. The condition is grave and seems destined to get worse. The City will tell you that 1968 was a year in which San Diego experienced a record boom in housing construction, but their figures are completely misleading.

It is true that there were 12,525 units of housing begun in 1968, as compared with 6,100 units in 1967, and that while city building doubled, rural building was up 47% in 1968 over the previous year.

Read the full article → 4 comments

Is Affordable Housing in the City of San Diego an Oxymoron? – Part 3

May 5, 2016 by John Lawrence

The City Needs to Build and Own More Affordable Units

SD Housing CommissionBy Katheryn Rhodes and John Lawrence

According to a recent Zillow report: “Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, and San Diego are unaffordable for both renters and buyers. … Looking forward, the picture doesn’t look bright for renters.

Rents will likely keep rising at roughly their current pace for at least the next few years, which will lead to a continued affordability crunch unless wage growth significantly improves.”

Enter the San Diego Housing Commission (SDHC) whose job is to redress the balance of unaffordable rents to make it possible for San Diego to be inhabited by other than rich folks.

Read the full article → 5 comments

Is Affordable Housing in the City of San Diego an Oxymoron? Part 2

April 27, 2016 by John Lawrence

Homeless Population Under-counted

homeless familyBy Katheryn Rhodes and John Lawrence

The 8700 people identified by the Point-In-Time-Count are not anywhere close to the total number of homeless people in San Diego City and County. They didn’t count all the people sleeping in their cars nor the many that are staying with friends or couch surfing.

Nor did they count the many that sleep “off the beaten track” in the many hidden gullies and the river bed. Nor did it count all those who slept in places unlikely to be found by the volunteers who did the counting who, after all, could not be expected to expose themselves to dangerous situations and environments.

Read the full article → 1 comment

Is Affordable Housing in the City of San Diego an Oxymoron? Part 1

April 20, 2016 by John Lawrence

Has the City squirreled away millions of dollars in off-budget funds which could be used for affordable housing and housing for the homeless?

afordable housing coverBy Katheryn Rhodes and John Lawrence

In the City of Palo Alto, if you make less than $250,000 a year, you’re eligible for a housing subsidy. The city council has voted to study a housing proposal that would essentially subsidize new housing for what qualifies as middle-class nowadays, families making from $150,000 to $250,000 a year.

Here in San Diego, the situation is not much better as teachers, police and government workers cannot afford to live in the city they work in. So if middle class, college educated professionals can’t afford to live here, how can anyone else lower on the economic ladder afford to live here either? In particular, those on the bottom most rung, the homeless, can’t even afford a foot in the door.

Read the full article → 4 comments

The San Diego Chargers Convadium – Part 1: 110 Pages of Gobbledygook

April 13, 2016 by John Lawrence

convadium 1By John Lawrence

On Saturday, April 2, the Chargers published a whole section of the San Diego Union-Tribune devoted to their proposal to build a football stadium for the Chargers combined with a non-contiguous expansion of the Convention Center.

The title of this section was “Notice of Intent to Circulate Petition.” Right off the bat I found several things wrong with this proposal. But before I go into that I want to discuss the MAJOR thing wrong with this proposal.

You see the Chargers think combining a Convention Center Expansion with a new stadium will make it more palatable to San Diego voters especially if the tax that will be raised to pay for it will be a tax on visitors not on locals.

Read the full article → 5 comments

RIP Joe Marillo, San Diego’s Godfather of Jazz

April 6, 2016 by John Lawrence

joe marillo 1By John Lawrence

Joe Marillo passed away Saturday, March 26. Born in Niagara Falls, NY, 83 years ago, he moved to San Diego in 1974 from Las Vegas where he had played in show bands for 10 years. He started out playing saxophone in Atlantic City, NJ while swinging from a trapeze.

He was dedicated to bringing straight-ahead, mainstream jazz to San Diego for almost 50 years both with his virtuoso playing and his skills as a presenter and impresario. He received the San Diego Music Awards Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003.

Read the full article → 0 comments

Financial Parasites Have Become Neo-Feudal Landlords

March 31, 2016 by John Lawrence

feudalism chartBy John Lawrence

Classical economics divided income into two types: earned and unearned. Earned income came from productive labor combined with capital investment. Unearned income was considered parasitical and consisted of rent, interest and dividends.

It was not considered as adding to GDP but as subtracting from it. It was money made by manipulating money much as feudal landlords made their money in what has been called a rentier economy.

Read the full article → 1 comment

Joe Wilder: Gentleman of Jazz

March 24, 2016 by John Lawrence

The San Diego Jazz Society Presented Joe Wilder and Marshall Royal

By John Lawrence

Joe WilderJoe Wilder was not only a magnificent trumpet player but a gentleman according to all who knew him. I had the privilege of presenting him and saxophonist Marshal Royal along with a local rhythm section composed of Mike Wofford, Bob Magnusson and Roy McCurdy at the Lyceum Theatre in 1990 under the auspices of the San Diego Jazz Society.

A CD was made of the performance which, unfortunately, is out of print. Joe helped to break down racial barriers on Broadway, radio, television and in classical music.

Wilder’s sense of propriety was legendary.

Read the full article → 0 comments

Extreme Weather Watch – February 2016 : Tornadoes Devastate South, West Sets Heat Records

March 9, 2016 by John Lawrence
Extreme Weather WatchBy John Lawrence

At least seven people died when more than 50 tornadoes swept across parts of the south and eastern United States in late February. The extreme weather destroyed hundreds of homes and forced the closure of schools and government offices.

At least four people died in Virginia, including a two-year-old boy. One witness said that the destruction in the small town of Waverly was “completely devastating.” Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency. Scientists have linked an increase in the intensity and deadliness of tornadoes to climate change.

Read the full article → 0 comments

Americans Are Being Screwed by Drug Companies

March 3, 2016 by John Lawrence

drugs prescript money… and It’s Not Obamacare’s Fault

By John Lawrence

You can blame lobbyists from the health insurance and pharmaceutical industry in conjunction with Republican lawmakers who lobbied the Affordable Care Act to death making it in the long run unaffordable and probably untenable. Why? Because there are no cost containment features in the Act. None. Nada. Zippo.

What that means is that the drug companies can raise the prices of drugs 5000% like Martin Shkreli of Turing Pharmaceuticals did for Daraprim without breaking the law. Shkreli’s arrogance, the latest example of which is calling the Congressmen who interrogated him “imbeciles”, has gotten him into much trouble but not for raising the price of a life-saving drug 5000%.

Read the full article → 0 comments

I Don’t Mourn Scalia’s Passing

February 24, 2016 by John Lawrence

Photo by Cknight70

By John Lawrence

The man who gave us Citizens United and Bush vs Gore is gone from the face of the earth. I for one do not mourn his passing.

His decisions have not only contributed to the destruction of the US, but major portions of the world as well, and he was set to destroy the world consensus on climate change which would have destroyed the entire planet.

It was Scalia who said that unlimited corporate campaign spending is something “we should celebrate rather than condemn,” (Citizens United), that vote-counting should be halted for causing “irreparable harm” to the candidate who might lose as a result (Bush v. Gore), that protecting the right to vote is an odious example of “racial entitlements” (comments related to Shelby County v. Holder), and that allowing local anti-discrimination laws to protect gays and lesbians amounts to “special treatment”

Read the full article → 5 comments

The Face of Homelessness in San Diego – Part 2

February 17, 2016 by John Lawrence

By John Lawrence

Dodge Mobile travelerI met Suzie at Panera Bread in Liberty Station. She is homeless but not vehicle-less. She used to have a nice home in Point Loma, had lived in the Point Loma – Ocean Beach area for years.

She has been homeless since last April when her boyfriend kicked her out of his apartment. When that happened, she got on Craigslist and bought an RV.

There are many levels and degrees of homelessness, and Suzie is on one of the better off levels. Some homeless persons live on boats in the harbor. So for some, homelessness verges on an alternative lifestyle, the key being whether or not they are forced into the situation or whether their situation is freely chosen.

Read the full article → 14 comments

Chargers Dilemma: After Screwing the Fans, Now They Want Them Back

February 10, 2016 by John Lawrence

… At Least For a Year

roman colusseumBy John Lawrence

The Romans used to provide Bread and Circuses for their populace to keep them pacified. Nothing much has changed in 2000 years. The San Diego Chargers want taxpayers to spend $350 million to buy them a new Colosseum.

And they’re not really even the San Diego Chargers. They are the Dean Spanos Chargers. He owns them. The players should all be wearing “Dean Spanos Chargers” on their shirts.

The Chargers merchandise should all bear his name. As we’ve seen recently, the Chargers would think nothing of “Bolt”ing to Los Angeles if the grass were greener there. But their quest for a shiny new stadium in another locale has been stymied at least temporarily.

Read the full article → 4 comments

The Face of Homelessness in San Diego

February 3, 2016 by John Lawrence

San Diego Has the Fourth Highest Number of Homeless in the US and that Doesn’t Even Count Most Homeless Families

homeless familyBy John Lawrence

I met a homeless woman at a coffee shop in downtown San Diego. She had emailed me to correct a few points in a previous article I had written about the homeless. Her name is Jingles, not her real name, of course.

That’s the name she goes by downtown. She’s tough, savvy, intelligent, resourceful, wise to the ways of the street. She is 55 years old with several health related problems and three small dogs.

Read the full article → 6 comments

Get Ready for the Market Crash and Recession of 2016

January 27, 2016 by John Lawrence

oil pumpBy John Lawrence

Oil is less than $30. a barrel. This is over three times less than what it costs just to buy the barrel itself! Iran has been accepted back into the world community and is revving up to sell its oil on the world market which will bring down the price of oil even more.

Frackers and oil producers in the US have taken on a huge amount of debt under the assumption that it would pay off down the road. They hadn’t counted on the price of oil plummeting. What will they do when we convert 100% to renewables?

Read the full article → 1 comment

The Absurdities and Alternative Realities of Republican Politics

January 20, 2016 by John Lawrence

GOP T.V. / FOX NEWS Videodrome / Long Live the New FleshBy John Lawrence

The Republican political arena has become the theater of the absurd largely thanks to the emergence of Donald Trump as the new standard bearer of the Republican Party.

He has stood all the rules on their heads and made a mockery out of political correctness. Somehow this has breathed fresh air into the stodgy world of Republican memes and mantras.

For example, let’s take the birther controversy which the Donald was a big part of a few years ago when he and others made an attempt to prove that President Obama was not a “natural born citizen” as required by the Constitution in order to be President. In fact, as Trump and others maintained, Obama was born in Kenya. Turns out not to be true.

Read the full article → 0 comments

European Refugees Are Better Off than San Diego’s Homeless

January 13, 2016 by John Lawrence

calais jungleBy John Lawrence

Amy Goodman did a recent show about the refugees living in a camp in Calais, France. She walked around the camp interviewing several refugees all of whom spoke good English.

Most of these people were sleeping in tents similar to the ones you see on the sidewalks of San Diego. Some had built simple structures.

As she walked around, I began to notice some facilities that they had there which are nowhere to be found for the San Diego homeless. First I noticed a dumpster. There’s no dumpster for San Diego’s homeless. The trash just gets left on the street.

Read the full article → 6 comments

Extreme Weather Watch: December 2015 – Tornados, Floods Kill Hundreds

January 7, 2016 by John Lawrence

Christmas 2015 Notable for Extreme Weather Throughout the US

weather5By John Lawrence

Record high temperatures on Christmas day, as much as 30 degrees F above normal, were experienced up and down the eastern portion of the US. At the same time, tornadoes destroyed homes and lives in the nation’s midsection and south.

December 2015 saw more than 2,600 record high temperatures; major metropolitan areas in the Northeast saw some of the warmest Christmas Eves and Days on record.

Read the full article → 0 comments

The Most Hated Man in America – Uber Capitalist Martin Shkreli – Is Arrested

December 30, 2015 by John Lawrence

The Poster Boy for Corporate Greed

ShkreliBy John Lawrence

Martin Shkreli, CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, who bought the drug, Daraprim and then raised the price from $13.50 to $750. a pill was arrested on December 17 by the FBI on fraud charges having nothing to do with his price gouging with Daraprim.

Shkreli seemed to back off on his 5000% increase for a life-saving drug after he received a lot of negative publicity but later said that he wished that he had raised the price of the drug even more. A silent chorus went up all over America, “He’s getting what he so richly deserves!” It does seem like Karma, doesn’t it?

Read the full article → 0 comments

New Laws from the Republicans’ Alternate Dimension: Obama Forbidden to Mention Climate Change

December 16, 2015 by John Lawrence

More Greenhouse Gas, Subsidies for Gun Shops, and a Presidential Dress Code

smoke stacksBy John Lawrence

In addition to repealing Obamacare for the 457th time, Congress has been busy with a new agenda. HR 4031 will officially make it illegal for President Obama to attend any more climate change conferences. In fact, he won’t even be allowed to mention climate change in his upcoming State of the Union (SOTU) speech.

As part of the Fossil Fuel Enhancement Act of 2015, Governor Jerry Brown of California will be forced to abandon his plan to decrease greenhouse gas emissions. Instead, he has been ordered to increase greenhouse gas emissions and to give subsidies to automobile manufacturers as long as they don’t convert to electric engines.

As part of the Act, subsidies have been increased to ExxonMobil by $5 billion to further encourage them in the fine work they’re doing promoting and selling fossil fuels.

Read the full article → 0 comments

It’s Time that Ordinary People Get a Break – Instead of the Banks

December 9, 2015 by John Lawrence

graph avg inc by grp 2007

Income Inequality is Getting Worse

By John Lawrence

Income and wealth inequality is only getting worse. It’s not hard to understand why. Certain corporations have a lock on economic activity throughout the world.

Mom and Pop operations have been forced out of business or have merged with the Big Guys.

Artificial intelligence, automation, robots, and computers have taken over many menial but used-to-be-better-than-minimum-wage jobs like check-out clerks, bank tellers and customer service operators. Other jobs have been offshored to cheaper labor jurisdictions.

The rest of us, college graduates included, have been reduced to being expendable appendages of the large corporate machines to be sucked in and spit out at their pleasure. When our skill sets are outmoded, we will be laid off and fresh talent will be acquired.

Read the full article → 1 comment

Why Aren’t Seniors Getting a Raise This Year?

November 25, 2015 by John Lawrence

CEOs Got a Pay Increase Last Year But No COLA for Social Security Recipients

Cost-of-Living-Comparison-WBy John Lawrence

The Social Security Administration announced that senior citizens would get no increase in their monthly checks because there wasn’t any inflation last year as measured by the increase in paychecks for urban and clerical workers.

Yes, those workers didn’t make any more money, but CEOs certainly did.

Read the full article → 2 comments

Extreme Weather Watch: October 2015 – South Carolina, Texas Inundated by Torrential Rains

November 18, 2015 by John Lawrence

Extreme Weather WatchBy John Lawrence

In early October, torrential rain flooded almost the entire state of South Carolina. At least 17 people died. The cost of the flooding could top $1 billion, Senator Lindsey Graham said. Interstate 95 was closed for 70 miles. At least 11 dams failed. Another 35 dams were at risk.

The rain event set records all over the state, flooding entire towns. For some locations, this historic rainfall qualifies as a 1,000-year rain event, meaning in a given year there is a 1 in 1,000 chance of observing rainfall totals of this magnitude.

Read the full article → 0 comments

A Greedy Capitalist Gets His Comeuppance

November 12, 2015 by John Lawrence

Price-Gouger Martin Shkreli Becomes Known as ‘Most Hated Man in America’

asshole capitalistBy John Lawrence

Turing Pharmaceuticals chief Martin Shkreli will face new competition for Daraprim, the drug he recently hiked 5,000 percent in price, after competitor Imprimis Pharmaceuticals said it would market a similar drug for just $1 a tablet. Daraprim is used mainly to treat toxoplasmosis, a parasitic infection that’s common in AIDS and HIV patients, as well as cancer sufferers.

Greedy buttwipe Martin Shkreli, the hedge fund guy that bought the drug Dariprim and then raised the price from $13.50 to $750. a pill will actually lose his ass on this venture.

Read the full article → 0 comments

Guns, Angry People and Mass Murders: The Cycle Continues Until We Stop It

October 21, 2015 by John Lawrence

pm_gun_violenceBy John Lawrence

We live in a sick society where little kids play violent video games, you can’t flip through the channels on a TV without seeing drawn handguns, and hunters use automatic weapons to kill innocent animals.

It’s a culture of violence in movies and TV, a culture of violence in video games and a culture of violence in terms of unending wars and people blown to smithereens every night on the nightly news.

It was disheartening to me to see a few days after the horrific mass murder at Umpqua Community College, pro gun demonstrators protesting the American President as he landed there to give comfort to the families who had lost loved ones. Where were the anti gun protesters?

Read the full article → 6 comments