Civil Rights

Talking Love in Tucson at a Breakfast for Martin Luther King

January 23, 2020 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

I’ve been asked,

as we honor

Martin Luther King,

to speak of what I

have overcome in life.

In ten minutes.

And I’m thinking “Wow, really?”

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This Martin Luther King Jr. Day Is Not a Day to Celebrate.

January 20, 2020 by Jim Miller

The United States at Present is an Affront to the Legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

By Jim Miller

With the election of Barack Obama, many hoped that the United States had finally taken a decisive step away from its racist past and was perhaps on the road to more fully embodying Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream of a truly democratic and racially and economically just America.

Sadly, only a few years after the end of Obama’s tenure, it’s clear that nothing could be further from the truth. Rather than bending the arc of history toward justice, it seems that the first black president’s two terms, politically moderate as they turned out to be, ironically did much to fuel the fire of white backlash and emboldened reactionary plutocrats to roll back the clock in a myriad of other ways as well.

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All Eyes on Senator Susan Collins Who Says She’s Working With Small Group of Republicans to Ensure Witnesses at Trump’s Trial

January 15, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

All eyes are now trained on Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine who told a local hometown newspaper on Friday that she was working with a small group of Republican Senators to ensure there are witnesses during Trump’s trial in the Senate.

The House just voted today to send the Articles of Impeachment to the Senate and Speaker Nancy Pelosi just named the seven House members who will be “managers” during the Senate trial. The trial is expected to begin next Tuesday, January 21.

According to the Bangor Daily News:

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine told reporters on Friday that she is working with a “fairly small group” of fellow Republican senators toward a goal of ensuring witnesses can be called in the chamber’s impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.

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More American Voters Than Ever Now Support Trump’s Conviction and Removal from Office – 55% of Those Polled

December 26, 2019 by Source

A new poll released on Christmas Day shows record-level support among U.S. voters for the ouster of President Donald Trump. Public support for Donald Trump’s removal from office is the highest it has ever been.

The daily tracking poll from Microsoft News published Wednesday, Dec. 25, asked respondents if they “support or oppose the Senate voting to remove President from office?” It found that while 55% of people support and only 40% oppose — a dramatic surge for those backing Trump’s ouster and a record for the poll that has been asking that same question since late September of this year.

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U.S. Supreme Court Lets Stand Ruling Protecting Homeless People

December 19, 2019 by Source

The US Supreme Court on Monday, Dec. 16, upheld protections for people who sleep or camp outdoors, after refusing to hear a case over whether cities could criminalize homelessness.

The Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the case leaves in place an appeals court ruling that says the Constitution does not allow cities to prosecute people for sleeping or camping outside unless the city provides shelter for every single unhoused person in their jurisdiction.

The legal decision comes as soaring rents and deepening economic inequality have led homelessness rates to soar in some U.S. cities.[Including San Diego which has the fourth largest population of people who are homeless in the country.]

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San Diego to End All Facial Recognition Programs

December 13, 2019 by Source

Editordude: A group called the Electronic Frontier Foundation, EFF, just announced that due to their efforts, San Diego will cease all face recognition programs being used by more than thirty agencies in San Diego County.

In an article posted December 11 by Dave Maass – who used to write for Voice of San Diego – the face recognition system will be suspended on January 1, 2020. Maass called the programs “one of the largest, longest running, and most controversial face recognition programs operated by local law enforcement in the United States.” This is so important, we have to run the full article:

By Dave Maass / Electronic Frontier Foundation

We just stopped one of the largest, longest running, and most controversial face recognition programs operated by local law enforcement in the United States.

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Two Articles of Impeachment Brought Against Trump – Abuse of Power and Obstruction of Congress

December 10, 2019 by Frank Gormlie

“Today, in service to our duty to the Constitution and to our country, the House Committee on the Judiciary is introducing two articles of impeachment, charging the President of the United States Donald J. Trump with committing high crimes and misdemeanors,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler said Tuesday morning, December 10. CNN reported:

Democratic leaders announced they will bring two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, charging him with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress to set in motion the third impeachment of a US president in history.

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Nativity Scene Has Jesus, Mary and Joseph as Refugee Family Separated in Cages

December 9, 2019 by Source

A Southern California church flipped the lights on its outdoor manger scene Saturday evening to reveal Jesus, Mary and Joseph as border detainees, each figure isolated in its own chain-link cage with a barbed-wire top.

The nativity display from Claremont United Methodist Church, a suburban congregation east of Los Angeles,

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Here’s the Preface to the Trump-Ukraine Impeachment Inquiry Report from House Intelligence Committee

December 4, 2019 by Source

Editordude: Below is the short Preface to the House Intelligence Committee’s Trump-Ukraine Impeachment Inquiry Report. Go here for the full 300 page report.


This report reflects the evidence gathered thus far by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, in coordination with the Committee on Oversight and Reform and the Committee on Foreign Affairs, as part of the House of Representatives’ impeachment inquiry into Donald J. Trump, the 45th President of the United States.

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Ghost Guns, Armed Teachers, and School Shootings: A Deadly Recipe

December 2, 2019 by Source

By Richard Riehl / Riehl World

There was another school shooting last weekend, this time in a grade school parking lot in Union City, California, 30 miles from San Francisco. Two boys, 11 and 14 years old, were shot to death while sitting in a parked van at 1:30 AM on a Saturday morning.

This was not a typical school shooting, of course. It took place after school hours, with the shooter, or shooters, still unknown.

But nine days earlier, a student at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, California, a suburb of Los Angeles, celebrated his 16th birthday by assembling his own .45 caliber handgun and shooting five of his classmates. Two died, before he turned the gun on himself.

The common denominators in these tragedies were guns and children dying. I wanted to know more about how a teenager was able to obtain gun parts online, together with do-it-yourself instructions on how to assemble it. Here’s what I found

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The Outcome of the Senate Trial Is Not a Done Deal. Here’s Why.

November 26, 2019 by Source

By TokyoSand / Reposted from Political Charge via Words&Deeds

Do you remember the days and weeks leading up to the Senate’s vote on the disastrous Republican “repeal and replace” healthcare bill during Trump’s first year as president?

I do. Thousands of everyday Americans called their Senators, and attended town halls, and demanded meetings in their local offices, and wrote op-eds for their local papers, and more. We demanded to be heard on this incredibly important topic and we did not give up. Back in 2017, we had no reason to believe that the Republican Senators would vote the way Democrats wanted them to. But we cared a LOT about this issue and nothing was going to stop us.

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As Republicans Push False Narrative that Helps Russia, Truth Comes Out: Trump Needs to Be Impeached to Save American Democracy

November 21, 2019 by Frank Gormlie

As the House committee holding impeachment hearings wrapped up probably their last witness testimony this afternoon, several truths have emerged.

Trump’s Republican allies on the Intelligence Committee have repeatedly pushed the infuriating false narrative that Ukraine was responsible for interfering in the US Presidential 2016 election, and in the process tried to discredit and malign witnesses like Lt Col Vindland and David Holmes – a narrative that helps Putin. But then they ran into Dr. Fiona Hill. Hill, the National Security Council Russia expert, laid into them.

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More Debate Over San Diego’s Secret Streetlight Cameras

October 31, 2019 by Frank Gormlie

Recently – and to their credit – the editorial board of the San Diego Union-Tribune raised the question, “who’s to blame for San Diego’s secret streetlight cameras?” – and natch, they answered their own question.

In December 2016, when the San Diego City Council preliminarily approved a $30.3 million “Smart Streetlights” project, a key detail — that contractor GE would equip thousands of streetlights with cameras to monitor their surroundings — was never shared publicly. Awareness spread with the sensors themselves, and there is now a set of 4,000-plus cameras that are on all the time — and a sense of conspiracy. Critics complain the contract gave GE an “irrevocable, permanent, worldwide, royalty-free” right to use footage for its own commercial purposes.

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Civil Rights Are on the Chopping Block in New Supreme Court Term

October 30, 2019 by Source

By Marjorie Cohn / TruthOut / Oct. 15, 2019

This term, the U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether people can be fired for being transgender or LGBQ, if people brought to the U.S. as children can be deported, whether states can impose restrictions on abortion that disproportionately harm poor women, how firm the separation between church and state is, the scope of the Second Amendment and whether criminal defendants can be convicted by less-than-unanimous juries.

Millions of people will be impacted by the results of these cases.

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An Independent Police Review Board for San Diego: Why People Want It

September 17, 2019 by Staff

By Joni Halpern

An argument could be made that an assault on the First Amendment led to drafting of the proposed amendment to the San Diego City Charter that will come before the San Diego City Council’s Public Safety and Liveable Neighborhoods Committee on September 18, 2019.

A growing number of local individuals and organizations are hoping the Council will move forward to place the charter amendment on the ballot in the near future, allowing city voters to decide whether to establish an independent citizen review commission to investigate complaints of misconduct by San Diego Police Department officers. Presently, the City’s Community Review Board on Police Practices relies on initial review and investigation of any complaints by the Internal Affairs (IA) Unit of SDPD…

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Watching the Watchers – A Field Guide for Police Surveillance in San Diego County

September 12, 2019 by Source

by Dave Maass, Christian Romero, Madison Vialpando / City Beat / September 4, 2019

San Diego County is a perfect storm for the surveillance state. Between the busiest border crossing in the United States, a large military presence, a major port, a booming tech and cybersecurity industry, and elected officials who campaign on government innovation, it’s a wonder that San Diego has yet to become a Big Brother hellscape.

Or has it? Perhaps the process was so gradual that no one noticed.

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Still Trying to Keep Martin’s Dream Alive         

August 23, 2019 by Ernie McCray

By Ernie McCray

Nothing has ever resonated with me more than the “I Have a Dream” prose and poetry Martin Luther King delivered at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. on a pleasant summer day in 1963.

I was about to enter my second year of teaching and I couldn’t wait to share my thoughts about Martin and about what he had to say that day just in case any of my sixth graders were, in their youthful innocence, confused about what was being said about him throughout the country – all the demonizing of him as a womanizer and the FBI describing him as a dangerous commie, a designated “enemy of the state.”

I was eager to sit down with such young learners and set the record straight, to give them a bit of insight on the man from a black perspective. Mine.

I wanted to throw in some facts into the mix of insinuations and accusations in the air so that they could know and understand that Martin, this remarkable human being, rather than being a threat to our way of life, was devoted to making us more loving and caring as a nation.

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As San Diego Police Increase Their Use of Streetlight Cameras, Criticism Mounts Over Lack of Oversight and Potential for Abuse

August 9, 2019 by Frank Gormlie

Public Workshop scheduled for August 13 at 5:30 p.m. at the downtown Central Library.

San Diego Police have increased their use of so-called streetlight cameras that the City has installed recently, stating they’ve aided in the solving of crimes. At the same time, criticism of their use has increased, mainly around issues of lack of civilian oversight, the potentials for abuse and of outside hacking.

Since 2016, San Diego has installed roughly 3,200 streetlamp cameras with a goal of 4,200 by summer of 2020. The City’s corporate partner and sponsor, General Electric, beef the system up as the “world’s largest smart city platform.”

Initially called “smart streetlamps”, the City began the program ostensibly to collect metadata from cameras tracking the number of people walking, biking or driving through busy intersections. And as a LED upgrade, the City installed the recording system to the streetlamps. Officials tout all the savings the new bulbs will bring in by 2030 – enough money (on electricity savings) to pay for the $30 million program.

All these thousands of microphones and cameras in streetlamps made San Diego’s Police Department sit up straight and look into their potential. Which they did. Now police say they’ve used the videos from the smart streetlamps to aid them in over 140 investigations –

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Home in ‘Fallbrook the Friendly Village’

August 8, 2019 by Source

By Kit-Bacon Gressitt / Excuse Me, I’m Writing

“Peligro,” I said. “La mujer fotografia tu auto.”

It was pitiful Spanish—I really need to learn the language—but it was my best, and I wasn’t convinced it was the right thing to do, but I did it anyway.

It all started with my early morning walk, accompanied by my not-quite-right dog and my quite-all-right neighbor. This morning, we were halfway into a good sweat when another regular dog-walker pulled up in her very snazzy pickup. She leaned out the window with her phone, poised in camera mode.

“Do you see that car? Do you see what’s in that car?” She held the phone to her angry face and started shooting photos.

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The Rise of Patriotism

August 7, 2019 by Staff

By Joni Halpern

Dear Ohio,

Patriotism is big among American politicians. They wear patriotic clothing of red, white and blue. They spout patriotism in their rhetoric. They mouth the words of patriotic songs. They wear lapel pins referring to God and country. They eat patriotism with their hot dogs and french fries.

But what is a patriot?

Is he or she a loyalist? A nationalist? A flag-waver? A chauvinist?

I will go out on a limb here and offer my humble definition of “patriot.” In the United States of America, the oldest representative democracy in the world, a “patriot” is a person who lives the values of our constitution, no matter the cost.

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3 Dozen BB Attacks Over Past Month in San Diego County – Including Two in OB – Midway Area

July 23, 2019 by Frank Gormlie

There’s now been nearly three dozen attacks BB gun attacks over the last month in San Diego County – including one in Ocean Beach and one in the Midway District. Plus one target was the second storefront of a well-known OB business.

The BB gun attacks appear to be intentional and have targeted pedestrians, drivers, businesses and homes. Police are trying to figure out if they’re all related. Or maybe shooting BB guns at people and property is just a trend.

NBC7 reported on the Midway District shooting:

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Federal Appeals Court Re-Opens Case Against San Diego Police Officer in Midway Fatal Shooting

July 17, 2019 by Frank Gormlie

A Federal Appeals Court has breathed new life into a lawsuit filed by the family of Fridoon Rashawn Nehad, shot and killed by a San Diego police officer in the Midway District in 2015.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the decision by a District Court that had the case thrown out with the new ruling stating the plaintiffs – the Nehad family – deserved to be heard in a trial. KPBS

Ocean Beach residents may recall the case of Fridoon Rashawn who was walking, unarmed, in an alley in the Midway District a little after midnight in April 2015 when San Diego police officer Neal Browder drove up in a patrol car. He was responding to a report of a man with a knife.

But within seconds Browder shot and killed Nehad.

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The House Resolution Condemning Trump’s Racist Comments – A Twitter Enhanced Version

July 16, 2019 by Doug Porter

By Doug Porter / Words & Deeds / July 16, 2019

Now is the time for all good humans to come to the aid of their country. Enough with the “both sides” bullsh*t some are using to soften their critiques. This is a matter of right or wrong .

The President’s assertion that “many people agree with me” (true, but that does not make it right) cannot go unchallenged. The annotated document below says what you need to know. At the end of this post there are suggestions for concrete steps people can take.

A storm of protest/criticism that blows over won’t do. Nor will feeling like this is an impossible battle to win.

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San Ysidro: Nearly 2,000 Rally and March in Protest Against Trump’s Detention Camps

July 13, 2019 by Frank Gormlie

Between 1,500 and 2,000 demonstrators rallied at Larsen Field in San Ysidro on Friday, July 12, against Trump border policies which have resulted in migrants and children being kept in camps and centers under inhumane conditions.

About 7pm the demonstrators formed up and marched out of the park and along Camino de la Plaza down to the bridge over I-5 at the entrance to Mexico.

The protest was organized by Lights for Liberty and the Coalition to Close the Concentration Camps and was supported and endorsed by a wide arrange of community organizations.

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OB Has 4 New Fire Rings for Total of 8

July 12, 2019 by Frank Gormlie

Just before the July 4th holiday, this reporter counted only four fire rings on the beaches of OB.

Over the years fire rings have been an issue – as the City has tried to remove them in those lean years back a decade ago.

But today, we can announce: Ocean Beach is blessed with four brand, new fire rings – which now makes eight – the number OB is “supposed” to have.

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See the Government Photos of Migrant Centers – Which Make Me So Proud to Be an American This July 4 – Yessir!

July 4, 2019 by Frank Gormlie

I am so proud to be an American this July 4th! So proud that el Presidente is making us so safe by forcing migrants into overcrowded and squalid cages and rooms and camps.

I am so proud to have our government treat these people this way. So very proud. Fly those stars and stripes – but make sure they’re not the bars and stripes.

So verrry American. But the world may think different. They may think, ‘We treat dogs better than the way Americans are treating migrants at the border.’

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Dear Ohio: Just Close Your Eyes

July 1, 2019 by Source

By Joni Halpern

Since 1896, Ohio voters have picked the winning candidate in all but two presidential elections – 1944 and 1960 – giving rise to the state’s renown as a “bellwether” to which candidates cannot afford to turn a deaf ear.

Dear Ohio,

We’ve come a long way toward a bold new future of disregard for people who are not like us. We plod ahead like refugees in the barren desert, our feet bare and crusted, cutting a path to who knows where, steadily shedding the baggage of our country’s values in order to lighten our own burdens.

Like all refugees on the run, Dear Ohio, we might be missing some signs along the way that should have warned us of danger. But some of our fellow travelers claim the wording is inaccurate, so we are about to pass them by and move on to greater danger. One of those signs says “Concentration Camps – This Way.”

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U.S. Census ‘Citizenship’ Question Put on Hold by Supreme Court

June 27, 2019 by Source

By Robert Barnes and Ann E. Marimow / Washington Post / June 27

The Supreme Court on Thursday put on hold the Trump administration’s plan to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census form sent to every household, saying it had provided a “contrived” reason for wanting the information. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote the splintered opinion. In a section agreed with by the court’s liberals, he said the Commerce Department must provide a clearer explanation.

Agencies must offer “genuine justifications for important decisions, reasons that can be scrutinized by courts and the interested public,” Roberts wrote.

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Safe Parking Lot Opens in Mission Valley – First to Accommodate RVs

June 18, 2019 by Frank Gormlie

The Mission Valley parking lot for homeless who live in vehicles has finally opened.

Promised by Mayor Faulconer for months, the lot – located near the corner of Friars Road and Mission Village Drive – opened for the very first time at 6pm on Monday, June 17 . It will continue to operate between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. and also is the first such lot that is open to people living in their RVs. The lot, part of the City of San Diego’s Safe Parking Lot” Program accommodates up to 80 RVs or 200 standard vehicles.

A statement from the mayor’s office read in part: “Like the other two parking sites, this lot will include access to case managers, housing specialists, and more.”

Services provided at the lot will focus on several areas, including: basic needs assistance, employment, family wellness, school success, financial education, credit repair and housing.

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OB’s Very First Street Fair – 1983

June 12, 2019 by Frank Gormlie

Here’s a photo of OB’s very first Street Fair in 1983. Did anyone wear shirts way back then?

Provided by Mike James and Nicole Ueno.

Oh, and don’t forget the upcoming Street Fair on June 22th.

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