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I spent most of yesterday traveling around San Diego with roughly three dozen fast food workers. The local version of the nationwide Fight for 15 movement made a statement at ten locations around town, taking to the streets both in North Park and downtown.

The mostly brown and black workers on the bus were those who’d committed to taking a day off from work (there were others that came and went) to let the world know they wanted a better life. Two were older, having spent more than two decades in the business. Some had families to support. Some brought their kids along. Others were trying to go to community college on a fast food paycheck. All of them believed they could make a difference, even if they were just paying it forward.

Many of these strikers shared their personal stories with TV and radio station reporters along the way. Some spoke up at the rally capping off the day. But the real story was the amazing level of grit and determination. There was a strong consciousness of this day being about larger issues motivating them as much if not more than their own personal dilemmas.

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Originally postedhere.

A press conference called by Congressional candidate Carl DeMaio went awry yesterday after Los Angeles Times reporter Tony Perry asked questions regarding allegations of sexual harassment made by a former campaign staffer.

DeMaio’s denial (an “absolute lie”) was the lede in a UT-San Diego story on the presser, which made it seem as though the candidate himself had raised the subject. The Republican candidate is challenging first-term Democratic representative Scott Peters in California’s 52nd district.

Politico.com has posted a story this morning that includes an interview with the accuser, who says he was offered $50,000 to sign a non-disclosure agreement prior to parting ways with the campaign. The DC-based publication also says it has obtained a copy of a never aired radio interview with 29 year old Todd Bosnich describing in “explicit detail how, over the course of more than six months of employment, DeMaio became increasingly aggressive in his sexual behavior toward him.”

There a lot more to this, and today we’ll tell you what we know. This story dates back to last spring, and takes several twists and turns along the way.

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Logo for SD Free Press powerstructure research series
In recent weeks Facebook has repeatedly cancelled advertising for articles posted to a series called “Who Runs San Diego?” from the progressive blog and news site I am involved with. The stories running in the San Diego Free Press are well documented power structure research illustrating the role of money in politics locally.

These cancellations are not happening--as far as I can tell-- for political reasons, although it certainly “feels” political. Back in the early days of the alternative press we had to deal with print shops who refused to print our papers. Now we’re talking about corporate indifference and an algorithm that favors cartoons over facts.. The effect is much the same.

This is about a company that gone so far into the world of automation, they’ve lost sight of the human beings who happen to be customers. So I want to share our frustration today; we’re fighting the good fight and being punished for not producing info-graphics to tell a story.    

The San Diego Free Press is an online only, all-volunteer, non-commercial undertaking. We adopted the name of a print publication from an earlier era out of respect for the moxie they showed in standing up to the city’s right-wing ruling class.

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San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce CEO Jerry Sanders took to the airwaves yesterday to announce his group of paid canvassers had gathered 56,000 signatures (at up to $12 each) towards implementing their plan to keep the working poor in poverty for as long as possible. A City Council ordinance raising the minimum wage will now be suspended.

Gone was the earlier pretense about a “small business coalition” fighting to save mom and pop stores from bankruptcy or simply getting this issue before the voters. This campaign was about the power of the wealthy to dictate policy to the city. A vote of the super-majority on the City Council was negated.

This was and is about the sustaining an economic model that asks taxpayers to subsidize lower tiers of workers via government programs while corporations rack up record profits.

By the time financial reports reveal just how much money was spent by the Chamber and their corporate allies in the hospitality industry spent to gather signatures, the San Diego clerk’s office will have certified the results. I’ll venture a guess that they spent over a million bucks, probably not including the hotel rooms provided for vagabond canvassers from as far away as Michigan and Ohio.

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A City Council veto override on Monday has set the scene for a showdown between local and national business interests vs. a labor-community coalition over San Diego’s Earned Sick Day / Minimum Wage ordinance.

Following months of public hearings and invitations (mostly declined) for local businesses to hammer out a compromise, the city council passed an ordinance providing access to five earned sick days and setting a local minimum wage increasing to $11.50 over three years.

This action makes San Diego the largest city in the nation to raise the minimum wage.

Mayor Kevin Faulconer--said to be one of the bright new faces in the GOP-- then turned thumbs down on the bill on Friday, August 8th. Although the council was slated for vacation for the rest of the month, a special session was called by president Todd Gloria. The 6-2 vote upholding the ordinance surprised nobody.

It didn’t take but a few hours before a well-financed Chamber of Commerce-led group announced it would be collecting signatures to force a referendum on the ordinance, hoping to suspend (until the June, 2016 elections) an increase in pay for an estimated 172,000 local workers, along with denying access to earned sick days to 279,000 individuals.

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€œJane Doe€ is the pseudomyn for one of thirteen women who sued the City of San Diego following the arrest of a police officer for sexually assaulting women while on duty.  Now the city'€™s lead prosecutor has been discovered trying to €œslut shame€ the woman as her civil case nears trial.

In 2011 Officer Anthony Arevalos pulled over €œJane Doe,€ for drunk driving in downtown€™'s Gaslamp District. She later testified he told her he'€™d let her off a possible DUI charge if she gave him her panties. They subsequently went to a nearby convenience store where she gave the officer her underwear in the restroom.

She went on to tell the court: œThat'€™s where I took my pants off and took off the panties and where he had me pull my shirt up and where he touched me.€

SDPD Chief Chief William Lansdowne called the woman €œ'very courageous'€ for reporting Arevalos and cooperating with investigators shortly after Arevalos was arrested three days after the March 8, 2011, incident.

The local ABC affiliate, 10News, revealed on Monday that the San Diego City Attorney'€™s office hired a private investigator to follow and videotape Jane Doe over a 23 day period. The investigator€™s report, uncovered during the discovery process, clearly indicates the intention to portray her as €˜wanton woman.€™

Twelve of the victims have settled their lawsuits, with payouts totaling $2.3 million. Jane Doe has stood fast, even as City Attorney Jan Goldsmith has portrayed her in the news media as a gold digger.  

The real issue at hand is the young woman'€™s demand that the city create an independent monitor at the San Diego Police Department to watch for corruption. She and her attorneys claim there were several reports and accusations Arevalos engaged in similar misconduct over a decade.

From the 10News story:

Private investigator reports to the City Attorney'€™s Office paint a vivid picture of a woman captured in seemingly normal situations, yet described as promiscuous and flirtatious.

One interaction documented in the reports said Doe was €œkissing and hugging her boyfriend in public; attired in shorts and bending fully over ¦ on several occasions.€
 

Watch the video. (DKos won't let me link, so you'll have to go via the SD Free Press site)

She is a young women engaging in normal day-to-day activities. Obviously the City Attorney'€™s office was hoping for something that would convince a jury that Jane Doe was some kind of despicable creature.

Several weeks ago public reaction forced the City Attorney'€™s office to back off from accusations made via legal documents that victim Jane Doe €œbribed officer Arevalos with her panties€ to avoid a drunk driving arrest. Those legal documents were filed specifically in response to the request for an independent monitor overseeing corruption in the SDPD, according a report on CBS8.

This fits right in with reprehensible practices used to discredit rape victims by defense attorneys. It'€™s called €œslut shaming.€ The intent is to make jurors (or judges, or the public) view the woman as an inferior being–less than human and undeserving of justice.

The City Attorney '€œexpressed concern'€ to 10News about the video being leaked in an interview, saying it was €œsimply standard legal practice in a civil lawsuit€ and (ta-da!) €œhis lawyers had not decided if they would use it in court.

From 10News:

€œSome people think it'€™s insensitive,€ Goldsmith said. €œI can'€™t address that. That'€™s what practicing law is.

Here is™ my rant from my daily column in the San Diego Free Press.

Perhaps it i€™s time to have a broader conversation of what '€œpracticing law'€ at the City Attorney level in San Diego means. This is the same office that brought us €œchalkgate.€ This is the City Attorney who chose to defend the blatant lies of corporate interests instead of the City Council in the lawsuit about the petition driveto overturn the Barrio Logan Community Plan. Young children in San Diego's neighborhood with one of the the highest rates of asthma in California will be sacrificed for military contractors General Dynamics and BAE systems.

This is a City Attorney who is elected to protect the interests of citizens, but is choosing to hide behind a claim of prudently protecting taxpayers to draw attention away from a demand of more oversight of the police department. This is the City Attorney who is™ defending the poor decisions made allowing a Jack-in-the-Box fast food restaurant to run roughshod over the North Park neighborhood.

This is the City Attorney who boasted to KUSI TVafter ex-Mayor Bob Filner resigned in disgrace that his office had been working on his ouster for eight months. This was five months before the first indications came out about Filner’s abhorrent behavior.  

Now it should be City Attorney Jan Goldsmith'€™s turn to resign. But I don'€™t think that'€™s in the cards. After all, Goldsmith is a politician at heart, and he'€™s had a full court press on to charm (I hear he'€™s very charming) the news media and distract the public from the -at best- questionable activities of his office.

It may be possible for him to fly under the radar and avoid scrutiny for some of his past mistakes. €Slut shaming€ shouldn'€™t be viewed as mistake. It should be viewed as a conscious decision to oppress the aspirations of 51% of humanity. I don'€™t care what kind of €œstandard practice€ he thinks it is. It'€™s wrong. For this action, he should pay a political price.

There is a €œRecall Goldsmith€ Facebook page generated in the aftermath of Chalkgate that could use a little renewed love (or €œLikes€).

I can only hope that somebody like Rachel Maddow in the national media turns this man€™s €œshaming strategy€ back on him. San Diego's Daily Fishwrap, also known as UT-San Diego has yet to run one world on this story, despite having a regular sharing relationship with the TV station that broke the story.

In 2012 he ran for re-election without opposition. When his next campaign in 2016 comes around, please help San Diego make it so he slinks back to whatever hole he crawled out of.

Portions of this story originally appeared at San Diego Free Press.

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A sexual assault victim suing the city of San Diego because her assailant was a police officer is now being portrayed in court documents as having committed a criminal act.

According to an article in today’s UT-San Diego, the city’s chief legal advocate has chosen to adopt a strategy of blaming the victim as a defense in a civil suit filed in the wake of the 2011 conviction of former SDPD officer Anthony Arevalos on charges of sexual battery, bribery and related charges.

Our tax dollars paid for a legal document filed by elected (Republican, natch) City Attorney Jan Goldsmith’s  office alleging that “Jane Doe” offered her underwear as a bribe to escape arrest on a drunk-driving charge on March 8, 2011.

UPDATE, 5PM WEDS: The City Attorney's office has now decided this accusation wasn't such a good idea, after all.

Jane Doe is the last of a dozen women who filed lawsuits or claims against the city alleging they were victims of sexual assault or harassment. Other claims have been settled, to the tune of more than $2.3 million.

A NBC7News timeline, including allegations by nine women against Arevalos wherein he asks for sexual favors in return for not being arrested, describes the Jane Doe incident:

March 8, 2011: Arevalos is accused of taking a 32-year-old woman, known in court documents as “Jane Doe” into the bathroom of the 7/11 on J Street in March, where she took off her panties and was sexually assaulted. Felony charges stemming from this incident include sexual battery by restraint, asked for a bribe, assault and battery by an officer, false imprisonment by violence, menace, fraud or deceit.

March 9, 2011: “Jane Doe” filed a report of the incident with the San Diego police department that led to Arevalos being charged with multiple counts of sexual assault under the color of authority. With a San Diego police detective, the alleged victim made two pretext phone calls in which Arevalos made several incriminating statements according to court documents.

Here are the details published in today’s UT article:
The woman, identified only as “Jane Doe” in her civil-rights lawsuit against the city, was stopped by Arevalos in the Gaslamp for drunken driving. She testified at his trial that he asked her what she would be willing to do to make the DUI arrest go away, and he suggested she give him her panties.

 The two went to a bathroom inside a nearby 7-Eleven where she removed her underwear, she testified, and Arevalos touched her before allowing her to dress.

 Somehow this sequence of events, confirmed by the recorded phone calls, a security camera video and felony convictions has now morphed into:

“Plaintiff bribed Officer Arevalos with her panties to get out of the DUI. Both plaintiff and Arevalos agreed to consummate the bribe in a nearby 7-Eleven in the Gaslamp.”

 Here’s the statement from Goldsmith’s office defending their actions:

“Unlike the other cases, this one remaining case has evidence that the plaintiff actually negotiated over avoiding a DUI,” the statement said. “Regardless of outrage from plaintiff’s lawyer seeking a payday, if we have to try a case our trial lawyers present the jury with the truth.”

This is the kind of legal behavior that gives rise to the saying that sharks won’t bite lawyers of out professional courtesy. This is the reason why getting rid of Jan Goldsmith- the man who brought San Diego city ridicule via the ‘chalkgate’ prosecution- in the next election should be everybody’s business.

This is the kind of blindness to the pain of sexual assaults that has no place in this world.

Please help me let the world know just how depraved a situation this is.

Parts of this post were originally published in the San Diego Free Press

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This is a dairy where the picture does most of the talking.  Something like a gun ad next to a school shooting story might not be surprising coming from a small town paper, where the production may be automated and the editor doesn’t give a damn.  But we’re talking about the newspaper of record for the eighth largest city in the United States.

Since right wing developer “Papa” Doug Manchester bought UT-San Diego in 2011, the paper has spiraled slowly downward.  Now it’s just ridiculous.

Today on the anniversary of the Newtown killings, they paired up coverage of yesterday’s school shooting in Colorado with a gun show ad offering a discount coupon.

See for yourself. (Couldn't get it to embed)

http://www.flickr.com/...

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We’re into week two of the outrage centered on allegations of sexual harassment by San Diego’s Mayor and so far the score is Bob Filner 1, Accusers 0, Power Brokers 0.

Despite the calls for resignation, the certainty in the media that these charges bode ill for the city and the rumble of a recall election, Mayor Bob Filner remains firmly ensconced at City Hall.

Those hoping to shame hizzoner with sordid details and finger wagging have failed to comprehend his obstinacy.

It’s as if downtown is surreal rerun of the old TV game show Family Feud, with right wing rag UT-San Diego's hit man Trent Seibert filling in for Richard Dawson.  “Survey Says”, he proclaims loudly, “Resign!”  The lights and bells go off, the contestants jump up and down… and nothing happens.

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“Chalk-U-Py” Protest to Seeks to Create Mural of Constitution in Front of Court House

Things are going out of control for San Diego's Republican City Attorney Jan Goldsmith. His office’s decision to prosecute 40 year old Jeff Olson for using children’s washable chalk to scrawl protests on sidewalks adjacent to Bank of America branch offices has garnered world wide notice. And it’s not the kind of publicity the Downtown Tourism folks appreciate.

A newly organized group calling itself Liberals for Liberty has announced plans to create a chalk mural of the Constitution with focus on the First Amendment in front of the San Diego Hall of Justice.  A Facebook page set up for the event calls for local artists to meet up Saturday (June 29th) at the courthouse, 330 West Broadway, San Diego.

At Change.org, a petition went up Friday morning calling upon City Attorney Jan Goldsmith to drop the prosecution of Jeff Olson for chalk graffiti, citing “an obvious abuse of power and a wasteful use of the resources of the City of San Diego.”

And, of course, there's a Daily Kospetition, saying “prosecuting people who chalk political messages on vandalism charges is a blatant abuse of power.”

In the wake of a gag order by Judge Howard Shore prohibiting the defendant or any witnesses from speaking to any members of the media, coverage of the case has ballooned, with stories via both Reuters and Associated Press appearing in news outlets (including the New York Times) nationally and internationally.  Independently written accounts also appeared in newspapers as far away as Sweden.

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Wells Fargo Bank CEO John Stumpf’s keynote speech to the American Banker Retail Lending Conference on Thursday morning didn’t quite work out like he (or anyone else) expected.  Midway through his address, single mom Betty Badro calmly walked up on the stage to confront him over Wells Fargo’s foreclosure polices.

Ms. Badro, who has worked for the State of California for 22 years, attempted to deliver a personal check to the CEO, and tried to explain that she was hoping to forestall a scheduled foreclosure of her home tomorrow, March 15th. Not saying another word, Mr. Stumpf turned his back on Ms. Badro and left the stage.

After months of trying to get Wells Fargo to consider a loan modification, Ms. Badro explained she felt that going to the top man was the only way she could protect the lives of her disabled brother and one of her two children.

She got into trouble with the bank after suffering financial setbacks due to state furloughs and personal health issues.  Her finances have now recovered, a HUD-certified housing counselor has reviewed her case, and believes that Ms. Badro qualifies for a loan modification.

After the Wells Fargo CEO left the stage at the luxurious Park Hyatt Aviara Resort, Badro was joined by fifty members of the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), the Home Defenders League, and Occupy Fights Foreclosures. The group attempted to explain to those in attendance how Wells Fargo has failed the community and the changes that Wells Fargo should make in their foreclosure practices. The audience followed Stumpf’s lead, packing up and leaving.

Thursday’s event was part of a broader campaign of ACCE and the Home Defenders League to push Wells Fargo to change their practices in order to reduce foreclosures.  The groups are calling on Wells Fargo to:

•    Make principal reduction a core front-end strategy when considering loan modifications;
•    Release data on race & income of the homeowners they foreclose on, evict or assist.
•    Stop all foreclosures and evictions stop until these steps are put into place.

On Tuesday ACCE released California in Crisis: How Wells Fargo’s Foreclosure Pipeline Is Damaging Local Communitiess, a report documenting the bank’s failure to negotiate in good faith with financially distressed home owners facing losing their homes.

There’s a happy ending to this story. Betty Badro's was notified this afternoon that her foreclosure has been postponed indefinitely.

Originally Posted at San Diego Free Press. There's a video there, too.

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Think about it for a moment. The right wing gillionaires who’ve led the fight against affordable health care in this country had their marketing mavens work long and hard to coin this phrase, which has typically been used by the talking heads over at Fox in a manner that makes it sound like they're spitting something nasty out of their mouths.  The phrasing has the additional value of reminding those crackers out their who were apoplectic over the election of a black man as president to stay angry at the world.

By characterizing the health care law as “Obamacare” the news media (and even some politicos who ought to know better) are carrying water for the right wingers who have used every dirty trick in the book to defeat, undermine or repeal the Affordable Health Care Act.  Even just saying the “Health Care Act” is fine. The right has spent twenty years fighting any semblance of a national policy on health care for one good reason: once people see the benefits of a rational care system (and the one under discussion here barely qualifies), they are less inclined to buy into the meme that all government is bad that is at the core of the right wing’s philosophy. So. Just. Don’t. Do. It. Don’t say or write the world. It’s lazy. And it’s wrong. Got it? Thank you!

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