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David Alvarez Supporters Analyze Loss In San Diego Mayoral Runoff Election

This article reminds me of the time during the summer of '62 when I was stacking hay for the Medicine Wheel Ranch in Wyoming. An elderly Crow Indian was riding into Sheridan, some 45 miles away, but his wife wasn't. "Why isn't your wife riding?" Answer: "She doesn't have a horse."

April 16, 2014 at 10:28 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

San Francisco Pride Names Pvt. Bradley Manning Of Wikileaks Infamy As Parade Grand Marshal

Edward Snowden emailed: "Today, an ordinary person can't pick up the phone, email a friend or order a book without comprehensive records of their activities being created, archived, and analyzed by people with the authority to put you in jail or worse. I know: I sat at that desk. I typed in the names. When we know we're being watched, we impose restraints on our behavior – even clearly innocent activities – just as surely as if we were ordered to do so. The mass surveillance systems of today, systems that automate the indiscriminate seizure of private records, constitute a sort of surveillance time-machine – a machine that simply cannot operate without violating our liberty on the broadest scale. And it permits governments to go back and scrutinize every decision you've ever made, every friend you've ever spoken to, and derive suspicion from an innocent life. Even a well-intentioned mistake can turn a life upside down."

Ever heard of Miriam Ben-Shalom? Women accounted for just 15% of all active-duty and reserve members of the military in 2008 but more than a third of the 619 people discharged in that one year alone were discharged because of their sexual orientation. The disparity was particularly striking in the Air Force, where women represented 20 percent of personnel but 61 percent of those expelled. Instituted in 1993, Don't Ask Don't Tell (DADT, Pub.L. 103-160{(10 U.S.C. § 654} generally prohibited anyone who had sexual, bodily or romantic contact with a person of the same sex from serving in the armed forces of the United States, and prohibited any homosexual or bisexual from disclosing his or her sexual orientation. DADT also specified that if a gay or bisexual service member hid their sexual orientation, commanders were not allowed to investigate their sexuality. Involuntarily-separated veterans from the military under DADT had a discharge that was characterized as "dishonorable" or "other than honorable" -- and as such are ineligible to receive most states or federal veterans' benefits. Ever heard of T/Sgt. Leonard Matlovich, Ens. James Woodward, Lt. "Jay" Hatheway, or Perry Watkins?

California AB 1505, which Governor Jerry Brown last year signed into law, mandates, if the federal government reinstates benefits to discharged veterans -- those who were denied benefits solely on the basis of sexual orientation -- will thenceforth receive state-offered veterans' benefits.

Ever read Conduct Unbecoming by Randy Shilts, St. Martin's Press, 1993?

April 14, 2014 at 10:46 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

San Francisco Pride Names Pvt. Bradley Manning Of Wikileaks Infamy As Parade Grand Marshal

Ever heard of Lt. Edward G. Seidensticker? "I was told not to stand there like the fool I unquestionably was," Ed wrote of his Iwo Jima experience as a Marine in his memoir [Tokyo Central, University of Washington, 2002] "but to get to work on a foxhole. Only a few feet away was a conspicuous and macabre object: a bare Japanese arm, raised from a heap of litter as if in some last gesture of exhortation and defiance. The rest of the corpse was under the heap." Seidensticker's translation work at the battle of Iwo Jima was rudimentary, e.g., "Bazooka wa doko desuka? Where is your weapon now?" but he went on to be decorated -- by the Mikado himself -- with the Order of the Rising Sun. In fact, when the 1968 Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded to Yasunari Kawabata "for his narrative mastery, which with great sensibility expresses the essence of the Japanese mind," it was Seidensticker who Kawabata chose to read his speech for him to the Swedish Academy.

And it was my late, great, gay friend Ed Seidensticker -- and not John Wayne nor Errol Flynn -- who crossed the sandy sloped beaches of Iwo Jima and climbed Mt. Surabachi.

April 14, 2014 at 10:40 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

San Francisco Pride Names Pvt. Bradley Manning Of Wikileaks Infamy As Parade Grand Marshal

In his introduction to the English translation of This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentleman, Jan Kott (in whose 1968 Berkeley staging of Euripides' play "Orestes" I played the Choragus) writes of Tadeusz Borowski’s decision to render his Auschwitz experience in the first person: “The identification of the author with the narrator was the moral decision of a prisoner who had lived through Auschwitz -- an acceptance of mutual responsibility, mutual participation, and mutual guilt for the concentration camp.” Seen through the eyes of a gentile / Polish prisoner, the story describes a typical day at Auschwitz. The narrator joins in the task of unloading thousands of Jews from the cattle cars and sending them to their death in the gas chamber, all to acquire food and maybe a pair of shoes. As readers grow to understand that the narrator is forced to this extreme in order to continue to perform the work that guarantees his own existence, they become part of the community of the concentration camp. And they become implicated themselves. Borowski was 17 when Poland fell under German occupation at the start of World War II. As the Allied liberation forces drew close to Auschwitz, then-inmate Borowski and others were moved to Dachau. Unloading a train, he sees an attractive young woman. She asks the narrator where they are being taken, and when he doesn’t answer, she tells him that she knows. She walks off to the truck, though she is young and strong, and her life would have been spared.

April 14, 2014 at 10:38 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

San Francisco Pride Names Pvt. Bradley Manning Of Wikileaks Infamy As Parade Grand Marshal

During the Cold War it was dangerous even to be knowledgeable about international affairs. Then-Prof. Harry Steinmetz, Chairman of San Diego State College's Political Science Department, spoke to a student-run campus club on Dec. 7, 1953. He recounted his own experience who had refused to testify about his communist affiliation at a Congressional hearing (with only two options, becoming "either a tattle-tale or a martyr"). Steinmetz was fired Feb. 5, 1954. One student criticized the editors of the Daily Aztec for being "swept along in the tide of public hysteria," while another student wrote: "It is a tragic commentary upon our age that intellectualism is linked, indubitably, with subversion." (Daily Aztec, March 5, 1954). Attendance at that talk 60 years ago exceeded 300 people. Many attendees were at State because of the GI Bill.

A former Cal rugby player named Mark Bingham was a crucial part in the passengers' rebellion aboard Flight 93 on 9/11/2001. Bingham was last to board the plane. He was a San Francisco public relations executive. He 'had very sensitive, creative side', says former employer Holland Cartney. A posting on the website run by Andrew Sullivan, former editor of the New Republic magazine, reads: 'The media portrayal of gays -- lots of it by gays themselves -- see gays as effeminate, most of whom seemed little interested in military service or aggressive pursuits in general. Mark Bingham's a hero, plain and simple. I simply can't say to myself any longer that gays have no place in the military.' 'He didn't politicize his sexuality at all,' said Bingham's friend and roommate Per Casey. 'It's ironic that in death he is being celebrated for something he did not think was worth politicizing. And that's lucky for all of us, and unlucky for people who are biased against us. What he did is both inconceivable and great.'

A very recent talk about Manning at San Diego State University was attended by about 100 peoplel. Sometimes knowing what your government is doing is a laudable and necessary thing: my 88 years-old friend Jim Obata (who was Chairman of the Mesa College Math Department for 35 years) spent his three years of high school were spent in a Posten, AZ in a WWII concentration camp because he was an American of Japanese Ancestry.

April 14, 2014 at 10:36 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

California High-Speed Rail Allowed To Seize Parcels If Needed

How did Japan, flattened during World War II by multiple saturation bombings, and two nuclear bombings, come up with the wherewithal to build The Tōkaidō Shinkansen in time for the '64 Tokyo Olympics?

Shinkansen service was an immediate success, increasing new traffic demand. It reached the 100 million passenger mark in less than three years, and one billion passengers nine years later. Sixteen-car trains were introduced for Expo '70 in Osaka.

Since its inception, the bullet train has carried over 7 billion passengers without a single fatal accident.

Thirteen trains per hour with sixteen cars each (1,323 seats capacity) run in each direction with a minimum headway of three minutes between trains between the two largest cities in Japan, Tokyo and Osaka. I usually stay at the hostel in Shin-Osaka after the three hours and 20 minutes ride. Since it takes less than 20 minutes to get from my hostel in Iidabashi to Tokyo Central Station, I can breakfast in Tokyo and lunch in Shin-Osaka.

Gov. Jerry Brown said: "President Abraham Lincoln came up with the money to build the transcontinental railroad during the Civil War, and we built the Golden Gate Bridge during the Great Depression." Brown said that he anticipates there will have a broad need for the system in the long term and that it represents a significantly cheaper alternative to additional highway and commercial aviation investments.

Gov. Jerry Brown's massive twin projects -- the Sacramento River Delta subterranean pipes and high speed rail can reverse the Great Recession in California. These are particularly important issues for the Central Valley. About 15 percent of the water delivered to Central Valley homes and farmlands comes from the California Delta.

Stockton in the Central California Valley is located one hour by Amtrak train from the State Capitol. In and around Stockton are hundreds of miles of waterways and rivers. In July 2012, Stockton became the then-largest city to file for protection under Chapter 9 of the US Bankruptcy code. Also in 2012, the city was ranked the second most dangerous in California -- just behind Oakland. In February 2012, the city was ranked one of the most miserable cities in the U.S. In 2013, Stockton was ranked as the third least literate city in the U.S.

A water bond will appear on the November, 2014 state ballot. State and federal water agencies, in order to restore the San Francisco Bay and delta ecosystems, need to build a twin-pipe project to move water 35 miles under the delta. The plan seeks to move the diversion point north to the Sacramento River and away from the south delta where pumps powerful enough to reverse the river flows are killing 95 percent of the juvenile Chinook salmon. The least important issues are domain issues -- whether in Stockton or the other towns in the Central Valley.

April 12, 2014 at 1:40 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Committee Requests Audit Of Balboa Park Celebration Organization

Mike McDowell, who has been heading the planning effort for Balboa Park's yearlong celebration of its 1915 exposition, was only "on loan" from the Lodging Industry Association. "Recent events require a recommitted effort on my part to ensure the near-term survival and long-term health of the hospitality industry," he said (Feb. 19, 2013, UT).

Irwin Jacobs was on UCSD Chancellor Pradeep Khosla's search committee. He paid millions to refurbish the Chancellor's mansion with its 20 private parking spaces. Jacobs offered $44 million for a parking structure in Balboa Park. Consistently, the Zoo has lobbied for more parking. There was to be a parking lot in Florida Canyon to the east of the current parking lot. The people rose in anger. Then the War Memorial building / lawn was to become a parking lot. Same reaction. Then Jacobs came to the rescue. But he, too, was rebuffed. Donor Darlene Shiley said: “When you have someone as well respected as Irwin leading a project like this and you slam dunk him, that doesn’t bode well for future projects,” she said.

Initially, UCSD was to have been located in Balboa Park.

Bob Filner eliminated parking in the central square of the park. But the dragon-slayer himself was slain.

We did get Peggy Shannon Day. (Great-grandmother Shannon accused Mayor Bob Filner of sexual harassment).

Obviously, the kiosks in Balboa Park with names of philanthropists starting with Richard C. and Rita Atkinson aren't meant to be associated in the public mind with perpetuating the legacy of the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition -- access to open space, gardens, celebration of our heritage, naval history, a reduced entry fee to the zoo for children in 2015 (as stressed in Ellen Browning Scripps' behests). It's about donor fatigue, sure. But mostly it about hoteliers who wanted a 39-year tax regime and who ousted a populist mayor to get it.

Scott Sherman -- I watched a 10+ hour history of New York City recently at the Arts Library at UCSD. Certainly Central Park in New York City was an integral part since before the Civil War, vying with the Erie Canal and Brooklyn Bridge in importance. Even if you're the stay-at-home type of council member, the opening of the Panama Canal which coincided with the first rumblings of The Great War brought huge changes to San Diego. Both parks were designed by the Olmsteads, although Balboa park at 1200 acres is larger than Central Park at 843 acres. Ever think why San Francisco was selected at the site for the signing of the Treaty with Japan? The Pan-Pacific Expo was of premier importance for both harbor cities.

March 27, 2014 at 10:13 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Balboa Park Centennial Committee Members Apologize For Failure

Mike McDowell, who has been heading the planning effort for Balboa Park's yearlong celebration of its 1915 exposition, was only "on loan" from the Lodging Industry Association. "Recent events require a recommitted effort on my part to ensure the near-term survival and long-term health of the hospitality industry," he said (Feb. 19, 2013, UT).

Irwin Jacobs was on UCSD Chancellor Pradeep Khosla's search committee. He paid millions to refurbish the Chancellor's mansion with its 20 private parking spaces. Jacobs offered $44 million for a parking structure in Balboa Park. Consistently, the Zoo has lobbied for more parking. There was to be a parking lot in Florida Canyon to the east of the current parking lot. The people rose in anger. Then the War Memorial building / lawn was to become a parking lot. Same reaction. Then Jacobs came to the rescue. But he, too, was rebuffed. Donor Darlene Shiley said: “When you have someone as well respected as Irwin leading a project like this and you slam dunk him, that doesn’t bode well for future projects,” she said.
Bob Filner eliminated parking in the central square of the park. But the dragon-slayer himself was slain.

We did get Peggy Shannon Day. (Great-grandmother Shannon accused Mayor Bob Filner of sexual harassment).
Obviously, the kiosks in Balboa Park with names of philanthropists starting with Richard C. and Rita Atkinson aren't meant to be associated in the public mind with perpetuating the legacy of the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition -- access to open space, gardens, celebration of our heritage, naval history, a reduced entry fee to the zoo for children in 2015 (as stressed in Ellen Browning Scripps' behests). It's about donor fatigue, sure. But mostly it about hoteliers who wanted a 39-year tax regime and who ousted a populist mayor to get it.

March 26, 2014 at 1:40 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

San Diego Officer's 15 Years Working With The Homeless Coming To An End

Thank you, Officers Rick Schnell and John Liening! May you both enjoy happy retirement(s). One of the worst things I've ever seen was when SDPD officers under Mayor Sanders' Administration drove away 15 homeless (including some children) from the sidewalk with snarling, barking dogs at 5:30 one morning from the sidewalk at 3rd & C.

One child's look of horror will stay with me for the rest of my life.

March 25, 2014 at 9:56 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

San Diego Opera Stars Teaching Young Vocalists What It Takes To Get To The Stage

Mathias Willwock a baritone at SDSU is the next Ruggerio Ramondi. Manuel Paz Castillo a bass-baritone at the San Diego Opera Chorus sang beautifully on March 8, 2014 at UCSD.

March 19, 2014 at 9:38 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

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