Saturday, July 5, 2014

Refugee families need our help!

This is from the Interfaith Center for Worker Justice of San Diego County

We are working closely with other organizations to see how we can help refugees who are coming to San Diego.  San Diego is receiving roughly 140 refugees every three days for processing.  Refugees are then sent to other parts of the country where they have family or friends.  As Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement are processing these families they are in urgent need of the following. 
  • Baby Wipes
  • Baby Formula
  • Baby Bottles
  • Baby Food (plastic containers if possible)
  • Diapers All Sizes
  • Anti-bacterial lotion/dispensers
  • Coloring books
  • Crayons
  • Soft toys for small children
  • Playing cards for older children and maybe puzzles
  • Small Towels
  • Small Soaps
These families are not just coming to the U.S. for "a better life", many are fleeing unimaginable violence and persecution in their home countries. They are arriving at our border, presenting themselves to officials, and requesting asylum.  This is not just about immigration, it is indeed a humanitarian crises. 
Items can be dropped off this Monday from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at:
Alliance San Diego
3750 30th Street, San Diego, 92104 (In North Park on the corner of 30th Street and Gunn Street)
The ICWJ office is right next door so stop by and say hi if you come by.
PLEASE share this with others - we're going to need lots of help over the next few weeks.  Feel free to contact ICWJ with any questions.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Governor Signs Weber Bill Protecting Persons with Disabilities from Abuse

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                                                                                    
CONTACT: Joe Kocurek
(619) 655-8330
July 3, 2014             

Weber’s Legislative Package Progresses through Senate

SACRAMENTO- Governor Edmund G. Brown signed AB 2379, legislation introduced by Assemblymember Shirley N. Weber, that increases the ability of abuse prevention teams to identify potential risk of abuse by caregivers for older or dependent adults. This bill, sponsored by the County of San Diego, is the first of Weber’s 2014 legislative package to be signed into law. 

Assemblymember Weber also announced that eight of her bills have advanced in the Senate:

  •  AB 938 - Prohibits the imposition or increase in the amount of  ‘student fees’ on state university campuses unless approved by a majority vote of the students voting on the campus, and provides for a committee composed of students, faculty and administrators to oversee the expenditure of funds where imposed. Status:  Referred to Senate Appropriations Committee.
  • AB 1719 – Requires the State Superintendent of Public Instruction to provide the Legislature with a feasibility study and implementation plan for providing full-day
  • kindergarten statewide. Status: Referred to Senate Appropriations Committee.
  • AB 2009- Streamlines the Board of Equalization’s (BOE) sales tax audit process by allowing businesses in good standing to conduct their own sales tax audits with BOE supervision. This saves time, reduces disruption to business operations and frees up BOE resources for pursuing ‘bad actor’ businesses. Status: Passed by Legislature to the Governor’s Desk.
  • AB 2067- Streamlines reporting requirements for the Urban Water Management Plan by shortening the list of requirements from fourteen to seven. Status: Passed by Senate and sent to Assembly for Concurrence in Senate Amendments.
  • AB 2376- Decreases the operating costs for small businesses with state contracts - including women, minority and disabled veteran-owned businesses - by reducing the required insurance deductible from $25,000 to $10,000. Status: Passed by Legislature to Governor’s Desk.
  • AB 2380 – Will ensure the input of parents and decision-making committees is included in the formation? of school districts’ student achievement plans under the new Local Control Funding Formula. Status: Referred to Senate Appropriations Committee.
  • AB 2591- Establishes a state policy that will enable social services to provide basic material needs for homeless children identified in public schools. Status: Referred to Senate Appropriations Committee.
  •  AB 2617- Prohibits forced arbitration clauses from preventing individuals from pursuing legal action for violations of their civil rights. Status: Passed by Senate Judiciary Committee to Senate Floor.


New grants will drive innovative affordable housing in San Diego


Edward Lopez, LISC San Diego
(619) 528-9058 or

LISC San Diego, JPMorgan Chase join forces to support high-impact development plans

SAN DIEGO (July 2, 2014) – The Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) is helping expand the amount of good rental housing available to low-income families with grants to two of San Diego’s top nonprofits working to revitalize troubled communities.

City Heights Community Development Corporation (CDC) and Community HousingWorks will split $100,000 in early action funding, having been selected through a competitive process that considered the long-term implications of affordable housing proposals.  The grants are unique because they both help get construction and rehab efforts off the ground for particular projects and fund development models that can be replicated by others working to address the city’s growing housing needs.

The grants are part of national funding from JPMorgan Chase to help make sure low-income families can find safe, decent homes within their means.  San Diego is a priority market for the grant program.

"Expanding access to affordable housing isn't just the right thing to do – it is a part of a smart, effective strategy for improving entire communities," said Alice Carr, West Regional Manager for Chase Community Development Banking. "LISC has been promoting that approach for decades and we are proud to support their efforts to expand this work throughout San Diego," added Carr.

City Heights CDC, for instance, will acquire and rehab a “Huffman 6-Pack”—a catch-all term for the small, 1970s-era housing developments known primarily for their poor design and deteriorating quality. There are thousands of such apartments in low-income neighborhoods across San Diego.  City Heights CDC is building an efficient rehab model that will make it easier for developers all across the city to improve the quality of these properties and, in the process, make the surrounding neighborhoods better places to live.

“The ‘Huffman’ multifamily properties in City Heights--with their two-story monolithic façades and expansive concrete parking in front--stand in ugly contrast to the attractive craftsman houses that line our streets,” said Kenneth Grimes, executive director at City Heights CDC.  “We are developing a plan to turn these apartments into quality homes and blend them into the surrounding architecture—all as part of our larger efforts to revitalize our neighborhood,” he said.

Community HousingWorks (CHW) is taking a different tack with its grant, using it to build 138 affordable apartments for seniors as part of a new complex that offers on-site health services for residents. The project is part of an intergenerational master-planned community in Oceanside and will help CHW create a model to integrate housing and health care in new development efforts.

“This grant will help us provide much needed housing and supportive services for seniors in our community,” said Sue Reynolds, CEO of CHW.  “In fact, as part of our overall development, the project will specifically provide 27 homes for formerly homeless or disabled veterans. The need for those veterans’ homes is particularly great here in San Diego County.”

Edward Lopez, LISC’s executive director in San Diego, pointed to the innovative approach both City Heights and CHW have taken.  “This funding does more than support one or two specific projects.  It is helping these organizations create a set of best practices that will help inform and accelerate other efforts to address severe affordable housing needs in San Diego County,” he said.

This funding is the latest in a long partnership between JPMorgan Chase and LISC. To date, the bank and its foundation have worked with LISC to deliver $53 million in grants, $110 million in loans and $2 billion in tax credit equity for affordable rental housing and commercial development nationwide.

"Affordable housing is the heart of our Building Sustainable Communities work to improve the quality of life in neighborhoods all across the country," noted Larry Oaks, LISC’s national vice president of housing. "We share JPMorgan Chase’s goal to make sure families can raise their children in safe, decent homes while we help boost the economies of disadvantaged neighborhoods. This grant program will have a significant impact on how well people live and what opportunities they have in the future.”

About LISC
LISC, the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, combines corporate, government and philanthropic resources to help nonprofit community development corporations revitalize distressed neighborhoods. Since 1980, LISC has invested $13.8 billion to build or rehab 313,400 affordable homes and apartments and develop 51 million square feet of retail, community and educational space. For more, visit

In San Diego, LISC has invested $212 million to support and rebuild communities throughout the region. These investments leveraged another $843 million to build and rehab nearly 6,000 homes affordable homes and one million square feet of commercial, retail and community space in low-income neighborhoods. For more, visit

About JPMorgan Chase
JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) is a leading global financial services firm with assets of $2.5 trillion and operations worldwide. The Firm is a leader in investment banking, financial services for consumers and small businesses, commercial banking, financial transaction processing, and asset management. A component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, JPMorgan Chase & Co. serves millions of consumers in the United States and many of the world's most prominent corporate, institutional and government clients under its J.P. Morgan and Chase brands. Information about JPMorgan Chase & Co. is available at


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

F*'ing Bullshit

This has been cross posted from Phat Jim's  Politics and Religion: Bullshitting with Friends

So I go away for a weekend in Connecticut and while traveling across the country, all hell seems to break loose - the Supreme Court comes down with its decision in Hobby Lobby.  And suddenly, I'm getting emails from people saying, "Phat Jim, where's your opinion on the Hobby Lobby case?" Well, here goes. . .

According to Wikipedia, corporations have existed since Roman times (500 AD or so), and in the one thousand and five hundred years of corporate existence, it wasn't until yesterday that a court in any jurisdiction held that a corporation can have sincerely held religious beliefs. Indeed, Henry Ford was sued by his shareholders for giving corporate money for charity.  So to clarify, a hundred years ago, a corporation giving to charity was controversial.  So, to say that this decision was judicial activism is understating things a great deal.

But there is something even worse about allowing a corporation to have religious beliefs - its allowing corporations to VIOLATE FEDERAL LAW BECAUSE IT CONFLICTS WITH THOSE BELIEFS. Now, keep in mind that if an individual does this - say, a Native American takes peyote as part of a religious ceremony, and fails a drug test as a result - its still deemed a violation of federal law, and the feds can come after the people.  By the way, that's not an outrageous example, but a case that the Supreme Court decided in an opinion written by Scalia.  Did Scalia dissent on the basis that this opinion overturns the reasoning of his earlier opinion? Of course not, because fuck people.

Or rather, fuck women. You see, not only does this opinion COMPLETELY change over a 1000 years of Anglo-American jurisprudence, not only does it give corporations rights individuals do not have (to ignore federal laws it opposes), but the Supreme Court tries to limit the opinion to birth control pills, which are used by virtually every woman in America at some point in their lives. If Hobby Lobby had objected to paying for vaccines, or blood transfusions, or insulin (which is produced by pigs), Hobby Lobby would have lost. Why? Because unlike birth control, the Supreme Court agrees with the science of those medicines.  Birth control, meanwhile, is kinda-sort of-not really believed by Hobby Lobby (more about that later), to cause abortions.  This is not the case - birth control prevents conception.  Regardless, Hobby Lobby can ignore federal law and science because it thinks birth control pills are abortion pills.  And because vaginas are icky, I guess.

By the way, Hobby Lobby's claim that it has a deeply held religious belief is complete and total BULLSHIT.  Until 2010 (before Obamacare required employees to pay for health insurance), it not only provided health insurance, but purchased health insurance that covered birth control.  That's right kids, Hobby Lobby voluntarily purchased health insurance that covered birth control pills.  Which makes sense, given that Hobby Lobby regularly invests in birth control pill manufacturers.

And this isn't some random point. The next step in this case is almost certainly the trial stage (the Supreme Court determined whether the First Amendment is a defense, and now they try it), and so, its not unlikely that upon remand, Hobby Lobby gets its ass kicked.  In other words, crisis this creates is completely avoidable.

So, how do I feel about this decision? Its the kind of awfulness I have come to expect from this Supreme Court.  Get out and vote people. IN ALL ELECTIONS.

Phat Jim

Carl DeMaio silent after Hobby Lobby ruling

CONTACT: Alex Roth, 619-228-3253

San Diego -- Carl DeMaio has been remarkably silent in the wake of yesterday’s Hobby Lobby ruling. You can practically hear the crickets chirping. A review of his social media streams and a Google search reveal that candidate DeMaio, who is trying to portray himself as 'pro-choice,' has once again refused to address one of the most important civil rights issues facing our nation.

It's no wonder that in 2012 Planned Parenthood called DeMaio a "stealth candidate who refused to answer Planned Parenthood's questions about women's access to health care."

"He's running for Congress. Voters deserve to know exactly where he stands on yesterday's critical Supreme Court decision," said Peters campaign communications director Alex Roth. "For a guy who insists women should vote for him, he’s been uncharacteristically at a loss for words about a ruling with profound consequences for women’s health care and reproductive freedom."

In stark contrast, Rep. Scott Peters, who is endorsed by Planned Parenthood for his 100 percent record of standing up for women's rights, has been loud and clear about his dismay at yesterday's court decision.

“It’s a pretty simple question: Does DeMaio agree with the Supreme Court ruling or doesn’t he?” Roth said. “His failure to answer this question is not only evasive but also a telling sign about where he really stands on issues that are important to women.”


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Rep. Peters Calls Hobby Lobby Ruling "Outrageous"


San Diego -- Rep. Scott Peters for released the following statement in response to today's Supreme Court ruling in the Hobby Lobby case:

"Today is a sad day for those of us who believe women have the right to make their own health-care and reproductive decisions without interference from their bosses, and for those who believe it's in everyone's interest for women to have access to affordable, safe preventative care. Today's Supreme Court ruling is especially outrageous given the large percentage of women who use birth control pills to treat serious ailments ranging from endometriosis to post-chemotherapy hormone replacement. As a husband, father and long-time advocate for women's rights, I stand with all Americans who find today's ruling hugely disappointing."