Author: John Loughlin

Speaker Toni Atkins and Senator Marty Block Visited OB Town Council

Speaker Atkins, Lt James Gartland, Jeff Hatfield, President San Diego Lifesaving Association & Senator Block (Photo: Susan Peinado) Speaker Toni Atkins and Senator Marty Block took part in the protest against ALEC on Wednesday July 22, 2015 and that evening both appeared at the Ocean Beach Town Council (OBTC) meeting to speak and hand out certificates of appreciation to the recipients of the OBTC Community Awards. The town council meeting was masterfully chaired by club Secretary and OBTC President, Gretchen Newson (who was also at the ALEC protest earlier that day). Both politicians spoke to some of their recent legislative achievements, and neither appeared to want to leave first – could it be that they are gearing up for a competitive Senate District 39 race next year (as has been rumored)? Or will Speaker Atkins be persuaded to run for Mayor? As previously reported in the OB Rag and reprinted with permission: State Senator Marty Block Senator Block introduced himself as having worked at San Diego State University for 26 years, President of the San Diego Community College District Board of …

What Can Be Better For People Than TPP/TTIP?

During discussion of granting President Obama Fast Track Authority to ‘negotiate’ the Trans-Pacific Partnership two friends recently asked me: why is TPP wrong for the U.S., for U.S. workers and businesses? where are the ideas to provide something better? [Jump below the line for the short answer ☟] A lot of the discussion has covered the potential loss of American jobs, with corporations preferring to move manufacturing to where labor costs are lower, or there are less regulations or oversight, but I’d like to consider an even broader issue. Creativity. Let’s begin with a slight detour to think about culture, and in particular how digital media defines culture (a passing interest of mine, and hopefully yours if you’re reading this online). “Free Culture” is the title of a book by Lawrence Lessig. It’s subtitle is – How Big Media Uses Technology and the Law to Lock Down Culture and Control Creativity. Lessig outlines the problems and some solutions with our ability to easily copy and manipulate digital artifacts. Interestingly enough you can download the book for free as a PDF file (or in many …

Power to the People

The never-ending austerity that Europe is force-feeding the Greek people is simply not working. Now Greece has loudly said no more. As most of the world knew it would, the financial demands made by Europe have crushed the Greek economy, led to mass unemployment, a collapse of the banking system, made the external debt crisis far worse, with the debt problem escalating to an unpayable 175 percent of GDP. The economy now lies broken with tax receipts nose-diving, output and employment depressed, and businesses starved of capital. The humanitarian impact has been colossal—40 percent of children now live in poverty, infant mortality is sky-rocketing and youth unemployment is close to 50 percent. Corruption, tax evasion and bad accounting by previous Greek governments helped create the debt problem. The Greeks have complied with much of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s call for austerity—cut salaries, cut government spending, slashed pensions, privatized and deregulated, and raised taxes. But in recent years the series of so-called adjustment programs inflicted on the likes of Greece has served only to make a …

Political Alzheimer’s

Every year around the time of the Winter Solstice the Pope gets together with the leaders of his ‘party’, the Roman Curia. This year Pope Francis spiced up the proceedings by outlining fifteen failings, or ailments, he’d like to see addressed. Many of these can be applied equally well to our own San Diego County Democratic Party and are worth considering as we look to elect new leadership early in the New Year. As we prepare to start the pre-2016 election year, now’s the time to make necessary changes or corrections, to paraphrase the Pope – speaking the truth, we can grow up, when each member works together the Democratic Party grows and builds itself. With credit, and apology, to the Vatican’s news office. “The sickness of considering oneself ‘immortal’, ‘immune’ or ‘indispensable’, neglecting the necessary and habitual controls. A Party that is not self-critical, that does not stay up-to-date, that does not seek to better itself, is an ailing party. … It is the sickness of the rich fool who thinks she will live for …

Ballot Initiatives this November 2014

In San Diego over the last few months we’ve seen how the ballot process is used to overturn the rule of representative government. The repeal of an increase of a levy on commercial construction that funds affordable housing projects, the overthrow of the Bario Logan Community Plan, and the minimum wage increase and earned sick days ordnance, are all examples of how the business community has learnt how to get its own way through calculation (of low voter turnout) and duplicity. Ballot initiatives are often tricky to interpret, written to appear like one thing while really being another. Then there are those that mix several proposals together in an attempt to find enough supporters.Propositions attempt to do an end-run around nuance and necessary compromises that are an outcome of the regular legislative process. So what are we to make of the propositions on this November’s ballot? Here’s the thinking that comes from the California Democrat Party. Yes on Proposition 1 WATER QUALITY, SUPPLY, AND INFRASTRUCTURE IMPROVEMENT ACT OF 2014 (CALIFORNIA WATER BOND) — Provides a reliable supply …

July 18 – Net Neutrality FCC Deadline For Comments Extended

The deadline for the first round of comments to the FCC on the subject of Net Neutrality has been extended to Friday, July 18. According to John Oliver, the only two words that promise more boredom in the English language are “featuring Sting.” He went on to explain that Net Neutrality is “actually hugely important.” This short video explains why. To paraphrase Colombia Law Professor Tim Wu: Imagine an electrical network that wasn’t neutral. You’d buy a new toaster, you’d come home, plug it in and discover that because the grid owner had made a deal with the other toaster manufacturers, your new toaster wouldn’t work. If you believe in a land of opportunity, then you believe in the open internet. Most Democrats believe that broadband networks should be treated as a utility, a common carrier, and the FCC should simply reclassify them as such. Some argue that reclassification introduces an unnecessary burden of regulation on the carriers, and that we’d be better off without it, but as Cory Doctorow outlines in the video “If you’re going to take a public …