Saturday, March 31, 2007

Blackwater Training Camp Planned in San Diego County

There are several reasons to be concerned about the plans for a Blackwater USA military-style training camp in the community of Potrero, located 30 miles east of San Diego, and five minutes from the Mexican border town of Tecate. Much of the land is either zoned for agriculture, or part of the Cleveland National Forest, and is notable for it's chaparral covered hills and rural character. The area includes the Hauser Wilderness Area. Many people live out there to get away from the noise, pollution and traffic, or to get closer to nature. The population is approximately 900, half of which are registered voters. The poverty level is twice the national average at 26%.

Blackwater USA, a private military and security training company, is estimating their camp will employ approximately 60 people, and will have facilities to provide six day training sessions for up to 200-300 students per week. Their Notice of Preparation filed with the County of San Diego states:
The following facilities are proposed in order to accomplish the project objectives: Administration/ Headquarter Building; Caretaker Residence; Dining Hall Building; Bunkhouse Building; Classroom Building; Armory Building; Tactical Driving Track; EVOC Skid Pad ; Urban Simulation Training Area; Maintenance Building; Carbine Ranges; Pistol Ranges; Live-Fire Tactical Training Area ; Law Enforcement Training Tower; Rescue Safety Training Tower; Ship Simulators; Track Maintenance and Classroom Building; Defensive Tactics Training Area; and Helipad. Existing poultry farming uses would be removed and operations would cease. Existing cattle ranching would remain as an agricultural use.

That doesn't sound compatible with a rural life to me. Over half the registered voters in Potrero have signed a petition opposing the facility. They're worried about noise, pollution, environmental impact, and the effect on their rural lifestyle. I bet the Golden Eagle pairs that nest out there won't be happy either.

But as Don Bauder shows in the February 22 edition of the San Diego Reader, the county officials and planning board members seem to be bending over backwards for their first project under their plan to halve the environmental review process in the County of San Diego. In fact, it appears Blackwater has been working with the County since at least last May to have standards changed within the county that would impede their plans. Potrero residents learned about the plan on Oct 12.

A representative from Blackwater has boasted that Supervisor Dianne Jacobs never approves of large scale projects that don't have at least two roads in and out in high fire danger regions (such as the Potrero area), however she approves of Blackwater having only ONE road into their canyon location because they say they can provide a Shelter-in-Place fire protection strategy for the local residents (or as one resident has referred to it, cremate-in-place.) rather than evacuation strategies. Very convenient that the County passed this controversial policy on March 19, 2007, despite a strong community protest.

None of this even begins to address the nature of Blackwater's business as a paramilitary organization that has been a key actor in the privatization of the war in Iraq. IMO, a private military is completely antithetical to democracy. This allows the government to hide the true costs of war, as a private organization is not subject to the say operational or financial scrutiny as a government miitary operation. That makes it much easier to start and operate a war...a task that should never be easy. Again, for more information about Blackwater, read Jeremy Scahill's excellent article, Bush's Shadow Army at The Nation that was adapted from his book Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army (Nation Books).

This week, the County announced a public scoping meeting will be held this coming Thursday at the County of San Diego Department of Planning and Land Use to allow public discussin of the project. (Only a week's advance notice and it's being held about fifty miles away from Potrero, but who's complaining.)

Scoping Meeting, April 5, 5:30 p.m., Planning Commission Hearing Room, Department of Planning and Land Use, 5201 Ruffin Road, Suite B, San Diego, CA 92123.

This is a public meeting and I encourage you to attend. I've also been told that people will begin gathering outside the meeting location at 4:30 pm to protest this project from environmental, land-use and anti-war perspectives. I'll provide more info as it becomes available.

Labels: , ,

Friday, March 30, 2007

On Blackwater and Sewage

Two worrisome things I've learned this past week:

1. Blackwater (See: Bush's Shadow Army at The Nation) wants to build a military-style training facility in Potrero, California which is just east of San Diego, near the Mexican border town of Tecate.

I can think of several reasons to be unhappy about this development. I'm uncomfortable (to say the least) with this intersection of border issues, private security forces, and radical right wing ideology. I'm sure Duncan Hunter has a hand in this since it's within his congressional district, and he's been involved with the growth of Blackwater.

(edit- Oops. Mea Culpa. It's in the 51st congressional district. That's Filner's district. Still, Hunter could well be involved. We'll see. I'll get back to you on that, as well as on Filner's position.)

In very different, yet very disturbing in it's own unique way....

2. The farmers in Salinas use reclaimed water to irrigate their crops. (See: Frank Pecarich at California Progress Report). Uh....ewwww.

Maybe not so coincidentally, the year they implemented this sewage reclaimation project (1998), was the same year E Coli cases associated with leafy greens began to rise. According to Pecarich, there was a 200% jump that year. Again....ewww.

Is that alone not enough reason to REQUIRE microbial testing of irrigation water? I know, I know, I know...they say it's safe. But, how can it not be safe to drink yet be safe enough to irrigate spinich and lettuce which absorb lots of water into their systems and grow low to the ground AND get eaten without cooking? Answer me that.

The reason they use reclaimed water is because the farming in the area long ago removed enough underground fresh water to cause the encroachment of seawater into the fresh water sources. They had to find an alternative source to keep the existing economy rolling.

There's gotta be a better way.

Labels: ,

Upcoming activist events in San Diego

Tomorrow, March 31, is Cesar Chavez's birthday, and there will be a march and celebration of his life in San Diego. Here's a link to a map with the march route.

Monday, April 2, 7PM: Peace Activist, S. Brian Willson will speak at the Church of the Brethren, located at 3850 Westgate Place in San Diego. On September 1st, 1987, Brian lost both legs when during a civil disobedience action when he was run over by a munitions train in Northern California. The bombs and weapons aboard this train were bound for the US-supported terrorist forces in Central America.

Donation requested. Sponsored by the Sa Diego Coalition for Peace and Justice and Activist San Diego.

Friday, April 6, 7PM
: Granny D is coming to the First UU Church in San Diego.

Doris "Granny D" Haddock, who walked across the U .S. for "Campaign Finance Reform" at 90, keynotes the "Defending Democracy Forum," with a public talk on "Empowering Diverse People To Work Together for Important Goals." Musical entertainment will be provided by the dynamic husband and wife team of Karl and Jeanne Anthony.

The location will be the 1st Unitarian Universalist Church of San Diego Meeting House at 4190 Front Street San Diego. The suggested donation is $10, but no one will be turned away.

There will be a Reception For Granny D in the Common Room at 5 PM where she'll sign her book Granny D: You're Never Too Old To Raise A Little Hell. The suggested donation for the reception is $25.

Labels: ,

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Saturday in La Mesa - Unconstitutional: The War on Our Civil Liberties

The Peace with Justice Ministry of the La Mesa 1st United Methodist Church will be showing the Robert Greenwald film "Unconstitutional: The War on Our Civil Liberties" on Saturday March 31, 2007 from 6-8 pm. This film documents the erosion of civil liberties in the United State since the events of September 11, 2001 and the implementation of the Patriot Act.

La Mesa First Methodist Church
4690 Palm Avenue
La Mesa, California
For more information: Bob Conger, 619-670-6317.


Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Fast for Peace in San Diego, Tuesday pm

After work tonight I went downtown to see how Fernando is doing on the first day of his fast. I thought of him this morning when I woke up, and it was raining and windy and freezing. Not Buffalo freezing, but definitely San Diego freezing. Downtown is right on the waterfront too, so it gets a little extra chilly. I didn't know if he had anyone with him or not, and I keep thinking about him while I was at work. So at the end of my day I hopped on the trolley and went downtown. Of course, he wasn't alone.

It's not been raining since this morning, but the wind blew hard and cold all day long. When I arrived at the Federal Building, there they were...Six of them bundled up in layers of clothes and sleeping bags on the sidewalk. There were introductions all around, and shamefully I am now unable to remember any one's name except Fernando who I already knew, and Jeeni Cricenzo. Jeeni ran for Congress in the 49th District in 2006, and she also has a consistantly good blog at Daily Kos.

At one point a cop stopped by and said he'd be working the night shift and would check on them periodically to make sure no one was bothering them. They only have a 6 am to 6 pm permit to be in the plaza at the federal building, and they had to move away from there during the night. There's a place right across the street, that was actually a little more sheltered, and Fernando asked the cop if they could set up a small tarp they had with them in case it started raining again. No problem.

I hung around for a while, but had told my husband I wouldn't be too long, so I left around 5:45. They were planning a candlelight vigil from 6 to 9 and people were starting to arrive.

To spice things up a bit, on the way home on the trolly three (redacted) kids jumped a fence and threw a rock or some other projectile at the trolley. It hit a window, and shards of glass flew everywhere. It scared the bejeezus out of me and everyone else on the train. Luckily, no one was hurt, and that's a whole different story anyway.

When I got home, hubby told me it had HAILED shortly before I got home. Freaky weather in SD.

I told him about everyone down at the federal building, and he said, "let's take them a tent." What a nice guy I married! We drove down there with my son's 2-3 person dome tent, and I think that's just what the doctor ordered.

Did I mention it's freezing out there? Good grief.

Hubby saved the day again after watching four of us who'd never put a tent together, try to put a tent together in the wind. Good times. Of course, the News Guy filmed that unintentionally bit of comedy. Thankfully, my husband quickly found a spot to park, and gave us an emergency lesson in tent building. Whew. Jeeni climbed right in, so I think it was a hit. Now I won't worry so much about them out there in the weather while they're doing what needs to be done. It's important work to remind people of the needless suffering that this war has caused.

If you have time, go say hello. Join them, hold a sign for a bit, or just give them a little moral support.

Labels: , , ,

Monday, March 26, 2007

Fast for Peace in San Diego

March 27th is the 4-year anniversary of the death of Jesus Alberto Suarez del Solar, USMC Lance Corporal. The Guerrero Azteca Peace Project invites the community to a 48-hour fast to honor the memory of Jesus Suarez del Solar, and to show opposition to the Iraq War.

The two day fast is to symbolize the two hours it took for Jesus to receive medical treatment after stepping on a US-made cluster bomb.

Our message: No more killing and destruction, and bring our troops home!

Federal Building Plaza 880 Front St. in San Diego, CA (Broadway and Front St.) Those fasting will gather at the Federal Building at 11:30pm and start the fast on Monday, March 26th at 11:59 p.m.

MARCH 27, 2007
9:00a.m. - Press Conference
6:00p.m. - 9:00p.m. Candlelight Vigil, Speakers, Solidarity Statements, Music and more.

MARCH 28, 2007
6:00p.m. - 9:00p.m. Candlelight Vigil, Speakers, Solidarity Statements, Music and more.
11:59 p.m. - Ending of fast and spiritual gathering

Labels: , ,

Saturday, March 24, 2007

San Diego Registrar of Voters promoted

Interesting. Mikel Haas has been promoted from Registrar of Voters in San Diego County to Deputy Chief Administrative Officer. He'll oversee the Registrars office, among other things. I'm not reading anything into it at this point, but I thought I'd share. When it comes to transparency, he's been a lot more like a door than a window. It'll be interesting to see who ends up in that position, and what their attitude is toward those of us who want some sunlight on our election process.


Friday, March 23, 2007


Frank Pecarich, a retired Soil Scientist, has an article at California Progress Report about food safety, and E Coli in our veggies.

This subject is just bugging the tarnation out of me. I believe, as Pecarich says in his very good article, someone is hiding the ball.

Personally, I think of this as a progressive issue. We've been going down the Government is Bad road for so long now, and have allowed the Republican ideology about deregulation of business to take us to a bad place. Agencies that were put in place to protect the public and to moderate the problems and excesses of a free market, have been made toothless, inefficient and subservient to industry. Lots of folks seem to see that as a good thing.

I don't mind one bit if there are basic standards that can be put in place to protect my spinich salad from being poisoned. If the growers and or packers can't do it, we should.

In the meantime, I think I'll get my spinich at the local Farmers Market.


Feed the Beast

Found by way of Steve Hicken's 20th century concert music blog, listen, Sterling Newberry has written an interesting piece entitled Feed the Beast on the response (or lack of, for the most part) from the arts on politics and other events of the day.
Not only have Americans turned against the war, but more and more the military community has. The world of the arts, however, has been feeble at best in their replies, it is as if art wishes to hide its face from the realities of the time, or at best feed maudlin sentimentality.

Sterling has also released a video ...

The music is the last 3 minutes of the second movement of his Piano Sonata in C, "Ares" - entitled "There Must Be Peace".
This is the first video for the Ares album which will be released next week, it features the names of the 3227 American service personnel who died in the first four years of invasion and occupation, as well as photographs of the occupation from the DoD.

He has an good essay about it at The Smirking Chimp. Unfortunately, the video format is a little small. It would benefit greatly from a larger format. I think it's slightly larger if you watch it on the You Tube site.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Liberal House Dems To Back Leadership's Iraq Bill

How utterly depressing. I get it, politically speaking, but I don't like it one bit. They're going to keep throwing good money after bad.

I don't exactly agree with the TPM headline though. They're not really backing it. It's more like they're not actively opposing it other than with their own votes.

From TPM:

Liberal House Dems To Back Leadership's Iraq Bill
After a painstaking series of meetings with members of the Progressive Caucus and Out of Iraq Caucus and other members of Congress, the group agreed that, while they could not vote for the bill themselves, they would not block its passage.

"As someone who opposed this war from the beginning, I have voted against every single penny for this war as a matter of conscience, but now I find myself in the excruciating position of being asked to choose between voting for funding for the war or establishing timelines to end it," said Lee. "I have struggled with this decision, but I finally decided that, while I cannot betray my conscience, I cannot stand in the way of passing a measure that puts a concrete end date on this unnecessary war."


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

CSU Faculty votes to strike....

I was just wondering when the results of the strike vote would be released and I ran across this at Calitics....

CSU Union OKs Strike

How did I miss that today? I wonder if the staff is going to stay home in support of the faculty? I assume they'd be adverse to crossing a picket line. I know I am.

They had an 81% turnout for the vote, and they 94% of them authorized the strike. I had a suspicion it would be overwhelming because they're overwhelmingly unhappy. But according to the article at the SacBee, Charlie Reed says, "those people" just don't want to get an agreement.

How silly is that? What a thing to say. "Those people". Sheesh.


Peace Out in San Diego

Patty Mooney of Crystal Pyramid Productions in San Diego put together what she calls a "musical documentation" that features peace marches, rallies, vigils and protests in San Diego from 2003 – 2005, and it's up on YouTube now.

A musical documentation of San Diego peace vigils, rallies and marches from 2003-2005 with music from Eddie Vedder, Peggy Watson, Prince Myshkins, Stephan Smith, Pete Seeger, Dean Ween and Mary Harris, including Iraq war footage.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Clean Money is Back

Last week, Clean Money champion Assemblywoman Loni Hancock reintroduced AB 583, which establishes a full public funding system for all state legislative and statewide election campaigns. At the same time, Sen. Joe Simitian introduced SB 536, an exciting bill to establish a Clean Money pilot program for the office of Insurance Commissioner.

The above is from an email I received today from the California Clean Money Campaign. Good stuff, eh? I think so. I actively supported the CCMC and Loni Hancock's legislation before the CNA got their proposition on last November's ballot, and really prefer it over Prop 89.

I'm pleased.

If you don't know how Clean Money works, go to the CCMC faq page. It give a great overview of clean money, public financing for elections.

Labels: , ,

Monday, March 19, 2007

An update on the MoveOn poll...

Yesterday I gave a brief overview of why I don't support the Democratic Leadership's proposal regarding Iraq because it's NOT what I've been fighting for over the past four years. It's too full of loopholes, not to mention some unrelated pork.

MoveOn took a poll of members yesterday, and according to an email I just read that requests our presence at an out of Iraq vigil tonight, 80% of the respondants want MoveOn to back the plan put forth by the Democratic Leadership. I don't know about anyone else, but I've not spent four years of time, money and energy against this war and occupation to be satisfied with a half assed Democratic compromise that forks over more money to extend this debacle. I find it a tad ironic that MoveOn is hosting "out of Iraq" events at the same time they're willing to accept legislation that says "stay in Iraq".

And I was so hopeful that they'd gotten the message...


Sunday, March 18, 2007

MoveOn and the Democratic leadership's Iraq amendment

I received an email this afternoon from MoveOn that was addressed to me and a couple million of my dearest friends, asking us to answer a poll supporting or opposing the Democratic leadership plan regarding the Iraq occupation. I know some people think this is counter to what I should think, but I do not support it.

Why prolong the inevitiable?

I'd much rather they put their weight behind Rep. Barbara Lee’s efforts for an amendment that will facilitate a fully-funded, orderly withdrawal of all U.S. troops and military contractors by the end of 2007.

(Barbara Lee's full statement can be seen on YouTube)

Barbara Lee, Lynn Woolsey, Maxine Waters and others who have carried the anti-war banner for years in the House do not support this legislation, and neither do I.

The bill that they'll be voting on this week in the House is weak, and filled with loopholes regarding troop withdrawl. It also carries a large package of domestic spending that is completely unrelated to Iraq. For example, a bailout package worth $25 MILLION for California spinich farmers who were affected by the fact that they sold spinich that sickened and killed people. Doesn't that just frost your cookies? They don't want food safety regulations, but they want to be compensated for their failure in the market.

Ahem...anyway....sorry. Sidetracked I was saying:

The congressmembers that have been actively opposed the war all along are opposed to this bill, and as Norman Soloman at Common Dreams wrote this past Tuesday:
Pelosi is speaker of the House, and Reid is majority leader of the Senate. But neither speaks for, much less leads, the antiwar movement that we need.

They haven't before, and unfortunately, they still don't.

So just pause for a second before you push that little vote button at MoveOn. OK? The Democrats can do better than this. I'm hard-headed. I'm still pushing for them to get a little more spine.

A few more protest pics from San Diego

Okey-doke! Film developed in record time (i.e....less than a decade) Here are a few pictures of my own from yesterday's protest in downtown San Diego, and there are more in the link.


Pictures from San Diego anti-war event 3/17

Here are a couple links to photos and a video from yesterdays anti-war march in San Diego. We had a good sized crowd, especially considering what a busy week it's been for protests, rallies, etc. I didn't go with my usual group yesterday. I just went by myself and took a lot of pictures. I just didn't take the digital camera and I have to go get the film developed today...but in the meantime here are some photos taken by others.

Michael's photos.

Beach Blogger's Flickr photos


Friday, March 16, 2007

March and Rally in San Diego Saturday 3/17

Just a reminder (that's what I do, ya know?) that tomorrow afternoon there will be an rally and march to mark the fourth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. We'll be at Horton Plaza in downtown San Diego on 3/17/07 at 1 p.m. and will march to Pantoja Park (at 2:00) where there will be speakers and music. (On West "G" Street between Kettner & State GoogleMap) Bring signs. Bring friends. Make a little noise. Come on. It's good for you!

The featured guest speaker will be Eli Painted Crow, retired after 22 years of service in the Army, with his last tour being in Iraq.

I read somewhere that Fernando Suarez del Solar from Guerrero Azteca Project will speak also, but I don't see his name on this flyer.

I hope to see you there!

Labels: ,

Thursday, March 15, 2007

More pictures from the SDSU Forum on War and Peace


Forum on War and Peace at SDSU

The SDSU Forum on War and Peace held a rally at noon today. The members took turns reading famous anti-war speeches, and Gloria Daviston, a retired officer from the San Diego Veterans for Peace, spoke to the crowd. There were probably about 50 people that hung in from begining to end, but it was in a very high traffic area, and a good number of people stopped to listen to bits and pieces. We handed out lots of flyers for the march and rally downtown this coming Saturday to mark the fourth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq.


Saturday, March 10, 2007

Working for peace in San Diego...

It's going to be a busy week in San Diego if you're a peace activist.

Activist San Diego is holding a screening of the documentary The US vs John Lennon at the Joyce Beers Community Center in Hillcrest, tomorrow, Sunday 3/11/07 at 7pm. They're asking for $5-$10 donations, but they won't turn you away for lack of funds.

TOMORROW the 12th at 4pm there will be a rally outside Susan Davis's office at 4305 University Ave in San Diego to register our opinion to Rep Davis that we don't want her to support the so called "surge" in Iraq.

Our message:







BYOS - bring your own sign :)

THEN on Saturday the 17th there will be a protest at Horton Plaza, downtown San Diego, to mark the FOURTH anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. Be there at 1pm and we will march to Pantoja Park for the usual speakers, poetry and music.

FINALLY, on Sunday March 18, Chalmers Johnson will speak at the First UU Church in San Diego at 3:30 pm. This is part of the monthly Matters of Controversy speakers series and he'll be discussing (and signing) his latest book, "Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic".
Presented by: Peace and Democracy Action Group of the First Unitarian Universalist Church, San Diego, CA.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Night School

Democracy for America is holding Night School sessions again. I've taken several of them now, and they are very worthwhile. You just go sign up on their website, they send you a toll free phone number, and at the designated time you call in to the conference call. Before the session you can download the slideshow or you can sit at your computer and follow along. If you have questions, there's an email address and they answer some of the most common questions during the call. The eventually answer all of them, either on their blog or in an email. The icing on the cake is that it's FREE. I love free.

They will gladly take your donation though.

Last year I called into three of the sessions and learned so much. I took the classes on how to use online and traditional media to get your message out, and a class on framing issues that was taught by George Lakoff. Once again. Free free free.

The next Night School is this coming Tuesday, March 13 is called Building Progressive Coalitions. It's at 5:30pm Pacific Time, and 8:30 in the east. I'll be there.



Thursday, March 08, 2007

San Diego Vets for Peace 2007 Scholarship

Today the San Diego Veterans For Peace announced their 2007 Peace Scholarship.

Scholarships are available to high school seniors. There will be one overall award of $1000, three awards of $500 and one award of $250. There's also a scholarship available to a veteran attending college full time in the amount of $500. Applicants will be judged on an essay on the topic, Means and Methods to Establish World Peace Without Violence. The deadline is May 15, 2007. For the application and additional details visit their website at or contact Jon Monday 760-451-1959

More details and method of application can be found at The San Diego Veterans For Peace web site or by contacting Jon Monday 760-451-1959.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


I'm on the Lefty Blogs blog roll now, but dagnabbit, my posts aren't showing up. I think I might have submitted the wrong site feed address so I just resubmitted.

I'm figuring this stuff out as I go along, folks. I'm a jack (jill?) of all trades, and master of none.

Michael Parenti in San Diego

If you're interested in hearing Michael Parenti speak in San Diego either today or tomorrow, he'll be speaking and signing his books at a couple of different events. Tonight he'll speak on Culture and Power at 6pm at the Malcolm X Library at 5148 Market St (at Euclid). The event is sponsored by the San Diego International Action Center 619-692-0355 and

Parenti's new book, The Culture Struggle, is available online at

He'll also be at San Diego State University tomorrow, March 8. From 3:00-6:00 pm the SDSU Forum for War and Peace will be presenting a discussion on US policy in the middle east, and showing the film Sir, No Sir at Scripps Cottage on the university campus. Mr Parenti has generously agreed to share some of his time with the students that attend this presentation, and will be speaking on the subject, "What is Behind the U.S. Intervention in the Middle East". Afterwards, he will be speaking as a part of the Fred J Hansen Distinguished lecture Series on the subject of globalization, and he will be presenting his lecture, "Who Are the Rulers of the World?". The event is at 7pm in ENS 280 at SDSU.

Labels: , ,

Monday, March 05, 2007

Cal state faculty to vote on strike

From the local fishwrap...Cal state faculty to vote on strike.

Members of the California Faculty Association, including the faculty at SDSU began conducting a strike vote today, and the result will be known within about two weeks. If negotiations are settled by then, they'll strike, for sure. They're as mad as wet hens (as my mama would say).

Their pay is low when compared to similar universities (as is the pay for staff...don't get me started on that!), and the cost of living in San Diego is high. Overall people did not push for raises over the last few years while the budget was exceptionally tight. But now the reins on the purse have loosened a bit, and what do they do? They give 13.7% raises as part of a 19% increase in compensation to the top executives and presidents. The faculty and staff went years without raises, and when they came at all they were small. A total of approximately 3.5% over the course of four or five years.

They're also not very happy about the fact that some people in the middle management level make significantly more money than they do. That's doesn't really seem to be part of the official complaint, but I keep hearing it.

In summary: they're understandably mad, and I see two day rolling strikes in the near future.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Hearings in California on food safety

I just ran across this article at California Progress Report that includes the opening statement by Senator Dean Florez at the start of hearings by the Senate Select Committee on Food-Borne Illness.

You can watch a webcast of the hearing here.

I think a good case can be made for the government to take a stronger role in the regulation of food products. Especially with ready to eat produce that gets eaten without cooking like lettuce and spinich. The current regulatory system is fractured and toothless, jurisdictional lines are unclear, and the industry is largely self-regulating.

I think these recent food safety problems are in part a result of the anti-regulatory political environment we've experienced over the past 20-30 years, and here we see the results of this mind-set. In the last six months there have been:

• 199 sick in 26 States
• 102 Hospitalizations
• 5 Deaths

All from eating a salad.

I'm just glad to see that there's a Senate Select Committee on Food-Borne Illness now, and I hope they can provide some strong leadership on the issue. I had been planning on writing on this issue, and have a nice little pile of scribbled on notecards, but then life intervened and the notecards were stuck in the desk drawer. I should get back to that.

Regulation has become such a dirty word, but it's not nearly as dirty as having fecal matter in your spinich salad.


Save the date....

The San Diego Coalition for Peace and Justice is sponsoring a demonstration on the fourth anniversary of the Iraq invasion: SATURDAY, MARCH 17TH 1:00 PM

March and Rally
4th and Broadway Downtown San Diego
Assemble at Horton Plaza for bannering and noise-making March to Pantoja Park (Downtown) for speakers, poetry and music.


Updates will be posted at