San Diego Media Justice Society

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

University of California Administration is incompetent and out of control

LA Times Report: by George Skelton

Professors should teach more and do less research, he has said. Administrators shouldn't be paid so generously — into the $300,000 and $400,000 range, plus big perks.
UC contends it has to compete against Ivy League schools for talent.
Nonsense, the governor implied. "Money doesn't buy everything in this world," he told Regent Richard Blum, a wealthy investor and husband of U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein. "If it did, I wouldn't have anybody working for me."
UC "doesn't have to follow the Ivy League" to recruit, Brown argued. "People will get very excited about an institution that has a moral depth that transcends the vagaries of the marketplace.... This is not Wall Street. This is the University of California, and we want to be different."

There is no need for tuition hikes. The UC Administrators are incompetent. Look at how they work with CA K-12 Public Schools, and the results. 

All UC Regents are over paid. Napalitano's base pay is $570,000/year (not including pension, health, housing, and transportation benefits). At Each UC Campus there are 9 Chancellors who get >$450,000/yr.+benefits. Governor Brown earns only $173,000/year.

California Democratic Party Made Easy

Friday, November 21, 2014

Lessons Learned

In this turbulent midterm election year, two academics -- Lawrence
Lessig and Zephyr Teachout -- left the classroom and confronted the
reality of down-and-dirty politics, attempting to replace moneyed
interests with the public interest. Neither was successful – this year,
at least – but on this week’s show, Bill speaks with them about the
hard-fought lessons learned on the state of American democracy.

The Bare Knuckle Fight Against Money in Politics from on Vimeo.

FYI - The odds are against us

Hope is the knowledge that change is possible and our cause is just and worthy.

Fuck the odds. It's time to get medieval. 
All contributions by corporations to any political committee or for any political purpose should be forbidden by law; directors should not be permitted to use stockholders' money for such purposes; and, moreover, a prohibition of this kind would be, as far as it went, an effective method of stopping the evils aimed at in corrupt practices acts. Not only should both the National and the several State Legislatures forbid any officer of a corporation from using the money of the corporation in or about any election, but they should also forbid such use of money in connection with any legislation save by the employment of counsel in public manner for distinctly legal services.

The Tillman Act

Monday, November 10, 2014

President Obama's Statement on Keeping the Internet Open and Free

Activism requires a media plan

Ruckus Society Media Guide.pdf

One month to one week before the action 

  1. Decide what person or persons will be in charge of media strategy. The benefits of consensus aside, it is nearly impossible to write a press release, focus on a key sound bite, contact key reporters, or accomplish any other media tasks by committee. So empower a media team to make these decisions, and let them do their jobs without second-guessing and micro-managing.

    The most logical makeup of the media team is a media coordinator, an action coordinator and the lead campaigner. During the action itself, each of these people will likely be stationed at a point where they can serve as media spokespersons. If the media coordinator is to be stationed at the action site, you need one more member of the team: Someone to stay in an office and work the fax machine (unless you have on-site fax capability).
  2. Settle on one simple message. Accept it: You're not going to be able to communicate all the points, sub-points and shades of gray about the issue you'd like to. An action is like a freeway billboard, designed to hammer home one - and almost always only one - message. If you can't focus on one issue that's the main reason you're doing the action, you shouldn't be doing the action at all.
  3. Choose a strong image that clearly communicates the message. Remember the freeway billboard: With one glance it is (or should be) unmistakable what product or idea is being sold. Ideally, your action should communicate the message without any words of explanation - and always in as few as possible.

    If you find yourself saying, "They'll understand it when they read the banner," your image isn't clear enough. But the banner, which will probably contain language very similar to the sound bite, must also be capable of communicating the message on its own. You may not pull off the image; or you may not get the banner up; each, therefore, has to be able to stand alone.
  4. Craft sound bites that communicate the message and enhance the image. Assemble the media team. Take out a legal pad. Lock the door. Throw out short, simple, declarative sentences that express your message. (Remember: The average soundbite on U.S. TV is less than 10 seconds.) Write them down. Stay in the room until you have five that might work. From five, choose three. From three, choose one. Shape and refine it until it's as close to perfect as hard work and creativity can make it.
  5. Choose a date and hour for the action that will maximize your chances for coverage.

    Sometimes you have to do an action when it is possible to do it, or when it's safe to do it. But if circumstances permit you to choose the date and time, make your choices with the media's convenience in mind. Again, there's no formula, but there are some general rules of thumb:

    Morning is better than afternoon. Almost no event short of a major catastrophe gets covered on the evening news, or in the next morning's paper, if it occurs after 3 p.m.

    Monday through Thursday are the best days, and Monday's best of all, because the later you go in the week, the greater the chance that some other big story will come along and blow you off the news map. Avoid Friday (lowest TV viewership Friday night; lowest newspaper readership Saturday morning; lots of competing news.). Saturday and Sunday are also not the best, because news outlets operate with skeleton crews on weekends.

    Combining the above guidelines, we arrive at the theoretical best time for a hypothetical action: 10:30 a.m. on Monday, after news crews have reported to work for the day, but before they've got other stories going.

    But that's assuming your action occurs in a news vacuum, which it won't. Try to time the action so that it either anticipates or responds to an event the media will recognize as a story - "the news peg." If the President plans to sign the bill you're protesting on Thursday, do your action on Wednesday. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


 San Diego 
 Police Department
 Media Relations Office
Lt. Kevin Mayer
Media Line 619-531-2900
 FAX 619-531-2789
Updated 9/2014

According to the San Diego Police official Media Relations Policy:

All members of the department are encouraged to cooperate fully with authorized news media in providing information to the public about the affairs of this department in which the public has a legitimate interest.

The Media Relations Office has specific responsibility for dissemination of information and provides a department-wide, limited resource for the various commands. It (also) shall be the responsibility of the Watch Commander’s Office to 
disseminate information and available news releases to authorized news media regarding all major incidents, significant crimes or other noteworthy events.

Information that MAY be released: most department information which is not confidential or which would not hamper an investigation or jeopardize the rights of anyone. This includes basic information about a crime or an arrest and any information that might result in public assistance in an investigation.

Information that MAY NOT be released: statements or confessions made by a suspect; results of any test taken by a suspect; the names of juveniles arrested or listed as suspects in a crime report; information from child abuse reports; the names and addresses of victims of sex crimes or hate crimes; “rap sheets” or information obtained from rap sheets; the names of deceased persons (the Medical Examiner will release that information after next of kin are notified).


 To be eligible for a San Diego Police Department press pass, an applicant must demonstrate a need to cross police and/or fire lines on a regular basis. When a media member presents a valid press identification card and has a vehicle identification placard issued by a law enforcement agency, he/she should be permitted to drive through police and/or fire lines, provided that public safety and order will not be jeopardized, and that investigations or operations by police or fire departments will not be hampered. Visit for a press pass form.

Department-issued media vehicle placards are not licenses to park illegally. Be sure to read any restrictions on the placard before parking.


Disasters (earthquakes, flooding, etc.) and scenes of civil disobedience may be closed to the public pursuant to 409.5 P.C.; however, news media representatives are exempt from this restriction. As soon as a disaster has been identified and 
secured, authorized media shall be permitted free access to the area after being advised of any existing danger. They may not interfere with law enforcement or public safety functions.

Crime scenes are closed to the public and the media until any preservation and processing of evidence has been completed. 409.5 P.C. does not apply to crime scenes.

News media personnel have no right of access to private property greater than the general public and are subject to public access restrictions imposed by the owner or person in charge when a critical incident occurs on private property.

The San Diego Police Department requires press to apply for a pass to cover many events.

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Grand Experiment at Voice of San Diego

The Grand Experiment at Voice of San Diego
by  on AUGUST 21, 2014 · 17 COMMENTS
Womans Democratic LogoBy Linda Perine / Democratic Woman’s Club
When Voice of San Diego (VOSD) began online publication nearly a decade ago  the excitement in progressive San Diego was palpable. Here, finally, was an answer to the biased reporting that had been a hallmark of the UT for years (even before it was purchased by Doug Manchester).
The world of journalism was being revolutionized as the print media model became too expensive and cumbersome to compete in an instant access world. Slate and Salon opened their digital doors, and it seemed a new dawn of accountable news reporting was upon us.
San Diego journalist/entrepreneur Neil Morgan and Buzz Woolley founded VOSD. Those were the days of Enron by the Sea, pension underfunding, indicted council members, resigning Mayors and special elections (sound familiar?). Heady stuff for this newly minted, but brashly confident, team of young reporters including Scott LewisAndrew DonahueWill Carless andEvan McLaughlin.
Indeed, for a time, VOSD was a beacon of hope for readers, mainly progressives, who longed for journalism that was smart, informed, a little sassy and not afraid to call out San Diego’s particularly self-reverent grand poobahs. There was a dare-to-hope feeling that this online start-up might live up to its ambitious mission statement “to consistently deliver ground-breaking investigative journalism for the San Diego region.”
And lord knows San Diego offered a target rich environment for investigative journalism.
During those halcyon years VOSD had the luxury of extensive financial backing from Buzz Woolley.

Show Me the Money

But public non-profits have to keep bringing money in. In order to maintain its 501c3 status the organization had to make sure its money came from a wider base. Scott Lewis began to write less and work more with the nuts and bolts of running a web based non-profit dependent on donations. He took on the title of CEO. His tasks were to grow a membership, find generous foundations and donors, create strategic alliances and develop a functional website as the foundation of the enterprise. By all accounts he has done a credible job.
VOSD sponsors a number of conversations, breakfasts, forums and events throughout the year. Its annual Politifest has a permanent spot on the calendar of the politically interested. While many of the reporters from the 2005-2009 period have gone on to other endeavors, the finances of the group are improving over a tough 2011. Its 2012 IRS990 report shows a 41% jump in contributions/grants and a more than doubling of cash on hand over 2011.
The list of its top 20 contributors includes several funds from the San Diego Foundation, the continuing generosity of Buzz Woolley, Price Charities and $150,000 from Irwin and Joan Jacobs. Its community partners include American Medical Response, Hughes Marino, and SDG&E. Of the $1,372,714 in contributions and grants received in 2012, $366,877 was from memberships.
The idea of a non-profit, online news organization, one specifically created to provide “accountable” journalism, is a relatively new and untested concept. Indeed the idea was so intriguing that in 2010 the Columbia School of Journalism did a Case Study entitled “Not For Profit? The Voice of San Diego Experiment”
The success of the experiment will be determined by how VOSD deals with two related issues, inextricably linked to the question “Who Runs San Diego?”.

Two Critical Questions

First of all, it’s all about the money. Some may think that non-profits somehow rise above the struggle for the legal tender. Of course this is not the case and non-profits spend a very large amount of time and energy in search of the kindness of strangers. VOSD has many energetic and innovative efforts to raise money: its Meeting of the Minds program, Community Partners Program, and Politifest, to name a few. Just this week it began an attempt to crowd fund a new investigative reporter covering housing and development.
Just as for-profit journalistic enterprises face questions about how much advertisers (and owners) influence what gets covered and how it gets covered, VOSD has faced questions regarding how it covers, or doesn’t cover, news involving high end donors and large corporate entities. Its coverage of the Plaza de Panama controversy, involving Irwin Jacobs, was criticized. Many readers took Lisa Halverstadt to task for what they perceived as a less than balanced reporting of issues involving orca captivity at Sea World. Others, myself included, thought VOSD overlooked some very important relationships and motivations in telling the story of the political demise of Bob Filner.
These and other concerns have taken some of the bloom off the rose of the hopes of the progressive community that VOSD would take on the powers that be and do the ground-breaking investigative reporting it promises in its mission statement.
Which brings us to the 2nd major issue: bias. Scott Lewis, the CEO of VOSD, is very clear when he speaks about bias in reporting. He does not even pretend not to be biased. The VOSD website guidelines for reporters states in oversized letters There is No Such Thing as Objectivity.
Many would agree with that assessment, and even give VOSD a shout out for the sort of world weary hipster-noir blatancy of that statement.
But here’s the thing: to just poke your cyber thumb in your journalistic chest and say “I’m biased. Everyone is.” is not enough. If you claim your bias, but fail to identify what your bias is, you’ve left off the most important part of the conversation.
In seeking the answer to the media segment of our series “Who Runs San Diego?” we got a pretty clear picture of where Doug Manchester and John Lynch stand. They told us when they bought the UT that they really wanted to advance their extremely conservative agenda, that they really liked making money and they bought that nice little newspaper and the land it sits on to do just those things.
VOSD does not provide that level of clarity. Certainly they have a nice turn of phrase: “We are guided by an ability to be transparent and independent, to clearly assess what’s going on in our community and have the courage to plainly state the truth”.
It would be good, given that there is no such thing as objectivity, to provide some clarification as to which truth it is that will be plainly stated.

Who are the Winners and Losers?

San Diego wins having an online publication that works hard to bring the interested citizens information and venues to share information and ideas. Could it be fiercer? Yes.
San Diego loses if we don’t address the undue influence of money in our public discourse. In the VOSD circumstance crowdfunding may help offset the possibility of undue influence by large donors. If many give a little, it clears the path for “ground-breaking investigative journalism.”

What Simple Thing Can You Do to Address the Problem?

Give a couple of bucks to crowdfunding. Give VOSD the opportunity and encouragement to be a little fiercer.
Write an opinion piece. I am astounded at the expertise and concern demonstrated by many activists in San Diego.
Tell your story. Tell it at VOSD. Tell it at San Diego Free Press. Tell it at OB Rag. Tell it at your non-Manchester-owned community weekly (which we’ll be covering next week).
Linda Perine is the President of DWC, an avid cyclist and tennis player.
This is the fifth installment of the Who Runs San Diego? series, a project of the Democratic Woman’s Club, published weekly in the San Diego Free Press. The Democratic Woman’s Club mission is to promote Democratic Party principles including equality of opportunity, a level playing field, and fair and equal treatment for all. 

I think Perrine is accurate, and shows a valid charity with the VoSD experiment in non-profit, online, public-benefit news media. I’ve generally liked the quality, objectivity, and professional reporting of VoSD staff over the years, and I contribute small donations, but I’ve also had a tough time stomaching some of their stuff, especially some of the multi-media commentary that was produced for other local broadcast media interests. That’s probably as it should be, if I agreed with them all the time, they wouldn’t be doing anything for me. Yet it concerns me that, like other Public Media corporations, they get much of their funding from large corporations and corporate foundations, large donations from private individuals, and a minority of their funding from small contributions from members. I would like to see this model work, but I’d also like to see a commitment from the tax-exempt, non-profit, public benefit corporation to limit large donations to, say, 10% of total annual revenues, just to avoid the appearance of bias.
One other thing to think on, Linda says “If you claim your bias, but fail to identify what your bias is, you’ve left off the most important part of the conversation.” I don’t think that’s enough, as a professional journalist you need to make a commitment to the objective truth, and that means knowing your biases, exposing them, but then attempting to avoid them, and opening your reporting to valid and accountable critics to correct any bias or errors in your work. Just because everyone has a point of view, doesn’t mean that the facts aren’t objectively knowable.