HillcrestBlog by "San Diego News Service" (619) 757-4909

"San Diego News Service" covers hard news, features and reviews for local and national print media, and maintains, "HillcrestBlog." Address: 3907 Georgia St., #15, San Diego 92103-3548. Our editor is Leo E. Laurence, J.D., Copy Ed.: Martin Brickson. Member: Society of Professional Journalists, Latino Journalists of California. Call news tips to (619) 757-4909 (days), Nights: (619) 220-8686 (fax also). leopowerhere@msn.com Copyright 2008 by San Diego News Service

Friday, August 14, 2009


by Leo E. Laurence

While working for ABC-KGO News in San Francisco in '68, I was at the famous Democratic National Convention in Chicago.

The bigger story was outside the convention hall, where the major clash between the anti-war hippies and the massive police/military forces mobilized by Mayor Daley turned the city streets "into a war zone," according to a CBS foreign correspondent. He was riding a special press bus that took the media around town, passing through police lines.

While wlking through one large city park where literally thousands of anti-war youths were enjoying the sun and camping out (and literally surrounded by the National Guard), I came upon about 30 young people squatting on the grass under the shade of a very large, old tree.

They were listening to a male guitar player and a female singer with very long, flowing blond hair.

They would sing a number, then chat with the youths sitting on the grass around them. It was a beautifully pleasant scene.

The performers were good, really good; and has the kids spellbound.

I wasn't much into the music of the day, so I had to ask one of the youths who the performers were.

"Les Paul and Mary Ford," I was told.



I was surprised that they were performing to a small group under a tree, and not in a theatre somewhere.

"They just showed up, squatted on the grass and began performing," I was told.

But, that was part of the magic of the '68 Democratic National Convention.

When I arrived in Chicago from San Francisco, I was a conversative Republican as were most in our ABC-KGO newroom. ABC was a very conservative company.

When I returned to San Francisco, the Chicago convention had radicalized me and I began much more militant . . . and, a Democrat.


Friday, July 17, 2009


by Leo E. Laurence

San Diego -- 7/17/09 -- Meeting Walter Conkite was a highlight of a trip to New York City four years ago. And, it is amazing that he lived another four years.

While representing the San Diego chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) at the international organization's national convention in New York, Conkite appeared on a panel.

We are all familiar with his TV image as "the most trusted" man in America as the anchor of CBS News.

But the man I saw that afternoon in the "Big Apple" was old and very frail. His voice was weak and hoarse.

Wherever he walked, he was assisted by aides.

But, he was still "the" man of historic significance.

When he left the elevated speaker's platform, as soon as his feet touched the floor, he was surrounded by an army of bodyguards.

It looked all so presidential.

But, he looked so frail.

I'm surprised that he lived for another four years.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


HILLCREST -- 5/26/09 -- Nothing mobilizes people like anger, and Gays & Lesbians are really mad that they lost the battle over Prop-8.
The California Supreme Court has ruled that Prop-8 is valid, but ordered that gay marriages performed after the court's May ruling legalizing gay marriages will remain valid.
Gay & Lesbians are mad, mad, mad, mad!
At daybreak this morning, young Gays & Lesbians were on the historic Georgia Street Bridge over University Avenue, one block east of Park/University Avenues, with huge signs promoting a massive, community rally this afternoon at 5 p.m. at Sixth and Laurel Streets in Balboa Park.
What was hoped to be a celebration will instead be an angry demonstration of community protest against the state Supreme Court.
This all would not have happened if the professional Gays who were in charge of the No-on-8 campaign last year had done a more effective job. They intentionally avoided showing happy, successful gay couples in their TV spots during the campaign, for fear of offending someone. MAJOR MISTAKE!
Ironically, however, the anger over the court's decision may mobilize the Gay & Lesbian community far more effective than in the past.
The YES on 8 campaign last year was very effective on exploiting the anger of the state's homophobics. Opposed only by the timid actions of the NO on 8 campaign, they were successful.
Now, literally hundreds of millions of dollars may be spent by the Gay Community to put yet another initiative on the ballot, this time to overturn Prop-8. That's money that could be going into education, youth and community social services.
The anger in San Diego's Gay & Lesbian Community will be loudly demonstrated this afternoon (Tues 5/26) at 5 p.m. when Gays rally, yet again on the Prop-8 issue.

Photo by Leo E. Laurence, San Diego News Service (619) 757-4909 leopowerhere@msn.com

Monday, May 25, 2009


Hillcrest -- 5/25/09 -- Whichever way the state Supreme Court rules on Prop-8, either tossing it or approving it, San Diego Gays and Lesbians are expected to explode tomorrow.

The high court's decision will be posted at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, May 26th, on its official website.

Shown in the photo are Tiffany Roff, 22, of El Cajon (on left) and Scott Allen, 18, of Carmel Valley. They are holding signs promoting a huge rally at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, at Fifth & Laurel in Balboa Park. They are standing on the historic Georgia Street Bridge over University Avenue just east of Park/University avenues, and are shouting at traffic below on University Avenue.

Photo by Leo E. Laurence, San Diego News Service (619) 757-4909, leopowerhere@msn.com

Sunday, March 15, 2009


by Leo E. Laurence

Mission Valley -- With four screens and 161 films, the Latino Film Festival underway now in the UltraStar Cinema in the Mission Valley Hazard Center literally has something for everyone: drama, comedy, animation, Cine Gay, and shorts from all over Latin America, Spain, Peru, Chile, Columbia, Argentina, Mexico and the U.S.

"The economy isn't affecting us that much," says founding executive director Ethan van Thillo. "We are having great crowds every day."

"It started as a student film and video festival, primarily focusing on Chicano and Latino student work from the U.S., Spain and Latin America," explained van Thillo. There was only one screen at a Horton Plaza theatre.

"Now we have four screens and 161 films and are growing every day," he added.

Half of the $250,000 annual budget of the Media Arts Center in Golden Hills which produces the film festival comes from ticket sales. The attendees are key. Tickets cost only $9.50 general admission and $7.50 for students, seniors, the disabled and the military.

Surprisingly, one of the most outstanding films screened in this year's festival is in its special program, Cine Gay. International gay films rely much less on nudity and sex than do those produced in Hollywood.

In a dramatic "coming out" story called Fuera de Carta (Coming Out by Card), an older, flaming queen who owns and operates a nice restaurant in Spain. Everything is going well for Maxi (Javier Camara), an openly Gay and highly respected chef until his ex-wife drops off their two young children and pressures from work begin to haunt him.

There is little sex and nudity, but lots of pure drama and powerful acting. There are the a flaming queen and his HOT, young, soccer-player boyfriend; plus the usual homophobics. Maxi is estranged from his teenage son, but tears will come to your eyes as they re-discover love and each other.

All the movies have excellent English sub-titles.

If you want to get away from the usual Hollywood are of guns and explosions in every film, and want to see fantastic cinematography and great drama, go to the UltraStar Cinema in the Hazard Center at I-163 and Friars Road for the Latino Film Festival.
Copyright by San Diego News Service, 2009, (619) 757-4909

Monday, March 2, 2009


by Leo E. Laurence

When young, "militant" members of the Committee for Homosexual Freedom (C-H-F) in San Francisco hit the States Steamship Line in the city's financial district at high noon on the first Wednesday of March in '69, our now-worldwide Gay-Lib movement was born. The famous Stonewall riots in New York City, which was not a civil-rights action, followed three months later.

At least two of those gay pioneers live in San Diego.

The C-H-F was demanding that States Line rehire Gale Whittington, a cute, blond, 19-year old who had worked in the company's mailroom. He was fired when his photo - as a Gay - appeared in the popular, weekly, underground newspaper, the Berkeley Barb.

Eventually, the C-H-F targeted such other stores as Tower Records and Macy's department store for homophobic, company policies.

At the time, the homosexual community (the word "Gay" didn't become popular until much later) was totally closeted. Its leaders angrily opposed the revolutionary activites of the C-H-F.

Indeed, most of the active and financial support for the C-H-F came from straights all over the nation.

Unexpectedly, the Black Panther Party became a strong C-H-F supporter, trained some of its members in non-violence and provided protection to the new, gay militants.

For more details, contact Leo E. Laurence at (619) 757-4909 or e-mail at leopowerhere@msn.com.
Copyright 2009 by San Diego News Service (619) 757-4909

Monday, January 19, 2009


by Leo E. Laurence, J.D; editor, "San Diego News Service"
As President-elect Barack Obama is being deified, a comic strip published today in the San Diego Union Tribune suggests an explanation for his troubling selection of a prominent anti-gay pastor to deliver the inaugural invocation, and the noticable lack of Gays in any prominent positions in his administration.
Does Obama have unresolved gay issues?
He is an incredibly good-looking man. Muscular. Smooth chested. Brilliant eyes. Those are ingredients for a gay, porno star.
The comic strip is La Cucaracha.
One of the comic characters sends a congratulatory, cell-phone message to Obama.
"And, u don't have 2 explain y us got dat anti-gay pastor Rick Warren blessifying at ur inaug to ME."
"Oh, really," the president-elect responds.
"It diffuses the talk about your 'orientation'," the comic character says in his messaging.
"Oh, come on!," Obama responds in the comic strip.
"Maybe ease up on the rock hard abd, stud," the comic character concludes.
Sometimes comic strip are more real than reality.
If - and only if - Obama does have issues with his sexual orientation (aka a closet case), then he would naturally do whatevery is necessary to diffuse any discussion of sexual orientation, past or present.
He wouldn't appoint a Gay to the Cabinet, or any other major White House position.
And, he wouldn't openly or regularly discuss issues like repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy in the military.
Of course, he would make a casual reference to "Gays and Lesbians" in his inaugural, and thereby appease the Gay community.
But, notice that nobody has discussed his sexual orientation (past or present), other than emphasize over and over and over and over, his fatherly role.
To say that the fabulously good-looking law school student never got cruised in college; oh, come on!
Copyright 2009 by San Diego News Service, (619) 757-4909 leopowerhere@msn.com

Sunday, December 14, 2008


PHOTO shows young gay activist Nick Moede (owner: Numbers, Rich's in Hillcrest) with L.A. attorney Gloria Allred at a gay civil-rights rally at the County Administration Building.
A review by Leo E. Laurence, J.D.; editor, San Diego News Service

Hillcrest -- The movie Milk is a myth!

It is a historically inaccurate account of the beginning of the Gay Liberation movement in San Francisco.

Gay Lib did not start with Harvey Milk in '72 in the Castro District. Indeed, when Gay Lib really began, the Castro district was not yet gay.

The movie ignores gay militancy in the Bay Area in the late 60's.

The movie even ignores the famous Stonewall Riots in New York City, and gives the false impression that Milk started everything in "out" gay civil rights.

It is so unfortunate because young Gays and Lesbians today might think, after watching the movie Milk, that they were watching a documentary. WRONG!

The Gay Liberation movement was launched by the Committee for Homosexual Freedom in San Francisco in March of '69 in the city's Financial District. That was a full three months before the Stonewall Riots in New York.

But, all that history is totally missing in the movie.

Unexpectedly Sean Penn - or, whomever stood in for him - seemed comfortable kissing other guys in the movie.

Milk does give a fairly good account of the impact of Anita Bryant's nationwide campaign against gay rights.

Much as the success of Prop.-8 on the Nov. 4th ballot in California has today electrified new, youthful leaders in the Gay & Lesbian Community; much like Anita Bryant brought Gays (then called homosexuals) together nationwide in the mid-70s.

And later in the late 70's, state Sen. John Briggs's efforts to force the firing of gay teachers in California with Prop.-6, also mobilized the Gay Community as shown in the movie.

Today, new, youthful leaders like Nick Moede (owner of Numbers and Rich's in Hillcrest, see photo above) have emerged "with a new voice" as a result of the passage of Prop-8, as Moede said in a Nov. 15th speech at a rally at the County Administration Building.

But, by ignoring the gay militants of '69 in San Francisco and giving the impression that Harvey Milk started it all, the movie "is an inaccurate piece of shit," said Ruth Harrison of North Park, who lived in San Francisco for part of the time covered by the fictionalized movie.

"(Milk) was a crock," Harrison said, after seeing the movie at the Hillcrest Cinema.


Phone news tips to (619) 757-4909 or e-mail to leopowerhere@msn.com. Copyright by San Diego News Service, 2008.

Saturday, December 6, 2008


PHOTO SHOWS a Navy carrier entering San Diego Bay. It's twice the size of the ships sunk during the Dec. 7th attack on Pearl Harbor. Imagine it being sunk in the bay during an aerial attack!

An Exclusive Report by our editor . . .

San Diego -- 11/6/08 -- On December 7th, we will Remember Pearl Harbor, as the rallying cry of World War II said so succinctly.

Some believe President Roosevelt knew of the attack in advance, but did nothing because he wanted the United States to get involved in the war in Europe; which was an unpopular idea among Americans at the time.

This special report will not go into that, but will reveal - for the first time - one of the reasons why our major ships (e.g., the U.S.S. Arizona, a battleship that was sunk by the Japanese attack and is now the center of the memorial in Hawaii) didn't get underway during the attack.

One of my classmates in law school was a retired Navy captain.

One of his assignments when he was on active duty was as the commanding officer of the Hawaii Naval Station.

That gave him access to the highly classified archives on the Dec. 7th attack.

He was a history buff, and so he dug into the secret reports and records, "in the performance of his official duties," of course.

He was shocked to discover facts that had never been released, publicly, before.

He learned that most of the senior officers of the major ships docked at Pearl Harbor had been invited to a cocktail party.

The party was located high in the hills above the harbor, so navigating the narrow streets to and from the party's venue was difficult, at best.

The booze flowed very freely.

In a carefully orchestrated maneuver, those senior officers proceeded to get very drunk. Driving back to their ships, from high in the hills, was out of the question once the Japanese attack started.

And, here's a critical factor: the junior officers who remained on duty at the ships back in the port, didn't have the experience or expertise to get their ships underway. Training of Naval officers has subsequently changed.

Had the numerous ships, many of them major, had their senior officers on board; they could have gotten underway and avoided being sunk while moored to the dock.

But, those senior officers were at a cocktail party and got drunk.

And, who was the host of that cocktail party: Japan!


Phone news tips to (619) 757-4909 or e-mail to leopowerhere@msn.com, Copyright 2008 by San Diego News Service

Sunday, November 30, 2008


PHOTOS show animal-rights demonstrators (bottom) protesting foie gras on the menu at the fashionable Blanca Restaurant in Solano Beach Saturday night. Very few diners passed the protest to enter, and nobody was sitting at the bar at 8:34 pm.
Attorney Bryan Pease and animal-rights activist Kath Rogers are shown (center) talking with deputy sheriff Craig Sakowski after Blanca restaurant co-owner Seth Baas complained. The deputy rejected the restaurant's complaint and told the demonstrators "I'm not going to make you move."

Third photo (top) shows demonstrators at the Jack's La Jolla restaurant, which has recently removed foie gras from its menu in response to the animal-rights protests.

Encinitas -- 11/29/08 -- Animal-rights demonstrators hit the Blanca restaurant in Solano Beach Saturday night demanding they remove foie gras from its menu. The fatted-duck delicacy is produced by painfully force feeding ducks and geese until their livers are diseased and enlarged over 10 times.

The Animal Protection & Rescue League (APRL) of Hillcrest has been waging a campaign for several years to force high-end restaurants to remove foie gras from their menus.

The APRL has been largely successful with its continuing campaign and Jack's La Jolla recently agreed to take foie gras off its menu (see photo of APRL demontration at Jack's La Jolla earlier this year).

The Encinitas demonstration seemed successful, as very few diners were eating inside at 8:35 p.m. and nobody was drinking at the elegant bar. Every time someone opened the restaurant's front door, diners inside could easily hear the APRL demonstrators chanting 2-4-6-8, GET "FOIE GRAS" OFF YOUR PLATE!

The restaurant owners knew the APRL demonstrators were coming. One of the APRL volunteers, Lisa Osborne of Scripps Ranch, met twice with the owners and staff to describe the extreme cruelty to duck and geese in the production of foie gras.

The restaurant's owners were not impressed. Indeed, the property-management company that operates the Beachwalk shopping center where Blanca is located, even sent an open letter to the APRL saying that the protestors "must be on the (off-site) public sidewalk, not inside our shopping center" because it "is private property."

However, that is not the law in California.

In litigation involving the Fashion Valley mall, in a case that went all the way up to the California Supreme Court, it was ruled that peaceful demonstrators has a constitutional right to protest on private property that is open to the public.

Ignoring the law, Baas called the sheriff when the APRL demonstrators showed up.

Deputy sheriff Craig Sakowski responded and rejected the restaurant's complaint.He told the APRL's attorney Pease and leader Kath Rogers that "I'm not going to make you leave."

In an interview with San Diego News Service, Baas called the APRL demonstrators "unAmerican" because - in these bad economic times - they were hurting his new business.

All the restaurant's window shades and blinds were tightly closed.

Several potential diners drove up, saw the large APRL demonstration, then drove off.

Some passing cars sounded their car horns in support. One driver shouted "Foie gras is a terrible thing!"

During a very brief encounter between co-owner Baas and the APRL's attorney Pease, the lawyer said firmly, We will be back as long as foie gras is on your menu.


Earlier this year, the APRL demonstrated at the 3-story Jack's La Jolla (see photo).

"Jack's La Jolla has just become the most recent of many San Diego area restaurants that have removed the controversial fatty-duck liver (foie gras) made by force feeding," an APRL news release reports.

Some fashionable restaurants are trying to avoid being targeted by the APRL's demonstrations by taking foie gras off their printed menus, but nonetheless offering it to diners on request.

The recent issue of San Diego Lawyer gives an "inside tip" that Avenue 5 restaurant at 2760 Fifth Avenue in the Park West neighborhood offers foie gras, but you have to ask for it.

"Chef Colin MacLaggan loves the ability to share a different take daily on foie gras; but, like most chefs in San Diego, keeps it off the menu," the San Diego Lawyer magazine reports.

Earlier this year, the San Diego City Council unanimously passed a resolution commending the APRL for exposing the cruelty of foie gras, commending restaurants that have removed it, and urging all San Diegans to boycott the fatted-duck delicacy.

The APRL is rapidly escalating its area-wide campaign against foie gras. A protest demonstration is scheduled to hit the Hotel del Coronado on Dec. 13th at 7 p.m.

More information about the APRL's activities can be found on-line at http://www.aprl.org/, or by calling its Hillcrest office at (619) 236-8991.
Copyright 2008 by San Diego News Service, Phone news tips to (619) 757-4909, Fax at (619) 220-8686 or on-line at leopowerhere@msn.com

Friday, November 28, 2008


PHOTO shows animal-rights demonstrators inside the Fashion Valley mall on Friday (11/28/08) protesting the sale of animal furs and fur trim in high-end stores. Police (on right) said the event was legal and couldn't be stopped by the mall's operators, though they tried.

San Diego -- 11/18/08 -- Parking became a total gridlock at the Fashion Valley mall on the day after Thanksgiving; the so-called "Black Friday," when retailers hope to turn their red ink into black. Yet, activists from the local Animal Protection & Rescue League (APRL) came out to protest the sale of animal furs at elegant stores like Hermes-Paris, Neiman-Marcus, Bloomingdale's, Sak's and Nordstrom's.

"We are educating the shoppers about the cruelty (towards animals involved in making) fur coats and fur trim," said APRL's attorney Bryan Pease in a on-the-scene interview.

"The way that animals raised on fur farms are killed is typically by anal or vaginal electrocution.

"The reason for that is the (fur-farm owners) don't want to damage the (animal's) coat, so they hook an electrode to the snout, then they push a probe up into the (animal's) anus or virgina. Then they activate a powerful electrical current and literally cook the animal from the inside out," Pease explained.

That electrocution is extremely painful to the animal.


"Two years ago, we did just what we are doing now," Pease added.

"But, the mall at that time had a policy against allowing boycott activity on their premises.

"They sued us, but they were also sued by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) over the same rule.

"That (NLRB) case went all the way up to the California Supreme Court, which ruled against the mall. (As a result), the mall dismissed their (civil) complaint against us, changed their policies and now we are back again.

"The Supreme Court said that, under the California Constitution, we have the right to expressive activity on private property that is open to the public. That right includes 'soliciting a boycott,' which is what (the mall's policy) opposed.

"There is no criminal law against expressive activity (demonstrations) on private property that is open to the public.

"However, while the law is unclear, the courts appear to have endorsed the permit-procedure requirement, saying the mall can do that. That requires demonstrators to first apply for a permit to hold a protest rally.

"It's still a gray area as to what constitutes a 'reasonable' demonstration," Pease explained.

The manager of the Fashion Valley mall, however, tried to convince a police sergeant that the APRL's demonstration was "unreasonable." It didn't work, and the sergeant told the manager, Bob Dougherty, that the APRL's protest was lawful.

Dougherty, however, denied that the mall had changed any of its policies regarding lawful demonstrations following the state Supreme Court's ruling.

Mall security officers refused to answer any questions about their duties at the protest demonstration, though they video-taped everything.

Was the protest effective?

Part of the demonstration was held in front of the elegant Hernes-Paris store. Inside, the manager, Dennis Voorheis, refused to answer any questions from San Diego News Service.

There was only one customer in the store at the time, a very fashionable matron. She quickly left as soon as the media arrived, saying she would "buy on-line instead."


Copyright 2008 by San Diego News Service, News tips: (619) 757-4909, Fax: (619) 220-8686, leopowerhere@msn.com

Thursday, November 27, 2008


PHOTO shows attorney Brian Pease, the pro bono lawyer for the Animal Protection & Rescue League of Hillcrest. Pease will lead a peaceful demonstration tomorrow (Fri., 11/18/08) at 1 p.m. at the Fashion Valley mall, protesting the sale of animal furs to wealthy women.

San Diego -- 11/27/08 -- A brilliant, young Hillcrest attorney specializing in the rare field of animal rights won a stunning victory in court against owners of the high-end, Fashion Valley mall.

Attorney Bryan Pease served as the pro bono lawyer for the Animal Protection & Rescue League (APRL) in that litigation.

Tomorrow, Friday (11/28), as a direct result of that litigation, demonstrators protesting the sale of real furs will hit high-end stores at 1 p.m at the Fashion Valley mall.

Pease is an activist lawyer who is using the courts to insure that animals are treated properly, and that they are not killed simply to provide skins from their cadavers to produce fur coats for wealthy women.

His APRL in Hillcrest (236-8991) -- mostly working with a large, dedicated army of volunteers -- worked hard to pass Proposition-2 on the Nov. 4th ballot. It will ban violent and abusive treatment of animals and poultry on large-scale, commercial "farms," that are raised solely to sell to butchers to provide meat and eggs for our supermarkets, like Ralphs and Vons.

Many months ago, the APRL was peacefully demonstrating at the major, fashionable stores in Fashion Valley that sold animal furs. San Diego News Service covered the story.

An army of Fashion Valley security guared decended on that demonstration. It was tense for awhile.

The police were called.

SDPD Captain Sara Creighton, the commanding officer of the department's Western Division, responded with about a dozen offices including a police lieutenant and sergant.

In no uncertain terms, SDPD Capt. Creighton ordered the Fashion Valley security guareds, and particularly the mall's manager who was on-scene, to back off.

The APRL demonstrators, Capt. Creighton said loud and clear, had a constitutional right to be there. If any Fashion Valley security guard interferred, that guard would be arrested, the police captian added.

To make sure the security guards and mall manager complied, SDPD Capt. Creighton (now commanding the SDPD Eastern Division) stayed on-scene for about 1-1/2 hours until the APRL demonstrioin had concluded. As is printed on the side of every police squad car, Service and Protection. And that is precisely what SDPD Capt. Creighton provided the APRL demonstrators protesting the sale of animal furs.

Having been rebuffed by the police, who refused to turn the situation into a criminal case; the owners of Fashion Valley sued in civil court to stop the APRL demonstrations on their "special" private property.

Unfortunate for the Fashion Valley owners, APRL's attorney Pease knew the law, and knew that there was current case law that gave the APRL constitutional and statuatory rights to demonstrate on the so-called, private property of the Fashion Valley mall owners.

Pease won in the civil court in that lawsuit filed by the Fashion Valley mall owners.

The court ruled that the APRL has a legal right to demonstrate against the sale of skins from animal cadavers, to make furs for wealthy women.

Therefore, the APRL will hit several, major stores in Fashion Valley beginning at 1 p.m. tomorrow, Friday (11/28/08).

Those stores include Sak's, Bloomingdale's, and also the ares between Neiman's and Nordstrom's.

"We are (going) to send a message to stores like Neiman Marcu, Bloomingdale's and Nordstrom's that compassion is the fashion, not dead animal skins," said Pam Harris, a APRL volunteer organizer for the Friday 1 p.m. event.

Demonstrators will also line the sidealk along Friars Road in front of the Fashion Valley mall with banners and signs.

Some radical animal-rights groups in the past have hit the headlines by doing dangerous and destructive demonstrations.

The local APRL is quite different.

It's primary leaders are attorney Pease and Kath Rogers ([619] 236-9514, cell: [619] 886-9259).

The Hillcrest APRL is using the courts to expand animal rights under the law, and it is very successful at it. That's largely because of the brillian, young attorney, Pease. He's soft-spoken, but what he says and does carried a tough punch.


Copyright 2008 by San Diego News Service, call newstips to (619) 757-4909 6 a.m. - 11 p.m., and nights to (619) 220-8686.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


PHOTO shows computer specialist Deric Stowell of North Park who has joined the staff of San Diego News Service as our Computer Systems Administrator.

San Diego -- 11/26/08 -- On-line journalism rapidly is becoming the primary source of news, features, etc. for most people, particularly the young. This is much to the chagrin of some - mostly older - print reporters/editors, who have printer's ink in their veins.

San Diego News Service has moved into on-line journalism, and now has BlogbytheLion.blogspot.com on Google. While it's technically a blog (often opinionated views of the blogger), our site is really a local source of hard news, features, arts' reviews and editorials (basic newspaper content).

Deric Stowell, a computer specialist from North Park, has joined the staff of San Diego News Service as Computer Systems Administrator.

We are continuing to maintain the Google site (HillgrestBlog) while we create and develop a new, expanded website.
Copyright 2008 by San Diego News Service, (619) 757-4909 leopowerhere@msn.com

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Los Angeles -- 11/25/08 -- The state's Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) in Sacramento has agreed to investigate allegations that the Mormon Church violated state election laws in its massive support for the successful Yes-on-8 campaign leading up to the Nov. 4th election.

Mormons reportedly donated nearly $20 million to that campaign.

But, the Mormons also organized phone banks from Utah and Idaho, sent direct mail to voters and transported people into California over several weekends. They also produced press releases from the church headquaters, ran a Speaker's Bureau, distributed thousands of yard signs and organized a "surge to election day."

All those actions were geared towards nonmembers of the church, according to the sworn complaint filed with the FPPC by Fred Karger, founder of the Californians Against Hate organization in L.A. Under state law, those non-monetary contributions have to be reported to the state, which the Mormons alledgely Mormons not do.

The FPPC responded to that sworn complaint in a recent letter to Karger.

"This letter will notify you that the Enforcement Division of the Fair Political Practices Commission will investigate the allegation(s) . . . of the sworn complaint you submitted," wrote Executive Director Roman G. Porter.

The 4-page, sworn complaint filed by Karger is available at http://californiansagainsthate.blogspot.com/ .

Karger can be reached at (619) 592-2008.
Copyright 2008 by San Diego News Service (619) 757-4909 leopowerhere@msn.com

Monday, November 24, 2008


PHOTO shows two rows of the La Jolla Playhouse audience of Xanadu, seated oddly on the stage (worst view of the perforance, from behind).

La Jolla -- 11/24/08 -- The ancient greek muses come alive (sorta) in Xanadu, appearing until December 31st at the Mandell Weiss Theatre at the La Jolla Playhouse on the UCSD campus.

The story line: In 1980, Sonny Malone (Max van Essen) is a Venice, CA chalk artist who drew a mural of an ancient greek panorama of Mt. Olympus where dancing muses play. Those muses, however, miraculously come to life and are the main characters of the play.

An attractive female muse, Kira (Elizabeth Stanley) falls in love with Sonny, takes on a fake Australian accent and wears roller skates. Her goal is to help Sonny create great art. Unfortunately, the muses' father, Zeus, has ruled that muses (1) cannot create art, (2) love a mortal, or (3) let a mortal know that he is inspir3d by a muse.

Sonny wants to turn an old, local theatre that's about to be torn down for condos into a thriving roller-disco. He meets the building's greedy owner, Danny McGuire (Larry Marshall), and the story begins to get complex.

There's a strangely produced scene of Mount Olympus where Zeus sentences Kira to eternal banishment for her transgressions. But, she is eventually saved.

Gays will absolutely love the lead character, Sonny, who is a young, cute, smooth-chested guy with sexy legs. He's always wearing skimpy, cut-off shorts to show those legs better. And, he's a great singer. Sonny was well cast.

But, the director unfortunately added faggish dancers who pranced around the stage in a way that insulted some Gays in the audience. They are even referred to as "girls" by some of the female actors.

This faggish stereotyping is the only major element of the play that is really disgusting!

Other leading actors are Joanna Glushak (Caliope) and Sharon Wilkins (Melomene). The dancing ensenble includes Jason Michael Snow, JB Wing, Tallia Brinson, Julius Thomas, Tiffany Topol, Vicent Rodriguez III, Kristopher L. Stock and Amy Goldberger.

The director, Christopher Ashley, who serves as the Artistic director of the La Jolla Playhouse, also did something really strange for this production of Xanadu. He put two rows of the audience on the stage (terrible seats, viewing everything from the rear). See photo above.

Performances are every night except Monday. Tickets range from $42 to $75. More information ia available at lajollaplayhouse.org, or by calling (858) 550-1010.
Copyright 2008 by San Diego News Service (619) 757-4909 leopowerhere@msn.com

Sunday, November 23, 2008


PHOTOS show some of the protestors demonstrating Saturday 11/22/08 at the Manchester Grand Hyatt hotel downtown, some of the TV news cameras recording the event, and organizers Tony Cochran, 21, and Carlos Marquez, 28, both of the Hotel Workers Union and active in the unions' Unite Here protest on Prop.-8.

Downtown San Diego -- 11/22/08 -- Nearly 200 protestors rallied at the Manchester Grand Hyatt hotel adjacent to Seaport Village Saturday night, with 3 TV news stations covering the event live .

Weekly rallies at 11 a.m. every Monday are planned, according to union organizer Tony Cochran, 21, of the Unite Here movement dreated by the Hotel Workers Union.

New, young leaders in the Gay Community are rapidly assuming leadership after the dismal failure of the No-on-8 campaign produced by the "gay professionals," locally and statewide.

"Hyatt needs to make a choice. Where do they stand (on Manchester's $125,000 donation to the Yes-on-8 campaign)?," said another young union leader, Latino Carlos Marquez, chair of the union movement's Pride-at-Work campaign.

While some carried the out-of-date, printed "No-on-8" signs used during the election campaign, most carried hand-made signs. They included these:



Copyright 2008 by San Diego News Service (619) 757-4909 leopowerhere@msn.com

Thursday, November 20, 2008


PHOTOS reveal several sailing ships operated by the Maritime Museum of San Diego, under full sail to commemorate the recent birthday of the museum's treasured SS Star of India. While at sea, our editor/photo-journalist captured these scenes as the Californian (1) fires its starboard, 6-pounder guns; (2) sails with its sister ships of the Maritime Museum, and (3) museum volunteer, 13-year-old Kyle Radwanski, plays his Scottish bagpipes on the main deck while the ship is at sea.


San Diego -- 11/20/08 -- With the light wind on your face, while standing on its wooden decks and looking up at the 7,000 sq. ft. of canvas sails above you billowing in the breeze, you feel the gentle roll of the sleek and powerful, 1848 replica of the SS Californian, a 130-ft. schooner.
The public can go aboard these historic, sailing ships on numerous trips locally and northward to the Catilina Islands off Los Angeles. Sailing fees are remarkably reasonable, even during these troubling, economic times.
The hard-working crews on the historic replicas owned/operated by the Matritime Museum, including the skipper, are all highly-trained volunteers who range in age from teenagers to retired seniors.
Founded in 1948, the museum grew out of the earlier efforts of a group of local historians and maritime enthusiasts. They acquired the sailing ship Star of India in 1927.
The Star is the world's oldest, active ship.
The Californian - an 1848 replica - was built at Spanish Lnading in San Diego bay. She is the "official" tall-ship of the State of California.
She has made voyages to Hawii, Mexico and our American east coast.
The Californian is fast, very fast.
Its captains often like to let out all the sail and get her rolling on the sea at high speed, easily passing larger, sailing ships like the H.M.S. Surprise, the museum's 18th century Royal Navy frigate.
The Surprise is heavy and slow, and easily passed by the sleek ship Californian.
Capt. Rex Stewart skippered the schooner on this commemorative sail. The ship's 6-pounder guns were fired under the supervision of Chief Gunner Chari Wessel of Clairemont -- who knew everything about those powerful and loud, side-mounted guns.
The chief mate was Scott Baldwin, who often also skippers the Californian.
Something strange occurred as the Californian, the H.M.S. Surprise and other museum ships did a 180-degree turn near the Coronado Bridge.
The Navy's guiden-missle cruiser, the U.S.S. Antietam, CG-54, was returning to port at the same time. Navy ships typically have priority right-of-way on the bay. Everything gives way to them.
However, noticing the SS Californian make its very slow and extremely wide U-turn; the Antietam suddenly stopped, dead in the water.
The Navy ship was giving way to the historic California, an almost unprecedent action by the Navy's cruiser!
The First Mate of the Californian wanted to fire a salute from its port-side, 6-pounder gun as a salute and thank you to the Naval ship. But, without sufficient time to re-load the ship's guns in time, the skipper of the Californian instead dipped its colors (the American flag flying from the highest mainmast).
And, to cheers from everyone on deck of both ships; the two ships were honoring each other, according to ancient, maritime custom.
More information about cruises and fascinating programs of the Maritime Museum of San Diego can be found at their website: http://www.sdmaritime.org/, or by calling (619) 234-9153.
Copyright 2008 by San Diego News Service (619) 757-4909 leopowerhere@msn.com

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


PHOTO shows the S.S. Californian (circa 1850, replica), firing its starboard 6-pound gun recently while honoring the birthday of the Star of India ship, moored along the Embarcadero downtown.
Both ships are part of the amazing collection of the Maritime Museum of San Diego. San Diego News Service will soon post an exclusive story of on-the-scene coverage of a recent cruise into the ocean by the SS Californian , which was manned by a large crew of trained volunteers from the Maritime Museum .
San Diego -- 11/18/08 -- San Diego News Service is now devoting most of its staff energy into providing exclusive stories, features and reviews on our new, on-line news service, using Google's "blogspot.com" technology, BlogbytheLion.blogspot.com .

Unlike many blogs that are largely first-person opinions of the blogger, the San Diego News Service on-line material will be all hard-news; but with features, reviews, editorials and news analysis clearly labeled.

While all our stories and news photos are copyrighted, all news media that are credentialed by the San Diego Police Department have expressed permission to use our material, but only with credit to San Diego News Service. Those in the media who are not credentialed by SDPD will need specific permission to use substantial segments/photos of our material, even with credits. That permission will be narrowly construed.

While our newsroom is located in Hillcrest, we will cover a good story wherever we find it.

Because of the enormous (and somewhat unexpected) popularity of our new, on-line news service; we are also getting excellent news tips from our on-line readers. People who know where the skeletons are buried are giving us news tips at (619) 757-4909 or e-mail at leopowerhere@msn.com .

Confidentiality of our news sources is guaranteed by California state law.

We also welcome Martin Brickson to our staff as Copy Editor. His eye catches everything!

Roberto "Tony" Araiza continues to provide San Diego News Service with a Latino perspective from the barrio.

Our staff is active in the international Society of Professional Journalists (S-P-J). Our editor, Leo E. Laurence, J.D., serves on the S-P-J's National Committee on Diversity. He regularly write blogs for the S-P-J's national website (SPJ.org/blogs/diversity). We are also active with the local chapters of : CCNMA - Latino Journalists of California and the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association.

Exclusive stories we are currently working on include: (1) an exclusive feature on the most "genuine" Mexican restaurant in all San Diego County, (2) a special birthday salute to the Star of India, of the Maritime Museum, and (3) some real dirt on a popular politician!

All of our stories include action photos!

Copyright 2008 by San Diego News service (619) 757-4909 leopowerhere@msn.com

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


PHOTOS show some of the young guys are the Nov. 15th rally protesting the passage of Prop.-8 on the Nov. 4th ballot at the County Administration Building, and produced by Nick Moede of Numbers and Rich's in Hillcrest.

San Diego -- 11/17/08 -- Mormons are fighting back, very uncharacteristically!

In a highly unusual action, the president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons) recently issued a press release calling for "respect, civility in public discourse" (sic).

Some Gays say the Mormon press release is hypocritical, because there was "no respect, civility in public discourse" in their flood of Yes-on-8 TV ads during the campaign.

Mormons hit Gays & Lesbians nationwide extremely hard during their massive number of TV ads, which were full of intentional misstatements of the law.

The Mormon ad campaign was vicious!

And, the Mormons won!

"The Mormons tipped the scale in the ban on gay marriages," the New York Times said in a story detailing the huge (and allegedly unlawful) church campaign.

After the balloting, Fred Karver (Campaign Against Hate, L.A.) filed a formal complaint with the California Fair Political Practices Commission. It has jurisdiction over issues of money spent in a statewide election campaign, and has some teeth.

The Mormons spent lots and lots of money to pass Prop.-8: reportedly nearly $20 million.

Karger, of Laguna Beach, is a firebrand statewide activist, and far more effective than the "professional homosexuals" who ran the 'GLBT' No-on-8 campaign.

Karger has done his homework.
He has amassed a ton of hard-copy evidence of the alleged violations of state election laws by the Yes-on-8 campaign and the Mormons.

Karger is part of the massive army of very new, grass-roots gay militants (non-violent) who are emerging nationwide in response to the unexpected success of Prop.-8.

Another of his type of new, grass-roots, gay leader is the young, handsome Hillcrest businessman Nick Moede. He owns two, very popular gay bar attractions (Numbers and Rich's) in San Diego's very gay Hillcrest neighborhood.

Somehow, Moede managed to bring firebrand (don't mess with her) L.A.'s attorney Gloria Allred to San Diego as the keynote speaker for the huge - and fun - rally at the County Administration Building on Nov. 15th.

It was at that really HOT rally that so many of the cute, young guys participating stripped off their shirts exposing their bare chests as they shouted chants such as "SEP-ER-ATE, (beat) CHURCH & STATE!," and GAY!, STRAIGHT! BLACK!, WHITE! Marriage is a Civil Right!"

Meanwhile, several Petitions are before the California Supreme Court challenging the legality of Prop.-8 on several grounds. So, the issue will be around for awhile.
Copyright 2008 by San Diego News Service (619) 757-4909 leopowerhere@msn.com

Saturday, November 15, 2008


PHOTO (top) shows the sea of protestors arriving at the rally at the County Administration Building on Saturday (11/15), with a cruise ship in the background along the Embarcadero.

PHOTO (bottom) shows the front of the estimated 25,000 participating in the gay protest march proceeding down Sixth Avenue today, led by a police escort.

PHOTO (middle) shows rally organizer Nick Moede with L.A. attorney Gloria Allred, who is lead counsel on Petitions before the state Supreme Court to overturn Prop.-8. Allred was the keynote speaker at the rally.

San Diego -- Sat., 11/15/08 -- Unexpected changes are occurring within the Gay & Lesbian Community, and particularly in San Diego. And, a nationwide gay boycott of California is being suggested.

Those changes became apparent during the long march and following rally in San Diego Saturday (11/15), which was part of the nationwide gay reaction to the passage of Proposition-8 on the Nov. 4th ballot.

Prop.-8 tries to amend the state Constitution by declaring that marriages can only be between a man and a woman.

That successful initiative on Nov. 4th ballot will - if it survives several pending state Supreme Court challenges - overturn the exhaustive, 162-page Opinion by the California Supreme Court in May that legalized gay marriages.

"A lot expected (Prop.-8) wasn't going to pass (on Nov. 4th)," said Casey Mathison, 28; who with his lover Dan Barnhart, 28 (both of University Towne Center), participated in the massive march Saturday.

"They didn't want to get involved," Mathiason added.

"A lot were suprised when (Prop.-8) passed on election night," he reported.
"That galvanized people," Mathison believes; resulting in some fundimental changes in the Gay & Lesbian Commujnity, locally and nationwide.

"We were distracted and got our asses kicked," added Barnhart.

When something kicks you in the butt hard enough, things can change dramatically and overnight.

People who ordinarily have not been involved in the Gay & Lesbian Community, suddenly are emerging as grass-roots, gay "militants" (a step higher than "activist," and short of violence).

Take Nick Moede, a young successful businessman in Hillcrest.

While Moede has been an independent thinker as a board member of the Hillcrest Business Association, he has seemed to be a quiet, busy business man -- not an agressive gay activist. He owns two, very popular gay businesses in Hillcrest: the Numbers bar on Park Blvd., south of University Ave.; and Rich's, which is the place for young, high-energy Gays to dance and party.

But, the success of Prop.-8 seems to have kicked Moede in the butt, and he suddenly and unexpectedly became a grass-roots firebrand.

Throwing in a lot of his own money to cover the enormous costs involved; Moede planned, organized and produced the huge rally at the County Administration Building Saturday (11/15). It was the cultural, orgasmic climax of the long protest march that started at Sixth and Upas three hours earlier.

Moede gave an inspiring, tough message in a speech at the rally that he primarily organized.

After urging the 25,000-plus crowd "to get involved," and "give money;" Moede hit the crowd with "the hard one."


"Come Out !!!," he shouted, with militant emphasis in his voice.


"Tell your co-workers!

"If you're not 'out' to your family, go home tonight and have that conversation!
"Don't be afraid to talk about your boyfriend or your girlfriend!

"Don't be afraid of people knowing who you are.!

"And, for all the awesome parents out there; when you go to work on Monday, tell your co-workers, 'I'm proud of my gay son!'
"Tell them, 'My daughter is a lesbian and I love her very much!'

"Its important for us to be open about who we are; because it's much harder for others to be afraid of us, or discriminate against us, if they know who we are.

"And, to all the supporters of Proposition-8, if you think homosexuality doesn't affect you; not only do you know several gay people, but I can guarentee you that there is at least one person in your life that you love and care for, that is Gay, " Moede said in his powerful speech at the rally that he produced, almost singlehandedly.

He spoke of an "Open Letter" to the people who managed the Yes-on-8 campaign:

"I pity you for your ignorance and intolerance, but I must thank you," Moede said. (That was highly unusual for the Hillcrest businessman.)

"Thank you, because through you I have found my voice.

"And through your deceitful and deplorable campaign of lies, you have given a voice to a whole new generation of (Gay) activists.

"You have given us the courage and strength to standup, and to say we will not accept being second-class citizens.

"And when you tell us that we can't be equal and we can't have the same rights, and when you tell us that we cannot marry; we will stand up and respond with three-simple words that (together with the Obama campaign) are sweepiong change across our great nation:

"YES, WE CAN!!!, Moede literally shouted.

Over 25,0000 also shouted that message as they marched in protest Saturday (11/15) from Upas and Sixth in Hillcrest to the County Administration Building.

And, there were marches earlier in the day in most, major - and some in smaller - cities nationwide, from Boston to Philadelphia to Washington and San Francisco.

The HUGE change in the Gay & Lesbian Community nationwide, and locally, is that these massive protests are being organized at the grass-roots level; and not by the well-paid, professional homosexuals who run the "official" non-profit Gay Community Centers.

Those non-profit "pros," and the "pros" that ran the ill-fated and ineffective No-on-8 campaign, were miserably ineffective.

But, new grass-roots Gay and Lesbian leaders are emerging and asserting themselves.

Moede conceived, created and produced the afternoon rally at the County Administration Building at the end of the long protest march from Hillcrest. Preliminary, estimated costs of that rally are $15,000, and came mostly from Moede's money.

Also, a few, grass-roots Lesbians organized the protest march, including Kelly Moyer, Internet Organizer. She "started with 6,000 invitations on Facebook," Moyer said in an interivew.

Sara Beth Brooks was the "lead March Coordinator," who was in charge of everything. The March cost an estimated $300-$400. About 60 volunteers were involved in the march, and another 15 worked the afternoon rally.

Everyone - marchers and protest/rally organizers - heaped high praise on the officers of the San Diego Police Departmenht assigned to escort the protest marchers.

Over 20 officers were involved, including three squad cars that led the march, and four motorcycle officers who were in front of the protest parade, clearning away all traffic and blocking incoming traffic from side streets.

Indeed, the commanding officer of the SDPD Western Division, Capt. C.J. Ball, was on-scene and in charge of all the officers continuously. Capt. Ball also walked the entire parade route at the front of the marchers.


Prop.8 may never become law. Several formal Petitions are currently pending before the California Supreme Court that will invalidate the initiative, if they are granted and prevail.

A nationwide gay boycot of California has also been suggested in Philadelphia.

Given the high level of anger that was found at the protest and march in San Diego today, that boycott seems to have a high degree of probable success.

"I think it's a fanatstic idea, and think Gays and Lesbians should launch the nationwide boycott of California immediately. They need to start thinking tough and BIG," said Martin Brickson, a retired straight engineer from Scripps Ranch.

Copyright 2008, by San Diego News Service, (619) 757-4909 leopowerhere@msn.com