It seems pretty fitting this week that while a bunch of powerful men acting irrationally dominated the news, there were several stories of moms quietly persevering.

We already know that when women are elected to office, governments magically start to tackle things that make women’s lives easier, like making tampons and birth control cheaper, and mandating breast pumping breaks.

But this week at least three women in politics did what moms tend to do — they showed up to work and to fight, despite their accomplishments being thwarted or turned backward by men.

First there was Australian Sen. Larissa Waters breastfed her daughter in Parliament, and coolly brushed off the strong reaction her move got: “It’s quite strange to me that it caused such a sensation. What it really says is that we need more young women in Parliament so that when we breastfeed our babies it’s not considered news,” she told the New York Times.

Then there was America’s mom, Michelle Obama, who did what she did best: She demolished the Trump administration for rolling back healthy school lunch requirements she initiated, managing to be both scathing yet perfectly polished and professional. “What. Is. Wrong. With. You?” she asked. “Moms, think about this. I don’t care what state you live in, take me out of the equation. Like me, don’t like me. But think about why someone is OK with your kids eating crap. … Here’s the secret: If somebody is doing that, they don’t care about your kid.”

Also this week, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher saw yet another bill she’d written to make diapers more affordable to low-income families die in the Assembly. Gonzalez Fletcher has written at least three other bills over the last several years aimed at diaper affordability that have failed (another one is still alive in the Legislature). Just a few days after the high-profile bill was voted down, Gonzalez Fletcher announced the launch of a new diaper bank in San Diego.


We Stand Up for You. Will You Stand Up for Us?

What VOSD Learned This Week

Scott Lewis broke the story this week that the local Labor Council is being taken over by the national AFL-CIO. Mickey Kasparian, who was the president for many years, in turn, announced the creation of a new labor group.

For months, Kasparian has been mired in allegations that he sexually harassed women with whom he worked.

That made a comment one local labor leader made on this week’s VOSD podcast all the more eyebrow-raising: Brigette Browning, president of the local chapter of Unite Here, the hotel and restaurant workers union, said her group will rejoin the Labor Council now that Kasparian’s out. Under his leadership, “I felt like you were really treated in an unfair way, especially me as a woman,” Browning said.

In other labor news, the union that represents county government workers is trying something new: Instead of just pushing for raises and benefits for its workers, it’s also arguing for a broad set of public policy changes.

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Over the last year, criticism has been building that Mayor Kevin Faulconer should grab the reins and lead on solving San Diego’s homelessness crisis. He seemed to acknowledge that when he hired Stacie Spector for a new role focused just on homelessness and housing. But after seven months, Spector is out.

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San Diego Unified offered early retirement incentives as part of its efforts to address a $124 million budget shortfall. But Ashly McGlone revealed that the deals will only save money for the first two years – within five years, they’ll dig the district even further into the red.

And while we’re on the theme of the district and perplexing numbers, Mario Koran explained why some high schools saw their grad rates climb at the same time they shed students.

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The fact that Vista is the fastest-growing city in the county means that San Diego’s transportation network is inadequate in places with bigger jobs centers. That’s a problem, because reducing car trips and encouraging more residents to commute by bike is a major goal of the city’s landmark Climate Action Plan. It turns out, though, that the ambitious biking goals in the plan weren’t based on anything.

Meanwhile, there is an area that’s close to transit and where there’s land and a community hungry for the kind of development that could help meet the Climate Action Plan’s goals. It’s southeastern San Diego. The Jacobs Center told the community there it would develop 60 acres into properties filled with community assets. That hasn’t panned out.

What I’m Reading

• If you’re like me and haven’t gotten around to reading “Evicted,” this will give you a swift kick in the ass: The book’s author lays out a stunning, comprehensive case against an entitlement program that works almost exclusively for upper-class families. (New York Times Magazine)

• Since President Trump closed the White House visitor logs, Politico assembled its own database of who’s getting access, and it’s mostly white men.

• One Wisconsin woman made it to the polls in November despite lung disease and an injured knee. She brought three forms of ID. It wasn’t good enough. And thanks to Wisconsin’s insanely restrictive new voter ID law, she was far from the only one. (Associated Press)

• Finally, someone is challenging an abomination that women cannot avoid lately. (The Hairpin)

• A recent Atlantic cover asked: Can satire save the republic? I think the answer is no. Still, this hilarious piece is satire at its scary-but-sidesplitting best. (McSweeney’s)

• We may someday tire of Caity Weaver’s celebrity profiles, but today is not that day. (GQ)

• The U.S. health system is set up to care far more about newborn babies than it is about mothers – and mothers are dying because of it. (ProPublica)

Line of the Week

“I am seeking more free time for me throughout the day.

Do not wait in any hallway to speak to me. I hate being ambushed. Please make an appointment.

I promise you I will not entertain you in the hallway, and do not attempt to walk with me.

If you’re reading this, yes, I mean you.

Everyone, do not take offense to the new way of doing business. It is for the good of my personal life and enjoyment.” – From a memo sent by Steve Harvey to his TV staffers about the new rules for interacting with the boss.

    This article relates to: News, What We Learned This Week

    Written by Sara Libby

    Sara Libby is VOSD’s managing editor. She oversees VOSD’s newsroom and its content. You can reach her at sara.libby@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.325.0526.

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