Bryan Pease: Dismissive of Survivors of Sexual Harassment Since at Least 2013

I immediately believed the countless stories about the workplace abuses former UFCW Local 135 employees of Mickey Kasparian told about him when I these women spoke to me in December 2016. I was keen to believe them, because I lived through my own version of hell in the chaos of 2013, which culminated in the resignation of disgraced former Mayor Bob Filner.

One of the distressing things about that summer, aside from fearing news crews would learn I was one of the women he had mishandled, was how should-be allies were loudly dismissing the painful lived experiences of women. Among these were other women with their own personal histories including sexual harassment and assault, who mocked and diminished those who came forward regarding Filner’s abuses of power. It seemed in their minds, if nobody would say he was raping women, it didn’t matter.

Another such disappointment was Bryan Pease, who is currently a candidate for San Diego City Council. As an environmental attorney, he has often been on the same side of many issues and seen as a professional ally of attorneys Marco Gonzalez and Cory Briggs, and environmental champion, former City Councilmember Donna Frye. Continue reading

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We Will Not Be Quiet


I was feeling anything but safe, but I was sitting at the kid’s table at my Mom’s church with my daughters, using watercolors on construction paper, painting the word “SAFE.”
My cell phone started receiving text messages from my boss, Marco Gonzalez.
We had recently met with Irene McCormack. Donna Frye sent her our way, and we heard from her firsthand how terrible the working environment was with then-Mayor Bob Filner; how he was verbally and physically sexually harassing her and others on San Diego City staff.
After meeting with Irene, Marco, Donna, and Cory Briggs called for Filner’s resignation. He responded with a vague video apology. We all knew it was his desperate, Tom Shepard PR-team-attempt to avoid accountability and continue forward with no change to protect the women in the Mayor’s office and broader community.
Irene then decided she would allow her name to be used, but despite her respect and credibility among local media, Marco knew the naysayers would immediately attempt to discredit her.
I went out in the quiet church parking lot to speak with Marco. His voice was full of grief and urgency, saying Irene needed others, even anonymously, to share their stories of Filner’s harassment to bolster her account. “It’s completely up to you, Sara. But Irene needs you.”
I definitely didn’t feel safe.

Continue reading

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Survivors are NOT Lori Saldaña’s Political Pawns

Here are people who have come forward with claims of sexual harassment against local, powerful men Lori Saldaña has not supported:


All the women who publicly accused Bob Filner of sexual harassment, plus Todd Bosnich, Justin Harper, Isabel Vasquez, and Melody Godinez.

Why hasn’t Lori supported these brave individuals?

For the Filner accusers in 2013, Saldaña said she thought “due process” was important.

In a February 2018 Voice of San Diego podcast, she explains why she privately opposed Filner’s endorsement for Mayor (2011), publicly endorsed his candidacy for Mayor (2012), then called for due process when he was being accused of sexual harassment by several women (2013).

She explained: “If he leaves voluntarily and we never get to the root of how this happened, then it’s going to continue to happen. So that was why I said, ‘We need a process.’” Continue reading

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By Carol Kim and Alexis Olbrei

The #MeToo movement marches forward in San Diego with this weekend’s “we will not be quiet” action at the 38th annual Roosevelt Dinner, which is the San Diego County Democratic Party’s major gala and awards event.

Local Democratic Party activists, members and elected officials will dress to impress and show up at the designated union hotel to network, share the latest news and celebrate our victories, as wells as raise money for the party’s operations and activities in the coming year. Unlike past years though, you’ll be seeing women and their allies wearing buttons bearing the statement, “I will not be quiet.” Continue reading

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Swords into Ploughshares

It can feel gratifying to fight. To win a protracted debate, point by point. But this can quickly become counterproductive if we’re not careful.

Loving our enemies, as I was reminded by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s sermon, does not mean silently standing by as injustice continues to reign.

But if we operate in hate and bitterness, if we cannot envision the more just world we are trying to create, creating it first internally, we will never achieve our goal of peace. Continue reading

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Hurting People Hurt…

If “hurting people hurt people,” and the people they hurt react in ways that cause further injury in return, is that some kind of karmic cycle of deserved pain?

Is it possible for one person to disappoint and wound another so completely that they “earn” unlimited destructive retribution at the hand of the one whose pain they caused?

What if two people hurt each other in this pattern for years – then one finally puts the cycle to an end despite the other’s continued attempts to manipulate and inflict pain? Continue reading

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Saldaña: Flip, or Flop? Depends on the Day

In December 2016, Sandy Naranjo filed litigation against Mickey Kasparian for gender discrimination and retaliation. Kasparian is the President of United Foodservice and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 135, and at the time was also the President of the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council.

One week following the filing of Sandy’s lawsuit, former UFCW Local 135 employee Isabel Vasquez filed a second lawsuit, alleging years of quid pro quo sexual harassment. From the complaint: “The sexual abuse committed by Kasparian included occasional demands for oral sex in his office at Local 135, sexual intercourse in hotels paid for by Local 135, and similar acts at Local 135 events (e.g., in his car outside the event).”

Kasparian claimed these suits were spurred by other labor unions, and denied all claims. Continue reading

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