San Diego politicians, the media and a handful of locals gathered in Hillcrest Friday to celebrate the grand opening of Ben and Jerry's first "PartnerShop" in Southern California, meet America's favorite dessert duo and eat some free ice cream.
While Ben and Jerry were the main attraction, the event highlighted the partnership between their notoriously socially conscious ice cream company and Second Chance, a local charity that owns and operates the shop and offers at-risk youth the opportunity to gain work experience and develop career skills.
"The Ben and Jerry's shop on University Avenue in Hillcrest is holding a buy one get one free sale every day of the year, 365 days a year," said Jerry. "Every time you buy a scoop of ice cream here you are also helping someone get their life back on track. What a painless, beautiful and delicious way to do it."
State Sen. Dede Alpert, City Councilmember Brian Maienschein and George Biagi (filling in for his vacationing boss, City Councilmember Toni Atkins) were all on hand to present Ben and Jerry with a pile of official certificates thick enough to make the eco-friendly gourmands swoon. However, Mayor Dick Murphy trumped the bunch when he awarded them with the key to the city, one of just a handful he has given out during his term in office. Past recipients of the key include baseball legend Tony Gwynn, TV evangelist Billy Graham, Padres Chairman John Moores and a visiting mayor from Spain who donated $5,000 to the city.
Despite later acknowledging that his involvement with the PartnerShop or the Second Chance program extends no further than appearing for a photo op, the mayor did go out of his way to make sure his moment with the corporate do-gooders was captured on film. But Ben Cohen, a politically savvy individual and one of the founders of True Majority, a grassroots education and advocacy program, didn't seem to mind if politicians of unknown allegiance capitalized on his good name and image.
"I have no idea what the politics are of any of the politicians who were standing up there," he said, noting that if they came out to support Second Chance, he has at least one thing in common with them.
Speaking of politics and ice cream, it looks like the price of milk, ice cream's key component, is going up-through the roof, actually. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture the price of dairy products is skyrocketing and a gallon of milk will hit a near record high of $3 by May.
Experts believe declining herd populations and a negligible increase in dairy production are to blame. No word yet from Ben and Jerry's headquarters in Vermont about how the increase will affect the prices of a pint of Phish Food or Chubby Hubby although odds are you will end up "phishing" for your wallet.
Speaking of phishing, that's what the folks behind the Anti-Phishing Working Group are trying to keep evil computer geniuses from getting away with. Phishing is a crime that involves creating an imitation of an existing website to trick a user into submitting personal, financial, or password data. The Phishermen typically use spam e-mails to lure their unsuspecting victims to their phony sites.
The APWG, comprising financial institutions, e-commerce companies, law enforcement agencies and industry groups held a secret meeting in San Francisco Monday to discuss how to protect consumers from the phishing phenomenon. While they generated several ideas to keep computer criminals from preying on unsuspecting consumers, no one there was able to figure out a way to protect the public from politicians who use free ice cream and charity events for their personal gain.