A national effort to track drone deployment by domestic law enforcement agencies has run into a brick wall with the San Diego County Sheriff, who have refused to provide information about efforts to purchase Scout UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicle).
The Electronic Freedom Foundation and MuckRock.com have sent over 200 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to local governments and police departments, seeking to find out information on domestic drone utilization, according to a story in OpposingViews.com.
Although the San Diego Sheriffs office initially denied possessing any documents relevant to the collection effort, an email from manufacturer, Datron World Communications, to Seattle police quoted technical information from a bid that was sent to local officials. To wit:
Attached is the quotation recently provided to the SD Sheriff’s CID team. They visited Datron’s facility and experienced the system with all three cameras and left with a flashdrive full of personal footage and a new found purpose for submitting their wish-list early. Use this quote as a reference point for configuring your system. With this we should be able to tailor an ideal system for your needs and gain marketing support for ‘special pricing’ specifically for Seattle PD.
Follow up efforts by the researchers have been rebuffed by legal counsel for Sheriff Bill Gore, who says “We decline to comment”.
After continuing to press the San Diego Sheriff’s office, MuckRock was first told that San Diego had not purchased such drones and then that it will not release the records because “there is very little public benefit in the release of such records,” in part because the quote from the company had not resulted in a purchase. The office then notes that the request is denied “on the grounds that any information and/or records obtained by the Sheriff’s Department are protected by the Deliberative Process privilege, as well as the Official Information privilege (Evidence Code 1040).”
I think I smell a lawsuit in the making. Stay tuned.
Border Patrol Story About Chula Vista Shooting Death Unraveling
A new witness has come forward in the shooting death of 32-year-old Munique Tachiquin. According to accounts by Border Patrol officers, the mother of five was shot after she attempted to run over a plain clothes agent attempting to serve a warrant.
Prince Watson, a former Marine and Iraqi War veteran who lives nearby, told TV10/ABC News that he was reluctant to come forward, but said his sense of civic responsibility compelled him:
Watson said he was stepping outside for a cigarette when he heard the first shot that day.
“It was just repetitive shots,” Watson said. “It became murder after that second shot was fired.”
Investigators said Tackett was on the hood of Tachiquin’s moving car and feared for his life.
Watson said that is not what he saw.
Just watching him from a standing position firing at the front of the car at the female,” Watson said. “He was not on the hood of the car. He was standing on his two feet.”
Watson said he could see Tackett’s face — that he was less than 30 feet away.
The witness went on to tell 10News that he was handcuffed and thrown into a Border Patrol vehicle after refusing to give a statement to investigating officers.
“They were trying to tell me what I saw. They kept repeating themselves, ‘Hey that was an agent. He was on the hood of that car.’ I was scared.”
Last month the family of Munique Tachiquin filed a wrongful death claim against the agency, saying the agent involved had a long history of misconduct in a previous law enforcement job and should not have been on the street.
They’ve filed documents showing that the agent, 34-year-old Justin Tackett, was suspended four times for misconduct in the nearly four years that he worked as an Imperial County sheriff’s deputy. Tackett was given notice that he’d be fired just before he quit the job in 2003, the documents say.
In one 2002 probation case, according to the claim, Tackett “willfully disobeyed a direct order” and “provided false and misleading information during the investigation.” In a different incident in 2001, Tackett was called to assist police in Brawley with an incident and told to wait for them at a scene but instead rousted the suspect himself, engaged him in an altercation and cuffed him without a warrant.
Angry Republican Calls for San Diego Party Leader’s Ouster
Karen Grube, who ran unsuccessfully for a seat on the party’s Central Committee from the 77th Assembly District back in June has created a Facebook page entitled Tony, You’re Fired hoping to rally other GOP members to her cause.
She accuses Krvaric of lacking ethics and using his position to pack the Central Committee with his friends and manipulating party rules to get potential adversaries expelled. Grube told the La Mesa Patch that the party leader has been known to schedule Executive Committee meetings and not tell certain members who are subsequently expelled for poor attendance. From the Patch Story:
Tony lost big time” in the Nov. 6 elections, Grube said Tuesday in a phone interview. “Over the past four years, we’ve had a chance” to improve the GOP standing here. “We blew it.”
Grube (pronounced GREW-bee) called herself “basically a Kennedy Democrat” who joined the Republican Party after growing disenchanted with the Democrats and President Obama, and has connections with the Tea Party movement.
She’s especially upset over Krvaric’s support of Carl DeMaio for San Diego mayor, accusing him of not vetting a gay candidate whose partner is accused of a criminal past and ties to the porn industry.
“I am appalled that Carl DeMaio was [endorsed by the GOP],” said Grube, 60, a paralegal and third-generation San Diegan. “He was a poor candidate.”
Memo from SoreLoserstan: We’ve Got Plan to Make Romney President. Or Not
Even as the final tallies were indicating that GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney was going to end up at highly ironic 47% of the popular vote, Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips was touting a plan to overturn the result.
Writing in the WorldNetDaily, the news source of record for the tin-foil hat crowd, Phillips made the claim that:
The 12th Amendment of the Constitution as well as Article II of the Constitution govern the Electoral College.
According to the 12th Amendment, for the Electoral College to be able to select the president, it must have a quorum of two-thirds of the states voting. If enough states refuse to participate, the Electoral College will not have a quorum. If the Electoral College does not have a quorum or otherwise cannot vote or decide, then the responsibility for selecting the president and vice president devolves to the Congress.
The House of Representatives selects the president and the Senate selects the vice president.
Since the Republicans hold a majority in the House, presumably they would vote for Mitt Romney, and the Democrats in the Senate would vote for Joe Biden for vice president.
Except that there was one little problem, noted by the site in a subsequent update:
Since this column was posted it has been discovered that the premise presented about the Electoral College and the Constitution is in error. According to the 12th Amendment, a two-thirds quorum is required in the House of Representatives, not the Electoral College.
Oops. Maybe next time he’ll try reading the Constitution first. (h/t NationalMemo.com)
It seems like the former GOP contender is hanging out here in Southern California these days. The Orange County Register noted yesterday that Mitt Romney toured Disneyland. A report in the UT-SD had him going to the movies and eating at Sammy’s Pizza afterwards.
But trust in the hive over at social media site Reddit.com to come up a picture that shows what life is really like for Mr. Romney these days. They’ve got him, gasp, pumping gas at a La Jolla filling station recently. One wag observed, “He looks like he’s been on a milk bender.”
If his campaign had released this picture prior to the election it might have gone a long ways towards convincing voters that he was an actual human being…
Candidates for District 4 City Council Race Emerge
Although outgoing City Council President has yet to file any paperwork with the City Clerk’s office regarding his impending departure, candidates are starting to surface for the Special Election that should be taking place 90 days after Tony Young’s exit.
First out of the gate is Young’s challenger in his successful 2010 re-election bid — is Brian “Barry” Pollard, a resident of Valencia Park and owner of recruitment firm People Solutions.
According to a story in today’s UT-SD, other potential candidates include Myrtle Cole, regional coordinator with the United Domestic Workers Local 3930; Dwayne Crenshaw, San Diego LGBT Pride executive director ; Ron Lacey, community relations representative for Mayor Jerry Sanders; and Bruce Williams, Councilman Young’s senior policy and community affairs adviser.
Young issued a statement last week saying that he would be resigning his position as District 4 Councilman to become chief executive of the American Red Cross San Diego-Imperial Counties Chapter.
The Starting Line will be taking Thursday and Friday off this week.
See you Monday!
On This Day: In 1620 the Mayflower reached Provincetown, MA. The ship discharged the Pilgrims at Plymouth, MA, on December 26, 1620.In 1960 George Harrison was deported from Germany for being too young to perform there with the Beatles. In 1973 President Richard M. Nixon’s attorney, J. Fred Buzhardt, announced the presence of an 18½-minute gap in one of the White House tape recordings related to the Watergate case.
Eat Fresh! Today’s Farmers’ Markets: Carlsbad (Roosevelt St. btw Grand Ave. & Carlsbad Village Dr.) 1 – 5 pm, Encinitas Station (Corner of E Street & Vulcan in parking lot B) 5 – 8 pm, Mission Hills (Falcon St. btw West Washington & Ft. Stockton) 3 – 7 pm, North San Diego at Sikes Adobe Farmstead (I-15 at Via Rancho Parkway. 12655 Sunset Dr., Escondido.) 11 am – 2 pm, Ocean Beach (4900 block of Newport Ave. btw Cable & Bacon Sts.) 4 – 8 pm, San Marcos – Cal State San Marcos (333 S. Twin Oaks Valley Rd., Parking Lot B) 3 – 7 pm,Santee (10445 Mission Gorge Rd. abandoned school parking lot) 3 –7 pm, Temecula (40820 Winchester Rd. Promenade Mall, parking lot btw Macy’s & Penny’s) 9 am – 1 pm
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