By Doug Porter
You’d think the right wingers would give it a rest. But the myth of the evil-doers at ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) continues to live.
Four separate investigations by various state and city Attorneys General and the GAO released in 2009/2010 cleared ACORN of any illegal activities. Law enforcement officials found its employees had not engaged in criminal activities and that the organization had managed its federal funding appropriately. Videos purporting to show illegal activities were found to have been deceptively and selectively edited to present the workers in the worst possible light.
So it’s with some small satisfaction that former members of that group were in a celebratory mood yesterday after court documents were released revealing that James O’Keefe, the conservative activist whose hidden-camera stings were at the center of the controversy, agreed to pay $100,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by a former employee of ACORN.
Juan Carlos Vera, a former employee of ACORN, sued O’Keefe in 2010, alleging O’Keefe had illegally taped their conversation at an office in California as part of his fraudulent ‘exposé’ of the community activist group. Vera was portrayed in O’Keefe’s videos as offering assistance in setting up a nonexistent child prostitution ring.
Subsequent to his meeting with O’Keefe, Vera contacted police to report the meeting, unaware that he had been duped. A video purporting to shown ACORN employees acquiescing to illegal activities was posted on a conservative website, provoking a hailstorm of denunciations. Vera claims that deceptive posting cost him his job.
While the supposed ACORN prostitution videos were exposed as a hoax, O’Keefe and his Project Veritas group also released heavily edited undercover sting videos attempting to document voter fraud, most of which collapsed under scrutiny, sometimes spectacularly so. The San Diego incident, which was taped in the ACORN National City offices on August 18, 2009, was edited to include O’Keefe and an associate dressed as a pimp and prostitute.
According to today’s Los Angeles Times:
O’Keefe’s actions in the National City incident, and in similar videos elsewhere, were celebrated by some commentators for allegedly showing the hypocrisy of ACORN and the left-leaning political bias at National Public Radio, where O’Keefe masqueraded as a Muslim political operative seeking agreement that “tea party” supporters are racist and xenophobic.
But some journalists blasted O’Keefe for underhanded tactics and acting as an agent provocateur rather than as a reporter.
A report in 2010 by the office of the California attorney general said that O’Keefe and Giles were given immunity from prosecution when they agreed to provide complete and unedited copies of videos made in Los Angeles, San Bernardino and National City.
ACORN employees “may be able to bring a private suit against O’Keefe and Giles for recording a confidential conversation,” according to the report, completed while now-Gov. Jerry Brown was attorney general. Brown had been asked to investigate by then-Gov. ArnoldSchwarzenegger.
Vera’s lawsuit got around the immunity deal by asserting that O’Keefe broke a California law prohibiting the surreptitious recording of someone’s voice and image.
ACORN Lives on as a Boogieman
A Public Policy Polling survey conducted shortly after the most recent elections revealed that:
49% of GOP voters nationally say they think that ACORN stole the (2012) election for President Obama. We found that 52% of Republicans thought that ACORN stole the 2008 election for Obama, so this is a modest decline, but perhaps smaller than might have been expected given that ACORN doesn’t exist anymore
From the Associated Press, as reported by Fox News, March 22, 2010:
The once mighty community activist group ACORN announced Monday it is folding amid falling revenues — six months after video footage emerged showing some of its workers giving tax tips to conservative activists posing as a pimp and prostitute.
None-the-less, Fox News keeps telling right-wingers that ACORN still exists, only now it’s mutated and renamed itself. A quick Google search brings up a half dozen reports on that network purporting to blame ACORN for being behind the Occupy protests, organizing homeowners to protest foreclosures and initiating worker rebellions at New York fast food restaurants.
From Steve, over at the No More Mister Nice Blog:
Fox considers any organization staffed by anyone who ever worked for ACORN to be an ACORN successor, if not ACORN itself in undead form, so ACORN exists in much the same way that the existence of Wings meant the Beatles didn’t break up.
As it turns out, every person who ever worked for ACORN hasn’t been summarily executed or sent to a gulag for life — because, presumably, the vast majority of them haven’t done anything illegal or immoral. Thus, Fox and the rest of the wingnut press are determined to expose every single ex-ACORNer and make the case that massive subversion of the American way of life is still taking place, and it’s still ACORN’s fault.
By keeping the Boogieman alive the GOP has an excuse for its poor performance. And a hook to hang its ‘fear’ ethos on. That’s why even though ACORN has been shut down for some time, House Republicans are still trying to defund it.
A provision in a short-term budget bill by the House Appropriations Committee last week would prevent funding for the group. (ACORN was stripped of all federal funding in 2009.)
A more complete story refuting all the myths about ACORN can be found at FactCheck.org.
Balboa Park: Filner vs Gloria Redux
San Diego City Council President Todd Gloria has yet to schedule a hearing date to confirm financial adjustments to the budget recently proposed by Mayor Filner. Word is that he may try to amend the Mayor’s recommendations at an upcoming City Council hearing.
Gloria is apparently opposed to Mayor’s idea of dedicating $500,000 towards a new Balboa Park Traffic Management Plan. The Council President was a vocal supporter of the Jacobs/Sander plan which was ruled illegal by the courts, and is still seeking a way to resurrect parts of that plan.
He is also seeking to change the proposed three month extension to the Emergency Shelter, adding it in the fall in Fiscal Year 2014, instead of this year. Additionally Gloria has asked the City Attorney to prepare a legal memorandum to discuss legal and environmental CEQA reviews that were waived when locating the temporary winter homeless shelters.
UPDATE: The Save Our Heritage Organisation (SOHO) has called upon supporters to attend Monday’s City Council meeting at 2pm to let the Council know they support Mayor Filner’s plan.
District 4 Council Race Heating Up
Monday, March 11th is the last day to register to vote for the upcoming special election to fill Councilman Tony Young’s vacated seat in District 4. With nine candidates in the race, some are struggling to get noticed.
Candidate Sandy Spackman and her supporters staged a stunt earlier this week, inviting TV cameras to watch them fill pot holes in city streets in the Paradise Hills neighborhood. Calling themselves the “pothole patrol”, they stood curbside waiting for traffic breaks, running out into the roadway and posing for the cameras until traffic came by again.
A City spokesperson told 10News that the group’s activities were illegal, saying that “The best way to be proactive is to inventory the problem and report it. We can’t fix the problem unless we know about it.”
Spackman got her airtime. And this morning’s rains undoubtedly washed out the dirt she and her group were using to fill the potholes.
San Diego Free Press will be posting a Voter’s Guide for the District 4 Special Election next week. Send your dirt to Contact@SanDiegoFreePress.org.
The Revolution Will Be Harvested
Ron Finley is an amazing man who plants vegetable gardens in South Central LA — in abandoned lots, traffic medians, along the curbs.
Why? For fun, for defiance, for beauty and to offer some alternative to fast food in a community where “the drive-thrus are killing more people than the drive-bys.”
The following video, from a recent TED presentation is just flat-out inspiring. Finley is not your typical TED presenter, but he gets the well-heeled crowd on its feet by the end of this video.
“If you want to meet with me, you know, if you wanna meet, don’t call me … if you want to sit around, in your cushy chairs, and have meetings, where you talk about doin’ some shit … where you TALK about doing some shit! If you want to meet with me, come to the garden. With your shovel. So we can plant some shit! Peace!”
A New Sign for Barrio Logan
An architectural rendering of a sign proposed for the Barrio Logan community was presented to the Board of Port Commissioners on Tuesday, March 5th. The proposed signage would span Cesar E. Chavez Parkway between Main Street and Newton Avenue.
Community input on the project was obtained via public outreach meetings held in Barrio Logan including residents, property owners, business owners, and artists. The draft version of the sign was designed by Architect Vicki Estrada.
The project is being sponsored by the Port of San Diego in partnership with SANDAG, Caltrans, and the City of San Diego. City Councilman David Alvarez has expressed his support for the sign, saying it would be a source of community pride.
The community sign project now goes to the City of San Diego, which has permitting authority.
UPDATE: SDFP Writer Brent Beltran points out that the Port of San Diego’s press release regarding the Barrio Logan sign left out the fact that Chicano artist Armando Nuñez actually designed the sign.
North Park Water Tower History Presentation
Historian Alex Bevil will present the fascinating history of the North Park’s Water Tower and its surrounding water system facilities on Thursday, March 14.
The presentation is based on the historical designation application that Alex prepared for the North Park and University Heights historical societies. The application is for the Water Tower and accompanying water system structures (some of which no longer exist) to be placed on the National Register of Historic Places as the “University Heights Water Storage and Pumping Station Historic District.” Alex prepared the extremely detailed and very interesting application completely on his own time as a contribution to the community.
Starting time is 6:30 p.m. for Refreshments and 7:00 p.m. for the Presentation. There is no charge. It will take place at Grace Lutheran Church Fellowship Hall, 3967 Park Boulevard (at Lincoln Ave.) RSVP (619) 297-3166
Tweet (and Reminder) of the Day;
Remember to set clocks forward an hour this weekend because we can only afford 23 hours a day now due to the sequester.
— pourmecoffee (@pourmecoffee) March 8, 2013
On This Day: 1911 – In Europe, International Women’s Day was celebrated for the first time. 1945 – Phyllis Mae Daley received a commission in the U.S. Navy Nurse Corps. She later became the first African-American nurse to serve duty in World War II. 1948 – The Supreme Court ruled that religious instruction in public schools was unconstitutional.
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