San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis appeared on KUSI-TV’s morning talk show today to release a copy of her letter of recommendation written for the son of indicted Mexican financier Susumo Azano.
A consortium of media organizations including City News Service, inewsource, KFMB News 8, KNSD/NBC 7, KPBS, KSWB/Fox 5, the San Diego Daily Transcript, San Diego Press Club, Society of Professional Journalists San Diego, U-T San Diego, and Voice of San Diego had made repeated requests for a copy of the document.
At 5pm yesterday a deadline passed for what was essentially a demand letter (the last thing you do before you sue somebody) written by attorney Guylyn Cummins on behalf of the media organizations.
KUSI, it turns out, wasn’t one of those news organizations, apparently not wanting to displease a powerful prosecutor (whose office–wink,wink– can provide reliable news tips). Or maybe it’s just because the station is proud of their record of sucking up to politicians.
Financier Anzano has been indicted in an ongoing investigation focusing on $600,000 in illegal foreign cash ended up in local campaigns, including Dumanis’s failed 2012 run for mayor. The DA has repeatedly minimized her connections with the Mexican billionaire, even as more stories about her encounters with him have appeared in the media.
Dumanis stonewalled the media for weeks about the letter, who became aware of its existence following a courtroom appeal by political rival Bob Brewer who sought to have it released from evidence collected by federal prosecutors.
From this morning’s UT-San Diego story:
The reference was written on District Attorney’s letterhead in September 2012 on behalf of Edward Susumo Azano, who was seeking admission to the University of San Diego.
The letter may shed more light on the relationship between Dumanis and the Azano family. She has refused to release it, saying it’s not a matter of public business, and that she is protecting the student’s privacy.
Guylyn Cummins, the attorney representing the media organizations, said in her letter on Monday that those justifications are not valid under state open records laws.
The 8am interview (audio) with the DA was (accurately, in my opinion) described by one wag on Twitter as “performance art.”
“I’m the only one that was open on this from the beginning,” Dumanis told KUSI, “I think it’s time to move on.”
The DA went on to say there were “two kinds” of recommendation letters, one issued when “someone I know personally asks” and another when “some one I know” asks for a letter. She even tried to make the point that the letter for Anzano’s son was on less-than-official stationary. (It contained the DA’s seal, her name, phone number and the name of her title)
Even though the letter of recommendation was written four months after City Beat reporter Dave Maass revealed Anzano’s donations to a Super PAC supporting Dumanis, the DA sat up there at KUSI and said she had no reason to question the request.
Dumanis also apparently had no reason to remember the letter when Maass filed a public records request for all documents relating to “Susumo Azano” one month after she’d signed it. Even if she’d opted not to release the letter as part of the request, the law says the DA’s office should have given a reason. The fact is they simply didn’t acknowledge its existence.
So DA Dumanis’ brilliant public relations move just makes her look more sleazy.
Voice of San Diego has an excellent recap of stories about this campaign finance scandal. Here’s the second paragraph of their introduction:
Prosecutors say San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis was the first and last target of Jose Susumo Azano Matsura, a Mexican citizen who allegedly illegally funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars to Dumanis and other local candidates.
Caribou Barbie Calls for Obama’s Impeachment and Other Refugee Updates
Speaking to the fringe-GOP echo chamber via Breitbart.com, Palin started off with “”His unsecured border crisis is the last straw that makes the battered wife say, ‘no mas.'”
It’s time to impeach; and on behalf of American workers and legal immigrants of all backgrounds, we should vehemently oppose any politician on the left or right who would hesitate in voting for articles of impeachment.
The many impeachable offenses of Barack Obama can no longer be ignored. If after all this he’s not impeachable, then no one is.
Perhaps Ms. Palin is upset Obama didn’t self-impeach halfway through his term like she did….
But Wait! It Gets Dumber!
Seeking to “out-stupid” the former Alaska Governer, Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert took to the airwaves to proclaim the border crisis to be a plot to gain votes for the Democrats:
“In the end, they have said that they want to turn Texas blue, they want to turn America blue,” he said. “And if you bring in hundreds of thousands or millions of people and give them the ability to vote and tell them — as Quico Canseco said, he had illegals in his district that were told, ‘If you want to keep getting the benefits, you have to vote, and President Obama’s lawyers are not going to allow them to ask for an ID, so go vote or you’re going to lose the benefits you’re getting now.’ That drives people to vote and it will ensure that Republicans don’t ever get elected again.”
Meanwhile, Back on Earth…
From a release posted at San Diego Politico, here’s the Assemblywoman’s statement:
“I was pleased to see clean, adequate dorms and even happier to see content, well-behaved children – learning English and exercising – awaiting reunification with their parents and families in the United States. The Ventura County facility is just for 13- to 17-year-old youths who have a family member or sponsor already identified in the United States. I remain concerned about the younger children who can’t communicate their situation as easily and the youth who have come fleeing violent circumstances in their native country without a family here.
“The youth housed at the Ventura County facility are processed quickly, about two weeks in and out. The 575 kids we saw today, and others like them, should have the opportunity for due process in immigration court and not just be immediately deported. I’m hopeful our President will require the federal government to continue to abide by the 2008 law that processes these refugee youths in a manner that includes this due process.”
It’s really nice to see public figures willing to take a positive stand on this issue, unlike congressional candidate Carl DeMaio who yesterday babbled on Twitter about closing the border, yada, yada. Boy, did he come off looking ignorant.
Lorena Gonzalez also posted this tidbit on Facebook.
The fact that there are detention centers stuffed with children caught trying to cross the border proves that border security isn’t the issue. The borders are more secure today than ever before.
It’s time to shift from bogus talking points about border security to a more thoughtful discussion about how a nation of decent people should respond to children fleeing rape and murder.
We’ve handled the refugee issue before…Cubans fleeing Communism, Refugees escaping Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia by boat. We are the greatest Country on Earth, surely we can handle scared children from Central America.
In Defense of the Border Patrol
AFGE President J. David Cox, Sr. published an article worth reading at Huffington Post yesterday, pointing out some of the difficulties Border Patrol agents face:
These Border Patrol agents aren’t to blame for this situation. The real fault lies with powerful drug cartels that have exploited a well-intentioned law signed before President Obama took office that forbids the U.S. from deporting minors who enter the country from non-contiguous nations until their immigration cases are decided.
Drug cartels are forcing children and additional immigrants to cross the border between the ports of entry, effectively using them as a human shield to divert resources that would otherwise be spent interrupting trafficking operations. As agents deal with the influx of immigrants, cartels are smuggling drugs, gang members and people from countries with terrorist ties across the border unfettered.
This wave of immigrants could not be coming at a worse time for the Border Patrol, which lost about 1,100 agents – or 5 percent of the workforce – due to budget cuts required under sequestration. Customs and Border Protection also has curtailed the use of administratively uncontrollable overtime, effectively cutting the number of hours Border Patrol agents are able to work and leaving areas unstaffed during shift changes.
Great Refugee Horde Turns Out to Be Not So Much
They should feel relieved today to learn that this problem isn’t in their back yard.
Only one of the families flown to San Diego from the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas has indicated plans to stay in the area, officials told NBC Tuesday.
NBC 7 has obtained new information from the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) San Diego Sector on the processing of hundreds of undocumented immigrants from Central America.
The station also ran a story yesterday saying a representative of the union representing border patrol agents was served with a cease and desist order prohibiting him from speaking with the news media.
While I’m sure the station and other reporters are unhappy about losing a source–especially because ‘official’ types have been tight-lipped– some of the right wing crazies around have been using information released by union reps to organize their pitch-fork crusades. And it’s a fact some of these union officials have been talking directly to outlets with an anti-immigrant agenda, seemingly hoping to stir the pot.
On This Day: 1923 – New England Telephone “girls” strike for 7-hour workday, $27 weekly pay after four years’ service. 1995 – The Grateful Dead gave their last concert with Jerry Garcia at Chicago’s Soldier Field. Garcia died the next month of a heart attack. 1997 – Mike Tyson was banned from the boxing ring and fined $3 million for biting the ear of opponent Evander Holyfield.
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