By Doug Porter
On Thursday evening San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer will speak to an overflow crowd at the Balboa Theater, touting the triumphs of his administration and pushing a soaring vision of “One San Diego.” The Word is that hizzoner is going to promise employment opportunities in a big way. (And maybe free ponies)
A coalition of activist organizations, along with the “Justice for Fridoon Nehad” organizers will be holding an alternative ‘State of the City’ press conference and demonstration starting at 5pm–prior to the mayor’s speech–outside the Lyceum Theater at Horton Plaza. These people are decidedly not impressed with the promises, photo ops and press conferences that have been the hallmark of the current administration.
The rallying cry for these dissenters is the city’s response to the death of refugee Fridoon Nehad, gunned down by an SDPD officer in the dead of night last April. The legal maneuvers, outright lies and deception of both city and county agencies are symptomatic of a culture of corruption. An administration that places self-preservation above the needs of the citizenry is the engine that drives these protests.
Here’s their call for the public to join the protest:
As the mayor, City Council, Police brass and hundreds of San Diego’s movers and shakers assemble to listen to Mayor Faulconer declare the wonders of his administration during the “State of the City” speech, we will gather for a reality check.
The brutal and unjustified killing of Fridoon Nehad is exemplary of what’s wrong with their San Diego. The killing of an innocent refugee who had suffered the consequences of war, and who came here looking for peace and opportunity, typifies what many San Diegans are experiencing — the killing of their dreams, while feeling brutalized by the system around them. Fridoon was shot 30 seconds after Officer Browder arrived on the scene. Like Fridoon, many San Diegans don’t feel like they have a change to survive and could be victimized at any moment.
While the city’s elite celebrate their progress and “living in paradise”, hundreds of thousands of us feel the crushing weight of economic inequality and marginalization. We gather outside the Balboa Theater before Mayor’s speech to testify to another reality, that of ordinary working people who toil in the tourist plantations, making millions for the owners, while living the indignity of poverty wages. We ‘Fight for $15’ – raising the minimum wage, we fight for affordable housing, for quality education, for clean elections, for dignified employment, for people before profits, for a Community Review Board (to monitor police), for a peace economy, for accountable, publicly-owned utility companies, for a campaign to end homelessness, for youth opportunities, for social services for the disenfranchised and for a sustainable environment. We want a new San Diego, new police ethics and new leadership of our city. Join us to transform the “old boys network” into a socially just city. Justice for Fridoon!
1) The firing & indictment of Officer Browder NOW!
2) The resignation of District Attorney Bonnie Dumonis NOW! for her role in the cover-up of the evidence in the Fridoon killing, her ‘Gang Injunction’ abuses and much more.
3) Full transparency and release of information on all Officer Related Shootings.
4) Put the creation of a Community Review Board (to investigate police abuse) on the ballot.
5) Statements by the Mayor and all City Councilmembers on Dumanis’ failure to indict Officer Browder.
Changes to the Process
On Tuesday, a coalition supported by twenty organizations submitted a proposal calling for changes to the to the San Diego City Council Rules Committee for consideration on the November ballot.
From NBC7 News:
Some of the proposed changes include having independent investigators for the Review Board, more diverse citizen board members and opening all of the Board meetings to the public. To help with the diversity of the board, the proposal would allow city council members to appoint board member from their districts.
An NBC 7 Investigates story revealed two former board members, Lucy Pearson and Benetta Buell-Wilson, said they think the board has a “fixed” and ineffective review process. According to the women, the process subverts the board’s intent, something that’s detrimental not just for citizens but for SDPD officers as well.
Buell-Wilson and Pearson claim a lack of transparency and secret decision-making stifles dissent between members and the city. Both women said CRB members who are “pro-police” get the more serious cases, depriving the complaining citizens of a fair hearing.
The times, they are changing, as evidenced by a Union-Tribune editorial supportive of the concept of a ballot measure as a path for public discussion:
We aren’t ready to decide whether this particular proposal is essential, but the debate is — and some change seems appropriate to eliminate potential conflicts of interest and ease community anxiety…
…It’s a complex issue, but it’s time for a greater debate in the city, where an overhaul requires a city charter change and a public vote. Why now? It seems doubtful that law enforcement will continue to receive the benefit of the doubt for long.
Nationally, police behavior and force is a near-daily discussion. Locally, the U.S. Justice Department probed police misconduct just last year and shootings continue. A San Diego Police Department officer shot and killed someone on New Year’s Day, even as the community was still discussing District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis’ unprecedented public defense of an SDPD officer in an April fatal shooting.
The latest revelation? The SDPD officer in the Jan. 1 shooting shot and killed two people before.
No News on Sheriff’s Hate Mail
Last September the activist group United Against Police Terror San Diego received a rather nasty email. Filled with obscenities and threatening in tone, the subject line for the missive was: “Fuck You, You Stupid Pieces of Shit.”
It took very little time for the group to figure out the sender was using an IP address that, according to an address locater, is attached to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.
The group shared that information with Voice of San Diego reporter Liam Dillon, who followed up with the Sheriff’s and was told an investigation was underway. UAPTSD filed a formal complaint with the County Citizens’ Law Enforcement Review Board, which oversees sheriff’s internal investigations.
VOSD followed up yesterday with a story saying there’s been no contact–ever–from the Sheriff’s staff or the Review Board with complainant Cat Mendonca.
Mendonca contacted the Sheriff’s Department in October to find out about the status of the complaint. She said she spoke to department spokeswoman Melissa Aquino, who told her that the department was waiting on some responses as part of its investigation.
Mendonca also said that Aquino told her she could only provide limited information, but would follow up in about a week. That follow-up, Mendonca said, never happened.
Indeed, Mendonca said that no one from the Sheriff’s Department or the citizens’ board has made any attempt to contact her or anyone else from her organization.
Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Jan Caldwell refused to confirm Mendonca’s conversations with Aquino or anything else about the case. She only said that she would not comment because it was a personnel matter.
GOP Bathroom Police! Drop Those Drawers, Or Else!
This story is so weird –but true!– that I felt compelled to mention it.
From Joan McCarter at Daily Kos:
Virginia Del. Mark Cole, a Republican of course, is so wound up about whether a transgender person might use a public restroom that he’s introduced legislation that would require schoolchildren’s genitals be inspected before they’re allowed to go to the bathroom. Really…
…In practice, as civil rights advocate Tim Peacock says, that means “adults would be required to inspect children’s genitals before they use the bathroom.” Which in pretty much every state would be against the law. Because grown up people are not supposed to be looking at the private parts of children who are not their own. As Kagro, who alerted us to this story on “Kagro in the Morning,” says, maybe somebody should be looking into Mr. Cole’s browser history.
So has the Republican party jumped the shark yet? Is this the point—legislated sexual assault on schoolchildren—where people everywhere realize these guys are stark raving bonkers?
On This Day: 1874 – The original Tompkins Square Riot. As unemployed workers demonstrated in New York’s Tompkins Square Park, a detachment of mounted police charged into the crowd, beating men, women and children with billy clubs. Declared Abram Duryee, the Commissioner of Police: “It was the most glorious sight I ever saw…” 1928 – Ernst F. W. Alexanderson gave the first public demonstration of television. 1979 – The Y.M.C.A. filed a lawsuit against the Village People over their song, “Y.M.C.A.” The suit was later dropped.
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