By Doug Porter
I don’t expect a massive crowd at the Hall of Justice in downtown San Diego on Friday afternoon, but symbolism will be large, non-the-less.
Activists motivated by the apparent injustice involved in the officer-involved shooting death of Fridoon Nehad, an unarmed Afghan refugee whose life was shattered following imprisonment by the Taliban, will stage an event calling for a sustained campaign to “Dump” County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis.
This rally and press conference should be seen as the local manifestation of nationwide dissatisfaction with the criminal justice system. Organizers are calling for the DA to be indicted, saying Dumanis has “abused her power, withheld evidence, misled the media, persecuted innocents under the guise of a “gang injunction” and failed her public responsibilities related to the unjustified killing of Fridoon Nehad.”
They are also calling for a citywide vote establishing a independent Community Review Board with subpoena powers to investigate citizen complaints, and establishment of a People’s Grand Jury grand jury to gather further information pertaining to abuses of power and privileges of her office under the color of law.
At today’s event, activists will detail 22 instances where they believe the DA has abused her power and thwarted justice. The list goes beyond enabling police misconduct to include politically motivated actions against medical marijuana dispensaries and advocates, attempts to intimidate judges, failure to protect victims of domestic abuse, and allegations that she violated the ethical and legal standards by accepting illicit and illegal campaign contributions.
Local speakers will be joined by Jamala Rogers of Ferguson/St. Louis MO, where a grass roots movement against official misconduct led to the ouster of the Police Chief, the City Judge and the City Manager after the killing of Michael Brown.
For those of you reading this shortly after publication, the rally and press conference staged by the “Justice for Fridoon” Coalition will begin at 4:30pm outside the San Diego Hall of Justice, 330 W. Broadway.
This rally comes in the wake of a recently filed claim against the SDPD alleging racial discrimination against a recruit who thought he was supposed to run records searches on motorists pulled over in white neighborhoods. Yesterday 10News aired a video released in conjunction with a lawsuit depicting county Sheriff Jailers violently slamming a handcuffed mentally ill prisoner to the ground and kneed repeatedly to the head.
Kevin-mania in Progress
Having raised more than a million dollars–and with conservative political action groups eager to join the fray– San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer is looking beyond his 2016 re-election campaign.
One thing America’s Finest Mayor has proven is that he knows how to woo the press.
Here’s the gist of the current batch of Kevinmania, via Politico’s California Playbook morning email blast:
CALIFORNIA BUZZ: Is San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer the CA Republicans’ best hope of making a play in the 2018 governor’s race? That’s the intended takeaway from this week’s David Binder poll for his client, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, who leads the pack with 30 percent support; it showed Faulconer — who doesn’t have the advantage of statewide office profile or big money yet — just a surprising 10 points back from Newsom, who declared early in 2015.
— GOP strategist Brandon Gesicki tells POLITICO: ” If the question is – who do you think the best Republican candidate for governor, it’s Faulconer. He can appeal to lots of cross sections of people; he’s had to, in San Diego…He’s fiscally responsible, and turning the city around. His tone is not loud or negative, but he’s assertive, and he works with people to accomplish the goals…”
— Hoover Institution’s Bill Whalen has touted Faulconer’s potential: ” Looking down the road to 2018, the most attractive statewide GOP candidate may be San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, the only Republican leading any of America’s 10 largest cities. Faulconer is an optimist and a pragmatist. But before he can run statewide, he has to find a way to earn re-election in a city where “decline to state” voters now outnumber registered Republicans and where President Barack Obama won by 25 percentage points in 2012.”
Cal State San Marcos Students Protest Ocampo Firing
For the second straight day, students at Cal State University San Marcos have staged protests against the firing of Dr. Arturo Ocampo, Assistant Vice President for Education and Equity Inclusion. Cal State President Karen Haynes sacked Ocampo on Friday without giving a reason for his dismissal. The students, members of several campus organizations, gathered this morning outside a breakfast hosted for the City of San Marcos. Afterwards they walked silently to the school’s quad, humming the tune of Amazing Grace to mourn the loss of Ocampo. At one point the protesters stood in silent protest with their backs to President Haynes, who was giving an interview to Fox News.
“We believe they fired Arturo because he was an advocate for social justice,’’ student leader Karen Guzman told Fox News. “There is a culture on campus that whenever any student, faculty member or administrator speaks out for social justice, they meet with retaliation. That’s why we don’t have social justice here.”
Asked about student demands, Guzman replied, “All of us want Arturo back. If we can’t get that, we want the university to commit to true diversity, to show that it’s not just something they put on pamphlets. And if it’s not, we want the president to resign.”
Several faculty members agree with the protesters and have begun to mobilize. A faculty member said that Ocampo was respected by all students, black, brown, white and transgender. “He was a tireless advocate for social justice. We want to know why he was fired. He helped all of us understand the meaning of diversity. Before he came on campus, all that was just window dressing for the school’s administration.”
CSUSM faculty are demanding 1) that President Haynes reinstate Ocampo, 2) that the office of Education, Equity and Inclusion be reconsituted as a stand alone division, reporting directly to the president, 3) and that the position Ocampo held be elevated to that of vice president with a seat at the exectuive council. If these demands are not met, the faculty is asking for President Karen Haynes resignation.
Search Warrant for School Board Member…Ugh
Now that (soon-to-be) former San Diego Unified School District Trustee Marnie Foster has copped a plea, the search warrant served in conjunction with the investigation has been revealed in response to requests from local media outlets.
This mess with Foster really sucks. It’s clear, based on the news accounts following release of the document, SDUSD Superintendent Cindy Marten was aware of Foster’s attempts to game the system in favor of her son. It’s also clear that this will be as far as the story goes.
The counselor whose career was tarnished by Foster’s interventions will likely see a cash settlement. The school that lost a principal who aspired to greatness will go on, with those remaining in place sufficiently chastised to know their place: go along to get along. And the kids–my daughter was one of them–who knew what transpired at the School for Creative and Performing Arts will have seen injustice at the hands of the people who said they had the best interests of the students at heart.
From Voice of San Diego:
Newly unsealed documents show that San Diego Unified Superintendent Cindy Marten knew that then-trustee Marne Foster planned to submit a $250,000 legal claim against the district.
In an interview with an investigator from the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office, Marten said that sometime after Foster discovered that an unflattering college evaluation letter had been written on her son’s behalf, she informed Marten she planned to submit a legal claim, a precursor to a lawsuit, against the district. That claim sought $250,000.
A claim was eventually submitted to the school district – but it was signed by John Marsh, the father of Foster’s son, not Foster. Foster told the Union-Tribune in August 2014 she had nothing to do with the claim.
Apparently Foster thought the superintendent was empowered to expedite the claim. She wasn’t. But at that point Marten must have known something was rotten.
From the Union-Tribune coverage:
The Voice of San Diego in September 2015 published a story in which Marsh stated he did not write the complaint, but signed a blank form. After the story published, Marsh contacted the District Attorney’s Office and voluntarily came in for an interview, the court documents say.
Speaking to authorities, Marsh again flatly denied filing the claim and said he didn’t “have the knowledge or the information” to file it, the affidavit says.
After the Voice of San Diego story published, Marsh said he got a phone call from Foster, telling him to retract his comments in the published story, and tell the reporter he had indeed filed the claim. He also got text messages from Sandra Foster-King, Foster’s mother.
Voice of San Diego also interviewed SDUSD board member Richard Barrera, who said the situation was handled in the right way.
A day after San Diego Unified school board trustee Marne Foster pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor and resigned, colleague Richard Barrera said he is confident the situation hasn’t tarnished the district’s image.
“I don’t believe that the community has been focused on this,” said Barrera. “I don’t believe the district has been focused on this. It’s an unfortunate situation. It happened. But it was handled the right way. Now what needs to happen is we have fill the seat, fill the seat with the right person and then move forward.”
Weekly Progressive Calendar: Upcoming in San Diego
Black Arts Collective Launch Reception & Show
Friday, February 5th, 5-9pm
UC San Diego, Visual Arts Facilities 452 on Russell Lane
Info & Updates
Celebrate the launch of Black Arts Collective (BAC) at UC San Diego. Learn about the collective, vision, and hear about upcoming events such as the artist talk series, General Body Meetings and ways you can support and be a part of the collective.
The launch party will be accompanied by a visual presentation demonstrating BAC’s goal of building community with a performance by The Man Who Loved Flowers, video work by BAC Visual Arts founding members Angela Webb-Pigg, Erick Msumanje and Patricia Zambrano along with the video work by Black Salt Collective, Katherine Marie and Wizard Apprentice, a DJ set by Visual Arts Assistant Professor Brian Cross aka B+
The Way Home – Film & Conversation on Race
Saturday, February 6th, 9:30am-12:30pm
Peace Resource Center of San Diego
3850 Westgate Pl, San Diego
Info & Updates
Films & Conversations on RACE ** NOTE: This is the first of 2 sessions! (Different films) You are encouraged to attend both sessions, but not required.
Each 3-hour program includes one film showing and group dialogue. Together, we will examine our embedded assumptions around race and systems of oppression, discover new questions, and explore avenues for change.
Film Description: Over the course of 8 months, 64 women, representing a cross-section of cultures in the U.S. (African-American, Arab, Asian, European-American, Indigenous, Jewish, Latina, and Multi-Racial), came together to share their experiences and explore their stories of identity, oppression, and resistance. Their candid conversations offer rare access into multi-dimensional cultural worlds invisible to outsiders. The stories are strands that weave together perspectives of how we are the same and how we are unique.
RSVP appreciated. Refreshments provided. For Feb 20th, go to www.facebook.com/events/1394884777479693/
Gabriela & La Buena Onda @ The GO!
The Grassroots Oasis (GO) is excited to have Gabriela & La Buena Onda join us to celebrate Carnival! Carnival is a rite of passage from darkness to light, from winter to summer: the first spring festival of the new year. The World/Latin Soul of Gabriela & La Buena Onda: “Connecting thru Love, Truth and Higher Consciousness”
Listen to Gabriela & La Buena Onda here: http://www.gabrielamusic.com/#listen
San Diego Planning Meeting for May 1st – International Workers’ Day
Tuesday, February 9th, 6pm
ICWJ Offices, 3758 30th Street
Info & Updates
Join the Coalition for Labor and Community Solidarity for an initial planning meeting for a day of action on May 1st, 2016 in San Diego to commemorate International Workers’ Day.
California Public Utilities Commission
Wednesday, February 10th, 6pm
Scottish Rite Center, 1895 Camino Del Rio South (Off I-8)
ooops– I got my Commissions crossed here…I listed this as the Coastal Commission on first bounce….
Thanks to reader Daniel Beeman for catching this screwup!
SDG&E is looking to add a fee for Gas meter $10 per month per meter. There is a some organization going on by TURN.org calling for ratepayers to come speak out against a new fee/fixed charge. You also might have heard about legislators calling for the end of the CPUC due to destructive practices that let the Utilities make record profits while regularly endangering the California public…see Porter Ranch/Aliso Canyon gas leak, San Onofre Nuclear power plant shut down & mess, and the SDG&E firestorm creation in 2007 each costing BILLION$.
Get your event listed: I try to list the next 10 days or so of mostly non-commercial events I think our readers might find of interest. I source my material from social media listings and press releases. In cases where there are competing but similar events or campaigns of the progressive persuasion, I do my best to list everything. (Hint, hint Hillary fans.) Unfortunately, my subscription to the psychic hotline has lapsed so if you don’t tell me or Facebook, etc., about your event it won’t get listed. See my email address below.
On This Day: 1887 – Verdi’s opera “Otello” premiered at La Scala. 1917 – The Congress passed the Immigration Act of 1917 (Asiatic Barred Zone Act) with an overwhelming majority. The action overrode President Woodrow Wilson’s December 14, 1916 veto. 2003 – In what turned out to be a bad business decision, Circuit City fired 3,900 experienced sales people because they were making too much in commissions. Sales plummeted. Six years later it declared bankruptcy.
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