Sweetwater District Political Indictments – An Historical Analysis

by on January 21, 2012 · 6 comments

in Civil Rights, Popular, San Diego

By Herman Baca, President – Committee on Chicano Rights / January 20, 2012

In Mexico they call it what it is, “Corruption, La Mordida.” In the U.S. especially in San Diego County they call it, “Campaign Contributions.”

District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis is the most anti-Mexican District Attorney in SD County’s history, a Republican with a political agenda, running for Mayor of San Diego. Dumanis has a long history of criminalizing, profiling, and defaming persons of Mexican ancestry (i.e. Chula Vista Councilman Steve Castenada), and entire Mexican communities such as Old Town National City.

“Old Town National City (OTNC) gangs, which has prowled National City streets since World War II and whose members, in some cases go back four generations in the same family, etc.”

Dumanis is also known for her political grandstanding news conferences and recently announced that criminal charges had been filed against three Sweetwater Union District Trustees, a former District Superintendant and one South Bay contractor. All were accused of being involved in “pay-for-play,” with businesses that had been awarded hundreds of millions of dollars of voter-approved bond projects.

So no one misunderstands, this analysis is not a defense of the indicted politicians…the indefensible, cannot be defended, and the courts will determine innocence or guilt!

According to Dumanis, “This case is an excellent example of our office’s commitment to prosecuting public integrity cases.” (11-01-05)

Dumanis’s indictments have raised anger and questions in the Chicano community against the indicted politicians and herself. The main questions being, what is Pay-for-Play, are the indictments selective, were the indictments political motivated by white politicians, and why has this happened politically to our community?

What is Pay-for-Play?

It is a euphemism for political corruption, but in political practice it’s as American as apple pie. Part and parcel of the U.S. political system from the President right down to the elected dog catcher. Ex-speaker of the California State Assembly (1969), Jess Unruh described it in terms of, “Money is the mother’s milk of politics,” and on lobbyists, “If you can’t eat their food, drink their booze, screw their women and then vote against them, you have no business being up here.”

Politically, Democratic President Obama has raised 220 million dollars, and Republican candidate Mitt Romney 56 million? San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders received thousands for his 2008 re-election campaign, $45,000 plus for his failed half-cent sales-tax hike, etc. Dumanis herself received large contributions from law enforcement.

The question begs, can anyone be so naïve as to believe that politicians don’t owe those contributors something in return? The reality is that Pay-for-Play permeates the entire political system; while most Anglos believe that it only exists with so-called minority politicians!

Are D.A. Dumanis’ indictments selective? The history of the white run “just-us” prosecution sentencing and court system is one of being historically selective. In the past, prosecutors and local courts sentenced young Chicanos for up to 15 years in prison for possessing one-marijuana joint, today young Anglos are sentenced to drug treatment centers. On the other hand, the Federal Court system sentences thousands of Mexicans for immigration violations in assembly line fashion for the sole benefit of the prison industrial complex.

Blatant examples of selective enforcement, indictments, and prosecution of Mexicans, and other minorities compared to white politicians are right before our eyes. Ex-councilman Ralph Inzunza (Mexican) was indicted along with Charles Lewis (Afro-American) and Michael Zucchet (White). All three were charged with the same crimes. Inzunza was convicted and most likely will go to prison, Charles Lewis passed away, and Michael Zucchet was found innocent, and now has a high paying job as General Manager of the San Diego Municipal Employees Association. As one friend wittily stated, “The white man was found innocent, the black man is dead, and the Mexican is going to jail, guess nothing ever changes, eh?”

In the past ex -San Diego councilpersons Jess Haro, Uvaldo Martinez, Ralph Inzunza and Chula Vista’s City Councilman Steve Castaneda (found innocent) were all selectively indicted for doing the same thing that most politicians at city hall were, and are still doing.

Case in point: concerning the dual standard and preferential application of the law is… San Diego’s Mayor Jerry Sanders case. Sanders allowed, despite City Attorney Jan Goldsmith legal advice that the move wasn’t legally permissible… Qualcomm Stadium to temporarily rename Snapdragon Stadium to promote the wireless chip giant’s smart phone processor during three nationally televised football games. Sanders’ decision is nothing less than a quid pro quo, Pay-for-Play. The proof, news reports that Qualcomm co-founder Irwin Jacobs contributed thousands to Sanders re-election campaign, and $45,000 into the mayor’s failed push for a half-cent sales-tax hike, etc.

Until D.A. Dumanis answers why she has not enforced the law, investigated or indicted Mayor Sanders’ for his Pay-for-Play case, not indicted others (Anglos?) in the Sweetwater District case, that questions and betrayal of the public’s trust shown by the community now being directed at the indicted politicians, will soon be directed at her.

Rest assure if D.A. Dumanis fails to address the above, many in our community will continue to believe what my witty friend so succinctly  stated, “The white man was found innocent, the black man is dead, and the Mexican is going to jail, guess nothing ever changes, eh?

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Makes Sense to Me January 21, 2012 at 6:24 pm

Bravo! Wonderful story that lays all the facts out on the line. I apologize to our Hispanic friends and allies that the Dirty D.A. picks on you like this.


rick trujillo January 22, 2012 at 12:43 am

Malcolm X explained very thoroughly, a political equation that still stumps so many and is yet so simple to understand. He said, “they show you the wolf, and you run to the fox (both are members of the canine family).”
Regardless of how much “evidence” is collected and mounted against rparty officials in or out of office, and there is plenty as indicated in this article, the not so subtle conclusion and advice is always the same from on again, off again, dparty supporters….take the fox. The fox has been running the wars since their first second, after oaths of alliegance, in the oval office and that place some call the congress.
May I poise a solution and definition to clear up muddled thinking; the “they” in our Brother Malcolm’s phrase, cited above, is the 1%, who own , lock, stock and barrel, both the d & r parties. Malcolm clearly reveled and constantly raised this reality, as against all the political ignorance and the institutions of higher learning and mouthpieces for the ruling class some 4 decades ago. His main audience was a then negroe, now Black population who knew this was the absolute truth. Think dixiecrat. A few others (La Raza Unida Party, Mississippi democratic Freedom Party, National Black Independent Political Party) also caught on, but not near enough. Malcolm was murdered and his legacy deliberately soiled by fake historians and admirers who attempted ” by any means necessary ” to erase the power of his logic. They put our brother on a postage stamp, to little, if any opposition.
Occupy Wall Street, bless them all, who has recently fingered, nailed, outed, the 1%, with such utter finesse, gaining rapid understanding and support in such a brief period, from our (almost 99%) populace, coast to coast, border to border, announced early on, they will not be co-opted by the dparty (they are not democratic, my opinion) or labor hacks………the genie is truly out of the bottle. For or against the 1% is thee topic today–ie which side are you on, for reals? (that’s how our youth use the word these days, the other real, ain’t real). It’s not a debate about if the 1% exists–we are past that and the 1% know disclaiming their existence and enormous, ill-gotten- political power is futile and counter productive.
The response penalty from, lest anyone doubt, the 1% rulers, for challenging them at their front financial door? Right in front of us, for all to witness.
Enter the cops, everywhere. Dumanis and all her counterparts, including judges, are their (the police, sheriffs) protectors and advisors, Enough thinking and direct democracy is their call to action. It is not about rioters massing or any threats to the public, nope, the videos are truth enough. This is about political “law and order”, the pepper spray and rubber bullets are warning shots for clearing our political space, from their (here’s a pun) parks.
It’s time to revive, listen (you tube), and read Bother Malcolm X, seek total independence from the toxic waste they (1%) have created and act accordingly. Trust us……patience…… (Abe was right) they can’t fool all of us all the time. And be extra careful of those foxes, they carry (political) rabies….the cure for that bite is very painful but often life saving.


Pancho January 22, 2012 at 3:09 am

I agree with a lot of what you are saying. I have been puzzled why Jim Cartmill has not been indicted. I believe your claims about 15 year sentences for possession of a joint and the claim about “the sole purpose of the prison industrial complex” are wildly exaggerated with no proof of sources to back them up.


RB January 22, 2012 at 12:25 pm

“The white man was found innocent…The white man was found innocent…Michael Zucchet was found innocent.”
I like to see the reference for these repeated statements. Zucchet was never found innocent.

You would be wise to wait until after the trial to make statements in defense of Sweetwater District employees. And too bad you are not willing to defend the children of all colors when adults enrich themselves in these school districts.


La Playa Heritage January 23, 2012 at 9:01 am

Dumanis blamed Domestic Violence victim Diana Gonzalez for not escaping capture and agreeing to sex at least once during the 3 days she was kidnapped and raped. Dumanis only cares about her 94 percent Felony conviction rate, not justice for domestic violence victims. Bad judgement and lack of leadership.



anniej March 30, 2012 at 9:41 pm

to get a thorough understanding of exactly how corrupt the sweetwater district is and southwestern was it is imperative to read the pdf files attached to the union tribunes recent article as well as the email provided in the most recent reader article.


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