Civil Rights

An Independent Police Review Board for San Diego: Why People Want It

September 17, 2019 by Staff

By Joni Halpern

An argument could be made that an assault on the First Amendment led to drafting of the proposed amendment to the San Diego City Charter that will come before the San Diego City Council’s Public Safety and Liveable Neighborhoods Committee on September 18, 2019.

A growing number of local individuals and organizations are hoping the Council will move forward to place the charter amendment on the ballot in the near future, allowing city voters to decide whether to establish an independent citizen review commission to investigate complaints of misconduct by San Diego Police Department officers.

Presently, the City’s Community Review Board on Police Practices relies on initial review and investigation of any complaints by the Internal Affairs (IA) Unit of SDPD…

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Watching the Watchers – A Field Guide for Police Surveillance in San Diego County

September 12, 2019 by Source

by Dave Maass, Christian Romero, Madison Vialpando / City Beat / September 4, 2019

San Diego County is a perfect storm for the surveillance state. Between the busiest border crossing in the United States, a large military presence, a major port, a booming tech and cybersecurity industry, and elected officials who campaign on government innovation, it’s a wonder that San Diego has yet to become a Big Brother hellscape.

Or has it? Perhaps the process was so gradual that no one noticed.

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Still Trying to Keep Martin’s Dream Alive         

August 23, 2019 by Ernie McCray

By Ernie McCray

Nothing has ever resonated with me more than the “I Have a Dream” prose and poetry Martin Luther King delivered at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. on a pleasant summer day in 1963.

I was about to enter my second year of teaching and I couldn’t wait to share my thoughts about Martin and about what he had to say that day just in case any of my sixth graders were, in their youthful innocence, confused about what was being said about him throughout the country – all the demonizing of him as a womanizer and the FBI describing him as a dangerous commie, a designated “enemy of the state.”

I was eager to sit down with such young learners and set the record straight, to give them a bit of insight on the man from a black perspective. Mine.

I wanted to throw in some facts into the mix of insinuations and accusations in the air so that they could know and understand that Martin, this remarkable human being, rather than being a threat to our way of life, was devoted to making us more loving and caring as a nation.

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As San Diego Police Increase Their Use of Streetlight Cameras, Criticism Mounts Over Lack of Oversight and Potential for Abuse

August 9, 2019 by Frank Gormlie

Public Workshop scheduled for August 13 at 5:30 p.m. at the downtown Central Library.

San Diego Police have increased their use of so-called streetlight cameras that the City has installed recently, stating they’ve aided in the solving of crimes. At the same time, criticism of their use has increased, mainly around issues of lack of civilian oversight, the potentials for abuse and of outside hacking.

Since 2016, San Diego has installed roughly 3,200 streetlamp cameras with a goal of 4,200 by summer of 2020. The City’s corporate partner and sponsor, General Electric, beef the system up as the “world’s largest smart city platform.”

Initially called “smart streetlamps”, the City began the program ostensibly to collect metadata from cameras tracking the number of people walking, biking or driving through busy intersections. And as a LED upgrade, the City installed the recording system to the streetlamps. Officials tout all the savings the new bulbs will bring in by 2030 – enough money (on electricity savings) to pay for the $30 million program.

All these thousands of microphones and cameras in streetlamps made San Diego’s Police Department sit up straight and look into their potential. Which they did. Now police say they’ve used the videos from the smart streetlamps to aid them in over 140 investigations –

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Home in ‘Fallbrook the Friendly Village’

August 8, 2019 by Source

By Kit-Bacon Gressitt / Excuse Me, I’m Writing

“Peligro,” I said. “La mujer fotografia tu auto.”

It was pitiful Spanish—I really need to learn the language—but it was my best, and I wasn’t convinced it was the right thing to do, but I did it anyway.

It all started with my early morning walk, accompanied by my not-quite-right dog and my quite-all-right neighbor. This morning, we were halfway into a good sweat when another regular dog-walker pulled up in her very snazzy pickup. She leaned out the window with her phone, poised in camera mode.

“Do you see that car? Do you see what’s in that car?” She held the phone to her angry face and started shooting photos.

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The Rise of Patriotism

August 7, 2019 by Staff

By Joni Halpern

Dear Ohio,

Patriotism is big among American politicians. They wear patriotic clothing of red, white and blue. They spout patriotism in their rhetoric. They mouth the words of patriotic songs. They wear lapel pins referring to God and country. They eat patriotism with their hot dogs and french fries.

But what is a patriot?

Is he or she a loyalist? A nationalist? A flag-waver? A chauvinist?

I will go out on a limb here and offer my humble definition of “patriot.” In the United States of America, the oldest representative democracy in the world, a “patriot” is a person who lives the values of our constitution, no matter the cost.

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3 Dozen BB Attacks Over Past Month in San Diego County – Including Two in OB – Midway Area

July 23, 2019 by Frank Gormlie

There’s now been nearly three dozen attacks BB gun attacks over the last month in San Diego County – including one in Ocean Beach and one in the Midway District. Plus one target was the second storefront of a well-known OB business.

The BB gun attacks appear to be intentional and have targeted pedestrians, drivers, businesses and homes. Police are trying to figure out if they’re all related. Or maybe shooting BB guns at people and property is just a trend.

NBC7 reported on the Midway District shooting:

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Federal Appeals Court Re-Opens Case Against San Diego Police Officer in Midway Fatal Shooting

July 17, 2019 by Frank Gormlie

A Federal Appeals Court has breathed new life into a lawsuit filed by the family of Fridoon Rashawn Nehad, shot and killed by a San Diego police officer in the Midway District in 2015.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the decision by a District Court that had the case thrown out with the new ruling stating the plaintiffs – the Nehad family – deserved to be heard in a trial. KPBS

Ocean Beach residents may recall the case of Fridoon Rashawn who was walking, unarmed, in an alley in the Midway District a little after midnight in April 2015 when San Diego police officer Neal Browder drove up in a patrol car. He was responding to a report of a man with a knife.

But within seconds Browder shot and killed Nehad.

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The House Resolution Condemning Trump’s Racist Comments – A Twitter Enhanced Version

July 16, 2019 by Doug Porter

By Doug Porter / Words & Deeds / July 16, 2019

Now is the time for all good humans to come to the aid of their country. Enough with the “both sides” bullsh*t some are using to soften their critiques. This is a matter of right or wrong .

The President’s assertion that “many people agree with me” (true, but that does not make it right) cannot go unchallenged. The annotated document below says what you need to know. At the end of this post there are suggestions for concrete steps people can take.

A storm of protest/criticism that blows over won’t do. Nor will feeling like this is an impossible battle to win.

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San Ysidro: Nearly 2,000 Rally and March in Protest Against Trump’s Detention Camps

July 13, 2019 by Frank Gormlie

Between 1,500 and 2,000 demonstrators rallied at Larsen Field in San Ysidro on Friday, July 12, against Trump border policies which have resulted in migrants and children being kept in camps and centers under inhumane conditions.

About 7pm the demonstrators formed up and marched out of the park and along Camino de la Plaza down to the bridge over I-5 at the entrance to Mexico.

The protest was organized by Lights for Liberty and the Coalition to Close the Concentration Camps and was supported and endorsed by a wide arrange of community organizations.

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OB Has 4 New Fire Rings for Total of 8

July 12, 2019 by Frank Gormlie

Just before the July 4th holiday, this reporter counted only four fire rings on the beaches of OB.

Over the years fire rings have been an issue – as the City has tried to remove them in those lean years back a decade ago.

But today, we can announce: Ocean Beach is blessed with four brand, new fire rings – which now makes eight – the number OB is “supposed” to have.

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See the Government Photos of Migrant Centers – Which Make Me So Proud to Be an American This July 4 – Yessir!

July 4, 2019 by Frank Gormlie

I am so proud to be an American this July 4th! So proud that el Presidente is making us so safe by forcing migrants into overcrowded and squalid cages and rooms and camps.

I am so proud to have our government treat these people this way. So very proud. Fly those stars and stripes – but make sure they’re not the bars and stripes.

So verrry American. But the world may think different. They may think, ‘We treat dogs better than the way Americans are treating migrants at the border.’

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Dear Ohio: Just Close Your Eyes

July 1, 2019 by Source

By Joni Halpern

Since 1896, Ohio voters have picked the winning candidate in all but two presidential elections – 1944 and 1960 – giving rise to the state’s renown as a “bellwether” to which candidates cannot afford to turn a deaf ear.

Dear Ohio,

We’ve come a long way toward a bold new future of disregard for people who are not like us. We plod ahead like refugees in the barren desert, our feet bare and crusted, cutting a path to who knows where, steadily shedding the baggage of our country’s values in order to lighten our own burdens.

Like all refugees on the run, Dear Ohio, we might be missing some signs along the way that should have warned us of danger. But some of our fellow travelers claim the wording is inaccurate, so we are about to pass them by and move on to greater danger. One of those signs says “Concentration Camps – This Way.”

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U.S. Census ‘Citizenship’ Question Put on Hold by Supreme Court

June 27, 2019 by Source

By Robert Barnes and Ann E. Marimow / Washington Post / June 27

The Supreme Court on Thursday put on hold the Trump administration’s plan to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census form sent to every household, saying it had provided a “contrived” reason for wanting the information. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote the splintered opinion. In a section agreed with by the court’s liberals, he said the Commerce Department must provide a clearer explanation.

Agencies must offer “genuine justifications for important decisions, reasons that can be scrutinized by courts and the interested public,” Roberts wrote.

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Safe Parking Lot Opens in Mission Valley – First to Accommodate RVs

June 18, 2019 by Frank Gormlie

The Mission Valley parking lot for homeless who live in vehicles has finally opened.

Promised by Mayor Faulconer for months, the lot – located near the corner of Friars Road and Mission Village Drive – opened for the very first time at 6pm on Monday, June 17 . It will continue to operate between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. and also is the first such lot that is open to people living in their RVs. The lot, part of the City of San Diego’s Safe Parking Lot” Program accommodates up to 80 RVs or 200 standard vehicles.

A statement from the mayor’s office read in part: “Like the other two parking sites, this lot will include access to case managers, housing specialists, and more.”

Services provided at the lot will focus on several areas, including: basic needs assistance, employment, family wellness, school success, financial education, credit repair and housing.

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OB’s Very First Street Fair – 1983

June 12, 2019 by Frank Gormlie

Here’s a photo of OB’s very first Street Fair in 1983. Did anyone wear shirts way back then?

Provided by Mike James and Nicole Ueno.

Oh, and don’t forget the upcoming Street Fair on June 22th.

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3-Way Stand-Off Over Who Will Run the Sports Arena

May 28, 2019 by Frank Gormlie

AEG manages the old Sports Arena – now Pechanga Arena – and they went to court to prevent the city from turning over how much it makes to the group that owns the San Diego Gulls that is bidding to take over management

By Andrew Keatts / Voice of San Diego

The city of San Diego finds itself in the middle of what’s becoming a bitter fight between the company that runs Pechanga Arena and the venue’s most high-profile tenant. But the central contention of that dispute should be moot by July, when the two sides are scheduled to hash it out in court.

Last month, San Diego officials started accepting bids to run Pechanga Arena – the Midway district venue long known as the Sports Arena

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Duncan Hunter (& Dad) to Crawl Out From Under Their Rocks for Border Issues Town Hall

May 23, 2019 by Doug Porter

By Doug Porter / Words&Deeds

Indicted San Diego Congressman Duncan D. Hunter and his father, former congressman Duncan Hunter, will participate in a joint town hall-style event focused on border issues on Saturday, May 25, 11:30am at the Ramona Mainstage, 626 Main Street.

Doors are open at 11am, the capacity for the hall is 400 people, and it appears entry is on a first come, first served basis. An article in the Union-Tribune says event organizers are expecting protesters.

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San Diego’s Disenfranchised Win One, Lose One at City Council

May 17, 2019 by Doug Porter

By Doug Porter / Words&Deeds / May 15, 2019

Tuesday, May 15, should serve as a reminder of the strengths and weaknesses of the presently constituted San Diego City Council.

A non-binding resolution in support of a critical reform in law enforcement policy passed with unanimous support from Democrats. That’s the good news.

Here’s the bad news: An ordinance crafted amid an angry wave of protest about people without homes sleeping in vehicles split the liberal vote, once again proving some people’s empathy ends at their front door.

Our inability to deal with the collateral damage from the currently fashionable economic norms means public employees will be empowered to criminalize homelessness.

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Abortion Is a Men’s Issue, Too. So Why Aren’t Men Speaking Out?

May 16, 2019 by Source

By ZawnVillines / Daily Kos / May 16, 2019

One in four women has had an abortion. It’s a figure that’s prompted activists to remind us that everyone loves someone who has had an abortion, and that group discussions of abortion will almost always include at least one person who has undergone the procedure. Many women have worked tirelessly to destigmatize abortion. They’re willing to risk their lives and reputations, subjecting themselves to judgment, derision, and threats, to share their abortion stories.

Yet a person with a penis is involved in 100% of abortions. Where are they? Why aren’t they shouting their own abortion stories, talking about how abortion allowed them to pursue their dreams, live their lives, and pursue financial health?

I know dozens of women who devote every spare second they have to fighting for safe and legal abortion. Many of them also have full-time jobs and multiple children. Where are their husbands?

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Black Panthers in San Diego

April 15, 2019 by Frank Gormlie

Interview with Henry Wallace – San Diego Black Panther

There are Black Panthers here in San Diego today. Henry Wallace – for one – is a member of the San Diego Black Panther Party. Henry Wallace was also a Black Panther here in San Diego back in the late Sixties, fifty-some years ago.

Today a Black Panther Party chapter exists in San Diego. And Henry Wallace is responsible for breathing new life into the militant political party that calls our town home.

This is all part of the history Henry shares with us here in an interview with the OB Rag.

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Surfline’s SoCal Forecast Analysis: Here Come the NW Winds, Rising NW Windswell

April 9, 2019 by Frank Gormlie

By Keaton Browning / Surfline.com / April 9, 2019

The Bottom Line

  • Surf Trend: Rising NW winds and windswell on Tues PM. Jumbled surf through Wed, but possibly cleaning up Thur AM.
  • Novice: Probably best to hold off for possible cleaner conditions, smaller surf Friday into the weekend.
  • Tides: AM lows, PM highs (but not deep tides).
  • Water Temps: Upper 50s for many areas, low 60s for South LA, South OC and San Diego.
  • Also Watch Out For: Periods of strong onshore wind Tues; Another SSW swell lining up for next week.

Today, April 9th: 3-4’+ in the morning, trending up to 4-6’+ by afternoon. Rising NW winds/windswell. Old NW swell mix fades out as a fresh round of NW windswell fills in through the day

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Ralph Nader: Boeing Greed Led to Software Without Pilots

March 21, 2019 by Source

By Ralph Nader / Common Dreams / March 21, 2019

As internal and external pressures mount to hold Boeing responsible for its criminal negligence, the giant company is exerting its immense influence to limit both its past and future accountability.

Boeing whistleblowers and outside aviation safety experts are coming forward to reveal the serial, criminal negligence of Boeing’s handling of its dangerous Boeing 737 Max airplanes,

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Rules on Streetlight Spy Cams Released by San Diego Police

March 14, 2019 by Source

Video cannot “harass, intimidate, or discriminate against any individual or group”

By Matt Potter / San Diego Reader / March 13, 2019

More than a year after San Diego launched a video and audio surveillance network incorporated into 3200 streetlights, the police department has finally released new rules spelling out how the system is used by law enforcement.

Since its inception in early 2017, officials have not been eager to acknowledge the eavesdropping potential of the multi-million-dollar surveillance set-up, dubbed the Intelligent Streetlight project.

Mayoral spokeswoman Jen LeBron went so far as to insist in a February 23, 2017, Reuters account that information gathered by the system’s cameras would consist of “anonymous data with no personal identifiers.” Video amassed by the system “is not as detailed as security camera footage,” she went on to assert, per the report.

But the facts were different,

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Might Reparations Lead to Us Living in Harmony?

March 14, 2019 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

Tried to wax eloquently recently
about reparations,
speaking of it as
a “The checks in the mail”
kind of operation
but now I’m thinking
Reparations?

In this nation?
as I take into consideration|
that Americans
have shown neither the skills
or the will,
by any stretch of the imagination,
to have anything near a genuine
social or political
conversation
focused on bettering human relations,
especially one
regarding compensation
or a people’s history
of pain and suffering
and humiliation.

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Border Intelligence Operation Aimed at Journalists and Activists Part of Bigger Spying Scheme

March 8, 2019 by Doug Porter

Editordude: The outrage following this story about ICE and CBP targeting immigration activists, attorneys and journalists included steamed editorials in both the San Diego Union-Tribune and the LA Times today. Even Steve Breen was tasked to draw up something about it – and now, that’s news.

By Doug Porter / Words & Deeds / March 7, 2019

NBC 7 News dropped an explosive story on Wednesday [March 6] based on documents provided by a “Homeland Security source on the condition of anonymity.”

It’s a great story and there’s been plenty of praise (and reaction) as a local news organization’s scoop has been picked up nationwide.

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Only San Diego Police Have Data from New Streetlight Spy Cams and Sensors

February 25, 2019 by Source

Data gathered “exclusively for law enforcement purposes”

By Matt Potter / San Diego Reader / Feb. 21, 2019

As predicted by privacy advocates, a hoard of surveillance data collected by video cameras and audio sensors incorporated into San Diego street lights is exclusively in the hands of the city’s police department.

The sweeping police powers are contained in a freshly-minted Intelligent Streetlight Data Policy, signed and dated February 6

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Reparations Are Way Overdue

February 21, 2019 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

Every now and again
in this nation,
talks of reparations
enter into our conversations
and some folks
are saying
that such
could cost trillions
by some calculations,
implying it would be
too costly.

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If Trump Declares a National Emergency, He’ll Be Breaking the Law

February 15, 2019 by Source

Originally posted Jan. 11, 2019

By Marjorie Cohn / Marjorie Cohn Blog / Jan. 11, 2019

Congress refuses to enact legislation containing the nearly $6 billion that Donald Trump is demanding for an unnecessary wall on the southern US border. In response, Trump is considering whether to declare a national emergency, take money Congress has appropriated for other purposes, and divert it to build his wall. But under US law, the president cannot usurp the spending power the Constitution grants only to Congress.

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San Diego African American Museum of Fine Art to Honor the 2019 Keepers of the Culture

February 7, 2019 by Frank Gormlie

On February 9, 2019, the San Diego African American Museum of Fine Art in collaboration with the San Diego History Center will host the 2nd annual recognition of individual’s whose contributions have resulted in retaining and expanding the cultural expressions that are uniquely African American.

The event will be from 5:30-7:30 PM at the San Diego History Center, located in Balboa Park, Casa de Balboa, 1649 El Prado, Suite #3 San Diego, CA 92101.

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