November 14, 2003

The Public Forum . . . El Foro Publico

National City Police Review Board
A Betrayal, Sellout & a Joke!
A case of the Wolf, investigating the wolves?

National City, San Diego County’s second oldest and poorest incorporated city, with a minority/majority population (over 65% Mexican Americans), inundated with a myriad of social, economic problems, and a history of police misconduct and brutality finally created the police review board that 70% of the voters mandated under Prop “L.”

The unanimous vote, by National City’s young carpetbagger Hispanic millionaire Mayor, and four rubberstamp Councilmen, far from being the solution envisioned by proponents and the community is in reality a disgraceful sellout to the white minority economic/political establishment. The establishment comprised of police/fire unions, city employees, Mile of Cars owners, chamber of commerce, (most who don’t even reside in N.C.), has historically controlled N.C. and fought the community tooth and nail on all proposals to stop police misconduct and brutality.

The sellout is also a betrayal of the democratic rights of over 2200 voters who signed petitions in 2001, and voters who approved Prop “L” in the 2002 election, that mandated city officials to create a viable police oversight board that would:

1. Be representative of the ethnic and economic population make-up of the city,

2. Be community controlled and comprised of National City residents with no police or law enforcement officials serving on it and,

3. Be empowered with subpoena powers to deal with the police, and to protect witnesses from police retribution.

The Mayor and Council failed to create the police review board mandated, and to grant it the necessary powers to address decade old problems in the National City Police Department (NCPD) that is evident by the following:

· In the 1950’s, the turning over of Mexicans to the Border Patrol in order to receive a bounty (a box of ammunition),

· In the 1970’s, the large number of shooting deaths (6) including the death by a bullet to the back of 20-yr old Luis Rivera by Officer Craig Short who 10 months earlier had shot to death an Anglo youth. Council then appointed Short to be the police/community relations officer, and recently Acting Chief of Police,

· In the 1970’s, the fatal shooting of a young man by National City Councilman, Luther Reed, while serving as a police “reserve” officer,

· In the 1980’s, the use of the city’s dogcatcher to apprehend undocumented Mexicans, and claiming publicly that the department had the “instinct” to determine which persons of Mexican ancestry were legal or illegal,

· In the 1990’s, accusations by the black and the Pilipino community (Discovery Restaurant incident) of excessive police harassment,

· In the 1990’s, the filing of a sex discrimination lawsuit by a female employee, costing the city over $200,000.00 to settle,

· And finally, in 2000 police misconduct and brutality accelerating to a point (i.e. shooting deaths, beatings, illegal detentions, harassment, especially of young people, and more recently the arrest of the Chief of Police for drunk driving) that members of the white community (led by Mr. Terry Hanks) were forced to circulate petitions for a proposition demanding the creation of an elected police review board with subpoena powers.

The Mayor and City Council, instead of addressing the legitimate petitions and votes of N.C. voters and proponents for redress of grievances, choose to create a police review board that is now the JOKE of the city by:

1. The mayor appointing all members, who then stacked the board with police, so the Wolf will now be investigating the wolves.

2. The council giving the board absolutely no authority, power, budget, staff, or office space.

3. The 9-member board (8 current members, one seat vacant) includes 3 law enforcement officers; a NCPD union officer who was once accused of police brutality, an 18-year retired NCPD officer, and a retired Drug Enforcement Agent from Chula Vista. The remaining 5 individuals is comprised of a 2-year resident of N.C., an immigration attorney, an administrative education assistant and 2 federal government employees. The make-up of this board is not representative of the blue collar, ethnic population of National City.

4. The board reserving one seat for a human rights organization although not one group has agreed to serve because of the knowledge that the new board was politically structured to represent the police, has zero creditability, and is a running joke in the community.

The question now for proponents and voters in N.C. whose petitions and votes for redress of grievances were betrayed and sold-out by the mayor and city council is, what’s next? The answer should be obvious. Since the mayor and city council ignored the democratic rights and the will of the people who signed petitions and who voted for Prop. “L,” the newly created so-called police review board must be rejected and boycotted, until the petitions, votes and the will of the people are respected!

Herman Baca
Committee on Chicano Rights

Bush’s Lies

Re letter written by Ron Romero, The Public Forum, 11/ 7/03, “A Better Economy”

… The tax relief of $1126 Mr. Romero quotes is a lie. Here’s the way it actually works: The top 1% of income earners will receive 42.6% of  the $1.6 billion tax packgage, 50% go to the top 5% earners, and the bottom 60% ( about 62M ) earners get 12.6%, or $302 on the average. How many people do you know who have received $1126? Even Bush has stopped mentioning it. As the millionaire that he is, he got a tax relief of over $190,000; his crony Cheney got over $890,000.

Since Bush took over, 3,000,000 jobs have been lost. Oh yeah, 300,000 were added to the ranks of working people in the last quarter, but there are thousands more that have quit looking for work, and are not included in the statistics. The deficit has now reached close to $455 billions, billions my friend.

Clinton, the one man you and your cohorts blame for all the screw-ups of the present administration, left a surplus of over $7 billion, which your hero wiped out in less than a year.

Bush favors big business, it’s called cronyism. I doubt that small businesses benefit and contrary to Romero’s statement. Social Security is in danger of being used as banker of last resort to pay for Bush’s economic follies. The U.S economy has not been in such bad shape since Hoover, under whom The Great Depression started. His rich friends are not investing fast enough to create jobs.

Bush is not a courageous man, but he had no problem uttering 16 falsehoods in a speech to Congress that have now cost close to 400 deaths in Iraq and a very high number of wounded. He has difficulty telling the truth.

Ruben González Fierro
Solana Beach

Support for Bush’s economic policies questioned

Is Mr. Romero serious in his support of Bush’s economic policies? Is the 500 billion dollar deficit we have incurred this year part of Bush’s “bold action to create lasting economic growth,” as Mr. Romero claims? According to a September 18, 2003 article in The Business Times, the U.S. is “on track for a record deficit, the government has produced $400.5 billion in red ink in the first 11 months of the 2003 budget year - twice the total for the same period a year earlier.”

And to make the claim that Bush’s plan is “focused on job creation and [helping] working families with immediate tax relief” is misleading and simplistic to say the least. Mr. Romero’s claim that “91 million taxpayers [will receive] an average $1,126 in tax relief this year” is merely a repeat (almost verbatim) of one of the President’s speeches. A careful (and critical) analysis of this claim, however, would reveal that while the word “average” in this statement is mathematically correct, the numbers are misleading due to the fact that this average is derived from ALL income levels and ALL estimated savings (including the wealthy). This, of course, skews the number upward. In fact, according to the “Urban Institute-Brookings Institute, 80 percent of all tax filers [will] receive less than the $1,083 average and half of all tax filers [will] get less than $100” under Bush’s “bold” economic “stimulus” plan.

Also, where are these jobs Mr. Romero is referring to? Could these be the very same jobs that were lost during Bush’s presidency, numbering in the thousands. The truth of the matter is that the majority of Americans are much worse off (economically and socially) under George Bush. His “courageous leadership” is merely benefiting the top 1% of the U.S. population, that is, the wealthy. I ask that the readers of La Prensa consider these numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau before they decide to buy into Bush’s “Big Lie.”  The poverty rate was 12.1 percent in 2002, up from 11.7 percent in 2001. That meant nearly 34.6 million people were living in poverty out of a population approaching 290 million. Additionally,  the median household income declined 1.1 percent from 2001 to 2002 to $42,409, after accounting for inflation. This means that half of all households earned more than that amount and half earned less. Yet, and here’s the clincher, according to Forbes magazine, after two years of declining wealth, the aggregate net worth of the wealthiest 400 U.S. citizens climbed 10 percent in the past year to $955 billion. Furthermore, among the top 25 richest, 12 are related, with members of the Walton family of Wal-Mart fame taking spots 4 through 8. I wonder if these people are also waiting by their mailboxes for their tax return?

So, again, I ask: are we really better off under Bush’s “courageous leadership”? I’ll let the readers of La Prensa decide.

Edward M. Olivos, Ph.D.
Chula Vista, CA

Another example of government waste

Today (11/12/2003) I gassed up at Jamacha Mobil Oil, 2903 Jamacha Rd, El Cajon, CA 92019 at approximately 6:30 AM. It was pouring rain at the time. A Border Patrol Unit was gassing up at the same time. Much to my surprise the Border Patrol Unit then entered the car wash. The car wash costs $6 at a minimum. Please remember... it’s raining at the time. Pouring, actually, it was raining so hard that I couldn’t get all of the license plate numbers so I waited until the unit exited the car wash. US Government License plate # “DHS 10309”.  The unit had “K0037” painted on the truck. I guess it is politically incorrect to pick up illegal aliens in a dirty truck.

Also, I’m wondering about the license plate. Does “DHS” stand for the Department of Homeland Security? Please don’t tell me we ran out and paid for new license plates for all of the government vehicles that are part of this new department.

Normally I can get through most of the day before breaking out the bottle of pink liquid.  Not today.

Robert Clay

December 5th is coming

Dec 5th 2003 is the deadline for any registered South Bay voter to turn in papers at SD registrar of voters so that the South Bay community might have a better an newer County District 1 supervisor (Cox has been not much help for Latinos). We sometimes don’t give ourselves the benefit of properly informing  ourselves so that we might improve and  change things around us. Then we complain???

Virgil Pina
Chula Vista

Editorial not too accurate

Re: Vol. 27 Number 44 October 31, 2003

As I read the online articles of your paper, I came across an editorial, “A lot to be thankful for; a lot to re-examine”. In reading the article I must say there is either a lack of clarity as far what the writer is trying to convey or they have simply been misinformed about the topic. It’s hard to tell whether there’s a complaint that the English-language media didn’t offer coverage on the recent fires in Spanish or that there was no coverage in Spanish at all.

I beg to differ if the latter is the case. The English-language news stations, did as best of a job as they could in informing the public of the tragic event through near non-stop coverage —as did the Spanish-language news. Univision KBNT 17 and Telemundo channel 33 are two local Spanish new stations that were accurate and consistent in informing the Spanish speaking community of the fires and most importantly in offering constant updates and evacuation procedures. I find it hard to believe that in such a hurry to point the finger at what was lacking in the media, the writer of this article failed to first inform themselves well of what was actually being passed on to the public.

Many times we take for granted that journalists go as far as they can to keep us informed. It’s only fair that just as we thanked everyone for the countless and courageous help during the fire (fireman, political leadership, residents), that we also extend a bit of our gratitude to those who also risked their lives in telling the story.  

Geneva Gamez
via email

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