Continued Engagement with the City of San Diego

Your branch has continued to engage the City of San Diego in an effort to land more contracts for firms of color, and more jobs for people of color.

Our delegation, led most ably by Vice President Francine Maxwell and Assistant Treasurer Wanda Rogers met with Mr Nagelvoort, Director of Public Works, and Mr Perkins, Deputy COO for Infrastructure and Public Works, among others, on Tuesday, January 29th.

We cannot say that we have progress yet, but we have found a couple of issues on which we can bring political pressure to bear, including applying SB 693 “Skilled Workforce” provisions to more City Contracts than just Pure Water. We will be continuing to engage with the City on this pressing problem of equity.

Will Bail Continue in California?


Earlier this year, the California Legislature passed SB-10, a bill that will, beginning in October of 2019, eliminate cash bail in favor of a system purporting to detain people according to their risk of re-offense or fleeing from trial.

The abuses of the cash bail system are well known.  Bail amounts are set without regard to the actual risk an accused person presents, poor people often are unable to raise even the required 10%, that same 10%, as it is non-refundable, can often tip a poor family into a downward spiral, excessive pre-trial detention is used buy prosecutors as a cudgel to get guilty pleas, and so much more.  The overall effect of the cash bail system is also highly racially discriminatory, with proportionally far many more people of color detained before trial than white folks.  However, there is always a way to make a bad situation worse.

SB-10 began as an honest attempt to address these problems, and replace them with a more just system.  However, massive revisions were made to SB-10 a mere three days before passage.  These revisions caused many organizations, including the ACLU and the California Attorneys for Criminal Justice to withdraw their support for the bill, citing its potential to vastly increase pre-trial detention in California. (The Criminal Justice Committee has analyzed SB-10, and prepared a diagram of the process it envisions.)

Christopher White

In 2017, Christopher White was standing by his truck in Encinitas when his friend Jeremy Owens assaulted a local woman, grabbing her by the neck and beginning to pull her to the truck.  By his own account, he yelled at Owens to stop.  Owens stopped, and as the girl fled, Mr White yelled “Go in the house!”  His friend got in the truck, and the two men drove away.

Over that weekend, Mr White tried to convince Owens to turn himself in, and discussed with other friends Owens’ need for counseling.

The San Diego County DA’s Office charged White with attempted rape and kidnapping.  He was denied bail, on the grounds that he was a danger to society.  He was also offered a plea deal which included three years of unsupervised probation.

In Re White

A member of our Branch’s Criminal Justice Committee recently attended a meeting at the League of Women Voters, and got a chance to discuss White’s case (called “In Re White”; text of brief here) with his defense attorney, Laura Schaefer.

Schaefer explained that California is actually in a bit of a confusion around bail.  Cash bail (non-excessive cash bail) has been a right of California citizens under Section 12 of the California Constitution since before the turn of the last Century.  However, in the ecstasy of punitive spirit so common after the Civil Rights movement (and so often used to subvert the gains of that movement), multiple ballot initiatives weakened the right to release under Section 12.  Parts of the first measure were found in conflict with Section 12, but others were allowed to stand, and then the whole thing was relied on in another amendment, and SB-10’s vast apparatus of pre-trial detention is the latest bill to build upon this foundation.

Schaefer’s argument consists of two major points:

  1. Denying White’s bail was prosecutorial overreach and nonsensical on its face, as the DA’s Office simultaneously argued that White was too dangerous to be release before trial, but offered him a deal recognizing that he was not dangerous enough to even warrant supervision if he plead guilty.
  2. The initiatives that weakened Section 12 did so implicitly only, and the only correct way to amend section 12 is to do so explicitly.  Therefore, Section 12 still should apply in full.

If Schaefer were to win her case, those portions of SB-10 that build upon the ballot initiatives (namely, the pre-trial detention provisions, NOT the release-without-bail provisions) would be void, and cash bail would continue in California past October 2019.

There is a companion case to In Re White, called Humphrey, that specifically addresses excessive bail as unconstitutional under Section 12.  It could also invalidate much of SB-10.

Arguments are ongoing before the California Supreme Court.

Interested in Criminal Justice?

Get involved with our Criminal Justice Committee; email [email protected] for more information.

Why We Vote

So much is at stake with this election.  Hear why the NAACP San Diego Branch’s Executive Committee is voting this year.

Statement of the President of the NAACP San Diego Branch Regarding the Mass Murder at a Pittsburgh Synagogue

[email protected]

27 October 2018

The NAACP San Diego Branch condemns in the strongest terms the violent acts of this morning which took the lives of 11 worshipers and injured multiple other individuals. We pray that God would comfort the families of these innocent victims of yet another senseless, vicious act of gun violence in the United States of America.

This vicious assault was the most lethal attack on Jews in the history of the United States of America. The realities of this day are heartbreaking, to say the least.  People of all faiths, races, and ethnicities cannot but be shocked, horrified, incensed and saddened at once in the face of this slaughter of innocent life.  Racism and hate must be condemned regardless of the identities of the perpetrators or victims.

Responding to killing with more killing is not the answer. The death penalty is not the answer to gun violence.  Sweeping gun law legislation is what is needed now.

We call on the President of the United States to cease and desist from his hate speech—period.

In plain and simple language, we call on the Houses of Congress in the United States to take decisive, unified action to enact legislation that would help to prevent these acts of carnage on unsuspecting, innocent victims in our country. No private citizen should be able to purchase an AR-15 assault rifle. AR-15 assault rifles are weapons of war. As a first step, Congress should take the reasonable action of requiring thorough background checks—including, but not limited to, social media sites—as a minimum requirement for the purchase of firearms of any kind, at venue where firearms are sold. Moreover, there should be a waiting period of at least three business days before a firearm can be delivered to a buyer. We call on the Houses of Congress to move swiftly on this legislation on the first day that they are back in session in order to stop the proliferation of guns and gun violence in the United States of America.

André J. Branch, Ph.D.
NAACP San Diego Branch

Watch: NAACP Vice President Honoré Urges Contracts Equity

You may remember that in September we took the City of San Diego to task for its shocking record of contracting with people of color, as revealed in the CAPER report to HUD.  We were back at the City Council on October 23rd on a fresh contracting issue.

The City of San Diego gives very nearly all of its construction business to firms owned by white men, firms that often do not even employ significant numbers of African-Americans and other ethnicities. The NAACP San Diego tried to delay the awarding of this $100M water and wastewater contract until the firms involved could be queried on their inclusion plans.

Our voice was joined by Brother Hameed of the National Black Contractor’s Association:

Councilmember Alvarez even read part of our letter to urge adoption of one of its provisions:

In the end, we were unsuccessful in achieving a delay:

However, City Engineer James Nagelvoort is facilitating a meeting between the NAACP, the Black Contractor’s Association, the National Association of Minority Contractors, and the five firms in question.  We hope the talks are productive.

We could be more active in these areas of labor and economic equity if NAACP members with relevant expertise and passion would come out to work on our Labor and Economic Development committees.  Please come to our General Membership Meeting on November 2nd, or write us at [email protected] and volunteer to help us with this important work!

Full text of our letter to the Council follows:

2018-10-22 K-17-1518-MAC-3 NAACP Letter to Council (dragged)
2018-10-22 K-17-1518-MAC-3 NAACP Letter to Council (dragged)


Action Alert: Make Lynching a Hate Crime

Dear Members and Friends,

The crime of lynching continued even after slavery had been abolished as the ultimate expression of racism and hatred in the United States following Reconstruction. For over a century, it has been used to kill, terrorize and intimidate African Americans and the communities in which we live.   It is a horrific form of torture, murder, and intimidation and domestic terrorism.
Senators Kamala Harris (CA), Cory Booker (NJ), and Tim Scott (SC) and Congressman Bobby Rush (IL), along with 28 of his colleagues in the House of Representatives have introduced the Justice for Victims of Lynching Act, S. 3178 / HR 6086 in the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives. This urgent legislation would make lynching a hate crime, therefore eligible for the additional federal tools and resources used to investigate and prosecute hate crimes. We need this legislation if we are going to seriously address this form of domestic terrorism

The Senate bill, S. 3178 was approved of unanimously by the Senate Judiciary Committee on 10/11/2018 and it is the urgent hope of the NAACP that it will move through the Senate and the House and then be signed into law quickly after the election during the “lame duck” session.

For more information, as well as information on how you can become an advocate, please read the attached Action Alert.


November 2018 Ballot Initiative Recommendations

The following recommendations come from the California Hawaii NAACP State Conference:




Other sources of recommendations and information:

Voters Edge:

What’s on the ballot in San Diego County | Voter’s Edge California

Get nonpartisan information on candidates and measures, including local information on when, where, and how to vote.


Sample Ballot Lookup – Ballotpedia

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The League of Women Voters:

Ballot Recommendations

Read our recommendations on the June 5, 2018 election ballot measures. Vote with the League!


ACLU SoCal Ballot Guide 2018

VOTE YOUR RIGHTS. VOTE YOUR VALUES.On Tuesday, November 6, Californians will vote on statewide initiatives and local measures that will greatly impact our civil liberties and civil rights. Learn how the ACLU SoCal stands on these issues. Vote your rights. Vote your values.Click on the ballot measures for more information.