Union Bank and the Promise Zone

July 31, 2020

Mayor Kevin Faulconer
City Admin Building
11th Floor 202 C Street
San Diego, CA 92101
Council President Gómez
City Admin Building
10th Floor
202 C Street
San Diego, CA 92101
Councilmember Cate
City Admin Building
10th Floor
202 C Street
San Diego, CA 92101
Councilmember Moreno
City Admin Building
10th Floor
202 C Street
San Diego, CA 92101
Councilmember Bry
City Admin Building
10th Floor
202 C Street
San Diego, CA 92101
Councilmember Kersey
City Admin Building
10th Floor
202 C Street
San Diego, CA 92101
Councilmember Sherman
City Admin Building
10th Floor
202 C Street
San Diego, CA 92101
Councilmember Campbell
City Admin Building
10th Floor
202 C Street
San Diego, CA 92101
Councilmember Montgomery
City Admin Building
10th Floor
202 C Street
San Diego, CA 92101
Councilmember Ward
City Admin Building
10th Floor
202 C Street
San Diego, CA 92101

To the Mayor and the San Diego City Council:

If you want to go fast go alone; if you want to go far go together.

—African Proverb

For hundreds of years the lives of African-Americans have not been valued by our society.  We have been enslaved and discriminated against, either directly in law or by laws carefully designed to seem neutral but actually to be discriminatory.  As a result, we have been unable to accumulate the resources to cushion the effects of disasters like COVID-19.

We therefore ask the Mayor and City Council of San Diego to pay very careful attention to those institutions that support people in the Promise Zone, and not allow major institutions to treat them with disrespect and neglect. You know our needs are dire; 97% of the kids in the zone are eligible for free or reduced-price lunches.  The long history of advantage society has given to others means we need your assistance now.

The Promise Zone continues to be neglected by major corporations, and yet neither the Economic Development Department, the Diamond Business Improvement District, nor the City takes an interest.  We are putting you on notice, and we expect you to put them on notice, that we are not going to tolerate this kind of mistreatment any longer.

Yet another major financial institution, this time Union Bank, has chosen to ignore its obligations under the Community Reinvestment Act and close its branch at Federal and Euclid (see attached).  This puts a great deal of extra stress on residents of the area, who now must travel all the way to Rolando on public transportation during the COVID pandemic. Please use your influence to get Union Bank to reverse this decision.

School will start in less than a month, and our students will once again be home instead of in the classroom.  They’ll have the electricity for distance learning, even if their parents are out of work, since SDG&E is being understanding.  They may not, however, have the Internet, since Cox is not offering forgiveness on bills.  Perhaps the City can use its influence to get relief to Promise Zone kids who need to learn.

Where, in all this, is the Diamond Business Improvement District?  Why are they not watching out for our residents and exerting their influence over businesses in the area?  Could it be because there are vacant board seats going unadvertised?  Could it be because the board President is an employee of Civic San Diego, and thus has a conflict of interest?

We are weathering two crises now; the COVID-19 virus and the COVID-19 economic depression.  We need bold leadership to see all of our citizens through these two threats.  The people of San Diego will not accept less!

Francine Maxwell, President
NAACP San Diego Branch