Fatal Shooting of Detainee by Sheriff’s Deputy

May 4, 2020

We learned with sorrow yesterday that a 36-year-old man was fatally shot by a Sheriff’s Deputy outside the jail in downtown San Diego.  The man had been in the custody of California Park Rangers, who say he had been arrested for “assault with a deadly weapon” on a park employee. 

We all remember last year the passage of AB-392, that raised the standard of lethal force to “when necessary to save human life.” While we will pass no judgment until a thorough investigation has been done, this shooting raises many troubling questions. 

While it might seem at first blush that a man arrested for assault with a deadly weapon would pose a threat to human life, we are unconvinced.

This man had already been in law enforcement custody.  He would have been searched and any weapons he had would have been confiscated.  We may therefore assume he was unarmed.

The sheriff’s deputy was one of two deputies arriving for work, not a detail arranged to receive this man from the Park Rangers.  How then, would they have known that this man was charged with a potentially serious crime?

Perhaps there are good explanations for this.  What is absolutely certain is that this case is one the NAACP San Diego Branch will follow with keen interest.

Francine Maxwell, President
NAACP San Diego Branch

Please see followup article: Resignation of Deputy is Not Enough

Mayor Faulconer’s Reactivation Coalition – Same Old, Same Old

April 26, 2020

Consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds. — Ralph Waldo Emerson

We read with a distinct lack of interest Mayor Faulconer’s recent announcement (https://www.sandiego.gov/mayor/news/releases/mayor-faulconer-supervisor-cox-announce-binational-and-bipartisan-group-plan-reactivation) regarding his coalition to reactivate the “economy.”

Our mayor is so consistent, he has hobgoblins coming out his ears.  There is simply no problem in the City which cannot be solved, in the Mayor’s view, by cozying up to big developers and big business, and getting his marching orders straight from the horse’s … mouth.

We will leave aside for the moment his repeated attempts to disguise handing out big contracts to his backers for the Convention Center by claiming it’s funding for the homeless.  Instead, we want to talk about his new coalition to “reactivate the economy.”

COVID-19 is hard on everyone, sure.  As usual, however, the rich have their mega-yachts to quarantine on, and the poor and the black and the brown take the brunt.  Artists, barbers, musicians, cooks, hairstylists, students and all manner of gig workers have been decimated by the stay-at-home orders necessitated by COVID-19.  To whom does the mayor turn for advice on crisis recovery?  Those who have been hurt most?

No.  In an utterly predictable move, the Mayor has gone to his backers in the big business community, so they can whisper in his ear their advice for increasing the stranglehold they already have on the wealth of this nation.  We are utterly tired of Mayor Kevin running home to Daddy every time there is an issue.

We call on Mayor Faulconer to show true leadership.  We call on Mayor Faulconer to show some interest in the life of this city BEYOND the profits of the rich.  It is not merely the *economy* that needs to be restarted, but *life*, and that includes workers and artists and food and culture and style and public engagement.  We call on the mayor to include more than one token labor group.  We call on the mayor to seek advice from people who see more than a balance sheet.

Unless we as a City, State and Nation take deliberate steps to cultivate the life of our culture, not just our wallets, we will end up in a nation recovered to a sterile engine of commerce, devoid of actual life.

Francine Maxwell, President
NAACP San Diego Branch

The Forgotten Ones

April 20, 2020

During this Covid-19 epidemic, the San Diego Unified School District has been touting its accolades via every social media outlet that will listen.  The desired effect is for our communities to believe that Superintendent Marten and the school board really do care about our students. This seems unbelievable based on several factors that have been brought to my attention.  SDUSD has forgotten:

Students:  The district and the teacher’s union created an MOU immediately to protect the rights of the adults working with students.  This was finished in record time while a plan of action for student learning is still really not firmly secure by any means.  The priority of the district is made abundantly clear…adults first, student learning next.

Adolescent Girls:  The district has finally created several food distribution centers at a variety of school sites.  This has been very helpful to our families that live below the poverty level. There is a major group of students who have been forgotten…our young adolescent girls.  Schools meeting the 40 percent pupil poverty threshold are required to provide free feminine hygiene products to students in grades 6-12.  

Education code 35292.6 states: 

(a) A public school maintaining any combination of classes from grade 6 to grade 12, inclusive, that meets the 40-percent pupil poverty threshold required to operate a schoolwide program pursuant to Section 6314(a)(1)(A) of Title 20 of the United States Code shall stock at least 50 percent of the school’s restrooms with feminine hygiene products at all times.

(b) A public school described in subdivision (a) shall not charge for any menstrual products provided to pupils, including, but not limited to, feminine hygiene products.

(c) For purposes of this section, “feminine hygiene products” means tampons and sanitary napkins for use in connection with the menstrual cycle.

(Added by Stats. 2017, Ch. 687, Sec. 1. (AB 10) Effective January 1, 2018.)

It would be great to take the products from the schools and distribute them to the students at the school food distribution sites.   Our school nurses have these supplies provided to them at no cost and the supplies are just sitting at the school sites. Our young girls rely on this service and we need to provide this immediately.  There are some sites that actually have a pantry and could bring those supplies to the food distribution sites as well.   

While these important factors have been brought to my attention, I am asking the media to inquire from our district if and when they will assist our young girls to give them the necessary items needed that were provided for them prior to this epidemic.  I cannot imagine young men being forgotten in this way!

Francine Maxwell, President
NAACP San Diego Branch

Biased COVID-19 Enforcement

April 20, 2020

Just two short weeks ago, the NAACP San Diego Branch published an article (see sandiegonaacp.org/cv19enforcement) urging residents to obey the public health orders, but also urging law enforcement to use common sense when enforcing these orders, so as not to endanger lives unnecessarily.

On Saturday, April 18th, a “Freedom Rally” was held in downtown San Diego, where according to press accounts some 200 people, “many … wearing Trump 2020 hats” and “most not wearing masks or practicing social distancing” gathered to protest the measures that are keeping our sick and elderly from dying.  As much as we deplored the foolishness of these protestors, we might have appreciated the good sense of the San Diego Police Department. We might have assumed none of these protestors were cited or arrested because the SDPD recognized that aggressive enforcement of the COVID-19 measures would necessitate the very sort of close contact that could make matters worse, not better.

We might have thought that.  Sadly, we are left to wonder; did the SDPD forbear out of good sense, or out of sympathy with the protestors?  Was it the protestor’s allegiance to the science-phobic, authoritarian, low-IQ individual occupying the White House that made the SDPD keep their distance?  Or perhaps was it the officers’ gut feeling that white folks don’t need to be arrested?

Why would we say such a thing?  Why would we doubt the good sense of the San Diego Police Department?

Just two days before, I myself went to Christopher Wilson Memorial Park, adjacent to the Southeastern Police Station.  Now, I understand that the parks are closed, and that mass gatherings are not to occur. I noted the tape around the playground equipment and seating areas.  And yet…

My father, a retired Navy Master Chief, is elderly and is at very high risk for COVID-19.  He also has dementia, and it is impossible to explain to him why he needs to stay inside. We usually walk in the neighborhood, but we have been having trouble getting others to maintain social distancing, and I chose to go to the park to keep my father safe.  He was wearing his mask, and we were practicing social distancing from everyone not living in our home. We hoped to do three quick laps around the deserted park and get home.

Imagine our surprise when a dark, unmarked van jumped the curb and proceeded to drive straight at my father, who was walking ten feet ahead of me, stopping just five feet away from him.  The driver, accompanied by another officer, ordered my father to come to him.

Of course we all know how this story may have ended.  Law enforcement in San Diego has a poor track record in dealing with men of color who may not fully understand or immediately comply with instructions (and often with those who do both.)  Thankfully, I was there to explain the situation, and we avoided arrest or worse.

I am left, however, wondering just what it was that made those officers feel that jumping a curb and driving up on a lone pedestrian was a sensible way to enforce a public health measure.  COVID-19 aside, possible mistaken use of deadly force aside, there is the fact that a two-ton vehicle was driven close to a frail pedestrian.

Was their need to enforce their will on a black man really that strong?  There was no need to charge their vans into the “Freedom Rally” two days later, so we have to wonder.

This is the very sort of unthinking law enforcement overreach we warned about weeks ago, with a side order of racial bias.

For shame, Chief Nisleit.  Train your people better than this!

Francine Maxwell, President
NAACP San Diego Branch

When America catches a cold, black Americans get the flu but when America contracts #ThatRona, black Americans die

April 17, 2020

When America catches a cold, black Americans get the flu but when America contracts #ThatRona, black Americans die

PREEXISTING CONDITION: RACISM 

It is most certainly not being suggested here that the Corona Virus or any virus for that matter can be racist. No, but we all know very well that policies and governmental structures can be racist. Response times from officials during disaster can be suspiciously slower in black communities and the inability to rely on truthful information from officials can have a grave impact. It’s no secret that these structural disparities act as “preexisting conditions.” When manifested in the form of environmental racism, neighborhoods with majority black and brown people are often treated as dumping centers. This yields higher rates of pollution and lower air quality yielding more cases of conditions like asthma and other respiratory diseases. Black Americans need to to be advised regarding the future that in cities like Beijing, the face mask has long been a mainstay of the daily uniform for blue and white collar folks and all those in-between. Our air quality improvement is stalling, the planet is warming and our neighborhoods have new kinds of criminals – those that come to pollute our air quality. When the masses return to normalcy, protect yourself and your family by keeping the face mask.

DECARCERATION IS PARAMOUNT

Furthermore, jail and prisons which we know are overcrowded and disproportionately housing black and brown inmates need to make strategic efforts towards decarceration to avert disaster. In the words of San Francisco’s District Attorney Chesa Boudin on the subject of COVID19, “We need to let medical professionals guide public policy.” Allowing health professionals to lead us at this time is of the utmost importance. Not only are they held to a higher standard of non-bias, they understand systems of infectious disease. The air quality in our communities is not the only area we experience vulnerability, allowing jail and prison medical staff to achieve proper social distancing for those incarcerated is an area that needs a closer look as well. In response to the conditions at Otay Mesa Detention Center, Senator Kamala Harris remarked on 04/12/2020 that “The horrifying conditions at Otay Mesa Detention Center are unacceptable. Every day that officials continue to lock up low-risk and vulnerable people is another day that people in U.S. custody along with countless facility and court personnel, legal representatives, witnesses, and family members are put at risk of a preventable death from a deadly virus.” 

HOW TO STRATEGICALLY DECARCERATE

The method for decarceration is simple: allow medical staff advise us of the acceptable number to achieve proper social distancing. Next consider release of the inmates that fall into the following categories: those with misdemeanors, the elderly, those conserved waiting for placement in a mental health facility (a reminder that our jails are inappropriately serving those in need of behavioral health services), those unable to pay certain bail amounts, veterans, those already sentenced with upcoming release dates, and those with simply technical parole or probation violations. Identifying those inmates for immediate or expedited release means analyzing the population and intentionally choosing to take measures to save lives. A failure to do so means blatantly disregarding an overwhelming majority of specifically black and brown potential deaths.

TO DO LIST

When the COVID-19 war is over, black people will have an extended recovery timeline, similar to the AIDS epidemic (still claiming many lives in the black plurality of the ATL), the glacial response times during Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans (also a black plurality), and other calamities long before this COVID19 pandemic. Once mass media coverage dissipates our communities will still be impacted, everyone else will be healing and “getting back to normal” while black Americans continue playing catch up. The post traumatic stress coupled with the preexisting financial and health disparities will have many implications for Black Americans’ mental health and pocketbooks. But stay awake, when the focus shifts in the media, that is the time to work even harder to be well and serve as a leader in the community by putting wellness and the sharing of resources at the forefront all we do. We can take the liberty of expecting that the long-term effects of this virus will have a disproportionately negative impact on Black Americans compared to other groups. When we started this race, the gun went off for us a few HUNDRED years after everyone else started playing. So wear your masks and only use digital means to contact the elderly. If you’re out of work take note of quarantine-proof jobs and use this time to develop new skills, write letters to the jails and prison officials asking for “decarceration” to save lives and properly achieve social distancing. Finally, if you’re one of those fortunate to still be gainfully employed during this time with a job that has you away from home, don’t fidget with the mask, try not to touch your face, greet people with a bow or an elbow (I loathe the fist bump, because you’re still using your hands), sanitize the moment you enter your home and embrace what Roddy Rich says about no shoes in the house!

DON’T FORGET

American Epidemiologist Camara Jones asserts that racism is a system that does two things: structures opportunities and assigns value on so-called race; and is the social interpretation of how one looks in a race conscious society. The structure of the systems have already deemed black and brown value inferior to others. So Black Americans should indeed ask, are we really in this together if we are not all in the same boat? 

CUT FROM A DIFFERENT CLOTH

In the words of the Reverend Al Sharpton, “If we can survive chattel slavery, if we can survive Jim Crow, we can survive this Corona Virus.”

Moriah Bradley
Chair, Health Committee
NAACP San Diego Branch

Judicial Council Gets it Right, City Gets it Wrong

April 9, 2020

Re: Judicial Council Gets it Right, City Gets it Wrong

These are critical times for housing in our city.  Adding COVID-19 onto an already untenable housing market is like pouring gasoline on a fire.  We are grateful to the Judicial Council for providing some relief to tenants, however temporary, but we are aghast that the City’s “solution” to COVID-19 among the homeless is to pack them into the Convention Center.

Legal Assistance for Evictions and Housing Issues During COVID-19

NAACP San Diego Branch is grateful that the Judicial Council has stepped in to protect vulnerable renters in the San Diego region and the rest of the state. Elected officials in the San Diego region have failed to enact eviction-based ordinances that protect renters, and have enacted poorly written ordinances that unjustly burden tenants – the very people the ordinances should be protecting. 

On Monday, the Judicial Council stepped in to delay all eviction cases from moving forward, not just those related to people not being able to pay rent due to the virus. 

As described in this article, https://apnews.com/3945cb51331a801b658d4202504334e5, the order is much needed. “This is the type of straightforward, broad protection that we have been wanting to see from our leaders to give people comfort while we address the massive economic impacts of this crisis,” said Sasha Harnden, housing policy advocate at the Western Center on Law and Poverty.

If you are in the County of San Diego and need free legal assistance pertaining to housing issues, including rent increases and evictions, contact Legal Aid Society of San Diego which receives government funding to provide legal assistance to low-income individuals. https://www.lassd.org/

If you are not eligible for Legal Aid Society of San Diego, you may be eligible for free legal assistance through San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program,https://www.sdvlp.org, or Disability Rights California, https://www.disabilityrightsca.org/

If you have received an eviction notice, rent increase notice, or have a housing related issue – do not delay. Seek legal advice today!

Use of Emergency Funds for Directing Unhoused Residents to the Convention Center

NAACP San Diego Branch is dismayed by actions taken by local elected leaders to direct hundreds of unhoused San Diego-region residents to a congregate setting – the Convention Center – during the COVID-19 crisis.

These actions are inconsistent with COVID-19 mitigation efforts, social distancing directives, and the Governor’s order to utilize hotel/motel rooms to accommodate at-risk unhoused individuals and families.  

In addition to endangering the lives of our most vulnerable residents and the greater public, these actions are questionable financially. Local elected officials seem to be directing millions of dollars in state funds to the city’s own Convention Center instead of motels and hotels, to benefit itself while putting in danger the very population the funding is intended to assist. 

In stark contrast to our local elected official’s actions, here is Governor Newsom’s recommended protocols for people experiencing homelessness:https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/CDPH%20Document%20Library/COVID-19/flowchart-COVID19-homelessness.pdf

Here is a recent article on the City Council’s actions on Tuesday directing $3.7 million in state emergency funds to its own Convention Center: https://www.kusi.com/san-diego-city-council-approves-3-7-million-state-grant-for-homeless-covid-19-safety/ 

Francine Maxwell, President
NAACP San Diego Branch

Rebuttal: SD Unified’s Online Learning Plan is Terrible

April 6, 2020

In the most recent article in the Voice of San Diego, April 3, 2020, the superintendent and the board and begin to explain the new on-line process of education for the San Diego Unified School District.  Well, better yet, they do NOT explain the process because every other paragraph contradicts what they said in the previous paragraph. The article, like the actors on the school board, states that a “soft launch” of on-line education will begin after spring break and the “actual” on-line learning will begin April 27th.  This is ludicrous. Students technically have had no formal education since March 13th…roughly 5 weeks of wasted time.

It behooves one to ask the question of why our school board and its one employee did not elicit the guidance from a school in the SD Unified district, iHigh, that ALREADY HAS on-line learning from K-12?  Why didn’t they just work with iHigh and get the information in a unified way and distribute that information to all teachers? This way the already stressed teachers would at least have a guideline to follow and could add their own information for further clarity of the lesson being taught.  Doesn’t it just make sense to not re-invent the wheel?

The issue of “grades can only go up” leaves one speechless.  Our students from all sectors of the district will suffer greatly from this ridiculous idea. Can you imagine a student that already has good grades will do nothing and even worse, LEARN NOTHING for the remainder of the school year?  The students whose parents are not home all day and are having difficulties learning the information, will only become frustrated, quit, and just keep the mediocre grade they have earned up until now. Again, NO LEARNING will take place.  Our school board is famous for not following rules and regulations set up by the state and this is clearly an example of another rule they intend on breaking. Article 3, of the Ed Code 49066, states: “teachers, NOT the school district and/or superintendent of such district shall not order a student’s grade to be changed”.  Therefore, ONLY teachers can give grades. Why would a teacher want to give an exemplary student a mediocre grade because the student decides to just “opt out” of learning until the end of the school year? Teachers, by design, want ALL of their students to do the best they can in all circumstances. Taking the easy way out is not acceptable in any way, shape or form. 

Then there is of course, the school board begging for more money!  When will there be enough money to stop you from asking for more? Our households are now struggling to deal with this surreal situation we find ourselves in and yet you have the nerve to ask for more money?  Seriously? The state gave you money. Use it wisely. The question still unanswered is where is the excess money you already received for the ADA per student until the remainder of the year? What did you spend all that money on?  Because the daily use of the school is significantly less since NO one is on the campus. Bills will be less, etc. Where is that excess money going?  

Time and time again SD Unified School District under the leadership of Cindy Marten, has proven how incompetent it is through all the mishandling of money, personnel and student needs.  The current crisis situation only intensifies the need for the community to demand a better plan for our students than this hodge-podge of ideas put together by these incompetent so-called educators.

Francine Maxwell, President
NAACP San Diego Branch

Founded in 1919 after a visit by renowned author, activist and NAACP co-founder, W.E.B. DuBois, the NAACP San Diego Branch is celebrating a century of standing sentry over the civil rights of the people of San Diego. If you need more information about the NAACP San Diego Branch, please visit sandiegonaacp.org/presskit

We Need a Long-Term EMS Contract

April 4th, 2020

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

Dear City Councilmembers, 

My name is Francine Maxwell, President of the San Diego Branch of the NAACP. We are proud to participate in this democratic process to ensure the health and safety of all San Diego residents, especially considering the COVID-19 pandemic we are experiencing. 

We have now monitored the progress of the EMS contract for a few years and are thankful that it is now time to find a resolution. Our members look forward to receiving quality EMS care in our community through an open and transparent RFP process. 

We’re disappointed the City will be restarting the time-intensive RFP process and once again providing a short-term solution through an extension of the current provider. Although the staff’s recommendation for this extension is understandable, this contract has not been prepared for public bid in over two decades. 

It is imperative that we move towards releasing the RFP to secure a long-term provider who can partner with the City and can provide emergency medical services as quickly as possible. Once the RFP is public, We look forward to participating once again in support of the provider who can best ensure a safe and healthy city for us all. 

Thank you,

Francine Maxwell, President
NAACP San Diego Branch

Founded in 1919 after a visit by renowned author, activist and NAACP co-founder, W.E.B. DuBois, the NAACP San Diego Branch is celebrating a century of standing sentry over the civil rights of the people of San Diego. If you need more information about the NAACP San Diego Branch, please visit sandiegonaacp.org/presskit

Censorship of NAACP Message on Racism in San Diego County Housing and Community Development Services

March 02, 2020

The Honorable Grex Cox, Chair
San Diego County Board of Supervisors
1600 Pacific Highway
San Diego, CA 92101

Dear Chairman Cox,

We at the NAACP are absolutely outraged by the actions of the Board of Supervisors.  First, we asked for reasonable accommodation to be heard during Black History Month. That was denied, by YOU, CHAIRMAN COX.  So, we were forced to pare down our presentation, split it between three of our members, and complete the presentation in six minutes.  

But, the more outrageous action was the censorship of our message.  In every other instance where slides were presented at the February 25, 2020 Board of Supervisors Meeting, the slides were broadcast by video to the public.  NOT A SINGLE ONE OF OUR SLIDES WAS BROADCAST. The slides that showed that Dwight Flesher was a racist, sexist, Islamophobe were censored from the public.

While we understood that the one slide that included “profanity” when referring to Muhammad and Islam would not be shown, the Board of Supervisors or Staff decided to censor ALL the slides.  The only logical explanation is that the Board of Supervisors or Staff decided to blunt our message and protect Dwight Flesher from being exposed to the world, despite the fact that he chose to display his racist attitudes on a public forum.  SHAME ON YOU. THE NAACP DEMANDS AN EXPLANATION.   

Francine Maxwell, First Vice President and Acting President
NAACP San Diego Branch


Founded in 1919 after a visit by renowned author, activist and NAACP co-founder, W.E.B. DuBois, the NAACP San Diego Branch is celebrating a century of standing sentry over the civil rights of the people of San Diego. If you need more information about the NAACP San Diego Branch, please visit sandiegonaacp.org/presskit

Racism in San Diego County Housing and Community Development Services

February 24, 2020

Re: Racism in San Diego County Housing and Community Development Services.

On February 25, 2020, the San Diego Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) will present evidence to the Board of Supervisors of a racist extremist currently acting as a “housing specialist” for San Diego County Housing and Community Development Services. The San Diego County Housing and Community Development Services runs Section 8 housing for San Diego County.

The San Diego Housing and Community Development office is designed to help those who need public assistance.  Because of America’s long history of racism, Section 8 housing overwhelmingly serves communities of color and other disadvantaged communities.  Discovering that someone in a position of power harbors a deep hatred for the very people he is supposed to help, is incredibly distressing. Persons seeking governmental assistance are among our most vulnerable citizens, and they should not need to fear hatred from very County employees hired to serve them.

During public comment, the NAACP will present a series of facebook posts from this County employee, showing shockingly anti-immigrant, anti-latinx, anti-islamic, anti-African American sentiments.  Such attitudes should not and cannot be held by someone who is in a position to approve or deny welfare benefits.

The NAACP already has evidence, in the form of complaint to the NAACP legal redress committee, that this employee is using his position to intimidate people in need, particularly people of color.   In addition, we know from this complainant that at least one supervisor is aware of this employee’s facebook posts and views. The question is why this employee remains in a position of power.

The NAACP San Diego Branch demands:

  1.  An investigation into hiring practices that allowed a racist to be hired as a housing specialist, including who hired him and the record of racial complaints filed against him. 
  2. An investigation to determine how widespread extremist views are in Housing and Community Development Services. 
  3. A re-evaluation of all the Section 8 cases to ensure that people received the assistance they are entitled to under the law.
  4. The County take steps to protect vulnerable people by ensuring that this employee is no longer in a position of power over people of color, immigrants, and members of religions of which he disapproves.

Francine Maxwell, First Vice President and Acting President
NAACP San Diego Branch


Founded in 1919 after a visit by renowned author, activist and NAACP co-founder, W.E.B. DuBois, the NAACP San Diego Branch is celebrating a century of standing sentry over the civil rights of the people of San Diego. If you need more information about the NAACP San Diego Branch, please visit sandiegonaacp.org/presskit