Saturday, January 23, 2010

SDNN refused press passes by police until they “prove” themselves

San Diego really is a police state: SDNN refused press passes by police until they “prove” themselves
OB Rag
March 26, 2009
by Pat Flannery

I recently got dramatic proof of this shortly after joining a team of young journalists at San Diego News Network, SDNN, a new online news journal. I was supposed to become its political analyst and columnist. I was looking forward to probing the underbelly of San Diego politics with young idealistic journalists. Unfortunately it was not to be.

Unbelievably, the Mayor, through his Police Chief, refused them press credentials until they “prove themselves”. He has put them on a six months probation! After six months of reporting the news to his satisfaction, he may extend press credentials to them. SDNN acquiesced. I quietly withdrew.

In a way, I am not surprised. I was already aware of the control the Mayor and the police have over the local media. They are used to it. There has been only one real training ground for print journalists in San Diego for decades and that has been the Copley press. Many Mayoral and City Council staff are ex-UT people, all nurtured in the same symbiotic coziness. They tear up anybody, like Mike Aguirre, who will not be cozy with them.

What surprised me was how quickly these young SDNN people, barely out of journalism school, accepted it all. How are San Diegans ever going to learn the truth about their city government if the police department, directly under the Mayor’s control, licenses all who may ask questions at city press conferences? Should a journalist be foolish enough to displease somebody important at City Hall (e.g. by asking “impertinent” questions) an editor will quickly assign somebody else to kiss up to the offended potentate.

New ownership at the U-T will not bring change and SDNN is not about to challenge the established order. That became painfully obvious this week. The faceless manipulators at City Hall will still exert their enormous power.

As I said, this is not new. A good example of how journalists become pawns of City Hall is what happened at South Eastern Development Corporation (SEDC) last year is. Will Carless, a journalist with Voice of San Diego, in answering a question from Tom Fudge on the KPBS radio program “These Days” in June 2008, revealed how it works. Fudge asked Carless why he started investigating certain bonus payments paid to SEDC’s President, Carolyn Smith. Carless revealed that he had received an insider tip.

Voice of San Diego then put Carless on the story full time for months. He doggedly pursued what were undoubtedly unauthorized payments to Smith, who was subsequently fired in disgrace. But was that the whole story? I doubt it. I had uncovered a dubious land deal involving SEDC’s chairman, “Chip” Owen and Jim Waring, the Mayor’s land use Czar at the time...

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Linda Rosas' Star-News covered five Castle Park teachers, so why did she keep secret the $100,000s in legal fees CVESD paid?

2005 Sweetwater District Alumni Hall of Fame Inductees: Standing, L-R: Sweetwater Board President Jim Cartmill, Duane Sceper, Board Member Arlie Ricasa, Linda Rosas Townson, Pedro Anaya, Vernor Vinge, Howard Chang, Board Member Pearl Quiñones, Superintendent Edward Brand; Seated, L-R: Dr. M. Brian Maple, Richard Lareau, Annette Peer, Roger Cázares, Vidal Fernandez, Don Wigginton.

See also Principal Ollie ("Oly") Matos

In 2004, the Chula Vista Star-News and the San Diego Union Tribune wrote story after story about the "Castle Park Five," but both papers refused to reveal how much money in legal fees the Chula Vista Elementary School District had paid to protect four of those teachers, Robin Donlan, Peg Myers, Nikki Perez and Stephenie Parker-Pettit in the Maura Larkins v. CVESD lawsuit. The case was the result of an odd confluence of circumstances, and at the same time it was a typical event in the system that prevails at many schools across the United States. This system values politics and personal loyalty among adults over the duty to educate and protect children.

See summary of case.


As fate would have it, however, my case
is back in court. CVESD’s law firm,
Stutz, Artiano, Shinoff & Holtz,
brought this case back to San Diego Superior Court
in 2007 by filing a defamation suit against me
for publishing this website.

So it’s still possible that justice and sanity
will find their way back to Chula Vista Elementary
School District.

by Maura Larkins

Monday, January 04, 2010

District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis is now the most powerful politician in San Diego

Voice of San Diego is following the important story of the District Attorney who got into office by campaigning as a centrist, then almost immediately moved to the extreme right. (Sounds like a national figure who ran for office in 2000, doesn't it?)

Voters don't seem to be paying attention to what Bonnie Dumanis does. I voted for her in 2002, and I confess I was bamboozled. So how did she get reelected? I guess the story below explains that.

In addition to the power described below, Bonnie Dumanis has an interesting relationship with San Diego County Office of Education.

How Bonnie Dumanis Became San Diego's Most Powerful Politician
January 3, 2010
Voice of San Diego

Sheriff Bill Kolender walked into Thornton Hospital in La Jolla two years ago to visit District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis' dying father. In one of the sheriff's signature moves, he removed his silver-star lapel pin, leaned over Abe Dumanis and attached it to the beaming 82-year-old's hospital gown.

"Don't worry," the sheriff told him. "I'm going to take care of your daughter."

And he has. No matter that years ago Kolender endorsed Dumanis' opponent, incumbent Paul Pfingst, in the 2002 election.

The immensely popular sheriff and the new district attorney went on to create a political and personal liaison like no other -- one that has elevated Dumanis to the highest level of political power in San Diego County and could catapult her into the San Diego Mayor's Office or beyond.

Kolender's recent retirement means the woman who began her legal career as a typist in the office she now runs is arguably the county's most adept and influential politician...