Thursday, May 29, 2008

Jeremy Scahill

             Matters of Controversy Series    
               Tues June 10,  7pm                   
"Blackwater Mercenaries on  our Border?"

        Guest Speaker:  Jeremy Scahill, author of the ground breaking book

   "Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army " 
Book signing  with  new updated edition
Jeremy Scahill is an award winning American Investigative Journalist. He is an expert on a number of global issues, including the rise of  Private Military Companies.  He serves as a correspondent for the U.S. radio and TV program Democracy Now!. He is a Puffin Foundation Writing Fellow at The Nation Institute.  Scahill and colleague Any Goodman were co-recipients of the 1998 George Polk Award for their radio documentary, "Drilling and Killing: Chevron and Nigeria's Oil Dictatorship".  
Lecture and Book Signing:  Initially released on March, 2007, a fully revised and updated paperback edition of Blackwater will be released June 1st.  The new edition will feature an expose on " Baghdad 's Bloody Sunday," a shooting spree carried out by Blackwater in Baghdad 's Nisour Square on September 16, 2007 that launched the company, and questions of its lack of accountability, into mainstream discourse
Based in the wilderness of North Carolina , Blackwater Worldwide is the fastest-growing private army on the planet, with forces capable of carrying out regime change throughout the world. Blackwater protects top US officials in Iraq and yet we know almost nothing about the firm's military operations in Iraq , Afghanistan and inside the US . Founded by the son of a wealthy conservative family known for funding far-right-wing causes—Christian mega-millionaire and ex- Navy Seal Erik Prince—the company is intimately connected to the Bush administration, and as a privatized army, accountable to no one.
Citizens in Potrero and San Diego were successful blocking Blackwater's attempt to build a training facility in Potrero!   
 Now Blackwater is trying to open an indoor training and shooting facility on Otay Mesa! 
A training facility along the US-Mexico border, as proposed by Blackwater USA , would exacerbate the potential for increased human and civil rights violations to both migrants and members of border communities.  The proposed training site is located with 500 yards of the international border, with a clear unobstructed view of the Tijuana International Airport .  Blackwater USA has been surreptitious in planning its "vocational school" in the Otay Mesa border area by not being transparent about its planned facility, by hiding behind shadow companies, and by lying about its future operational plans in San Diego County .  It is precisely this sort of dealing that will pose a serious risk to the greater San Diego community, especially because the borderlands have already been militarized by government enforcement measures.  There would be no way to account for potential interactions between Blackwater USA operatives and the general public.
  "Mercenary groups along the US-Mexico border would seek to profit from the instability caused by current tensions in the borderlands.  Instead of moving towards mutual support and collaboration between the US and Mexico in dealing with border issues, Blackwater USA would represent a regressive step that could endanger diplomatic relations, place people at risk of harm, and offer no accountability for deadly actions caused by its agents."   Pedro Rios, U.S.-Mexico Border Project, American Friends Service Committee.
Meeting Hall, First Unitarian Universalist Church of San Diego 
 4190 Front St, Hillcrest, San  Diego  92103    
 $ 5 - $10   Donation requested / no one will be turned away
opposite UCSD Medical Center   
Sponsored by The Peace Resource Center (, Peace & Democracy Action Group of the First Unitarian Universalist Church , Activist San Diego (www.ActivistSanDiego) and Citizens' Oversight Projects (
 For info: Peace & Democracy Action Group -    858-459-4650 
 Flyer attached
I never intend to adjust myself to the madness of militarism.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
To be removed, reply with the subject word "remove"

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Yahoo! News Story - White House calls McClellan's book sour grapes - Yahoo! News

Walter Davis, Jr. ( has sent you a news article.
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Personal message:

Very Interesting!

White House calls McClellan's book sour grapes - Yahoo! News

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Gary Hart In San Diego

Dear Friend,
On Thursday, May 29, CPI will join The City Club of San Diego and the Catfish
Club in presenting former Senator Gary Hart, who will speak on his new book,
Under the Eagle's Wing.
"Aimed at the new administration of 2009, Under the Eagle's Wing
provides a sound national security strategy for the new century. Speaking
from experience - former U.S. Senator Gary Hart served on the
United States Commission on National Security for the 21st Century,
which predicted the
events of 9/11 - Hart argues that threats such as terrorism, disease, and
climate change are global challenges that should be addressed as such.
He addresses a difficult question: How does a republic make itself secure
in a revolutionary age without yielding to the temptations of empire? A
thoughtful treatise, Under the Eagle's Wing makes a compelling plea for
our upcoming leaders to embrace a new world order, one in which the
U.S. and other nations draw strength from a united approach."
Senator Hart is one of our country's most thoughtful observers on issues
relating to foreign affairs.  An author of 17 books, he is currently Wirth Chair
Professor at the University of Colorado, distinguished fellow at the New America
Foundation, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
This luncheon will take place Thursday, May 29 at 12 noon.
San Diego Hall of Champions is located at 2131 Pan America Plaza (Balboa Park).
Cost of the luncheon is $20 per person (parking is free). 
Please reserve through The City Club:
or 619-687-3580.
Copies of Senator Hart's book will be sold at the event.
He will be happy to autograph a copy for you.
Center on Policy Initiatives
3727 Camino del Rio South, Ste 100
San Diego, CA 92108 : (619) 584-5744

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Impeach Bush

Demand Immediate Action on a Bill of Impeachment of President Bush, Vice President Cheney and other civil Officers of the United States

Demand that your congressional representative pressure John Conyers and the House Judiciary Committee

A message from Ramsey Clark

George Bush has brought the American People in eight months short of eight years:

  • wars he initiated and accelerated in Afghanistan and Iraq that have cost hundreds of thousands of lives, including thousands of U.S. soldiers killed and tens of thousands disabled for life with no intention and little prospect of ending direct U.S. military involvement half a world away in the next eight years;

  • vast increases in military expenditures, erosion of the planets environment, greater global warming, and a staggering National Debt;

  • pervasive violations of the Bill or Rights, civil rights and civil liberties of U.S. citizens and human rights of foreigners including summary executions, torture, kidnapping, prolonged secret detention, and massive invasions of privacy;

  • corruption of justice by pursuing political and selective prosecutions, false charges and national, ethnic, racial and religious persecution and profiling;

  • tax cuts for the rich, neglect of the poor, $4 a gallon gasoline, high prices for food and other necessities, mortgage foreclosures on the homes of tens of thousands of American families, a pattern of policies intended to enrich the rich and impoverish the poor in the U.S. and abroad.
President Bush has concealed, misrepresented and falsified facts essential to governance in a free society to mislead the Congress, the Judiciary and the people.

In his remaining eight months, President Bush will continue to threaten other nations in violation of international law and clearly intends to commit new aggressions in his belligerent presidency. If not stopped by impeachment he may strike Iran’s nuclear projects and immerse the United States in avoidable war for a generation far more exhausting than any we have known.

Seeking to prevent anyone from daring to even talk with empires, or peoples he proclaims “evil”, Bush invokes “appeasement” of the Nazis, as he condemns “...the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history” to prevent any communication with enemies he selects. Yet he knows that not only Barack Obama and Jimmy Carter have proposed meetings with Iran, Syria, North Korea, Hamas, Hezbollah and others to resolve conflicts, but that his own Secretary of State, Condoleeza Rice, and Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, Admiral William J. Fallon, immediate past commander of all U.S. forces in the Middle East and his predecessor General John P. Abizaid, among many other U.S. leaders, have urged dialogue with Bush defined evil empires, as a means of reducing tension and avoiding war.

George Bush knows only force. When he speaks of freedom as his purpose, he intends force as his means. Freedom from the barrel of the gun. He believes torture, kidnapping, secret detention are the way to freedom.

Above all he uses deliberate deception, concealment of facts and outright lies to the American people and the world as the way to start the wars he begins, but fails to end.

Completely arrogant, he built a $700 million dollar U.S. Embassy, the largest and most expensive in history, in the heart of Baghdad in the midst of a half decade bloody occupation of all Iraq, his Imperial Capitol in the Emerald City, exposed to daily mortar attacks. And a major new $60 million dollar U.S. prison away from home just north of Kabul, an Afghan Guantanamo, surely good for the recruitment of 25,000 Muslims from around the world who cannot bear to see a new alien torture factory on Muslim soil.

In the final eight months of his presidency George Bush has made it clear he will be the decider of the next eight years and more. What else can he mean when he lectures the Israeli Knesset telling it “...Israel’s population may be just over 7 million. But when you confront terror and evil you are 307 million strong because America stands with you.”, and in the same breath proclaims that letting Iran acquire nuclear weapons would be an “unforgivable betrayal of future generations ... America stands firmly with you in opposing Iran’s nuclear weapons ambitions.” And that immediately after both Israeli Prime Minister Olmert and major opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu, whose address immediately preceded Bush’s, called for harsh action to be taken against Iran’s nuclear development.

Of course, Iran like the rest of the world knows both the U.S. and Israel have nuclear warheads capable of obliterating whole nations and major new nuclear arms programs, all in violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Threatened nations may believe possession of nuclear weapons is the only deterrent to U.S. aggression.
While President Bush continues his quest for a “peace” agreement between Israel and Palestine, he arms and incites Palestine to civil war, condones ever expanding Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank and proclaims the U.S. as “proud to be Israel’s closest ally and best friend” in a rare moment of truthfulness, hardly reassuring Palestinians that he can be an honest broker and enraging Arab peoples who have suffered with Palestine for sixty years.

After praising Israel, which has brought Palestine to tenuous conditions of impoverishment and sudden death, Bush, who has reduced the population of Iraq to the most miserable and endangered on earth with one in five in internal, or external exile, lectures “nations across the Middle East” to “...treat their people with the dignity and respect they deserve.”

There has been no greater failure in the history of the Congress and the American people than our present failure to proceed with impeachment proceedings against George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and others for these long near eight years of high crimes and misdemeanors, trashing our most precious principles by torture, aggression, and lies, making America the enemy of humanity in many eyes. Our failure to act now may expose America and the world to years of war, impoverishment, environmental degradation and suffering.

The Constitution is far more explicit about the importance and procedure for impeachment than any other power vested in the Congress.

It provides in Article II, Section 4, that “The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors” and in Article I, Section 2, that “The House of Representatives ... shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.”

A Bill of Impeachment filed in the House of Representatives is referred to the Committee on the Judiciary. The Judiciary Committee has the primary responsibility for initiating and receiving all Bills of Impeachment, investigating, conducting hearings, voting on and sending those Bills of Impeachment to the House of Representatives for final determination. Its faithful performance of this awesome duty is essential to the integrity, honor and survival itself of Constitutional government in the United States.

The Judiciary Committee and its Chairman have failed to act in the face of overwhelming evidence of the most grievous high Crimes and Misdemeanors ever to imperil our nation and its place among nations.

It is imperative that We, the People of the United States, demand of the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives and its Chairman John Conyers that they immediately commence consideration of the many allegations of impeachable offenses by President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and other civil Officers of the Untied States and present a comprehensive Bill of Impeachment for Committee consideration by July 4, 2008.

I ask every American who cares about the integrity of our government and the welfare of our People and those we assault to immediately demand Chairman John Conyers and the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives commence hearings on a Bill of Impeachment of President Bush, Vice President Cheney and others by July 4, 2008.

Ramsey Clark

May 20, 2008

Write a letter -

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Another Victory for Us Against the Prison and Military Industrial Complex?

City of San Diego denies occupancy Permit to Blackwater for Otay Mesa facility.

This Page:

Note: This document was provided by Bob Filner's office.

Click here to view Blackwater_cert_occupancy_05.19.08.pdf

OCR'ed version of the document.

The following text has been extracted from the document but the
formatting of the document was lost.

PAGE 1 (on city letterhead)


May 19, 2008

Mr. Brian Bonfiglio
Vice President
Blackwater Worldwide
PO Box 710897
San Diego, CA 92171-0897

Subject: 7685 Siempre Viva Road, Raven Development Group

Dear Mr. Bonfiglio,

The City will not issue a certificate of occupancy for the above
referenced project pursuant to Section 129.0114 of the San Diego
Municipal Code (SDMC). The portions of the building identified for use as a shooting range and vocational/trade school shall not be occupied until a certificate of occupancy has been issued for this change of use or occupancy pursuant to SDMC Section 129.0113.

As outlined in the attached opinion from the City Attorney's office, no certificate of occupancy will be issued until the appropriate
discretionary processes associated with the use of firearms in city
limits and determination of use for the vocational/trade school by the Planning Commission has been completed. Since Planning Commission and City's Council's actions will be considered discretionary, these actions are subject to review under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

As the majority of the structure is still identified for warehouse
uses, no other uses are permitted until a submission for a request of change in occupancy has been made and approved by the Development Services Department.


Kelly Broughton, Director
Development Services Department

Jay Gold'stone, Chief Operating Officer
Michael J. Aguirre, City Attorney
William Anderson, Executive Director of City Planning and Development
Afsatteh Ahreadi, Chief Building Official

Development Services
1222 first Avenue, MS 501
San Diego, CA 92101-4155

Tel (619) 446-5460


Office of
The City Attorney
City of San Diego

(619) 236-6220

DATE: May 16, 2008

TO: Honorable Mayor and Members of the City Council

FROM: City Attorney

SUBJECT: 7685 Siempre Viva Road, Blackwater Law Enforcement/Security
Operations in Otay Mesa


On or about May 5, 2008, Mayor Sanders requested an investigation concerning the issuance of permits by the City for the use and construction of a training facility operated at 7685 Siempre Viva Road in Otay Mesa, by an entity commonly known as Blackwater. On May 1, 2008, the Honorable Congressman Bob Filner requested a similar investigation.

In response to these requests, the City Attorney's office conducted a legal analysis of the process used to issue the permits and the
mechanisms available to Blackwater for compliance with the law


On or about September 5, 2007, an entity operating under the project name "Southwest Law Enforcement Training Enterprise," filed a general application with the City of San Diego's Development Services Department [DSD] to conduct "Tenant Improvements" at 7685 Siempre Viva Road located
within the Otay Mesa Development District. The existing use identified on the application was warehouse with offices. The proposed use identified on the application was identified as "same (no change)." The purpose of the application was to construct 44 feet of new partitions  in existing office space. Accompanying the application was a signed
Hazardous Materials Questionnaire where the applicant disclosed that there were no uses of explosives or blasting agents or other health hazards associated with the activity.

On or about February 7, 2008, another general application was submitted

to the City of San Diego's DSD to conduct electrical work at the 7685 Siempre Viva Road site for a project entitled "South West Police." The scope of the work included the installation of two new AC units and six exhaust fans.

On or about February 7, 2008, a separate General Application was also submitted to DSD for structural work for this same site. The project description on the application was to "[a]dd [an] indoor firing range."

The identified proposed use on the application was for a training
facility. The existing use was identified on the application as
warehouse use and the project title was now "Southwest Law

The Lessee or Tenant was identified on this application as "Raven
Development Group" with an address in North Carolina. However, the September 5, 2007 application had identified the Lessee or Tenant as "Southwest Law Enforcement Training Enterprises" with an address in San Diego. The Hazardous Materials Questionnaire dated February 7, 2008 for the construction of the firing range did riot identify any uses of explosives or blasting agents or other health hazards associated with this operation.


1. May the project applicant operate a law enforcement/security
training facility within an Industrial Subdistrict of the Otay Mesa Development District with only ministerial processing and approvals?
2. What processes and approvals must be followed in order for the project applicant to operate a law enforcement/security training
facility within an Industrial Subdistrict of the Otay Mesa Development District?


1. No. The project applicant may not operate a law enforcement/security

training facility within an Industrial Subdistrict of the Otay Mesa
Development District with only ministerial processing and approvals.
2. The project applicant may operate such a facility within an
Industrial Subdistrict of the Otay Mesa Development District after the City has complied with the requirements of the California
Environmental. Quality Act [CEQA] and after the City of San Diego's Planning Commission through a Process Four Hearing has authorized such use, pursuant to Section 1517.0301(c)(2) of the San Diego Municipal Code [SDMC].
However, if the project applicant intends to use firearms as part of the training conducted at this same training facility, the project applicant should also obtain permission from the City Council pursuant to SDMC Section 53.10(e) and (f). Furthermore, to be consistent with the purpose and intent of SDMC Section 112.0103, the highest decision making body should hear all discretionary actions together; therefore, both the underlying
 approval of the use of the site for a law enforcement/security training facility should be made by the City Council in conjunction with the decision to allow the use of firearms on-site.


The legal authority of the City of San Diego to regulate the use of
land for training facilities and firearm use falls squarely within the
City's police powers. Exercising this authority, the City of San Diego strictly limits how and when firearms may be used within the City. Specifically, Section 53.10(a) states, "It is the purpose and intent of the Council of the City of San Diego that the firing of firearms and other explosives within the city limits be strictly regulated for the protection of all persons and property located in the City." With the exception of shooting galleries or target ranges (note; this exception does not include vocational or trade schools) and government authorized use, no firing of firearms is allowed without City Council approval by resolution. See SDMC Section 53.10(d) and (e). Approval by City Council is a discretionary act and will trigger the need to comply with CEQA.
In addition, as explained in more detail below, the underlying zone and use restrictions may also limit where shooting ranges may be allowed.

7685 Siempre Viva Road is located in the IH-2-1 zone of the Otay Mesa industrial Subdistrict within the Otay Mesa Development District. As stated in SDMC Section 131.0604(a), the purpose of the IH (Industrial—Heavy) zone is to provide space for land-intensive industrial activities emphasizing base-sector manufacturing. The IH zones are intended to promote
efficient industrial land use with minimal development standards, while providing proper safeguards for adjoining properties and the community in general. It is the intent of these zones to limit the presence of nonindustrial uses in order to preserve land that is appropriate for large-scale industrial users.

The IH-1-1 zone allows primarily manufacturing uses and the IH-2-1 zone allows manufacturing uses with some office use. See SDMC Section 131.0604(b). Neither a shooting range nor a law enforcement/security training operation clearly qualify or fall within any of the permitted uses of the IH-1-1 or IH-2-1 zones. Table 131.06B of Section 131.0622, however, does permit vocational/trade schools in the IH-2-1 zone and
SDMC Section 1517.0301(a)(l) cross-references Table 131.06B as applicable within the Otay Mesa Industrial Subdistrict. However, as of the date of this memo, no available information indicates clearly that the law enforcement/security training facility, as proposed by the applicant, would qualify as a vocational or trade school. In addition. SDMC Section 1517.0301(a)(8)(A) further restricts trade schools within the Otay Mesa Industrial Subdistrict to those "trade schools  instructing in subjects related to a use permitted within the Industrial Subdistrict." However, SDMC Section 1517.0301(c)(l) and (2) states other, uses not otherwise identified are permitted under the following circumstances:

(1) Accessory uses for any of the foregoing permitted uses, including signs. As specified in Land Development Code Chapter 14, Article 2, Division 12 (Sign Regulations), for sign regulatory purposes this Otay Mesa Development District shall be deemed to be an industrial zone.1

(2) Any other uses which the Planning Commission finds, in accordance with Process Four, to be similar in character to the uses enumerated in the Otay Mesa Development District Ordinance and which are clearly within the intent and purpose of the Otay Mesa Development District.
The adopted resolution embodying any such finding shall be filed in the office of the City Clerk.Given the type of operation proposed, Planning Commission approval pursuant to Section 1517.0301(c)
(2) is appropriate here.
2 Planning Commission review is a discretionary act and will trigger the requirements of CEQA.3

Since the use of firearms at the site will trigger City Council
approval, it would be appropriate under these circumstances for the City Council to determine the whole of the action; namely, whether to authorize the use of 7685 Siempre Viva Road as a law
enforcement/security training facility where firearms will be used,
This would be consistent with SDMC Section 112,0103.4
With respect to the CEQA analysis, at a minimum, potential
environmental impacts should be analyzed, including noise impacts, potential for discharges into the storm drain, accidental explosion or release of hazardous substances (e.g.. lead discharge), fire hazards .and impacts on fire protection services, other safety concerns due to the firing of guns and potential adverse effects due to traffic, such as traffic congestion. To the extent these impacts are determined to be significant, then they should be mitigated and the mitigation documented
in a Mitigated Negative Declaration. Mitigation may include, but is not limited to. the following:

* The facility be constructed with impenetrable Walls, adequate
ventilation and lighting systems for a shooting range, and acoustical treatment for sound attenuation suitable for a firing range;

* The facility be operated in a manner that minimizes the possibility
of a release of hazardous waste and/or hazardous waste constituents (e.g.,

fine powders of range lead); The facility collect, manage, and dispose of all unreacted gun powders and residues properly as hazardous waste;

* The facility label each container of hazardous waste generated
on-site; and,

* The facility complete a Hazardous Waste Manifest for all hazardous wastes generated on-site, and use a registered hazardous waste transporter to transport hazardous wastes off-site to an authorized facility.


Because construction permits and other approvals were issued before discretionary approval of the underlying use had been obtained, a stop work order should be issued. The applicant should be required to submit a new application for discretionary approval in order to use the site as a law enforcement/security training facility where firearms will be used.5 In addition, no Certificate of Occupancy under SDMC Section
129.0114 should be issued until, all discretionary approvals have been obtained, including compliance with CEQA. If a Certificate of Occupancy has already been issued in error, then proceedings to suspend or revoke the Certificate should be initiated pursuant to SDMC Section 129.0118.
This Office/is open to considering additional information or facts as they'become known; at such time, additional legal analysis may be appropriate.

City Attorney

1 The training facility does not fail into live category of "accessory
use" as defined in Section 113.0103

2 3 SDMC Section 131.0110(a) gives some discretion to the City Manager to determine the appropriate use category; however, this discretion doesnot authorize arbitrary determinations. In fact, SDMC Section 131.0110(c) allows for an amendment to the Use Regulations Table where a use category or subcategory cannot be determined. Any amendment will require City Council approval. Planning Commission review under Section 1517.0301 (c)(2) provides another means for determining appropriate use,
in order to avoid the problem of having to fit a square peg into a
round hole.

3 Even if this operation were only characterized as a shooting range and not a training facility, a shooting range is not a use authorized within this zone and would also trigger the need for Planning Commission review, regardless of the applicability of SDMC Section 53.10. See also SDMC Sections 131.0620(a), 13LG630(a) and 1517.0301(a).

4 SDMC Section 112.0103 states: "When an applicant applies for more than one permit, map, or other approval for a single development, the applications shall be consolidated for processing and shall be reviewed by a single decision maker. The decision maker shall act on the consolidated application at the highest level of authority for that development as set forth in Section 111.1015. The findings required for approval of each permit shall be considered individually, consistent with Section 126.0105."

5 SDMC Section 129.0108 states, "After all required approvals,
including any required development permits, have been obtained and all required fees have been paid, the Building Official may issue a construction permit. Construction shall not begin until the required permits have been issued." Section 129.0105(a) further states, "If a proposed development requires one or more development permits, the required development permits must be issued before an application is submitted for a construction permit except as provided in Section 129.0105(c)."

Raymond Lutz, Coordinator
Citizens' Oversight Projects (COPs)
P.O. Box 252            
El Cajon (San Diego Cty), CA 92022 USA
Voice 619-820-5321

Worst Person in the World

One sick politician

Media Consolidation

                         -- URGENT ACTION NEEDED!**
Only days left to protect independent media,.  The clock is ticking in Congress.
Please immediately contact your House member and Speaker Pelosi
to remind them of the urgency of bringing HJ Res 79 (or SJ Res 28) to the floor for a YES vote. Rep. Bob Filner (D-51) is already a sponsor of this Joint Resolution.   Ask your congress member to become a sponsor of the resolution and to urge the members of the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet (members listed below) to demand Pelosi bring the bill to the floor.  Key SoCal subcommittee members are Congressional reps: Harman, Capps, Solis & Eschoo.
What would HJRes 79 do?
This resolution would uphold a ban on cross ownership of newspapers and television/radio outlets in the same market.  Media outlets could still apply for a waiver, but generally speaking it would be illegal to own both a newspaper and a television station in the same market. 
This joint resolution - disapproving the rule submitted by the Federal Communications Commission with respect to joint broadcast media ownership - has recently been passed by the Senate The urgency is that the joint resolution will be BINDING and not subject to veto only if it also passes the House within 60  legislative calendar days of its introduction on 3/13/08.  We want the House to pass HJ Res 79 ASAP!
. We want this joint resolution also  to pass in the House in order to negate the FCC rule which ends a 32 year ban on the cross ownership of newspapers and television/radio outlets in the same market. The FCC rule, as it now stands, very seriously impedes addressing the crisis in local, minorities and female media ownership, and supports the increasingly tenacious stranglehold over local news by 5-6 corporate big media giants. As historically, media owners can still apply to the FCC for a "waiver" for  joint ownership  if it can be established to be "in the public interest".
This bill is in the first stage of the legislative process where the bill is considered in committee and may undergo significant changes in markup sessions. The bill has been referred to the following committees:
Cosponsors [as of 2008-05-03]

 Members, House Subcommittee on Telecommunications & the Internet


Related Votes

Votes for Identical Bill S. J. Res. 28

May 15, 2008: This bill passed in the Senate by Voice Vote. A record of each representative's position was not kept.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Mike Copass and Susan Davis Debate

Contact: Jill Kleinman
Phone: 619.818.6353
Date: Saturday, May 17, 2008
Democratic Challenger Mike Copass to Debate Congresswoman Susan Davis
San Diego -
- Declaring that voters are "frustrated by the incumbent's refusal to take action on issues, particularly Iraq," Democratic congressional candidate Mike Copass will meet four-term Congresswoman Susan Davis for a debate on Sunday, May 25. Sponsored by Common Cause and moderated by The League of Women Voters, the debate will be held at 2:30 p.m. at the Joyce Beers Community Center in the Hillcrest/Uptown Shopping Center on Vermont Street, 1-1/2 blocks north of University Avenue.
Copass, a Stanford- and Harvard-educated microbiologist and small businessman, has received the endorsement of Progressive Democrats of America, San Diego Democracy for America and Southern California Americans for Democratic Action. "Voters have rejected Congresswoman Davis in frustration, because she continues to vote to fund and extend an occupation in Iraq that the nation neither wants nor can afford," Copass states.
Copass and Davis are competing in the primary election on June 3 for a seat representing California's 53rd Congressional District. With a cosmopolitan population, the 53rd encompasses the greater part of the urban San Diego area, holding a 16 point Democratic voter registration advantage.
Copass cites resource independence as another reason he is vying for Davis's seat. "We need to have a viable, economically sound energy and water security plan for our region. The numbers are absolutely frightening. We import 90 percent-plus of our water and 98 percent of our energy. It's time to retool our local economy, create green collar jobs and plan for a sustainable future."
For more information or to book an interview with Mike Copass, contact Jill Kleinman at or visit

Blackwater Stopped Again

City Attorney Aguirre finds fault in permits for facility

Sanders halts work at Blackwater site

May 17, 2008

OTAY MESA – Mayor Jerry Sanders yesterday ordered work to stop on Blackwater Worldwide's proposed military training facility in Otay Mesa.
The mayor was prompted by a legal opinion issued earlier in the afternoon by San Diego City Attorney Michael Aguirre. The opinion found problems with Blackwater's permits.
A Blackwater vice president responded last night by accusing Sanders and Aguirre, who are running for re-election June 3, of political posturing in an election year.
Blackwater, based in North Carolina, has drawn protests and scrutiny for its work in providing security for officials in Iraq. In March 2004, Iraqi insurgents in Fallujah killed four Blackwater employees, and in September 2007, Blackwater guards killed 17 Iraqi civilians in Baghdad.
The company has leased a 61,600-square-foot warehouse in a business park three blocks from the U.S.-Mexico border near Brown Field. It's installing a shooting range, a simulated Navy ship and classrooms.
San Diego's Development Services Department issued permits in March for Blackwater's interior improvements. The site was zoned for a vocational school, and city staff members decided that Blackwater's training qualified.
The permits were obtained through two companies with which Blackwater does business: Southwest Law Enforcement and Raven Development Group.
Once people heard of the company's plans, Rep. Bob Filner, D-San Diego, organized a rally with San Diego City Council President Scott Peters and Councilman Ben Hueso. They said Blackwater tried to keep its plan secret.
On May 5, Sanders sent a memo to the city's chief operating officer asking for an investigation into the permits and requested a report by May 23. Bill Harris, a mayoral spokesman, said yesterday that Sanders will re-evaluate the proposal once the investigation is complete.
Aguirre's opinion called for a stop-work order and a more rigorous application process.
He said the Municipal Code requires City Council approval, as well as a state environmental review, for most firearms use within city limits.
Also, Southwest Law Enforcement did not provide accurate information in its permit applications, Aguirre said. It listed several purposes for the warehouse in permit applications, he said. One said it would be a training facility, another an indoor firing range, and another application said the warehouse would continue to be used for storage.
In a statement last night, Brian Bonfiglio, a Blackwater vice president, said, "Every person involved with the project identified themselves as representing Blackwater."
Bonfiglio said that the Navy needs the training the company would provide and that the city needs "all the taxpaying businesses it can get."
"It is tragic that City Attorney Aguirre is driving Mayor Sanders to turn our troops and the San Diego economy into unwilling pawns in an Election Year game," he wrote.
In March, Blackwater abandoned a proposal for an 824-acre center in Potrero, citing noise tests that showed gunfire would exceed local standards.

Tanya Mannes: (619) 498-6639;

Friday, May 16, 2008

Reminder: Community Coalition Summit This Sunday - Candidate Forum

I need your support this Sunday during the Candidate Forum at Joyce Beers.
Request you attend, let me know if you need a table and be prepared to make small donation.
We will also be setting up our schedule for upcoming Public Access Television shows! (COX 18/23).
We now have access to another public access TV show, which I will be producing. I expect to interview at least three organizations a month on television! We are growing!
Our outlet on Hispanic Television Network has also grown to eight cable channels! I have very exciting news about our efforts to take control of our own media and get our messages out.
Strategic planning progress will be revealed (boycott/media strategies).
Please join and support us! Request you email an RSVP and invite others.
Walter Davis
San Diego County
Progressive Community Coalition
Join leaders in San Diego's Progressive Community as we unify for common causes.
When: Sunday 18 May 2008 @6:00 P.M.
Special Presentation: Candidate Forum – Meet Local Candidates Prior to the Primaries
Where: Joyce Beers Community Center San Diego, CA  92103
1090 Vermont Street -  Ralph's Shopping Center, Next to Aladdin's Mediterranean Cafe
1.5 blocks north of University Ave. _________________________________________________________________________________
The San Diego County Community Coalition 
SD Mega Coalition Blog:   
You Can Email your blog postings to:  For Email Inquiries or call 760-917-1251
What's in it for you? Each organization with get a table at no cost and an opportunity to make a short 3 minute presentation on their mission.  Distribute your schedule and make announcements for any special events/needs.  Become a subject matter expert. Publish articles in San Diego County Times.
Participate in Television Interviews on COX 18/23 and MTV 3.
Let's unite and explore:
The Environment | Alternative Media | Peace Campaigns  | Universal Health Care |Poverty Prevention | Women's Rights | Joint Letter Writing Campaigns/Economic Boycotts | Capturing the Attention of Mainstream Media | Using small newspapers | Chain emails | Justice issues | Mutual Support | Clean elections | 9-11 Theories | Controlling our own media …..and others!
Local Candidates will get up and personal with the group. Next Summit 15 June 2008.      _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Next meetings scheduled: (We are grateful for small donations so we can provide refreshments)
General Summits 3rd Sunday of each month at
Joyce Beers Community Center San Diego at 6 PM
At your request, we will distribute schedules, brochures and applications
at our meetings whether or not you are present

Sunday, May 11, 2008

More on Blackwater - from NY Times

Iraq Contractor in Shooting Case Makes Comeback
By James Risen The New York Times
Saturday 10 May 2008
Washington - Last fall, Blackwater Worldwide was in deep peril.
Guards for the security company were involved in a shooting in September that left at least 17 Iraqis dead at a Baghdad intersection. Outrage over the killings prompted the Iraqi government to demand Blackwater's ouster from the country, and led to a criminal investigation by the F.B.I., a series of internal investigations by the State Department and the Pentagon, and high-profile Congressional hearings.
But after an intense public and private lobbying campaign, Blackwater appears to be back to business as usual.
The State Department has just renewed its contract to provide security for American diplomats in Iraq for at least another year. Threats by the Iraqi government to strip Western contractors of their immunity from Iraqi law have gone nowhere. No charges have been brought in the United States against any Blackwater guard in the September shooting, either, and the F.B.I. agents in Baghdad charged with investigating whether Blackwater guards have committed any crimes under United States law are sometimes protected as they travel through Baghdad by Blackwater guards.
The chief reason for the company's survival? State Department officials said Friday that they did not believe they had any alternative to Blackwater, which supplies about 800 guards to the department to provide security for diplomats in Baghdad. Officials say only three companies in the world meet their requirements for protective services in Iraq, and the other two do not have the capability to take on Blackwater's role in Baghdad. After the shooting in September, the State Department did not even open talks with the other two companies, DynCorp International and Triple Canopy, to see if they could take over from Blackwater, which is based in North Carolina.
"We cannot operate without private security firms in Iraq," said Patrick F. Kennedy, the under secretary of state for management. "If the contractors were removed, we would have to leave Iraq."
Still, serious risks remain for Blackwater and at least some of its current and former personnel. A federal grand jury continues to consider evidence in the Baghdad shooting. Although the company is not likely to face any criminal charges, people involved in the case say that some Blackwater guards involved in the shooting are cooperating with the F.B.I. as it pursues evidence against other guards.
Separately, a former Blackwater guard is under criminal investigation for the December 2006 shooting death of an Iraqi guard for an Iraqi vice president, and may soon face federal charges. In a third case, two former Blackwater workers pleaded guilty to weapons-related charges, but both received sentences that included no jail time in return for their cooperation with federal prosecutors in a broader investigation.
A House committee has also asked the Internal Revenue Service to begin an inquiry into whether Blackwater has designated its guards as independent contractors rather than employees to in order to avoid paying and withholding federal taxes. The State Department renewed the security contract for only one year - just long enough to take the company into the start of the next administration. And Blackwater's political connections to the Bush administration may not serve it well if the Democrats win the White House in November.
Given the furor that surrounded Blackwater after the September shooting in Baghdad, critics say the decision to renew the company's contract in Iraq is a sign of the Bush administration's inability to curb its reliance on outside contractors in the war.
"The shooting incident was like a hammer blow, but where are the consequences?" said Peter W. Singer, a scholar at the Brookings Institute and author of "Corporate Warriors," a book about contractors in Iraq. "I think it points to the fact that the dependence on contractors is like a drug addiction. They just can't help themselves."
Representative Henry Waxman, California Democrat who is chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which has been investigating Blackwater on several fronts, said, "I can't understand why Blackwater's contract was renewed. It seems to me the administration should have looked for others who could do the job, including the U.S. military."
In the past administration officials have dismissed the notion of using military personnel to guard diplomats.
Founded in 1997 by Erik Prince, a former member of the Navy Seals and heir to a family fortune made in the auto parts industry, Blackwater began to generate controversy in Iraq long before last September's shooting. Blackwater had developed a reputation among both Iraqis and American military personnel as a company that flaunted a quick-draw image that led its security personnel to take overly aggressive actions to protect the people they were paid to guard.
Last year the State Department acknowledged that Blackwater had been involved in significantly more shootings per convoy mission than DynCorp and Triple Canopy, which provide security for the State Department outside Baghdad.
The shooting death of the bodyguard for the Iraqi vice president in 2006 rankled the Iraqi government well before last September's shooting. An off-duty Blackwater guard who American and Iraqi officials said had been drinking heavily was the sole suspect. The off-duty Blackwater guard, Andrew J. Moonen, who no longer works for the company and who is a former Army paratrooper, is now under criminal investigation by federal prosecutors in Seattle. Although Mr. Moonen has not been charged, his lawyer, Stewart Riley of Seattle, said that he had recently been in contact about the case with prosecutors from the United States Attorney's Office in Seattle.
People familiar with the case said they believed that the Justice Department had recently concluded that it had found a way to skirt some of the jurisdictional problems that in the past made it difficult to bring charges in American courts for crimes committed by contractors in Iraq.
"I think they may come to a decision on what to do with this case in the next three or four months," said one person familiar with the matter. Mr. Riley says that Mr. Moonen maintains his innocence in the shooting.
In addition, a wrongful death lawsuit against Blackwater filed by the families of four Blackwater guards killed in Falluja, Iraq, in 2004 - an event that prompted the first major battle in Falluja between the American military and insurgents that year - is also still pending.
A federal appeals court is expected to rule this year on whether the families can proceed with their lawsuit or be forced into arbitration with Blackwater, an outcome the company prefers, according to the families' lawyer, Daniel Callahan of California.
Donna Zovko of Cleveland, the mother of Jerko Gerald Zovko, one of the Blackwater guards, says Blackwater has stonewalled the families.
"It is 1,501 days since he was killed, and I don't know one-tenth of what happened to him, and no one seems to care," Mrs. Zovko said in an interview. Given so many headlines about his company, Mr. Prince until recently seemed eager to tell his side of the story, and there were reports that he planned to write a book. But on Friday, Anne Tyrrell, a Blackwater spokeswoman, said Mr. Prince's book project had been put on hold.

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