Note on an obscure page of the daily newspaper on Feb. 5, 2003: "Police shot and killed a homeless man." Some 150 words tell the familiar tale-the untold story is the continual pattern of blatant abuse of deadly force.
Almost three years to the day of another police killing of an unarmed homeless man (Feb. 8, 2000) the San Diego Police continue on their rampage! They have killed the homeless in a regular pattern, in almost an identical manner. They kill them if they have a tree branch; they kill if they are naked; they kill them if they have a rock; they kill them because the homeless are frightened to death, are unkempt and disorderly. They are not killed in self-defense.
The San Diego Police Department, not content to be near the top of the U.S. cities with the highest police-shooting rates, the San Diego Police Department is going for the Super Bowl trophy. Why be second best?
We went to the City Council several years ago, after William Miller was massacred while he was surrounded by overwhelming police power. We protested William's senseless killing and we were publicly promised changes-new officer training, new "non-lethal' weaponry and new policy. Three years later, nothing has changed! Nothing except the number of needless deaths and blatant abuse of deadly force.
Daniel, I believe his name was, is well known in our beach community, known as "the walker." For years Daniel took a daily trek through Ocean Beach looking for food and (I presume) self-medication to ease the pain of his illness and the pain of living in a cave by the seashore. Yes, Daniel had a knife; he ate with it every day. The police called it a "hunting knife," and they said William Miller's tree branch had "spikes" (that turned out to be disinformation).
Are we outraged yet? We will be holding a memorial service and protest this fallen astronaut of life. But this time we will not be satisfied by anything less than a citizen-elected police-review board.
With war looming, I am so sickened by the blood lust at home and abroad. What are we teaching our children?
City screws tenants
The most important issue for the owners of the Maryland Hotel ["Cover Story," Feb. 5] is not the eviction notice or the amount of relocation the tenants get. The real issue is the replacement requirement in San Diego's ordinance. Enforcing this requirement could cost the owners at least $5 million, effectively stopping them from converting to a high-end hotel.
Predictably, our City Council, always friendly to developers, agreed, in closed session, not to enforce this part of the ordinance, ensuring that all the tenants would be evicted and that our supply of affordable housing would be decreased by 200 units.
Your cover story touches on this in the beginning, saying "the replacement provision has since remained the weakness in the ordinance and has been challenged in court." But no court case is named; the reason being that there is none. In fact, the opposite is true. On Page 17 in the same story, the reporter tells us that a San Francisco SRO hotel that converted to tourist paid more than $1 million because of San Francisco's SRO-replacement law.
San Francisco's replacement requirement was upheld last year in the California Supreme Court in the case of San Remo Hotel v. City and County of San Francisco. You can find the documentation on the Internet at the website for the San Francisco City Attorney.
So the story's statement that the replacement provision is a "weakness" is without any foundation and merely echoes the patently false statements of the Maryland's owners and their allies on the City Council.
The tragedy befalling the tenants of the Maryland did not have to happen. Our ordinance was specifically written to prevent it. But the city's Housing Commission, which is supposed to enforce the ordinance, backed away. Instead of insisting that the hotel owners submit a replacement plan, the commission decided they would help the owners evict the tenants by finding them places to relocate. Of course, very few exist, but it's a great public-relations ploy. The city council reacted in the same manner.
None of these decisions were made in a public forum. At the commission, the SRO issue wasn't even on the commissioners' agenda. The staff made all the decisions behind closed doors. At council, they were allowed to deliberate in closed session because of a law that allows this after a "threat of litigation." So the owners lawyers did exactly that. They threatened.
It is extremely doubtful that there would have been any lawsuit, given the San Remo decision. But this gave the council the opportunity to reward the developer and screw the tenants without the public looking on.
The new guys
On behalf of the members and friends of Shelter from the Storm medical cannabis collective, we wish to thank new City Council members Charles Lewis and Michael Zucchet for their support for the recently approved Medical Cannabis Guidelines. The Council comments of both men were deliberate, thoughtful and considerate while beautifully expressing both the spirit and intent of Prop. 215, the Compassionate Use Act of 1996.
Barbara MacKenzie and
Letter to Bush
You do not speak for us all. After your "victory" in two months, we will have you to thank for a hundred years of suicide bombers, the orphans of war matured and vengeful. Lack of imagination, lack of persistent and creative diplomacy is no excuse for war. How dare you! I have never felt ashamed to be American, not even with Nixon. Now I feel shame and embarrassment. You have squandered the opportunity and goodwill placed at your feet by 9/11.
I am going to urge everyone I know to vote for your impeachment.