An African American and African American Agenda for San Diego


Dr. John E. Warren

Mayor Faulconer did an outstanding job of expressing his idea of inclusiveness in laying out the priorities and work ahead for his administration. Public safety is of course a priority for everyone and it now appears that with the appointment of a new police chief taking office along with the new Mayor, that “safety” will reaffirm the safety of the public from some members of the San Diego Police Department. We would like to suggest that Mayor Faulconer force the San Diego Police Department as a mandate to do recruitment outreach to all our communities and that such outreach include all our community newspapers to insure that San Diego’s future police department truly reflects the populations being served. African and African American recruitment among our young men and women of color must not only be a priority for the city as we know the Mayor will ensure, but must also become a priority for the County of San Diego as Sheriff Gore seeks to recruit 100 new deputies. Contracts with the Sheriffs office on this issue have not be either responded to or acknowledged. We can only assume that this is a staff issue since all conversations with the Sheriff on this issue have always appeared to be genuinely supportive.

Mayor Faulconer spoke of the importance of both education and recreation for our youth. Nowhere was this more evident than a recent Saturday afternoon visit by the Mayor prior to taking Office and after the election, than in his visit to the Jackie Robinson YMCA and his chat with youth and staff as he provided ice cream for the afternoon without television cameras. We would suggest that the recreation programs in the city be expanded both in terms of hours of operation and the substance of the programs provided. Both parents and children must feel that recreation activities are an important part of the learning environment in each community. There is no need to reinvent the wheel, simply look at past program activities such as the Mott Foundations concept of “communities and Schools” created and implemented over forty years ago in major cities throughout America. The Mayor might ask the San Diego Unified School Superintendent to research and look at those programs in terms of how they might help the City of San Diego today.

Jobs and economic development was cited as important. Many, including Council Member Cole want to see neighborhood business corridors like Imperial Avenue redeveloped just as the Gaslamp District has been downtown. However, there are two areas of business that should be looked a immediately as a part of economic growth. First existing businesses in the community like Jack In The Box, Starbucks; the merchants of the Diamond Business District with its stores and shops doing business in the community. How many of these entities actually have African Americans or Africans working in the locations, looking like the people they serve? How many of those larger businesses like Verizon, T. Mobile, Sprint, AT&T, Pepsi or Coca Cola, which recently closed production of its product at the 47th Street and Federal Blvd. location, removing over 900 jobs from the community while still selling product everyday with no feedback.

While asking the Mayor to assist with the economic revitalization of our neighborhoods, we must not fail to do our own part by looking at who we support and why. Our spending habits as a people must become more selective. We must require that the businesses we have named and some we have not like Bank of America, be held accountable for making sure we can see what they are giving back and that we find these corporate personalities that when they cut back in service and visibility to our communities, we will cut back with spending.

Finally, if organizations like the Workforce Partnership cannot get more involved with our communities through our local community newspapers, then we should ask the city and the federal government to reexamine the concepts of “due process” in terms of ensuring that everyone has the information to decide as to whether they want to participate and that we don’t have organizations making those decisions for us with the withholding of information.
The recent so called ‘UCSD Town Hall Meeting” which was not a “Town Hall Meeting” but a planned gathering of less than sixty people, must not be allowed to become a substitute for the total inclusion of our communities which are African, African American, Asian and Latino as the community that must be served by such meetings, no matter who calls them. Again this cannot be done in a meaningful way without the use of our community news papers which are: The Asian Journal, The Philipino Press, La Prensa, El Latino, the San Diego Monitor and News and the San Diego Voice & Viewpoint Newspaper. The internet cannot become a substitute for local notice and opportunity which is the essence of due process.
If we are watching and supporting our new Mayor, then let’s hold the feet of those around him and us to the “fire.”