Monday, January 02, 2012

Privatized Police

Representatives from Valley View Casino & Hotel presented San Diego Police Chief William Lansdowne and his team with a giant replica of a San Diego Police badge made from 44 pounds of pure chocolate.

The chocolate badge, sculpted by Valley View Casino & Hotel Executive Pastry Chef Daniel Sampson and his talented team, was originally created for and displayed at the San Diego Police Foundation’s 11th Annual Friends of the Badge Luncheon September 21, 2011 at the Valley View Casino Center. Chef Daniel and his team spent a total of five days creating the solid 26 inch by 17 inch chocolate masterpiece. Chef Daniel used over 44 pounds of white couverture chocolate to create the badge and its accompanying stand. Then, Valley View Casino Chef Sammy Chatluang spent two days hand-carving the badge’s exquisite details. The chocolate was then airbrushed with aureolin yellow cocoa butter and dusted with real gold.

Copyright © 2011 by Steven Reed for Zenger’s Newsmagazine • All rights reserved

I’ve been listening to a lot of the various Occupation protests that have been going on across the country. I’ve been listening to the complaints of the protesters and recognizing the obvious threat they are to the establishment and to their many corporate overlords. So I’m not shocked by the brutal response by the police in many cities across the country. As we have seen in New York, it’s not hard to buy a mayor and a police force. Before he was the Mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg was an entrepreneur that sold the Bloomberg terminal to Wall Street. That’s how he made and continues to make billions from Wall Street. So it’s not hard to guess were his priorities are going to lie.
And as for the New York Police Department (NYPD), they have a private and independent foundation whose main goal is to gather private and public donations and funds for the NYPD. Who are the foundation’s main contributors? JP Morgan donated $4.6 million. Other companies that donated over $100,000 were Goldman Sachs, Barclays, Jeffries and Co. (bank), Carl Icahn, the Renco group, and Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation. So in essence, their police force is now privatized.
Brutal police crackdowns against Occupy protests, have been occurring all over the country, but I didn’t have to look farther then my own town of San Diego. The SDPD have performed multiple raids and arrests even though courts have ruled that occupations and tents are forms of free speech. Are you starting to see a pattern here? I decided to see if San Diego has its own foundation for raising private funds for the police — and lo and behold, it does.
“Formed in 1998, the San Diego Police Foundation helps insure that programs critical to ‘public interest’ receive funding that is not available through the City’s budget,” explains the Foundation on its own Web site, “Whether it’s an evidence management system, advanced video streaming and recording, or other ‘life-saving’ equipment and training, the SDPF ensures that donations to the police department impact all of San Diego.”  I think their words had more meaning than they intended.
It’s also not surprising that Mayor Jerry Sanders, a former cop who rose through the ranks to become San Diego’s chief of police, is currently the board chair of the SDPD foundation. So who bought San Diego’s finest, you might ask? Well, the Irving group (run by former board chair Craig Irving) donated $20,000. The Irving group deals with commercial real estate and investments. Also on the list was Ted Fogliani, the CEO and founder of Outsource Manufacturing Inc. Among the corporate donors are Walmart, Verizon, Wells Fargo, Pfizer, Bell Management (real estate investor), AT&T and Qualcomm who donated $1 million.
Other major contributors are Dan Shea, an investment banker who used to be a managing director for Fortune 500 companies; and Ron Fowler, an investment banker and agency owner at Farmers Insurance Group dealing mainly with foreclosure claims. For those of you who don’t know, Farmers Insurance Group is a subsidiary of ZURN, Great Britain’s second biggest commercial property insurer and a very shoddy company indeed. Another SDPD Foundation contributor is Art Barter, president and CEO of Datron World communications (a division of Titan Corporation). Datron produces military communications equipment which is particularly used to suppress and control demonstrations in third world countries like Zimbabwe. That company is now equipping the SDPD with the same equipment.
Upon doing more research I discovered that the CEO of the foundation is Wilensky Napoli, also part of a huge marketing firm based out of California whose extensive list of clients span the private and public sector with ease.
How could it be that foundations like these aren’t regulated at all? Who oversees these practices?
The only even remotely effective check on the power of the San Diego Police Department is the Citizens Review Board (CRB). This board is responsible for reviewing serious citizen complaints against San Diego police officers, officer-involved shootings, and in-custody deaths. The CRB also oversees the administration of discipline in situations where the officer has been found to have disobeyed proper policy and procedure. Also, the CRB makes policy and procedure recommendations to the Chief of Police. It’s the only group that I can see that could have any oversight into the foundation’s activities.
Apparently, anyone can get on this board. The only problem is recommendations for membership are then sent to the Mayor for appointment. Members have too undergo training and will be appointed to the CRB when there’s an opening. Board members may serve for up to eight, one-year terms and serve at the pleasure of the Mayor. Don McEvoy and Barbara Schutze were once members of this board but back in 1988, but since they were critical of the SDPD, they were replaced. Apparently every term they rotate and are forced to drop five people. Seems like a convenient way to get rid of dissenters to me.
Well, I think it’s easy to see a conflict of interest here. I urge everyone to do similar research in there own town where police brutality and raids are occurring. It’s not hard and with only a little digging the occasional breaks for uncontrolled vomiting, the overwhelming evidence will appear. Local Occupations are correct in their assumption of the corruption within the establishment. But they need to focus on their own town first. There’s more then enough corruption in our fine city to keep the Occupation busy for years to come.