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CA SB 557 — “Just say NO!” or at least “Whoa!!” (show me the money…) to Scandalous San Diego’s One Stop Justice Shop Pyramid Scheme

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CA SB 557 — “Just say NO!” or at least “Whoa!!”  (show me the money…) to Scandalous San Diego’s One Stop Justice Shop Pyramid Scheme (post title with case-sensitive short-link ending “-HG”) first published 6/5/2011.  Format updates (for quoting in a 2017 post) 3/30/2017.


A Family Justice Center (like a Family Physician?)  — what a warm and fuzzy concept!

The ‘California Initiative” (per graphic) has a motto:  “Bringing Hope to Hurting Families Across California.”

Hope of what?  I didn’t ask for hope.  I would’ve settled long ago for simple enforcement of existing court orders!

How warm and fuzzy is it?  Was the public asked whether it’s a good idea, before, during, or after it’s conception, the labor ($3 million grants, etc.) to bring it forth, and the subsequent cloning actions?

Let’s consider (and then, I’ll get to the colors and graphics part, don’t worry….)

  • First, the “Family Justice Center Initiative” in San Diego (#1 site) is the project and brainchild of a City Attorney whose handling of the City’s pension funds (see below) has been labeled “negligent” and eventually brought the FBI and US Attorney’s Office investigating the corruption.  In Alameda County (#2) it is a District Attorney Dubious Doing (see my post) and was pushed by this person to get a founding grant, and promptly install a crony, that, improperly.
  • Second, the concept of combining “services” and “collaborating” is questionable — I question it, for one.  It has a dark side.

My post is long, but don’t forget to read THIS site (hover, I’ve copied text of Obstacle #4 (relevant here) onto the URL description) from Sonoma County, where another proposed Justice Center is to start (or has already, perhaps).   “Mapping the Obstacles to Criminal Justice for Women” :

 

The six principle obstacles to protection and justice for women in the criminal justice system are:

1. A near absolute police and prosecutorial discretion to pick and choose which crimes the system will treat seriously and which they will ignore, and to do so with impunity. The exercise of this enormous discretionary power is virtually outside the rule of law.

2. An intractable, deep-rooted sexism and racism that remains institutionalized throughout the criminal justice system. This sexism and racism, combined with the system’s absolute discretion to ignore crimes whenever they wish, means that violence against women cases are the cases most often ignored, dumped, or given short shrift.

3. Society’s failure to answer the question of who polices the police, and the failure to even ask the question in regard to district attorneys, means the criminal justice system is not only legally unaccountable when dumping cases of violence against women. In addition, there is also virtually no other viable social mechanism by which the public can make the system implement its powers on behalf of victims of violence against women.

4. The repression of effective victim advocacy due to increasing criminal justice system controls over the funding and functioning of rape and domestic violence centers.

5. The invisibility of denial of protection and justice to victims of violence against women to the public, often to the victims themselves, and even to the officer’s supervisors who review the officers reports.

6. The failure to target the district attorneys.** Advocacy groups, social justice groups, and civil rights groups that aim to correct abuses in the criminal justice system usually do so by focusing on the police, while completely ignoring the District Attorney. This is monumental and puzzling mistake, since the District Attorney is the most powerful law enforcement official in your community.

(**for more on DA’s role, see this site)


Does its pretty purple-bordered website with vivid graphics look nice?  Sure.

See?   http://www.familyjusticeinitiative.com/

Interview with Ellen Pence

Telling Amy's Story

[Images could be looked up and replaced I’m not going to do that just now, trying to get some current posts at — LGH/2017]

Do (and should?)  public stamps of approval from:

a former San Diego City Attorney, a current Alameda County District Attorney, Verizon, Blue Shield of California Foundation, at least one prominent Domestic Violence Professional** — and in 2003, even former U.S. President George Bush

earn OUR stamps of approval?  Because we will be helping to pay for it….


(And, should we encourage our local CA legislator to vote “YES” on SB 557, which seeks to legitimize and expand these, naming specific cities)

**Domestic Violence Professionals should be clearly distinguished from Domestic Violence Victims, although in some cases, the latter have become the former.  The way you can tell them apart – DV Professionals generally have a paycheck, DV victims are often losing theirs.

The Professionals  profess things at conferences, and sometimes even interview each other on TV.  The steady stream of DV victims, new, and ongoing, provide ample material to practice on (practice makes expert, right?) and talk about. …

Another way you can find domestic violence professionals, is going to TAGGS.hhs.gov and looking up the CFDA category relating to “Family Violence Prevention and Services” which often has the word “discretionary” attached.    Or, it goes to a Coalition.  If you get a grant or two, you are viewed as (and may be, but the grant sure helps lend authority) a professional.   So Here’s a TAGGS.hhs.gov summary (from 2005 forward, only, nationwide) of two types of violence prevention grants:

Showing: 1 – 2 of 2 CFDA Programs

93591                   93592

CFDA Prog. No. OPDIV Popular Title Number of Awards Number of Award Actions CAN Award Amount
93.591 ACF Family Violence Prevention and Services/Grants for Battered Women’s Shelters: Grant to State Domestic Violence Coalitions 219 271 $50,573,527
93.592 ACF Family Violence Prevention and Services/Grants for Battered Women’s Shelters: Discretionary Grants 324 624 $165,460,776
Page Total 543 895 $216,034,303
Report Total 543 895 $216,034,303

Ellen Pence compatriot Denise Gamache, for example, shows up on a similar search, with more fields.  Last time I looked at this, the amount was only $1.78million,

I see that there has been great success in stopping violence (either that, or failures) hence, more funding to prevent it in the same manner — conferencing, and figuring out best practives, and of course collaborating and training.  See?  Also note this is a “Social Services” (not legal, criminal) activity, preventing violence.

[UPDATE: NOTE re: this chart:  The report could be re-run at TAGGS.HHS.Gov (Advanced Search) and should be; it would generate a url link to share. I have recently (2017) blogged on these CFDA Numbers and this topic for further information).  I see the column headings do not match the contents. A re-run would present an easier to read format; fixing it from this stage is not a good use of my blogging time…I also learned that some of these categories were, at least by year 2010, written into the FVSPA Act, which is under CAPTA (Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act).  See my later posts for more info. //LGH]

Program Office Grantee Name City Recovery Act Indicator State Award Number Award Title CFDA Number Award Activity Type Principal Investigator Sum of Actions Award Abstract
FYSB MINNESOTA PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT, INC ** DULUTH NON MN 90EV0375 FOUR SPECIAL ISSUE RESOURCE CENTERS FOR INFORMATION & TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE 93592 SOCIAL SERVICES DENISE GAMACHE $ 2,407,624
FYSB MINNESOTA PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT, INC DULUTH MN 90EV0248 FAMILY VIOLENCE PREVENTION & SERVICES 93592 SOCIAL SERVICES DENISE GAMACHE $ 2,686,366 Abstract Not Available
FYSB MINNESOTA PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT, INC DULUTH MN 90EV0375 FOUR SPECIAL ISSUE RESOURCE CENTERS FOR INFORMATION & TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE 93592 SOCIAL SERVICES DENISE GAMACHE $ 3,536,432
OCS MINNESOTA PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT, INC DULUTH MN 90EV0104 FAMILY VIOLENCE PREVENTION & SERVICES – SPECIAL ISSUE RESOURCE CENTER 93592 SOCIAL SERVICES DENISE GAMACHE $ 3,925,981 Abstract Not Available
OCS MINNESOTA PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT, INC DULUTH MN 90EV0248 FAMILY VIOLENCE PREVENTION & SERVICES 93592 SOCIAL SERVICES DENISE GAMACHE $ 3,957,873 Abstract Not Available

The “93591” category is grants to “domestic violence coalitions” which must be how everyone gets their terminologies, communication lines, and practices nice and coordinated.  Meanwhile, others who have worked at street level (but had less backing), take a different point of view than “Constant Collaborations.”

Here’s a San Antonio, TEX Family Justice Center (2010) Conference List of materials one can purchase.  After all, these are professionals…  I missed that conference — somehow are not on their email alert “cc’s” and at the time, didn’t have airfare, either….

 

As to BUSH:

I think I made my feelings known about former President Bush, and his concept of “Family” in my last post.  The actual “Families” in this case are the associations and collaboratives of people who get the funding.

If Bush had required that all — without exception — STOP VAWA grantees inform ALL — without exception — female clients with children where the perpetrator of violence against them was the father of the FATHERHOOD.GOV infrastructure, and that this was actually enabled by the federal office of child support enforcement (OCSE) — then it would’ve been OK. There’s no question that fatherhood groups know about VAWA, they are constantly complaining about it.

If all grantees would’ve been required to alert women of pro-VAWA and anti-feminist (feminists are destroying the country, of course) “family” courts lay ahead between them and freedom, that’d be one thing.  But apparently, the two sets of untraceable grant expenditures go along side by side quite nicely, watching the genders war it out themselves on-line, in the streets, and lobbying legislators to change the law sin their favor.


Well, now, let me think a moment on that last one….  in fact, let me ask Josie Clark:

September 28, 2004

 “The Clark lawsuit deals with personnel matters, involving employees who are on my staff. The courtroom is now the appropriate place to respond to these allegations where I believe my office and staff members will be cleared. Therefore, I decline to be interviewed. I am referring your call to our outside legal counsel, Kathryn Bernert, who is handling the case. Here is her phone number which was provided to you last Friday morning by Maria Velasquez.”

Statement by Kathryn Bernert
Outside Legal Counsel for the City of San Diego
Partner with Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps LLP
Sept. 28, 2004

???   What Lawsuit?  This Family Justice Center isn’t even that old….

September 29, 2004

  •  Clark is suing the city and Gwinn, not for what happened to her co-worker, but for the way she said she was used to cover it up. Official records show that police responded to numerous calls at the victim’s former home on Armacost Road. Several workers at the City Attorney’s Office and the Family Justice Center told 10News that the victim came to work with broken bones, bruises, cuts and black eyes.“If Casey Gwinn didn’t notice that on one of his own — seeing her every single day — then what is he doing at the Family Justice Center?” questioned Clark.According to the lawsuit, a long history of severe abuse against a Family Justice Center employee was going to be made public when the woman threatened to kill her husband and was arrested. Clark was then assigned a special project to quietly help the woman.”(Gwinn) said that my job was going to get her into rehab, because that was the only way she was gong to be able to keep her job,” Clark said.The assignment came from Gwinn, (pictured, [below]), 10News reported.

    Clark took on the new responsibilities that lasted more than two months. She said the woman called her seeking help day and night — once every half hour at work and at home at 3 a.m. and 5 a.m. Late last year, Clark said the woman’s estranged husband threatened her life.

    Her husband basically said I was going to regret it for interfering and said he was going to come after me and that he was going to kill us both,” Clark told 10News.   After her arrest [and obviously, release], Gwinn had the woman working as a receptionist on the 16th floor near his office. But when the death threat allegations against Clark surfaces, the woman was moved to the 11th floor, just 30 feet from Clark.

    “She still comes to the office beaten up, and Casey Gwinn has done absolutly nothing to help her,” Clark said.   The lawsuit itself, the plaintiff’s attorneys say, is about how Clark was forced into the mess and then discriminated against after she had nervous breakdowns and clinical depression. Conditions, they say, came directly from her “special project” to basically act as a drug, alcohol and abuse counselor for a co-worker.

If what she says is true (and there seems some backup corroboration), then why didn’t such a highly connected individual so concerned about Domestic Violence as Casey Gwinn is, talk with some of the District Attorneys — or the abused woman — about getting some criminal prosecution of her husband’s behaviors, rather than wait til the situation got to death threats, and then watch his own employee be arrested for someone driven to threaten back to get free from ongoing broken bones and beatings?    I mean — is this who you want spearheading nationwide, nay, global, justice centers?  Charity begins at home, brother….

Here’s the self-report of how great this justice center is:

At least they acknowledge it’s a personal narrative:  ”

Acknowledgements

This story focuses on the evolution of the criminal justice system’s response to domestic violence in San Diego. It does not develop the entire history of the battered women’s movement in San Diego. We should also note that “The San Diego Story” in this book was written primarily from the recollections of Ashley Walker, Casey Gwinn, and Gael Strack. Many others in San Diego County have played powerful roles and would clearly highlight other aspects of San Diego’s criminal justice system journey based on their own experience.

I have a little more background on this than some, including how the justice center followed Mr. Gwinn from his role as City Attorney, out to an exterior location (I think originally at the Y).  YOu can also see here, Task Forces, a Council and some heavy funders who are thinking in terms of Collaboration that did not come right from within San Diego City Attorney’s Office.  (Just for a little background):

Philanthropists and funders like Joan Kroc (wife of Ray Kroc, the Founder of McDonalds) also played a powerful role. They encouraged members of the domestic violence, child abuse and substance community to work together. As a substantial funder of these programs, in 1990, Joan Kroc made collaboration a part of her granting process.   {{i.e., you want our money?  You will collaborate!}} She paid all expenses for twenty community activists in these fields to spend a week at the family program at Hazelton in Center City Minnesota. She also held special fully-funded trainings at her ranch at Santa Ynez Valley to encourage collaboration.

During this same time, Dr. David Chadwick, a pediatrician, at Children’s Hospital, also dedicated major resources by creating the Family Violence Program, under the leadership of a social worker named Sandy Miller. Dr. Chadwick too had a strong vision for focusing on the co-occurrence of child abuse and domestic violence. Sandy Miller developed a close partnership with Deputy City Attorney Casey Gwinn and even housed a portion of her staff in the City Attorney’s Office in the early 1990’s.

Pause.  Because later on, I have a post from the succeeding City Attorney, Mike Aguirre, who had to clean up a lot of the accounting (over-billing) from Mr. Gwinn’s office, and wrote an interim report in the practice of over-billing (for work that did not happen) as part of the “SLA” (Service Level Agreements) and “MOU” (Memo of Understanding).  This July 28 2006 this report on “IMPROPER BILLING PRACTICES BY THE CITY ATTORNEY’S OFFICEmentions the Justice Center a few times.  For example, ”

 Gwinn ran unopposed for City Attorney in 1996 and 2000. Prior to assuming office in 1996, Gwinn was allowed to put his leadership team in place and begin making policy. It is around this time that billing to SLAs was modified (Exhibit 5), and as time went on the program was expanded to increase staff and services.

In 7-21-06 phone contact was made with Investigator Brendan McClory at the Family Justice Center. The following is a summary from a statement taken from McClory:

During 2002 – 2004 McClory worked for the City Attorney’s Office Civil Division. He was assigned to bill 60 hours per pay period to MWWD due to the fact that he was assigned to Kelly Salt, Ted Bromfield, and Tom Zeleny. McClory noted that he was directed to bill 60 hours to the enterprise Department even though in actuality he only worked on average 10 hours per pay period for these individuals. The vast majority of his time was working for Trial Unit attorneys. He noted that he advised Robert Abel that this was the case, and Abel responded that he should bill the hours anyways per office policy.

In 2004, soon after Aguirre took office, this policy changed and McClory was directed to only bill for hours worked

or, ….

Maria Velasquez

On 7-28-06 personal contact was made with City Attorney Director of Communications Maria Velasquez at the Offices of the City Attorney. The following is a summary from a statement taken from Velasquez:

Velasquez was hired by the City Attorney’s Office as Casey Gwinn’s Press Secretary in May of 2001. She was assigned to handle community and media relations for the Office. Her daily responsibility was to handle all calls from community members and press regarding the Civil and Criminal Divisions. She was responsible for coordinating and responding to community events. In 2004 she worked almost exclusively on developing the Family Justice Center by educating the public, attending community functions, and media events. She billed all her time to the City Attorney’s general fund.

These key steps helped lay the groundwork for the Family Justice Center and for the close working relationship between the Center for Child Protection, the local child advocacy center now the Chadwick Center), and the domestic violence community.

The Domestic Violence Council was created in the November, 1991. A number of key events occurred in those early years.

In 1992, the Council became part of the Mayor’s Office under the leadership of Mayor Maureen O’Connor

In 1994, the Council was asked to leave the Mayor’s Office by Mayor Susan Golding and soon re-established itself as a private, non-profit organization housed in the San Diego City Attorney’s Office

In 1996, the Council suspended its non-profit status, electing to return to a grassroots approach consistent with its beginning in 1987

Casey Gwinn led the Council until 1999 and hosted the Council out of the City Attorney’s Office. His secretary, Jean Emmons, provided the administrative support to the Council and handled all mailings, meeting notices, and coordination of all committee meetings. The Council did hire an Executive Director, Denise Frey, for some of the early years of its development. Denise worked at the City Attorney’s Office and played a very significant role in helping to organize the committees, the structure, and the advocacy agenda of the Council.

In 1999, Assistant City Attorney Gael Strack became the President and Gael’s tenure for two years played a critical role in the early planning stages of the Family Justice Center. The entire Domestic Violence Council and all member agencies endorsed the vision for a “one stop shop” Center and much of the focus of the Council in 2000, 2001, and 2002 was on the development and opening of the Center. Subsequent Council Presidents, Verna Griffin Tabor and Diane McGrogan, made the Family Justice Center a high priority during their tenures.

There are more than 2 serious red flags in this Family Justice Center Alliance (starting in San Diego) concept.  I’d say one indicator that the guy didn’t help someone in his employee is a huge one.  The second one, Alameda County, another author believes seriously exaggerates their “people served” figures (see my “Dubious Doings by District Attorneys” post), and I would have to tend to agree, as I am local to the area and courts.     Moreover, these nonprofit 990s need to be scrutinized better in ALL the little reproduced family justice centers which are taking, for example, public (government) employees, forming nonprofits and then where, exactly is the funding coming from and going to?

Fiscal (dishonesty) in San Diego was not limited to the Water and Sewer Departments, but also the Pension, which (among other reasons) is why I sarcastically refer to this collaborative as “Casey Gwinn’s Retirement Plan.”  (Someone has to do it!)  His city attorney’s salary was $175K (it says below) — like a CA judge.  His measly pension, ony $79K (a great perspective from which to understand domestic violence issues).   He’s canvassing all over for this model and so are like-minded individuals, as we have seen.

My question is, are they like-minded in (1) failing to actually provide service to victims; (2) overbilling   (3) over-reporting the impact of the services provided?

  • NEGLIGENCE IN CITY PENSION FUND SCANDAL REPORTED :

THE KROLL REPORT
Ex-City Attorney Gwinn called ‘negligent’ in pension fund mess

By Mark Sauer
STAFF WRITER

August 16, 2006

Past and present city officials cited last week for acts ranging from malfeasance to mischief in the long-awaited report by Kroll Inc. on the city’s pension mess are ranked according to culpability.

NADIA BOROWSKI SCOTT / Union-Tribune file photo
Then-City Attorney Casey Gwinn (right), with former Mayor Dick Murphy at his side, was criticized in last week’s Kroll report on city finances.

In the top tier are those who acted with “wrongful intent,” a violation of civil law, in hiding from bond investors the pension fund’s severe underfunding and the city’s twisted sewer-rate structure.

One step down are those found to be “negligent” in carrying out their responsibilities. It is in this section that former City Attorney Casey Gwinn appears.

The report is blunt: “The City Attorney’s Office failed the City.”

In singling out Gwinn, the report said, “As the top official in the City Attorney’s Office – which certified to the accuracy of incomplete and misleading disclosures – City Attorney Casey Gwinn negligently performed his disclosure responsibilities to the City, and failed to supervise other attorneys” under him.

Among the lapses by Gwinn’s office cited in the Kroll report:

Its certification of the city’s financial disclosures to the “investing public” without independently verifying the accuracy of the information.

It kept quiet about the city’s potential obligation of up to $370 million for breaking “grant and loan covenants” while in violation of the federal Clean Water Act.  (“the city” is supported in part by taxes from wages of its residents, right)

Gwinn’s deputies failed to identify “the central illegality” of underfunding the city’s pension plan as officials made those decisions.

Like it seems he also “failed to identify” that an employee showing up with bruises and broken bones and her husband calling her constantly at work is a domestic violence victim . . . . . . 

It also chastised Gwinn’s office for years of falsifying billing records to the city’s water and wastewater departments for legal work.

Kroll, a risk-management firm based in New York, spent 18 months investigating the city’s financial practices. Kroll was paid $20.3 million for the report.

Who pays for that?  This is starting to add up — $370 million risk, $20.3 to audit something that shows up as needing an audit….

The company’s investigators didn’t get to query Gwinn about his actions during his 1996-2004 tenure as city attorney. He was among 53 city officials and employees who refused to be questioned.

“But he was not known around town as a good attorney. He didn’t want to get bogged down in pensions and water rates and all that confusing stuff,” Stutz said. “It was, ‘Let me deal with guys who smack their wives and I can get on TV.’ ”

The description does seem to hold.  Some people just love the limelight….

After term limits forced Gwinn out as city attorney, he has devoted himself to his anti-domestic-violence cause.

I have been trying to tell us — this is a personal retirement project of what now looks like a negligent and dishonest City Attorney, who became City Attorney running unopposed, partly because his predecessor (John Witt, who seemed to favor him) delayed announcing his departure so long it was hard to prepare a campaign against him.  I”m remembering how it seems Alameda County’s Tom Orloff, similarly, handed over the reigns to Nancy O’Malley by retiring early and assigning her as interim D.A., thereby skirting the open election process neatly.  She then stacked the decks (per “Steve White” of indymedia report) to make sure another crony, Nadia Davis-Lockyer, Esq., got the plum job as Executive Director of THEIR Family Justice Center.   The question comes up — who is in “The Family” here ???

In addition to being a trustee for the San Diego Family Justice Center, Gwinn works part time on special projects for District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, who stands behind him.

“I hired Casey because he is a well-known and respected expert in domestic-violence matters,” Dumanis said. “He’s doing a great job in that area for us.”

She said Gwinn, who began working for her in December 2004, originally was a manager for the victim-restitution and crime-prevention programs, but now is a contracted employee.

“He works on special projects, mainly the regionalization of family-justice centers,” Dumanis said. The main Family Justice Center in downtown San Diego is a one-stop facility for domestic-violence victims, with police officers, social workers and medical personnel available.

Well, it’s in on the VAWA grant streams, so there’s some potential financial reward in the model.  It’s an identified VAWA “purpose model.”

 

There’s more, but probably too much for one post.  Casey Gwinn’s negligence as City Attorney was not limited to water and sewer matters, but also — well this NYT article says it much better, and SHOULD be read if we want to begin to understand family justice centers, their originators and promoters, and get a sense of how they’ve handled previous, smaller, responsibilities — like heading up the City Attorney Department and reporting honestly what was going on in it:

Sept. 7, 2004 NYT article (notice, around time of Josie Clark lawsuit)

Sunny San Diego Finds Itself Being Viewed as a Kind of Enron-by-the-Sea

By JOHN M. BRODER

Published: September 7, 2004

Correction Appended

SAN DIEGO, Sept. 1 – In the summer of 2003, Diann Shipione, an investment adviser at UBS Financial Services in San Diego and a trustee of the city’s employee retirement system, was scanning a prospectus on a proposed San Diego sewer bond issue when alarm bells began to ring in her head.

Important financial information was missing. The prospectus did not mention that the city had for years been shortchanging its public pension fund, leading to an unfunded liability of more than $1.15 billion, or that the city owed nearly $1 billion more in health care benefits to retirees and did not have the money. And it implied that the pension fund’s actuary had approved the underfunding when Ms. Shipione knew that he had not.

In a  etter to city officials, and in a commentary in the local newspaper, Ms. Shipione blew the whistle.

 

“I had completely lost confidence in the city’s financial decision making,” she said in an interview on Wednesday. “I just couldn’t let this go forward.”


Jack Smith for The New York Times

Diann Shipione did not like the way San Diego was handling its employee pension system, and let the world know. Mike Aguirre calls the situation “a powder keg.”

 

Well, I”m suggesting (and blowing a whistle) on the thing that came OUT of this department, called the “Family Justice Center Initiative” and all things associated with it.  Just because things are central, doesn’t mean they are honest.  Moreover, would you buy a used car — or program — from someone who’s last time in office was marked by having the FBI and US Attorney’s office investigating your city’s finances?  That’s why I’m posting a lot from this article:

And the Securities and Exchange Commission and the United States attorney’s office in San Diego opened investigations this year into possible fraud in the city’s financial statements and potential political corruption. Subpoenas were served on a number of city offices and several people confirmed that they had been interviewed by the F.B.I. in connection with the inquiry.

“This is a powder keg, a major, major problem,” said Mike Aguirre, a securities lawyer and former financial fraud investigator for the United States Senate and the Justice Department who is running for San Diego city attorney.

Mr. Aguirre said that the city’s inability to produce a credible financial statement made it impossible to know just how severe the crisis was. He said that a corporation that behaved like the City of San Diego would be delisted from the stock exchanges. He suggested that the best solution might be reorganization under Chapter 9 of the federal bankruptcy law to allow the city to rescind pension benefits.

Mr. Aguirre blamed San Diego’s laid-back civic culture in which a handful of influential businessmen, union leaders and political figures called the shots while issuing reassurances to the public that everything was on the up-and-up.

“The basic story is that San Diego has become a thoroughly corrupt community in which the power players cut the deals, you don’t ask any questions, and everybody gets what they want,” Mr. Aguirre said. “People don’t realize that one of the largest cities in the United States is on the verge of bankruptcy, and it’s on the verge because of a massive amount of local corruption that has resulted in the thorough mismanagement of city finances.”

I realize Aguirre also was running for City Attorney — however look at his background.  He’s qualified to say this.  And the more I look at it (and I am a California resident, domestic violence survivor and family law veteran, I have been looking a LONG time, locally not just nationally) — would you buy a bridge from these guys?  Corruption cannot bring forth justice, and if these centers are multiplying and expanding, I have to ask, just WHAT is being disseminated in the model?

A GREAT measure of how honest a person (or organization) is — is its financial statements, and their accuracy.  Particularly when it’s public money.

NOW is the time to say “HALT!” — and not when it’s too late.  Stop, Look, & Listen.

 

Oct. 2004 article:

 

San Diego now ‘Enron by the Sea’

By John Ritter, USA TODAY
SAN DIEGO — This laid-back city seems to have it all — stunning beaches, best weather this side of Honolulu, a national image as a vacation playground and top convention destination.

Nearly a decade of fiscal shenanigans came to light when Diann Shipione, a pension board trustee, blew the whistle. But it took some doing. She wrote letters to the mayor, city officials and fellow trustees. She spoke up at City Council meetings. She wrote opinion columns in the San Diego Union-Tribune.    [“Diann Shipione says her many warnings to the pension board were ignored.” photo by Robt Hanashiro, USA Today]

By Robert Hanashiro, USA TODAY

Funny how often it’s women noticing and blowing the whistle, and how often they are just not heard, til it becomes a crisis…

But the City Council and the trustees ignored her. At one point the pension board bought an ad in the Union-Tribune that scoffed, “Chicken Little Would Be Proud.”

Only in September 2003, when Shipione alerted a lawyer handling a municipal sewer bond sale to facts the city hadn’t disclosed, did Wall Street pull the plug. The bond issue was canceled. Soon the Securities and Exchange Commission, the FBI and the U.S. attorney were asking questions. In January, the city admitted errors and omissions in its financial statements.

“The city’s conservative image is completely false,” Shipione says. “It’s reckless, it spends wildly and lavishly, it saves nothing and it hides the truth.”

 

SPEAKING OF WHICH REGIONALIZATION EFFORTS: — from the FamilyJusticeCenter.com website on “The California Initiative.”  This is about as much purple-framed plain text as you are going to get anywhere on the site, perhaps there just wasn’t a desire to really pull attention to this page.  Read it, though!

The California Family Justice Initiative (CFJI) is funded by the Blue Shield of California Foundation under the leadership of the National Family Justice Center Alliance. {{headed by guess who…}}   The Initiative aims to create shared learning, shared expertise, shared capacity building, shared on-line resources, and shared technology to achieve a statewide network of Centers using model protocols, best practices, and innovative strategies to meet the needs of women, children, men, and families exposed to trauma and abuse.

What has happened to the concept of “justice” here?  However, one of the critical areas of need these populations still have, is understanding the FAMILY law system — about which little seems to be said here.     OK, here comes that expansion — like it or not — and

CA SB 557 INTRODUCED BY Senator Kehoe 
(Coauthors: Assembly Members Atkins and Fletcher) 

FEBRUARY 17, 2011 

An act to add and repeal Title 5.3 (commencing with Section 13750) 
of Part 4 of the Penal Code, relating to family justice centers.

will certainly help this personal retirement plan of some key public figures.  No wonder it’s catching on..

[Back to the FJC site….]

The CFJI consists of two 2-year phases. Phase I operated from March 2009-March 2011 and Phase II will operate from March 2011-March 2013.

You know why the “Crisis in the Courts” people aren’t paying attention to this and letting mothers know (nor do the justice centers, naturally, report on the Crisis in the Courts when womeon come on for restraining orders — which are certifiably insane, potentially lethal, and from which if someone just so hap

In Phase I of the Initiative, five communities were selected from across California to participate as “learning laboratory sites” where multi-agency, co-located service delivery models for victims of domestic violence were supported and expanded.  The five founding centers from Phase I are: Shasta, Sonoma, Stanislaus, Los Angeles (San Fernando Valley), and West Contra Costa County. The Alameda County Family Justice Center, Anaheim Family Justice Center, and San Diego Family Justice Center served as Regional Training Centers, assisting sites in expanding and developing multi-agency service delivery models around the state.

I.e., if you weren’t in the loop, you just missed the roots spreading and establishing a presence in 3 California Counties — one north, one south, one Anaheim.

 

Phase II of the California Family Justice Center Initiative will maintain and expand a network of Centers across California.

Not if I have anything to do with this!

I suggest that they be forced — with supervised visitation monitors paid for from their last set of royalties or anywhere but a federal or foundation grants stream — to sit through classes from the “California Healthy Marriages Coalition” whether or not they have faith (This $2.4 million/year grant from HHS was to establish a coalition of coalitions on the other side of the issue of DV _- i.e., it’s just a “family” matter, you guys should work it out…. stay (or get) married, marriage is good!).   Make everyone wanting to expand these centers take time (get off a plane!  Skip a conference!) and sit through a session of KIDS’ TURN SAN DIEGO at their own expense, and then publish narratives of it.  

This meeting of the Family Justice Center ALliance staff with the Faith-based abstinence and marriage/fatherhood promoters should definitely be live and youtubed, so we can see one trying to convert the other.    OR, if they set up another mutually profitable “collaboration” we can catch them in the act and tweet it.

OR, have them hire Diann Shipione to audit Kids’ Turn books, too!  There are a number of alternatives I can think of which might free up some public monies in these troubled times….

Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

 

Ongoing support to the five founding centers created during Phase I will be provided. Five additional California communities will be selected to receive technical assistance and planning support for expanding multi-agency, co-located service deliver models for victims of domestic violence.”

 

Here’s SB 557 as of now, and an AROUND THE CAPITOL BILL TRACK link to it:

 

xisting law provides for various services and programs to assist victims of crime, including grants to proposed and existing child sexual exploitation and child abuse victim counseling centers and prevention programs, and the establishment of a resource center to operate a statewide, toll-free information service consisting of legal information for crime victims and providers of services to crime victims.

This bill would authorize the cities of San Diego and Anaheim, and the counties of Alameda and Sonoma, until January 1, 2014, to establish a multiagency, multidisciplinary family justice center to assist victims of domestic violence, officer-involved domestic violence, sexual assault, elder abuse, stalking, cyberstalking, cyberbullying, and human trafficking, to ensure that victims of abuse are able to access all needed services in one location and to enhance victim safety, increase offender accountability, and improve access to services for victims of crime, as provided. The bill would permit the family justice centers to be staffed by law enforcement, medical, social service, and child welfare personnel, among others.

Good grief — some of the hardest times women have is reporting to police officers or sherriffs, or DA’s offices, and getting a response.  This is already documented in SONOMA COUNTY-based:  “Women’s Justice Center.”

Increasing Women’s Numbers and Influence in Policing
Breaking and Entering the Thick Blue Line ~ Where is the Women’s Movement? 
Law Enforcement Opportunities NOW!
More Sexism than Ever at Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department

The police and enforcement profession historically has been rough on women — in 2000s, and ongoing.

Sexual Harassment at
SRJC Police Academy
 

March 17, 2001

Mr. Robert Agrella, President
Santa Rosa Junior College
Santa Rosa, CA

Dear Mr. Robert Agrella,

We’re writing to express our concerns that months of unchecked sexual harassment at the SRJC Police Academy this past year resulted in the loss of five promising female cadets from the evening academy.

We are especially concerned that, according to a number of cadets, this harassment went on for months and that the director of the evening academy, Deputy Peter Hardy, repeatedly ignored or minimized cadets’ reports of the harassment. In fact, according to cadets, Director Hardy protected the perpetrator at the expense of the cadets, and allowed the perpetrator to graduate in December. The perpetrator is now eligible to become a police officer in California. The careers of the female cadets have been lost to the community.

Here’s some more from this public letter, although this is not my only concern about having “JUSTICE CENTERS” (which as we can see are nonprofit organizations, or foundations set up (ACFCJ) to channel $$ to nonprofit organizations) but sometimes staffed and working by public employees, as with Mr. Gwinn.

In fact, it could be said if anything, these centers might specifically have been designed to NOT allow the independence women need to protect themselves,

and later, their children, by demanding equal treatment by officers as well as in the family law systems (although, the family law system was set up for “wide discretion with judicial immunity” and nothing approaching equality. ).  Read on:

Here are just some of the indicators of the problem:

  • The national average of female sworn officers on police forces is 14%. The percentage of sworn females among the sum of police in Sonoma County is less than half the national average.
  • In the last four years, at least ten female sworn officers have left the Santa Rosa Police Department, five of whom stated to us that they left because of the hostile work environment in that department against females. Santa Rosa Police Department has never had a female in any position of rank, not even a female sargent. As of August 4, 2000, Santa Rosa Police Department had only 13 sworn female officers (7%) out of a total of 173 sworn officers.
  • In the same time period, Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department has had at least 10 female deputies and corrections officers file sexual harassment complaints and lawsuits. As of August, 2000, the Sheriff’s Department had only 17 sworn female officers (7%) out of a total of 218 sworn officers.
  • Sebastopol Police Department has never had a female sworn officer until this year,
  • Sonoma State University Police two years ago paid off a sexual harassment lawsuit brought by a female officer who was sexually assaulted by one superior, and ordered by another to falsify a domestic violence report so that the report would favor the male suspect.

In addition to the gross injustice to the women in these situations, what’s equally disturbing is the intolerable cost to our communities. Two decades of research on women police is conclusive. Women officers exceed male officers on many of precisely the skills that are so sorely needed to correct chronic problems plaguing our police. The research shows that women officers have much lower rates of excessive use of force, they better handle rape and domestic violence, and they excel at de-escalating volatile situations.


Feel free to photocopy and distribute this information as long as you keep the credit and text intact.
Copyright © Marie De Santis,
Women’s Justice Center,
www.justicewomen.com
rdjustice@monitor.net

 

The bill would prohibit victims of crime from being denied services at a family justice center solely on the grounds of criminal history and would prohibit a criminal history search from being conducted during the client intake process.

The bill would require the family justice centers to submit a report to the Office of Privacy Protection for review and comment, and then submit the report to the Assembly Committee on Judiciary and the Senate Committee on Judiciary, no later than January 1, 2013, as specified. The bill would require each family justice center to maintain a formal training program with mandatory training for all staff members, volunteers, and agency professionals, as specified.

Training doesn’t ensure compliance.  At what point in time can a litigant — any kind of litigant — actually read the laws, and codes of procedures, AS they exist, and expect elected or appointed city, county (or state) employees to simply follow them.  We have to obey traffic signals or get fines, and have our licenses revoked or suspended if we can’t pay (see “SF Pre-Trial Diversion Program,” under some comments on “Ron Albers” recently, I posted on this one).
This bill is PASSING — fast:  Yet who has really followed up on what the first two have actually been doing?  Or looking at the books?
Remembering the comments form “Women’s Justice Center” of Sonoma County (here, and at top of post), which I feel are very close to reality (and this grandiose talk about helping hurting families is just sales talk….), let’s take a look at the personnel in the “California Family Justice Initiative” from the site.  Notice the titles — who is whom (top left & bottom right are Blue Shield, California)…

 

 

cfji advisory board

I have expressed my opinion on the “Family Violence Prevention Fund” plenty on this post (search it).  They are a major player, and receive funding from
very conservative big-players (annie E. Casey, as I recall) and highlight Fatherhood.  A post in January 2011 (I think) quoted their preventing violence by encouraging fatherhood theory (whatever it was called).    We have two Lts. heading up 2 family justice centers, and two of the originators (Gwinn/Strack), both attorneys, on this project.  CPEDV  (Shabazz) would be on the CFDA 93591 grants stream (grants to domestic violence coalitions) and formerly I believe it was called the California Alliance (not partnership) Against Domestic Violence, which also shows up in the FVLC Executive Director’s background.
This person started safe houses and advocacy in the 70s, watched it change, had some struggles with her own organization.  I met her.  I heard how there was a move to get her group out of the “Coalition” membership on a technicality, which affected grants they could get.  Yet, at Battered Mothers Custody Conference 2011 (my first — and probably last — attendance, as it’s primarily DV professionals and Family Court Professionals marketing their wares to some very, very distressed mothers) (and they tell less than I do about the system…..) . . . ..    This woman (I believe it was her I spoke with) brought the women with her (it being geographically within range I guess) and sold nothing.  http://www.rbrw.org/RBRWblog/?p=651.  The solutions are local and not forever trying to change the world at public expense — but really help real people (from what I can tell).
The women had a strong spirit of unity.  As you can see from this article, she also acknowledged the custody struggle, sexual abuse allegations issue and was involved in helping women deal with it.  That is a FAMILY law issue….
SB 557 is a personal project of politically connected people from Enron By the Bay and a County with some of the highest homicide rates in the country (Oakland, Richmond). I have suffered for years in this county and experienced multiple problems with honesty among law enforcement.  Never during the years of severe abuse in one of those cities did anyone inform me of laws or legal options to have the batterer arrested for assault & battery (it was my husband).   Then when I became independent and “off the system” the real troubles began — probalby for those reasons.  Again, police were called to help at times, and finally, in what the California calls a felony — but family law calls a “dispute” — and law enforcement, I learned later, calls a “wobbler” — meaning, the D.A. exercised HIS option not to prosecute — my children were illegally and permanently removed from my custody (as so often happens) with no judge, anywhere — giving a legal OR factual basis for doing so.  This was done knowing that the method of removal was itself an act of violence and blatant violation of about 3 types of codes (Educational, Family, Penal) at a time — and that was just the beginning.  It was done around the issue of child support (which pretty much eliminated child support from my kids).  ALL of this happened with clear knowledge — and what sure seemed to me like complicit acceptance — by the county sheriffs, various police (not Alameda County) and eventually, the DA’s in two different counties, as initially I didn’t know which one had jurisdiction.
THIS INITIATIVE IS PASSING REAL SOON IF NO ONE PROTESTS — please get involved, and I ask for feedback, and help investigating the various nonprofit (form 990s) for the many justice center initiatives already involved.  It’s time we got some answers why justice will not happen without more nonprofits.
Here’s a narrative from this SOSDV.org about a woman who, like the woman at Casey Gwinn’s office, felt she had to defend herself form an incident.  It talks about how the evidence was handled.  She is alive — but now in jail, per this.  Can you imagine the situation?

3 Responses

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  1. Contact me- I like your work and I want to extend your outreach.

    I am the founder of WOMEN.
    BJ@Free-US-Now.com

    freemenow

    June 3, 2011 at 11:51 am

  2. […] My intention is that certain practices and policies, typically taking place “where the sun don’t shine” will start to see some sunlight. At some levels, this can also be fun. Sometimes you can just get the ball rolling (see “Dubious Doings by District Attorneys” on the Family Justice Center Alliance movement, posted June 2010)or Mrs. O’Malley Goes to Washington, Ms. O’Malley being then-district attorney of Alameda County (and she is married, although the Lockyers — of the first post — no longer are, or at least are divorcing) going to get funding for the same concept… (posted June 2011). Or, also 2011 Just say No, or at least “Whoa” (Show Me the Money) to Scandalous San Diego’s One-…. […]


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