Mayor Todd Gloria appointed two new members to the San Diego Citizen’s Advisory Council on Police-Community Relations last month, filling two of the six vacancies that helped put the council on hold for several months in 2021.
Gloria appointed Adrianna Flores, appointed by city councilor Vivian Moreno, for a one-year term, and Ellis Clay, appointed by city councilor Raul Campillo, for a two-year term, according to a December 17 memorandum from the mayor.
The Citizens Advisory Board, which has no oversight power over police, is supposed to serve as an intermediary between the San Diego Police Department and the communities it serves. But last summer and fall, with just eight of its 15 seats filled, the board struggled to muster the simple majority it needed to achieve a quorum.
The board did not meet between July and October, but held a meeting in November, after one of the seven vacancies was filled and eight of the nine members were present. That same month, in a Union-Tribune article on vacancies and the council’s difficulties meeting, the chief executive urged city residents to get involved and apply.
A few days later, Moreno named Flores. Clay’s Campillo nomination soon followed, as did Gloria’s eventual nominations.
“These members will help build a stronger CAB with broader representation from our community and ensure a quorum for meetings,” the board’s executive committee said in a statement to the Union-Tribune last week. . “Their interest is a testament to the importance this council still has in serving our San Diego community.”
Clay is a Del Cerro resident and Army veteran who teaches high school history and government in the Grossmont Union High School district. “He is an advocate for issues relating to racial equity, police reform and inclusion in education,” according to Gloria’s memorandum announcing the appointment.
Flores, who works in real estate, grew up in Logan Heights and graduated from San Diego State University with a degree in political science. She is a member of the captain’s advisory board for the central division of the police department and, during the pandemic, organized free food distributions from her home, according to the mayor’s memorandum and Moreno’s appointment.
There are still four vacant positions on the Citizens Advisory Council, including two in council districts. One is from District 1, represented by Joe LaCava, who previously served on the Citizen’s Advisory Council. The seat of his district has been open since he left to join the city council. The other is a board member and past board chair Jennifer Campbell’s District 2.
Six seats on the board are reserved for a member of the Association of Police Officers and experts in the fields of human relations, youth, social services, corrections and probation. The probation and human relations posts are currently vacant.
NAACP calls for dissolution of Citizens Advisory Board
In November, two days after the Union-Tribune story shed light on the citizens’ advisory council’s plight, the NAACP San Diego branch president called on the city to dissolve the council “rather than continue. wasting time, effort and money on the CAB. ”
Francine Maxwell – who has since been suspended by the national leadership of the NAACP for reasons unrelated to the Citizens Advisory Council – argued that city officials are ignoring the board and suggested the city to the place “invites hard-working individual members (of the board) to join the advisory boards of their local (police) captains, where they can continue to contribute their ideas and knowledge.”
Despite Maxwell’s suspension, which it is appealing, the local branch of the NAACP supports the recommendations it made last month, according to a statement from Brian Bonner, the branch’s interim president.
That’s a bold stance for a leading civil rights organization like the NAACP, especially given how the current iteration of the board has come about. City leaders relaunched the Citizens Advisory Board – which was established in 1990 but sat dormant for almost 20 years – in 2017, largely in response to studies that showed racial disparities in data on police stops.
In a statement, the executive committee of the board declined to comment on Maxwell and the NAACP’s proposal. But the executive committee – made up of executive director Gerald Brown, president Norma Sandoval and vice president Samantha Jenkins – stood up for its members and its purpose.
“The CAB remains confident in our future as we continue to receive public and administrative support from the mayor’s office and city council districts,” the statement said. “CAB’s mission continues to be centered on building positive relationships with stakeholders as we continue to ensure safety and justice in our beautiful city. “
Maxwell claimed in a phone interview last month that the community had never joined the board, noting that before the pandemic the only participants in monthly board meetings were often her and the same handful of activists. She also said that the city council had taken no formal action to implement elements of a list of reform recommendations the council made in 2019.
“The vital work, supported by good law enforcement officers and the community, of building trust through information and reform, is far too important to be symbolized by a council of law. ‘administration ignored by the city,’ Maxwell wrote in a Nov. 29 statement. Release.
She doesn’t believe the board can be fixed. “The community has already spoken,” she said in a telephone interview. “We don’t trust the CAB.”
She also called on LaCava, who was vice-chair of the Citizens’ Advisory Council when he won the election to city council last year, “to show bold leadership and to convince the committee of the rules and the chairman of the board to schedule a public hearing on the status of TAXI. ”
In a statement provided last month by his communications director, LaCava said he “(continues) to monitor the situation, including discussions with the NAACP and the mayor’s office. I hope to meet with the CAB chair afterwards. the holidays for an update on their 2022 work plan. “
In November, LaCava released a statement saying the board was “in transition to reassess its role and develop a new work plan” and that it would recruit candidates for the board and make an appointment “once they are completed. here treated “.
Maxwell believes LaCava should act sooner and take a more drastic approach. She wrote: “Now is the time to dissolve the CAB and urge its members to move (to) their local captain’s advisory boards where their voices have a better chance of being heard.”