full disclosure: I work for the Courage Campaign
We may have a situation in San Diego where two Republicans running for mayor are fighting to win the "I hate Blackwater more" competition. Seriously. It is bizarre, but great to see.
Blackwater managed to use two shell companies to get permits for a "vocational training facility" three blocks from the Mexican border (border security contracts, anyone?). The Courage Campaign teamed up with the San Diego County Democratic Party and Francine Busby to pressure San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders to start an investigation into the duplicitous means they used to obtain the permits. 2,660 people, including nearly 1,800 San Diego area residents, signed our letter to the Mayor in just a few days, after we targeted an email to San Diego County.
It worked. Monday afternoon he announced that he ordered the city's COO to launch an investigation.
Today, we just asked all of our members to sign this letter to the mayor, to ensure that no matter the outcome of the investigation, the Mayor needs to show real leadership in opposing Blackwater. Please join the Courage Campaign in signing the letter and keep the pressure on the mayor.
Surprisingly, we were joined in our opposition to Blackwater today by Mayor Sander's main rival for his office -- wealthy conservative businessman Steve Francis -- who went right after Sanders on Blackwater. This is from his press release (via email):
Right now, the Blackwater permit issue raises more questions than it answers. In light of the Blackwater West controversy last year, the fact that permits were sought using the names of Blackwater affiliates and not the Blackwater name itself raises serious questions. Was this a deliberate deception? How was a permit for a "vocational training school" given to a paramilitary training facility? Why was this matter not handled in an open and transparent way with public hearings and public comment period?
Those are some damn good questions. Sanders can answer a lot of them by taking a firm stand against Blackwater, blocking them from building a base of operations just three blocks from the Mexican border. Simply initiating an investigation is not enough. He needs to make it his mission to keep them out of San Diego.