From Rep. Bob Filner:
MEDIA ADVISORY – 10:45 a.m., Friday, April 25, 2008
Filner Protests Blackwater Development in South San Diego County
On Friday, April 25th, 2008, Congressman Bob Filner will host a rally and press conference announcing his opposition to Blackwater Worldwide’s proposed training facility in Otay Mesa, South San Diego County, California.
Joining the Congressman will be: Councilmember Ben Hueso, District 8; Council President Scott Peters, District 1; Carol Jahnkow, Peace Resource Center; Raymond Lutz, Citizens’ Oversight Projects; and Jeanette Hartman, Sierra Club.
“Residents of San Diego County rejected Blackwater’s proposed mercenary training facility in Potrero, and I cannot imagine that San Diegans will feel any differently about Otay Mesa,” said Congressman Filner. “The use of civilian-defense contractors is irresponsible, and should be stopped immediately. Not only are they unaccountable to the Military, the State Department and Congress; they are civilians serving in combat and combat-training. Many have been wounded or have wounded others, and yet, they are not veterans; there is no safety net when they come home. It is criminal to ask civilian men and women to perform the role of the military when they lack the support necessary to return to their civilian lives. The paramilitary-style training conducted at these facilities has no place in our backyards!”
Councilmember Ben Hueso added, “Military training belongs on a military base in a facility that is secure and not within an urbanized area. The political strain on the border debate caused by the presence of Blackwater USA will cause more of a detriment to our economy and our national security than the employment benefits they claim to provide. It is also unclear at what level or federal, state and local laws apply to the activities of Blackwater USA, or whether they will respect the delicate fabric of our border environment. Diplomatic ties with Mexico and resolving important issues of border security, border development and immigration have never been more critical to the welfare of San Diego and Tijuana.”
Senator Denise Moreno Ducheny, California Senate District 40, pointed out, “There were environmental issues when Blackwater tried to locate in Potrero and now they want to site a facility in an industrial area within the footprint of the proposed cross-border terminal. Given the controversial nature of this corporation, residents and stakeholders in Otay Mesa should have been informed of a proposed training facility for mercenaries near their community. Their views on this matter need to be taken into account whether this facility is compatible to Otay Mesa’s residents and businesses.”
Blackwater recently announced that they plan to open an indoor training center in Otay Mesa to train Navy personnel. Blackwater will operate a 61,600-square-foot building, including an enclosed shooting range, in a business park on Siempre Viva Road, just south of Brown Field. The building has been permitted for use as a vocational trade school.
WHEN: 10:45 a.m.,
Friday, April 25
WHERE: Proposed Facility Site
7685 Siempre Viva Road
San Diego, CA 92154