When Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced July 13 that he’d be heading up the statewide campaign to oppose Proposition 57, it took some folks by surprise.

The measure would grant early parole consideration to certain offenders, allow inmates who engage in educational and vocational programs to earn good-time credits and give judges discretion over whether juveniles should be tried as adults (right now, district attorneys make that call).

Faulconer’s move pit him against District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, usually a Faulconer ally, who in January announced her support for the measure.

There was speculation Faulconer joined the campaign to boost his statewide profile for a 2018 bid for governor — though he’s repeatedly denied any plans to run. Since his July announcement, though, he’s been relatively quiet about Prop. 57.

Faulconer’s most significant contribution has been monetary: According to campaign finance reports, his 2016 mayoral campaign has given more than $6,700 to No on 57. And in an interview with Voice of San Diego earlier this month, Faulconer said he was responsible for securing $10,000 each from developer Tom Sudberry and financier David Malcolm, both  of whom supported Faulconer’s mayoral bid.

But Faulconer was less successful in rallying support from a constituency that’s arguably the most impacted by the over-incarceration that Prop. 57 seeks to address: the black community.

We Stand Up for You. Will You Stand Up for Us?

On July 19, Darnisha Hunter, Faulconer’s community representative to City Council District 4, sent an email from her personal account, with the subject line “Prop 57 Materials,” to several prominent black religious leaders.

“Here are two documents that might be useful,” she wrote. “The first one succinctly explains the major problems with Prop 57. The second document is flyer that serves as an example of the type of person that would be eligible for early released [sic].”

The flier featured a photo of 77-year-old Arthur Eugene Lindsey, a repeat offender who was recently sentenced to 102 years in prison for drugging and raping a woman and being a felon in possession of a firearm. Above Lindsey’s photo it says, “Meet your new neighbor” and, below it, “Under PROP. 57 murderer-rapist Arthur Eugene Lindsey would be eligible for a reduced prison sentence and early parole … into your neighborhood.”

Lindsey has become a poster boy – literally – for No on 57. While the measure says only nonviolent offenders would be eligible for early parole consideration, under California penal code, drugging and raping a woman is technically a nonviolent offense. The flier clearly implies someone like Lindsey could be paroled early under Prop. 57.

But that’s not accurate, said Frankie Guzman, an attorney with the National Center for Youth Law, who helped draft Prop. 57. Current parole rules bar anyone required to register as a sex offender from being eligible for early parole. Rape of an unconscious person, as well as sex trafficking — another crime No on 57 claims could mean early parole — both require registration.

Prop. 57 supporters also emphasize that being granted a parole hearing is far from the guaranteed early release opponents are suggesting. Parole is denied far more often than it’s granted. According to the Board of Parole Hearings, out of 5,300 inmates up for parole in 2015, only 902, or 17 percent, were released.

The Lindsey flier made news in late August when Gov. Jerry Brown, who sponsored Prop. 57, took to task Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims, a co-chair for No on 57 who’d sent out a mailer featuring Lindsey. In a voicemail message Brown left for Mims, obtained by The Sacramento Bee, the governor described the mailer as “extremely false, and I would even say malicious.”

Brown went on to accuse Mims of using “scare tactics that I think are unbecoming of a public official, and certainly will not build the kind of mutual respect and trust that we all need to do our jobs.”

Bishop Roy Dixon, who’s one of several black community leaders who periodically meets with Faulconer, said the email from Hunter containing the flier and anti-Prop. 57 talking points was in response to questions that came up during a July meeting with the mayor. Faulconer’s opposition to Prop. 57 was a focus of the meeting, Dixon said. Some attendees asked the mayor if he could send them additional information.

“I did notice a few preachers besides myself who spoke their mind very well and did not agree with the mayor,” Dixon said.

City ethics rules bar employees from engaging in campaign activities during work hours or using city resources, such as an email account, for campaigning purposes. Hunter sent the email from a private account at 12:34 p.m., presumably her lunch hour. Faulconer told Voice of San Diego he had no knowledge of the email. A mayoral spokesman asked to see a copy and, in a response several days later, said Hunter sent it on her own time and own accord. He confirmed that Faulconer met with a group of black pastors on July 15.

Bishop Cornelius Bowser, who presides over Charity Apostolic Church in Santee, didn’t receive Hunter’s email but heard about it. He said he doesn’t think it had much impact.

“We have been educating those black pastors on Prop. 57, and to my understanding, many of them are supporting Prop. 57,” he said.

In a brief interview, Faulconer dodged a question about the veracity of No on 57’s claims about early parole for sex offenders, instead reiterating that he believes Prop. 57 “is taking the state backwards in terms of public safety.”

“I think the victims’ rights laws we have passed that give victims the absolute certainty of how long somebody’s going to stay in prison are important,” he said. “Going back to the days of indeterminate sentencing is the wrong thing for this state to do.”

Recent polls show that roughly 70 percent of voters say they’d vote in favor of the measure. And campaign committees supporting Prop. 57 have raised about $8 million more than the one committee opposing the measure.

“[Faulconer] is going to be on the wrong side of history,” Guzman said. “He doesn’t have facts on his side. He doesn’t have the public on his side.”

If Prop. 57 passes, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation will be responsible for drafting regulations that spell out who’s eligible for early parole consideration, Guzman said. The measure also requires CDCR to certify that the regulations are designed to enhance public safety.

“The regulation process is a public process,” Guzman said. “The statute requires public input. Victims, the community, law enforcement, will have a role to play in regulations that are adopted.”

In a statement issued shortly after Faulconer announced his opposition to Prop. 57, Dumanis said she’d chosen to support Prop. 57 — she’s the only DA in California doing so — in order “to have a seat at the table” when CDCR drafts guidelines.

“I’ll leverage that access to address law enforcement’s concerns,” she said.

    This article relates to: 2016 Elections, Politics, Public Safety

    Written by Kelly Davis

    Kelly Davis is a freelance journalist focusing on criminal justice and social issues. Follow her on Twitter @kellylynndavis or send an email to kellydaviswrites@gmail.com

    Joe Jones
    Joe Jones subscriber

    Say, here's a thought. Perhaps the "communities impacted by over-incarceration" can become less impacted if their members commit fewer crimes.

    rhylton subscriber

    @Joe Jones Here is a thought that will have, at its end, a command.

    The persons in "communities impacted by over-incarceration" are targeted by race and ethnicity. Were other "communities" similarly targeted, the outcomes would be similar; but they are not. I say this because it is well established, by people smarter than either of us,  that all groups have similar criminogenic tendencies.

    I command you to learn some facts or to acquire some data, the contents of which will prove factual, upon analysis.  Fact- driven comments are superior to those produced by an overactive amygdala. Moreover, to sensible people you will seem less silly.

    Joe Jones
    Joe Jones subscriber

    @rhylton @Joe Jones  I shall follow thy command, oh rhylton! I have learned some facts and and acquired some data from the FBI Uniform Crime Report. Oops, we don't want to go there, do we, Your Majesty?

    rhylton subscriber

    @Joe Jones @rhylton Again,sir, I find you intransigent and disobedient; perhaps dense; maybe all three. Crime rates do not provide the police department with the specificity to stop individuals who have committed no offence or do not meet a specific suspect description. I do not care what you or Myrtle Cole think, for you are both misguided.

    To simplify it for you, you cannot stop more blue people because they commit more crimes. California law and the U.S. Constitution does not allow that. Sorry.

    rhylton subscriber

    @Joe Jones @rhylton   The City of San Diego did not release the biased-policing report, as was feared. The scoundrels, instead, have prepared a"presentation", devoid of scale,  for public consumption. An article

    that covers it may be found on KPBS at:http://www.kpbs.org/news/2016/oct/26/initial-results-show-race-might-matter-when-pulled/

    The revealing moment is when you come to the passage that says: 'the researchers list recommendations for the department, including: "acknowledge and address existence of racial/ethnic disparities" and increase

    "officer training and oversight." However they do not elaborate on their conclusions."' Officers are recommended for training when a need is perceived for that training. And, like the alcoholic, acknowledgement of the existence of a problem is where you must always start.

    rhylton subscriber

    Faulconer is a liar, who works with cowards on the City Council.  Together, they create, implement or approve policies and practices that result in massive disproportionate abuse and incarceration rates in certain "communities." It should therefore come as no surprise that he will find no support there.

    May this lack of support, in all  knavish activities, prove to be so for each and all of them; the members of the City Council and all who support them.

    With a grimace I welcomed the mealy-mouthed "apology for Historic Abuse of Minorities" that came from the President of the Chief's of police, who are assembled in, this, our Mississippi Of the West. The grimace was provoked by the knowledge that this City's report on biased-policing is more than one year overdue (Phase 1) and will be made public tomorrow. I cannot wait to see if the weasels made their way into its words.

    Joe Jones
    Joe Jones subscriber

    @rhylton Oh, here's a wild guess how you'll react, rhylton...if the public report shows bias, it's proof that all police are Evil. If it doesn't, it's proof that Evil Politicians have covered it up. How "knavish" of those "liars and cowards," in either case. And it's the policies and practices of law enforcement, not the actual perps, who are to blame for crimes committed. And the beat goes on in Fantasyland.

    rhylton subscriber

    @Joe Jones @rhylton Your guess is indeed wild Joe, but I do not care about guesses, give me facts. And the fantasy is in your comment about crimes and perps. A biased-policing report is a report about police actions. It is not about criminals or crime rates. 

    As it stands The Apology is something of a breakthrough, since it comes from a lot that have heretofore steadfastly denied bias, in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. 

    As for the SDPD biased-policing report, I was the source of the first 9 month's data that was examined and reported upon by SDSU. They reported massive disparities and inverse HitRates. My concern is that they, SDSU, may reverse course, since, after all, the City of San Diego is paying for the report. If they, SDSU, reverse or  cook the report; if they are the knaves that I fear,  I shall sue them.

    Try to learn a little -not a lot, since I do not wish to tax your limited faculties- before embarrassing yourself with a silly uninformed comment again.

    Joe Jones
    Joe Jones subscriber

    @rhylton @Joe Jones  Um...yeah. You're the sole source of 9 months of data, and are going to sue the knaves. Well, the good news is that they apparently allow internet access at Happy Acres.

    rhylton subscriber

    @Joe Jones @rhylton  Your possession and use of police jargon is undisputed, impeccable and it is matched by your powers of prevarication and grasp “for” wild things (not “of” them.) Unless I am mistaken, I did not claim to be the “sole” source of data to Josh Chanin or SDSU. I rather suspect that the word "sole" does not appear in my post.. Others said or intimated so. My assertion speaks for itself as does the all Document that are embedded here.

    My assertion of the two seminal data elements that, in-and-off themselves are strong indicators of policing bias, are supported by the charts that plot Field Interviews over the last 33 months and the other for Hit rates for the same period. As a point of beginning please use the definition of the terms "Field Interview" and "Hit Rate" in evaluating the embedded; if you have the wherewithal to do so.

    Finally; what I am writing now and have written before is really not meant for you, but for those who believe that they can use taxpayers funds to deceive taxpayers. To a lesser degree it is meant for those who use the term "communities" because they lack the fortitude to write plainly.


    rhylton subscriber

    @Joe Jones The Rose memorandum advocates the targeting of persons who are predominantly, members of the "communities" that you disparage. But targeting is illegal. It violates not only the California criminal code but also the U.S. Constitution. Accordingly Rose advocates criminal conduct by the police, and she obtained it (even though its practice preceded her advocacy.)

    The Field Interview chart shows the disparate impact of the advocated illegal practices, over 33 months, and the Hit Rate chart shows the unproductiveness of the effort, for the same period. Targeting Whites would have been more productive. Asians, until 2015, were a better source of contraband than either Blacks or Hispanics.

    If you are unable to understand any of this, please remember that it is not meant for you only, but for deniers or those who would use taxpayer money to deceive. Please feel free to point out any typographical or style errors. I am used to those and commit many of them.

    Please share this with your cop friends.

    Joe Jones
    Joe Jones subscriber

    @rhylton @Joe Jones I'm not sure I understand. Could you waste--I mean, could you spend some more time explaining all that? And maybe a draft of your lawsuit against the city? Thanks!

    rhylton subscriber

    @Joe Jones @rhylton No to both requests, I immediately, from the tone of your first response, recognized you as one of the many who are inconvenienced by facts; those who are comforted by "wild guesses." 

    As regards the documents (emails) and charts,  I was sure that you would not understand, or would feign that claim. As regards the proposed or threatened suit, if SDSU (Josh Chanin) and company produce a document where the findings are essentially congruent with what they presented in December 2014, I will keep my peace. However, if they change their tune, i.e. revise their findings or try to invalidate the data (2014 or 2015), I will rear my handsome head. They (SDSU and Chanin) were warned of the SDPD's self-inflicted wounds, to its data.

    If shenanigans occur, I will waste time by providing you with a link to the filed lawsuit.

    I am off "to the funny farm, where life is beautiful all the time"...Napoleon XIV

    rhylton subscriber

    @Joe Jones @rhylton Further to my earlier, but less timely, and prescient. is this email received today from the ACLU.

    ACTION ALERT: Speak up about racial profiling


    Dear Richard,

    We need your help.

    In February 2015, the City of San Diego commissioned San Diego State University to analyze San Diego Police Department traffic stop data to shed light on possible racial profiling of local drivers. The SDSU report is scheduled to be presented and discussed at the City Council’s Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods Committee meeting on October 26, 2016. We look forward to reviewing this long-awaited study; to participating in a candid, constructive and evidence-based discussion of policing in San Diego; and to working with all stakeholders – affected community members, organizations, policy makers, and law enforcement – to bring about positive change for all concerned.

    Serious concerns have been raised that Mayor Faulconer may not release the SDSU report as promised. This is deeply troubling given the efforts to achieve transparency and accountability and build community trust with police.

    The time has come to hold Mayor Faulconer and San Diego Police Department accountable for a policy instituted more than 16 years ago to monitor for racial bias in police traffic stops. The time has come to hold them accountable for more than two years of broken promises to publicly disclose what the data reveals about racial profiling of San Diego drivers.