Opposition to Blackwater USA's Plans for New Private Military Base Near Potrero a Tiny Rural Town East of San Diego Heats Up...
Local Democratic Club Joined by Their Congressman Takes Fight Statewide
Announces They Will Submit Resolution to Stop ‘Blackwater West’
at California Democratic Party State Convention This Weekend
Rep. Bob Filner (D-CA), Potrero Residents, Environmentalists, and Peace Activists to Speak Out in Support of Measure Outside Convention Saturday, April 28th at 8:30AM
SAN DIEGO, CA – - The controversial private security firm Blackwater USA is planning to build a new private military training base on an 824-acre ranch near Potrero, a tiny rural town east of San Diego near the US-Mexico border. The project, known as "Blackwater West," is coming under increasing fire by a growing coalition of local residents, environmentalists, peace activists, and recently joined by their Congressman Bob Filner (D-CA).
Raymond Lutz, President of the East County Democratic Club, will submit a resolution to the California Democratic Party State Convention to make private military bases, such as Blackwater West, illegal in California and more generally, to make any paramilitary, mercenary or similar boot camps illegal unless they are placed in safer, government-controlled locations.
WHAT: News Conference outside California Democratic Party State Convention in support of resolution blocking ‘Blackwater West’
WHEN: Saturday, April 28th, 8:30AM
WHERE: Convention Center Trolley Stop, North end of the San Diego Convention Center (Near the corner of Harbor Drive and First Street.) There is a large metal sculpture where we will gather.
WHO: Raymond Lutz, President, East County Democratic Club and StopBlackwater.net organizer
Congressman Bob Filner, 51st Congressional District
Jan Hedlun, Potrero Planning Group Member, and opponent of the project.
Jeanette Hartman, Chair, Land Use Committee, San Diego Chapter of the Sierra Club
Carol Jahnkow, Peace activist, San Diego Peace Resource Center
Other Potrero Residents
“We are exploring every avenue to put a stop to this private mercenary boot camp that threatens the very foundations of our civil liberties in this country,” said Raymond Lutz, President of the East County Democratic Club. “It will ruin a remarkable mountain valley, a public asset of all citizens."
To read full text of the Resolution Opposing Blackwater West and Mercenary Training in California go to: www.StopBlackwater.net
Plans for the new Blackwater site includes multiple firing ranges, training towers, an armory, a helipad, an urban simulation training area and a driving track.
The project won preliminary approval from the local planning board in December, but since then more than half the registered voters of Potrero have signed a petition opposing it. The residents are being joined by a growing coalition of environmentalists and peace activists.
Local residents battle against Blackwater’s plans for the area was sparked by the New York Times Bestseller ‘Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army’ (www.blackwaterbook.com) by award-winning journalist and author Jeremy Scahill.
Scahill’s exposure of the presence of Blackwater mercenaries in New Orleans post-Katrina and his reporting led to a Congressional inquiry and an internal Department of Homeland Security investigation.
Packed audiences are expected when Jeremy Scahill speaks in Oakland, on Saturday, April 28, 7:30PM First Congregational Church of Oakland, 2501 Harrison; in Los Angeles on Monday, April 30th, 7:30PM at the Nativity Episcopal Church, 7:30PM, 6700 West 83rd St. Westchester; and in San Diego area on Tuesday, May 1st, 7PM at the Unitarian Church, 4190 Front St. and Wednesday, May, 2nd, 7PM at La Mesa Community Center, 4975 Memorial Dr.
BLACKWATER WEST IN THE NEWS:
Comment period extended on training camp
May 28 is deadline on Blackwater plan
By Anne Krueger April 26, 2007
San Diego Union-Tribune
A private army for California?
by Robert Salladay April 17, 2007
Los Angeles Times Political Muscle Blog
Tiny Potrero Battles County and Blackwater USA
By Don Bauder February 22, 2007
San Diego Reader