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San Diego’s criminal and social justice systems are focus of discussion at OB Town Council meeting

The Ocean Beach Town Council's June 24 meeting held via Zoom was available to the community on Facebook Live.
(Savanah Duffy)

The Ocean Beach Town Council hosted Geneviéve Jones-Wright, executive director and co-founder of Community Advocates for Just and Moral Governance, or MoGo, to discuss San Diego’s criminal and social justice systems during the Town Council’s meeting June 24.

The meeting, held via Zoom, was available to the community on Facebook Live.

Jones-Wright is vice president of the Earl B. Gilliam Bar Association and a volunteer attorney for the California Innocence Project, a nonprofit organization at California Western School of Law in San Diego dedicated to exonerating wrongly convicted inmates.

She also is an adjunct professor at Point Loma Nazarene University and a member of the board of directors of the David’s Harp Foundation, which aims to help at-risk and homeless youths achieve academic success through music and more.

MoGo is a nonprofit involved in various forms of advocacy, especially in litigation intended to effect societal change. The group formally launched March 7, shortly before Gov. Gavin Newsom issued his stay-at-home order in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Jones-Wright said one of her first actions as executive director of MoGo was to send a letter to the San Diego police chief and mayor asking them to stop the practice of ticketing unsheltered community members. She wrote the letter after hearing about people seeking shelter from heavy rains in March under the awning of a public library but being pushed out by San Diego police.

“I just thought, ‘Where are we in this society where people can’t seek shelter from a torrential downpour in front of a closed library?’” she said.

MoGo works to ensure that San Diegans are being treated with humanity and compassion, no matter where they are, Jones-Wright said. That led to her next topic — jail inmates.

MoGo has filed emergency petitions during the pandemic on behalf of inmates in San Diego County jails who have compromised immune systems and should have been released due to the risk of the coronavirus, she said.

During a discussion of the city budget, she encouraged the community to pay attention to the budget to get an idea of the city’s priorities.

Also discussed during the meeting was the proposed Commission on Police Practices, a new San Diego police review board that, if approved, would have the power to launch independent misconduct investigations and subpoena witnesses. The City Council unanimously endorsed the plan June 23, and a formal vote to place it on the November ballot is set for Tuesday, July 7.

The panel would replace the volunteer Community Review Board on Police Practices “with an independent commission to bring public trust to the way SDPD is held accountable,” according to the group San Diegans for Justice, which led the proposal this spring.

To hear the full discussion on criminal and social justice systems in San Diego, view the meeting video on the OB Town Council Facebook page at bit.ly/obtcmeetingjune24.

Recycling containers

Recycling containers were added to the Ocean Beach Pier, the pier parking lot and Veterans Plaza on June 25. The containers were funded by the San Diego Environmental Services Department and will be serviced daily by the Parks and Recreation Department.

The project was spearheaded by Ocean Beach Town Council community enhancement chairman Cameron Reid.

The OB Town Council next meets on Facebook Live at 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 22.


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