Complaint Lodged Against Clean and Safe Program Employee

Israel Puente, a retired Marine Corps veteran, appeared before the San Diego City Council on May 17 to express his disappointment with a Clean and Safe Program employee during an incident that occurred over the past weekend in front of the Balboa Theatre.

According to Puente, he witnessed a man who was bleeding on Sunday night at 9:00 p.m. He said he promptly stopped a safety ambassador from the Clean and Safe Program and asked him to call the police.

“This man, who was a safety ambassador — with an orange shirt and a bicycle — refused to call the police department because he said that he had prepaid minutes on his cell phone,” said Puente.

Puente said the safety ambassador “didn’t react” to the fact that a man was bleeding and that the employee left the scene even after he was told that a complaint to his supervisor would be made.

“That’s ridiculous,” said Puente. “You would be upset…if that was your family member.”

Although the safety ambassadors are employees of the business improvement district and aren’t subject to oversight by the city, Puente expressed his displeasure in how the matter was handled and pointed out how the Clean and Safe staffer didn’t have a radio to use for emergencies.

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No radio? Prefer not to use pre-paid minutes to report a bleeding man? Okay then, time to change the name of the group to "Clean, Safe, and Stupid." IMHO.

"Clean and Safe" doesn't tell me what they are hired to do. If it is something like a staff of roving security guards, they are expected to summon sworn law enforcement if they see something is wrong, or if a crime is in progress, or if a crime has been committed. So, what is their role?

I think their primary role, in the event of a crime in progress, or if they just see something that is not right, is to come to attention, focus on what they are seeing, and stand stupid.

After all, these people are not law enforcement agents; they are "Safety Ambassadors," which I believe is second cousin to Stupid Ambastardadors. My legalanglish is a little rusty, but I believe if they were to actually do something, they could be brought up on charges of acting in an un-stupid way, which is in complete violation of the Saftey Ambassadors Stand Stupid Code of Conduct. Come on now! You want to cause trouble?

How about "clean safe and milking/bilking the public"? Give me a break. This is what Sanders/DeMaio privatization buys you. The path to BID enrichment/empowerment is planned to be even easier going forward: Can you say, "privatization, privatization, privatization"? North Park BID MAD is next.

Downtown property owners, please note: the statement

"the safety ambassadors are employees of the business improvement district and aren’t subject to oversight by the city,..."

is not correct.

The so-called "safety ambassadors" are basically the employees of assessment-paying property owners, who pay on their property tax bills money that goes directly to the Downtown San Diego Partnership, an arm of the CCDC. Both DSDP and CCDC are subject to City oversight (although we know oversight is a big joke). DSDP is given all of the property assessments and they run the downtown property-based improvement district PBID (which is not a business improvement district, i.e., a BID; there are lots of downtown BIDs, too, but they collect a business-license tax for their funds and privatized actions).

Here is the DSDP website describing the duties of the safety ambassadors: http://www.sdcleanandsafe.org/node/2

An assessment on a property tax bill is public money. Giving public money to private organizations to use is dangerous folly, and there had better be lots of elected-government oversight.

The safety employee is not employed by the BID. He has an employer, usually a non-profit CDC-type organization which administers the BID. The county collects your money, which it gives to the city. The city then issues a contract to the non-profit to support the BID. The only problem is that what is supposed to be actually accomplished is lost in the process. What is the safety employee supposed to do? Well, not so easy to find out. He is probably low-paid. The administators of the contract don't have all that much left after they pay themselves after all.

It's the property-based taxing entity, the PBID, not a BID, that does the "safety patrol" deal - that's run by the Downtown San Diego Partnership, an arm of the CCDC. But you are correct about the public money that goes to hire useless, phony cops. Wouldn't everyone love it if all that wasted assessment money went to a real police department? Millions and millions of public money, as "assessments," are given to nonprofits, who pay themselves first, and a lot of what's left goes to cover overhead expenses. The City mayor and Planning Department, with the help of some really bad Councilmembers, has organized this approach. It's the Republican thing to do!

One more point: that prepaid cell phone that Mr. Bad Safety Amb-ass was so loathe to use was most certainly paid for by the assessed downtown property owners. The PBIDs and MADs give all the PBID/MAD staff cell phones, courtesy of the assessed property owners. Who those staff call is up to them. Looks like this one didn't want to waste his free minutes on the cops!

I always wondered what these people, zipping around downtown on their Segways, actually did. I actually asked a couple of them and they couldn't give me a reasonable answer. It says on the link that they are supposed to liaise with the police, so this individual was neglecting his duties.

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