At least three board members of the Barrio Logan Planning Group resigned this week amid growing tensions over the group’s obligation as a city-recognized entity and demands from activists to keep police officers out of meetings.
“It has been a long and difficult decision, but I feel it is time to tender my resignation as a voting member of the Barrio Logan Community Planning Group, effective immediately,” wrote board member Kenny Soreano in an email Oct. 12.
He isn’t the only one. I confirmed that at least two others have officially resigned.
What happened: At the group’s September meeting, a former board member and community activist, Lucas Cruz, demanded that the planning group remove a police officer from the meeting. The group’s chair, Julie Corrales, asked the officer to leave. He did.
Cruz wanted the police officer to leave because the day before the meeting, police officers arrested two teens at Chicano Park in Barrio Logan. A video on social media shows the officers questioning the boys about being at the park during school hours. The boys explained they got off early and that they were not truant. During that interaction one of the officers tackled one of the boys. The officers handcuffed both boys and arrested them.
The boys were reportedly volunteering at the park to remove old paint from benches and walls. The San Diego Police Department has been mum on the arrest, but one police captain told me a complaint was filed and now there’s a personnel investigation.
Board Members Respond to the Events
Tensions have been high among the Barrio Logan Planning Group’s board members. They meet once a month at the Chicano Park Museum and Cultural Center, which is a few feet from where the teens were arrested.
Some members disagreed with the chair’s decision to ask the police officer to leave. Community planning groups are city-recognized groups that provide input on land use decisions and projects. Each of the city’s 42 planning groups have bylaws and must comply with California’s open meeting laws
Members of the Barrio Logan Planning Group spent days emailing and arguing over meeting decorum and whether they should move to a different location.
One board member said they didn’t feel safe meeting at the museum. One wrote in an email that there are two sides to every story and questioned what the kids were doing at the park. One person responded saying that was insensitive to the situation. Another said community voices are important, but that the group can’t pick who does or doesn’t speak. One said it was understandable emotions were high and that people wanted a place to make their voices heard.
It’s safe to say, everyone had feelings about what happened at the September meeting.
A few weeks ago, Corrales, the group’s chair, told me that while the group is recognized by the city, at the same time, it’s supposed to be safe space for community. During the September meeting, she felt that the community made it clear that they did not want a police officer there. She stands by her decision to ask the officer to leave.
‘Leaving the CPG, for Now’
The board planned a special meeting for Monday, Oct. 9, at the Don Diego VFW Post to select a new meeting location going forward. Corrales wrote in an email that she did not want to have a special meeting at a different location given the topic. The board is in the middle of electing new board members.
“The serious lack of diversity currently on the board, I believe, doesn’t make room for decisions that truly reflect our greater community,” she wrote and encouraged people to attend the meeting at make their voices heard.
That didn’t sit well with Soreano.
“This is sad and ridiculous baiting for protest,” Soreano wrote. He noted that voting members on the board side with her almost all the time.
Corrales responded with: “You know the board is not full and yet you pushed to have a meeting to decide the fate of the location without full representation. At least own it.”
She later apologized for arguing over email. And encouraged people to attend the meeting.
Board members Soreano, Matt Carr and Katie Pipes resigned this week. Soreano wrote in an email with the subject line “Leaving the CPG, for now” on Oct. 12 that it’s time for him to step down, but would consider returning in the future.
What Now? The planning group’s next meeting is on Wednesday, Oct. 18, at 6 p.m. to hold its election. It will meet at the Chicano Park Museum and Cultural Center.
All Things Politifest
Boy did we put on a good show! This year for our annual policy summit Politifest 2023 we delivered some of the most interesting, timely conversations on water and housing.
If you missed it, don’t worry. We are publishing videos, transcripts and stories on all the discussions and debates. It’s hard to pick which ones were the best (our digital manager said it’s like picking a favorite puppy) but I’ve rounded up what you need to know here.
You can visit our Politifest page here to watch the discussions. And listen to the VOSD Podcast for a live recording with California Attorney General Rob Bonta.
Note: Muchas gracias to all my loyal Cup of Chisme readers for coming to Politifest! It was amazing to meet you and it brings me so much joy to learn that you enjoy getting chisme in your inbox every week.