Southwestern College will send its police academy students to the Blackwater Lodge and Training Center in Otay Mesa for weapons training under an agreement approved by the college's governing board. See Blackwater In Southwestern College for details.
Stop Blackwater Rally - Nisour Massacre Anniversary -- Info, pictures and articles about our successful protest on September 13th in front of the Blackwater base of operations in Otay Mesa, just north of the border to commemorate the 17 innocent civilians cut down by Blackwater gunfire on September 16th, 2007, and to protest against Blackwater's mercenary training school in Otay Mesa.
On Otay Mesa, only a block or so from the international border, Blackwater has set up shop in an industrial park. (Otay is pronounced "Oh-Tie")
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The building is at 7685 Siempre Viva Rd, San Diego, CA 92154. Please note that only a few blocks away (two to three) is the international border, and Tijuana International Airport. The two doors south of the facility is the U.S. Border Patrol, Otay Station.
Big Picture context of the Blackwater Otay secret facility.:
From April 2003 San Diego Metro Magazine: "Oncor International reports that a 61,599 sqft shell industrial building in the new six building Britannia Corporate Center project in Otay Mesa has been sold for 3.6 million. to Home Tex Packaging Corp. The new owner plans to relocate it's textile distribution center here."
More amazing research on this company: Home Tex
Those blowers are connected to a freestanding structure inside the building, which I assume is a pre-fab shooting gallery of some sort. At the other end of the building is a simulated building "shoot house" like the ones they were planning for Potrero, I assume.
According to Anne Krueger, Union Tribune reporter, Blackwater VP Brian Bonfiglio has admitted these facts and will be giving her a tour of the facility.
Was there any public review of these plans? Is the air expelled from the shoot house laced with gun powder and other pollutants? Do we care about the air, or is it okay to pollute as long as it is near the border?
It is interesting that the INPUT blowers seem to have no filtration. Apparently, if their neighbor backs up a semi truck to the inputs, the blowers would happily suck in the truck exhaust and the shooters would either go unconscious or at least start to miss their targets. I'm sure that this sort of ventilation equipment is normally found on the rooftops of the buildings and not sitting out in the parking area. With all the animosity Blackwater seems to generate in the public, they'll need to put that ventilation equipment behind locks gates, at least.
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Building permit for interior tenant improvement. Work: 44.0 lineal feet of new partition in existing office space. OWNER: Safchild Investments?, LLC, 1925 Century Park East, #1950, Los Angeles, CA 90067 (Partition mainly to cover entrances of restroom doors and to change conference room, apparently to increase size of training room.
01 Oct 2007
Mechanical Permit with plans. Scope of work to include: Install 2 new A/C units, 6 exhaust fans. Electrical under separate permit. Raven Development/ Southwest Law Enforcement Training Enterprises. Plans detail interior shooting range with laminar flow ventilation equipment. Plans show input and discharge to roof and not to loading dock, as was built. There is no mention of "shooting range" except control panel has lights "Safe to Shoot", "Do Not Shoot" and switch "Range ventilation on/off". The various approval blocks do not include any approvals for a shooting range or the use of firearms in the facility.
07 Feb 2008
Add modular training unit inside existing warehouse for extg Southwest Law Enforcement Facility Plans for this project have been "lost" by the development department of the City of San Diego. Reviewed the plans and applications on 09 Jun 2008. General Application shows "Project description" as "Add indoor Firing range", but computer description shows: "Scope" as "Building permit to add modular training unit inside extg warehouse for extg Southwest Law Enforcement facility." They took great care to omit the concept of "firing range" in the publicly-accessible computer record and then made the plans unavailable.
28 May 2008
Scope: OTAY MESA Building permit to add a simulator/ride inside of extg warehouse for Southwest Law Enforcement Facility (Raven Development)
Files were not available as they were in office of Afsaneh Ahmadi. To make an appointment, call 619-557-7998. I also saw this number: 619-446-5406.
I note that the project at this facility was started shortly after we announced our huge rally in Potrero, on October 7th. They pulled permits exactly one month prior to our Rally. Apparently, the rally in Potrero was enough to spook Blackwater into seeking an secret "Plan B". They added the modular training unit a month before they finally pulled the Potrero project. This was at the same time that Brian Bonfiglio was the most adamant about continuing the Potrero project. In other words, don't believe it when they say that public action has no impact!
Initial tip also implicated the shell corporation E & J Holdings based in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
City Law of Relevance
Section 53.10 Firearms, Etc. -- Firing Prohibited -- Exceptions
(a) Purpose and Intent. It is the purpose and intent of the Council of The City of San Diego that the firing of firearms and other explosives within the city limits be strictly regulated for the protection of all persons and property located in the City.
(b) Definitions. For the purposes of this section:
(1) Firearm shall mean any weapon from which a missle, such as, but not limited to, a bullet, ball, or shell, is hurled by an explosive.
(2) Fire shall mean to explode, discharge, or impel by using heat, purcussion or electric spark.
(3) The term explosive is defined as it is in Section 53.05 of this Article.
(c) Prohibition. No person shall fire any firearm or explode any explosive within The City of San Diego.
(d) Exceptions. This section does not apply to firearms fired under the authority of the United States of the State of California, nor to shooting galleries or target ranges; nor where a permit has been issued or a firing area designated by the City Council pursuant to Subsections (e) and (f) hereof.
(e) Permits. The City Council, by resolution, may issue written permits to fire firearms upon such terms and under such conditions as it deems proper. The terms and conditions imposed by the Council shall be set forth on the face of any permit issued under this subsection.
(f) The City Council, by resolution, may designate certain areas within the City in which it shall be lawful to fire firearms upon such terms and under such conditions as the Council deems proper.
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24 Apr 2008 - Raymond Lutz attempted to review the permits at DSD. Told that none of the permits were available to view and an appointment would be necessary with Afsaneh Ahmadi. Attempted to contact Ahmadi but she was in a meeting and would not be available for the rest of the day. They said to make an appointment, call 619-557-7998. I also saw this number: 619-446-5406.
13 May 2008 - 12 p.m. - Raymond Lutz files appeal of permits and submits $100 counter fee to start the appeal.
15 May 2008 - Union Tribune reporter Tanya Mannes interviews Kelly Broughton?, the head of DSD, Development Services Dept., who says appeal was accepted in error at the counter, and that the public has no right to appeal the permits.
27 May 2008 - Ben Hueso announces that the City has received the lawsuit at the 10 a.m. City Council meeting.
29 May 2008 - Raymond Lutz stumbles upon the hearing in the Federal Court Calendar, moved up from Monday, June 2, to May 30.
30 May 2008 - Hearing in Federal Court regarding motion for a temporary restraining order to require the city to allow Blackwater to commence operations. The judge ruled that it had jurisdiction and said she would present a written decision on June 3. See details here: Blackwater Vs City Of San Diego Thirty protestors in front of Federal Courthouse despite short notice of less than 24-hours. Seats in hearing room full to capacity. Federal Judge Hon. Marilyn Huff ruled that she had jurisdiction in the case and implied that her eventual ruling would approve the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO).
03 Jun 2008 - Federal Judge Hon. Marilyn Huff did not complete her ruling on the matter as suggested in the May 30 hearing. Mayor Jerry Sanders wins re-election as Mayor.
04 Jun 2008 - Ruling by Judge Hon. Marilyn Huff provides temporary restraining order, thereby requiring the city to provide the occupancy permit to Blackwater.
05 Jun 2008 - Blackwater begins training operations
05 Jun 2008 - COPs resubmits appeal to be applied to the appropriate form, to be renewed under the original date.
06 Jun 2008 - Internal audit released. Two weeks late and with glaring omissions of the key questions. No mention of "ministerial" or "discretionary" in the document. Union Tribune says it exonerates Blackwater. Hardly.
07 Jun 2008 - Announcement of June 11 protest rally hits email lists.
10 Jun 2008 - Jeremy Scahill returns for appearance at the Unitarian Church and book signing of paperback edition of Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army
11 Jun 2008 - Jeremy Scahill, Pedro Rios?, and other community leaders meet in San Ysidro.
17 Jun 2008 - Second hearing before Marilyn Huff, argued this time by Mike Aguirre. No change in the ruling. Aguirre says he will appeal to the 9th circuit. Huff went further to say that all future permits must be handled with no more than ministerial (rubber stamp) processing.
19 Jun 2008 - Mia Farrow, the actress and activist, asked Blackwater for help in Darfur after becoming frustrated by the stalled deployment of a United Nations peacekeeping force.
20 Jun 2008 - Raymond Lutz submitted an appeal of the fourth permit, this one for the "simulator/Ride" ship simulator. Appeal brought out the question of calling it a "vocational School", asked how the facility was not in violation of California law against paramilitary training, questioned why the paper application called it a "shooting range" but the computer record called it a "modular training unit," asked why it was considered an "existing Southwest Law Enforcement Facility" when the facility was never given an occupancy permit under that name, and "Joint venture" was already defunct, and asked what fines were appropriate for Blackwater since they built the trainer prior to getting a permit.
23 Jun 2008 - Raymond Lutz went before the San Diego City Council and demanded action on the case.
23 Jun 2008 - Federal agents raided a [Moyock, North Carolina] Blackwater armory and seized 34 automatic (AK-47) rifles registered in the name of the Camden County, N.C., Sheriff's Office.
24 Jun 2008 - NRA comes out in support of Blackwater facility.
25 Jun 2008 - San Diego Development Services Department (DSD) returned the fourth permit (dated June 20) to Blackwater with 64 conditions, including the requirement that the training facility must meet ADA requirements. Blackwater says they don't need to be compliant and said the City should comply with the court's ruling.
02 Jul 2008 - James Webb?, Senator of Virginia, holding up the approval of four civilian defense officials until he gets more information about the Blackwater training facility in Otay Mesa.
11 Dec 2008 - City of San Diego Agreed to settle the lawsuit with Blackwater for $150,000 instead of pursuing the appeal. The fact that Mike Aguirre did not keep his seat as City Attorney probably had a lot to do with this.
16 Jun 2009 - San Diego City Council voted to approve the settlement but added the request to BW to forgive the City of the debt and to improve Development Services Department procedures to stop other unscrupulous companies from misusing the permit process. See Resolution of the settlement and video of meeting
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