From a Press Release dated yesterday
Congressman Bob Filner today requested City of San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders to investigate the permit that Blackwater received as a “vocational trade school.” Filner also asked for Mayor Sanders’ support in preventing Blackwater’s presence in San Diego. Attached is a copy of the letter, which was also sent to all eight San Diego City Council Members and the City Attorney.
Filner wrote, “The secrecy under which Blackwater contracted its facility in Otay Mesa causes great suspicion and distrust among community members in my District. The lack of transparency in their plans forces me to question their intent to develop a ‘vocational trade school.’ Blackwater is a company that profits from war, and they will not hesitate to profit from insecurity in our sensitive border region. Developing a paramilitary training facility, less than one mile from our international border, would send a dangerous message to Mexico and would hurt business and diplomatic relations. A positive relationship with Mexico has never been more critical to our National Security, and we must not take any action that would jeopardize that bond.”
“As you know, Blackwater has been under investigation for the shooting of 17 innocent Iraqi civilians on September 16, 2007. Since this event, Blackwater has been investigated by Congress, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of State. More specifically, Congress filed an investigation of tax, small business and labor law violations,” added Filner. “As a private company hired by the federal government, Blackwater lacks accountability to government agencies. Once in operation, there would be very little or no oversight governing Blackwater’s operations in our border region.”
Congressman Filner concluded, “Blackwater does not exhibit any of the signs of a good neighbor or a productive business partner. We cannot allow a company with their reputation to do business in our community – the cost is too high.”
Blackwater recently announced that they plan to open an indoor training center in Otay Mesa to train Navy personnel. Blackwater will operate a 61,600-square-foot building, including an enclosed shooting range, in a business park on Siempre Viva Road, just south of Brown Field. The building has been permitted for use as a vocational trade school.