June 23, 2000
By Terry Hanks
National City Resident
For the last five Sundays, from dusk to dawn, the National City Police Department literally has declared `Marshall Law' upon the residents of National City and upon whomever chooses to use our city streets to eat, shop, and/or socialize. These actions violate our Constitutional Rights "to move about freely without restraint."
I spoke with an Officer of the NCPD who informed me that "they were only obeying the orders of the Chief of Police." He further stated THAT THEY DIDN'T HAVE ENOUGH OFFICERS TO ENFORCE THE LAWS ON THE BOOKS. Therefore, they have to close down Highland Ave, from 4th to 30th St. which takes fewer officers to control the area.
The business owners along Highland Ave. , absolutely opposed the city's actions. "We are losing thousands of dollars in business because our customers cannot get into our shopping malls, restaurants, stores etc.
Mayor George Waters informed me that the Police Chief told him, that closing Highland Avenue was the only way he could prevent "Cruising and Gang violence"! THE OTHER ALTERNATIVE WOULD BE TO HAVE MASS ARRESTS for violating M.C. 11.68.050 "Cruising Prohibited."
At present, I don't see any roadblocks along "The Mile of Cars" where hundreds of cars "cruise" every day including Saturday and Sunday. It is common knowledge that the Mayor has a cozy relationship with the Mile of Cars and the corporations that own all those automobile car lots. Perhaps that is why M.C. 11.68.050 "Cruising Prohibited" is not enforced on that section of the city.
The selective enforcement of M.C. 11.68.050 smacks and stinks of racism against the Mexican and Latino population who represent 65% of the city's population! The selective destruction of the business community along Highland and the surrounding areas is an abridgment of our Constitutional right to engage in commerce. The City is selectively using the powers of its charter to punish large segments of the City and I believe this is against the law!