[UPDATED with State Worker Troll Called Out:] Cop Watch Activists Alert Santa Ana Drivers About DUI/No License Checkpoint

reten1.jpg
La migra! La migra!
See below about the anonymous state worker troll who may just work for the Office of Traffic Safety!

ORIGINAL POST, JUNE 12, 8:30 A.M.: About a dozen residents alerted drivers about the Santa Ana Police Department sobriety/license checkpoint off of Main and 17th streets on Friday night. 

The checkpoint not only targets drunkies on the road, but also unlicensed (see: undocumented) drivers, whose cars can be towed away at the scene.

The action was helped in part by Cop Watch Santa Ana, a grassroots citizen group following police activity, whos members fliered in the neighborhood about the checkpoints, which they say target the Latino community.

It's not the first and likely not the last time Santa Ana residents helped out their compañeros on the road, but it nonetheless intrigued passersby. 

Two women on bicycles confronted one of the residents, berating her for telling potential drunk drivers to avoid the checkpoint. One driver, who wanted to be identified as Christi, was compelled to park her car at the nearby Norm's to get out and thank the residents for their efforts. 

She said she's a United States citizen but her husband, who was driving her mother-in-laws' car, is undocumented. They were driving in from Los Angeles to see family in Santa Ana with their three-year-old son. 

"If it weren't for you guys, we would be out in the cold tonight without a way back home," she told the group.

Drivers without licenses will have their cars are towed away at the checkpoints, unless a licensed driver picks it up within 20 minutes -- a revised city policy thanks to the hard work of Orange County May Day Coalition activists last year. 

A Santa Ana Police officer on the scene said the sign-waving was not illegal, as long as the residents aren't "creating a hazard." He added that if a drunk driver avoiding the checkpoint kills one of their family members, they might be changing their tune. 

Fair enough. But do the sobriety checkpoints actually live up to their intentions?

For two years in a row, the Santa Ana Police Department netted over 400 unlicensed drivers compared to a little over 100 DUI arrests through bi-monthly checkpoints. 

In February, a statewide audit concluded that checkpoints more often result in citations for unlicensed motorists or for those with suspended or revoked driver's licenses than for alcohol-related offenses.

So why are the checkpoints continuing under the guise of "sobriety" checkpoints? Revenue generation, of course!

The statewide impounding of unlicensed drivers' cars generated $40 million dollars in 2009, which was divided up between cities and towing companies. Not to mention, police officers received $30 million in overtime. ¡Holy mole! 

What a genius way to help out cash-strapped governments: punish and disenfranchise a marginalized group...and make cold hard dinero while you're at it. 




UPDATE, JUNE 25, 8:30 A.M.:  It appears anonymous comments made "offramp" (see below) were made from state of California server.  

Could it be a certain public relations director from the Office of Traffic Safety? The same entity that pays for such checkpoints described in this post?  

Oh no-- it can't be. A real professional would not commit one of the biggest PR no-no's, and definitely would never publicly disparage a reporter!  

Perhaps said state worker could have kept his identity completely secret had he not been lurking on my LinkedIn profile the same day he started his astroturf campaign on our infernal rag.  

Anonymously trolling numerous media outlets on the taxpayer dime is not exactly the best outreach strategy, though regurgitating the office's PR spheels at every opportunity is one way to get your message across... without your name and entity attached of course! What's with the secrecy? What do you have to say for yourself, bud?

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13 comments
Sam
Sam

Ah, seems Gustavo's panties are in a bunch now...

Sam
Sam

I don't wear panties, Amber.  And if I did, they certainly wouldn't be in a bunch. However, according to this comment thread, it is your panties in a bunch. In fact, I'll bet your crotch is all sweaty inside those bunched-up panties. Okay, now I'm getting hungry. Nevermind.

Amber Stephens
Amber Stephens

Sam. Don't get your panties in a bunch now...if you think you can do better, by all means, please go for it!

Sam
Sam

Amber. All of this "Know Nothing" Bullshit coming from the OC Weekly is really lame. It's not like you guys are Einstein or anything close. I mean this ain't even real journalism, it's only a blog.

Amber Stephens
Amber Stephens

Haha! Thanks pal! You win for the best Know Nothing comment of the day - congrats!

Sam
Sam

What a piece of shit article. What the fuck is a compenaro? What the fuck is a hole mole? Go pick a crop...

mitch young
mitch young

LOL, figures Gustavo would have a 'bitchin' Camaro'. BTW, I agree that anecdotes are fairly weak, but so are the 'undocumented valedictorian' sort of anecdote. Fact is, however, that Bob and Ariel Clark would be alive today if Hector Manuel Velazquez-Nava had been deported after his first brush with the law.

Amber Stephens
Amber Stephens

Hardly would say I've made a gaffe, and contrary to your assertions, I've looked into the matter and I'm in close contact with those who extensively research this issue, who educate me from time to time. Thanks though, I'll be on the lookout for FBI intimidation regarding my blog posts!

Amber Stephens
Amber Stephens

No actually, I could agree with a few of your statements, and argue with a few others, but it's actually more entertaining for me to point out the paternal tone of your comment. Not to mention, I must get back to reading those J-school manuals on how to be a real reporter!

Amber Stephens
Amber Stephens

Thank you for the professional advice on a blog post! I will be sure to be a real reporter next time, I promise. Can I get you some tea? How do you like your coffee? Would you like a foot massage too?  But I will be sure to limit the propaganda* next time, so you don't mistake me for one of those "fake" reporters! 

Dave
Dave

Amber, how exactly do the checkpoints cost taxpayers of the state? The police are paid at the city level, not the state. Also, don't underestimate the fines cities collect. They depend on that revenue to provide you services.

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