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Transparency not hallmark of Todd Gloria's top operators

Streetlight spycam spokeswoman picked as mayor's top media gatekeeper

Jen Lebron: "It's anonymous data with no personal identifiers."
Jen Lebron: "It's anonymous data with no personal identifiers."

Those looking forward to the end of the era of Republicans Jerry Sanders and Kevin Faulconer, whose lack of transparency is widely seen as responsible for a broad range of municipal malfeasance, from streetlight spycams to the 101 Ash Street debacle, may have a long wait in store.

Judging by a host of recent appointments by soon-to-be Democratic mayor Todd Gloria, city hall's secrecy business may go on as before.

There is Jen Lebron, Gloria's newly minted Communications Director, an ex-Union-Tribune scribe who first signed aboard at the city as Faulconer's press secretary in 2014. She made $96,992 in pay and benefits as Mayor Representative 2 in 2016, according to TransparentCalifornia.com.

In 2017 Lebron got a raise to $110,250, then was jumped to $112,758 as a Program Coordinator in 2018, having been elevated by Faulconer to director of Public Safety and Neighborhoods Services Policy and LGBT Liaison in 2016.

San Diego police finally fessed up and released a detailed surveillance policy in February 2019.

By 2019, she was the city's Digital Strategy Manager. Last year, she pulled down the handsome sum of $145,623 with the official title of Program Manager, according to TransparentCalifornia.com.

Lebron became noted for her February 2017 response to Reuters regarding the rollout of a vast video surveillance network atop city streetlights.

"It's anonymous data with no personal identifiers," Lebron was quoted as saying.

A few months year earlier, streetlight camera staffer Lorie Cosio-Azar said in a December 2017 internal white paper: "Video data from digital smart city infrastructure will make it easier to identify, and, therefore, arrest criminals."

As first reported here, the real story was far different than Faulconer wanted portrayed, though the truth remained hidden until San Diego police finally fessed up and released a detailed surveillance policy in February 2019.

That document, dated February 3, more than a month after a January 3 request by the Reader under the California Public Records Act for spycam records, showed the surveillance effort's true nature.

"The video and related images from the cameras onboard the City's intelligent streetlight sensors may be accessed exclusively for law enforcement purposes with the Police Department as the custodian and departmental owner of these records," said the policy.

"Audio from the City's intelligent streetlight sensors may be accessed exclusively for law enforcement purposes with the Police Department as the custodian and departmental owner of these records."

Lebron succeeds fellow Union-Tribune veteran Craig Gustafson as top media gatekeeper for the mayor.

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Jen Lebron: "It's anonymous data with no personal identifiers."
Jen Lebron: "It's anonymous data with no personal identifiers."

Those looking forward to the end of the era of Republicans Jerry Sanders and Kevin Faulconer, whose lack of transparency is widely seen as responsible for a broad range of municipal malfeasance, from streetlight spycams to the 101 Ash Street debacle, may have a long wait in store.

Judging by a host of recent appointments by soon-to-be Democratic mayor Todd Gloria, city hall's secrecy business may go on as before.

There is Jen Lebron, Gloria's newly minted Communications Director, an ex-Union-Tribune scribe who first signed aboard at the city as Faulconer's press secretary in 2014. She made $96,992 in pay and benefits as Mayor Representative 2 in 2016, according to TransparentCalifornia.com.

In 2017 Lebron got a raise to $110,250, then was jumped to $112,758 as a Program Coordinator in 2018, having been elevated by Faulconer to director of Public Safety and Neighborhoods Services Policy and LGBT Liaison in 2016.

San Diego police finally fessed up and released a detailed surveillance policy in February 2019.

By 2019, she was the city's Digital Strategy Manager. Last year, she pulled down the handsome sum of $145,623 with the official title of Program Manager, according to TransparentCalifornia.com.

Lebron became noted for her February 2017 response to Reuters regarding the rollout of a vast video surveillance network atop city streetlights.

"It's anonymous data with no personal identifiers," Lebron was quoted as saying.

A few months year earlier, streetlight camera staffer Lorie Cosio-Azar said in a December 2017 internal white paper: "Video data from digital smart city infrastructure will make it easier to identify, and, therefore, arrest criminals."

As first reported here, the real story was far different than Faulconer wanted portrayed, though the truth remained hidden until San Diego police finally fessed up and released a detailed surveillance policy in February 2019.

That document, dated February 3, more than a month after a January 3 request by the Reader under the California Public Records Act for spycam records, showed the surveillance effort's true nature.

"The video and related images from the cameras onboard the City's intelligent streetlight sensors may be accessed exclusively for law enforcement purposes with the Police Department as the custodian and departmental owner of these records," said the policy.

"Audio from the City's intelligent streetlight sensors may be accessed exclusively for law enforcement purposes with the Police Department as the custodian and departmental owner of these records."

Lebron succeeds fellow Union-Tribune veteran Craig Gustafson as top media gatekeeper for the mayor.

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Comments
2

"The more things change, the more they remain the same." How this new mayor came to carry her over from the Faulconer administration is a question he needs to be asked and one he needs to answer. I doubt that most of his supporters voted for a continuation of the old policies of the outgoing mayor.

Dec. 1, 2020

San Diego City Hall is a closed club and we're not invited. Smash all those poles down with a stolen tank and things might change.

Dec. 3, 2020

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