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Richard Rider

Chula Vista Police Dept bought shoes for needy kids? Nope.

Here’s one of the ways our media fails to accurately report a story.   Indeed, in this government “charity” category, this misrepresentation is more the rule than the exception.

Granted, it’s not a big story.  It’s a feel-good episode that might have raised some interesting points, but didn’t.

HEADLINE:    [Chula Vista] Police Dept. outfits kids with new shoes, socks

$12,000 was spent on providing shoes, socks and school supplies for 284 needy students — a commendable activity.  Nothing wrong with the charitable effort. Indeed, it’s good that such efforts are recognized by the media.  But this story gives credit where it’s NOT due.

The Chula Vista Police Department did NOT “outfit” the kids with shoes.  They didn’t spend a dime doing that.

But surely at least the police OFFICERS took up a collection for the kids.  Nope. Apparently none of the money was donated by the cops.

Well, then surely the police labor union provided the funding, using union dues. Again, nope.  Not a farthing came from the police labor union.

The money was provided by the Chula Vista Police Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charity.  The foundation receives donations from companies and individuals in the region.

In this instance, the contributions were primarily from the Sycuan Casino and Payless (the company providing the shoes).

If you want to see the main donors to this foundation, go to this link:

When the police contact businesses seeking a donation to their foundation, many wisely decide to send a contribution.  Sound business practice, and the money hopefully goes for a good cause.

Actually, to be fair, it’s likely that the police department DID “donate” taxpayer funds to the cause — though none of that donation went to the kids.  I’d bet dollars to donuts (sorry) that one or more cops on duty participated in the event — if only for the photo ops.  Including top brass.

BTW, if the press is looking for an issue to dig into, a review of such foundations’ SPENDING can be eye-opening.  Start with the Form 990’s filed with the IRS, and publicly accessible. Sometimes what’s NOT in the filings is more interesting than what is there.

While I see nothing overtly untoward in this foundation’s latest filing, there’s an unexplained expenditure (“other expenses”) of $128,109.  Given that the “total revenue” that year was only $140,825, that’s puzzling.  I emphasize that it may be nothing dishonest or even shaky, but it merits a closer look and explanation.


Here’s the U-T story:


Police Dept. outfits kids with new shoes, socks


Nearly 300 students in Chula Vista are wearing new shoes and socks to school this year thanks to Chula Vista police officers, organizations and individuals.

The Chula Vista Police Department held its fifth annual shoes and socks giveaway Sunday at Payless ShoeSource on Broadway in Chula Vista.

This year the Chula Vista Police Foundation used about $12,000 raised from last year, including donations from Sycuan Casino, Payless and individuals.

The money got 284 students one pair of shoes and socks each as well as a backpack filled with school supplies.

The event started in 2011 with the idea that the department partner with schools and a nonprofit organization to provide shoes and socks for less fortunate children and teens returning to school in the fall.

School resource officers work with school principals and nurses, as well as counselors from South Bay Community Services. The goal is to find boys and girls under 18 who live, go to school or receive counseling services in Chula Vista.

“These children are subjected to bullying and teasing because they don’t have appropriate footwear,” said Chula Vista Police Capt. Lon Turner. “New shoes and socks help build their confidence and allow them to focus on their studies.”