More antisemitic flyers dropped in Del Cerro neighborhood
Neighbors in a Del Cerro community awoke again Monday to find antisemitic flyers littering their street. This time? The flyers promoted misinformation about 9/11.
KPBS is not sharing the messages on the flyers. The Del Cerro area and nearby communities have seen a rise in recent months of people dropping off antisemitic flyers near homes or on cars.
"We’re disgusted — it’s really gross and on top of that everything that they’re saying is lies," said San Diego City Councilmember Raul Campillo who represents the community.
Campillo represents the area and held a news conference with Jewish faith leaders last week addressing the issue. He said the ‘"cowardly" actions only have him doubling down on a proposal to increase penalties for actions like these and "hold people accountable." People can be cited with littering, but Campillo is proposing a new misdemeanor charge for hate-littering that could see penalties of up to a year in jail and restitution.
"Obviously that isn't going to stop every bad person from doing every bad they can — but this is what we can do in our power," Campillo said. "We already know that a lot of this hate speech does influence people to carry out ... violence in the name of those hateful ideologies. By preventing that, we're going to be promoting public safety, but also just sending the Jewish community and every other community that is the target of hate speech — that the government cares and doesn’t want anyone in our community to have to suffer that."
Rabbi Devorah Marcus, who leads the nearby Temple Emanu-El San Diego, supports the proposal. She called the flyers "a nuisance and waste of time."
"These fliers are meant to push people to bad actions," Marcus said. "I’m very much looking forward to the passing of these laws and holding people accountable for words and deeds that lead to incitement of violence and aggressive actions toward any of our human beings."
Campillo said a draft of the hate-littering ordinance will be completed sometime this month and brought to the council’s Public Safety Committee in October. He said he is confident it will not violate free speech rights.
"We are going to be criminalizing the conduct which is the littering — that has a particular motive behind it," Campillo said. "Which is this hate motive and so the Supreme Court has said harsher penalties can be applied to people who commit crimes when the government also proves beyond doubt what that motive was."
Marcus said her focus now is on Rosh Hashanah.
"My biggest concern is how much time this takes away from the things we’d rather be doing like spending happy times with our neighbors and preparing for our beautiful high holy days which begins this weekend," Marcus said.
A San Diego Police spokesperson said officers responded to the Del Cerro neighborhood Monday and are actively investigating what happened.