On Friday, Police responded to a burglary alarm at the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment.
When they arrived, officers noticed a large plume of smoke coming from the suite. The Chula Vista Fire Department arrived and extinguished the flames. No one was inside at the time of the fire.
Throughout their investigation, police learned that the organization was also burglarized twice in the last 10 months.
Police say Jenkins is homeless and told detectives that he set fire to the building due to an ongoing dispute with the tenants over the disposal of his personal property.
A Chula Vista office for Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, a community organizing group closely involved with statewide and local recent recent control initiatives was torched early Saturday morning.
Police have confirmed the fire was a deliberate targeted attack. The fact that the arsonist(s) removed the organizations bright yellow tee shirts from the building and torched them separately was, no doubt, a convincing clue.
In recent months ACCE activists across California had been working to pass the statewide ballot measure Proposition 10. The San Diego branch of the organization also focused on a local rent control initiative, Measure W, for National City.
We are getting support from around the country and, in California and the Chula Vista Office, from local allies, we have had an outpouring of support, Joseph Delgado, ACCEs Los Angeles office director, told L.A. Taco. As an organization, ACCE is not going to stop doing the work we do, that we believe in, and our members believe in.
Their community organizing work in the region in addition to housing issues includes advocacy for basic infrastructure improvements in low income communities, budgets for improving social services, immigration, worker justice, and voter turnout.
ACCE is not a building. ACCE is a movement and a family – it is our members and the incredible organizing we do. If this was meant to intimidate us, we will not back down. We will continue to organize until all of us have a safe, healthy and affordable place to call home, said Paola Montes-Martinez, the San Diego ACCE Director in statement to the press..
Luckily, the organization was closed, and nobody was injured, but the damage to the ACCE office was extensive. Computers were melted, the furniture was burnt beyond use, and the equipment of the office were completely destroyed.
If the past history of right-wing attacks on progressive organizations are any clue, expect a statement from some local official suggesting the group torched itself looking for sympathy. Not one of these sorts of statements has ever proven true, dating back to the days of the original San Diego Free Press offices being torched.