The following was a prepared testimony that urged the San Diego County Board of Supervisors to make telephone calls free in jails. The testimony was delivered to San Diego County Board of Supervisors by ACLU-SDIC Staff Attorney Jonathan Markovitz on April 6, 2021.

Good Morning Supervisors,

My name is Jonathan Markovitz. I am a staff attorney with the ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties.

We are here today to urge the Board of Supervisors to end Project 100% as a method of administering CalWORKs in San Diego County.

We thank Supervisors Lawson-Remer and Vargas for their leadership in addressing this important issue. San Diegans deserve economic security and protection during these difficult and uncertain times.

All struggling individuals and families who need public assistance should feel welcome to apply for services.

P100 requires that virtually all CalWORKs applicants submit to an invasive, unannounced home investigation by licensed peace officers, when there is no basis at all for suspecting them of any kind of wrongdoing.   

But no one should have to open up their homes to law enforcement investigators just because they need to apply for benefits to help their families. There is no legitimate reason to make people experience the kinds of anxiety, fear and invasions of privacy created by Project 100%.

Because these home investigations are usually unannounced, applicants can miss job interviews, classes, doctor appointments and other critical daily activities, such as taking children to and from school, while waiting for investigators to arrive. The searches can be highly intrusive, and can assault applicants’ dignity.

The suffering caused by Project 100% falls especially hard on women and people of color who are disproportionately represented in the CalWORKS applicant pool.

Not only does Project 100% undermine our shared values –to be treated fairly and to be presumed innocent – it is unnecessary. These unannounced and intrusive home investigations are ineffective and waste taxpayer money.

Our county government should work to ensure its residents have greater access to necessary social services by removing unnecessary barriers.

We urge the Board of Supervisors to end Project 100%.

Because Project 100% is one hundred percent wrong for San Diego County.

Thank you for your time and consideration.