Filipino-American Community Wins Big In Chula Vista Districting


The Chula Vista City Council unanimously approved the boundaries for 4 election districts on Tuesday, July 14th, a historic moment for the second largest city in San Diego County that has held at-large elections until now.

In 2012, 62.7% of voters passed Proposition B that mandated Chula Vista be divided into four voting districts. The City then created a temporary Districting Commission and appointed seven volunteer commissioners. …

As a final step, the Districting Commission sent the map to City Council, which could approve the map or vote to send it back to the Commission for revisions.   [Read more…]

The Filipino-American Tour of the South Bay

Iglesia Ni Christo, Rios Ave.

By Barbara Zaragoza / South Bay Compass

Ethnic enclaves are generally defined by a cluster of stores and eateries that feature culinary delights from a specific country from abroad. Within that cluster of businesses, you’ll usually hear that foreign language being spoken. In addition, there will often be a religious organization (usually a church) in the vicinity where the members of that ethnicity go to worship, but also come together as a community to support one another.

So how do you like my definition?…It’s imperfect for sure, but I am fascinated by residents who identify with more than just one country and one “ethnic” label.   [Read more…]

The Rising Star of Chula Vista: Jason Paguio

Jason Paguio

By Barbara Zaragosa / South Bay Compass

The town of Chula Vista, California happens to be home to the World Champion Drum Major, Jason Paguio. He’s the only Filipino-American to have run for city council (at the age of 28), he’s a current policy advisor to councilmember Steve Miesen, and he operates two non-profit organizations as well as a small for-profit business.

Jason has so many pots bubbling that San Diego Business Journal gave him the 2014 Emerging Generation: 25 in their 20’s award.

I sat down and talked with Jason and you’ll soon see why I call him the rising star of Chula Vista.   [Read more…]

Sweetwater Reservoir

Sweetwater boarded up house

By Barbara Zaragoza / South Bay Compass

Editor Note: The ongoing drought conditions in the region have impacted the availability of our water resources. The Sweetwater Reservoir is one of those resources.

While some may claim that the South Bay is filled with concrete and suburban McHomes, city planners have done much to preserve our green spaces. The Sweetwater Summit Campground is a wonderful little example.

You might consider it lackluster IF you are looking for “Disneyland” entertainment, but this low-key regional park hosts a playground with water works, 500-acres of trails and roaming animals that include the southern pacific rattlesnake, the coyote and the bobcat.   [Read more…]

Immigration is a Personal Issue for Mary Salas

dapa carc

By Mary Salas

In Chula Vista, immigration is a very local issue, but for me, it is also a personal one.

My grandparents immigrated to Chula Vista from Mexico nearly 100 years ago, fleeing the political turmoil in Mexico and seeking a better life for their family. In my office I proudly hang pictures of my father and his six brothers who served in World War II and the Korean conflict to remind me of the great contributions that my family, like so many other immigrant families, have made for our great nation.   [Read more…]

Chula Vista Transitions To District Elections

Community Members Will Help Map District Lines

By Barbara Zaragoza

Phase One of Chula Vista’s districting process began on Monday, March 16th at the Chula Vista Public Library-South Branch when representatives from the Coalitionfor Inclusive & Fair Districting (CIFD) provided a mapping and speaker training to residents.

Jess Jollet from the San Diego ACLU and member of the coalition summarized districting, saying that until now councilmembers have been elected “at large,” meaning candidates who have received the highest number of votes from all of Chula Vista have won a council seat.

In 2012, however, 62.7% of voters (44,906 residents) passed Proposition B, which mandated that Chula Vista be divided into four voting districts. Now residents will only be able to vote for a candidate within their own district. The mayor will still be elected “at large.”   [Read more…]

San Diego Spring: Activism Breaking Out All Over

By Doug Porter

You know it’s a slow news month when two non-stories (Eghazi & #47Traitors) seem to dominate news coverage. And, while I’ll get to those, the rise of activism in San Diego seems to be a more worthy story.

In the coming days and weeks protests, petitions and organized participation in public hearings for causes large and small are popping up all over town. It’s an amazing amount of activism for a non-electoral year and deserving of your attention.

Today I’ll try to provide as much information as possible about what’s happening. Some days I find myself compelled to write about what the media is (mostly) not covering.   [Read more…]

5th Annual Love Thy Neighbor Toy Drive Takes Place This Weekend

 By Brent E. Beltrán

This weekend the 5th annual Love Thy Neighbor Clothing & Toy Drive takes place at the Centro Cultural de la Raza in Balboa Park. For the past five years Ruben Torres and some of his close friends have organized this event to bring a little joy during the Christmas season to youths in San Diego and Tijuana.

South Bay native Ruben Torres continues to give back to the community he loves. He says, “God gives us two hands, one to receive with and the other to give with. I’m honored to see the community come together to give and to be a blessing to the needy.”

Toys will be collected for the children of the YWCA as well as families of The Training Center in Spring Valley.

This year’s main event takes place on Sunday, December 14 from 12-8pm and is hosted by radio DJ Beto Perez of 95.7 KISS FM and features an art show curated by Ruben Torres and Wendy Wolf.   [Read more…]

What Does Día de los Muertos Mean to You?

A list of the many Day of the Dead events happening this weekend in San Diego

By Brent E. Beltrán

Every year Mexicans celebrate their dead by honoring and remembering passed loved ones or people they may have admired on los días de los muertos, the Days of the Dead. November 1 is for honoring the children that have moved on from this mortal plane. November 2 is for remembering the adults.

How one honors those that are no longer here varies. The meaning does as well. Though it always comes down to remembering.

I asked some people I know, what does Día de los Muertos mean to you? Here are their responses and then a listing of Día de los Muertos celebrations throughout San Diego.   [Read more…]

Chicano Park is One of San Diego’s Best, Unofficial Skate Parks

Skaters from all over come to Barrio Logan to battle for tricks

By Brent E. Beltrán

Everyday from my apartment in Barrio Logan I can hear the clack clacking of skateboards slamming on concrete. It’s a cacophony of sound that blends in with the ubiquitous noise of industry and barrio life.

Some community members may not appreciate seeing skaters riding and doing tricks with what seems like reckless abandon amongst the murals of Chicano Park. I’m not one of them.

To me, Chicano Park is a space for all. Be it the homeless that need a place to kick it during the day, children that enjoy using the playground facilities, families on a weekend picnic, activists pushing for social justice and skaters doing rail slides on massive planters that surround the San Diego-Coronado Bay Bridge pillars across from Northgate Market.   [Read more…]

Commemorate Día de los Muertos throughout San Diego – Long Live the Dead!

Día de los Muertos Commemorated for Thousands of Years in the Americas

By Brent E. Beltrán

Los días de los muertos have been commemorated for thousands of years in the Americas. It started in what is now México and has spread throughout the United States and the world. Today these days are celebrated by people of many different colors and cultures.

November 1 is Día de los Inocentes (Day of the Innocents) when deceased children are honored and November 2 is known as Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) where we pay tribute to adults who have passed away. These dates correspond with the Christian holidays of All Saints’ Day and All Soul’s Day.   [Read more…]

Language Interpreters Are California’s Lifeline

Lack of Interpreters is a Life and Death Situation for Many

By Lorena Gonzalez

There are more than 50 languages spoken more comfortable and proficiently than English by the residents in the South Bay and Mid-City San Diego neighborhoods I represent. Throughout California, this challenge is shared by more than 6.5 million Californians, according to the 2010 U.S. Census.

Ordering food. Asking for directions. Attending school. Interviewing for a job. Filling prescriptions. Rescheduling appointments.

No situation involving a language barrier is as frightening, though, as one that risks the life of a loved one.   [Read more…]

Downtown Doublecross Foiled– Mayor Filner Calls Out Hoteliers Attempt to Sabotage Tourism Deal -UPDATED

‘The City of San Diego will not be held hostage”

By Doug Porter

Once again we’re seeing headlines proclaiming Mayor Filner to be responsible for causing the San Diego Tourism Authority to close down. 

We’re hearing about how people’s jobs will be affected by a “squabble”.

We’re being told via the Daily Fishwrap editorial about a “crippling blow to a major pillar of the San Diego economy.”


Mayor Filner has demanded that the tourism agency live up to its end of a bargain struck back in April that, among other things, directed 5 percent of Tourism Marketing District (TMD) revenue to the upcoming celebration of Balboa Park’s centennial. That deal came after several months of very public and ugly struggle.

UPDATE: TMD agreed to fund Balboa Park celebration; Mayor agreed to release funds. I’m not sure whether Balboa Park got the funding they expected. TMD officials claimed revenue shortfall. (I predict a One Exclamation Point! press release from Filner shortly)   [Read more…]

Las Monthly Ondas June Edition: Taco Shop Poets Dream of Sugar Skulls

Read Tacos. Eat Poetry.

By Brent E. Beltrán

Has it already been twenty years since a band of guerrilla word slingers thought to share poetry with taco shop patrons? Apparently so, as the Taco Shop Poets are back in poetic motion for a gig at The Front in San Ysidro.

Founding Taco Shop Poets member Adolfo Guzman Lopez told me “it’s been 20 years since the idea for taco shop poetry was put in motion. We’re presenting the group’s 2011 book Sugarskull Sueños at the Tijuana book fair and what better place to reflect on our personal journeys as Mexican Americans, Chicanos, Latinos, cuarentones, border vatos, and fathers than a homegrown community space in San Ysidro.”

Originally started as a large, loose knit group of mostly Chicano and Latino raconteurs the Taco Shop Poets almost singlehandedly helped recreate the California spoken word poetry scene. They eventually whittled themselves down into a tight collective of border bards that have toured the nation and beyond. Their influence on the Chicano poetry world can still be felt today even though they’ve been relatively dormant the past few years.   [Read more…]

Greetings From the Cusp of TijuanDiego!

A Voice of Hope from the Place of Everywhere and Nowhere

By Michael Cheno Wickert

I’ve been trying to write my introduction for the San Diego Free Press for days now, but despite my ability to ramble on and on about so many topics, sitting down at a keyboard to write about myself is difficult. Therefore, I’ve decided to simply state that I am a father, a husband, and a teacher from Chula Vista. After many years of college and hard work as teachers, my wife and I were able to buy a nice house for our family. Now all the relatives can come and stay here without sleeping on the floor, and that’s a good feeling.

We sometimes refer to our home as the Refugee Camp because like our dogs and cats, our children were adopted. An unlikely bunch, we came together somehow and it is beautiful, but not always easy. Like the rest of our family, my wife and I were somewhat making it through life with the help of great people, but neither of us had a partner to fulfill that promise of happiness every morning as the sun rose and every evening as we drifted into sleep.

Our lives were not shipwrecks, they were more like messages in bottles bobbing up and down, following the currents until we came together; and little by little our little island grew into a home and then a family. Out of this wilderness, we found security in each other.   [Read more…]

A Good Day for an Implosion – End of Days for South Bay Power Plant

Editor: Our friend JEC witnessed this event Saturday morning and sent us his pictures and thoughts…

The crowd was in the thousands, parking was a challenge.  The morning was beautiful – a good day for an implosion.  The crowd could feel the shock waves from the explosions and car alarms went off in mass.

Now the real battle begins – do something better with the land.  And what’s the bet the Port District will let Duke energy off the hook by leaving the spit of land that extends out from the plant into the middle of the bay.  That berm with the square island at the end was built for the plant to separate the cool intake water from the plant’s warm output.  Standard language in Port leases calls for tenants to return to land to it’s original condition.  Western Salt avoided paying millions to remove the industrial salt ponds because those berms have been declared historical structures, “celebrating San Diego’s industrial heritage.”

Come inside for the photo gallery…   [Read more…]

San Diego For Free – Power-Pact-Duo in South Bay: U.S. Olympic Training Center and South Bay Power Plant Implosion

A weekly column dedicated to sharing the best sights and activities in San Diego at the best price – free! We have a great city and county and you don’t need to break the bank to experience it.

US Olympic Training Center

Location: 2800 Olympic Parkway, Chula Vista, CA 91915-6000

Free Hours: Guided tour on Saturdays at 11 AM (walk-in only). Self-guided audio tour daily from 9 AM to 5 PM and the audio is provided through cell phone at 619-215-9070

Best For: Athletes, wannabe athletes, future Olympic hopefuls, armchair Olympians

Website here. Go here for tour info.   [Read more…]

The Starting Line – Are California Voters Ready to Amend Proposition 13?

Polling Group Finds Support for Splitting Property Tax Rolls

The Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) has been asking Californians what they think about issues and politics since 1998. Over time they’re work has become recognized as the gold standard for public opinion polling in the Golden State.

Yesterday they released the results of their 130th survey, taken shortly after the November elections, asking 2001 respondents about their outlook on the future, electoral reforms, potential fiscal, governance, and initiative reforms, the passage of Proposition 30, the state’s public higher education system, water policy, and elected officials’ handling of plans and policies for the state’s future.

And apparently voters are ready to consider a big change to Proposition 13, long considered a sacred cow in California politics.   [Read more…]

Border Patrol Story About Chula Vista Shooting Death Unraveling

A new witness has come forward in the shooting death of 32-year-old Munique Tachiquin. According to accounts by Border Patrol officers, the mother of five was shot after she attempted to run over a plain clothes agent attempting to serve a warrant.
Prince Watson, a former Marine and Iraqi War veteran who lives nearby, told TV10/ABC News that he was reluctant to come forward, but said his sense of civic responsibility compelled him   [Read more…]

The Starting Line – San Diego Sheriff Stonewalls Freedom Of Information Requests About Drones

A national effort to track drone deployment by domestic law enforcement agencies has run into a brick wall with the San Diego County Sheriffs, who have refused to provide information about efforts to purchase Scout UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicle).

The Electronic Freedom Foundation and have sent over 200 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to local governments and police departments, seeking to find out information on domestic drone utilization, according to a story in

Although the San Diego Sheriffs office initially denied possessing any documents relevant to the collection effort, an email from manufacturer, Datron World Communications, to Seattle police quoted technical information from a bid that was sent to local officials.

Inside: Angry Republicans, Running Democrats, Border Patrol Cover Up Unraveling
Notice: I’ll be taking the weekend off. See you Monday, news junkies.   [Read more…]

Wrongful Death Claim Filed Against Border Patrol by Family of Woman Slain by Agent

Lawyer for Family Cites Long History of Misconduct by Agent Justin Tackett Prior to Shooting Death of Valeria “Munique” Tachiquin Alvarado

The lawyer for the family of Valeria “Munique” Tachiquin Alvarado – shot to death by a Border Patrol agent on September 28th – has filed a wrongful death claim against the Border Patrol.

Eugene Iredale – a renowned criminal defense attorney in San Diego – retained by her family, just filed a claim on Friday, October 12th, that seeks damages and raises significant concerns about the agent who killed her. Agent Justin Tackett has been named in the family’s claim, but has not been identified by the Border Patrol nor by the Chula Vista Police who are investigating the killing.

Iredale said Agent Tackett shot Alvarado nine times.

The wrongful death claim, filed on behalf of Alvarado’s parents, husband and five children, states that the shooting was “the unjustified use of legal force in circumstances that did not justify its use.” The filing for damages is the first step before suing a government agency, and the Border Patrol has 6 months to respond before the family can file suit.   [Read more…]

The Starting Line –It’s Official in California; Let the Voting Begin

Today marks the official start of ‘election month’ here in California. Mail in ballots are being mailed to people who have opted into voting by mail, something that 65% of voters did in this year’s primary elections.  I don’t care how or when you do it, but you need to vote.

I do care who or what you vote for.  Here’s a shameless plug for our Guide to the Ballot Propositions that explains why you should agree with me. And we have a easy-to-use link that will take you to all of San Diego Free Press’s election news & opinions.

The best reason to vote by mail… If you think you see soon-to-be Judge/Birther Gary Kreep lurking near your polling place, you’re not hallucinating.  Kreep is donating his legal skills to the Election Integrity Project, the local tea party front group seeking to ‘prevent fraud at the polling place’.

Now if we could only come up with an ‘app’ that turns off all those paid political ads once you’ve voted…   [Read more…]

Vigil for Valeria “Munique” Alvarado – Young Mother Killed by Border Patrol

Question is raised – is this our ‘Trayvon Martin’?

Nearly two hundred people attended the vigil for Valeria “Munique” Tachiquin Alvarado in Chula Vista Monday early evening. Family, friends, supporters and strangers – and the media – gathered at the intersection of Moss Street and Oaklawn Avenue – where she was shot to death by a plainclothes border patrol agent on Friday afternoon, September 28th, while in her car.

The 32 year old mother of 5 had been fatally killed during some kind of interaction with the agent. Reports of what happened differed wildly. And during the at times emotional vigil family members, including the young woman’s father, called for answers and justice.

Speaking first, Christian Ramirez of the American Friends Service Committee spoke about the evening being a sober one. He said the community vigil “was called by the family to remember her life and bear testimony to the tragedy that occurred 72 hours ago. They demand justice.”   [Read more…]

The Starting Line – Food labeling campaign (Prop 37) gets boost from study showing long term damage from Monsanto products

Rats fed a lifetime diet of Monsanto’s genetically modified corn or exposed Roundup, its best selling weed killer, suffered from mammary tumors, kidney and liver damage and other serious illnesses in the first ever peer-reviewed, long-term animal study of these foods. At a press conference in London, researchers said 50 percent of male rats exposed to GMO corn and 70 percent of females died prematurely, compared with only 30 percent and 20 percent in the control group. The findings were published Tuesday in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology.

The study was hailed by proponents of Proposition 37, a California ballot measure requiring the labeling of genetically engineered foods. Gary Ruskin, campaign manager for the California Right to Know group released a statement saying:

“The results of this study are worrying.  They underscore the importance of giving California families the right to know whether our food is genetically engineered, and to decide for ourselves whether we want to gamble with our health by eating GMO foods that have not been adequately studied and have not been proven safe. By requiring simple labels on genetically engineered foods, Proposition 37 gives Californians the ability to choose whether to expose ourselves and our families to any potential health risks.  The right to know is fundamental, and that’s why 50 countries around the world have already enacted labeling requirements for genetically engineered food.”

Proponents of GMO labeling have long insisted that biotech companies control and suppress research, and frequently cite a Scientific American editorial to back up their case.  While numerous short-term peer-reviewed animal studies  have link GMOs to adverse health effects, this study is the first long-term animal feeding study that is publicly available.   [Read more…]

San Diego For Free – Biking the San Diego Bay

A weekly column dedicated to sharing the best sights and activities in San Diego at the best price – free! We have a great city and you don’t need to break the bank to experience it.


Neighborhood & Address: San Diego, National City, Chula Vista, Imperial Beach, Coronado; Detailed map here.

Best For: Outdoor enthusiasts, bicyclists, nature lovers, bird watchers

Hours: Free all day, every day. $4.25 for ferry if you prefer not to bicycle round-trip

The San Diego Bay is one of many iconic natural features of the regional geography. The bay is about 12 miles long, from San Diego in the north to Imperial Beach in the south. On the east side of the bay lies National City and Chula Vista and Coronado is about a mile across the bay to the west.

A wonderful feature of the San Diego Bay is the Bayshore Bikeway, a 24-mile bicycle-friendly loop that goes from Broadway Pier on the downtown San Diego Embarcadero around the entirety of the bay to the south-east, before returning north along Silver Strand Boulevard and ending at the Coronado Ferry Landing.   [Read more…]