The San Diego-Tijuana Boundary Monuments

Obelisk with crosses

By Barbara Zaragoza

In 1848, the U.S.-Mexican War ended with the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. The treaty stipulated that Mexico relinquish 1.2 million square miles of its territory to the United States in return for $15 million. It also assigned a Joint U.S. and Mexican Boundary Commission to determine the exact location of the new boundary line.

The Commission consisted of a large caravan of men, including a commissioner and a surveyor for both sides. The drawing of the boundary line took two years to complete–from 1849 to 1851. The Joint Commission erected 52 boundary monuments with #1 overlooking the Pacific Ocean in what today is Border Field State Park.   [Read more…]

Who is Mike McCoy?

By Barbara Zaragoza / South Bay Compass

Eye on the Locals: In the micro-world of our communities, many people dedicate their lives to bettering our neighborhoods and end up bettering the world. Mike McCoy of Imperial Beach is heralded as the individual who helped save the largest coastal wetland in Southern California. Here is his story:

Mike McCoy grew up in Boulder, Colorado and came to San Diego in 1970, the year he graduated veterinarian school and got an internship at the San Diego Zoo. While going to vet school, he worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and it qualified him to land that particular internship. It was the first long extended internship they offered at the zoo.

It was here that he met his wife, Patricia McCoy, an Englishwoman from London who fled to the countryside during the WWII bombings. She eventually became a city council member in Imperial Beach and they both were avid environmental activists.   [Read more…]

Friendship Park and Boundary Monument 258

By Barbara Zaragoza / The South Bay Compass

Inside Border Field State Park you can find the center of the immigration issue. On the American side, each Saturday and Sunday Friendship Park is open to the public from 10am to 2pm.

A gated area heavily monitored by Border Patrol,Friendship Park has a binational garden and thick mesh beyond which you can see Boundary Monument #258 on the Mexican side.

This park is where activist groups come to protest the ever increasing construction of fencing at the U.S.-Mexico border.Border Angels often comes here to bring awareness to the number of immigrants who have died trying to cross to the United States. Protestant Minister John Fanestil provides bi-national religious services on Sundays. Dan Watman has created a binational garden and also hosts events such as binational poetry readings. You can also find out what’s happening at Friendship Park through caring volunteers who run the website   [Read more…]

Cross Border Culture at The Front Art Gallery

By Barbara Zaragoza / South Bay Compass

When you live in the South Bay, the city of Tijuana appears on the horizon just about wherever you go. If you don’t cross the border daily, then most of your neighbors and friends do. South Bay residents know that Tijuana offers shopping, art, business opportunities, time with family and, of course, good food and wine.

So when a wonderful on-line newspaper like Voice of San Diego descends upon our border neighborhood of San Ysidro, bringing with them an audience of “northerners” to tell them about how they should visit Tijuana, we South Bay locals look at each other rather perplexed. Don’t they already know that?

On October 22nd Voice of San Diego’s culture report writer, Alex Zaragoza, hosted a “Meeting of the Minds” at The Front Art Gallery: a building along historic San Ysidro Boulevard designed by famed architect Louis Gill in 1929. The purpose of the meeting was to highlight the many delights of Tijuana. Karl Strauss offered beer, perhaps to make the experience less frightening to the audience members who presumably trekked all the way from places like North Park to visit the depths of the border region.   [Read more…]

On Human Trafficking

Mari’s story is harrowing and heartbreaking, but hardly unique.

By Brooke Binkowski

This week, I visited a home in Tijuana for young girls who have been trafficked — bought and sold into slavery, sometimes across international borders, sometimes not, but always horrifically abused and tortured either psychologically, physically, or both — and spoke with them, an adult trafficking victim, and Alma, who started the home.

The issue of human trafficking is enormous and difficult to fully appreciate, so I will only focus on thing: a woman I met who I’ll call Mari.

Mari is 40 years old. She was born in Mexico, and spent the first few years of her life in Tijuana. She had always heard that the United States were where you could go to make money to take care of your family, so when a friend of her parents said he was going to the US, she asked him to take her along.   [Read more…]

Tijuana’s Avant Garde Mom Store

By Beryl Forman

In 2003, Rashad Marx, who was just 19, opened The Source, a boutique in Tijuana dedicated to independent design and graffiti art. He sourced most of the clothing from north of the border by connecting with designers in LA, San Francisco, New York, and San Diego. The Source thrived for a little over five years before it finally fell victim to Tijuana’s economic decline, which came as an aftermath to 9-11,the Mexican drug war and American border policies. 

From the 1920’s to the early part of the 21st Century, Tijuana was a constant mecca for tourists.  Its downtown entertainment corridor, Avenida Revolución, was thronged by Americans seeking a vaguely exotic, cheap foreign excursion. Tijuanans tended to steer clear of the crowds and the escalated prices in the main ‘tourist’ drag, even though there were many young people who would probably have enjoyed mingling with the wild, drunk Americans. Once tourism plummeted, downtown businesses began catering to the desires of Tijuana’s young and artsy locals. The city began its slow renaissance led by business entrepreneurs, cultural organizations, and artists.   [Read more…]

Baja Justice at the Borderline

By Bob Dorn

This week, my best friend and wife and I– the two of us– spent 48 hours on a quick trip to Baja; three of those were spent in line waiting to get back into the U.S.

It was 7:30 a.m. when we had finished looping around the center of TJ and entered the river bed east of the center. We didn’t know at this point that we’d followed “San Diego” signs until they’d disappeared. We were left to ourselves to learn that the left lane would turn into a Left Turn Only lane, withdrawing us from our salvation and guarantor of freedom, the U.S.   [Read more…]

The Value of Human Smuggling

By Beryl Forman

This semester I was unable to register for any classes offered through SDSU’s department of City Planning, where I am working towards my masters degree.  As to not get sidetracked from my academic pursuit, I opened my options up to what is being taught throughout the entire University.

A friend of mine offered a few recommendations, and the one that stood out was called Culture and Society of Tijuana, an entire class devoted to Tijuana!

As an Urban Planning student living in San Diego, Tijuana has captured my attention from the day I moved here over eight years ago.

I’ve had the opportunity to write a couple of research papers and interview important people about the history of planning between our border cities and Tijuana’s public spaces.  To further my area of interest, it only seemed appropriate that I register for this class, even if it was an undergraduate course that didn’t count towards my major.   [Read more…]

Desde la Logan: Love Thy Neighbor. It’s Not About Charity, It’s About Humanity

Giving Drive spans borders, cultures, and generations

On Saturday December 15 Ruben Torres, with some help from his friends, plans on loving his neighbors by organizing a toy, clothing and shoe drive for youth in Tijuana, Tecate, Rosarito and San Diego. Hosted by the fine folks at The Spot in Barrio Logan, the 3rd annual Love Thy Neighbor event will feature music by Karlos Paez, DJ Beto Perez, Rudy Roots and PEET-O Perez as well as an art show by Rebel, El ReSK and Fine Print.

Ruben Torres, a South San Diego native, used to spearhead the independent music label Rescue Records for the rock band P.O.D. and then started his own label, Cosa Nostra Records, where he managed, wrote and produced records for several successful artists. He eventually moved to Los Angeles where he had the opportunity to work with people and groups such as R. Kelly, Snoop Dogg, Run DMC, Robin Thicke, Papa Roach and many others. He eventually moved back to San Diego and launched his own Latin urban clothing line, Jefe Clothing.   [Read more…]

The Starting Line – A Day to Celebrate: Filner in as Mayor, Xolos in as Champs

It’s a day for underdogs to celebrate. After three decades of Republican rule, Bob Filner’s ascension into San Diego’s top spot marks the start of a new era in San Diego politics. At long last our city’s neighborhoods, long considered a red headed step-child in terms of urban planning and economic development will be given the opportunity to have their needs and desires given a fair shake. We hope, anyway.

Meanwhile, in the “missing half” of our metropolis, more than 100,000 residents of Tijuana took to the streets in neighborhoods throughout that city to celebrate victory for Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente as that team emerged as champions in Mexico’s highest level of soccer.

The nay-sayers are already jumping on both these stories.   [Read more…]

Save Big Money: Get Your Dental Work Done in Tijuana

I have been going to Tijuana for dental work for five years. In that time I’ve had two root canals, several crowns and an implant. I’ve also taken my two granddaughters down there for routine dental work a couple of times. In the process I’ve saved several thousand dollars and been completely pleased with the results.

There are probably a lot of good dentists in Tijuana and some bad ones. The problem for most people is knowing who to go to. People need referrals to good dentists so please feel free to comment on experiences that you’ve had with dentistry in Tijuana – both whom you’d recommend and who to stay away from. Personally, I would recommend the office I’ve been going to which is Baja Oral Center. There is a network of dentists there ranging from children’s dentistry to general dentistry to tooth implants. All the dentists speak perfect English so there is no language barrier. One call to Berniece, the receptionist, whose English also is great suffices to set up an appointment. By the way it’s a local call. They have a 619 area code. So that’s two barriers out of the way: language and referral. And did I mention that they’re very friendly and accommodating to your schedule?   [Read more…]

#Yosoy132 Leads Protests Aimed at Vote Buying and Fraud in Mexico

Mexicans turned out in twenty cities throughout that country on Saturday to protest against the electoral victory of president elect Pena Nieto. They accuse Nieto’s party, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), of buying votes; some carried banners saying “Not another fraud”. He was declared the winner last week after a recount of nearly half the votes and denies the allegation, as he has with repeated scandals that threatened his career. It turns out he’s quite the cad, with extra baby mommas and recreational hookups galore–, the dating website for married people, proudly put Peña Nieto on a billboard in Mexico City, saying, “Unfaithful to his family. Faithful and committed to his country.”

Numerous videos have emerged of Mexicans claiming they received gift cards in exchange for voting for the PRI; some even claim they are coming forward because they were shortchanged. Aljazeera cites Eduardo Huchim, formerly a senior official with the Electoral Institute of Mexico City, and currently a monitor with Civic Alliance, a UN-funded watchdog, as telling the Reforma newspaper that the July 1 election was “perhaps the largest operation of vote buying and coercion in the history of the country”. Voters inMexico City, an opposition stronghold, have been posting pictures via Twitter of alleged ballot tampering.   [Read more…]