By Barbara Zaragoza / South Bay Compass
Incredibly good news for the South Bay this week. According to a report by the National University System Institute for Policy Research, GDP growth in the South Bay from 2010 to 2013 was 37.6 %, compared to 12.9 % for the entire County. Take a look at these increases:
|South County||Change 2010-2013||Percent of County||San Diego County||Change 2010-2013|
|Personal Income:||$24.7 billion||69.4%||15.3%||$161.4 billion||13.0%|
You can read the entire report here.
We South Bay’ers can get awfully patriotic about our little neck of the woods. Although we’d like to be seen as an integrated part of both Tijuana and San Diego, some ‘outsiders’ would rather call us the Third Nation. Ok then, I guess, you can start calling us the Third Nation rising.
Chula Vista Lawsuits and Investigations
- A lawsuit has been brought by Chris Shilling and San Diegans for Open Governmmentcontending that Chula Vista city council members violated the Brown Act when appointing Steve Miesen to fill the vacant council seat left by Mary Salas when she became Mayor. Shilling contends that council members allegedly held a serial meeting with the city clerk by emailing their votes for potential City Council candidates to move into the interview round. Mayor Salas is set to be deposed in November. Editor of the Chula Vista Star News, Carlos Davalos maintains in an editorial that the City Council could have simply done a do-over of the reappointment process, but would prefer to be ‘right’ on their appointment. AroundChulaVistatweeted “A lot of roads in
#ChulaVista won’t get fixed now because of this lawsuit. The city’s running out of money.”
- In case you missed it last week, Chula Vista was all abuzz with news that Seven Mile Casino owner, Harvey Souza, was being investigated by state regulators for failing to disclose a $3 million loan. The Bureau of Gambling Control seeks to revoke the state license for the card room that has been in the city since 1946. This week, I weighed in. There are 94 legal card rooms in California. State regulations are strict and cities have their own set of regulations, but what do card rooms provide most for a city? Tax revenue.
- Also, the city of Chula Vista held two community meetings to discuss taking over the Olympic Training Center. A feasibility study was presented to community members and ideas were brought forward on how to make the OTC a potential revenue stream for Chula Vista. Community member Mark Liuag (who also happens to be a Planning Commissioner) said that the city didn’t hold firm with their original master plan, which would have brought commercial buildings next to the center. That would have generated more revenue possibilities than the current residential homes surrounding the OTC. What we do know is that the USOC would like to leave, so the OTC’s existence hangs in the balance.
- The Eastlake Action Group has been disgruntled about neighborhood streets being glutted with vehicles. They hope the Chula Vista Safety Commission will consider approving resident permits to park on the streets.
Imperial Beach’s Rotten Food to Rotten Real Estate
- Imperial Beach has been rocked by a few scandals lately. Two weeks ago protestors gathered outside Wally’s to complain about the store selling rotten and outdated food.
- Now, real estate managers, Richard and Cheryl Schaumburg have over two dozen civil lawsuits pending against them. Allegations include that the couple didn’t correctly transfer funds between renters and property owners. To boot, the Imperial Beach Chamber of Commerce has alleged that Richard Schaumburg made a $35,000 “unauthorized withdrawal” from the chamber’s Chase Bank account last February. At the time, Schaumburg served as the chamber’s treasurer.
IBWC Signs Document On Trash
The IBWC’s U.S. Commissioner Edward Drusina and Mexican Commissioner Roberto Salmonsigned a document on Monday, October 5th at the Tijuana Cultural Center, Minute 320, that addresses the problems of sediment, trash and polluted stormwater in the Tijuana River watershed. You might remember my interview with Steve Smullen at the IBWC’s Sanitation Plant.The plant sanitizes 22 million gallons of Tijuana sewage per day, and surprisingly, that hasn’t solve all the sewage problems.
The treaty might help, but let’s face it — without a lot of money going into significant infrastructure development in Tijuana (which currently says it has a population of 1.6 million, but with unchecked growth continues to swell and the numbers are estimated to be more at 2 million), it’s unlikely things will change much when it comes to sediment and sewage falling on San Diego beaches. Marty Graham over at the San Diego Reader explained that when it rains, the Tijuana CILA pumping station shuts down, allowing an estimated 12,000 liters per second of rainwater, urban runoff, and raw sewage to flow through the Tijuana River channel and into the U.S.
Sorry, National City, Just More Crime?
National City was in the news this week, but the Union Tribune only posted three crime reports:
- a man was shot and a woman carjacked at gunpoint at a National City sports bar.
- at Mile of Cars Way a pedestrian was struck and injured by a driver who fled the scene.
- a man started to pull a gun on National City police officers at the Westfield Plaza Bonita food court, but then the gunman and two other men with him were arrested.
Here’s what was not mentioned:
- Olivewood Gardens and Learning Center had their Kitchenistas clean up to beautify Butterfly Park. Here’s a movie all about the Kitchenistas.
- The National City council is considering establishing a Public Education Government (PEG) Cable Channel to broadcast municipal meetings. This might help boost participation in local politics.
And what about the National School District? Do we ever know what’s going on there?
Here’s a bit of the scoop based on my interview with Chris Carson, Assistant Superintendent of Business Services:
The National School District has seen declining enrollment rates, down about 1,000 students, over the last 15 years. One would think that lower enrollment rates translates to smaller classroom sizes and higher quality teaching, right?
However, districts only consider enrollment rates from the previous year and if the rates decline, the funding also declines. Rather than using declining enrollment rates for the benefit of the students — for example, having a teacher for fifteen students instead of the negotiated 33 to 1 ratio — districts are usually forced to lay off teachers and other staff when enrollments decline.
Keep in mind that 87% of National City elementary school children are either English Language Learners or living in poverty. Although most of National City is built out and won’t see the kind of growth that is happening in eastern Chula Vista, about 120 low-income apartments and condos are currently being built and the children from there will likely attend Kimball elementary.
There has been some good news for the National City School District. The new LCAP funding has brought more money into the district this year. They also recently past a general obligation bond for $26.1 million. (This year’s budget is about $54 million.) With the extra money, last summer the district was able to install air conditioning into 4 of their 10 schools.
Of the ten elementary schools within the district, none had air conditioning in the hard buildings; their most “modern” school was built in 1967 (Palmer Way).
But if you think declining enrollment is occurring because National City students are transferring en masse to other districts, the total number of transfers from National City to other districts this year is 132 out of 5,639 students. Meanwhile, the number of students transferring into the National City elementary school district was 420.
For surf and ocean enthusiasts, make sure to attend the 12th Annual WILDCOAST Dempsey Holder Ocean Festival. Unfortunately, the event had to be postponed due to rain, but the new date is Saturday, November 7th. For twelve years, the festival has honored legendary Imperial Beach surfer and lifeguard Dempsey Holder. It also celebrates the need to conserve our coast and ocean and safeguard our new system of Marine Protected Areas in San Diego County.
A Reason To Survive (ARTS) is looking for Veterans, families of Veterans, and Active Duty Military to participate on a Community Mosaic Project for benches near the Kimball Park War Memorial.
Imperial Beach Public Library celebrates its centennial this year. Go check out 100 Years of Stories 1915-2015 on Saturday, Oct. 17, 1-3 pm, at the Boys and Girls Club, 847 Encina Ave., Imperial Beach CA 91933. The celebration will include Mexican Dancing Groups and remarks by Supervisor Greg Cox.
The Tijuana Estuary Visitor’s Center is hosting An Ecological Look into the Past, a presentation by Sam Safran from the San Francisco Estuary Institute on Saturday, Oct. 17th: 10 -11 am. Hot springs in the Tijuana River? Antelope by the beach? Zip-lines over the international border? Come find out what the Tijuana River Valley looked like in the not-so-distant past and how the river, estuary, and surrounding areas have changed over the past two centuries. The event is free.