By Barbara Zaragoza / South Bay Compass
The Skybridge opened on Wednesday, which goes from San Diego into the Tijuana International Airport. The skybridge was built with investor money that included Chicago billionaire Sam Zell who is also known as the chairman of Equity LifeStyle Properties, the largest mobile-home landlord.
Will this be the beginning of more bridges in U.S.-Mexico relations? In 1959 entrepreneur Allen Parkinson set out to create an international skyride that would cross from San Ysidro into Tijuana. Plans were foiled by construction of the I-5 freeway. Then again, during the 1970s a monorail was planned between San Diego and Tijuana; the project also went nowhere. Hence, this skybridge is the first to actually come to fruition.
Border News Abounds
- Customs and Border Patrol started using biometric identification scans, a new technology, on Thursday. The scans capture an incoming traveler’s facial photograph to match existing records.
- KPBS reports that Tijuana may be badly affected by El Nino this year.
- The Otay Mesa Chamber of Commerce said that “MX Space, a Mexican-based holding consortium composed of five companies has announced they have plans to manufacture satellites in Tijuana in the near future. Tijuana would be the first City in Mexico to be called a satellite producer. There are 90 aerospace companies in Baja with the majority in Tijuana.”
- The Union Tribune reported that nearly half the bank branches in San Ysidro have closed in the last two years, affecting small businesses the most. The backbone of San Ysidro boulevard is small businesses, in particular the Casas de Cambios, here’s the good, the bad and the messy: their businesses are failing due to the effective crackdown of drug related money laundering. Councilmember David Alvarez is trying to address the matter effectively.
- Voice of San Diego begins a bimonthly Border Report written by border enthusiast Enrique Limon.
- The newsletter this week included that San Diego developers are building more affordable housing in Tijuana. Although the U.S. doesn’t keep records of how many Americans have immigrated to other countries, it’s estimated that 50,000 Americans currently live in Tijuana where the cost of living is more affordable. The article explains that construction by American builders could bring better infrastructure for the city, but also has its drawbacks.
- Tijuana has plans to improve its transportation. They began construction on a 23-mile bus rapid transit system and are looking into a light-rail system.
- If you’re a die-hard border enthusiast, pair VOSD’s newsletter with Border Buzz from the U.S.-Mexico Border Philanthropy Partnership. You’ll receive comprehensive news about our binational heritage, including politics, health, environment, economy, business and art. Some of the issues the Philanthropy Partnership covered this month:
- SENTRI border crossing hours extended for motorists.
- Mexico’s Pemex oil company opens 5 gas stations in US.
- Mexican novelist Yuri Herrera talks about the first English translation of his novel, The Mexica Afterlife.
- A state-by-state guide to Mexico’s cuisine.
- Latino families have worse access to healthy food.
Card Room Closes After FBI Raid
- Seven Mile Casino on Bay Boulevard in Chula Vista has been shut down after FBI raided the card room in a crackdown that spanned from New Jersey to Chula Vista. Owner Harvey Souza was indicted and charged with not having an anti-money laundering program in place at the card room.
- A man in National City was released on bond after pleading not guilty to paying bribes for medical referrals. The man is accused of paying $5,000 in cash to a chiropractor in exchange for patient referrals for selling hot/cold therapy units.
- The Vogue Theater is for sale and won’t be destroyed. The San Diego Reader reports that the historic theater in downtown Chula Vista closed its doors in 2006 and has remained boarded up. With a visionary buyer, the theater could get a renovation and see a little Renaissance.
Wagon Man Dies
- The San Diego Reader reported that Wagon man died. Kermit Brown was known for the Conestoga wagons he pulled around Imperial Beach. Injured while serving in Vietnam, he loved wagons, initially to sell to collectors. When the business slowed down, he sold advertising on his wagons instead.
- Mayor Serge Dedina and members of the City Council joined community members for a ribbon cutting ceremony on December 9th to celebrate the completion of the City of Imperial Beach’s Alley Project at Ebony Avenue. Mayor Dedina promised during elections that he would focus not only on Seacoast Drive–the main tourist strip–but also on roads where community members have been in dire need of infrastructure repairs. The City has completed 14 alley pavements and 8 more alleys are scheduled for improvement in 2016.
- A bottlenose dolphin was rescued by SeaWorld and Imperial Beach lifeguards after getting stranded in four-feet of water in the South Bay.
- And finally, National City was proud of its first ever ice skating rink set up for the holidays. It will be free and open to the public from 5pm-10pm tonight!
John Lawrence says
The SENTRI pass process is amazingly screwed up. First, after getting my appointment to go down there which took months, the directions they provided were total crap. After getting off at the last US exit all they had to say was “turn left.” Instead they said follow Vievre Siempre (close but not exact name) around. Following it around for all intents and purposes was a right hand turn. I found myself inundated in a traffic jam of hundreds of big rigs waiting to cross the border.
Then after I got there and went through the interview, they told me to pay at the window. After doing that the girl said, “Now pull your car around…” Someone in back of her said, “Wait, we’re not doing that any more.” So I said, “I’m supposed to go home now?” and she said, “Yes.”
Net result: I never got the SENTRI pass for my car. I did receive the one in the mail for my person, but now I have to go down there again and try to get the one for my car. Otherwise, the whole thing is a waste of time.