… Pedestrian Crossing In San Ysidro Opens This Month — With Glitches, and Sales Tax Increase for Chula Vista on November Ballot
By Barbara Zaragoza
Doug Porter has been reporting on the attack of homeless men in San Diego. Four people were assaulted in their sleep, two set on fire. Two men later died. Frank Gormlie at the OB Rag also carried the story about the assaults on Angelo De Nardo, 53, Shawn Mitchell Longley, 41, Manual Nunez Mason, 61, and a 23-year-old man (not named).
The suspect was found in Chula Vista.
Anthony Alexander Padgett, 36, has been taken into custody. He was located at Broadway and H Street. He was born in Chula Vista and reports say he has a criminal history. (Imperial Beach Patch)
As a resident, it’s especially disheartening that these attacks are now connected to the South Bay. Ann Marie Houghtailing’s op-ed piece this week for the San Diego Union Tribune titled “Do coded comments on Chula Vista hint of racism?” does a good job of explaining why.
Because she lives in Chula Vista, she frequently receives comments such as “I never have a reason to go there” and the like. Once — at a human trafficking fundraiser — a woman introducing a guest said, “This isn’t just happening in the South Bay, this is happening in North County.”
So South Bay — let me say this to us: Believe it or not, crime and criminals aren’t just a North County problem. It can happen in the South Bay too.
Half Cent Sales Tax For Chula Vista’s November Ballot
Nope, this is not the half-cent sales tax that SANDAG has been touting and South Bay Mayors have endorsed. This is a different tax measure. Next Tuesday, July 12th, the Chula Vista City Council will again discuss if they should put a half-cent sales tax increase on the November ballot. That just means councilmembers will decide whether Chula Vista residents should vote for the measure.
On June 21, the City Council debated the matter after many consultants and city staff developed the measure. The pros and cons of bonds vs. sales taxes were considered. Then, a proposal was placed on the agenda, but Councilmember Patricia Aguilar wanted more time to look at the language of the proposal. They’ll take a look at the potential ballot measure again next week.
In the meantime, I talked with Richard Hopkins, Director of Public Works at the City of Chula Vista. He supports the sales tax, which would generate about $165 million over ten years to repair the city’s infrastructure.
On May 31, he explained in an interview with me, “The revenue that would come in from a sales tax is better, in my opinion, because I get it a little at a time… It’s the fairest to me. Because some property owners already pay Mello Roos, they pay their property tax, then they pay for CFD’s and yet another hit on a property. I think sales tax allows people coming to the city–people coming to visit the Bayfront, people coming to visit our Olympic Training Center, the new hotels that we’re going to be building. To me it’s a better way to spread the cost over more people, so the individual impact is less.”
Ped West At the San Ysidro Port Of Entry Opens Next Friday
On July 15, the big day arrives: the western pedestrian crossing at the San Ysidro Port of Entry opens. Located right at the Las Americas Mall, pedestrians will be able to cross the U.S.-Mexico border — but northbound only.
The project was rolled into phase two of the General Services Administration’s reconfiguration of the San Ysidro Port of Entry — a project that the federal government has funded for about $800 million. It was really thanks to community pressure that the project has come to fruition this early.
However, the reconfiguration has had some problems. After the GSA completed Phase 1, fifteen to twenty minute wait times were promised for northbound vehicles — but that has yet to transpire on most days. What happened? There seem to be no answers.
Now, there’s another glitch: while the American side of PedWest has been under construction for two years, the Mexican side of PedWest has been undergoing construction for a mere two months. The full crossing on the Mexican side won’t be ready by next week. For one thing, the crossing will only process northbound pedestrians. The San Diego Union Tribune has additional information.
- San Diego City Beat gave Chula Vista some love, highlighting Taco de barbacoa at Aqui es Texcoco on Broadway.
- William Richter wrote an op-ed piece in the Chula Vista Star News criticizing a 70 condominium project in western CV — a development that will convert 20,000 square feet of commercial space to 600 square feet of commercial space, with the rest being residential. Richter explains, “It’s almost like the city has a drug-addiction to residential projects and, as with all drug-addictions, there are serious consequences.” Read the consequences here.
- Many San Ysidro students must walk to San Ysidro High School, but they have to use a curvy road with no sidewalk. For more than a decade residents have complained to the city. This week, the City of San Diego reported that soil conditions are poor, so the work of creating the sidewalk and better road conditions is taking longer than anticipated. In addition, “The discovery of a Coopers’ hawk nest and chicks prevents any work on the eastern portion of the site within 300 feet of the nest. However, significant progress has been made on the retaining walls… The two walls are about 90 percent complete and the drainage ditches above the walls are complete. Once the chicks fledge (develop wings strong enough to fly) and the nest becomes inactive, work can resume near the nest provided no other protected birds are located.”
- The Otay Mesa Chamber of Commerce announced that the U.S. Department of Transportation will award SANDAG and Caltrans $49.28 million to complete Segment 2 of State Route 11 in Otay Mesa. Segment 1 opened in March from the 905 to Enrico Fermi Drive, but the second segment will extend to the border. Freeway building in Otay Mesa, the press release argues, relieves congestion and increases economic growth between the U.S. and Mexico.
- South Bay Union School District, whose teachers were on the verge of a strike, reached a tentative agreement on a three-year contract. (San Diego Union Tribune)
- The Sweetwater Union High School District settled a lawsuit filed by HAR Construction. The District will pay the company $7.3 million. The complaint was filed by contractor Hector Romero who said his contract was cut when he refused to support former board member Pearl Quinones in her 2010 bid for a state Assembly seat. The San Diego Union Tribune has more on how the district is still paying for corrupt board members who are long gone — having been voted out and having faced a corruption probe.
The Sun & Sea Festival Is Here!
The City of Imperial Beach will celebrate it’s 60th anniversary alongside it’s famous annual Sun & Sea Festival. First, join Mayor Serge Dedina on Friday, July 15th at 10am at the Imperial Beach Pier Plaza for a Mayor’s Breakfast. That will inaugurate the Sun & Sea Festival festivities which will last until 5pm on Saturday with the Sandcastle Awards Ceremony.