… Deported Veterans Refused Re-Entry, and Coronado To Sue Imperial Beach for Sewage
By Barbara Zaragoza
The new pedestrian crossing at the San Ysidro Port of Entry (POE) opened to great fan-fare last Friday. By Wednesday, according to a comment on a San Diego Reader article, it had to be closed.
As writer John Kitchen explained in his Reader article, the new facility on the Mexican side has no roads leading to it, preventing buses or taxis to get anywhere close. Sandra Dibble at the San Diego Union Tribune reported similar complaints of the pedestrian crossing, which is located next to the Las Americas Outlet Mall.
In addition, the temporary walkway consists of scaffolding, which moves around under the weight of those crossing. Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce in San Ysidro, Jason Wells, told TJ Noticias that the Mexican side of the new crosswalk presented an “imminent danger” to users.
“According to Wells, the bridge has about 12 thousand people using it daily and the Tijuana side is not really a bridge but a scaffold made of boards, which are bent with the weight of people and someone might fall or hurt themselves if they do not fix the problem.” (TJ Noticias)
On the American side, the GSA constructed the pedestrian crossing for two years at a cost of $8 million. It appears, however, that the GSA and other organizations didn’t collaborate with their Mexican partners to make the pedestrian crossing a success.
On July 12, the San Diego Union Tribune reported that two hour waits are still the norm at the San Ysidro POE, even though after Phase I of the reconfiguration project — completed in December 2014 — the GSA had promised 15 to 20 minute wait times going northbound.
Although the GSA finished phase 1, opening the number of northbound vehicle processing lanes, it appears they weren’t able to collaborate enough with Customs and Border Protection for enough staff to man the booths and decrease wait times.
The GSA is currently undertaking a large reconfiguration of the San Ysidro POE that costs $735 million total. Phase 3 consists of a large realignment of Interstate 5 to be completed by 2019.
Meanwhile, border residents on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico line are allied on the need for more mobility and fewer walls, according to a Dallas Morning News report.
Mayor Faulconer and the head of the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) — in charge of rebuilding the San Ysidro Port of Entry — had attended the pedestrian crossing ribbon cutting ceremony alongside many other local politicians. Maybe they’ll be back for a Round Two.
- The Times of San Diego reported four separate exhibitions will open at the Museum of Contemporary Art that focus on artists working in the binational San Diego/Tijuana area.
- If you are a Border advocate or enthusiast, get Brook Binkowski’s Border Report twice a month; you can subscribe here.
- This week, she reported that a group of deported veterans tried to cross from Tijuana through the San Ysidro Port of Entry last Friday, turning themselves in en mass to U.S. Customs and Border Protection to request humanitarian and medical asylum. Friends and family waited on the American side, but they were sent back into Tijuana. Hector Barajas who I interviewed back in February 2015 was one of those seeking asylum.
Coronado Suing IB for Sewage
A new Navy campus on the southern end of Coronado will eventually house several thousand people and generate about 200,000 gallons per day of sewage. The Navy plans to pay IB to carry that sewage away, but the new campus is in Coronado. As a consequence, Coronado wants to block the sewer deal, saying it should provide that service to the Navy. Voice of San Diego’s Ry Rivard has the complicated details.
National City’s Council Votes On Pet Store Animals
National City Council voted on banning animal sales in pet stores. Although the ban was voted down 3-2, it brings up an interesting issue.
According to the San Diego Union Tribune report, “Jennifer Brehler, chief operating officer of the San Diego Humane Society, believes many pet stores get animals from puppy mills and kitten factories where they are bred and raised in cramped, inhumane conditions.”
Ban proponents, including Alejandra Sotelo-Solis who brought forward the ban to NC’s City Council, say it would not only reduce the number of animals treated inhumanely, but encourage the adoption of more pets from shelters and rescue groups. Journalist Allison Sampite-Montecalvo reports.
San Ysidro School District Files Claim Against County Board of Education
The California Taxpayers Action Network filed a lawsuit alleging that Superintendent Randy Ward from the County Board of Education gave himself and Lora Duzyk pay raises without performance reviews.
The San Diego Reader reports this week that the San Ysidro School District filed a complaint on July 1st claiming that the board hid $4 million in its books & supplies account. Then, the district wanted teachers to take an 8% pay cut.
From 2013 to 2015 Duzyk was paid by the San Ysidro district to oversee their budget, which at the time was in negative certification. While she advocated cuts for San Ysidro teachers, she saw her own salary jump 6%. The San Diego Reader has more of the story.
Channel 7 News reported that Dr. Ward has been placed on paid administrative leave.
The San Diego Union Tribune also provided a thorough investigative report.
- Dr. Guadalupe Corona is the new director of Southwestern College’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion department. (Chula Vista Star News)
- Southwestern College also has a new interim President/Superintendent, Tim Flood. (Chula Vista Star News)
- Two girls softball pitching machines were stolen from Sports Park storage facility. They were each valued at $1,500. (IB Eagle & Times)
- Angelia Trinidad, CEO of Passion Planner, is only 25 years old and created a $1 million empire, starting out in her Chula Vista garage. (CW6 San Diego)
- Chula Vista City Council voted 4-1, with Councilmember McCann opposed, to place a half-cent sales tax measure on the November ballot. (Chula Vista Star News)
- UltraStar Mission Valley Harzard Center shows “77 Minutes” starting on September 23rd, a documentary about the McDonald’s massacre in San Ysidro. (Fox 5 News)