By Barbara Zaragoza
The Gateway Inn
Latest Update: After SDFP ran a story about the Gateway Inn on August 26th, the San Diego Housing Commission’s Maria Velasquez, Vice-President of Communications, called to tell me that they had made contact with the owner in writing that day.
She explained that the owner is required to file an application for an Single-Room Occupancy (SRO) determination before they are able to do anything (such as demolition). The San Diego Housing Commission then will review their application and make the determination whether they are in accordance with the Municipal Code, including whether they owe relocation fees to the occupants based on the Ellis Act. Velasquez did, however, emphasize that the Housing Commission is at the beginning stages of having contacted the owner.
In addition, several San Ysidro community organizations came together to help these families and on Thursday, Sept. 1, legal services were supplied to several of those who received eviction notices.
(See General November Election Results for the South Bay here.)
Imperial Beach Elections: A Primer
As many of you may know, the Imperial Beach Mayor is Serge Dedina. He was elected to office in 2014 for a four year term. Two other city council members are not up for election this year: Mayor Pro Tem Ed Spriggs and Councilmember Lorie Bragg.
This week, Spriggs wrote in to explain his position on Prop 59, calling on IB candidates to decline any contributions by Super PACs.
Furthermore, two city council seats are open this November. Current council member Brian Bilbray will not be running for re-election, so the only incumbent in the race is Robert Patton. A total of six candidates are running for the two city council seats.
This week, I contacted the City of Imperial Beach for election information. The City Clerk, Jacqueline Hald, provided me with the following important numbers:
- According to the CA Dept. of Finance, IB’s population as of January 1, 2016, was 27,434.
- As of May 24, 2016, the ROV [Registrar of Voters] reported 10,816 registered voters in IB.
- In the 2012 elections, the number of registered voters in IB was 11,106 and the number of ballots cast was 7,511.
- In the 2014 elections, the number of registered voters in IB was 11,096 and the number of ballots cast was 4,499.
So 67 percent of people voted in the 2012 elections and 40 percent of people voted in the 2014 elections. Considering that voter turnout countywide in the 2014 election was 44.75 percent — IB is not looking that bad in terms of voter participation.
To promote more awareness, the Imperial Beach Chamber of Commerce will hold a Candidates Forum on Wednesday, September 28th from 6:30pm to 8:30pm at the Boys and Girls Club, 847 Encina Avenue, IB CA 91932.
The Eagle & Times has also published the candidate platforms, with the exception of Tim O’Neal & Patton. (Links provided in the body of texts below.) I’m summarizing those articles and adding my own research where necessary:
Council Member Robert Patton
His biography isn’t up on the IB government website yet, but writer Alessandra Seigi-Harrigan provided a nice feature about Patton. A first grade teacher, Patton has been a councilman for three-and-a-half years. Patton moved to IB when he himself was in first grade and has been a Lifeguard and an EMT as well.
He wants to keep the small-town atmosphere of IB. He says in the near future the council will focus on improving Triangle Park, paving more alleyways and reconstructing two new restrooms at Veteran’s Park and Sports Park. You can read the full Eagle & Times article here. He is endorsed by the Democratic Party.
Raised in IB, Sanchez-Huffman worked in the real estate and mortgage field and then became a stay-at-home mom for two children. She is active in church youth ministry and “advocates for healthy living from the beaches to the little league.” Her main focus, according to her Eagle & Times write-up, is on the youth, and also making clean water a high priority. You can find her website here.
To summarize the Eagle & Times write-up, West wants redevelopment in IB to happen with citizen input, better trash and litter removal, and he wants to protect the coastline. (West is the current chair of Surfrider San Diego.)
West also says with the growth of the Naval Coastal Campus directly north of IB, he believes the community will see a rapid influx of military families. Because the campus will employ 4,000 permanently stationed service members, as a Veteran, West believes he will be able to help with the transition. He is endorsed by the Democratic Party.
Camacho grew up in the South Bay, attended Mar Vista High and served in the U.S. Marine Corps. He is a senior manager at Cox Communications and has two children, one of whom attends Imperial Beach Charter School. Camacho explains in his Eagle & Times write-up that he is not a city insider. He has not served on one of the city’s boards or commission and has no affiliation to special interest groups.
He outlines several key platform points, including better communication between city government and its constituents. He also wants to see roads repaved, sidewalks fixed, proper lighting at night and additional patrols, in particular in the most eastern part of I.B. (No picture available.)
Behrens moved to IB when her husband was stationed at the Naval Base Coronado. She made this her permanent home and founded the Imperial Beach-based lifestyle blog, Every Good Woman. In her statement for Eagle & Times, she says the needs of families and small children have been overlooked in IB and she wants to change that. She also wants to IB to be a safer place to live.
She writes: “I urge city planners to create a safer environmental design in our neighborhoods by installing speed bumps, more efficient street lighting, and additional surveillance mechanisms.”
Tim O’Neal is current Chairman for Parks and Recreation Committee. According to Dig Imperial Beach he is a founder of I Heart IB, which was envisioned to support IB issues, causes & events. He also brought back the fireworks in IB along with his wife Candy Unger. Interestingly, O’Neal’s grandfather started the fireworks in the 1970s. That’s according to Eagle & Times, which doesn’t have a write-up about the candidate at this time. O’Neal is endorsed by the Republican Party.
In South Bay News
- An 8,000 square foot lot in Imperial Beach, which has been vacant for decades, may finally become a community park. The City is working with local organizations–including National City-based A Reason To Survive, 4Walls International and the IB Arts Bureau–to make it happen. (San Diego Union Tribune)
- Migrant advocates in Tijuana are calling for the government to help cope with the large numbers of Haitians petitioning for entrance to the United States. (San Diego Union Tribune)
- The City of Chula Vista sent two separate letters to the San Diego County Grand Jury contesting the claim that the CV jail was a financial drain. (Chula Vista Star News)
- Southwestern College students can no longer park on just any suburban street near the school. If they leave their car by College Estates, they’ll get ticketed. (Chula Vista Star News)
- Border Patrol found two bodies floating on the U.S. side of Border Field State Park by the U.S.-Mexico border. (NBC San Diego)
- John Holder, U.S.-Mexico Border Coordinator at WildCoast, gave this Eagle & Times writer a tour of Border Field State Park. Here’s what she found.
And finally, I wrote a story about homeless advocate Veronica Medina back in February 2016. I featured her life and her tireless work with homeless students, who make up 33 percent of the San Ysidro student population, as well. Her story went national. This week, Peter Moskowitz discovered Medina and did an additional write-up highlighting Medina’s work and our very own San Ysidro at fusion.net.
I welcome your comments and additions to these candidate write-ups! My mission this election season is to engage and inform the public. Please chime in. I’d love to hear from you.