North of the Fence is back with coverage of everything from National City to the border. First and foremost — Watch for clown sightings in the South Bay!
South Bay Election Coverage
I hope you found my South Bay election coverage to be helpful. It’s arguably the first ever election cycle where a news outlet has focused extensively on races south of the I-54. If you’re still undecided, here’s a wrap up:
- Chula Vista City Council, District 3 & 4 elections
- Chula Vista Elementary School, Seats 2 & 4
- Measure P: Chula Vista’s half-cent sales tax increase
- Southwestern Community College Board, Seat 3
- Measure Z: Southwestern School Bond
- National City Council, 2 Seats
- National City School Board, 2 Seats
- Measure HH: National City School Bond
- Sweetwater Union High School District, Seat 2
- Measure CC: Term limits for SUHSD trustees
- South Bay Irrigation District & Otay Water District, Board Elections
- San Ysidro School Board Trustee, 1 Seat
What You Missed While I Was Covering The Local Elections
Now here’s a troubling campaign story:
Susana Maza applied for a permit to add two refrigerator doors of beer and wine to her small market, Gama Produce. In August, she submitted a letter to National City’s gov’t offices. The letter said the city’s vice mayor, Jerry Cano, came to her store on July 30th and told her the council was not going to approve her liquor permit.
Voice of San Diego further reports: “Mr. Cano stated how he was contacted by the owner of Ranch Liquor House and how the owner offered him campaign contributions to his campaign and that the owner of Ranch House liquor would provide money to Jerry’s father as well,” reads the letter. “I shared with him ‘I don’t have money, but I allow all candidates to place their flyers and signs at my store.’ He also stated the Ranch Liquor House had more clout as a business and that I would not receive my liquor license because Ranch House has stronger advocacy.”
Reporter Maya Srikrishnan explains: “Maza’s letter suggests that Cano told her a campaign contributions would determine his support for her alcohol permit – and that he implied that if she did not offer up a contribution, a donation from a competing business that he had been promised would seal her fate. If those accusations are true, that would be illegal.”
Jerry Cano, who is running for re-election, strongly denies the accusations. He says the conversation never took place. He apparently is also considering filing a complaint against Maza and the CEO of the Chamber of Commerce who supported Maza’s permit.
The city council denied the permit in a 2-2 vote, with Cano recusing himself.
Also in National City:
- The city council passed an urgent ordinance that would ban all commercial marijuana sales within city limits. The council’s decision anticipates the passage of Measure 64. (Fox 5) Back in January, the council unanimously voted against allowing any marijuana cultivation. (San Diego Reader)
- The National City Attorney, Claudia Silva, left her position on October 12th. She was replaced by Interim-City Attorney George Eiser–the former NC city attorney for 25 years.
- Looks like the National School District governing board has an email scandal of their own. (San Diego Union Tribune)
- Bernie Sanders forgot to pay National City the money he owes for a May Rally held at Kimball Park. (San Diego Union Tribune)
- Season 3 of FX’s American Crime Story looks at Andrew Cunanan, born in National City, who became a serial killer, murdering Gianni Versace. Cunanan committed suicide a week later.
Haitians in Tijuana Need Our Help
The National City-based International Community Foundation is raising funds to provide food & shelter to Haitians who have come to Tijuana in hopes of entering the U.S.
Sandra Dibble at the SD Union Tribune writes: The resources of the Padre Chava shelter and others in Tijuana have been stretched thin with the arrival of the Haitians and other migrants, and the overflow has sent some to sleep in the streets. With limited capacity of U.S. Customs and Border Protection to process such large numbers, the Haitians end up waiting for days or weeks in Tijuana until their appointments at the San Ysidro Port of Entry.
Imperial Beach Mayor’s Father Is Boo’ed
Mayor Serge Dedina retracted the Welcoming City proclamation that had been issued in mid-August. The proclamation was meant to welcome immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers to IB. Why the change of heart?
Protestors at the September 21 IB City Council meeting booed the mayor’s father as he spoke about being a refugee from Nazi Germany and said the U.S. should let in more refugees. Many in the crowd held up “No ISIS” signs and one witness said there was a “riot” outside the council room. (San Diego Reader)
IB candidates weighed in on the issue at their Candidates Forum.
Chula Vista is Quiet & Otay Border Patrol extends enforcement
- Chula Vista has been pretty quiet lately, other than a lawsuit filed against the city over a condominium project on Third Avenue. (San Diego Union Tribune)
- Beginning this week, the U.S. Border Patrol, San Diego Sector refocused its priority enforcement efforts to Otay Mountain to target cross-border criminal smuggling organizations. Mary Beth Caston, U.S. Border Patrol Information & Communication writer said in a press release, “Otay Mountain has historically been well known for bandit activity, kidnappings, extortion, and rapes committed upon migrants by perpetrators in Mexico.” You may remember my trek up there with Border Patrol a while back.
San Ysidro’s School Board Campaign Woes
- Irene Lopez, a candidate for San Ysidro School Board, posted this on October 18th about her campaign and her opponent:
This week things seem to have changed. Someone else has taken the wheel of Mr. Kinney’s campaign. Signs have been placed all over San Ysidro illegally on city and state property. By law these signs are also supposed to have campaign ID numbers in order for the public to know who has paid for them and they are nowhere to be seen.
Today Board Member Linares distributed a flyer stating lies about me. It alleged that I was part of the previous administration(s). IF Trustee Linares had actually lived in San Ysidro when I worked for the district, he would know, which ALL of you know, that I wasn’t part of the Administration. I was a clerk in the district office. He insinuates that I was part of the corruption and financial mismanagement and put the district at risk of bankruptcy. I don’t understand how that could be the case when my job duties as a clerk did not include managing anything but files in the human resources department and nothing to do with district funds.
The Sweetwater Dam Falling Apart
The Sweetwater Authority (Authority) Board recently voted to fund $8 million of required improvements to the Sweetwater Dam.
On September 28th, David Gutierrez, Chief of DSOD, said the Sweetwater Dam may be unsafe under certain extreme hydrologic conditions and stated that the DSOD may issue water storage restrictions on the reservoir if the Authority did not proceed with the necessary improvements.
The required improvements to the dam include added walls and new concrete armored surfaces to the sides. The Dam was built in 1888.
Halloween & Dia de los Muertos Celebrations
It’s going to be a busy two weeks with many great organizations hosting Halloween and Dios de los Muertos festivities.
- Suzie’s Farm kicks off their Pumpkin Palooza on Saturday October 22nd from 10am-2pm. They’ll have music, food, workshops and, of course, PUMPKINS!
- Owl-o-ween is at the Living Coast Discovery Center on Saturday, October 22nd from 10am-2pm.
- La Vista Memorial Park will also host their 8th Dia de los Muertos on Saturday, October 22nd from 2-10pm. Each year, La Vista receives more than 10,000 visitors at the event.
- Casa Familiar hosts a Fall Festival on Friday, October 28th from 4-7 pm on the Corner of Cypress Dr. & Blanche St. There will be games and a pumpkin patch.
- Casa Familiar will hold their annual Die de Muertos on Wednesday, November 2nd from 4-6pm at 212 West Park Avenue.
- The National City Firefighters association presents the Tower of Terror on Halloween Night, October 31st from 5-9pm. It’s free and you can find it at Fire Station 34, 16th Street & D Avenue.
Hearts & Hands will hold their annual fundraiser on Friday, October 28th at 5 pm. The event will take place at San Ysidro Middle School, 4345 Otay Mesa Rd. Tickets are $15 per person. For more information contact: Alicia Jimenez (619) 662-7592.