By Barbara Zaragoza
The Center on Policy Initiatives released a report this week that said Imperial Beach and National City had poverty rates considerably higher than the San Diego County overall rate of 13.8%. The poverty rate among children in Imperial beach was 32.7% and in National City was 30.5%. Renters were paying more than 60% of their income on housing. (See the troubling report here.)
Mayors Reaffirm Their Partnership Amidst Border Building Concerns
San Diego and Tijuana mayors signed an agreement Monday reaffirming their partnership. Notably, the two cities together make up the largest hub for medical device manufacturing in the world. (Times of San Diego)
Articles continued to spotlight the border and immigration this week:
- NPR shows that America’s idea of illegal immigration doesn’t match reality. (NPR)
- Could the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo fail as to its validity? A Mexican political and lawyer says that 430 kilometers of the U.S.-Mexico border was incorrectly marked, meaning that about 85,000 hectares now in Arizona and New Mexico actually belong to Mexico. (Mexico News Daily)
- A new study has found that Donald Trump’s third border wall with Mexico could cause a severe water shortage. (Panam Post)
- Our Texan border-brothers and sisters are having some problems with Trump’s wall as well. In Brewster County they’re baffled at how it’s physically possible to build a wall at Big Bend National Park which consists of steep canyons. (BuzzFeed News)
- The U.S. Customs and Border Protection wants to start awarding contracts by mid-April for the U.S.-Mexico wall construction. Two Chula Vista companies signed up on a government website to make a possible bid on Trump’s border wall: Ebert Composites and James Fletcher Construction. (San Diego Union Tribune)
- Companies who agree to “build that wall,” might face a backlash from Mexico. The National Action Party Senator Gabriela Cuevas Barrón told Mexico’s senate that “they should urge the federal government to deny contracts and awards of goods and services to companies that also participate directly or indirectly in the construction of the border wall.” (Panam Post)
The Ongoing Sewage Crisis at the Border
A sewage spill estimated at 143 million gallons flowed into the ocean over 17 days in February. The spill caused beach closures, a foul smell and outrage from local residents as well as politicians, including SD Councilmember David Alvarez and IB Mayor Serge Dedina.
To understand the problem — you can read my interview with Steve Smullen of the International Boundary & Water Commission in 2015. He gave me a tour of the sanitation treatment plant that cleans 25 million gallons of Tijuana sewage each day. Smullen explained that sanitizing 25 million gallons of sewage isn’t enough for a city that grows one block each week. (You heard that right.)
What could be worse? As Brooke Binkowski explains in her Border Report at Voice of San Diego: “A planned pipeline that would carry sewage from coastal communities in Tijuana and Rosarito is part of a larger binational project, which is mostly funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, whose immediate future is now uncertain.”
Voice of San Diego also reported that pouring money into a Rosarito Desalination Plant could take needed funds away from Tijuana’s sewage problem.
More Calls For Hector Gastelum To Resign After Ant-Muslim Tweets
Remember Otay Water District 4 Board Member Hector Gastelum who sent disturbing tweets that included calling Muslims scum? (Scroll to the bottom of this article to see the tweets.) A new group “Resist Hector Gastelum” will hold a meeting on Monday, April 17, from 3-6pm to ask for his resignation.
In the meantime, one of Hector’s denouncers is Mitch Thompson, a former Chula Vista City Councilman and a current Otay Water District Board Member. He wrote an article asking Hector to resign, saying: “Sound judgment is a fundamental prerequisite for holding office. Gastelum lacks the qualities to be an effective leader. I call on leaders in the community to join me in requesting his resignation. We deserve better!” (Chula Vista Star News)
Lawsuit Filed By Former Mar Vista High School Student
48-year-old Martin Gallegos, an ROTC instructor, was forced to leave his employment at Coronado High School because he was fostering improper relationships with female high school students. He then applied for an ROTC position at Mar Vista High School during the 2015/2016 school year. Coronado Unified failed to notify Sweetwater Unified of the allegations.
Gallegos then groomed an under-aged high school student until they had sexual relations. Now, the former student is suing both Sweetwater and Coronado for failing to prevent the sexual affair. (San Diego Reader)
Imperial Beach Might Get a New Hotel
A new Imperial Beach Resort Hotel may go up at Seacoast and Imperial Beach Blvd. Recently, the Imperial Beach Tidelands Review Board voted 3-0 to approve the proposal. The project faces several more approvals. (Dig Imperial Beach)
Chula Vista is 11th Happiest Place and Angela Davis Visits Southwestern
- Once again, Chula Vista was ranked the 11th happiest city in the United States. (Times of San Diego)
- Human and prison rights advocate Angela Davis spoke at Southwestern College on Wednesday. Placed on the FBI “Ten Most Wanted List,” Davis is a former UCSD graduate student. During the 1960s and 70s, Davis joined the Black Panthers and ran for vice president twice on the Community Party ticket. At Southwestern, she spoke as part of the “Cultivating Courageous Conversations” series. An estimated 1,900 people attended. (Times of San Diego)
My Rant About Beer
According to a new story at The Voice of San Diego beer brewers have been flocking to Chula Vista, National City and Imperial Beach where there’s a mini craft beer boom happening. (The article omits Novo Brazil, by the way.)
SO can we all stop with the paragraphs like this one: “Citing the region’s generally low incomes and its minority-majority population, some brewers, sales representatives and distributors from outside the South Bay have assumed residents there only have taste buds for macro brews, like Bud Light, Corona and Dos Equis.”
Ehem — words are powerful. Perceptions are powerful. But what is the truth?
As the article points out, Gonzalo Quintero at La Bella has been serving craft beer for over 20 years. So has Ye Olde Plank Inn and the dive bars Archway Lounge, Manhattan Bar and All Stars Sports Bar & Grill. Bay Bridge Brewing has been around for quite some time — whew, I’m starting to feel a buzz come on for all the South Bay watering holes.
Would this article be written precisely in this way if we had been talking about Carlsbad or Del Mar? Do “generally low income” communities mean there are no tourist attractions, excellent restaurants and wine bars/craft beer houses? Do the “sales representatives” assume something about our “minority-majority” population?
Chula Vista is the second largest city in San Diego County. The South Bay has approximately 450,000 residents. If San Diegans mean to say, “The biggest hurdle has been trying to get someone from Carlsbad to come down to National City and Chula Vista to drink beer.” Okay. Fair Enough.
I’d then ask: When was the last time people from the South Bay went North of downtown San Diego? It’s too far. There’s very little culture up there — very little to do.
Here’s a new and true mantra for us South Bayers: “What? Go to North County? We never do that. After all, everybody wants to come here. Sure, sometimes they come for the craft beer. Other times they come to see the South Bay tourist attractions or to eat at the unique restaurants.”
Say it. Own it.
Some important South Bay politicos will meet up at Mangia Italiano (248 Third Avenue, Chula Vista) at 6:30pm on Thursday, March 23rd to examine “Progressives, Liberals and People of Color: Do we agree on the way forward?” Panelists will include: Dae Elliott, Francisco Tamayo, Lisa Cuestas Flores, Kirin Macapugay, Mitch Thompson and Fayaz Nawabi. The event is hosted by South County Leadership PAC.