By Barbara Zaragoza
Fresh Perspective: The State Department estimates that 1 million Americans live in Mexico — many do so illegally. Find out more by reading this story.
Trump’s Budget Threatens Our Estuary
The Tijuana River Estuary, Southern California’s only National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR), may be forced to shut its doors. Trump’s administration has proposed $250 million in cuts to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Grants from NOAA support the Tijuana River Estuary, a very important environmental location in the South Bay. (I already wrote about how it was saved from destruction in the 1970s.)
But there’s something you can do! This month the Appropriation Committees will meet to develop the 2018 budget, first the House then the Senate. Contact your representatives. Find out what you can do here. Read Richard Pilgrim’s article.
Chula Vista & National City’s Homeless Numbers
This last year, Chula Vista’s homeless numbers decreased by 31% and National City’s homeless numbers decreased by 66 %. The most likely reason? Both cities implemented ordinances that required RVs, trailers and other large vehicles on city streets to have permits.
Homeless advocates say that the decrease doesn’t necessarily represent a smaller homelessness problem. Instead, the homeless felt forced to move elsewhere. Interestingly, the number of people counted on the streets of Chula Vista dropped by 44%. However, census takers noticed the number of people on the street in National City tripled.
Voice of San Diego’s Lisa Halverstadt has the story.
Chula Vista’s State of the City Address
Mayor Mary Casillas Salas gave her State of the City address this week. Reminding residents that Chula Vista means Beautiful View, these speeches are often a good time to take stock of some of the positive things happening in the South Bay.
The Mayor noted some of the following:
–Residents are to be assured that CVPD will enforce all criminal laws without regard to immigration status. She explained that the city does not want anybody to be afraid to report a crime because of their immigration status. All people, including immigrants, are vital to the success of our communities.
–SANDAG released its crime statistics and in Chula Vista crime fell by 17% between 2012-2016. The city is in the top 10 safest cities in the country, and that’s in spite of the fact that Chula Vista has the fewest police officers per capita in the state.
–The city issued building permits for over 1,000 residential units, including 250 for the West side of Chula Vista. The long awaited construction of hotels began in eastern Chula Vista, including a Residence Inn by Marriott. Chula Vista has also become home to the South Bay Brewers guild. (On a side note, the Chula Vista Brewery opens today on Third Avenue. The new breweries are part of an effort to revitalize Chula Vista’s downtown area.)
–A citizen’s oversight committee was created in order to make sure the half-cent sales tax, approved by voters in November by 68%, will be spent properly. As a consequence, Floyd Avenue was completely repaved and two old fire engines were replaced with two new ones. Other infrastructure improvements are yet to come.
Also in Chula Vista News:
–This week, San Diego Reader’s Canynoneers discovered one of Chula Vista’s “Pocket Canyons.” Located between Paseo Ranchero and Paseo del Rey (google it!) you’ll be able to find the gold club cactus, the spiny coast cholla and the fishhook cactus. The word “pocket canyons” means of small size and tucked between housing tracts. (San Diego Reader)
–Kinsee Morlan at Voice of San Diego mentioned that artists Jose Parral and Tasia Paulson installed 30 wood and steel sculptures on G Street. This Saturday, May 6th, at noon San Diego Dance Theater will use those benches to perform at the waterfront. (Pretty cool, right?)
–Last Sunday, six families were able to reunite for 20 minutes at the border wall in Friendship Park when Border Angels worked with border patrol in order to open the door between the U.S.-Mexico border. Jeanette Fernandez who lives in Chula Vista was able to embrace her father for the first time in 10 years. Read her story.
National City Vandal of Veteran Memorial Caught
The National City police department arrested a 24-year-old suspected of vandalizing a war memorial at Kimball Bowl. The plaques are dedicated to servicemen of National City who died during WWII, the Korean and Vietnam wars. (San Diego Union Tribune)
Imperial Beach Protests, Street Ends and Mayor Rips Down Gate
–“It has been 90 days with no response!” City Councilman Mark West said while addressing a crowd of marchers last Saturday. Several hundred IB and Coronado residents marched in protest of continued beach closures and sewage waters that plague San Diego beaches. (Dig Imperial Beach)
–Imperial Beach City Council tackled the issue of street ends last week. The city has a total of nine unimproved street ends, but thanks to money allocated by the Port Authority, Beach Avenue off Seacoast drive will be the first to see improvements. Street ends are the property between Seacoast Drive and the beach. (San Diego Union Tribune)
–IB Mayor Serge Dedina ripped down a chain link gate that apparently was installed illegally 12 years ago. The Mayor explained that the gate blocked both the alley and access to San Diego Bay. (Channel News 10)
Our Local Assemblymember and SANDAG
You’ll remember that National City back in February voted for an independent investigation of how SANDAG may have deceived voters, telling them Measure A would generate $18 billion over 40 years, although they knew this was untrue. SANDAG, our regional transportation agency, manages millions of taxpayer dollars. Over time, it has been in desperate need of change.
Now, Assembly member Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher — our representative for California’s 80th Assembly District — wants to tackle SANDAG reform. Read her op-ed piece that explains her proposed SANDAG bill here.
It’s Cinco de Mayo”
Today is Cinco de Mayo and if you think it’s Mexico’s Independence Day — you’re wrong. Cinco de Mayo celebrates the Battle of Puebla in 1862. Lauryn Mascareñaz at Teaching Tolerance gives a description of the holiday and then, importantly, explains the difference between cultural appropriation and cultural appreciation. (Teaching Tolerance)
That said, let’s celebrate! After a four year absence, Chula Vista will host a Cinco de Mayo Music Festival. Twenty musical and cultural dance performances will be showcased on Sunday, May 7, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at J Street Marina Park (550 Marina Parkway). The event is FREE.