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North Of The Fence: Traffic, Water and Stolen Veteran Commemorations

U.S. Mexico Border in San Ysidro

Traffic South of the 54

Traffic congestion continues to worsen in the South Bay as more people move in, but still commute elsewhere to work. Within the next decade SANDAG hopes to create more bus service, more freeway lanes and even a third border crossing just east of Otay Mesa.

Meanwhile, San Diego County owns quite a bit of land along the U.S.-Mexico border in Otay Mesa East. To relieve congestion, they want more businesses to locate here so that, for example, South Bay residents will drive south each morning, rather than north.

Otay Mesa

Otay Mesa East has been building warehouses and industrial complexes for about a decade, but it’s been hard to get companies to come to the border and set up shop. This week, Murphy Development begins a $18.3 million industrial project at Siempre Viva Business Park. The building will be 121,970 square feet and they are already scouting for tenants.

National City’s Roundabout

To relieve traffic congestion and pollution, the old adage is — build roundabouts. It’s safer too because vehicles slow down. National City is creating a roundabout at 12th & D that is scheduled to open next month. They even have a YouTube demonstration of what it will look like.

Otay Water District

You may remember my series on the Otay Water District that included a fairly comprehensive account of their recycling facility. This week General Manager of the Otay Water District, Mark Watton, announced that the City of San Diego plans to increase recycled water rates in his water district and that the total bill will overcharge OWD customers by $1.2 million. He also said that the reason was so the City of San Diego could subsidize customers of recycled water in the North.

Last week, a Fair Water Rates Coalition (which included Mayor Mary Salas, Councilman David Alvarez, SD Supervisor Greg Cox, State Senator Ben Hueso and many others) came together to oppose what the OWD’s press release said was “the City of San Diego’s proposal to overcharge South Bay and East County in order to subsidize and undercharge the City of San Diego itself and other recycled water customers in the North of the City.”

VOSD reported, however, that the City of San Diego plans to raise water rates by 40% in the next five years. This week, Ry Rivard found that Oceanside water customers will pay an extra 18.9% in water rate increases. Other water districts will also be raising rates. An interesting tidbit about rate increases, which have more than doubled for most customers in SD County over the past 25 years: they have quite possibly worked. San Diego County uses the same amount of water annually as it did in the early 1990s even though there are more people living here.

The Border

Liam Dillon from the VOSD wrote an excellent report about the border for The Washington Times. He highlighted the push-and-pull bipartisan debates between keeping the border more open for commerce and trade versus securing the border against drug smuggling and immigration. Dillon’s headline made it clear that San Diegans choose open commerce over security. As we locals already know, 98-99% of commerce & trade between the U.S. and Mexico is legal and vital for our economy. By focusing on the 1-2% of illegal commerce & trade, we impede our own economic vitality (jobs & commerce) as well as our human rights and freedoms.

Sandra Dibble at the Union-Tribune dug deeper into Tijuana’s campaign for “sex tourism”. While Tijuana’s “business of sex” near the U.S. border has been well-known since the days of Prohibition, Tijuana’s infrastructure has always been neglected. Maybe some of those enjoying the controversial sex tourism could use the tunnels to get there and back faster. Until then, Dibble also reported that Tijuana is overhauling their rapid transit system.

Tijuana’s art & culture scene continues to flourish. Artists have again been in the news. LA Times reporter Carolina Miranda writes about TJ China and Gerardo Yepiz’s cross-border art.

Imperial Beach

The I.B. Local News hasn’t raised enough revenue to continue their print version. The editor, Ed Kravitz, wants community members to take a poll to decide if the I.B. Local News should continue or fold.

Vincent Farnsworth reports at the San Diego Reader that a former salt flat near Imperial Beach will finally be developed. It will combine economic development and nature preservation. Community members, however, worry that the public has not been engaged enough to make sure the development vs. environment issues are addressed.

Marty Graham reports that IB has a larger swarm of mosquitoes than in years past due to more standing water than normal — a result of unusually high tides.

Graffiti & Stolen Veterans Commemorations

We had an incident a few months back in Chula Vista. Community activist and veteran Jack Gechter noticed graffiti on the veterans memorial in Chula Vista. When he called the city, initially he received no response. Then he called the Turko files. When the piece aired, the city immediately remedied the problem.

A similar situation happened with the veterans memorial in Kimball Park a few years back when plaques were pried off a wall at D Avenue and later found in an apartment complex of San Ysidro.

These acts against veteran commemorations have been occurring for decades, perhaps with very little media attention. In the 1940s a marble commemoration was erected in front of the San Ysidro Public Library to honor San Ysidrans who served in WWII. At some time during the 1950s the marble structure vanished and nobody knows how or why.

Now, a small group of old-timers from San Ysidro–known as Los Amigos–hope to re-erect the WWII memorial in front of the library. However, they are still asking community members to locate the history of the memorial and all the names that originally appeared.

A Few Veterans Events

Friday, November 6th: A Veterans Day Parade and Ceremony, Veterans Elementary School, 1550 Magdalena Avenue, Chula Vista from 9 to 11 a.m. Tenth annual parade to honor our heroes past, present and future. Sponsored by Veterans Elementary School and the City of Chula Vista.

Wednesday, November 11th: Veterans Day Observance, Memorial Park Bowl, 373 Park Way, Chula Vista at 11 a.m. and open to the public. Sponsored by Veterans of Foreign War Post 2111.

Saturday, November 14th: Chula Vista Bayfront Band Review and Festival, “A Salute to our Veterans,” H Street (Marina Parkway and Bay Boulevard) in Chula Vista. The parade will be held from 9:30 a.m. to noon and a festival from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Bayside Park.

Sunday, November 8th: Military Appreciation Day at the Imperial Beach Pier starting at 12:30 p.m to 3:30 p.m.

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Copyright Barbara Zaragoza. All rights reserved.

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