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On April 1, hours after Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano outlined new plans to bolster border security by spending $400 million for new surveillance technologies, 60 Chula Vista residents gathered at the city’s main library for a lecture from border expert Caesar Sereseres on how the narco wars are affecting Chula Vista.

The event, sponsored by local political activist groups Communities Taking Action and We Are Revolutionaries, included a 20-minute introduction to the narco-drug wars, followed by a 40-minute Q&A session.

“You just can’t step back and expect the federal government to provide all of the answers,” said Sereseres during the presentation. “So, in a sense, Chula Vista and many of the border cities in California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas have some responsibility to become part of the dialogue.”

According to Sereseres, a political science professor from U.C. Irvine, border cities need to organize, come up with ideas, and express those ideas to the federal government in order for any progress to be made.

Sereseres offered some criticism: “Chula Vista has to have a dialogue about its relationship with the border. I read a 30-page city report about economic growth, about home prices, sales tax, and everything else. In those 25 to 30 pages, I didn’t see one line, not one paragraph, that says this is how we factor in our proximity to Mexico.”

Most of the brief presentation dealt with the ability of the narcos to adapt and deal with new enforcement strategies employed by the U.S. and Mexican governments. Also addressed was the U.S.’s culpability in supplying guns, money, and precursor medications for the production of methamphetamine.

Despite any strategy, said Sereseres, as long as there’s demand and money in the U.S., the border cities will remain hotbeds of drug violence. “In order to stop the violence, you need to decrease the profits.”

City councilmembers Rudy Ramirez and Pamela Bensoussan were in attendance. Bensoussan asked Sereseres what role local government should take.

“Collect the five or six local cities closest to the border, have a two-day meeting, talk about what the border means to you -- both positive and negative -- and come up with your own six-, seven-page report,” answered Sereseres.

Some other questions from audience members dealt with decriminalization, improved border technology, and the notion of diverting money used to fight the narcos toward infrastructure and schools.

“People think we can put fences up,” said Sereseres, “that will only last so long. There’s corruption on both sides of the border. We’re not clean.”

For more on ways Chula Vista should address the drug wars, go to communitiestakingaction.com.

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Comments

erudite April 3, 2009 @ 9:41 a.m.

Lets hope Chula Vista city council can get their act together before the violence spills over here. I think more planning is necessary to create a comprehensive plan to address this issue. If Cheryl and the city council is reading this-"get your act together or we wont forget in election time." CommunitiesTakingAction.com

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SDDreaming April 4, 2009 @ 9:47 a.m.

Give us a break, Caesar and 'erudite'! Border security is a federal matter, like interstate commerce and national defense. Can communities like Chula Vista help out? Sure! Is it their responsibility to 'get their act together' on it? Laugh!

What should the Chula Vista city council be doing about the war in Iraq or the crisis in Darfur? Get your responsibilities straight, Chula Vista city council should be focused on Chula Vista issues! That's what will matter at election time, 'erudite'...

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prariefire April 11, 2009 @ 9:24 p.m.

SDDreaming, you make no sense about one thing: the Mexican "drug wars" are right next door while Iraq and Sudan are halfway around the globe. That said, I concur that it is a Federal matter.

Next, I would say to all those CommunitesTakingAction people, you are falling prey to what sociologist Barry Glassner aptly described as "The Culture of Fear" which is also the title of his book published in 2000. Remember Y2K? Nothing happened. Remember SARS? Well when's the last time you heard about that on the news? Yeah, there's a mugger lurking around every street corner. Whether it is terrorism, illegal immigration, or the latest child molestor released after his prison term, so-called "concerned" groups capitalize off this fear factor to push their masked agendas. It is not an exaggeration. Afterall, didn't an entire generation grow in with the fear of a (Heaven help us!) Communist takeover???

The other recommended book on the subject is FALSE ALARM by Dr. Marc Siegel. The only real thing we have to fear is our own paranoia.

The fear of drug-related violence engulfing what is Chula Vista and San Diego falls squarely in the same model.

PS: Remember what they say about self-fullfilling prophecies!

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