Otay Mesa Stories

San Ysidro nukes: too hot to handle?

Covert nuclear smuggling data censored by federal auditors

How safe from nuclear smugglers is San Diego's border with Mexico? Not enough, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, which has released a censored version of a report to Congress. The document, entitled "Combating ...

Hot Wheels mafia

Lifers, bullies, and pinchers stake out stores for new toy stock

Last week at 6:30 in the morning there were already a few shoppers waiting in the parking lot of the Walmart at Dennery Road, by Palm Avenue and the 805. Some of the patrons were ...

Cross-border terminal may soon become reality

With no thanks for Ralph Nieders

There will be shovels, most likely a ribbon of some sort, and, of course, a group of well-dressed developers and public officials. They will stand at a barren plot of land in Otay Mesa, the ...

FBI thinks they smell a rat

Border official charged with taking bribes, stealing government property

Timothy Francis Cashman, General Services Administration manager at Otay Mesa, San Ysidro, and Tecate ports of entry, was arrested July 1 and charged with taking bribes and stealing government property, according to the local office ...

Dangerous convict, gardener, or both?

Roughly 17% of apprehended illegal border crossers have criminal convictions

Of the more than 20,000 people apprehended by the U.S. Border Patrol in San Diego in the first eight months of this fiscal year, 3321 of them had a total of 6329 criminal convictions for ...

Boardwalks to be built for fairy shrimp

Short-term solution to permit reopening of popular South Bay trail

A popular and vital connector trail in the Sweetwater Regional Park that was closed in December by the unexpected arrival of endangered fairy shrimp may be open again soon. "Everything is going the way we ...

Burrowing neighbors trigger near Mexican stand-off

Radio call made requesting agents with long rifles

A group of five possibly armed Mexican military came through the drug tunnel under the border the night of April 1 and tried to exit in an Otay Mesa warehouse being guarded by the Department ...

Anti-police, anti-prison

Donovan building for sick and disabled called a waste.

A protest against the proposed expansion of Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility brought over 60 people carrying signs and chanting slogans to a remote corner of Otay Mesa on March 29th. The new building is ...

Second wave of Dreamers seeks asylum in Otay Mesa

Immigration policies Inconsistent, says National Immigrant Youth Alliance

Ramon Dorado adjusted the tassel on his graduation cap as he stood stiffly in front of a group of about 35 people he would soon lead 200 yards north to the U.S.-Mexico border. Flanked by ...

Border X expands from the border to the Barrio

Otay brewery shares new Barrio Logan space with local taco company

It’s OK if the words “Border X” conjure little more than question marks for you. Nano-sized Border X Brewing Company opened only a few short months ago. Adding to its relative anonymity is its extreme ...

Unsafe border buses

A little-noticed report by the inspector general’s office of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has found that software problems lasting almost a year, from September 2012 through August 2013, prevented U.S. state officials from ...

Pio Pico power plant approved for Otay

"SDG&E is not interested in updating its archaic business models."

Environmental health activists on February 6 decried the approval of the Pio Pico power plant by the California Public Utilities Commission in San Francisco the day before, saying that the fossil-fuel-burning plant isn't needed and ...

Otay rec center contractor sues city

Breach of contract, withheld payments, claims Speedway Construction

A contractor hired to revamp Otay Mesa's Silver Wing Recreation Center is suing the City of San Diego, saying staffers targeted the small minority-owned business and demanded additional work for no pay and impeded progress ...

Fairy shrimp likely to close a Sweetwater Reservoir trail

"Conservation is becoming a dirty word," says trail-user.

More than 150 bicyclists, hikers, and equestrians heard less than good news Tuesday night, December 3, as the general manager of the Sweetwater Authority explained that a popular trail may be closed by the U.S. ...

City sued to protect burrowing owl habitat

Brown Field development would endanger species

A group of conservation and environmental groups sued the City of San Diego a week ago, claiming that the city's development plans at Brown Field would destroy burrowing owl habitat at Brown Field. Organizations such ...

Geyser murders, part 4

The first person executed by the state of California — José Gabriel — might have been an innocent man.

Geyser murders, part 3

There was enough evidence to hang Indian Jose Gabriel for the killings of the Geyser family on Otay Mesa in 1892…at least by mob standards.

Geyser murders, part 2

The quivering mound of crimson-streaked grime would be the prisoner.

Attempted reconstruction of the scene of a double murder on Otay Mesa in the 1890s. They blamed the Indian, José Rafael.

Geyser murders, part 1

Double murder up on Otay Mesa, 1892. An old Indian laborer is blamed.

Sunday, October 16, 1892Thomas Smallcomb got the news around 11:00 p.m. Trouble up at the Geyser’s. A double murder. The deputy constable flicked the reins and steered his two-horse buckboard east on Otay Valley Road. ...

U.S. government shutdown slows maquiladoras

Increased border waits limits exports

Ever since the “shutdown” of the U.S. government, maquiladoras have experienced plenty of extra expenditures, including fuel costs, keeping vehicles in “overnight” lots, and fines for delivering merchandise late. Gabriel Merino Fausto, president of a ...

Teen Spring Valley girl caught with heroin at border

Over two pounds, concealed in trunk

An 18-year-old Spring Valley resident was arrested on Monday, September 23, after U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers discovered what they suspected was heroin in the trunk of her car as she entered the United ...

Border X coming to Otay Mesa

Meet a newcomer to South Bay’s small suds scene

It took a long time for San Diego’s southernmost reaches to get homegrown craft beer to reach for. The first opportunity came in 2008 when The Brew House at Eastlake brewpub opened. Last year, that ...

Dept. of Homeland Security considers border entry fee

Money would make up for budget shortfall

A translation of a front-page headline on Baja’s daily El Mexicano on Tuesday, April 23, reads, "They Might Charge to Cross to the U.S.” beginning in 2014. The story was about the U.S. Department of ...

Mad Lab feeling perfectly at home

San Diego’s southernmost brewery adding home brew supply store.

Cross-Border Campaigner

AMLO Calls Jaime Bonilla to Mexico

It’s been only a few months since controversial South Bay water board president Jaime Bonilla stepped down from the Otay Water District, but it’s easy to see that his former position is just a speck ...

A walk on the boulevard beyond the race track

I went back to Tijuana last week to participate in a poetry reading at a small university. I say “back” because, from 1999 through 2007, I lived there pretty much full time. I still rent ...

Deficit Dollar Art

The U.S. government may be laden with debt, but that hasn’t kept the feds from looking for an artist to help ornament the soon-to-be completed Broadway courthouse downtown. “In addition to a new courthouse, the ...

Porn and Politicos

Downtown’s F Street X-rated bookstore has vacated its longtime premises in the Gaslamp Quarter on Fourth Avenue. The business got its start just around the corner on F Street in the 1970s, in a narrow ...

Outside on the Night Shift

"Basically,” says Aaron Meleen, a deputy sheriff traffic investigator working the night shift in Poway, “we don’t have much going on right now.” It’s a Monday evening, the onset of his 12½-hour shift, and we’re ...

Brawley's Ex-Mayor Is New Warden at Donovan

The ex-mayor of Brawley, Daniel Paramo, has been appointed acting warden at the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility in Otay Mesa. A San Diego State University graduate and a former Brawley city councilman, Paramo has ...

Lobbyists Hired for Sam Zell's Otay-Tijuana Border Complex

The former district director for ex-Democratic state senator Denise Ducheny has turned up as a new lobbyist for billionaire Sam Zell’s Otay Mesa border crossing complex, planned to connect Tijuana’s airport with the United States. ...

Rezoning By Ballot and What Voters Don’t Know

Almost no information is available to voters about Proposition A. The East Otay Mesa Recycling Collection Center and Landfill Ordinance, a countywide proposition on the June 8 ballot, requires a simple majority to pass. Aside ...

Synchronized Smugglers?

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the three ports of entry in San Diego County seized over 5000 pounds of marijuana valued at 3.2 million dollars on Thursday afternoon, January 28. According to ...

Something's Rotten in Secondary

The evidence was hidden in a cargo of fish, but authorities at the Otay Mesa border crossing sniffed out 708 pounds of marijuana anyway. According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection press release, the ...

Obama taps Alan Bersin to oversee the border

Wheeling & dealing, unbridled edition

There is the curbside view of the Mexican border: severed heads on nightclub floors, migrant corpses in the mountains, fingers lopped off, armies in pursuit of drug lords, fleeing fugitives, gangs of money-washers, set to ...

13 Miles of Metal

Border Patrol agent Richard Gonzales pushes a button in the shiny white Chevy Tahoe he’s driving. In response, a gate rolls open to allow entry to the no-man’s-land between the secondary fence and the old ...

That Dog Will Manhunt

On March 17 at 4:05 p.m., an SDPD helicopter circled the neighborhood at I-5 and Tocayo Avenue. Police announced over their P.A. system that they were in pursuit of a suspect described as a black ...

For the Children

On March 5, the South Bay Union School District voted to eliminate 80 teaching positions, but it was not the slam-dunk many expected. District superintendent Carol Parish addressed those attending, saying, “We had to start ...

Go Directly to Jail...and Die

Prison bureaucracies deny basic medical care.

Francisco Castaneda came to the United States from El Salvador during its civil war of the 1980s. Fleeing the violence, his mother crossed the U.S.-Mexico border illegally in 1982 with Francisco, aged 10, and his ...

The Border Wait, and Wait, and Wait

When it comes to crossing the border, Carlos Hermosillo plays it by ear. As he gets close to the San Ysidro crossing, he calls 700-7000 on his cell phone, and a recording gives him the ...

Illegal Ways to Avoid the Border Wait

How did the pollero cross the border?

They’re still building roads out on Otay Mesa, about three miles north of the international border. The hot tar takes longer to set in the incredible heat. The smell hangs thick over the brown hillsides ...

Don't Ask, Just Pay

Ever wonder why public works cost taxpayers so much? Consider the case of one small project, the new Otay Valley Regional Park ranger station and restroom. Under a joint powers agreement among San Diego County, ...

In the lobby

With election results now in hand, members of the city’s lobbying corps can adjust their strategies as needed. And despite the threatened economic recession and housing crash, there’s plenty of business, judging from recent disclosure ...

Not in the lobby

An engineer from Burlingame, California, has been told by the City of San Diego’s Ethics Commission that he doesn’t have to register as a lobbyist if he provides only “technical data” to city officials. “If ...

Big War Chest, No War

Some people divine the future in tea leaves, others in pork bellies. Campaign contributions are also a way of seeing what is on the horizon. Greg Cox has been a San Diego County supervisor since ...

Mystery meat

Some San Diego city hall insiders are expecting the investigation announced this week by Mayor Jerry Sanders of that controversial Otay Mesa Blackwater training facility to be a whitewash. Exhibit number one, they argue, is ...

Tacos Are a Tiny Taste of Temptation

Eat up, little burros

Fancy wimmen are okay, but there's nuttin' like the real thing: a nice warm adobada taco on a nice cold night beside a nice hot grill outside a friendly taco catering truck, with that marinated ...

When Developers Seize Planning

What is it about Sunroad Enterprises and regional airports? During the same period in which certain City planners were plotting to use Sunroad's defiance of federal and state air safety laws as a pretext to ...

Commitment

Verbal abuse is part of the job.

Robert Hernandez presides over a psychological war zone. At Donovan correctional facility, where Hernandez is warden, every move his officers make is watched by inmates; every word they say is overheard. "Nothing," said one officer, ...

Otay Dreams

Before 50,000 homes.

In 1954 I sat on the school bus every day next to my best friend, Mark Robson. The ride home from Montgomery Elementary School in Otay was a straight shot east on Main Street. The ...

Caged

Where few slow learners survive.

Finding yourself in jail or prison for the first time unlatches a simple conundrum: you can’t know what you’re about to face because, had you known, you might have avoided the crime, or at least ...

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