Otay Mesa Stories

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 ...

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.

Chula Vista cop cars roared in. The officers corralled the black youths: “Boys, you better listen to this. Get back to Otay, and never come up to this part of town again.”

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 ...

Crime Eats

Special religious diets in San Diego County's jails sometimes make prisoners who receive regular fare feel shortchanged. How else can you explain why several men in the system, who said they were white supremacists, once ...

Traverse border-hugging Otay Mountain -- by truck, bike, or foot -- and chat with a Border Patrol agent.

Rising like a rumpled pillow from the eastern extremity of Otay Mesa, Otay Mountain offers unparalleled, integrated views of the bifurcated San Diego-Tijuana metropolis, the Coronado Islands, Point Loma, and San Diego Bay. Seen on ...

Promise Breakers

How long is forever? As it turns out, forever is about two years, or so people in Chula Vista were recently surprised to discover. In March 1996, the County of San Diego and the City ...

Best of 2000: Best Auto-Wrecking Yard

Ecology Auto Wrecking 1180 Heritage Road, Otay Mesa (619) 661-4538 Over 50 auto-wrecking yards do business in San Diego. Most are located close to the border and specialize in two or three makes. For their ...

Best of 2000: Best Skydiving

Air Adventures Skydiving Inc. 1590 Continental Street, Otay Mesa (800) 992-7003 www.airadventures.com Most Air Adventures customers say they've never flung themselves from a plane at 13,000 feet and are seeking a once-in-a-lifetime thrill. Tandem leaps ...

The Drug Dealer and the Real Estate Men

San Diego's cocaine-real estate connections

"Mike's father and mother took me in and fed and clothed and sheltered me when I was 16," Blevins wrote. “They provided me with the only family environment I have ever known in my life.”

Doing the Mexican Mailbox Jam

'Hi gang! Having a wonderful time in Tijuana. Wish you were here. Write back soon." I address the postcard, a view of the Jai Alai Fronton Palace on Revolución to myself in San Diego. I ...

Checkpoint Otay

At the east end of Otay Mesa, where the business parks and trucking yards give way to open grassland, stands the California Highway Patrol's Otay Mesa Truck Inspection Facility. It's a sort of nouveau-industrial building ...

Polly Wants a High Bid

Parrots are like drugs. People crave them. People smuggle them. The government tries to stop it, but smugglers are smart, and people demand parrots. After drugs, people make more money smuggling wildlife across the U.S. ...

Feds Seek Pond of Flush

Just how smelly are thirteen acres of raw sewage? Soon, very soon, we shall find out. Next Monday a federal agency is planning to start building an open pond for raw sewage just over the ...

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