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Chaos in Tijuana's city council

Transfer of water control to Tijuana defeated in strange series of events

“The police came without any identification to take us out of our workspace."
“The police came without any identification to take us out of our workspace."

On Wednesday, September 29 the last session of Tijuana's city council under the administration of Arturo Gonzalez was disrupted by a bomb threat. This happened during a discussion for voting over a law that aims to take the water administration control from the state government of Baja and give it to the municipality of Tijuana.

Around 6 pm an abandoned backpack was found in the second- floor bathrooms; exposed wires stuck out of the backpack. That was enough to activate security protocols to evacuate the whole building. After the firefighters ’arrival, the alarm was called off since the object was not an explosive device but a couple of PED bottles wrapped up with duct tape and some wires.

But this event was not isolated. Chaos started on Wednesday at 2 am, 16 hours before the bomb threat, when Baja California's Congress approved the re-installation of Arturo Gonzalez as a mayor of the city, 36 hours before the transition to the new administration on Thursday noon. Meanwhile, seven councilmen were standing guard in the council session room, as a way to protest and make sure the re-start of their own local meeting that was on hold since that Monday.

The council was expecting the state congress resolution on Gonzalez's return to power and after the announcement on his favor, Gonzalez went straight to city hall and tried to get into the mayor's office.

Right before Gonzalez’s arrival, a group of heavily armed municipal policemen seized city hall in what appeared to be an attempt to stop the returning of Gonzalez as municipal president. Part of the city police got in the building and reached the entrance of the Council meeting room where they tried to get the councilmen to vacate city hall.

Arnulfo Guerrero, one of the councilmen present said of the police, “They came without any identification to take us out of our workspace, we asked them to identify themselves and what were their instructions and who had commanded it but they refused to answer, so we stayed inside until the arrival of Mexican Army elements."

Councilwoman Monica Vega said the council meeting was halted on Monday, September 27 due to the disagreement of the replacement of Arturo Gonzalez, Karla Ruiz. Ruiz asked for a break that took hours. After the session was postponed until Wednesday, council members seized the place in order to keep the session open until it could be resumed.

After the arrival of elements of the Mexican Army and the National Guard, the armed group of city policemen withdrew from city hall.

Around 8 am Wednesday Arturo Gonzalez removed Pedro Cruz Camarena as secretary of public security and citizen protection, in charge of the city police.

The edgy atmosphere inside city hall did not end when the council meeting was resumed that evening, on the contrary, things got worse when the bomb threat was announced by police.

According to Arnulfo Guerrero all this chaos was created to discourage councilmen from discussing the municipal water control.

“When we came back, we couldn't even discuss that matter. I couldn't express my opinion on the topic. The session didn’t go through normally, that’s clear evidence that our democratic rights were violated."

Apparently, the law was put on what is called a “fast track” voting session, and the initiative was taken down unanimously, a decision that keep the water control under the state and not the city.

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“The police came without any identification to take us out of our workspace."
“The police came without any identification to take us out of our workspace."

On Wednesday, September 29 the last session of Tijuana's city council under the administration of Arturo Gonzalez was disrupted by a bomb threat. This happened during a discussion for voting over a law that aims to take the water administration control from the state government of Baja and give it to the municipality of Tijuana.

Around 6 pm an abandoned backpack was found in the second- floor bathrooms; exposed wires stuck out of the backpack. That was enough to activate security protocols to evacuate the whole building. After the firefighters ’arrival, the alarm was called off since the object was not an explosive device but a couple of PED bottles wrapped up with duct tape and some wires.

But this event was not isolated. Chaos started on Wednesday at 2 am, 16 hours before the bomb threat, when Baja California's Congress approved the re-installation of Arturo Gonzalez as a mayor of the city, 36 hours before the transition to the new administration on Thursday noon. Meanwhile, seven councilmen were standing guard in the council session room, as a way to protest and make sure the re-start of their own local meeting that was on hold since that Monday.

The council was expecting the state congress resolution on Gonzalez's return to power and after the announcement on his favor, Gonzalez went straight to city hall and tried to get into the mayor's office.

Right before Gonzalez’s arrival, a group of heavily armed municipal policemen seized city hall in what appeared to be an attempt to stop the returning of Gonzalez as municipal president. Part of the city police got in the building and reached the entrance of the Council meeting room where they tried to get the councilmen to vacate city hall.

Arnulfo Guerrero, one of the councilmen present said of the police, “They came without any identification to take us out of our workspace, we asked them to identify themselves and what were their instructions and who had commanded it but they refused to answer, so we stayed inside until the arrival of Mexican Army elements."

Councilwoman Monica Vega said the council meeting was halted on Monday, September 27 due to the disagreement of the replacement of Arturo Gonzalez, Karla Ruiz. Ruiz asked for a break that took hours. After the session was postponed until Wednesday, council members seized the place in order to keep the session open until it could be resumed.

After the arrival of elements of the Mexican Army and the National Guard, the armed group of city policemen withdrew from city hall.

Around 8 am Wednesday Arturo Gonzalez removed Pedro Cruz Camarena as secretary of public security and citizen protection, in charge of the city police.

The edgy atmosphere inside city hall did not end when the council meeting was resumed that evening, on the contrary, things got worse when the bomb threat was announced by police.

According to Arnulfo Guerrero all this chaos was created to discourage councilmen from discussing the municipal water control.

“When we came back, we couldn't even discuss that matter. I couldn't express my opinion on the topic. The session didn’t go through normally, that’s clear evidence that our democratic rights were violated."

Apparently, the law was put on what is called a “fast track” voting session, and the initiative was taken down unanimously, a decision that keep the water control under the state and not the city.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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