Imperial Beach Stories

Border dirty water suits inch forward

Tijuana deficiencies laid at feet of agencies

What happens when toxic wastewater escapes cleansing, crosses an international border, picks up more pollutants, dodges treatment again, and finds its way onto beaches? Lawsuits. After decades of spills, of human and environmental health threats, ...

Only drunks on the sand in IB

Driver ditched girlfriend next to pier

“The car was right there next to the pier,” said Lisa Rodriguez. “The guy was joyriding then his car got stuck; he took off and left his drunk girlfriend in the car.” On September 4, ...

Imperial Beach is a food desert

Part-way to opening co-op — 220 signed up, need 1000

Back in 2013 Wally’s Marketplace, located in Imperial Beach, carried outdated and expired food on their shelves. Two years later, the nearby Save-A-Lot—run by the same owner—sold a customer 90 pounds of spoiled chicken, sparking ...

So much for the McDonald's double drive-thru

Entrance from Florida Street is flashpoint

On August 5, John saw a “silly” McDonald’s meme shared on his Facebook timeline “that actually, hit home.” It’s based on a photo of the fast-food restaurant on Palm Avenue in Imperial Beach. The meme’s ...

Barefoot lady caught stealing Costco lights from neighbor

IB Facebook tells all

On August 4, Bryna from Imperial Beach posted a Facebook video of her friend’s landscape lights getting stolen. “This happened on 14th Street,” she said, “This individual decided to go into my friend's yard and ...

Mosquito Coast

County specialists attack larvae in I.B.

“You just got one [mosquito] that landed on your chest,” Sean Simmons said, “and there’s some flying around you.” “Ohhh man there’s another mosquito on my shoulder,” I said as I swatted it away. On ...

VW Bus caravan makes it to Border Field

Met by VW fans across the fence

On July 29 at noon, about 75 vintage Volkswagen owners rendezvoused at International Friendship Park in Imperial Beach. This was the last stop for the Treffen: “A traveling [rear-engine] Volkswagen carnival, complete with cruises, camp ...

Imperial Beach sandcastles - standing the test of time

Kid-friendly means no alcohol

Sandcastles, typically, are not built for longevity; they are the perfect metaphor for a thing constructed that will not last. Yet, in Imperial Beach, sandcastles have survived the test of time. Founded in 1887, the ...

Munched it at San Onofre

Split tooth top to bottom

Name: Rick Dyer From: Fallbrook Location: Imperial Beach Pier On May 20th, I saw Rick Dyer and his wife Lynne hanging out by their 1972 Volkswagen Combi van on Seacoast Drive. “The surf out at ...

Birds vs. dogs

Imperial Beach not a small town any more

On May 20, Brandon and his buddy Raul, could’ve been fined $100 apiece, if they walked their two labrador-mix dogs past the jetties in Imperial Beach. “The fact that the sign is posted up there,” ...

IB wavers on pot

Only one dispensary? 600 or 900 feet from schools?

Smoking lounges, neighborhood grows, and pot dispensaries won't go on the ballot in Imperial Beach, but where exactly will they go? Anywhere? On April 27, a judge upheld the city's decision to deny a petition ...

They want IB to look good from the bike path

Seventh Street neighbors cited for back yards

“They want the neighborhood to look pretty from the back too,” said Pete Suarez, “now that’s a crock.” Suarez bikes from south San Diego through Imperial Beach to get to Coronado. On April 28, I ...

My pastor gave me the boogie board

Two-four-footers south of IB pier

Name: Scott Age: 59 From: San Diego Location: Imperial Beach Pier Occupation: Staff at Sharp Grossmont Hospital “I went over a wave and I heard a crack,” said Scott, as he snapped his fingers and ...

San Diego doggie bag wars

City puts out dispensers, but that doesn't always work

“It is estimated that the typical dog excretes between one half to three quarters of a pound of waste per day,” according to the City of San Diego website. “In San Diego alone, there are ...

Was Bilbray right?

Earthen berms pushed up against Tijuana River

Following a model created more than 30 years ago by former Imperial Beach mayor Brian Bilbray on top of a bulldozer, crews from the International Boundary and Water Commission pushed up an earthen berm at ...

Blood from head to toe

You see coral reefs at Rock Bottoms

I met Chris Duenas and his son Jonah on the north side of the Imperial Beach Pier. Before our interview, the waves were about three feet, and Jonah just wiped out on his boogie board ...

Parking tangles at South Bay Swap Meet

Guards protect neighbors

Luis Villa-Lopez said that he catches over 20 patrons per day that come into the South Bay Swap Meet — without paying. “On Wednesday it’s only $1 to come in,” he said. “They sneak in ...

Imperial Beach closings sink beach attendance

Stress on those Pier South tax payments

Imperial Beach by the numbers: Beach closings 2016: 30 Beach closings 2017: 70 Beach attendance 2016: 3.1 million Beach attendance 2017: 2.3 million The number of beach closings in Imperial Beach more than doubled in ...

Hurt in backflip by I.B. pier

"Had to spend a week flat on my back”

Name: Paloma Aguirre Bacalski Age: 40 From: Imperial Beach Location: Imperial Beach Pier Occupation: Coastal and marine director for Wildcoast Paloma Aguirre Bacalski was one of about 12 that paddled out in honor of Doug ...

Is latest trans-border sewage spill news?

Stench of 15 million gallons arrives in I.B.

The sewage stink from the beach south of Seacoast Drive in Imperial Beach started about a quarter-mile north of the Tijuana River mouth on February 17th, with the first hints marked by that pungent, green, ...

Doggone Game of Thrones...

TV show sparks popularity of dogs — and dog-nappings?

“Lily was last seen being taken from our yard on Thursday [February 15] by a caucasian male, medium build, [in his] late 20s to early 30s,” Ivan Kanzaki said. “He then led [our Siberian husky] ...

IB is a good place for floaters

But Sunset Cliffs has nice easy channels

Name: Peter Ramseier Age: 47 From: Imperial Beach Occupation: Airplane mechanic Peter Ramseier rolled out to surf with his two sons and their friends just hours before the Christmas Eve festivities. They surfed by the ...

Border wedding included drug-smuggling groom

Agents angry over "propaganda coup for the bad guys"

While local, national and international media delighted in the cross-border marriage through the open border gate at Friendship Park last month, federal agents with the U.S. Border Patrol were less than delighted. In stories for ...

Crispier chicken than KFC or Church's

How a Chinese place with five tables lasts 25 years

"Mmm. Helps with the cold,” croaks Ria. She’s leaning over the steam of her wonton soup. She fishes for a wonton that’s hiding beneath the cabbage and crispy croutons she dunked in the soup. Then ...

South Bay Super 8 recovery home a smashed success?

Of 16 people in first implementation of program, 11 "walked away"

In their push for the conversion of a Super 8 motel to a transitional housing facility for up to 84 people, the city attorney's office failed to honor a public records request by the Reader ...

The washing machine treatment

Mangled by Playas' outer reef

Name: AF Age: 47 Location: Imperial Beach At about sunset, I spotted AF at the end of Date Avenue loading his 7’8″ Electric Duck surfboard into his van. “It’s shaped by Mike Richardson,” he said. ...

Border sewage and campground vie for state funds

Why's everyone picking on county supervisor Greg Cox?

Surfrider and Wildcoast, along with three citizens’ groups, have challenged county supervisor Greg Cox over funding for a campground included in a state bill the groups supported. The groups are asking that the $1.6 million ...

Wonders of the Tijuana Estuary

Goldenbush, lemonadeberry, pickleweed, buckwheat, sagebrush, and 398 kinds of birds

The Tijuana River Estuary is unique in California as the only estuary that does not have a road, railway crossing, or bridge across the river mouth. The salt-marsh estuary has remained connected to the sea. ...

Boom — new music fest in I.B.

P.O.D. partners with Mike Halloran for summer concert pierside

P.O.D., the South Bay rap-metal band that broke out 25 years ago with radio hits such as “Alive” and “Youth of the Nation,” was on the radio recently to announce its Lower Left Fest, a ...

A concrete border-sewage-collection basin plan

“Our goal is to divert solid waste and sewage from entering the river valley."

With the governor’s signature late Monday (October 9th), $2.1 million in state funding is on its way to the Tijuana River Valley — some of it earmarked to deal with the sewage, trash, and sediment ...

South Bay residents leery of Super 8 recovery home

Vows and phone numbers don't assure locals project won't be trouble-free

At a meeting held at the Nestor library branch Wednesday night (September 27) it became clear to South Bay residents and business owners that the city is going to place in their midst a motel-sized ...

Imperial Beach welcomes LimeBike tentatively

"Who takes care of that situation, if they're blocking sidewalks?"

As other beach areas shed their bikesharing stations, with 15 to be removed this week, Imperial Beach is paving ground for the new wave; dockless. On September 6, the Imperial Beach City Council passed a ...

Misses moon shadow but not french toast

Eclipse leads to West Coast Cafe

This happened on the morning of the eclipse. I’m speed-walking down Palm Avenue, trying to get to the I.B. pier in time to catch the big event, and maybe some brekky out there at the ...

Mexico: Keep that s*** out of the Tijuana River

U.S. diplomat suggests speaking directly and forcefully to our neighbor

Kevin Vaillancort, a foreign-service officer assigned to the U.S. embassy in Tijuana, wants to assure the people who have banded together to stop the sewage and contaminants flowing across the border that applying pressure on ...

Band booted off Imperial Beach farmers market stage

Crowd boos, video goes viral

After getting kicked off the stage at the Imperial Beach Farmers Market on Friday, August 4th, a San Diego music group's humorous video about the incident is going viral. "We were devastated," said Catie Ryan ...

County unemployment: Bostonia and Imperial Beach highest

Del Mar has lowest — below 1 percent

San Diego County's unemployment rate rose to 4.3 percent in June, up from a revised 3.6 percent in May. However, total non-farm jobs rose by 6400 during the month, and that is a more important ...

IB will get the sewage, Navy will pay

Special Warfare Command sits in Coronado

A fight between two coastal cities over sewage from the US Navy base in between has ended in a settlement where the sewage is recognized as Coronado crap while it runs through IB pipes — ...

Suzie’s Farm closes

Owners were losing five-digit figures each week

On Monday, June 26th owner Lucila De Alejandro announced that Suzie’s Farm will close. Having started in 2009 with a mere three acres, the farm offered a CSA (community supported agriculture program) and sold produce ...

Seawall mural scotched in Imperial Beach

"I have always felt it had bad juju!"

"Wow, all that hard work for nothing," said San Diego artist Brian Hebets when he heard that his prominent public mural in Imperial Beach had been painted over into a blank wall. "I heard it ...

I.B. ready to sue

Decision tonight?

The clues are splattered over the documents for the meeting Wednesday night: IB's city council is positioning itself to sue over sewage. The Wednesday meeting agenda shows that, on June 7, in a part of ...

South Bay as dumping ground

Busted homeless headed for east end of Palm Ave.

Angry citizens showed their resistance to the city's plan to house misdemeanor drug offenders in the old Super 8 Motel on Palm Avenue in Nestor. "We're the dumping ground. We have the prisons and the ...

"No Haters," No B(order) S(ewage) campaign leader says

Catch and contain, but keep talking

A Saturday forum on environmental justice became another platform for Imperial Beach anger over the prolonged, extraordinary sewage dumps into the Tijuana River. By the end of the forum, state water quality officials had committed ...

Border Patrol on Tijuana River gains respect from enviros

Agents catch stench first

When newly assigned U.S. Border Patrol agents arrive at the Imperial Beach Station, one of the first things they are told: Don’t go in the Tijuana River. You don’t have to ever enter the water ...

Concert banned in the U.S.

Dresden musicians will play Tear Down This Wall — Pink Floyd, Santana — on T. J. side of fence

A German music project known for its quirky politically-themed concerts wanted to hold a free Tear Down This Wall performance simultaneously on both sides of the border fence between Imperial Beach and Tijuana this Saturday, ...

May 24 Tijuana sewage, on top of Feb. dump, spurs coalition

Border patrol agents join Wildcoast and Surfrider

Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina and Councilman Mark West are out to change how the federal government deals with sewage that comes into the the city from Mexico. They’ve gained an unexpected partner: the union ...

Surfhenge and the surfboard benches of Imperial Beach

How Malcolm Jones ended up using plexiglass in front of the pier

Surfhenge is the name of the art piece that sits in front of the Imperial Beach Pier. The project was commissioned by the Port of San Diego in 1997. The artist, Malcolm Jones, now from ...

David Meza killed his boyfriend to get inheritance, including Rosarito condo

Imperial Beach man had pregnant girlfriend who knew about the murder

David Enrique Meza of Imperial Beach was convicted by jury this morning (May 2) of killing his boyfriend to get his inheritance. The lover, Texas retiree Jake Clyde Merendino, was stabbed 24 times exactly two ...

Sudberry switches to Hampton Inn for west end of Imperial Beach's Palm Ave.

East end of Palm will see Grocery Outlet, Starbucks, Jersey Mike’s, Baskin Robbins, Chipotle, Five Guys.

Sudberry Properties’ application to have its plan changed from retail businesses to a Hampton Inn for phase two of its development on Palm Avenue was approved on Wednesday (5 – 0) by the Imperial Beach ...

Italian comfort food — plus Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin — on Palm Ave. in Imperial Beach

I just want to eat, drink, not think.

Cool evening. Aboard the 934. Swinging east along Palm in I.B. Cruising past 10th, 11th, Florida. I’m craning my neck. “Know any good places to eat along Palm?” I ask the driver. “Like, good, but ...

Federal agencies working on Tijuana estuary worry about budget cuts

No more school field trips to border area?

That there was another sewage spill in the Tijuana River estuary last Thursday paled against what’s coming down the federal pipeline. Federal dollars for programs in the Tijuana River National Estuary Research Reserve are going ...

ROTC instructor's illicit sexcapade reverberates

Coronado and I.B. school districts sued

A former Mar Vista High School student is suing the Sweetwater and Coronado school districts for failing to prevent a Navy Junior ROTC instructor from luring her into a sexual affair. In September 2016 ROTC ...

Coronado Brewing announces plans for new brewpub and distillery

Beer for the literal South Bay

On March 2, Coronado Brewing Company announced it will build a new ten-barrel brewpub in the city of Imperial Beach, located at the southernmost tip of San Diego Bay and Wildlife Refuge, where it meets ...

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