Tijuana Sewage Pollutes San Diego Beaches

Bajadock: “They are not sending their best.”


In the early 1960s, sewage being dumped by Tijuana was polluting the beaches and waters off Imperial Beach.

At the time, the remedy — of sorts — was to put chlorine in the wastewater before it was sent into the international outfall. Sometimes Mexican officials balked at spending tens of thousands of dollars to do that.

Dr. J. B. Askew, San Diego County’s health officer at the time, said he couldn’t stop people from flushing their toilets in Mexico, but he could declare a public health problem and keep San Diegans away from — or crossing — the border.

That threat got people’s attention.

Not wanting to lose their American customers, proprietors of bars, restaurants and other businesses along Avenida Revolución helped raised money to get the chlorine.

Brian Bilbray tells that story and suggests there should be a modern-day version aimed at getting Mexico to take stronger action to stop the sewage flows that continue to pollute the Tijuana River and the ocean beyond, regularly closing beaches in his town and sometimes up the Silver Strand to Coronado.

The former Imperial Beach mayor, county supervisor and congressman said shutting down border crossings, at least partially, whenever raw sewage is discharged from Tijuana would get people’s attention.

“I know that sounds radical,” he said, “but it wouldn’t be radical in any other application.”

He said if General Motors or Union Carbide released such pollution on a river, the ocean and nearby communities, “You’d have, environmentalists, everybody saying ‘shut their doors!’”

Perhaps. But those two corporations have staying power. So does Tijuana sewage. Cross-border pollution has plagued the region since at least the 1930s. There’s been moments of progress, and big spending, but the problem persists.

While the sewage flows aren’t daily as they once were, they are maddeningly regular.

“We’ve had over 350 spills over the last three years,” Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina told KUSI following a spill just over a week ago. “That’s one every three days.”

Dedina and others have suggested a diversion system could put sewage in a holding area until it could be put into the treatment system when capacity is freed up. A similar, temporary pond system was built a few decades ago.

Bilbray acknowledges his border shutdown idea is a desperate one and, if it ever happened, would result in many complications. The blowback wouldn’t be just from Mexico but, perhaps even more so, from business interests north of the border.

But nothing seems to be working these days. Over the decades, Bilbray has been party to efforts — some successful, some not — to move solutions forward.

Bilbray’s notion of restricting border crossings is born out of the same frustration he felt nearly 40 years ago.

He’s famously known for commandeering a skip loader and damming the polluted river when he was mayor in 1980. The river mouth wasn’t blocked for long, but he got people’s attention.

A real solution, he said, requires a coordinated local, state and federal sustained push, which has happened before and led to the building of sewage treatment facilities.

“There was real bipartisan effort,” said Bilbray, a Republican.

He noted that decades ago former Rep. Jim Bates, a Democrat, worked with then-Rep. Duncan Hunter (father of the current Republican congressman). And Rep. Bilbray worked with then-Rep. Bob Filner, a Democrat.

Assemblyman and eventual state Sen. Steve Peace, another Democrat, represented the South Bay and also helped bring attention and support for solutions at the state and federal level.

There’s some prickly characters in that crowd, but they managed to work together.

“There was also an ‘us versus them’ mentality in the South Bay,” Peace said, reflecting the thinking that the area was an afterthought among regional powers.

They convinced CBS’ “60 Minutes” to do an exposé on border pollution in Imperial and San Diego counties, which gave the issue national exposure.

Consecutive presidential administrations were lobbied. In 1994, Vice President Al Gore attended the groundbreaking for a border treatment plant. Filner presented him with red boxing gloves for “delivering a knockout blow to Tijuana sewage in this river valley.”

But it didn’t go down for the count.

Sadly, that fix — considered by some as a Band-Aid at the time — are overwhelmed by a growing Tijuana and its deteriorating infrastructure. Much of the city isn’t even hooked up to the existing sewer system.

Any solution requires heavy U.S. involvement and likely funding — or it won’t get done. The “binational” plant that treats sewage from Mexico is on U.S. soil.

“We had to do something ourselves,” Peace said, adding that while they couldn’t count on Mexico to solve the problem, there was good cooperation and communication south of the border.

Besides, he said, “The reality is, we’re downhill.”

But putting together a unified political front isn’t easy. Even decades ago, the Sierra Club sued in an attempt to block the treatment plant, contending there were more environmentally friendly ways to address the problem.

Later, a privately operated treatment project in Mexico known as Bajagua was years in the planning, but eventually collapsed in 2008 after missed deadlines and questions about whether it would live up to its billing — and, significantly, whether it advanced because of backroom dealings.

Dedina, years before he was mayor, was among the opponents. Bilbray and others backed the plan.

While critical of Mexico, local officials also vent at the U.S. federal government for not addressing the problem. A handful of local agencies are planning to sue the U.S. side of the International Boundary and Water Commission.

“I think what’s happening is they no longer care,” Dedina said. “There’s no accountability structure so they can do it and know they can get away with it.”

The growing list of those lining up behind the planned lawsuit includes Imperial Beach, city of San Diego, San Diego County and the Port of San Diego. Coronado has offered to help finance the lawsuit. and the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board has discussed whether to join.

As the legal strategy moves ahead, Bilbray suggests the Trump administration, in essence, should climb on its own skip loader by using the ports of entry to crank up pressure on Mexico.

“You’ve got a wild card in the White House,” Bilbray said. “And that wild card could do something that is a long time coming.”

And that wild card has demonstrated he’s not concerned about any bad PR from his border policies.


Ensenada Beer Fest March 16-17

Bajadock:  tickets here


With the participation of 120 state, national and international breweries, an estimated attendance of more than 8 thousand people, with eleven musical groups, concerts and diverse gastronomic samples, the eighth edition of the Ensenada Beer Fest will take place on March 16 and 17 .

The venue of the event will be the Social, Civic and Cultural Center Riviera del Pacifico, announced yesterday at a press conference by the promoters and spokespersons of that festival, Francisco Talamantes, Héctor Ferreira and Carolina Hirales.

They highlighted that this is the first major event of 2018 in the Mexican calendar of the activities of craft brewers and it is the only independent festival in the country, meaning that craft brewers participate that are not associated with the large international companies that produce this beverage.

They reported that due to the success of the previous editions of the festival -which lasted only one day-, in this 2018 edition it was determined to do it for two days, Friday 16 and Saturday 17, so that a greater number of people can attend the tastings of beer, gastronomy and concerts.

They will give presentations
Another aspect that stood out is the holding of conferences focused on improving the quality of production and marketing of craft beer and it was announced that it will install a pavilion of suppliers for that sector.

There will also be a contest in which only the breweries that attend the Ensenada Beer Fest will participate and the jury will be composed of 40 judges, Mexicans and North Americans, all of them of recognized experience and trajectory.

At the press conference it was announced that tickets for Saturday, March 17 are already sold out and there is still a ticket for Friday the 16th.

Ensenada Beach Garbage


Citizens say it looks like a pigsty because of the pigs.

Citizens of Ensenada expressed annoyance because the boardwalk of the Municipal Beach amaneció full of garbage.

All the trash cans awoke overflowing with rubbish; cans, beer bottles, glasses, plastic plates, as well as bags and leftovers, deteriorating the tourist image of the port.

But it was not only the garbage that caused the discontent, also the little corners of the viewpoint and the stairs that smelled of urine, the floor covered with corcholatas and pieces of broken glass, a situation that is repeated, they say every day because the Clean staff does not happen very often.

The interviewees agreed that the main polluting factor of the beaches is the visitor, according to what they say they should take their own trash, given the inability of the municipal administration to keep the area clean.

Drink Pink Saturday

If you haven’t already heard, we’re celebrating women and especially breast cancer survivors and women winemakers at El Corcho Rosa Valle Girl Vinothis Saturday! We’ll have wood-fired pizzas, karaoke and are featuring friend and neighbor, Damaris of Bodegas del Paraiso who will be offering free tastings of their delicious wines and olive oil. Come join us and tip a cup to the women you love! ~ Sitara Monica Perez, Valle Girl Vino

Take a look at the scrumptious goodies we’re fixing to serve at Drink Pink!

February is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

So come join us to Celebrate Women Winemakers of the Guadalupe Valley and all of the wonderful women in our lives!

We’ll have our good neighbor and special guest Damaris Carreón of Bodegas del Paraíso who will be offering:

Free tastings of three hearty red wines with an olive oil tasting

Wine by the glass: 80 pesos

Olive oil: 150 pesos

Bottled wine starting at 400 pesos

Valle Girl Vino will have on offer

Personal hand-tossed 6″ pizzas from Master Baker Emilee Cole $80 pesos

Margherita Pizza: Thinly sliced local tomatoes, fresh basil, olive oil and mozzarella. Recommended pairing: 2017 La Chula, Sauvignon Blanc

Pepperoni Pizza: A classic favorite with savory tomato sauce, thinly sliced pepperoni, and mozzarella. Recommended pairing: 2014 50 Shades of Red, Grenache Noir blend

Combo Pizza: Mushrooms, mozzarella, and pepperoni get a little kick with jalapeño. Recommended pairing: 2017 La Traviesa, Syrah Rosé.

All of our 2017 New Releases will be on-sale by the glass for 80 pesos

Red wines by the glass for 100 pesos

Ask about our On-Sale Vintages starting at 200 pesos!

Entrance is Free

When: Saturday, February 17th from 2 pm – 6 pm
Where: El Corcho Rosa, near El Cielo winery (follow the signs) in Guadalupe Valley

Bring your singing voice because we’re going to have KARAOKE! Woo hooo!


Valentine’s Day Origin

Bajadock: If you are single on Valentine’s day, history suggests you slap yourself with strips of sacrificed animal flesh to improve you fertility quotient and romantic prospects in the future.  Better yet, have someone else apply the slapping. Provecho!


Last Immigrant Crossing Sign

The last of ten “immigrant crossing” signs that once stood on either side of Interstates 5 and Interstate 805 near the US-Mexico border is gone. (John Gastaldo)


While politicians are embroiled in a polarized national debate over immigration, an iconic road sign cautioning drivers near the San Diego border to watch for migrants running across the highway has quietly disappeared.

The “immigrant crossing” signs have become obsolete, said Cathryne Bruce-Johnson, a spokeswoman for Caltrans. The transportation department stopped replacing the signs years ago because it constructed fences along medians to deter people from running across highways.

The last sign, which stood on the side of Interstate 5 near the San Ysidro border crossing, vanished in September.

“It’s gone,” Bruce-Johnson said. “Caltrans crews did not remove it, so it’s assumed stolen.”

Signs are more often damaged or vandalized than stolen, according to Bruce-Johnson, but when they are taken, there isn’t much Caltrans can do to get them back.

California Highway Patrol sergeant Dan Kyle said that officers who worked during the years before the fences were added recalled responding weekly to several fatal collisions between cars and unauthorized immigrants on the highway in San Ysidro.

Fewer people have tried to sneak between ports of entry into the U.S. for most of the last two decades, further decreasing need for “immigrant crossing” signs.

Both in San Diego and across the southwest border, the number of people caught crossing has dropped dramatically in the 21st century. The federal government estimates the number of people trying to cross based on the number of people caught, so fewer apprehensions means that fewer people are trying to slip in.

In San Diego, Border Patrol agents apprehended 26,086 people in fiscal 2017, an 83 percent drop from the 151,681 people caught in fiscal 2000.

Across the southwest border, the Border Patrol apprehended 1,643,679 people in fiscal 2000, according to data from the agency.

In fiscal 2017, agents apprehended 303,916 people, an 82 percent decrease.

The sign’s image has been the source of controversy, with some seeing it as an offensive caricature of Mexican immigrants.

Justin Akers Chacón, a professor of Chicano studies at San Diego City College, said critics of the sign’s imagery felt that it dehumanized migrants by likening them to animals.

Critics are also bothered by the way the sign’s message fit into the immigration enforcement system.

“The deaths of migrant crossers was treated as an acceptable consequence of the enforcement model, not a reflection of the failure of the model,” Akers Chacón said.

An early version of the sign was entirely text: “Caution watch for people crossing road.”

Motorists weren’t able to read and process that sign quickly enough, so Caltrans asked artist John Hood to design an image to convey the message.

“It doesn’t just mean they are running across the freeway,” Hood told the Union-Tribunein 2005, describing his choice of imagery. “It means they are running from something else as well. I think it’s a struggle for a lot of things, for opportunities, for freedom.”

Caltrans installed 10 signs, focusing on areas like San Ysidro and the San Clemente checkpoint where migrants were known to cross the interstate on foot frequently.

The silhouette of a man with a mustache and woman in a dress running with their young daughter, her hair in pigtails trailing behind her, has been repurposed by different sides of the immigration debate over the years.

Those on the immigration restrictionist side of the debate use the image to symbolize an unruly border, adding guns or nuclear bombs to political cartoons of the sign.

Those who advocate for migrants have redone the sign as a family of pilgrims or college graduates.

“There’s only a handful of really iconic images that have been successfully mobilized for the purposes of immigration politics,” said Everard Meade, director of the Trans Border Institute at University of San Diego. “The thing with these symbols is that the response is 50-50.”

“Some people see that sign and think, ‘My God, this is a sign that represents how our immigration policy has just failed, and we’ve put people in this vulnerable position such that we have to have a road sign so people don’t run them over on the highway,’” Meade added.

Others take it as a sign of an out-of-control border, Meade said, and that perception of the image contributed to support for movements like California’s proposition 187, which barred unauthorized immigrants from the public education system and from public health services except for emergency care required by federal law. A federal judge blocked the proposition from taking effect.

Even the sign’s disappearance caused split reactions among those involved in immigration political debate.

Joshua Wilson, vice president of the San Diego chapter of the National Border Patrol Council, has supported President Donald Trump’s restrictionist policies.

Wilson said he sees not needing the signs anymore as a positive thing. It shows what investing in border security can do, he said.

“I grew up in Los Angeles, and I remember those signs as a kid coming down here,” Wilson said. “What it symbolizes to me is how out of control things were before we put in the infrastructure with Operation Gatekeeper.”

Operation Gatekeeper, a ramped up enforcement strategy implemented along the San Diego border in the mid-90s, shifted migrant routes east over mountains and through deserts.

Pedrio Rios, director of the U.S.-Mexico Border Program for the American Friends Service Committee, advocates for migrant rights and opposes Trump’s immigration policies.

Rios said he remembered clearly when the signs were installed and the deaths that were happening at the border.

“If there are no more Caltrans immigrant crossing signs left, I think it will reflect a reality about immigration that overzealous politicians fail to acknowledge when advocating for increasing border enforcement measures – that migration into the United States has been at a decline since at least the year 2000, and perhaps longer than that,” Rios said.

He pointed out that Operation Gatekeeper didn’t mean that fewer migrants were dying trying to cross the border. The number of border crossing deaths increased significantly, but they were away from cities and out of public view.

“Ironically, as Operation Gatekeeper pushed migrants into less populated desert and mountainous areas, fewer migrants died crossing in the San Diego region, but this meant more migrants were in peril in the less visible treacherous crossing routes,” Rios said.

The shift of migrant routes to more remote locations out of public view has contributed to the political divide, Meade said.

“So much of what actually happens is invisible,” Meade said. “The anecdotal story, whatever does become visible gets exaggerated.”

For Meade, the sign’s disappearance isn’t the end of an era. He noted that immigration from Mexico has had a net of zero since 2005, meaning as many people are going back to Mexico as are coming here.

“I think it already passed,” Meade said. “It’s late to be talking about the sign.”

 Bajadock: Several of our readers have expressed their outrage at this item, posted on left side of this site.  In the future, we will do better to offend more of you, thanks!

Ensenada Carnaval Hurting Downtown Businesses


Reported loss of customers and spaces and disorganization.

Traders established in the tourist area of ​​Ensenada demonstrated upset with Carnaval, as the organizers took their exclusive parking. The event forced the closure of some businesses and are experiencing economic losses.

Since it began assembling the stage of Carnaval, on February 4, complaints against the organizers have not ceased, tenants do not see the benefits seaside boulevard, only losses, they are considered ignored in planning the event.

To try to solve the problems, the Canaco traders visited the area and created a group of WhatsApp where he included the organizers of the carnival celebrations.

The organizers expressed open to seek solutions, as they say, deserves Ensenada Carnaval.

The clothing business Edna Fimbres recorded losses of 20 thousand pesos from 4 to 8 February and will have to tighten their belts until the end of Carnival.

Bajadock: This is Wendlandt Brewery, one of Ensenada’s gems for beer, pub food and fun.  Ouch on the Ensenada welcoming committee!

Pemex Pipeline Taps


MEXICO CITY — Fuel thieves in Mexico drilled 10,363 illegal taps into state-owned pipelines in 2017, or an average of about 28 every day.

The government-owned oil company Pemex reported Wednesday that illegal taps rose about 50 percent last year, from 6,873 in 2016.

Those are just the taps that have been found. Many others are believed to be still working surreptitiously, drawing off gasoline or diesel that is sold illegally by vendors or even through established gas stations.

Pemex said in a statement that authorities have closed 70 gas stations for selling presumably stolen fuel to drivers. The company said patrol and technological surveillance were increased and almost 4 million gallons (15 million liters) of stolen fuel had been recovered.

Last year, Mexico’s government estimated the 2016 thefts cost Pemex about $1 billion for the year, but the company provided no monetary estimate of the losses in 2017.

Just five years ago, authorities found only about 1,635 illegal taps annually.

The thefts are carried out by drug cartels and other heavily armed criminal gangs.

In the northern border state of Tamaulipas, for example, the army reported Wednesday that soldiers found several stashes of stolen fuel, drugs and weapons this week.

Raids near the border city of Reynosa turned up about 5,500 gallons (21,000 liters) of presumably stolen fuel, cocaine, 17 assault rifles, two .50-caliber sniper rifles and two claymore mines. Three people were detained.

Fuel thefts were once largely confined to two or three states in Mexico, but have since spread across the country, including the suburbs of Mexico City.

“We face a great challenge, and all together, the public and the government, we should work in a grand alliance to face this criminal activity that affects the property of all Mexicans,” Pemex said.

Thieves use hand drills to make a hole in pipelines and quickly screw valves and hoses into place. They then fill everything from 275-gallon (1,064 liter) portable tanks to entire tanker trucks.

The illegal taps are usually discovered either because they leak, cause pipeline pressure to drop or catch fire.

Valle de Guadalupe Over Napa

Bajadock: complete article lists 19 trendy spots replacing more popular trendy spots…click here for complete article. 

For my friends in the Valle de Guadalupe/Ensenada wine and food industry, hope prosperity continues.  Selfishly, I enjoy quiet quaffing away from the qwouds of tourists.


Once a destination, city, or country is established as the place to be, it’s hard to change that. It’s covered in every travel magazine and woven through everyone’s Instagram feed. So tourists flock to it in droves and that part of the world may ultimately change because of it. But there are SO MANY other places to experience—so many cuisines to savor, so many activities to try, so many adventures to have. This year, choose the unfamiliar over the popular. Travel to new cities, lesser known regions, and off-the-beaten-path spots. If you’re wondering what such a spirited travel plan might look like, we’re put together a pretty radical list to get you started on your journeys.

Valle de Guadalupe INSTEAD of Napa

Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico

You already know what to expect from Napa. Even people who don’t care for wine could probably describe what Napa’s like. It’s time to try somewhere new, somewhere like Valle de Guadalupe. A wine region in Baja California, Valle de Guadalupe is one heck of a place to—you guessed it—drink wine (and eat like crazy). Just over an hour south of San Diego, this region of Mexico has been seriously gaining ground in the culinary game. We’re talking much-talked-about wines, olive oils, and cheeses, amidst highly touted restaurants. It’s a tremendous area to unwind, dotted with vineyards, ranches, and an eco-lodge or two. Eating and drink around these parts is no joke, and it’s likely spots your friends and family back home have never tried or even heard of.

See All Hotels in Valle de Guadalupe

Tijuana Housing Development Landslide



Tijuana.- Some 150 houses are on the verge of collapse, many have already fallen after a series of landslides that practically disappeared three streets of the Lomas del Rubí neighborhood in Tijuana, Baja California.

Mrs. Ana María Muñoz, resident of the area for 35 years, affirms that they had never suffered any harm, “but now because of this fractionator (Grupo Melo) that they put, we are suffering these damages and it is not fair that the government does not has come to support us. “

The above regarding the fact that last Sunday, the municipal president, Juan Manuel Gastélum, did not go to the disaster zone, only visited the place where the construction of the division responsible for this situation is being made, but with the neighbors of the colony Lomas del Rubí never spoke, nor did he tour the disaster area.

“We want them to repair all the damage. 15 days ago they started thundering the streets, Civil Protection only put stamps so that we evicted and already. Where is Governor Francisco Vega ?, 110 houses are affected, many families were trapped, you do not know where they are going to take their things, “said Mrs. Ana María Muñoz.

He added that soldiers came, but only to take pictures and they left, he said that it was the neighbors who had supported each other to take their belongings under the rubble.

For Cinthya López the situation is very complicated, “everything stayed in my house, most of us are losing our jobs because we have nowhere to go and they told me to go with relatives, your grandma, your aunt with someone, but it turns out that the house from the corner is from my cousin, the one from my grandmother, from my aunt later, my whole family lost their house, where do I go?


The woman indicated that the authorities should understand that they need support, and that they have asked for signatures, but it is assumed that there is already an official census of 86 houses, but there is talk of more than 110 and up to 150 houses destroyed.

Ms. Cinthya points to Grupo Melo and warned that the fractionation they are building is also in danger.

“They must stop selling those houses because the buyers will be affected. This is going to fall down there. We want them to save our houses. “


He also shared that on the day of the collapse they requested the support of the fire brigade and the army because some of the inhabitants of the colony had been left without access to leave, and throughout the day no authority came to provide aid.


Fotos por José Luis Camarillo Photos by José Luis Camarillo

Fotos por José Luis Camarillo Photos by José Luis Camarillo

Similarly, he said that among the needs that exist is a night patrols because it is night when the theft of belongings is taking place, but psychological support is also necessary for the victims because they are all living the mourning of having lost their homes.

Finally, Jorge Osvaldo Clark sent a message to the governor of the state, “I want to send a message to the governor to come see the houses, we went to see yours and it is very beautiful.They want to send us to Santa Fe and it is not possible, children, entire families and elderly people are suffering because of Grupo Melo. “

It will be until Tuesday when the work tables begin to see what solution is going to be given by the municipality, however, the neighbors are only waiting for the opinion by Civil Protection to take legal action against those responsible.

In the last visit to the place, a couple of lawyers approached a score of neighbors to advise them legally and propose that they make a collective and not individual lawsuit, since this way there will be more chance of winning.

Entrada de Valle de Pedregal de TJ Hwy 1 Libre

Lomas del Rubi location

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