Category Archives: Politricks

San Ysidro Sentri v Bus

Recently crossing border at San Ysidro/TJ headed to San Diego, was in the second lane from right(marked #4).  Did not realize until this day that is the lane that tour buses also travel.

Happened to be frozen in line for approx 10 minutes while two buses inserted themselves into the right two lanes. Traffic in both lanes was stopped.  Don’t know why buses seem to take a while.  Do they have a CBP officer board the bus to eyeball the crowd?  Anyone have experience on a bus with this?

As I approached the entry funnel of signs/eqpt/cameras an officer greeted me and asked me to stay at this point, approx 30 yards from the CBP shack, until the last bus was “processed”.  The guy also told me that it would be a few minutes for the CBP dude in the shack to log out and log in after bus processing.

An orange plastic traffic barrier was placed at the shack.  ?

Another 12 minutes expired.  I could see anxiety in the drivers of cars behind me.

When finally waved up to the shack for the “Where are you going today, anything to declare, what were you doing in Mexico?” greeting, two CBP guys were complaining about the stupid computer giving them fits. Got a “sorry for the delay”.

Lucky me was not pressed for time this afternoon, but, what kind of procedure is so special about a bus that leads to this flustercluck?

Maybe the buses former/usual lanes #1 & #2 are behind the curtain in the construction zone?

This was my first bus attack delay at San Ysidro.  I believe I’ll make certain to avoid the first two lanes on the right side in future.


Season for Breathalyzer, Speeding Units

Bajadock: December gets out the Ensenada alcohol and speeding patrols, especially on weekends.  


ENSENADA: Municipal Traffic Personnel made an Operative Radar in the area of ​​the Peripheral and Esmeralda Avenue, where more than 250 vehicles were verified to strengthen the culture of prevention and respect for current regulations , informed the commander of Transit, José Luis Gutiérrez Bojórquez.

He noted that speed was monitored in the place, it was verified that the drivers will use the safety belt and it was recommended that mothers and fathers of family use appropriate chairs to transport the children.

“In total, 16 tickets were issued for infractions of articles 181, 134 and 20-F of the Traffic Regulations, and it is not necessary to tow a car since those who incurred faults had their papers in order,” he said.

The commander added that in the last 72 hours two filters of the Operational Breathalyzer were implemented, which circulated more than 500 motorists who were reminded of the preventive measures to avoid incidents related to the consumption of intoxicating beverages.

He said that 26 people were intervened for presenting alcoholic breath, which violates Article 41 of the Traffic Regulations, so they were presented before the judge and their vehicles towed to storage yards, where they were in guarantee of the violation that they were put

The commander reiterated the call to the population in general to respect the current legal provisions and avoid sanctions, mainly because by applying them risk situations are avoided that can lead to damages, injuries, even death itself or third parties.

El Vigia reported radar on the stretch just north of centro ‘Nada to Hotel Coral.

Tijuana Pollution Causes Border Patrol Sickness

Headaches, rashes, infections, breathing problems.

An increasing number of U.S. Border Patrol agents at the Imperial Beachstation have reported a host of health problems since February, when an estimated 143 million gallons of Mexican sewage spilled into the Tijuana River Valley they patrol.

It’s not one of the risks typically associated with policing the border, said Christopher Harris, a union representative for National Border Patrol Council’s Local 1613.

“They’re willing to put up with the normal hazards of law enforcement,” Harris said. “We understand that’s part of our job. We get shot at. We accept all that. We do our best to mitigate it. We wear vests. We have trauma kits. But we can’t mitigate sewage and chemicals.”

In June, he documented more than 30 agents who had reported sewage-related illnesses. Since then, that number has nearly tripled, to at least 83 agents.

The Imperial Beach Border Patrol Station has about 300 employees who patrol the U.S.-Mexico border from the Pacific Ocean through the Tijuana River Valley. Some work on foot, some in ATVs or SUVs, others on horseback.

The sewage leak in February and subsequent leaks flowed into the Tijuana River Valley Regional Park, which covers 71.5 miles of dirt roads and paths.

The muck sticks around for a long time as it makes its way to the ocean. It settles into the riverbanks, overflows during rains and dries out in hot weather. It is impossible for Border Patrol agents to avoid.

While patrolling on their ATVs on Nov. 10 after a rainstorm, Harris said three agents experienced ear, nose and throat problems. One said he had a strange rash inside his nose.

Border Patrol Agent Joel Sevilla said that in the summer he had to patrol areas where much of the sewage flowed.

“I had a really bad nasal infection, headaches and trouble breathing…. I was losing my breath really fast,” he said. “I’m not known for that because I’m very active. So I had to go to the doctor’s and the first time I went, they said that I had a nasal infection. They gave me some antibiotics and they treated it and it went away for like two or three days. Then it started happening again…. What was worse were the headaches because I couldn’t sleep.”

Sevilla went back to the doctor four or five times. He had to leave the prestigious ATV unit and now patrols in an SUV.

“I don’t get the headaches anymore because I’m not riding around in all that dust,” he said. “When the water dries out, it turns into dust and that’s what we breathe.”

Michael Scappechio, a spokesman with the U.S. Border Patrol, said the agency is aware of the agents’ health problems and is assessing the problem to develop short- and long-term solutions.

“Common reported acute injuries have ranged from upper-respiratory ailments to burns on extremities,” he said. “Personnel have also reported damage to boots and gloves while performing their duties.”

The issue of cross-border raw sewage is a complex, decades-old issue, Scappechio said, and the Border Patrol is working with a number of stakeholders to address both the remediation of the affected areas as well as the safety challenges.

“Pinpointing the locations and sources of spills, including the contents of each incident, are critical to addressing the health and safety of our personnel,” he said. “It is the intent on the part of CBP and USBP, that the collaborative effort amongst the stakeholders involved, will result in both a safer and healthier environment in the Tijuana River Valley shortly and for the long run.”

As the number of cases continued to rise this past summer, Harris said Kevin McAleenan, acting commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, visited the Imperial Beach station.

As a result of that visit, “my understanding is every week or every two weeks he gets an update on what they’re doing,” Harris said. “Now, understand their constraints. They’re not a scientific organization. They’re not an EPA [Environmental Protection Agency]. They’re not a research organization. They’re doing the best they can to find money and try to mitigate.”

Harris said there was talk of building some showers where agents could decontaminate, but he wondered how you can talk about decontamination without knowing what chemicals you’re decontaminating. What’s needed, he said, are more reporting on spills and more testing of the sewage water.

That responsibility falls to a small federal agency.

The International Boundary and Water Commission is in charge of documenting each spill. A branch of the State Department with approximately 250 employees, it is charged with developing binational solutions to issues that arise on sanitation, water quality and flood control in the border region.

The commission has an office in San Diego and runs the South Bay International Wastewater Treatment Plant at the U.S.-Mexico border. Completed in 1997, the facility treats 25 million gallons of Tijuana sewage per day.

However, the plant can’t treat all the sewage flowing across the border. Tijuana’s population – which officially stands at 1.56 million, but unofficially may be as high as 2 million – has outpaced the city’s ability to provide adequate and updated sewage infrastructure. As a consequence, sewage spills occur frequently.

Barbara Zaragoza writes for the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Scenic Highway Still Slipping

Slides continue on the Scenic, CCEE urges the alternate route

Ensenada, Baja California, December 4 .- The business sector of Ensenada was pronounced by an agile and clear response by the Ministry of Communications and Transportation (SCT) and Federal Roads and Bridges (Capufe) around the construction of the route alternates Ensenada-Tijuana, by virtue of the known landslides in the vicinity of Kilometer 93 of the scenic highway.

Marco Antonio Coronado Valenzuela, president of the Business Coordinating Council of Ensenada (CCEE) said yesterday during his weekly breakfast that the scenic road “is still moving”, when they are about to be completed on the 28th of this month four years after the collapse that shut off Ensenada for a year.

Almost four years after the collapse, Coronado Valenzuela recalled that in addition to the year it took him to reopen, it takes another three years of repairs, with a cost much higher than the one billion pesos initially announced.

All sectors of the economy would be affected if that road section is interrupted again to the circulation, for that reason the leader urged the SCT of the federal government, offer information of the project that establishes the alternate route and to which they would have destined approximately two thousand millions of pesos.

The alternate road would cost less than the investment in the repairs of the scenic and would provide greater certainty for the economic operations of the city and its southern area, but the entrepreneurs are unaware of the progress of the project.

The doubts that overshadow the future of terrestrial communications is due to the fact that another road section that would connect the delegation of El Sauzal with the road to Ojos Negros suffered unexpected delays.

Coronado Valenzuela said that meanwhile, the Mexican government should prevent federal freight transport from continuing to use the Ensenada-Tijuana scenic highway and prosecute the transportation of goods along the Tecate-Ensenada highway, which has already been reclassified to receive large-tonnage vehicles.

The heavy load is the one that puts the viability of the toll road at risk, recalled the leader of the businessmen, as it was precisely the passing of a vehicle with heavy cement load the protagonist of the collapse on December 28, 2013.

The Ensenada-Tecate stretch was in the process of being modernized and was not classified for loading, “but the modernization has already been completed, the classification has already been carried out and the cargo is still on the stage,” he said.

The alternate Ensenada-Tijuana route is planned along 22 kilometers from the tourist area of ​​Bajamar, until it connects with the start of the Santa Anita Bypass in El Sauzal.

San Diego Border Wall

San Diego Tunnel Rats


It’s a name only a bureaucrat could love: Confined Spaces Entry Team.

Squad members call themselves something else: Tunnel Rats.

For the past seven years, they’ve been going underground to locate, map and seal off the tunnels used by cartels to smuggle drugs from Mexico to San Diego and beyond.

Theirs is a little-known part of the high-stakes hide-and-seek game that plays out daily along the border. While much of the attention, especially lately, has been focused on walls and what happens above ground, more than 80 tunnels have been found in California and Arizona since 2011.

San Diego is a hotbed for a lot of this. Warehouses constructed close to the border in Otay Mesa and Tijuana provide camouflage: an out-of-view place for a tunnel to start and another for it to end.

It’s also where the clay soil is especially good for this kind of thing — not as soft and collapse-likely as it is to the west, and not as rocky and hard as it is to the east.

“This,” said Lance LeNoir, gesturing at the warehouses and the ground between them, “is what makes San Diego grand central for the long, sophisticated tunnels.”

Discovered in December 2009, it stretches 762 feet from a warehouse in Tijuana toward a warehouse on the U.S. side, just west of the Otay Mesa Port of Entry.

The tunnel is 6 feet tall by 4 feet wide, large by tunneling standards, and 100 feet below the surface in some spots, sloped to allow groundwater to flow out of the way.

The traffickers had been working on it for about 18 months and had not yet finished when it was discovered after a tip from an informant. A dozen people were arrested inside.

Now what’s left of the tunnel, about 30 feet, is used for training by the Tunnel Rats. They practice rescues and test their equipment there.

It’s where they take government officials and the media when they want to show the kind of subterranean activity they are up against.

During a recent visit, LeNoir was asked whether he believed, at that moment, someone somewhere was digging a tunnel.

“Of course they are,” he said. “Of course.”

A Nod to Vietnam

The Tunnel Rats borrow their name from the Vietnam War forces who went underground in search of enemy fighters, sometimes engaging in hand-to-hand combat.

“They had it a lot tougher than we do,” LeNoir said. “We use the name in homage to them.”

 (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

They wear T-shirts with “Tunnel Rat” on the back, above a drawing of a fierce-looking rodent carrying a gun in one hand and a flashlight in the other. Below the drawing is a Latin phrase, also from Vietnam, that translates into “Not worth a rat’s a–.”

Several of the team members are military veterans, although none is old enough to have served in Vietnam, and their uniforms resemble those worn by soldiers: camouflage pants, helmets, vests, guns.

Team members volunteer for the assignment, and to join they first have to crawl through a two-foot wide pipe for about 20 yards. That helps weed out agents who are claustrophobic and maybe don’t know it, and it also gets them ready for what they’ll face in the field.

Increasingly, the tunnels are getting narrower and shorter — quicker to build that way, and cheaper. One found last year was only 14 inches wide.

Getting inside the Galvez Tunnel is simple by comparison. Visitors climb down 70 feet of metal ladders, installed in a concrete shaft built after the underground smuggling route was discovered. It intersects the tunnel in a spot located between the primary and secondary border fences.

The air feels heavy at the bottom, and warm. Overhead lights illuminate the sides of the tunnel, which still bear the tool marks of those who built it.

Galvez gets its name from a street in Tijuana that runs next to the warehouse where the tunnel originated. It’s considered “sophisticated” because of its length and some of the things found inside it.

But “sophisticated” is a relative term.

“These tunnels wouldn’t meet any mining or construction standards that we are familiar with,” LeNoir said. If wood is found inside shoring up the walls and roof, it’s not because of a devotion to structural integrity, he said, but because a collapse happened while they were working and they had to fix it

“When you see 2-by-4s attached to plywood with drywall screws, you know you’re not looking at something that’s been carefully engineered,” he said.

Here’s what team members sometimes call the tunnels: “Holes in the ground at significant depth.”

What does impress them, though, is the persistence of the tunnelers, who aren’t always there by choice, conscripted at gunpoint by the cartels. Impressed by the workload. (Multiple eight-hour shifts, sometimes all day, using power drills, picks and shovels. They eat and sleep on site.) Impressed by the dirt removal. (It’s put it in sandbags and stored in the warehouses, or if there’s an empty room, just piled there.)

“They’re willing to dig and dig and dig without really knowing where they’re going to end up,” LeNoir said. “You have to respect their imagination and their audacity.”

Deja Vu

In our high-tech age, people sometimes think finding tunnels should be easy. Just stick motion-detectors in the ground, they say. Just use ground-penetrating radar.

It’s not that simple. Many such devices are susceptible to interference from passing cars and trucks and from underground power lines. They’re set off inadvertently by animals or the wind.

Still, the hunt for a silver bullet continues. The eight border wall prototypes recently built in Otay Mesa are being tested now for their ability to, among other things, deter tunneling. Each is supposed to include sensors that will detect someone approaching the wall or trying to breach it.

Until that kind of solution arrives, investigators usually find tunnels the old-fashioned way. They patrol the border. They talk to warehouse owners and occupants and ask them to report anything unusual or suspicious.

The Tunnel Rats are part of the Drug Tunnel Task Force, which also includes representatives from Homeland Security, the Drug Enforcement Agency and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. It was formed in 2003 as officials noticed that even though most drugs are driven across the border at ports of entry, hidden inside cargo trucks and other vehicles, tunnels were becoming a major player.

At the Calexico one — the first time traffickers are known to have purchased land and built a house on it to conceal a tunnel — agents found more than a ton of marijuana. That was a small find: Other tunnels have led them to caches of more than 20 tons.

Originally, the underground team was focused on smugglers who used existing storm drains and sewer systems to move people across the border illegally. As more and more cross-border tunnels were discovered — 13 in the San Diego sector alone in 2006 — the team began focusing on that. They developed skills in geology, air monitoring and emergency extractions.

After a tunnel is found and cleared of smugglers, the Tunnel Rats are called in to check it for evidence and map it. They make sure the air is safe and the ground stable, and then crawl in with tape measures, compasses and lasers.

Then concrete is poured into the tunnels at various places on the U.S. side — “remediation” that has cost the federal government about $10 million since 2007.

Team members said what they like most about the work is the variety. “Every tunnel is different,” several of them said.

Their work ebbs and flows from year to year. Through the end of August, seven tunnels — three operational and four not yet finished — had been discovered in the fiscal year that started Oct. 1, 2016, according to the Border Patrol. In the eights weeks so far this year: zero.

Over the past 10 years, the number of tunnels discovered has fluctuated between one and nine.

Sometimes the work has a feeling of deja vu. Officials on the Mexican side of the border don’t always have the resources to seal tunnels there.

At least eight times in recent years, the Border Patrol says, newly discovered tunnels turned out to be old ones. The smugglers started in Mexico using what was already there and when they came to the concrete on the U.S. side, they dug around it.

Until they were found again, another round of hide-and-seek that shows no signs of ending.

tunnel rat T shirts

Parking Meter Editorial

With regard to the new occurrence of the mayor, last week we asked him if he agrees with the return of the parking meters to the downtown area of ​​the city.  7 out of 10 say no.  Thank you all for expressing your opinion.

Any administrator knows that to improve the financial conditions of a business or an organization there are only three soups: increase income, reduce expenses or sell assets.

True … the town hall is practically bankrupt and already tried to sell some properties, without success by the way.

Now it tries to increase the income via parking meters which is strange, because few measures of collection prosper in electoral times. If the PRI has it complicated in 2018, those who approve or reject these measures will think about it more than once, particularly because of the number of votes that they would be leaving to report to the central offices.

Nor has it been said what will happen to those who do not pay for the parking lot … with so much cars with Anapromex plates, who will they press?  The fine would be like the calls to mass. Immobilizers?  Cranes? More annoyance and less votes.

What they still do not try to control the City is to reduce the huge amount of expenses, particularly in the hyperinflated payroll that all citizens pay.

And it is not exaggeration … it is so inflated that it even reaches us to sponsor the escorts of a lot of people who do not deserve them.

It seems a matter of contradictions but in reality they are only numbers: If the city council does not have money to pay, for example, the escorts of Rosarito Eligio Valencia’s ruler, it is necessary to force the Ensenadenses to cooperate with the cause each time they are parked in the middle. It’s not politics…it’s mathematics.

Ensenada Parking Meters

The municipal president presented the initiative in town hall.

In the ordinary session of the town hall, the mayor of Ensenada, Marco Antonio Novelo, presented an initiative regarding the use of public roads under the concession regime.

This in order for a private company to install, operate, manage and maintain the parking meters in the first square of the city.

In the past municipal administration the project was promoted by a PRD councilor, however it was rejected due to the lack of a technical study, and was only based on experiences of other municipalities.

On that occasion it was estimated that the City would obtain annual profits of 15 million pesos to control the parking time of the 153 available drawers.

Door of Hope at Border

Ensenada Breathalyzer Filters

For alleged crimes and administrative offenses, a total of 410 people were detained during the weekend, as a result of various operations carried out by personnel of the Municipal Public Security Directorate (DSPM).

The head of the local corporation, Jorge Íñiguez Díaz, announced that from last Friday to Sunday, officers participated in preventive trips, breathalyzer filters and other special actions in the urban and rural areas.

Of the 410 people arrested, 379 were intercepted for committing faults to the Police and Government Branch; They also rescued two 3-year-old girls, as victims of probable abandonment and omission of care.

On the other hand, 12 people were placed at the disposal of the Attorney General of the State (PGJE), for the alleged crimes of possession of prohibited substance and vehicle with reports of theft, damages, injuries, dismantling and trespassing.

While the Attorney General of the Republic (PGR), a man was taken over for the probable possession of a firearm.

Íñiguez Díaz indicated that in the breathalyzer filters more than 600 automobiles were inspected and 19 drivers were intercepted for driving with marked alcoholic breath, an action that violates Article 41 of the Traffic Regulations.

The motorists surprised for the first time under such fault, were presented before the qualifying judge and their towed cars to municipal patios, in guarantee of the sanction to which creditors were made, the official finished.

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