Category Archives: US-Mexican Border

Tijuana Grave Digging Business Expands


fox5sandiego.com

A drug tunnel under construction was discovered Tuesday morning by Baja State Police in an unusual area of Tijuana.

The tunnel was found in a nondescript structure across the street from one of Baja’s largest cemeteries, about a mile west of the San Ysidro border crossing.

Most of the tunnels that have been discovered have been further east in the Otay Mesa area, where the soil is softer, sandier and easier to plow through.

According to investigators, the usual suspects — members of a Mexican drug cartel — are involved.

Five people have been arrested in connection with the discovery.

Michael Lettieri of the Trans-Border Institute says while drug tunnels continue to be used primarily to smuggle marijuana into the U.S., it’s actually an old strategy.

“Cartels are making most of their money, and what they’re fighting over now, is increasing the heroin and meth into this country. Heroin and methamphetamines are really easy to smuggle in cars, in water bottles. It’s small, it’s compact and it has tremendous value once it gets across for a very small amount,” said Lettieri.

Lettieri said cartels are likely to turn to other smuggling strategies such as catapults, submarines and drones to get drugs north of the border.

New Tijuana Border Car Wash


Sunday noonish vehicle accident on westbound Av Internacional in Tijuana caused a geyser of water to slow vehicles on the big hill leading toward Playas de Tijuana.  Nice to see that water pressure in this area is excellent.

Video above is from an eastbound vehicle.  uniradioinforma.com

Fire Season Begins


gatefire17map
Bajadock: Have been through the stretch of hwy 94 and Otay Lakes Road dozens of times.  Good news is that it is not highly populated, if they can prevent fire from spreading to Dulzura.  Fire location is very close to the CBP checkpoint on 94.  Hwy 94 closure from Honey Springs Road over to 188(Tecate border crossing) will be painful for locals.  Fire season is upon us, so be careful out there.

SDUT

A wildfire burning south of Jamul had scorched more than 1,000 acres by Saturday night and was threatening Dulzura.

Residents in Dulzura were alerted to the possible need to evacuate their homes, and some did. The Viejas casino parking lot on Interstate 8 at Willows Road was designated as a temporary evacuation point, where Red Cross volunteers offered food and water.

The Red Cross later set up an overnight shelter at Otay Ranch High School, at 1250 Olympic Pkwy in Chula Vista.

Authorities sealed off several backcountry roads and evacuated a campground as wind-swept flames roared through rolling, grassy hills at a “dangerous rate,” Cal Fire said within an hour of the fire’s start.

Residents with animals in the path of the fire should leave early and take pets with them, advised Dan DeSousa, director of the county Department of Animal Services. If help is needed to evacuate animals, owners can call the agency’s 24-hour emergency line at (619) 236-2341.

Dulzura residents who left their homes were not allowed back in until about 10 p.m., when fire officials deemed it safe enough for them to be on the road with a sheriff’s deputy escort.

The blaze, called the Gate fire, broke out south of Otay Lakes Road and west of state Route 94, near a Border Patrol checkpoint, about 11:20 a.m.

Investigators were trying to determine the cause of the fire. It started on a dirt road off SR-94 leading to a Bureau of Land Management recreational area commonly used for target shooting, Cal Fire Capt. Isaac Sanchez said. He said the dirt road is behind a local landmark pink gate, which was chosen for the fire’s name.

SR-94 was shut down between Honey Springs Road and state Route 188, and Otay Lakes Road was closed between Wueste Road and SR-94. Residents were not being allowed through. Motorists are advised to avoid the area.

Winds pushed the blaze west toward Pio Pico RV Resort and Campground, which was evacuated early on as a precaution. Campers were directed to the Eastlake Walmart parking lot in Chula Vista.

County animal control officers rescued one dog from the campground because no owner was there, DeSousa said. They were returning later in the day to rescue a dog heard inside a trailer. An animal control officer also went to the Walmart to see if campground evacuees there needed anything.

The San Diego Humane Society also sent a response team to the Otay Ranch High evacuation center with food and supplies for pets.

Late Saturday night, Cal Fire sent out a notice that Pio Pico would remain closed because of fire damage to certain park infrastructure.

The fire pushed north close to the edge of Otay Lakes Road as fire crews worked to make sure flames did not jump the road.

A late-afternoon shift in the breezes then sent flames southeast, toward the community of Dulzura, Sanchez said. He said mostly grass with some sparse brush was burning, and air tankers did a good job laying down a barrier of fire retardant to slow the fire’s spread.

The San Diego County emergency website noted that at 6:30 p.m., the following emergency message was sent to 77 contacts by the Sheriff’s Department: “There is a fire in the area of Dulzura. The wind is blowing to the East and there is a concern that the fire may spread to your area. You are being advised to be ready to evacuate if notified to do so. You may evacuate now if you choose to do so. The evacuation route is Highway 94 East to Buckman Springs North to Interstate 8 West. Take interstate 8 West to East Willows Road. Exit East Willows Road and turn right(north). Continue West on East Willows Road to the Viejas Casino. The Red Cross will have a temporary evacuation center located in the casino parking lot. This a fire warning only, not an evacuation order.”

Updates on the site are available at sdcountyemergency.com.

A Chula Vista police officer who was directing traffic near Otay Lakes and Wueste was struck by a vehicle about 2:30 p.m., suffering serious but not life-threatening injuries, police said. The officer, who has been on the force 2½ years, was taken to a hospital.

Five air tankers and three helicopters made numerous water and retardant drops on fire all afternoon. Fire crews from several agencies were helping on the ground.

Smoke from the blaze could be seen from many parts of the county.

Temperatures reached 91 degrees by 1 p.m. in the area with 10 percent relative humidity, according to the National Weather Service. Winds were light but gusting to 21 mph. The forecast was for slightly cooler temperatures on Sunday, with a high of 86, but just as breezy as Saturday.

In a separate area at the other end of the county, a blaze that broke out Friday afternoon on the Camp Pendleton Marine Corps base had burned an estimated 500 acres as of Saturday afternoon. It was 75 percent contained and not threatening any structures, base officials tweeted. The fire started in a northeast section of the base, off De Luz Road.

gatefire17

Fire officials have been warning San Diego County residents for months that this summer could be an especially bad season for wildfires, after heavy winter rains encouraged thick growth of tall grasses and brush. Residents near canyons and in rural settings are encouraged to trim vegetation back to 100 feet from homes and take other fire-safety precautions.

Staff writer Gary Robbins contributed to this report.

Baja: Lawless State


Homicide investigations in Baja California are not very effective and business leaders’ concerns over worsening violence are justified, state and municipal authorities admitted yesterday.

Attorney General Perla del Socorro Ibarra told a conference in Tijuana that her staff are working 24 hours a day, but in percentage terms the effectiveness of their efforts “is not high” because of the high number of cases.

There have been more than 500 homicides in Tijuana so far this year.

The violence prompted business leaders to issue an SOS on Monday. The president of a citizens’ council on state security warned at a press conference that Baja California “is becoming a lawless state.”

“This,” said Juan Manuel Hernández Niebla, “is an SOS.”

Another business leader called for a single-command police force coordinated by the Army that would be capable of “attacking the organized crime structure.”

Kurt Honold Morales said there is no sign of effectiveness in the actions by security forces.

Also at yesterday’s conference, a forum on addictions and security at the Autonomous University of Baja California, Tijuana’s Public Security Secretary commented that authorities must listen to the complaints.

Marco Antonio Sotomayor agreed that they are justified. He said the municipality has “a very clear strategy, and one that has been strengthened, but it is also true that we have not achieved the results we wanted.”

Containing the violence was one of the desired results but that, he said, has not been accomplished.

Sotomayor observed that there have been successes operationally speaking, citing the seizure last weekend of 15 firearms.

*************************************************************************************************************

Alarm to industrial wave of violence

General information
by AFN.
ENSENADA BC, MAY 17, 2017 (AFN) .- Jorge Eduardo Cortés Ríos, president of the National Chamber of the Transformation Industry of Ensenada (Canacintra), called on the authorities of the three orders of government to establish a strategy Effective way to stop the wave of violence in the Entity.

The president of Canacintra reported that in addition to the killings, there are cases of extortion, express kidnappings, business robbery, vehicle theft, land collection, many of them not reported by the victims due to fear or lack of results.

He urged that concrete measures be taken, with targets and defined dates, coordinated by security corporations, that the Police Operations Center (COP) cameras be repaired and that they join the Communication and Command Center (C4).

“It is also urgent that the contracting, training, equipment and control of the municipal police be strengthened, that the failures of the New Criminal Justice System that favor impunity, that the crimes be clarified and punish the criminals be corrected.

In an event that he described as unprecedented for Ensenada, he said, “we are returning to levels of violence that we believed had already been overcome, requiring real and effective coordination between federal, state and municipal police corporations with the armed forces. Leave to these all the responsibility “.

“The perception of insecurity, unfortunately justified by the figures, places a high risk on investment and tourism, one of the few sectors that have maintained some economic dynamism in recent years and could inhibit some projects in this area, which Would be disastrous for the economy, “said Cortes Ríos.

The industrialist insisted on the urgency of stopping the criminal wave, investigating and punishing those responsible, to prevent other countries from continuing to issue alerts to stop their citizens from traveling to Mexican states and cities with high levels of violence.

He recalled that since mid-2016, there are restrictions on the part of the United States Department of State so that Americans do not travel to destinations like Baja California and the municipality of Ensenada. Added that just this April 22 the United Kingdom also issued a recommendation to its citizens, a situation that inhibits the arrival of visitors from that country to the region, insisted the leader.

To date, 58 people are reported killed in the municipality; Which has caused alarm in the industrial sector of Ensenada by the large number of victims, but also by the negative effects that it may have on the economy of the already repressed region.

He indicated that according to information collected, 30 crimes have been committed in the southern part of the municipality, 28 in the urban spot, in the conurbation zone and in the Valle de Guadalupe, so far in 2017; Which he said far exceeded the total number of homicides committed throughout 2016, he said.

Cortes Ríos stated that the most worrying of all is the upward trend, since only in the last week have been registered at least three murders in the northern rural area; Another alarming figure is the number of women who died violently, who already number 12, a situation that generates even greater uncertainty among the population.

In order for the city to progress, it requires investments, that existing companies can operate without surprises, that there are more jobs, generate taxes; But for that, a climate of tranquility free of violence is required, “said Jorge Eduardo Cortés Ríos.

Otay Mesa Ped Crossing


Had a friend needing my limo services from Ensenada to San Diego airport yesterday.  She had never done the Otay Mesa pedestrian crossing, so I gave her my best verbal description on our commute.  Above photo shows the Otay Sentri entry and the spot to drop of your non-Sentri passenger.  It’s approx 200 yards from the ped drop to the ped crossing gate, then another 200 yard hike to meet your vehicle on the USA side.

Northern Baja map showing border crossing options and routing.  Northbound to San Diego I use the TJ Free Road to either San Ysidro approx 80% and Otay approx 20%.

My preferred route from Ensenada to the Otay crosssing is the TJ Free Road(North Rosarito Exit) that is a direct route to the TJ Airport and Otay(see my white dot plot).  Many friends prefer Blvd 2000(amber route), but I find that road to be no fun and it takes longer.

That Free Rd to Otay route also includes a clean rest stop, approx 1/2 mile north of the Rosarito Toll Booth.  Unusual and unfortunate that the men’s room this Wednesday was “no papel”, so always have your spare roll of TP in your vehicle when traveling Baja!  That rest stop also has a snack shop with coffee.

This was the scene at theRosarito rest stop Wednesday mornign with birds and squirrels enjoying the peanuts these ladies were offering.  Lucky pajaros and ardillas were enthusiastic about gourmet breakfast.

From the Free Road/TJLibre/North Rosarito exit, it is approx 7 miles to this Airport right turn.  From this spot in above photo, you will wind through a commercial area and the big hill climb at the U.S. embassy that will lead you to the TJ airport. It is 7 miles from above photo to Blvd Bellas Artes at Otay crossing.

If you need more detail on Otay and the 8 photo locations in above map, click here

Back to Otay, that road bordering the east side of TJ Airport leads you to the regular lane, Ready Lane and SENTRI.  This entry to SENTRI is funky as the area has been under construction.  Instead of the bridge ramp after the Ready Lane Entry, meander right into the alley in the industrial area.  Mariscos Negro Durazo is on the corner, photo spot #2 in map above.

I have labeled it “Rumble Alley”, so just ease through the pot holes.  It will lead you to Blvd Bellas Artes headed east and ready to enter SENTRI lane.  Mariscos Negro Durazo on corner is blue building.

This overhead map mimics the first photo above in this post showing ped entry to Otay crossing.  The idea is to drop your non-Sentri passenger before you vehicle is visible to Sentri lanes.  According to rumor, Sentri frowns on this practice, but, I see all sorts of vehicles dropping passengers close to gate crossing, then U-turning back to TJ.  Hmmm.  And have your ped passenger cross with one bag on hand to ease credibility.  Jacket/sweater was also suggested as that office can be cold with A/C.  Got passport?

You cross in SENTRI vehicle lane, take first exit right(Siempre Viva Rd) and plan your meeting spot with your ped passenger on north side of border.  Make certain you plan a specific spot, as a friend of mine depended upon Mex cell service once for meetup w/ their ped passenger.  OOPS!

My friend mentioned one point of confusion, yesterday.  Two signs at ped crossing office were “SENTRI” and READY”.  WhereTheF does a “regular lane” pauper cross?  Just blame poor signage and pester a guard.

After the Ped crossing, your passenger should simply follow the others on the sidewalk for approx 200 yds north to your vehicle in the car queue.  Yep that spot has a red line on the curb, but I have never been hassled.  Or if the ped line wait looks long, Erik’s Deli is a decent, clean spot to rendezvous.

I’m usually crossing Otay at approx 10am-noon, so the rush hour commute is finished.  Max I have ever waited for my ped passenger here is 20 minutes.  That sure beats waiting in the Ready or Regular vehicle lineup for 2 hours.

Dia de las Madres(10 May) in Mex was likely the reason for an extremely expeditious ped crossing.  I waited 5 minutes max for my friend to meet me on the other side Wednesday.  She said they did not ask one question at the ped crossing.  She scanned her passport and she was FREE!

Mexico Legalizes Medical Marijuana


San Diego Red

The Lower House has approved the use of marijuana for medical purposes, in a historic vote that would also allow the regulated study of the cannabis sativa plant.

With 301 votes in favor and 88 against, the Representatives approved the initiative of President Enrique Peña Nieto, which was sent to Congress on April 21, 2016, but without the provision to legalize the marijuana for recreational uses with which he came.

Members of the National Action Party (PAN) managed to clear nine articles of the initiative, to ensure its approval. However, the new article 198 of the Federal Criminal Code now says:

“The planting, cultivation or harvesting of marijuana plants shall not be punishable when these activities are carried out for medical and scientific purposes in the terms and conditions of the authorization issued for that purpose by the Federal Executive.”

It gives new power to the Ministry of Health to “design and implement public policies that regulate the medicinal use of pharmacological derivatives of cannabis sativa, or American marijuana, including tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) with its isomers and stereochemical variants, as well as the regulation of the research and national production of it, ” this according to El Financiero.

Does it mean that you can already cross medical marijuana from San Diego to Tijuana?

Not necessarily, because information about when this law goes into effect or whether it is permitted to import medical marijuana from other countries, such as the United States, is missing. But it does make clear that this change “eliminates the prohibition and criminalization of acts related to the medicinal use of marijuana and its scientific research, and those that concern the production and distribution of the plant for these purposes.”

It is still illegal to cultivate, negotiate or distribute marijuana for recreational use, but it should be remembered that if a citizen has less than 5g in his or her position, there is no penalty or cause for arrest. Now less if it is for medicinal use; any amount.

Border Wall History Lessons


SDUT

Competition to build President Donald Trump’s border wall is underway with 467 companies nationwide, including 23 from San Diego, submitting bids and designs to construct what was a centerpiece promise of Trump’s campaign.

Fencing and barriers are nothing new along the U.S.-Mexico border. For nearly 30 years, fencing made from landing mats, steel mesh and concrete-filled steel bollards have been erected along nearly 700 miles of the border.

Much of that was constructed between 2007 and 2015, when the government spent an estimated $2.5 billion on border fencing projects. The work was done in populated border areas, including San Diego, and along desert mesas and in small towns in Arizona and Texas.

Much remains unknown about Trump’s wall, like what it would look like, how much it would cost, and how much more of the 2,000-mile Southwest border it would cover.

Yet a look back at some of the fencing projects undertaken during the border building boom and what has happened since they were completed can give a sense of what may be in store for border residents if the wall is constructed.

From Smuggler’s Gulch in San Diego, which was filled in with nearly 2 million cubic yards of dirt to form a massive berm after a years-long legal battle, to the Lower Rio Grande area of Texas, border barriers and fencing have helped reduce the number of people entering the United States illegally.

And they have also left a mark on the landscape that critics said have led to other problems such as flooding and erosion.

“It’s not just build the wall and forget about it,” said Oscar Romo, a researcher with UC San Diego who coordinated the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve‘s coastal training program for about a decade. “There are consequences, and we are paying for some of those consequences.”

Smuggler’s Gulch

In July 2009, a group of jubilant federal officials gathered in Smuggler’s Gulch for a ceremonial ribbon cutting ceremony atop a giant earthen berm.

It marked the completion, in less than a year, of a border construction and fencing project that sealed off what had for decades been a prime route for smugglers and unauthorized immigrants.

Contractors scraped about 1.5 million cubic yards of dirt from two mesas bordering the canyon, constructing a berm more than 100 feet high. They also added a second layer of steel mesh fencing, augmenting an existing fence, and constructed a road for U.S. Border Patrol vehicles at a cost of $48.6 million.

The Smuggler’s Gulch work was one of the more expensive stretches of fencing constructed on the border, costing about $16 million per mile. And one of the most controversial.

The project faced stiff opposition, including a 2004 lawsuit filed by the Sierra Club, San Diego Audubon Society and other environmental groups. They contended the project would add large amounts of sediment and damage to the nearby Tijuana River Estuary.

But in 2005, Congress passed legislation that allowed the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to waive all laws — state, local and federal — that could impede the construction of border fencing projects.

After the ribbon cutting ceremony, contractors and some of the federal officials left. But the controversy did not.

In the fall of 2009, critics complained that the government had botched a critical aspect of the work — reseeding the barren dirt slopes with vegetation to control erosion and runoff.

The then-leader of the California Coastal Commission fired off a letter in October saying the re-vegetation plan had “failed miserably,” largely because after seeding the slopes the federal government had not irrigated them properly.

Congresswoman Susan Davis, D-San Diego, also wrote a letter, as did the manager of the estuary reserve, expressing concern that the bare slopes would increase sediment flowing to the estuary. Storms the previous winter, when construction was underway, flooded the river valley and left behind what residents said was an unusual amount of mud.

In response, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials said they were following a proper plan to revegetate the slopes and care for the environment.

Today, the berm slope is thick with vegetation, covering more than 70 percent of the area, said Mark Endicott, supervisory Border Patrol agent for the San Diego Sector.

The work was done over the past five years in conjunction with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service as well as the San Diego County and California parks departments.

The plants have lessened the amount of sediment flowing into the estuary, Endicott said. Erosion pins that measure slope stability showed an average change in the height of the soil of 0.5 centimeters in 2014 to 2015, then 0.1 centimeters the following year.

“The successful revegetation of the area has resulted in little to no sedimentation into the estuary as a result of the fence project,” Endicott said.

Romo, who has worked in the valley for three decades, said other problems have occurred since the fence was built.

A concrete culvert constructed at the base of the berm now captures water from Mexico and the U.S. and funnels it into a channel. Romo said the culvert has increased the velocity of the water flowing into the channel, with damaging effect. The channel is eroding quickly, and more importantly the increased speed of the water is pushing the trash and sediment farther into the estuary than before.

Trash is now building up in parts of the reserve where it was not before, Romo said. Hauling the trash out of the environmentally sensitive estuary will be tedious and difficult, but eventually it will have to be done, he said.

“They modified the topography and created additional problems,” Romo said. The urgency to build — because of a congressional mandate in 2006 to construct at least 700 miles of fencing and barriers to make it harder for people to enter the U.S. illegally from Mexico — created problems.

“By doing this in a rush,” said Romo as he stood in front of the massive culvert where the river flows into the canyon, “they did not mitigate this well.”

But the fence has achieved its main purpose — to help reduce the number of unauthorized immigrants entering the U.S., Endicott said.

The number of apprehensions in the San Diego Sector has dropped significantly, from 118,721 in 2009 when the fencing was complete to 31,891 last year.

That drop tracks an overall decline in apprehensions across the Southwest border that has been trending down for a decade, before beginning to tick up slightly in 2015.

Organ Pipe in Arizona

Around the time that work on Smuggler’s Gulch was starting, another section of fence was being constructed to the east in Arizona.

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument lies next to the international border, about two hours west of Tucson. In early 2008, the government built 5.2 miles of steel mesh fencing there. Activists and monument land managers said at the time they were concerned that the design would block the flow of water across the border, possibly causing floods.

But the Homeland Security Department went ahead with the $21.3 million project built by Omaha, Neb., company Kiewit. The same company built the Smuggler’s Gulch project.

A storm in July 2008 dumped about 2 inches of rain in less than 90 minutes around the border crossing town of Lukeville. The fence, even with wide iron grates at the base to allow water to flow through, essentially acted like a dam. Debris stuck against the bottom, blocking the water flow and causing flooding to the nearby port of entry as well as at businesses in Lukeville.

One company unsuccessfully sued the government for $6 million for flood damage and property loss. In the aftermath, the government installed a series of gates in the fence near Lukeville that would be lifted in times of flooding to allow water to pass through.

Then, in August 2011, another summertime storm hit — but the gates didn’t work as planned. Debris again built up at the base of the fence causing not only flooding but also knocking over a 40-foot-long section of the fence.

Randy Serraglio, Southwest conservation advocate for the Center for Biological Diversity, said the problem at Organ Pipe stemmed from the Department of Homeland Security not listening to local land managers at the monument site and area landowners who warned about the flooding dangers.

“They were told by the land manager at Organ Pipe it was not a good location to put up the infrastructure they were trying to build there,” Serraglio said. “They just really rushed forward blindly with construction.”

There has been no reported flooding in the area for several years. Border agents now routinely go on patrol and clear debris from the base of the fence, Serraglio said.

Lessons learned

Trump’s proposal for a wall is moving quickly but also hitting resistance. Customs and Border Protection is reviewing bids and hopes to select by June up to 20 companies to construct prototypes in San Diego.

In testimony this month before Congress, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said a solid border wall would not be built “from sea to shining sea.” Instead, he said, the department would build a wall where agents and immigration enforcement officials say one is needed.

Those who are concerned about more fencing along the border welcome such comments. “DHS should take away from what happened at Organ Pipe that there are some places where you should not build a border wall. Period,” Serraglio said.

The pressure to begin construction though is troubling to some. Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina, who is also the executive director of the environmental group Wildcoast, which opposed the Smuggler’s Gulch project, said the rush to build and not weighing thoroughly what the potential problems are is the wrong course.

“That is what I get concerned about, in this rush to build a wall,” Dedina said. “We are talking about some of the most remote parts of the country. It’s simplistic to think you can plan this kind of a fence project without thinking through the engineering and earthworks that will be needed in some areas.”

The federal government spent $2.5 billion to build nearly 700 miles of fencing. Estimates for the wall Trump wants to build vary widely, from a $21 billion Homeland Security Department estimate to $38 billion in an MIT study.

In a March 28 letter to Acting Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat, wrote that the Homeland Security budget request for the coming year calls for $2.6 billion to build less than 75 miles of fence.

McCaskill said the figures came from a briefing CBP officials gave to members of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

She pointed out the $2.6 billion request works out to a cost of $36.6 million per mile, or a total cost for the border’s 1,827 miles of $66.9 billion.

The per-mile estimate is more than than twice the per-mile cost for the Smuggler’s Gulch project eight years ago.

Scenic Road Status Report


foto por El Vigia

Highlight of my trip south from San Diego to Ensenada was the front end loader staring me down on the highway at K95 of Salsipuedes as I drove around a quick curve.  Went from 60mph to stop in a hurry and checked rear mirror to hope followers’ brakes were working well.  That machine was packing down new blacktop.  Two flag dudes plus two more supervisors were “What, me worry?”.  Yep,  cows, horses, no tail lights at night and front end loaders are all part of your encounters on the superhighway on the coast.  Had to do a diaper check.

Geezo the K 94-95 area is getting bumpy again.  How are those geologic studies going on the fault zone?

More TJ-Ens highlights:

The large pot hole at El Chaparral/TJ crossing is still prominent,  just before bridge across the Rio, right lane.

Hwy 1 toll booth traffic was backed up to approx 20 car line, likely due to entrococcus scientists doing field work on the beaches.

Wonder when the new toll booth will open on Hwy 1 at Popotla?

Gasoline is 16.82 per liter in Ensenada.  Now the gas rate and exchange rate are about equal.  Approx $3.75usd/gallon.  Paid $2.78 Tuesday in San Diego.

La Mision beach was packed.  Apparently the enterococcus crisis has not hit that beach or the contamination is simply not being monitored there.

Adjusted my reconnection to Hwy 1 on south end of Ensenada.  I’m done with the moon craters on Estancia and now enjoying the smooth pavement 1/2 mile south on Las Palmas at end of beach to jog inland back to hwy 1.  FYI, Palmas is the southern edge of Smart & Final store on hwy 1.

White markings are on pot holes on Tramo de Muerte(Hwy 1 on south end of Ensenada toward Maneadero).  Are these signs of alien invaders or is there a plan to smooth up that hot mess of pavement this year?

sobrio= sober        ebrio = drunk

Reading local(Ensenada/Tijuana) newspapers is my morning coffee pleasure.  There is always at least one article about a new financial outlay for infrastructure and at least one article on past infrastructure money losses/corruption every day.  Shoveling is not so frequent on infrastructure, but is very prevalent on the money losses.

Border Wall Design Prototypes


UTSD

President Donald Trump’s proposed wall with Mexico will kick off in the San Diego border community of Otay Mesa, U.S. Customs and Border Protection confirmed Monday.

The community is home to one of two border crossings in San Diego and will be the site where 20 chosen bidders will erect prototypes of the envisioned wall. Winners will be selected around June 1, the agency said.

While funding for the massive infrastructure project is still not set, up to 450 companies submitted designs last week. The agency’s bid said roughly 20 companies will be selected to build the prototypes — 30 feet long and up to 30 feet high.

The models will be built on a roughly quarter-mile strip of federal land within 120 feet of the border, said a U.S. official with knowledge of the plans quoted by The Associated Press.

Border Patrol spokesman Ralph DeSio did not say exactly where the construction will take place, saying only that it would occur in the Otay Mesa area. He added that plans were subject to change.

Of the possible border locations in the region, building the prototypes near the Otay Mesa crossing makes the most sense because it allows companies to test out designs in a heavily trafficked area that still has room and flexibility, according to Eric Frost, director of San Diego State University’s graduate program in homeland security.

Frost, interviewed before the location was confirmed by the federal agency, said Otay Mesa would be a better place to start than the desert to the east or near a river — often empty locales.

“A lot of trucks already use it,” he said of the Otay Mesa crossing. “You want to look at how they actually interact with the fence.”

Construction of the models, which will likely take place in June, may attract protesters, but law enforcement officials said they were committed to supporting First Amendment rights.

“As part of our community policing philosophy, we work closely with any party or group that wishes to express their views in a law abiding manner,” San Diego police spokesman Lt. Scott Wahl said in a statement.

Officials declined to say if officers or deputies would be on site while the construction takes place, but made clear the location will be monitored by law enforcement agencies and Customs and Border Protection.

Security was already an issue for companies bidding on the wall. In a Q&A on FedBizOpps, the federal contracts website, some bidders asked what would happen if employees came under attack during construction, if they could use firearms in states with stricter gun laws and if the government would provide legal assistance if they had to use deadly force.

Customs and Border Protection officials said it would respond if needed to an attack, but that companies were responsible for their own security. The agency also would not waive state gun laws or provide legal support for deadly force.

Beyond just prototypes, CNN said it reviewed documents revealing that wall construction could start in San Diego. The initial $999 million request would fund 14 miles of new wall along the city’s border with Mexico, 28 miles of new levee wall barriers and six miles of new border wall in the Rio Grande Valley region. The request would also cover 14 miles of replacement fencing in San Diego, CNN said.

Frost said San Diego would be a good place to start the wall, as opposed to Texas where rivers and private property will likely complicate construction. Those locations are also a long way from resources needed for building.

“You’re not spending all your transportation out to nowhere,” he said.

Frost added the wall could be a benefit to both nations if, for example, it helps alleviate notoriously slow wait times for trucks crossing through Otay Mesa. He envisions an “intelligent wall” with sensors and wireless technology that can start tracking trucks before they reach a border guard, speeding up the process to move goods between the two nations.

“There’s a positive in here, if you can design a wall that works way better,” Frost said.

Funding for the wall has not been secured. Trump said during the election that Mexico would pay for the wall but has since sought out federal money. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week” that in a recent meeting with Mexico Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray they did not discuss Mexico paying for the wall.

Border Wall by San Diego Contractors


Bajadock: I would like to hear exactly how the new border wall “pushes” Mexican companies away from the US, according to professor James Gerber of San Diego State University.

kpbs.org

San Diego-based companies that want to help build President Donald Trump’s border wall are rushing to submit proposals before the deadline next Wednesday.

Finalists selected by U.S. Customs and Border Protection will have to build a 30-foot long prototype in San Diego. Hundreds of companies across the U.S. have expressed interest in bidding.

Shawn Moran, vice president of the National Border Patrol Council, said it’s no surprise the government wants to start the border wall in San Diego, since it’s the second-largest Border Patrol sector. San Diego was also the place where the first border fence was erected.

“For a very long time San Diego was really ground zero for the Border Patrol in terms of illegal entries,” Moran said. “And it’s an area that has deep ties with government contractors and also have a large availability of area and diverse terrain where we can test our different strategies or technology.”

The Department of Homeland Security filed two requests for proposals last week, one for a concrete barrier and one for a barrier made of “other” materials permitting visibility of Mexico.

The wall must be between 18 and 30 feet tall and “aesthetically pleasing” on the U.S. side. It must prevent tunneling and climbing and resist a physical breach for at least one hour when exposed to a sledgehammer, a car jack, a pick axe and several other tools. A 10-by-10 foot version of the wall must be built and tested in San Diego, giving local companies an advantage because they know the terrain.

RELATED: San Diego Companies Wait To Bid On Trump’s Border Wall

It’s unclear whether construction on the wall will focus on the 1,300 miles that remain unfenced, or whether officials plan to rebuild the existing 700 miles of fencing – made of steel columns, corrugated steel plates and other materials.

Currently, about 700 miles of fencing exist along the 2,000-mile border betwe...

KPBS NEWS

Currently, about 700 miles of fencing exist along the 2,000-mile border between the U.S. and Mexico.

One San Diego-based company that wants to build the wall is R.E. Staite Engineering, located on the San Diego Bay next to the naval base. It has led major construction projects all along the continent’s West Coast and led cleanup efforts after the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

“We’re attracted to very complex, difficult projects in harsh environments – that’s what we do best,” said Ralph Hicks, vice president of governmental affairs.

Hicks said the company sees the wall as an economic opportunity for the region.

“We’re focused on the work. We’re not a political body, left or right or what have you, we go after the job and provide high paying jobs for our workforce and great opportunities for our company,” he said.

Most of the companies that have expressed interest in building the wall, including those led by Mexicans and a Puerto Rico-based company, have told reporters that they are interested for apolitical reasons.

Another San Diego company that wants to get involved is vScenario, which offers building planning services that harness technology and security expertise of former military professionals. Vice president Brian Holley said the company wants to help the government visualize the wall in the early stages, to avoid costly adjustments down the line.

“If the wall goes forward, that’s a decision by the president, by Washington, and we as a business and as taxpayers just simply want to make sure the wall is done in a cost-effective, productive way,” Holley said.

vScenario has specialized in security around electrical power grid facilities.

“If we were to be doing sections of this wall, we will continue to hire veterans and I think it’s a great way to bring back those patriots into our society and get them into the business world,” Holley said.

James Gerber, a professor of economics at San Diego State University, said border fence construction in the late 1990s created a lot of jobs, but that they were temporary.

The San Diego-based company vScenario created a 3D model of the existing bord...

VSCENARIO / KORUS

The San Diego-based company vScenario created a 3D model of the existing border fence to plan the wall.

“It’s like building a pyramid in the desert. Yeah, you get some jobs out of that, but the jobs disappear once the construction is finished,” he said.

Some estimates put the border wall construction cost upwards of $20 billion. Trump has claimed that Mexico will reimburse the U.S. for those expenses, but it remains unclear how that would happen. Mexican leaders, including President Enrique Peña Nieto, have vowed repeatedly that Mexico will never pay for the wall.

Gerber said the economic impact on the U.S. could be negative, in part by pushing Mexico further away as a trade partner.

Mexican industry leaders are already drifting towards partners in South America, Europe and Asia, offended by Trump’s border wall and other policies.

“They have been connected so tightly to the U.S. because of its proximity, but the wall is in effect – you can think of this economically – is pushing the U.S. and Mexico farther apart,” Gerber said.

Mexico’s largest cement manufacturer, Cemex, initially expressed interest in bidding on the border wall. But after a public outcry the company no longer plans to bid.

Earlier this month, three California Assemblymembers announced legislation that would punish the companies that end up building the wall by requiring the state’s pension funds to divest from them.

“The people of California don’t want to invest in the hateful values that the Trump wall represents,” said Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, a Democrat who represents south San Diego County.

R.E. Staite Engineering declined to comment on the proposed legislation.

Holley of vScenario sent KPBS the following statement: “Shaming U.S. companies out of participating will likely drive the cost of the wall up and shift profits to foreign companies.”

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