Dear Council Members,
I am a 33 year old man born and raised in beautiful San Diego, Ca. I am very proud to be from such a beautiful city. I am also lucky enough to be from two cities, two countries and two cultures as my whole life I have grown up on both sides of the fence San Diego and Tijuana. It truly is a privilege to have embraced both cultures and the very best of both great cities. My father came from Mexico to live in San Diego right about 1979. He was not fleeing his homeland to find better work opportunities in the USA as he has become a prominent lawyer in Tijuana, Mexico and has lived in San Diego and worked in Tijuana for close to thirty five years now. Crossing the border from North to South everyday to make it to his Tijuana Law firm, I guess you can say he does the opposite of what most people do.
I was lucky to have graduated from great local high school, USDHS in 1999 and much of this I owe to the city of Tijuana as it was and is the place of my father’s employment and the source of tuition for this now renamed and relocated Catholic Prep school (Cathedral Catholic High School). After high school I also pursued a law degree in Monterrey, Mexico and came back to the bi border region in 2003 to work in many different industries on both sides of the border.
Constantly I found myself having to explain or clear up many misconceptions, stereotypes and horrible myths to my San Diegan colleagues about Tijuana. What is not a myth is that there are close to one hundred thousand daily border crossers at the busiest port of entry to any country in the world, the San Ysidro port of entry. Why do so many people cross daily to San Ysidro? You name it, school, work, vacations, visiting friends on either side of the border, tacos, malls, walmart and any other reason you can think of. Many of those one hundred thousand daily crossers are registered voters in California. The social, economic, cultural, academic and geographical ties these border crossers share make the Tijuana/San Diego one huge, beautiful and unique region of the world.
We have some questions about issues that concern us and since either of you will be the next Mayor of San Diego, I am going to go ahead and ask, on behalf of one hundred thousand daily border crossers, a few questions about issues that relate to us and what direction is going to be taken to address these issues. I will keep it short and sweet since I know both of you are quite busy right now, but please answer if you have the time because it is very important to us.
1.Border waits. Sometimes it takes over three hours to cross from Mexico to the United States even though both cities are as close as Siamese cats. This is a hot button issue for any frequent border crosser. These long waits keep people from going to school on time, from getting to work, freeze millions of dollars that are waiting to be spent in San Diego and discourage tourism to Tijuana. I know this is a federal issue but what can a Mayor from San Diego do to alleviate these long waits that do anything but keep the United States safer from terrorism and undocumented workers?
2.Deportees. The city of Tijuana receives close to two hundred deported people per day coming from jails in the US. These people are basically not wanted by the US or Mexico.
Many are not even Mexican and even more are not from Tijuana. Near the Tijuana River valley and yards from San Diego is the Tijuana river canal. All hope of finding the American dream is lost here as they fall into a world of drug use, crime and homelessness. It has become quite a problem for the city of Tijuana. Hipster media power house VICE magazine even did a documentary on it and it is shocking to see how these deportees live in subhuman conditions in the city of Tijuana. Once again this is federal issue, even the Mexican federal government has requested the US federal government to try and send deported people to the middle of the country and not just into Tijuana. As Mayor of San Diego, how can you influence the United States federal government to reconsider sending 200 daily deportees into Tijuana?
3.What are your thoughts on federal Immigration Reform, a militarized border fence from California to Texas and amnesty to undocumented workers already in the states for a determined period of time?
4.Do you believe that undocumented workers in the state of California should be issued temporary or permanent identification cards?
5.The Barrio Logan Zoning project is a big issue. Many of us are quite confused on where either of you stand, could you please correctly and concisely share your thoughts on this issue?
6.Many say San Diego is the tale of two cities, one that sits north of Interstate 8 and one that sits south of the same interstate. I feel this is divisive and misleading. What can be done to eradicate this North rich and white, South poor and of color mentality in our city?
7.Ex Mayor Filner opened up a Bi national affairs office in Tijuana. Interim Mayor Todd Gloria has even been seen at the Tijuana Mayor’s State of the City speech; do any of you intend to continue with this Bi national office and what else can be done to strengthen the ties between this great Bi border region?
8.Guns and drugs. The unquenchable appetite for drugs in the US has fueled a horrible drug war in all of Mexico. The money and guns come from the United States and the drugs come from Mexico. What can be done to help diminish this problem on both sides of the border?
I hope either or both of you take the time to answer some or a few of these questions asked by a concerned citizen of the city of San Diego and Tijuana. My email is tony@Tijuanazonkeys.com and twitter is @tonyteefiesta.
Thanks, thousands await your responses,