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Our friend Elliot Spagat from the Associated Press filed this story today about wealthy Mexicans who are making Chula Vista home to escape the kidnappings and other violence of Tijuana.

He writes:

(Francisco) Villegas (Peralta), who heads the Tijuana chapter of Mexico’s restaurant association, has counted about 200 people – and that’s just among restaurateurs and their families – who have left the border city of 1.3 million in the past two years.

A drive through Chula Vista shows that Villegas has plenty of company.

A Starbucks-style Mexican coffee chain with about 40 stores in Tijuana opened its first U.S. store here in November. A private elementary school that caters to Mexicans filled up six months before classes began.

The city has nearly doubled to 230,000 people since 1990 as new housing tracts have sprung up on the plains and rolling hills beyond Chula Vista’s aging downtown. City Hall is sandwiched between San Diego’s skyscrapers and the Mexican border, eight miles in either direction.

ANDREW DONOHUE

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