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Small San Diego developers are slowly wading  into Tijuana, testing the waters by building modest housing and hotel projects.

Why?

Because land and labor are cheap in Tijuana and there aren’t as many hurdles to jump when it comes to permitting or city bureaucracy. Plus, TJ’s undergoing a noticeable cultural renaissance as it continues to recover from years of drug violence followed by a dramatic drop in tourism that forced the city to quickly and creatively reinvent itself.

VOSD’s Maya Srikrishnan talks to the local developers leading the way into the new frontier.

“My favorite disruptive theory is, Tijuana as an affordable housing market for San Diego,”  said developer Greg Shannon, who’s working on building an apartment project in TJ.

While bargain basement deals on land are certainly appealing, building in Tijuana comes with its own set of problems. Foreign purchases of Mexican land are a bit tricky and the fancy financing U.S. developers rely on to fund projects doesn’t really exist on the south side of the border.

Srikrishnan talks to developers about how they’re navigating the new system, and checks in with a professor who says if the trend catches on, more and more Mexicans could eventually be shut out of the housing market.

McSwain: Mayor’s Term Sheet Is Full of Holes

The last year of the Chargers drama has been nothing more than a dog and pony show. So says the Union-Tribune’s Dan McSwain, who weighed in over the weekend on the term sheet recently obtained by VOSD.  

On Wednesday, the NFL’s 32 owners will meet in Dallas to discuss San Diego’s football future. It’s rumored that the owners could either decide to vote on relocation in January or push the decision back until March, which would effectively mean there’d be yet another season of stadium drama for local fans to endure.

McSwain believes the real action in the stadium saga will happen at Wednesday’s meeting and calls most of Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s Chargers negotiations leading up to it a political spectacle, and not a particularly entertaining one.

“The intervening months have been mostly theater, the negotiating equivalent of a half-time show; the kind with a marching band, not Beyonce,” he writes.

He criticized the mayor’s term sheet, or long legal document that spelled out details behind the city’s new stadium offer to the NFL, for missing crucial information, labeling it nothing more than “a political document, not the outlines of a stadium deal.”

Ouch.

Community Policing Reboot

The San Diego Police Department was once revered for its dedication to community policing, the effort to encourage officers to work with community members to identify problems that could prevent crimes from happening. The practice can build trust between officers and residents, but it also takes a lot of time and money.

Budget cuts over the last decade have made it harder and harder for SDPD to stick to its community policing tactics. Police neighborhood storefronts have been shuttered and, in 2011, VOSD did a story on the noticeable switch to mostly problem-oriented policing, where officers are too busy responding to calls to take time to meet and build relationships with the people they serve.

Just as she took the helm of the department, Liam Dillon noted that Zimmerman faced a crossroads: Emphasize crime response, or crime prevention.

Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman now says she wants to focus on prevention. The U-T reports on her prioritization of beefing up the department’s dedication to community policing. The piece takes an in-depth look at the philosophy and explains that the reboot involves a new method of “community-policing on the front lines” where officers are trained to try to make every interaction with the public a positive one.

Keep it Local or Go Big?

There’s a growing trend of large charity groups consolidating in an effort to yield more national power.

The American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association have done it, and now, as the U-T reports, the Alzheimer’s Association is asking its local chapters to either sign a merger agreement or split off and go it alone.

The San Diego Alzheimer’s Association chapter worries about local programs and otherwise has a lot to mull over before it’s forced to make a decision by Jan. 15.

SDSU Slowly Showing Its Color

Chicano muralist Mario Torero painted a mural for San Diego State University back in the ’80s. The piece was torn down when the old Aztec Center was replaced by the new Aztec Student Union.

Torero wasn’t happy with the school’s decision not to salvage the mural and he told them as much. The school responded in an unusual way — it invited Torero to teach a class on how to use art in acts of activism.

I talked to the artist about his class and how he’s used it to agitate the school’s administrators and get a new mural up on one of SDSU’s art buildings.

He also said he hasn’t given up on getting SDSU to commission a revised replica of his mural that was destroyed. School administrators are currently considering a proposal to fund a bigger and better version.

Quick News Hits: S.D.’s Homeless Population Grows Big-Time

San Diego’s homeless population is growing and other regions have made more progress in addressing the issue than we have. Those two factors compound to make our city home to the fourth largest homeless population in the country, according to a report by the Los Angeles Times. The article uses numbers from the the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

 Smoking synthetic marijuana is bad, mkay?  Dozens of San Diegans have smoked bad batches of so-called “spice” in the last few weeks and landed themselves in hospitals. (NBC San Diego)

 Taken any of the Ramona wine-tasting tours lately? The boutique wine scene there is blowing up thanks in large part to a 2010 law that helped make opening small-batch wineries a lot easier. Maybe too easy. The U-T reports that lots of folks want to make amendments to the county ordinance, in part because of corner-cutting “rogue” wineries who don’t use local grapes.

• Poway says no to political campaign clutter. (Union-Tribune)

• County Supervisor Ron Roberts sat down with 10News to talk transportation, children’s health and his recent trip to New York City to discuss the future of the Chargers with NFL heavy-hitters.

Kinsee Morlan

Kinsee Morlan was formerly the Engagement Editor at Voice of San Diego and author of the Culture...

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