San Ysidro is surrounded by freeways and abuts the busiest border crossing in the world.

Concerns about polluted air in the neighborhood are not new, but as the federal government pushes forward on its $735 million expansion of the San Ysidro Port of Entry, community members have been spurred into action.

VOSD contributor H.G. Reza reports on a grassroots effort to conduct a new air-pollution study in San Ysidro, a neighborhood with higher regional rates of asthma and other respiratory illnesses in children.

Nonprofit advocacy group Casa Familiar got a $229,935 grant from the California Environmental Protection Agency. The money will pay for a two-year program that includes 12 air pollution monitors that will be placed at sites throughout San Ysidro.  

General Services Administration, the federal agency heading up the port’s expansion, which is scheduled to be completed by 2019, says San Ysidro residents have nothing to worry about. The federal agency says the expanded port will cut down car idling times, which will decrease overall air pollution.

Activists in San Ysidro don’t buy it.

Chargers Signature-Gathering Efforts Begin

“Keep the Chargers in San Diego! Keep Comic-Con in San Diego!”

That’s what a group of guys gathering signatures for the Chargers-backed stadium ballot measure yelled at me as I walked by their table set up outside the annual Chicano Park Day celebration in Barrio Logan over the weekend.

You, too, will likely hear a similar pitch as you exit and enter your local grocery store in coming months. The Chargers officially launched their signature-gathering Saturday at a big event at the Padres tailgate parking lot in the East Village.

A few surprise guests took to the stage at the event including Congressmen Juan Vargas, Scott Peters and Darrell Issa. Vargas urged Mayor Kevin Faulconer, who was not at the event, to get off his “duff” and help the team get what it needs. (NBC 7 San Diego)

The mayor’s absence was highlighted via several “Where’s Kevin?”  signs held by folks at the event. The signs are part of mayoral candidate Ed Harris’ new anti-Faulconer website, which slams the mayor for not having a vision for keeping the Chargers. But Harris himself won’t say if he supports the Chargers plan.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell made an appearance at the Chargers event. He said San Diego would be a perfect place for another Super Bowl and he had a message for the mayor, too. He said if Faulconer was seriously considering supporting the plan, he shouldn’t just be asking questions but working harder to get the answers he needs so he can help “structure the deal in a way that’s really right for the community and be part of the solution…” (Mighty 1090 AM)

Tony Krvaric, the chairman of the Republican Party of San Diego County, doesn’t think very highly of Goodell’s comments and offered this interpretation.

The Chargers, by the way, need about 67,000 valid signatures to qualify an initiative for the November ballot. On Sunday, a check of the signature gathering hotline revealed professionals were getting $12 per signature. They’ll need to collect about 100,000 total.

Dowtown San Diego is the Next Innovation Hub

Mary Walshok, the associate vice chancellor for public programs and dean of Extension at UC San Diego, co-wrote an op-ed for the U-T that calls downtown San Diego and its surrounding neighborhoods a “millennial magnet needed to move our innovation economy forward.”

Historically, Torrey Pines Mesa has been the city’s innovation hub thanks to the research institutes clustered there. But Walshok and her coauthor,  Kris Michell of the Downtown San Diego Partnership, think downtown could and should become the city’s next innovation frontier because young, creative people like to live in walkable urban environments.

Walshok talked more about innovation in San Diego in a recent episode of our weekly VOSD podcast (she comes in at about the 27 minute mark).

Quick News Hits

NBC7 San Diego report that the parents of a three-day-old baby mauled by their dog tried calling 911 twice but wait times caused them to drive the baby to the hospital themselves.

A former San Diego Police officer is accusing the city of firing him after he questioned the use of federal grant dollars to buy satellite phones for a city-leased vehicle used by Mayor Kevin Faulconer. (U-T)

• San Diego City Attorney Jan Goldsmith is taking a more aggressive approach to the city’s illegal marijuana dispensaries. The U-T reports that he’ll be criminally prosecuting shop operators and their landlords in addition to using civil injunctions as his office has done in the past.

• The historical significance of the hand-painted Agua Caliente sign on the west wall of downtown’s California Theatre building is being threatened. (press release)

• Tom Lenox, an agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration, joined San Diego 10News to talk about the problem of prescription drug abuse in San Diego.

San Diego Social Media Moments

• Prince will live on in art form in Barrio Logan thanks to a new mural painted by Mario Torero during Saturday’s Chicano Park Day event.

• Speaking of Chicano Park Day, check out this tricked-out ice-cream cart spotted at the event.

And speaking of ice-cream, get a load of this insane quadruple scoop being served at Liberty Public Market in Point Loma.

 Correction: An earlier version of this post misspelled Tony Krvaric’s last name. Also, an earlier version of the post incorrectly indicated that the city attorney’s office would only be criminally prosecuting illegal marijuana dispensaries. It uses both criminal and civil injunctions.  

Kinsee Morlan

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

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