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You might’ve heard about the hundreds, if not thousands, of migrants from Haiti, African and other parts of the world who are stranded in Tijuana as they await word on whether they’ll be granted asylum in the U.S.

But others hoping to make a home here in America are kept in a detention center in Otay Mesa — often if they don’t have any relatives or acquaintances who can vouch for them. That’s the case for two young Syrian men who met working at a hospital in Damascus and who fled their war-ravaged home as they were being heavily recruited to join both the Syrian army and ISIS.

VOSD contributors H.G. Reza and Gabriel Ellison-Scowcroft met with the men at the Otay Mesa Detention Center, where they’ve been held for seven months as they await hearings.

On top of the many hardships you might expect come with leaving your home country, the men have another factor complicating things: They were both born in Palestinian refugee camps in Syria, which means they don’t have Syrian passports. They told VOSD that they planned to settle in Brazil, but were told they’d have better luck making medical careers in the U.S.

The men told Reza the details of their incredible trip through 11 countries to get here, which included days or weeks in jail each time they crossed a border, plus one terrifying detour into the Colombian jungle.

Op-Ed: Stadiums Don’t Make a City

Our op-ed section has seen a lot of fiery opinions about the convadium over the last week or so, and it doesn’t look like things are cooling off.

The latest piece is from Wayne Raffesberger, a Point Loma attorney who’s part of the anti-stadium group No Downtown Stadium – Jobs and Streets First, writes that if a world-class city is what we’re shooting for, we could do far better than building a stadium.

“A world-class city would have safe, pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods, with excellent, not just adequate, schools. It would have efficient and easily accessible mass transit, extended to every corner of the region. And housing first rate in quality and quantity, affordable to all, he writes. “By these and other metrics, we obviously have a long way to go.”

That puts him at odds with Rep. Scott Peters, who wrote several weeks ago in favor of a stadium by saying that world-class cities don’t choose between things like a stadium and better streets — they do both.

Devastation in Chicano Park

Reactions are still pouring in over Saturday’s horrifying crash in Chicano Park, in which a truck swerved off the Coronado Bridge and crashed down below during a festival, killing four.

The Union-Tribune’s Matt Hall wrote that the vibrant, historic location made the terrible accident even harder to fathom:

Chicano Park is one of the coolest, most historic, meaningful and uplifting places in San Diego. That this tragedy happened there is unreal.

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez wrote that she’d long suspected an accident like this was possible in Chicano Park.

The Navy sailor who was driving the truck that crashed was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs causing deaths and injuries, according to the Associated Press.

If you’re interested in revisiting the park’s rich history and place in the community, check out Kinsee Morlan’s Culturecast podcast episode dedicated to the subject.

Issa Feeling the Trump Effect

Some San Diego Republicans — like Mayor Kevin Faulconer and Assemblyman Rocky Chavez — have vocally denounced Donald Trump. Others, like San Diego County Republican Party head Tony Krvaric have refused to say whether they support him. Encinitas Mayor Kristin Gaspar, who’s running for county supervisor, endorsed Trump but rescinded her support last week.

Then there’s Rep Darrrell Issa. He was one of the first high-profile Republicans in the country to enthusiastically embrace Trump, and has continued to support him. That’s come with consequences, as D.C.-based McClatchy reports in a dispatch from Vista.

“This is Issa’s first tough race since being elected to Congress 16 years ago, and he is not alone,” the story notes, citing other California Republicans — some who also support Trump, and some who are trying to distance themselves — who are in the races of their lives.

Issa does have factors working in his favor, though, including the fact that he’s the wealthiest member of Congress and can dump plenty of money into his bid. His district still has more registered Republicans, and many of them might opt to re-elect Issa even if they’re put off by Trump.

Quick News Hits

• The opening of the new $555 million courthouse downtown has been delayed, and it’s unclear when it’ll open now. (Union-Tribune)

• The Economist pays a visit to the border and talks to leaders on both sides to size up how big of a hit the border economy might take under a Trump presidency.

• People who think police shootings amount to a national epidemic “have no idea” what they’re talking about, the director of the FBI told a national police convention in San Diego Sunday. (ABC News)

• Confused about the differences between Measures C and D, the two convadium-related items on your local ballot? Dan McSwain wrote an FAQ about the dueling plans. (Union-Tribune)

Sara Libby

Sara Libby was VOSD’s managing editor until 2021. She oversaw VOSD’s newsroom and content.

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