Asylum-seekers from Central America traveling in a caravan arrive at the border. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

The Trump administration’s policy of separating families and children at the border blew up the news cycle Monday.

A group of lawmakers including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi condemned the policy after touring the San Diego border and visiting a detention facility.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen gave an explosive press conference in which she falsely claimed only Congress could stop the policy.

Our border reporter Maya Srikrishnan can help you cut through all the chaos. She wrote this FAQ about what’s behind the policy, how it impacts those seeking asylum in the United States and how San Diego in particular is being impacted.

 KPBS’s Megan Burks writes about the challenges and triumphs of Leon Sanchez Reyes, a UC San Diego student whose parents were deported two weeks before he began college. He had to keep the family landscaping business going. He graduated last weekend.

The Mexican Presidential Election Is Around the Corner

In the Border Report, Srikrishnan checks in on the upcoming Mexican presidential election.  Corruption and violence are top issues. One thing that hasn’t been a big deal in the contest: the United States. “The U.S. has not been bashed in the Mexico election because at the end of the day, we all recognize that the U.S. is so important to Mexico that we have to be the adult in the room,” said one expert on U.S-Mexico relations.

Speaking of the Mexican election, why is it all over my radio?

“Vote free. Vote free. You vote free. It is your decision because your vote counts and you will choose it,” declares the voice on 105.7 Max FM, a local radio station devoted to playing artists like Madonna, Billy Joel and Michael Jackson. “You vote free, you investigate proposals, you choose, and you demand to be fulfilled. You vote free. Because you care for Mexico. This July 1st. INE.”

Then it all repeats, threatening to give listeners a nasty case of repetitive weirdness disorder.

Across the English-language dial, San Diego radio fans are getting an earful about the upcoming Mexican presidential election from public service announcements like this one from Mexico’s election authority. Campaign ads are airing too.

“What are they claiming in this electoral process? What they want and what they claim is what they believe in,” says a head-scratching promo for a candidate for senator who believes in “freedom,” “Mexicans” and “the Mexican family.”

Shouldn’t Mexican politics be on Mexican radio stations? Yes, and that’s the point. While they broadcast in English, a long list of local radio stations —  including 91X, Magic 92.5, Mighty 1090 and Z90.3 — have transmitters in Mexico. That means they have to follow Mexican rules and play Mexican public service announcements and political commercials. The quirky part is that these don’t need to be in Spanish or even well-translated, making for some peculiar listening experiences.

“These non-paying PSAs can be a nuisance, but they’re 100 percent necessary to maintain a Mexican broadcasting license,” said former 91X host Chris Cantore. “In an effort to not turn off listeners, they are usually buried in spot blocks [blocks of ads], or reserved for weekend overnight broadcasting, when the listening audience is the smallest.”

The announcements are notoriously bland, as if the people recording them lost their souls to the devil in a blackjack game, and this is some sort of penance. “It’s kind of like the audio version of being blurred out on video,” Cantore said.

“We try to make them work as best as we can, but we don’t have a great deal of latitude in that regard,” said Mike Glickenhaus, president and market manager of the Broadcast Company of the Americas, which operates 105.7 Max and the sports stations Mighty 1090 and ESPN 1700, which all transmit from Mexico.

Randy Dotinga

Opinion: Council Could Make Life Easier for Charters

The City Council on Tuesday will decide whether to approve an update to the development code that would make it easier to open charter schools, and allow them to house more students. Here’s how the Union-Tribune described the change:

The proposal would also make it easier to open charter schools and boost the maximum enrollment for charter schools that get a neighborhood use permit from 300 to 600.

The San Diego Unified School District says one out of six students attend a charter school. City officials say that is putting pressure on the schools to find additional sites and expand existing ones.

In a VOSD op-ed, a charter school official urges the Council to OK the change.

“By not allowing schools to expand their individual capacities, the city is denying a school of choice to the thousands of families whom they serve,” writes Kamall Martin. “The amendments would also give charters more independence and thus ease the need to use district facilities. That’s a win-win.”

Opinion: SANDAG’s Downtown Plan Is Backward-Looking

On Monday, Andrew Keatts reported that SANDAG is considering using eminent domain to purchase a lot downtown that could house idling MTS buses, and also serve as the location for a new headquarters for the agency.

Coronado Mayor Richard Bailey, a SANDAG board member, is not a fan of that plan. In a new op-ed, he says the proposal is not just too expensive but “ignores trends in transportation.”

“The future of transportation will be autonomous buses that travel using the most efficient routes and schedules, as calculated and determined by the passengers’ destinations, not a government agency,” Bailey writes. ” So why would we spend $75 million on a facility that will be obsolete shortly after it is built?”

Gloria Fix to County Election Snafu Is in the Works

This weekend, we reported on a scramble to fix a legislative mistake that could have major implications for county politics for decades.

Assemblyman Todd Gloria last year championed a bill to pave the way for a local measure that would require county elections go to runoffs. It passed, and the Full Voter Participation initiative was launched. Supporters turned in their signatures recently. But Friday the county registrar said they didn’t get enough — Vu’s reading of Gloria’s bill is that it required 10 percent of all voters in the county to sign the petition. Existing law would have only required 10 percent of voters who participated in the last election.

Gloria’s fix, which was jammed into an unrelated bill, passed the Assembly Monday. It’s up to the Senate and governor to approve it. Then supporters hope Vu will change his mind.

A High-Wire Act at the Beach

A Reddit user posted a photo of a cool piece of wire art installed overlooking a local beach. Other users quickly identified the artist as Spenser Little.

The Morning Report was written by Sara Libby, and edited by Scott Lewis.

Leave a comment

We expect all commenters to be constructive and civil. We reserve the right to delete comments without explanation. You are welcome to flag comments to us. You are welcome to submit an opinion piece for our editors to review.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.