U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement bus sits outside federal court in San Diego. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

Zero tolerance is still in place at the border. People who were accused of illegally entering the country used to be sent directly to removal proceedings unless they were repeat violators or accused of more crimes. Now, they all are being prosecuted for the misdemeanor. Since April, it’s resulted in a surge of misdemeanor prosecutions in federal courts in San Diego.

These prosecutions have been used by the Trump administration to justify family separations, label migrants as criminals and severely restrict asylum opportunities.  

In July, federal officials introduced a separate, fast-track court to handle these prosecutions in San Diego.

But defense attorneys, advocates and even judges in San Diego, have been pushing back hard, reports VOSD’s Maya Srikrishnan. 

The goal, one defense attorney said, was to make the prosecutions unsustainable.

  • The Union-Tribune took a look at the aftermath in Tijuana of Sunday’s clash. Border Patrol arrested 69 people and is processing them for criminal charges related to illegal entry and assault on agents. In Mexico, 36 people were detained by Tijuana police and 98 people will be deported as a result of the melee.
  • If Trump closes the border, the regional economy could suffer “catastrophic losses.” (Union-Tribune)
  • Here is a map of where everything went down at the border Sunday, including where Border Patrol agents fired tear gas at people in Mexico. (New York Times)
  • The New York Times’ podcast, The Daily, Tuesday explained the roots of the asylum system in the United States and how it has always been driven by politics.

Using Drumming and Dancing to Help

Musical Ambassadors for Peace, a non-profit that has mainly worked with refugees in El Cajon, has started working at the U.S.-Mexico border, in light of the Central American migrants that have been arriving in Tijuana.

In this week’s Culture Report, VOSD contributor Julia Dixon Evans talks with Ari Honarvar, who works with the organization about their work with refugees.

Once Honarvar and her group know that refugees’ physical needs are being met – food, medicine, shelter – then they address their mental health. That’s where the drumming and dancing come in, that can help relieve anxiety, depression and some symptoms of PTSD.

The weekly arts and culture round-up also highlights upcoming holiday walkabouts, where you can get your Nutcracker fix and more.

Joel Anderson Will Soon Be Out of Office

Joel Anderson / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

The Republican state Senator from Alpine conceded defeat Tuesday in his bid for the Board of Equalization, California’s elected tax board. He told the Sacramento Bee that he’s “happy to help Mike Schaefer in any way that I can.”

It is, according to the newspaper, the first time a Democrat has captured the San Diego-based seat in at least four decades.

The Senate Rules Committee reprimanded Anderson several months ago for threatening to bitch slap a lobbyist. Obviously, that didn’t help his chances, but he was still the favorite going into November’s election.

Schaefer, a perennial candidate with a criminal past, won more than a million votes without the support of the Democratic Party. As he pulled ahead in recent weeks, Schaefer seemed as surprised as anyone. He told Jesse Marx that an “awful lot of people voted Democrat without knowing or caring who was attached to it.”

Ward: Here Are Some Places for Housing

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer recently asked City Council members to identify locations in their district where the city and developer partners could construct permanent supportive housing to get some homeless residents from temporary shelters and into homes.

Councilman Ward has more than obliged. In a memo Tuesday back to the mayor, he outlined several spots in the center city area and Old Town. He also included the indoor skydiving building in East Village that the mayor and a majority of the City Council decided needed to be a navigation center for the homeless, not housing.

Ward dryly panned the navigation center in his description of the availability of the skydiving building: “Currently approved for a short-term contract to provide services already available at multiple locations in the immediately surrounding area.”

City Hall insiders will recognize that as high-quality, if wonky, trash talk.

Opinion: Communities That Once Fought Transit Now Benefit

In an op-ed for VOSD, Christopher Galan, vice president and project manager of Pebble Creek Companies, argues that in cities that have expanded their public transit in the past decade, like Portland and Denver, the communities that fought most vehemently against it are benefiting from it most.  

That’s why, Galan writes, San Diego should act now to put in more light rail infrastructure and increase density around those trolley stations.

In Other News

  • The surprise election results in Escondido, where Democrat Paul McNamara unseated incumbent Mayor Sam Abed and Democrats took control of the City Council, has thrown a major Escondido development project into doubt. Safari Highlands Ranch, a 550-unit project north of the San Diego Zoo’s Safari Park, will come to a vote this Spring. A majority of the new City Council has said they oppose the project. (Union Tribune)
  • Rep. Scott Peters has requested a congressional hearing into allegations made by two whistleblowers that the San Diego VA conducted unapproved research on alcoholic veterans, risking their lives. Those allegations were first reported by inewsource last week. (inewsource)
  • Californians have increased their driving this year, according to a report from the state’s climate regulatory agency, imperiling the state’s prospects of complying with a law that requires it to cut emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. (Los Angeles Times)
  • That’s a big problem for San Diego’s own lofty climate change goals, which rely on state and federal progress for 80 percent of the reductions promised by 2020. And the city has made little progress on the areas that account for the 20 percent of reductions for which it is responsible, as the Union-Tribune reported last month.
  • San Diego’s redevelopment agency have been trying to repurpose the city’s old downtown library into, well, anything, for years. Earlier this fall, the agency thought it had struck gold when it entered into an exclusive negotiating agreement with Bosa Development, one of downtown’s most prolific builders, to turn it into a 42-story residential tower. But the company pulled out this week after getting started on the project and realizing it would cost considerably more than it had expected. (Union-Tribune)
  • A Rancho Santa Fe lawyer, once considered one of the country’s best in construction defect litigation, is mired in allegations of “gross financial abuse.” (Coast News Group)

The Morning Report was written by Maya Srikrishnan and Andrew Keatts and edited by Scott Lewis.

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