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Sheriff’s deputies greeted activists in National City in riot gear on July 24. / Photo by Vito Di Stefano

It’s been a big year for San Diego.

The midterm election dramatically changed the local political landscape, marijuana became legal and the Trump administration’s aggressive border policies, as well as the recent influx of Central Americans migrants in Tijuana, catapulted the region into the national spotlight.

Photographers for Voice of San Diego were there to capture some of the biggest moments of the year.

January not only marked the beginning of a new year, but also the beginning of legalized marijuana in California.

Proposition 64 legalized personal use and cultivation of recreational marijuana and allowed each jurisdiction to come up with its own set of rules. While many cities across the state delayed or denied setting up proper regulations, legal marijuana shops were ready for business. This was the scene at Urbn Leaf’s opening day. Photo by Vito Di Stefano

When a special education student at Lincoln High School was sexually assaulted back in 2016, the victim’s mother, Eileen Sofa, said she wasn’t given the full story right away. By the time the details surfaced, a teacher who had tried to bring the information to light had died from an apparent suicide. Mario Koran investigated what happened.

After our story published, Sofa, along with a former vice principal at Lincoln High School, met with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to discuss the impact of Obama-era discipline policies. Sofa died on April 14 from ongoing health issues, and her family has vowed to carry on her legal fight.  Photo by Jamie Scott Lytle

Since 2017, thousands Central Americans migrants have arrived in Tijuana in hopes of seeking asylum in the United States. Maya Srikrishnan and I were there when the first caravan of 2018 (a caravan separate from the one currently making headlines) rallied at the U.S.-Mexico border in Playas de Tijuana back in April. Some of the migrants climbed on top of the fence cheering and waving a Honduran flag. Photo by Adriana Heldiz

Freelance photographer David Maung also followed the arrival of hundred of migrant families this spring as they made their way to the U.S.-Mexico border crossing to present themselves to U.S. immigration officials to seek asylum. Photo by David Maung

The June 5 primary was a good night for San Diego Republicans.

Summer Stephan overwhelmingly won the office of district attorney, Council members Chris Cate and Lorie Zapf were on track to keeping their seats on the San Diego City Council, and Republican John Cox, a Rancho Santa Fe resident, made the runoff for a November face-off against Gavin Newsom. That night Cox appeared at an Election Night party downtown. Photo by Jamie Scott Lytle

The death of Earl McNeil, who fell unconscious while in National City Police Department custody and later died, sparked several protests throughout the summer as activists demanded more information about the circumstances surrounding McNeil’s death. Protesters ate one of the meetings were met by local law enforcement, including the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department. Photo by Vito Di Stefano

Unlike previous years, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer stepped out of the shadows in 2018 and took a strong stance on several local issues. Things did not go as he planned — the City Council rejected his plan to put a Convention Center expansion measure on the ballot, and gutted his proposal to regulate vacation rentals. Faulconer’s decision to have the city of San Diego form its own government agency, however, broke ranks from a major corporate political player. Photo by Vito Di Stefano

Proposition 6, which asked California voters to repeal the gas tax increase, was one of the most contentious issues of the 2018 election. Its chief architect was San Diego radio host Carl DeMaio. DeMaio spoke with reporters on Election Night after it was clear that the measure had failed. Photo by Adriana Heldiz

In November, hundreds of Tijuana residents gathered in front of a monument in the Paseo de los Heroes area to protest the arrival of Central American migrants seeking asylum in the United States. They demanded respect for their city and said they feared for their safety amid growing violencePhoto by Adriana Heldiz

The following week, as tensions in Tijuana kept growing, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials shut down the San Ysidro Port of Entry after hundreds of migrants tried to cross illegally. The border was shut down for approximately five hours, resulting in millions of dollars in losses for businesses near the border. After the closure, local law enforcement officials barricaded the surrounding areas, as migrants watched nearby.  Photo by Adriana Heldiz

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