The trolley passes through Lemon Grove. / Photo by Dustin Michelson

Regional leaders are sorting out what could be included in a possible measure on the 2020 ballot to improve the region’s transit system. One potential project, which was a centerpiece of a failed 2016 transportation measure, is the Purple Line, a trolley project connecting the South Bay to Kearny Mesa along the I-805 and I-15 corridors.

In a new analysis, Alon Levy lays out why that may not be such a great idea. In short, the best transit lines either circle a city center, or run directly through it, as is the case with all of MTS’s current trolley lines. The worst rail lines, meanwhile, never pass through a city center, as is the case with the current Purple Line proposal. In big regions like New York and Paris with robust transit systems, the lines that miss downtown are the lowest-performing lines.

  • On the other hand, there’s the new South Bay BRT, which debuted this week. That line connects Otay Mesa and the South Bay to downtown, much like the more high-performing lines in most transit systems. That line, which MTS projects to attract 5,000 to 7,000 riders per day, is offering free rides all week to help give commuters a taste of the new offering. (NBC 7)

What’s Behind Tijuana’s High Homicide Rates

Homicides in Tijuana reached historic levels last year – more than 2,500 reported homicides.

The Los Angeles Times takes a deep dive into the cause of the violence and what it looks like on the ground. The main driver of the violence, the Times reports, is competition in a growing local drug trade, specifically for methamphetamine. The story explains how shifts in border security after 9/11 and the capture of Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán changed dynamics in the city.

A few weeks ago, VOSD’s Maya Srikrishnan spoke with Mexican organized crime expert Cecilia Farfán-Méndez about the violence. Farfán-Méndez said to really get at the root causes of the violence, the city needs to focus more on crime prevention and actually investigating the deaths. She warned that focusing solely on the violence’s link to the drug trade gives authorities reason to not investigate crimes, creating opportunities for other criminal activities and actors. As the Times points out in its story, more than nine out of 10 killings in Tijuana go unsolved.

On Wednesday, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced he plans to focus on insecurity, rather than wage a drug war focused on netting cartel leaders. (Multimedios)

In the first month of 2019, Tijuana’s violence hasn’t appeared to slow at all. As of Wednesday, there have been 205 reported homicides, Zeta reports.  

  • The temporary migrant shelter that opened in eastern Tijuana for members of the caravan closed Tuesday. (Union-Tribune)
  • A drug-resistant superbug outbreak in Tijuana has prompted the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to issue a travel warning, after nearly a dozen U.S. patients who had surgeries in the city since August returned with potentially deadly infections. (KPBS)

San Diego’s New Dem Leader

The San Diego County Democratic Party elected its new chair Tuesday night, selecting Wil Rodriguez-Kennedy on a 39-33 vote of the representatives on the party’s central committee.

Rodriguez-Kennedy, 30, is also the president of the California Young Democrats, and ran on a promise to force the party to do more outreach into marginalized and minority communities.

The Democratic Party won big in November’s elections, taking a supermajority on San Diego’s City Council and winning unheard-of power in places like Escondido and Carlsbad.

But the party was also on the wrong side of two Democrat-versus-Democrat races in minority-majority districts, which Rodriguez-Kennedy called a symptom of the party losing touch with the major issues that were important to voters in those places.

“The next level is to embrace the diversity of our party,” he told us last month. “It’s been a while since the party was represented by someone of color or under 50. We need leadership that is bold and charismatic and can elegantly state our values to voters.”

In Other News

The Morning Report was written by Maya Srikrishnan and Andrew Keatts, and edited by Sara Libby.

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