Border Wall Push Back at San Diego City Council Where Zapf Becomes an Embarrassment

by on September 21, 2017 · 1 comment

in Ocean Beach

California Sues Trump Administration Over Wall

This week has seen a definite push-back on Trump’s border wall, both locally, as the San Diego City Council voted 5-3 condemning it on Tuesday, and from the State of California which on Wednesday sued the Trump administration over the planned border wall.

During the debate on Councilwoman Georgette Gomez’s resolution opposing the construction of a border wall, our own Councilwoman Lorie Zapf became an embarrassment to her constituents in District 2.

More on Gomez’s successful motion – from San Diego Free Press:

Saying the border wall to be detrimental to San Diego’s environment and tourism, [Gomez/s] motion asked for public disclosure of all companies involved in financing or construction of the proposed project.

Gomez left nothing to chance in shepherding the largely symbolic declaration, contacting a wide range of activist organizations asking for support, holding a press conference in advance of the Council meeting, and negotiating adjustments in the wording with the City Attorney’s office.

Mayor Kevin Faulconer issued a statement later in the day saying he would not support the resolution because “it includes language that could blacklist businesses based on the political leanings of the city council majority.” According to a Tweet from KPBS reporter Andrew Bowen, no veto is expected. …

Councilmembers Lorie Zapf, Chris Cate, and Mark Kersey voted no on the resolution following a rambling speech by the Second District Councilwoman condemning it as “political posturing.” Scott Sherman was not in attendance.

Even though the vote was largely symbolic, when it became Zapf’s turn to speak, she launched into a rambling, pedantic, back-and-forth schoolmarm approach with city staff and people in the audience. Zapf displayed contempt for Gomez and staff and for the issue involved. Plainly what she said was an embarrassment to the folks back home.

[Go to SDFP for one video of Zapf and to Jordon Beane’s twitter page for a whole series taken of Zapf on Tuesday.]

Meanwhile, Attorney General Xavier Becerra was in town Wednesday, and after filing a 53-page complaint with the federal court’s Southern district, he headed to San Diego’s Border Field State Park, to make the announcement.

From SD U-T:

The lawsuit alleges that in its haste to build the “big, beautiful” wall that President Donald Trump promised during his campaign, the administration has failed to follow both state and federal environmental law. Lawyers involved in the lawsuit said they haven’t yet asked for an injunction that would block progress on the wall, including prototype construction in San Diego, until the court can hear the case, but they are keeping the option open. …

“No one gets to ignore the laws, not even the president of the United States,” said California Attorney General Xavier Becerra. “In California, we make every effort to follow the rules.” …

The Trump administration has said it would use a waiver to skip environmental reviews normally required for such projects. California’s lawsuit says the power to use the waiver expired at the end of 2008.

The lawsuit also questions whether such waivers are constitutional, arguing that the executive branch shouldn’t be able to ignore state laws. “The border between the U.S. and Mexico spans some 2,000 miles,” Becerra said. “The list of laws violated by the president’s administration in order to build his campaign wall is almost as long.” He said the administration would have to waive 37 federal statutes as well as numerous state and local laws to proceed with construction on its current schedule.

 The California Coastal Commission, which has been around since 1972 and is charged with regulating construction in the state’s coastal regions, voted in August to ask Becerra to sue.

Here’s more of Doug Porter’s report from SDFP:

A big turnout for the press conference in advance of the City Council hearing suggested significant media interest in the resolution.

Councilmember Gomez speaks to the media.

Councilmember Gomez speaks to the media, backed by supporters from more than a dozen activist organizations. Photo by Doug Porter

From the Times of San Diego:

Before the vote, dozens of residents lined up to speak to city officials. Three members of the public expressed their support for the wall, but most denounced it.

Port of San Diego Vice Chairman Rafael Castellanos was among those against the border barrier and said it was important to stand in solidarity with the immigrant community.

“This is not medieval China. We are not trying to keep out Mongol hordes,” Castellanos said. “This is not a Matt Damon movie, this is a silly federal frolic that may go down in the Guinness World Book of Records as the worst pork-barrel project of all time.”

“I want to make sure we are sending a strong message, not only to my colleagues at the city level but also to San Diegans and beyond, that a border wall is not something we need, and it’s something we reject as San Diegans,” Gomez said. “It’s a bad deal for everybody, but more specifically it’s a bad deal for us.”

Councilman Chris Ward said an enhanced wall would damage the region. “San Diego is a binational city and more importantly we are a city that’s been built by immigrants and continues to succeed on our own diversity. We are the largest city on the border and the rest of the America does look to local opinion to see how we feel.”

Councilman David Alvarez said it was sad that the council and the country even need to have a conversation about such a “stupid” idea, but he agreed it was important for San Diego to take a stand and lobby against the wall.

Construction of prototypes for Trump’s border wall is expected to get underway shortly. The Department of Homeland Security secured a waiver in August allowing it to bypass environmental restrictions to speed up the building process.

Early photo of fencing at prototype build site in Otay Mesa, via Facebook/Mark Lane

An eight-foot tall chainlink fence with green screening has been constructed in Otay Mesa, presumably to block viewing of the work on the prototype walls. It’s covered with signs from Customs and Border Protection (CBP) designating it a restricted area.

Preparation for protests is underway. The Union-Tribune reported last week on discussions underway between the San Diego Sheriff’s Department and Customs and Border Protection about setting up a designated protest area for opponents.

The possibility of protests have shadowed the wall building project since the government first solicited bids for the prototypes in March.

The 76-page bid request includes a section on security, advising contractors they are responsible for security for their equipment and workers, and requiring a Security Plan — including detailed provisions for “fall-back positions, evacuation routines and methods, muster area … in the event of a hostile attack.”

In another section, bidders were also asked directly about any prior work on controversial jobs. “Describe your experience executing high profile, high visibility and politically contentious design build projects,” the proposal said.

On Wednesday The Wall Street Journal reported that CBP had sent a memo Sept. 6 to state and local law enforcement warning of protests and potential violence. The memo apparently warned that protests could be similar to those against the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota, which at its peak in 2016 and 2017 attracted thousands of protesters and led to hundreds of arrests.

Funding for the prototypes was taken from money in the budget originally set aside for mobile video surveillance. The sample walls are required to be 30 feet tall, unclimbable, and built to prevent digging for 6 feet below the wall. …

 

President Trump and Vice President Pence are responding to criticism suggesting they were going soft on a commitment to build the wall by running targeted “dark” ads on Facebook, according to Buzzfeed:

The ads are not visible on the timelines of the Trump or Pence Facebook pages. They are, therefore, so-called “dark post ads” because they can only be seen by people the campaign chose to target with the message. This is the same type of ad Facebook recently acknowledged was purchased by a Russian troll factory in order to target Americans during the election. That revelation has caused lawmakers such as Sen. Mark Warner to discuss the need to regulate online political ads.

“An American can still figure out what content is being used on TV advertising. … But in social media there’s no such requirement,” Warner said, according to CNN.

The Trump and Pence ads also highlight how politicians can use targeted ads to push a message to supporters that walks back or contradicts a public statement.

From Facebook, via Buzzfeed

Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez interviewed Wayne Cornelius, a semiretired U.C. San Diego professor and co-founder of the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies, who pointed out that “… unauthorized Mexican migration to the U.S. has fallen to levels not seen since the early 1970s.”

Even where the wall is already fortified and patrolled, there’s no evidence that arrests are a deterrent to those who make repeated attempts, Cornelius said. And “between one-third and one-half of recent illegal entries occurred through false or borrowed documents, or people concealed in vehicles,” he said.

A fortress wall won’t help in those cases. And in recent years, people who came to the U.S. legally and then overstayed their visas have outnumbered those who jumped a fence or tunneled under it.

“Jeff Sessions and the administration … are really like the proverbial generals who are always fighting the last war,” Cornelius said. “They’re determined to solve a problem that no longer exists, or at least not as it did in the 1970s to 1990s.”

If it ever gets built, the wall will be big, it’ll be beautiful, and it’ll be a multibillion-dollar boondoggle.


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

avatar clb September 22, 2017 at 11:17 am

Please Everybody. Keep these trumpet imbeciles on a strong leash and VOTE, VOTE, VOTE in every election. San Diego’s next election is set for June 5, 2018. District 2 has 86,248 registered voters, of which only a measly quarter of which are republicans. Now if everyone voted…

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