January 23, 2019
Protesters gear up for Trump’s visit to California
SAN DIEGO - The White House announced Trump would fly into the San Diego area late this morning. But while the president is expected to travel to the Otay Mesa border crossing to view prototypes for his long-promised but still unfunded wall and then headline a Republican National Committee fundraiser tonight in Beverly Hills, no details have been released.

“We’re in the midst of coordinating with a number of border groups on an effort regarding the planned Trump visit,” Sarah Pease, founder of SD Indivisible Downtown, said in an email, but the lack of details isn’t making planning any easier.

That doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty of chatter about plans for protests.

About 5,000 people from a wide range of progressive and anti-Trump groups already plan to show up, uninvited, at the $35,000-a-plate Beverly Hills event, said Maria Casey, founder of Venice Resistance and a coordinator of the protest.

But Trump supporters and advocates of tougher immigration rules have a different view of the president’s visit, which they say shows Trump’s continuing support for the changes in immigration regulations and enforcement he has called for since his presidential campaign.

Otay Mesa is one of two border crossings in San Diego, located 6 miles east of the better-known San Ysidro crossing and just south of the city of Chula Vista. It’s also the site of an immigration detention facility.

The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department already has put restrictions on the dusty, semi-isolated area near the spot were the prototypes were built, closing some nearby streets to cars and barring parking on others. In much of the surrounding area, there’s a ban on everything from guns and knives to bricks, baseball bats and bear spray. Poles, sticks and staffs, including those used for banners and signs, aren’t allowed, as well as “any other item generally considered an ‘implement of riot,’ that can be used as a weapon,” the department said.

The department plans to provide “an area that is safe for all individuals to peacefully exercise their right to protest,” but there is no indication of how close that might be to the prototypes and to Trump.

That’s unlikely to stop the demonstrators, said Fischer of Indivisible SF.

“A lot of us are excited (Trump) is going to be in California, finally, and we’ll have a chance to say something directly,” he said. “California is motivated by the attacks” Trump has made on the state and its political leaders.

But while both Trump and the protesters welcome the president’s brief California sojourn as a chance “to clarify the battle lines in their fight,” said Kousser of UC San Diego, Republican politicians facing tough re-election fights in an increasingly Democratic state may be far less excited.

During his California stops, the president is almost guaranteed to talk about his border wall, his plans to deal with undocumented immigrants and maybe even his call for offshore oil drilling. Those are all overwhelmingly unpopular stances in the state and likely to remind voters of the GOP candidates who back Trump and his policies.

The president isn’t likely to be joined on his California travels by many threatened Republicans, Kousser said.

“They probably aren’t going to do photo ops with Trump, but if he wants to do a fundraiser for them, that’s fine,” he said.

Brown invites Trump to visit Calif. high-speed rail project

Ever the cordial host, Gov. Jerry Brown invited President Trump to take a side trip during his visit to California Tuesday. Brown’s offer: Come to Fresno to check out high-speed rail.

“You see, in California, we are focused on building bridges, not walls,” Brown wrote in a letter to Trump on Monday that he also posted on Twitter, perhaps to better ensure the president saw it in time.

“After you’ve examined your wall prototypes on the border, I invite you to head north to the Central Valley, the heart of California,” Brown wrote. “Here in cities like Fresno and Madera more than a dozen bridges and viaducts are being built for the nation’s first and only high-speed rail line. We are already putting 1,700 Americans to work.”

No word from the White House yet about whether Trump has accepted the invitation. (The San Francisco Chronicle)
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