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Survey: U.S.-Mexico Border Low Priority For San Diegans

An extensive survey of San Diego residents about the region’s future found most people don’t place a high priority on the U.S.-Mexico border. Many may not understand the close ties between Tijuana & San Diego, a survey leader said.

— San Diego residents don't see the border economy and the region's cultural influence as high priorities for their future, according to a survey conducted by The San Diego Foundation.

The highly publicized, two-year survey — dubbed "Our Greater San Diego Vision" — asked more than 30,000 residents how they hoped to see their future over the next 40 years. It included questions about such issues as education, community, economy, culture and the environment.

Preliminary results of the survey found that creating a cross-border mega region was at the bottom of respondents’ priority list in terms of San Diego’s economic development. Supporting the local economy was at the top.

Likewise, promoting San Diego’s bi-national cultural scene — and unique regional history as the bi-national birthplace of California — was also at the bottom of the list, in terms of cultural and community priorities. Protecting and connecting San Diego's open space areas was at the top.

Lori Pfeiler, a leader of the survey initiative, said residents may not realize the importance of cross-border commerce, which brings in $9 billion to the San Diego County economy.

“There’s a distance and they may not see the commerce that comes back and forth," said Pfeiler, former mayor of Escondido. "They don’t realize how many people come across this border and buy things in San Diego.”

Pfeiler said she sees in the survey results an opportunity to educate people about the border.

After the results are finalized and published, The San Diego Foundation plans to generate concrete plans for implementing residents' priorities.

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