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Economy

Roundtable Looks At Terminal 1 Re-Do, ICE Detention Case, Downtown Loos

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Roundtable Looks At Terminal 1 Re-Do, ICE Detention Case, Downtown Loos
Terminal One Re-Do, ICE Detention, Downtown LoosHOST:Alison St. JohnGUESTS:Roger Showley, reporter, San Diego Union-Tribune Roxana Popescu, freelance reporter Claire Trageser, reporter, KPBS

Lindbergh Field 's aging and credit Terminal one in line for a complete makeover. The case of an Escondido man shines a light on the dysfunctional immigration court system, and two expensive downtown public restrooms credit controversy. I am Allison St. John and the KPBS Roundtable starts now. Welcome to our discussion of interesting and important stories in the news this week . I am Allison St. John in for Mark Sauer and joining me at the KPBS Roundtable today are San Diegans who covers with the development for the San Diego Union Tribune. Roxana Popescu a freelance reporter, thanks for joining us and Claire Trageser enterprise reporter for KPBS great to have you too . So, Lindbergh Field's Terminal one built the same year as QUALCOMM Stadium, almost 50 years ago. Like QUALCOMM it is time to be thinking about an upgrade. The Airport Authority is looking of five options and although a new terminal will not be built for some years, decisions made this year will shape the face of our airport for the next 20 years. So, Roger, all these plans cost more than $2 billion start up by telling us what is wrong with Terminal one actually? As they say about QUALCOMM Stadium, standards are different than they used to be for airports in particular the security arrangements are kind of primitive compared to what airports expect today. Not only that the airport needs more gates for more airplanes, more capacity for passengers over the next 20 or 30 years and some of the services people like when they go to airports like shops and restaurants, there's not much space in Terminal one so for all those reasons they feel like they should throw away this facility and build a new one. Or dump it as it were. So this is a terminal a lot of people have basically spent quite a bit of time on have you come to Terminal one what is your impression do you think it gives a good impression of San Diego? I was there quite recently taking Alaska airlines. It does seem like a completely different airport from Terminal two. For the reasons you mentioned, considering an upgrade and possibly going through with it seems like a good plan. I think I was flying a lot in Southwest and maybe haven't been to the new terminal two for a little while until it had already been finished and then I went over there and it is like a completely different airport. They seem like completely different building. They are different buildings . Terminal two they did such a nice job with it the amenities, streamlined the security just came out so well. Something to look forward to it we can make that happen with Terminal one. Five different options, Roger. What is the difference between them, why does it seem like the board is gravitating towards our tentative number five. Not like building the first Terminal two begin with the first terminal there in 1967. This you have it operating terminal functioning while you build and it was so that is one issue. All the infrastructure, utility lines, back of the house stuff, has to be relocated to make room for the new building. That explains why it is going to be a complicated matter and they looked at a number of different issues. They wanted to connect Terminal one to Terminal two see what the rest's security and and not go outside the building again. We had to make room for airplanes parking overnight and had to be efficient to build -- building faces. The final, fifth version or choice there looking at it seems to be the best one , from what I can tell. You are saying it will be built in phases that is an issue. How is it going to affect passengers when it starts happening? They will build the first part on the east side of the present building. When that is done some of the building people moved to the new building and as they move along the pieces will be added over the next two years. Not clear when they can start construction. Haven't worked out the financing yet. It may not be until 2020 4 things begin. It can be several years before it is actually finished. Curious how did Terminal two , did they come in under budget, over budget and timeline how did that work out? It cost almost $1 billion, this is more than double that from the estimates they have shown us. And it was on time and it works pretty well. There wasn't too many issues as they built the thing now. Why do you think it is twice the price? It is not a larger terminal only four Airlines Southwest, Alaska -- Terminal two was in addition to the other terminal that was terminal West Terminal two West so just an addition to the building this is a completely new building. That is probably the reason why so expensive. If you think about it twice the cost -- more than quite the tossed up with the QUALCOMM Stadium expansion would be a people wonder why are we building a terminal there , why don't we build a highway which was initially came up years ago moving the entire operation to Pacific Highway . The airport people said that wasn't going to work very well. Exactly. I was going to ask your it makes so much more sense to have it linked to public transit any other big Asian metropolis has their airport linked to public transit. It seems like we've let the idea go altogether. Is there any plan to improve how you get from the rental cars and trolley and Pacific Highway to the terminals? Actually part of the plan in fact San Dag improving the Palm Street Middletown trolley stop opening next year. They will add better pedestrian access and then eventually they are planning this multimodal transportation center, several hundred million dollars, somewhere south of Washington Street. And that is going to be a place for trains, buses, cars, trolley and coaster all will go. There will be a bridge across Pacific Highway. Will still be carrying suitcases or two or three blocks no connection? The assumption will be by then, 20 years years from now, you should be able to go from this center across the highway , drop your luggage often it will be taken to the terminal and there is going to be a new road billed as part of this project right now actually on airport property. So it won't interfere with the Harbor Drive property. The did something actually similar in Amsterdam you leave your luggage in the six dash's city center and take the shuttle the airport is easier that way. They screen at first. They don't quite have the method to move the -- people said put a tunnel under the airport well it's on sale tideland, 5 feet feet above the water table so I doubt that is going to be working. Somehow we have to figure a way maybe there is a gondola taking your luggage over . Building new terminals but haven't figured out the long-term problems and speaking of long-term problems this is to take us to 2035, correct? The airport reaches buildout at 2040. What is long-term plan? We are not just going to hit a wall are we? Are we investing of this money for something that is going to be obsolete? We been saying we are going to hit our maximum for many years who knows with the transportation , airport demand will be in 20 years in San Diego. There may be a new airport in Southern California is are going to San Diego go to Palmdale or someplace. All of Southern California is impacted by airport maximums being met. LAX is almost at top, Burbank and orange County, San Diego, all running into capacity problems over the next period. If the federal government isn't going to step up its transportation funding I'm not sure how we will pay for all the. Is just before we leave this topic that is the final question who is going to foot the bill? One of the issues each person is charged $4.50 charge right now for the facility expenses and airport says we need to increase that nationally in San Diego to cover this in Congress has refused to increase it for many years. In fact there is a transportation bill as you know in Congress right now that I guess went to the president and it is only a short-term fix. We are not the only place in the country that faces -- airports all over the US facing these problems along with all the other transportation issues. So the decision will likely be made later this year as to quite how to upgrade this terminal but that is a small part of a much bigger issue. Thank you very much Roger . The number of airport passengers isn't the only thing increasing. The number of immigrants being detained in detention centers around the country is also growing and the judicial system not keeping up. Roxana Popescu has reported a story for KPBS his partner tell us little about the menu followed from Escondido and his story? How did he come to be in the United States in the first place? His name is Victorugo Rodriguez Tello a 27 -year-old man from Guatemala. He entered the country illegally, he crossed the border about a little more than 10 years ago. He settled in Escondido, he since has been living there. He met a woman and they got married, they have a family and he has been working , living a life of an Escondido resident until last December when federal authorities , ICE and border patrol and local authorities came to restore and arrested him and other people in the house in a sting operation. Some people ended up being released but he and others -- there was action taken against him because they were not here legally . Some people in a house or legal his wife is US citizen but he was taken to a holding facility in Chula Vista then he moved to Calexico and ended up staying there for 77 days. Now, he has been released on bond and his lawyer contacted us and let us know about this , what they consider to be a lengthy detention this made us consider how many other people are in detention and what is his story. You describe this is almost like being an alternate universe this judicial system. What makes you say that? I spoke with an immigration judge who represents the national Association of Judges and she told me, not speaking up and have the government, speaking just for herself and the judges and she was saying that she is concerned there are first of all these delays, that is a big problem both from a humane level , you would like to have these cases process, people waiting for sometimes years. Do you have and information about the actual backlogs we have in San Diego? San Diego I can tell you nationally they've grown every year since 2007 and now they have -- as of June more than four and 50,000 people. These are cases of people both in detention waiting for their cases to move through the system outside in the community. So it seems to be an escalating problem. I think you mentioned GPS bracelets in your story. Is that something that people are doing and do you know how often? The budget for that is much smaller than detention possibly because the measures cost a lot less and the budget has increased from 2014-2015-2015 I believe that was in the past two years. But it is still a really small fraction of the overall custody and operations budget for ICE and DHS and the lawyer of this man had said if there was any concern about him why not let them out earlier with an ankle bracelet or other tools because he did not have a criminal record. A family. What is interesting to me is Donald Trump has made a big issue of immigration in the US and wants to throw everybody out and that is fine except when you look at the cost of managing this seems incredibly expensive. What is a $2 billion they are spending right now? And the efficiency is not very good and in this case it looks like an arbitrary detention for someone who really should not have been detained anyway. I guess people in the house with him that prompted a perhaps? That prompted it and of course he was part of this criminal investigation so they had -- What does ICE say as a justification for holding him so long? First of all of a lot of them are a lot more complicated than they seen up in outside it might make -- you might think someone says he is the right to asylum well its head and when the community is not the easy necessarily sometimes there is certain checks they have to do , back run checks that they don't have strong ties to the community, a family to be released to, reasons why somebody might not -- my end up being held for a long time. Other issues might be trying to find witnesses if someone says it is unsafe for me to go home it might take a long time to find somebody in the village to prove there is indeed a drug problem and people being murdered so how do you collect all that evidence. Sometimes that can lead to delays and that can happen while the person is detained instead of out. He said he was also a candidate for a green card because he was married to a US citizen? There are couple ways get a green card that is one also he has been in the country for a long time within 10 years and has strong ties to the US with kids he has two US citizen kids. Good behavior, no criminal background all reasons making a strong case he is contributing and pay taxes so some people say no when he was here we go should be allowed here -- illegal should be allowed in about how good you are what kind of contribution you are making . Was there some reason why he didn't apply for a green card earlier which would've saved him all this? A great question and I wondered the same thing. First two got married recently within the past year until then he was -- his girlfriend, a family but they were not married once he got the marriage he thought and a lot of people apparently think it is quick like I married let me go and wait in line and get my green card. He didn't understand it was a complicated legal process with paper and money he's not wealthy he is -- speed temp -- Sometimes you have to go back. A very sympathetic figure he lost his job and wife has given birth to another baby and what did it cost him -- he had to pay for his own Boyer? He prefers lawyer I don't know how much but I understand it was not a pro bono court -- pro bono case I know costs can vary I know there is some firms have a sliding scale it just depends. Did you tell us how much it costs to keep them in jail for that length of time as opposed as having them as Claire suggested on an ankle bracelet in detention? I don't know the cost of the ankle bracelet I know a a recent estimate is 159,000 -- $159 per day so altogether for 77 days that would've been a bit more than $12,000 if we bit more than $12,000 if we follow that estimate. Did he tell you anything about the condition in the gel I know Greg Moran has been doing coverage of the ACLU suit claiming the conditions in these detention centers is atrocious been we did talk about that he said he was not mistreated, not rub deputy did see other people being treated in a rough way I asked him day to day they could go outside, come back inside the obviously deprived of freedom for a certain number of days. Is there any indication there might be more immigration Judges appointment so this backlog can be overcome in some of these situations could not occur which you heard him both immigrants and the cost to the taxpayer? I spoke to somebody with the Department of Justice she said there had been a hiring freeze I don't know that the sequestration or what prompted that but there was budget issues issues. That led to a drop in judges, exacerbating it even more. Because people would retire there would be attrition now they are starting to fill those empty spot so at least they are starting to catch up. Now I understand there was another goal to further expand the judges but I don't know by how much. Something the government would also like to -- Desi face -- not only arrested -- does that jeopardize his green card possibilities? His lawyer seems optimistic he is going to get a green card. I don't know how his recent interaction with law enforcement would affect that if -- nothing had happened and he showed up and said I like a green card would be easier or not I don't know but his lawyer says -- What is his next up? Waiting for a work permit so far he's working he had a Social Security that is not his he was upfront about that with me and his lawyer should that information so now trying to right that wrong and waiting after he gets the work authorization to get the green card. 'S next hearing will be a couple years? They prioritize to tank cases. A grandfather by the time and get settled. Came over bringing us the story that illustrates a problem that is definitely facing this country and a much bigger context. We've been talking about weighty issues the last topic should bring us a little light relief about where people can relieve themselves in downtown San Diego. The city has invested in two Portland loos public toilets the cost a quarter million dollars each to install but now there are calls to remove one of them. So Claire, you reported on this. You went down there and wrote this controversy is creating a bit of a speech but what did you find are they stinky? Actually literally stinky a little bit but not worse than a gas station bathroom I would say and definitely much better than a porta potty because they are ventilated and have slits along the bottom which are also safety measures , police are people outside can see if one or multiple people are inside. It was a little 30 but not that bad . We've heard I believe one if not two grand jury reports calling for more public restrooms in downtown so what about the location was there something wrong with the location? Where are they? One is at the park and market near the trolley stop and one is at L Street and 14th St. Which is kind of right next to the tailgate parking lot by Petco. The one the city is saying has the problems is the L Street one because that when I guess is a little too far off the beaten path. There isn't a lot of foot traffic there so that, they are saying, is contributing to crime and other problems. We have a clip from Jon winds of stellar public house a few walks away from this . Let's hear what he has to say. The criminal element in the area feeds on air because the transient population is here. It is a very, very vicious cycle that happens in this area. Until the city really, really actively puts their feet down in this area and do something about that, I don't know if 14th and L is ever a good location. What do you think is location, location, location? It is interesting because he says that it is increasing the homeless population, crime in in the area, across the street from this is Mission brewery and the president there said he actually likes it because he thinks it keeps people from using the sidewalk he said it used to be every morning he would get there and his sidewalks smelled like a urinal. Now it is better now that the loo has been there. It seems like the decision between a rock and a hard place. If they leave it they get problems or concerns from business owners. If they take it away they get complaints from people like a comment on your story, it smells bad and the finally taking care of this. We should say the city isn't just going to get rid of it, the solution they have worked out which I don't know why they couldn't have done this in the first place , whatever, Father Joe's villages which is close by will open its bathrooms for 24 hours a day, seven day, seven days a week. If the city pays them $80,000-$100,000 a year for cleaning. There will still be bathrooms in that area. The cost is comparable in a sense. Yes. They did this will break down about how much it would cost to remove it. And the cost $60,000 thousand dollars to remove it and to store it. I found it is about the same to keep it and use Father Joe. The fact is it is not just the homeless using a spirit that is what I was going to say when we were down there, definitely homeless homeless people who say I use it regularly, it is made a big difference in my lap, but also a lot of people, one thing there was a Padres game going on, one of the times of his down there and all these kids from summer camp . One of them realizes that the bathroom, it needs to use it of course and then of course all the other kids need to use it as a kid after kid is going through it. There was a woman we spoke with and she says it is on her walk to work and uses it all the time another guy lives a few blocks away he says he uses it all the time. Kids are not going to be the Father Joe's homeless shelter to use their bathrooms. So the Father Joe's fix is the problem for homeless people but maybe not the public restroom problem. Did we say earlier that they will have to get bathrooms at the pinnacle too? Two blocks away about openness Petco Park connected to the pinnacle Towers. A civic San Diego project which is where Stella brick houses built. They will have two of look restrooms in that part. It is interesting that the city is saying this is about location but there will be other two. The difference there is the restaurant and John Wentz are going to be responsible for keeping an eye on those bathrooms keeping them clean, they can sure people aren't going in there for a long time. A lot of comments on Facebook Facebook, surprising amount of interest in the topic. The money has been spent when you think about it that is a lot of money to have spent on something they will remove. And went over budget and they said of crime is the issue, address crime crime not the restrooms. Went to the police say about all this? They wouldn't say much to me about this in general. They wouldn't even confirm people saying there is prostitution happening, drug deals, police would not confirm that. What they do say is the number of police calls has gone up 130% to the L Street loo but that is from 11 to 25. Twenty-five calls over three months is not actually that many calls. It is an increase from 11 and actually 58 calls to to the other loo at Park and market and they are saying to remove that one set a lot of has to look -- historical element in Plaza redevelopment started because of the underground bathrooms at Plaza Park. This year they are expanding the park adding two bathrooms out of there. Carol be two more public restrooms. This issue has been going on for 50 years in San Diego. Too bad we can't solve that one way or another. What he thinks somebody else on Facebook said it they put it in storage it will never come out again. What you think are the chances of them finding another location? I don't understand also. The idea they will get rid of it and store it until they find another location. I don't know why they just can't find another location and move it there. Why we have to store it in the meantime it seems like maybe they won't ever we get back out again. I guess we have to see about that. Given how much use it is getting . The grand jury report says downtown San Diego has a real need for more restroom. Became before the city's public safety and livable neighborhoods committee this weekend a couple City Council members, what are they saying? They say they like the solution father Joe's villages will open their restrooms. The idea is the mayor could move it or get rid of it now if he wants to but they also asked staff to report back in 30 days from reaching an agreement with father Joe's to use their bathrooms. If that happens it sounds like they are willing to store it and maybe move it. Just finished one last quote from Facebook. They say the greatness of the city, state or nation can be found and how they treat the poorest among them. This could be an indication of that. Obviously a topic that isn't going to go away. Thank you so much. Alike to thank you for joining us we've been speaking with Roger Showley of the San Diego Union Tribune and Claire Trageser the investigative reporter and enterprise reporter for KPBS and Roxana Popescu , a freelance reporter. Thank you so much for joining the Roundtable. That's it for the Brown tell a reminder all stories discussed today are available on our website KPBS.org. I am Alison St. John, thank you for joining us today on the Roundtable.

Plans to replace Terminal One

Terminal One at Lindbergh Field is old in airport years.

Built in 1967 and expanded a bit in 1979, it has languished as Terminal Two has received the bulk of civic love and attention (and dollars) over the years.

Travelers know Terminal One today as the always-crowded, standing-room only waiting area for Southwest Airlines.

This fall, the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority will turn all of its considerable notice toward its aging charge when it chooses one of five plans to rebuild it. The plans, in the works for more than a year, range in cost from $2.1 billion to $2.6 billion to replace the 18-gate terminal with 28 gates and new parking garages. The new design will also address security needs and curb-side pick-ups and drop-offs, which now jockey for the same curb space.

The Airport Authority says these renovations will extend the airport’s life until 2040. At that point, numbers of flights and passengers would be maxed out for Lindbergh’s one runway.

Plans are one thing, but funding is another. While the Airport Authority looks for $2 billion plus, it must continue to pay off $600 million in bonds for the Terminal 2 expansion.

If all goes well, ground may be broken in 2020.

The alternate legal universe of I.C.E. detention

Victorugo Rodriguez Tello came to the United States from Guatemala illegally as a teenager. Once here in Escondido, he found work, paid taxes, married an American citizen and became a father. Eligible for a green card through marriage and with a clean record, he was nonetheless caught up in a December 2014 immigration raid in Escondido.

He was held for 77 days in a Calexico detention center without a hearing. He was given no information on his case; his lawyer’s many requests for bond were ignored until he was suddenly released on a $3,000 bond in March of this year.

Rodriguez, age 27, is emblematic of hundreds of thousands of immigrants and asylum seekers living here illegally, waiting for their cases to move through the horrendously backlogged, underfunded, understaffed, overburdened immigration court system.

In 2013, according to the Department of Homeland Security, there were 441,000 immigration detainees in the United States. Only 6 percent of these were held more than 60 days. Rodriguez' 77-day incarceration cost an estimated $12,200. In addition, his wife had to give birth without his support and go on welfare. Rodriguez' lawyer, Matthew Holt, says the case is an example of the capricious nature and crippling costs of Immigration and Customs Enforcement detentions.

Downtown public toilets: right or nuisance?

On Wednesday of this week the city council’s Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods Committee discussed whether to abandon, re-locate or leave in place the two new downtown public toilets, called Portland Loos.

They are at 14th and L streets and Park Boulevard and Market Street, and they cost the city around $560,000 to install, double the original estimate.

There have been complaints that the loo at 14th and L is responsible for increased crime and more homeless in the area. Homeless advocates say a private place to perform a necessary human function is a human right.

If the city closes the 14th Street loo, Father Joe’s Villages shelter nearby says it will open its restrooms all day and night if the city pays upwards of $80,000 a year for cleaning. This will not help the baseball fans who line up to use it on game days.

Nor will it save the city money. It will cost more to remove the bathroom and contract with Father Joe's than to keep it there and pay for its upkeep.