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A year of change along the San Diego-Tijuana border

 December 22, 2023 at 2:00 PM PST

S1: This week on roundtable , we're taking a look at some of Kpbs border reporting in 2023 , including the story of Tijuana's ongoing growth and change. It's a vibrant city of almost 2 million people. At this point. It's bigger than San Diego , and there is a lot of there's a lot happening over there that I think gets overlooked. And we'll learn about the year of craft beer in San Diego , as the industry saw some closures in 2023.

S2: Craft beer has always been pretty cyclical , but that's where we're at right now and so on the downswing. But that doesn't mean it's not a ton of quality beer , and that's always the good part.

S1: Plus , stick around , there's some news for roundtable listeners. Don't go anywhere. Roundtable is coming up next. Welcome to Kpbs roundtable. I'm Matt Hoffman. The San Diego Tijuana border region saw some major changes in 2023. Pandemic era border restrictions were lifted. Also , a continued increase in migration led to a strain on border resources , leaving many asylum seekers and migrants in need of shelter. Meanwhile , Tijuana saw higher rents and more growth. But along with that came some infrastructure challenges. Joining us to talk about some of the year's top stories along the border is Gustavo Solis. He is Kpbs investigative border reporter and a regular guest here on roundtable. Gustavo. Welcome back.


S1: So let's start over in Columbia Hot Springs. It's a small desert community , and it's been seeing some migrant encampments there over the past several months. It's even made national news , as we know that there's aid groups out there and others who are raising some concerns about the treatment of migrants by federal immigration officials. And there's actually some news on this this week , a civil rights investigation going on now. What exactly do we know there ? Yeah.

S3: Well , this is the first time we have confirmation from the Department of Homeland Security that they are looking into this. They are investigating is they sent multiple investigators down to the encampments to talk to migrants , to talk to humanitarian workers and to Customs and Border Protection officials. Timing is I mean , these encampments have been going on for a long , long time , right ? They started as early as October 2022. CBP has used them on and off throughout this last year , but they've really been used in full force since September.

S1: And when we say encampments , these are like outdoor , very informal , right ? Like they're being told to wait out in the open essentially.

S3: Oh yeah. They're basically out there in the wilderness. Right. No shelter that the one in San Isidro. They had at 1.1 porta potty for like 400 people. Um , the folks who are there , you see a lot of women and children , pregnant women , young , young children. Uh , in terms of food , they get very little food from Border Patrol. Uh , more than 90% of the food and water comes from volunteer organizations who have been over there , in some cases , out in Kumba are building tents for them because there is no shelter. Uh , and especially this time of year is a big , big issue because , you know , there's going to be a lot of rain this weekend. It's getting really , really cold out there right now. In October , in the San Isidro encampment , a woman died shortly after arriving there. So there's been a lot of concerns for the last several months , and advocates have been raising issues. So in one sense , it's great that the investigation is happening and hopefully leads to to some better conditions for the folks on the ground.


S3: They send us one email statement confirming more or less what what they were looking for. It is the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties , and they essentially just said they're looking into concerns of potential civil rights abuses.

S1: And we know that these migrants , they began arriving over in Kakamega this past spring , and that coincided with an increase in migration along the US-Mexico border , something people are familiar with.

S3: We'll talk about that in a little bit , I'm sure. But there's been and not just this last year but the last couple of years. And we've talked about it in roundtable before this , this historic shift in the kind of migration we're seeing in the US , where in the 90s it was mostly Mexican men , uh , looking for work. Uh , then it became Mexican men and Central American men looking for work. Then in the 20 tens that we had a bunch of unaccompanied children and it became more Central American families. But now it's everyone. I mean , there are people from Turkey , Uzbekistan , uh , Ghana , uh , Ghana , uh , Ecuador , uh , China , like people from all over the world at our , at our border. And not just men looking for work , entire families , um , fleeing for their lives. So it's changing the nationality , the age and just the population group that we're seeing. And that is the first time we've seen this in the southern border really ever.

S1: And I think you said fleeing violence in there because many of these people are claiming asylum. Right. And even though when they come to San Diego , like a lot of these , I think you said this before , a lot of the people don't end up staying here. Right ? Like we see these numbers about , you know , 40,000 migrants dropped off in the last x number of weeks , but they end up traditionally moving on somewhere else.

S3: Yeah , exactly. San Diego has never been a destination point in the same way that Los Angeles , San Francisco. New York , Chicago or Miami or , uh , San Diego is , in many aspects , just another part of the journey right there. First kind of step into the US , and from here they go to their final destination. So we have seen the continuation of that , right ? A lot of the shelters from , you know , Jewish Family Services and then Catholic Charities , they'll say that the average length of stay is something like 1.2 , 1.8 days. Right. Just enough time to get in contact with your sponsor , your relative , and then by plane or bus ticket home.

S1: And maybe something else that's changed this year too , is we've seen more action and funding coming from the county , right , in terms of welcoming these migrants are helping them get to that next destination.

S3: Yeah , yeah. I mean , the funding has been a bit of an issue and and even like the source of it is , is kind of a little bit questionable. Right. Because we say it's coming from the county and it is being allocated from the county , but it's money that the federal government gave to San Diego County. And that's been a really interesting development in the last couple of months , just really city and county officials saying , hey , the federal government needs to do more money. And then the federal government saying , like , hey , you're using our money to pay for what you're doing , and it's this big and it's causing tension. You know , I was at a press conference where Congressman Vargas went after County Supervisor Nora Vargas. You know who's paying who's not paying for it ? It is really causing a lot of tension. And I think part of the part where the frustration is coming from , I think everyone on the local level understands that the federal government should be paying for this. The federal government should be in charge of this because , you know , the ones that dictate and enforce immigration policy , and at least just the Democratic Republicans split in San Diego County. I think a lot of Republicans would probably say we shouldn't pay for it. The federal government should pay for it , whereas Democrats would be saying like , well , we agree with you. The federal government should be paying for it , but they're not. And if they're not , then it kind of falls on us because otherwise nothing would get done. Yeah.

S1: And we've also seen the county put up some money for like legal aid for people that are going through the immigration process , which can be very complicated. But all right , let's jump into title 42. You alluded to it a little bit earlier. This was the controversial policy that was basically a public health restriction that was put in place during the Covid 19 pandemic. And basically it allowed federal immigration officials to quickly turn migrants away without like a super defined reasoning in the name of public health. And we know that that went away in May. But looking back on title 42 , it seems like it was a big game changer for the border.

S3: Um , especially looking into just the future of this country. And with former President Trump running for office and wanting to bring it back , and even there being some appetite on Democratic circles to bring back a similar policy in terms of what happened on the border , I think it it hit a lot of what was going on , and it kind of made some of the border crisis , uh , out of sight , out of mind. What it essentially did is that it shut down the majority of asylum , legal entry into the country for years. And what that does is it creates a backlog , it creates pent up demand. So for years you had a group of you had hundreds of thousands of migrants who were just waiting in Mexico , around the border for a chance to do what they've always been able to do , right ? Present themselves at a legal port of entry , request asylum , not necessarily get it , but at least go through the legal corps process to see if they get it or not. With title 42. That was all shut down. So you saw a big increase in apprehensions , people who crossed the border illegally but got turned around and it got sent back to Mexico , and they would just cross over and over and over again.

S1: That's why those numbers were so high.

S3: They were historically high , and a lot of it was because a repeat folks , I talked to some , I talked to a guy who crossed 12 times in like a week , right.

S1: You know , and it almost seemed like two because you've talked about on this show many times before how there hasn't been comprehensive immigration reform. And then we know the pandemic hit and then this was implemented. And , um , but then as it went on , longer and longer and longer , it seemed like it was almost kind of like a crutch for like not having immigration reform , like a new kind of policy , almost. Yeah.

S3: Yeah. I mean , that's essentially what it's been like. DACA is a similar program that that sort of become a crutch of title 42 Deferred.

S1: Action for Childhood Arrivals. Yeah.

S3: Yeah. Right. So so I mean , immigration policy since the 90s has just been executive orders and legal challenges are what make it it hasn't really been fundamentally changed in a while. And with title 42 when it was lifted , the idea was that , um , well , there were two schools of thought. One was that we had a bunch of pent up demand on the Mexican side , so we would see an increase in numbers , but then it would kind of flatten out after that , pent up demand was already met. The other school of thought was that it would just unleash , you know , open the floodgates , essentially , if you will , and have more migration. Um , I think it's too early to tell which one is happening , because there's a lot of play out here. Right ? There are. Really significant just global events happening that is that are pushing migration , a political unrest , wars in multiple parts of the country , a famine connected to global warming. Uh , in Latin America , the spread of criminal gangs that that make life untenable in some of those places. Those are all push factors that are bringing people to the border that are independent of title 42.

S1: But to all these policies , there is like a human aspect to this or like there's a human impact. And I think a series of stories that you did that really showed that was the record number of border fall injuries. And I think you said that there was like 360 just from San Diego's border wall. And in your reporting , you spoke with UC San Diego Health doctor Alexander Tenorio. And here's some of what he told you.

S4: And I started noticing all these , uh , brain and spinal cord injuries from migrants , um , coming in. And the reason it stuck with me is because my parents , you know , they're , uh , immigrants. They cross the same border. So it was very personal to me , so I started just looking into it.


S3: Uh , this was Trump's big , beautiful wall that Mexico would pay for , but we ended up paying for it. Um , and that is one part of this whole , you know , immigration , uh , complex immigration story that you can point to. One thing that made a big difference. And the size of the wall is it , um , and you can see the numbers jump from 2019 to 2020 , 2021 , 2023 , just a big spike. And you mentioned we had a record year. This is the third record year in a row has been record after record after record. And nothing's really being done about it. Now , the reason why injuries are not just , uh , more frequent but also more severe is because you're falling from a taller distance.

S1: And in terms of like we know that , you know , Trump's border wall you were just mentioning there. But Biden has continued building that here in San Diego. Right. The same border wall that Trump started.

S3: Well , he's building it right now. Yeah , I saw I actually saw it on Monday when I went to do a separate story about art along the border.

S1: Was that down at Friendship Park or. Yeah.

S3: Yeah. Okay. Yeah , that was down at Friendship Park. And it's been that's one of the big things that Biden has been getting criticized for on the left , because he very publicly said he would not build another foot of wall. And here we are seeing it every day in San Diego that he's doing exactly that.

S1: And moving south of the border here for a minute. Another story you had cover was the growth of Tijuana in that city there. But there's also been some challenges that have come along with that and the modernization. You've reported on San Diego's high housing costs that are contributing to rising rents in Tijuana as well.

S3: I think the Tijuana skyline is changing before our very eyes. You're seeing skyscrapers go up. Um , that's just on the residential side. On the commercial side , there is a vacancy rate of less than 1% when it comes to commercial , um , property over there. So it's booming and it's been booming for a long time. But but as you mentioned , you know , when you were framing the question that growth isn't being done in a in a very smart way. I talked to an expert in Tijuana who just says , uh , city planning doesn't exist in Tijuana permitting.

S1: I remember from your story. Yeah.

S3: Yeah. And what he what kind of has struck me was , he'll say , like , even if Tijuana does a city planning process , it takes a couple of years to come up with a city plan and the city is growing so fast that even if Tijuana does , you know , spend a couple of years to come up with a plan. The city's already outgrown that plan. Uh , it's just incredible rate of growth that is really exhausting. The infrastructure. And you see it in all walks of life. Uh , the most obvious traffic in the city , going out of the city , into San Diego , going into the city , into Tijuana , but also just on the sewage issue has gotten way worse , to the point where Imperial Beach and Coronado are routinely closed. And a lot of that does fall on lack of infrastructure in Tijuana.

S1: Yeah , we know that there's supposed to be some money going there to eventually fix that issue. Um , but , Gustavo , as we wrap up here , uh , we've covered some of it , but certainly not all of it here. I mean , are there any other stories that stand out to you from this year along the border ? I mean , PED West comes to mind , the roller coaster of the closures there. Um , but one on a lighter note that I remember from you was , uh , you know. Tijuana Little League team , making it all the way to the Little League World Series. But , uh , yeah.

S3: The whole city , really the whole country of Mexico backed that team. And a lot of folks in San Diego were also cheering for them. And I think stories like that , I think we should do more of them. Right. Part of what I'm trying to do in this beat , growing up here in San Diego , and you probably hear it all the time when people when you tell people that you're going to Tijuana , the first question , oh , is it safe ? We're hoping with our coverage here at Kpbs to to give folks a more broad picture of what Tijuana is with the Little League , with some of the real estate stuff. We covered Tijuana's booming tech sector as well. There's incredible amount of food , culture , arts , a lot of positive things going on. Yeah , people over.

S1: There , people going to college there , as.

S3: You've reported on. Yeah , exactly. It's a vibrant city of almost 2 million people at this point. It's bigger than San Diego. And there is a lot of there's a lot happening over there that I think gets overlooked by a lot of other folks. And hopefully here we're giving our audience a more broad and nuanced view of it. Well , I think.

S1: We're in good hands with you at the helm here. I've been speaking with Gustavo Solis. He's an investigative border reporter with Kpbs news. And Gustavo , always great to have you here on roundtable. Oh , thank.

S3: You , Matt , I appreciate it.

S1: When roundtable returns , we'll hear about the state of craft beer in San Diego , and we'll get some beer recommendations for the holidays.

S2: Belgian ales are great with a variety of food you kind of have. They have the lighter and the darker , but they have these great floral esters that just sink really well on the palate with a lot of different kinds of foods , especially vegetables and fruits.

S1: Roundtable is back in less than two minutes. Welcome back to Kpbs roundtable. I'm Matt Hoffman. What a year it's been for beer in San Diego at the 2023 Great American Beer Festival. Earlier this year , five San Diego breweries took top prize this year. It's the nation's largest pro brewing competition. Among the gold winners were Ballast Point , Belching Beaver , Bass Brewing and Distilling , East Village Brewing , and Taproom beer. That list alone shows just how far reaching the craft brew industry is in San Diego , but it hasn't been without its challenges this year. Joining us for a look back and ahead to the future of craft beer in San Diego is Brandon Hernandez. He's the founder of San Diego Beer News , and you can read his work over at San Diego Beer Dot news. Brandon , welcome back to roundtable.

S2: It's great to be with you.

S1: Great to have you here. You know , so earlier this year we had you on and back then you were reporting on some multiple closures and some moves for local breweries. So now here we are. It's December.

S2: So it's not just San Diego specific , but it's kind of a the aftermath of the pandemic. It's sort of a perfect storm , if you will , with just rising costs , everything inflation , a crowded marketplace. And then there's also alternative beverages that are turning people's heads and taking market share where away from beer. So craft beer has always been pretty cyclical. But that's where we're at right now. And so we're on the downswing. But that doesn't mean there's not a ton of quality beer. And that's always the good part.


S2: And with that comes , um , somewhere around maybe 7 to 10 brewing companies off the top of my head. But overall , we're still at well over 200 brewery venues that are open. So there's tons of beer out there. There's tons of breweries doing their thing , but a lot of pivoting and a lot of adjusting to the market.

S1: And so you just said there are about 200 different breweries , and I know there's a bunch of different , you know , brew pubs and places where people can obviously get the beer. So we talked about ones that have maybe closed a little bit.

S2: They're up in Oceanside and on the Coast Highway. It's the beer venture of a michelin recognized barbecue venture up in San Juan Capistrano. Owners really into beer would come down to San Diego , mostly to Oceanside , and just drink all the great from all the great breweries that were there. And he's like , I want to get in on this. So he did. He opened a brewpub and they're making their beer there , took a really seasoned veteran from Pete's Port , Carlsbad , and put him at the helm. And , uh , funny enough , he not only does the brewing , but he also helps out with the barbecue and smoking and meat. So the guy is multi-talented , uh , really fantastic beers up there. And then there's a spot in North Park that's called Brewery Igniter. It's a lease to Brew Spot , where a lot of breweries have started their operation and they move on. It allows them to get in and lease a brewery and tasting room without having to go to the expense of constructing one or buying all the stainless steel. Um , there's three suites there and two new spots opened up this year. One is called Barley and Sword , and it has a very old school thematic. And by old school I mean old world. They are making beers unlike anybody else in the entire county. They're they're not going for the IPAs. They're not going for the low hanging fruit , if you will , that everybody else is making. They're making these historical styles and they're kind of reveling and educating people about that as well. Right next door is a place called Gold Brewing. It's an acronym for Get Out and Live. It is a kind of the IT brewery of the moment. Right now , there's a lot of fervor for their beers. They're making all sorts of things , but they center around a lot of great IPAs , a lot of crushable lagers , and then some really great decadent barrel aged and also pastry stouts. So a lot going on there , but they're one to watch for sure.

S1: Crushable lagers , I like that. And the barbecue and the beer sounds absolutely great. So you know 2023 I think I can't remember when we talked earlier if there was like one beer that was like standing out or one different kind of beer , you know , we've heard about IPAs being a big thing here , all sorts of other things.

S2: People are really into those , and they've gotten better over the years. This year , people were making very good cold IPAs , but then also people are still into Mexican lagers and these , um , more kind of the American adjunct lager that you would see from a big company but made on a thoughtful craft level. So , um , they would be the ultimate crushable lager. And by crushable , it just means like you start it and you finish it quick , you enjoy it , you grab another one. It is what you have after the lawnmower session. So , um , people are just really into drinkable beer right now. That tastes like beer. That said , they're always into something fun , like a imperial stout aged in two different barrels with coconut and , you know , this and that and that and the other thing. So it's still a wide ranging , uh , style gamut out there for 2024. I think we're going to see , uh , more , uh , more of these beer flavored beers as well , which I think is great. You know , it's a. Beer fan. It's nice to see people experimenting with IPAs and making hazy IPAs or fruited IPAs and things like that , but I like watching the pendulum swing back to kind of what got us there in the first place. Just beer that tastes like beers made very. Exactly. And it's clean and it's crisp , and it delivers a lot of flavors. There's no off flavors. It's well done. And , uh , we can all just kind of get back to what made us fall in love with it , so that we can then appreciate the experimentation afterwards. Hmm.

S1: Very well put. Let's talk about one of San Diego's oldest breweries , and it's a major one that a lot of people have heard of Carl Straus Brewing.

S2: Well , they're about to hit their 35th year in business. They are the longest operating post prohibition brewery here in San Diego. And the spot they opened in and downtown their brewpub , they were finally able to own it as of this year , they finally took that thing over. They've been leasing it for over 34 years , and now it's all theirs , which is very cool. And at the same time that they were doing that , they were opening up a new spot , an outdoor beer garden in San Marcos called The Outpost. Very cool spot , tons of space to roam , play games , chill out under some umbrellas , but you can also get their beer as well as some food out of the first , uh , Karl Strauss branded food truck. So that's really nice too. They're open up new states. Arizona. Uh , Nevada. For the longest time , they were one of San Diego's largest by volume craft breweries. But they sold all of their product here in California , which made it even more impressive that they were as large as they were. So , uh , they're able to grow while others are kind of struggling. But that's all because they , you know , they've been around the block. They kept their heads through this , uh , period. And they're doing a really good job.

S1: And , you know , over on San Diego Beer News , there's one regular feature that I really enjoy , and it's your beer of the week. And last month , for example , you highlighted Fall Brewing's Rocket from the Crypt , and that's a nod to San Diego punk band with the same name.

S2: It's not necessarily for any particular reason. But wait , I mean , it is research because I put it on the taxes. But seriously , uh , a lot of , a lot of tasting goes into it. I do a lot of , uh , getting around to the other breweries , often for the purpose of interviewing people and getting information. But , um , also , I have a very open door policy with these beers. If somebody has something really excited that they're jazzed about , that typically means it's going to be pretty exceptional. No brewery is going to call me up and say , hey , I've got this really awesome beer I'm excited about , and then it's a dud , you know ? So , um , this , uh , beer you're talking about , this beer is called rocket from the crypt is a great example. I mean , you got a local tie in. The beer is also exceptional , but it was brewed for a for a gig they were having. And they wanted something that was a really great lager with a lot of flavor , and they made it for them. And , um , I have to say , it's one of the best lagers I had all year. But , uh , a lot of times it'll be something for a special event or an anniversary beer or what have you. Sometimes it's even just a beer you can pick up at the grocery store. But , um , yeah , I try to , uh , get out there and find what I can find. That's really interesting. But I also want people to know that the best way that we can work together on something like this is for them to let me know when they've got something that they are just excited about. And almost always the drinkers are excited about them too.

S1: And there was also one story that you wrote this year for San Diego Beer News that was a bit more personal , and it was where you told the story of how you came to slide down the rabbit hole. And we're talking about of craft beer , and who sort of helped introduce you to it.

S2: Um , uh , I lost a friend of mine. His name is Jason McGraw this year. But , uh , many years ago , 1998 , before I had even had a beer. I didn't drink beer. I wasn't interested in beer. He was a co-worker of mine. And he invited me out to a place called O'Brien's in Kearney , Mesa. It's still there. It's one of the longest running , uh , quote unquote , beer bars in San Diego. Um , they had all the craft things that were not available anywhere else way back then. And so I show up and , you know , I don't know what to do. I'm here with a group of guys who know beer , and I'm just like , what's the coolest beer I can think of that I've seen in commercials ? And I say , hey , can I have a Heineken ? I was like , oh my God , no , no , no , no. And he just got me into beer. And he changed my entire life. The entire trajectory of my career was changed by just his generosity. And I found that that generosity is a hallmark of the craft beer industry and community. People who like beer want other people to like it. They want to bring people into the party , and it's one of my favorite things about it. I really miss Jason , but I mean to say that he left a mark on my life is a gross understatement. Absolutely.

S1: Absolutely. And , you know , beer and friendship. I could totally see that going hand in hand. But , you know , Brandon , we're approaching the holidays. We're just days away from Christmas. And then the new year is right around the corner. And , you know , a lot of people , they're probably going to be going to parties and. You know , maybe bringing some type of beverage. So here's my big question.

S2: Christmas beer is an entire class category all its own , incorporates flavors of the holidays in a lot of different ways , a lot of different styles. Uh , Santa's Little Helper is a classic imperial stout. Just fantastic. It's by pizza port. Get that in the cans. Great Kilowatt and Kearny Mesa makes a Cleveland style Christmas ale and a barrel aged version of it. What it is , is is really nice. Dark brown , almost garnet reddish ale that has honey , ginger , cinnamon , nutmeg and it just tastes like the holidays taste like baked goods , if you will. Ale Smith does something similar with something called Holiday Hero , another stout. It has a chocolate and vanilla in it and it's it's it's more kind of , I don't know , like an ice cream type deal. But then if you want to go , not so much. On the darker side , they have a cranberry ale as well , which is exactly what it sounds like. Tastes like cranberries. Very delicious. And then the aforementioned pier project. They do a collaboration every year with Bergen Beer Company , and it's a hazy double IPA called home for the holidays.

S1: Okay , so those are some beer suggestions , but I'm also curious. Obviously , a lot of people are going to be eating food over the holidays. Are there any tips you have for pairing beer with food ? Or I mean , is it just like whatever people want to do.

S2: I always say , drink what you like with what you like to eat. But if you're really if you're really trying to sync these things up , I would say to kind of stay away from the hops because it's just not , you know , a lot of the things that we find appetizing , we're trained , we're hardwired as human beings to not go so much in the bitter direction when it comes to food. Therefore , there's not a lot of things that sink right up with those bitter hops. But if you go in the malty directions , say you get something that tastes like kind of roasty or toasted , or have even items in them that our food items themselves , as I was talking about before , has things that have baking spices or anything like that. You'll probably be pretty happy. And also Belgian ales. Belgian ales are great within a variety of food you kind of have. They have the lighter and the darker , but they have these great floral esters that just think really well on the palate with a lot of different kinds of foods , especially , uh , vegetables and fruits.

S1: Yeah , I feel like that's a trend that I've kind of noticed lately is just more , you know , fruity tasting beers. And I really like those ones. Okay , so as we wrap up here , Brandon , you know , we've been talking about some turnover in the industry in 2023 , some closures. Looking ahead to 2024 , what's your sense of the outlook for next year.

S2: Well unfortunately I do think we'll see some more closures. It's just the nature of the beast. Plus to say that we have a lot of breweries. Again , another understatement there. Maybe we're not supposed to have as many as we do. I think the big thing right now is that some breweries are just a little too large. They were built to grow in an era when growing was the goal , and when there was space to grow and market in which to do so. So a lot of them are trying to do a new thing called growing down , where they're making their operations smaller so that they can manage in this new place where we're at and kind of tread water , maybe until we get to the next environment where growth is encouraged and also possible. So I think we're going to see a lot of smaller operations open up , or breweries become smaller and try to be a lot more community focused , be more about like what they were before. They had dreams of growing more about owning home , really being part of the San Diego community and having their part within it. Um , people are already doing that , and they're seeing success with that. And some of the smallest places to open are doing the best because they're bringing beer to a very finite customer base who just love them. And there's I kind of think that that's what craft beer was always supposed to be about , and it just blew up. But in reality , maybe it was supposed to be something that service the people right around you and you could , you know , put your arms around them and give them exactly what they want. And , um , I think that we were seeing success there , and that could actually be a really good thing.

S1: I've been speaking with Brandon Hernandez from San Diego Beer News. You can read more of his work over at San Diego Beer News. And Brandon , thanks so much for joining us , and thanks for all the holiday tips here.

S2: Uh thank you. Happy holidays and happy New Year.

S1: Coming up next on roundtable , the round up with producer Andrew Bracken. We'll hear about some other San Diego stories. Roundtable is back in less than two minutes. This is Kpbs roundtable. I'm Matt Hoffman. It's now time for the roundup. Producer Andrew Bracken is back with us. He's been compiling a list of some other San Diego stories that he's been watching and following. Andrew. What's up ? Hey , Matt. Good to have you here again.

S5: I'm close. Close ? Oh , we're days are ticking away. So when I'm working this week , last week.

S1: You said you needed expedited shipping. This week you're going to need overnight shipping. So.

S6: So.

S5: Right , right. Good luck.

S1: All right.

S5: The holiday travel rush is here. I think you did a story on this this week as well. The San Diego Airport Authority , they say Saturday , December 23rd and the following Saturday , December 30th are going to be the busiest travel days. But we're seeing rain this week and a lot of people traveling. So , you know , take your time getting to the airport. I think the airport authority also mentioned that they do provide a free electric shuttle from Old Town station runs every 20 or 30 minutes or so.

S1: That might be an easier option than trying to volley for parking down there , because we know terminal one , that new terminal is under construction. So they mentioned that. But also a lot of people I didn't realize this because I talked to triple A for that story. They estimate that like 9.5 million people will travel , and that's in Southern California , but still just in Southern California. And the vast majority of like 8.3 million will be by car. So be prepared. And there could be some showers , you know , throughout the new year. So , you know , drivers got to be careful out there. But I imagine I always love I don't know about you , but seeing that shot like from KTLA or something of the L.A. freeway and it's just gridlock and they're.

S5: Like here it is seeing that because I'm probably going to be part of that at some point. Yeah , because you.

S1: Have to go up to. LA.

S5: LA. Yeah , it'll.

S1: Be part of it. All right.

S5: What else. Continuing on the holiday travel front I don't know if you remember last year , but there was that major outages from Southwest Airlines that really disrupted millions of people's holiday travel in 2022 , including some in the Kpbs newsroom. I think the US transportation department has fined southwest. They're going to be paying a fine of about $140 million for the disruptions from last holiday season.

S1: Yeah , it was pretty brutal. I know for tons of people across the US here in San Diego , California , but I remember I had my flight canceled. It was the day before Christmas Eve , and so I had to rent a car on the next day , Christmas Eve , and I drove up from San Diego to Sacramento. I ended up getting it done , and I will say southwest did cover the cost of the car and everything like that. So , um , and they did refund the tickets and they gave bonus points or something , but , uh , yeah , hopefully I don't have to go through that again this year. That's all I'm saying. Okay.

S5: It was the last one running in San Diego. I think they left the San Diego market last month. Well , they announced they're filing for bankruptcy. They're still running in , you know , over 300. I think it's like 350 cities around the world. But they're going to file for bankruptcy. Who knows what that means. If it's like restructuring or whatever. But just seeing those ongoing issues with those electric scooters , they were once so popular. I think some of the added regulations , I wonder how that plays a role into you.



S1: Yeah , and who knows if they'll be back ? Because I remember when you did that story , you said it was like a winter snooze or something like them leaving. So you got to wonder about that. But I know I , I've taken the birds here in San Diego. And when you do it , you can buy like a bulk , like whatever , like a $20 credit to do the birds. I still have money on my account. So how do I get that back or what's the deal.

S6: Oh , that's going to impact that question.

S1: Remains to be seen there. Okay.

S5: What else. Well Fox five had a story on lobster season. It's underway. Lobster season in San Diego. It runs between October through March. But the California Department of Fish and Wildlife , it listed San Diego Bay as the second best place to catch lobster in California and also around Carlsbad. That was also on the list at about 10th.

S1: The thing that always fascinates me about the lobster season here is the different lobsters , because we have spiny lobsters off our coast , not the ones you get at Red lobster with the claws. There's no claws on them. And I remember I did a story a few years ago with a local company here , a big company that they take in all these. It was like 99% of the lobsters that are caught in San Diego go overseas to China because it's like a delicacy and they pay a higher premium. And I remember we were searching everywhere to try to find a place that had sold spiny lobster and was somewhere up north , a seaside market , I believe. It was so just kind of interesting. Okay.

S5: What's next ? You know , we're heading towards the end of the year and the Santee drive in will be closing its doors. Its last day will be December 31st. It's been around since 1958. And it's something that that I've gone to several times. And what I always appreciated about it is it definitely felt like you're going back to childhood. It's definitely like a kind of time machine feel. And the other thing I'll say is. Drive in movie theaters are great when you have young , young children because it's you have your own space. Kids crying , they're not going to disturb anybody. So we'll be missing the Santee Drive-In. Though I have to say , we haven't been there in a long time.

S1: Oh , well , maybe that's why it's closing. Um. But , yeah. No , I have not been to the Santy Drive-In , but been to many drive ins up in Sacramento. Um , but , you know , I guess that's just the way things are going streaming and everything , but it really is an experience to go to the drive in. And I don't know about the Santa one , but there's ones they they would even still have the old speakers that you like hang over the car door. You like , roll down the window nowadays. I think it's all done on the radio , right ? Yeah. Tune in to like. Well , of course we know everybody hears. Tune in to 89.5 Kpbs. But you would change it and go on there. So. But I think isn't it going to be housing or something they're going to build there.

S5: Well , I mean it makes sense. And you mentioned the streaming services. I think they pointed to that. I'm sure the pandemic provided some challenges. And yeah , we know land is at a premium and that it's a big chunk of land there. So I think it's being redeveloped. But I'm not sure what's going to become of that land right now.

S1: Well , we'll have to stay tuned to see what comes of that. Okay.

S5: And he was inducted into the Team Hall of Fame. He gave a speech in Los Angeles. You know , he did make reference to what I think , what he called the second home of San Diego. Here's what he had to say.

S7: To the city of San Diego.

S8: You supported me. You embraced a 22 year old kid from Detroit. And you are always be my second home.

S5: So you hear they're really the passion. And I think that could be kind of a bittersweet thing for San Diegans to hear , because they're not here anymore. But it really shows that bond still continues. And again , this you know , that cheer happened in Los Angeles , not in San Diego.

S1: That's what I think is amazing about all this. I mean , he's in Los Angeles , obviously. He's a San Diego. Great love by so many people that love the Chargers here. Obviously he's never played in Los Angeles. But yeah he gets brought up on the stage up there. And he starts doing this speech where he's thanking everyone , thanking everyone , including the owners of the Chargers. And then he gets to this part where he says , and I want to thank San Diego. And the crowd roar. And I thought that was just amazing because then he thinks LA too , but nothing. So it also makes you wonder , like , you know , I think a lot of people wonder , like what ? People just give up on the Chargers when they went up there. And you know , you see Antonio Gates get this crazy reception when he calls out San Diego. I mean , those have to be San Diegans that are that are doing that.

S5: Yeah I don't know. I mean , I definitely have spoken with people who didn't know how to treat the Chargers once they left , but then ultimately came back to rooting for them. But you know , it's been , what , over five years now since they left. And there's still these these ties to that franchise that aren't going to go away. It seems like.

S1: And it was so cool to see Antonio Gates thanking San Diegans. Just very very cool. Okay. What else.

S5: This last one's a little different. It's a little more difficult. And it has to do with an upcoming change here in the Kpbs newsroom. And for us here on roundtable.

S1: There are going to be some changes here on roundtable. It's with the heavy heart that I announced that I am leaving Kpbs. Words can't express just how thankful I am to Kpbs. I started here as a student. You won't believe this , but ten years ago this month. I mean , I can't believe it's been a decade , but while I was in college , graduating college , they gave me all the opportunities I could ever ask for in terms of , you know , being a reporter , being a host , being a fill in anchor. So forever grateful. And there's way too many names of people here to think who are gone , who are still here , who have helped me along the way. And I also just want to give a big shout out to the audience. To those of you who tuned in on roundtable every week , to those of you who watched the TV show , who listen , who read our stories online , you know it's very special to be part of a of a station that's member driven , member base. And , you know , you guys out there are great. You guys give us lots of story tips. You're never afraid to let us know when we might be , you know , doing something a little bit off. And we appreciate those. And it's just it's really been a wild ride. And uh , ten years down is a long way. And I've had a lot of fun on this show. Roundtable. I mean , it's great working with you , Rebecca , our technical producer. And I'm just really going to miss you guys. I mean , there's just no there's just no getting around that. It's been a very emotional week for me. Yeah.

S5: And I think the same goes for everyone in the Kpbs newsroom. When this news came out , I remember one of our editors , Gina Diamante , kind of sharing some of her memories of you and particularly want to mention you became a health reporter during the pandemic , during the coronavirus pandemic , which , you know , as we've discussed , is probably like the biggest health story in our lifetimes by far. Absolutely. And she even mentioned that you covered that. It was like a first plane that arrived with Covid 19 patients really , really , really early on. You covered that story. I think they arrived at Miramar. Yeah.

S1: Yeah. From Wuhan , China. Yeah. Yeah , that was before it was the pandemic was even going anywhere. It was when it was just in China. And they came over and there was a lot of confusion. And yeah , it's really been a wild ride. I mean , from general assignment reporter to taking over as health during the pandemic. And it just it always amazes me. And there's so many great people in San Diego just just to know that they would trust you to tell their story. Sometimes very heavy stories , sometimes fun stories. But it really means a lot for the people out there , because we wouldn't be able to tell such great stories without you guys trusting in us and welcoming us with open arms into your homes to tell your personal stories , or maybe talk about something that you see as wrong. You guys really make the news work and we are just a conveyors of the message. And I'll definitely miss Kpbs and miss everybody here and and miss the audience.

S5: I think same goes we're going to miss you too , Matt. And thank you so much for being a part of Kpbs all these years.

S1: All right. We're going to try to close this out here a little bit emotional. But Andrew , always great to have you here on the roundup and great working with you , man.

S5: Thank you so much , Matt. It's been great working with you.

S1: That's going to round out round table for this week and for me one final time. We always appreciate you being here. As always , if you missed any part of our show , go ahead and check out the Kpbs roundtable podcast wherever you get your podcasts. Our show airs on Kpbs FM at noon on Fridays and again on Sunday at 6 a.m.. Roundtable is produced by Andrew Bracken. Rebecca Chacon is our technical producer , and I'm your host , Matt Hoffman. Signing off for one final time. I will say , though , the show is in good hands. Expect to hear a little bit more of Andrew Bracken as he takes over here on roundtable. Thanks again for listening and for all the memories over the years. Have a great weekend and a happy holidays.

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A group of people, including many from China, walk along the wall after crossing the border with Mexico to seek asylum, Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2023, near Jacumba, Calif. A major influx of Chinese migration to the United States on a relatively new and perilous route through Panama's Darién Gap jungle has become increasingly popular thanks to social media.
Gregory Bull
A group of people, including many from China, walk along the wall after crossing the border with Mexico to seek asylum, Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2023, near Jacumba, Calif.

From changes in migration to a memorable Tijuana Little League baseball team, the San Diego-Tijuana border region has been the scene for many memorable stories in 2023. We take a look back at some of KPBS' top border stories from this year.

And San Diego's craft beer scene saw multiple breweries close in 2023. We hear about the future of the beer industry in the region and get local beer recommendations for the holidays.

Plus, we hear a farewell from a familiar KPBS voice.


Gustavo Solis, investigative border reporter, KPBS

Brandon Hernandez, founder, San Diego Beer News