Maria Guadalupe Garcia: Concerns include cross-border pollution and traffic jams

March 01, 2002|By AARON CLAVERIE, Staff Writer

CHULA VISTA — Republican congressional candidate Maria Guadalupe Garcia thinks it's time the federal government did something about cross-border pollution and traffic jams at the six California-Mexico ports of entry.

"The same issues I feel the federal government should address here are the same issues that should be addressed in the Imperial Valley," she said.

Her first concern is pollution from Tijuana resulting in the closing of San Diego beaches and sewage from the Tijuana and New rivers seeping into the U.S.

The second issue she thinks is important is the long lines at each of the border crossings, including the Calexico ports of entry.


Speaking about the San Ysidro crossing specifically, "Sometimes when you're waiting, there are 15 lanes open and it could be 25. I think some of the policies should be worked on. There are some practices that need to be addressed," she said.

She said she'd look into whether a "U.S. citizens only" line could be opened, "something to help it become a more efficient process."

In the House, Garcia would work to increase funding sent here to deal with both problems.

"I don't think Imperial County or San Diego County should foot the bill and I don't think it has to be a 50-50 split with Mexico," she said.

While she thinks the U.S. should pay more in some instances because "we are the bigger neighbor," she would be willing to negotiate costs associated with any of the proposals she writes.

One thing she thinks would help her with those negotiations: "I do think that if a Latino was representing this district, that person would engender more trust from Mexican officials."

She wouldn't terribly mind if fellow Latino Republican Guillermo "Willie" Durazo is that person or even fellow pro-life congressional candidate Daniel Ramirez, a Democrat.

Just not Filner.

"I threw my hat in the ring because I was sick and tired of the way Filner votes," she said.

Regarding Filner's recent vote against the 2002 fiscal year defense authorization bill, Garcia said, "Whose side is this guy on? Is he pro-American or pro-communist, to tie our military's hands at a time like this?"

The bill passed despite Filner's vote. He said he voted against the bill for a number of reasons. One of the main reasons, he said, was the inclusion of language that keeps the possibility of future base closures alive.

It wasn't too long ago that Filner and Garcia were in the same party.

"I was a Democrat up until Clinton was elected," she said.

She changed parties because, "I was disappointed in how the Democrats supported Clinton. People were willing to brush aside more than just his peccadilloes. Once he was in office, the first things he did, he wanted federal funding for abortions and homosexuals in the military. That wasn't what I want for our country."

What she does want is a U.S. trade policy that restricts trade with countries that don't meet a stringent set of moral guidelines and a new dialogue in Washington about abortion.

Talking about the challenge of representing two distinct areas merged into one district, she said, "I wouldn't be advocating for one. I'd be working for both."

On issues that benefit one county at the expense of the other, she said, "Each issue I'd have to dissect individually and weigh the benefit-to-risk ratio."

Garcia received a bachelor's degree from San Diego State University in nutrition. She's worked for San Diego County and recently for Head Start of San Diego.

She lists herself as an "educator" on the election ballot.

The 38-year-old mother of five home schools her children and plans to home school the child she is carrying.

"I decided to home school because of the schools in my area; for moral reasons though more than academic reasons. I was concerned about what the kids were picking up there, the nose rings, the language, the pregnancy rate. I was concerned with what they are receiving," she said.

>> Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached at 337-3419 or

Imperial Valley Press Online Articles