Scholars present reports on SD

    Topics ranging from the economic future of San Ysidiro to the rapid growth of temporary jobs in the region’s economy were discussed at the UCSD Civic Collaborative’s fourth annual San Diego briefing on Feb. 20, showcasing research projects funded by the program.

    The event featured presentations made by four scholars whose research on contemporary San Diego regional issues is funded by the UCSD Civic Collaborative. Briefings are held on an annual basis, when scholars receiving grants through the program present their findings to the Civic Collaborative and curious San Diego community members. The program was started in 1998 to encourage research with a focus on San Diego civic and community life.

    “”It amazes me how scarce work is on the history of San Diego,”” said program coordinator Abe Shragge. “”It’s important to encourage people to do the research and give them opportunities to make the research public.””

    Research performed by scholars in the program is used to help both the researchers and the San Diego community at large become more knowledgeable about the region. The research projects are meant to give a scholarly focus to civic events, since the program believes that both areas would be improved if they were connected. This connection would also direct greater attention to an understanding and improvement of San Diego.

    Eric Bakoviae, an assistant linguistics professor at UCSD, presented his research on language variations, focusing on those that occur in Spanish. His research was done mainly through use of tapes made in the Baja California region. Bakoviae took these tapes and examined them for variations. One aspect discovered from these tapes was that the speakers all had a voice quality particular to the Baja region. This peculiarity is named “”creaky voice”” and occurs in many different cultures and languages. He plans to continue his research and establish a database online, in hopes that informing the public of variations in languages will help preserve these variations.

    A presentation titled “”Globalization, Politics and Planning the future of the San Ysidro Community”” was given by Lawrence Herzog, an urban studies doctorate from San Diego State University. Herzog, along with UCSD political science professor Steven Erie, studied San Ysidro to identify and find solutions for the problems that affect the border community. Herzog emphasized the necessity for change on both sides of the border to bring San Ysidro from being simply a place to pass through to being the destination itself.

    “”Public Schools and the Empowerment of Poor Communities across the U.S-Mexico Border”” was a report delivered by UCSD communications graduate student Magali Muria and Jorge Riquelme, a professor at California State University San Marcos. Their project examined recent immigrants to Tijuana and San Diego through the elementary schools that their children attend. They presented mainly on schools in Tijuana and the ways in which the community tries to improve the schools when the government fails. Their report demonstrated a need for greater connection between community leaders and members.

    Sundari Baru, the director of research at the Center on Policy Initiatives, presented “”Just Getting By: The Experience of Temporary Workers in San Diego’s Economy.”” The project arose out of the fact that the growth of temporary jobs in California is 10 times greater than that of the growth of total jobs in the state. Baru researched three aspects of the industry: the firms that use temps, the agencies that recruit temps and the temp workers themselves. She found that, while the flexibility of temporary employees has proved beneficial to employers, there are many detrimental aspects to the temp industry; higher skilled workers see more benefits, while compensation for lower skilled workers is often overlooked.

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