Tiny Potrero Battles County and Blackwater USA

By Don Bauder

The hamlet of Potrero in southeast San Diego County, 45 miles from the city and just 8 minutes from Tecate, is being ambushed. The attackers are county bureaucrats marching alongside Blackwater USA, the private military contractor that is getting so much bad press while being labeled one of the biggest mercenary firms in the Iraq War.

Blackwater wants to build an 824-acre training facility three miles north of Potrero. It will have 15 shooting ranges, an armory for storing ammunition, a course on which moving vehicles will be strafed with paintballs, a helicopter pad, several buildings, and other military accoutrements. But Potrero’s oft-stated community goal is to “maintain the existing rural lifestyle by continuing the existing pattern of residential and agricultural uses on large 40-acre lots” alongside “generally undeveloped meadows, open spaces, and hillsides.”

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