San Diego

Barrio Logan Contractor's Work Called Into Question Over Bid To Build Border Wall

The project in question would upgrade Shelter Island's boat ramp

A Barrio Logan contractor's bid to build President Donald Trump's controversial border wall caused minor jeopardy Tuesday to at least one of his other public works projects worth millions of dollars.

Port Commissioner Rafael Castellanos said he was "very disappointed" that the company, R.E. Staite Engineering Inc., was being awarded a $7 million dollar Port of San Diego contract to update the Shelter Island boat ramp when the federal border wall contract the company is seeking "flies in the face of everything San Diego is about."

Castellanos pulled the project from the consent agenda, which typically contains projects and items about which there is little to no controversy.

"Because this company is bidding on the border wall, is touting its desire to build the wall on the national news, and thereby thumbing its nose at our regional economy, and recklessly endangering our diplomatic and economic ties to mexico, presumbly motivated by profit and not the public good," Castellanos said. "I'll pinch my nose when we vote."

R.E. Staite Owner Ray Carpenter declined comment about Castellanos' comments outside the meeting. He said he did not think his goal to build the border wall would cost him any business.

The project in question would upgrade Shelter Island's boat ramp, which Castellanos said was the busiest in the state.

On the Embarcedero, one boater told NBC 7 he did not think the company's federal bid on the border wall should impact the company's other business or contracts with local governments.

"Just because they're building the border wall?" the man said. "No. It's a free market economy. So put your bids out and go from there."

R.E. Staite was the lowest bidder on the Shelter Island boat ramp project, which is how the contracts are typically awarded with the Port of San Diego.

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