Morning Report: Local Water Agencies Dinged for Violations - Voice of San Diego

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Morning Report: Local Water Agencies Dinged for Violations

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There are over 200 water systems in San Diego, ranging from the regional County Water Authority to tiny water providers that serve only a handful of customers.

This week, the County Water Authority announced it had received a violation because of a problem at one of the region’s major water treatment plants. The rare violation is thought not to have endangered public health, but it suggested it’s possible for a region used to safe water could suddenly backslide if not careful.

Ry Rivard looks at the violations that have been issued over the past five years. They show that problems at large water districts are indeed rare and that most problems are coming up at the smallest water districts, which have trouble maintaining and upgrading aging infrastructure and doing routine monitoring. They are also dependent on water from wells that can become polluted with runoff from fields or naturally occurring contamination in the ground itself. 

Access to the Arts in Rural San Diego

Public art programming outside of San Diego’s major metro communities is limited, but Julia Dixon Evans says the San Diego County Library system is working to change that.

In the latest Culture Report, Evans breaks down how County libraries are ambitiously trying to serve residents across more than 4,500 square miles.

She also gives us guidance on what events to look out for and what’s set to close, including the Nat’s more than decade-long exhibition, “Water: A California Story.”

No Shortage of Housing … Opinions

In court, the California Environmental Quality Act is a familiar obstacle to projects large and small — housing developments, solar projects, even bike lanes. Earlier this year, Ry Rivard explained how the act is now also being used as a weapon in major water conflicts.

In a new VOSD op-ed, Borre Winckel, president of the Building Industry Association of San Diego County, says it’s time for legislators to take CEQA reform seriously if they want to tackle California’s housing crisis.

“Without substantial reform, CEQA will continue to be weaponized as a bulwark against the housing development low-income individuals and others across California so desperately need,” he writes.

In a separate letter to the editor also about housing, JP Theberge, director of Grow the San Diego Way and head of a public opinion and market research company, writes about public affairs firms working to convince decision-makers and the public that luxury homes are the solution to housing affordability.

African Asylum-Seekers Protest Unofficial Waiting List in Tijuana

Asylum-seekers from Cameroon protested the unofficial “list” that determines who can request asylum at the port of entry in Tijuana Tuesday, KPBS reports.

The Cameroonians said Mexican authorities have been refusing to accept migrants from Africa for transport to the U.S. side of the border, where they can officially request asylum, and say days have gone by without Mexican officials calling any numbers the “list,” but that Central American asylum seekers have been granted entry to the U.S. on those days.

The protest occurred amid a record-number of people waiting in line in Tijuana to seek asylum, the Union-Tribune reports. The line of asylum-seekers is even longer than when the roughly 6,000-person caravan arrived in November 2018.

One asylum-seeker told KPBS that Central Americans have been paying bribes to the immigration officers. 

After an hour-long meeting, KPBS reports, the asylum-seekers and Mexican officials emerged with a “deal” that the African asylum-seekers would be able to verify the unofficial list each morning, to make sure the correct numbers were being called. 

There have been increasing numbers of African asylum-seekers coming to Tijuana and other parts of the U.S.-Mexico border to seek asylum.

In May, we reported on the conditions facing Eritreans and other African asylum-seekers in Tijuana, who face increasingly long waits, but have less of a support system in the city compared with migrants from Latin America.

In Other News

The Morning Report was written by Megan Wood and Will Huntsberry, and edited by Sara Libby.

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