Morning Report: Water Agency Didn’t Take Pure Water Seriously

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Morning Report: Water Agency Didn’t Take Pure Water Seriously

Inside of the North City Pure Water Facility / Photo by Megan Wood

The city of San Diego has for years touted its Pure Water project, one of the largest infrastructure investments in the region’s history that would turn treated sewage currently dumped into the Pacific Ocean into drinking water that could account for a third of the city’s water supply by 2035.

But the county agency tasked with securing enough water to satisfy our long-term regional demand didn’t really take that project seriously, emails between officials from the city and staffers at the water agency show, according to a new story by MacKenzie Elmer.

As recently as December, staffers from the water agency argued that the project wasn’t far enough along to be counted as a realistic source of drinking water as it tabulated projections of the region’s water needs.

That would have meant that the water agency would have needed to find somewhere else to secure the 53 million gallons of water per day that the city says it will produce by 2035. If the agency did so, and the city delivered the water anyway, ratepayers could have been forced to foot the bill, since the agency would have ended up selling less water than it had budgeted for.

A city staffer confirmed to Elmer that they needed to lobby the water agency to take the project seriously, and a water agency spokesman confirmed in an email this month that it has now accounted for the reclaimed water the city is planning to provide.

The UC’s Wheels of Justice Turn Slowly

A former UC San Diego psychology professor had already been the subject of multiple complaints over more than a decade when he emailed pornographic material to a student.

Yet, as VOSD contributor Ethan Coston reports, it took the University of California Board of Regents more than a year to fire Nicholas Christenfeld. A UCSD investigation found that while Christenfeld claimed he emailed the materials to the student by accident, his behavior was a Title IX violation because the email was “of a sexual nature” and negatively impacted the student’s experience at UCSD.

Christenfeld’s story exemplifies the complex and lengthy process governing discipline procedures for tenured faculty members.

Until 2019, Coston found those procedures lacked certain deadlines – and even now, some key decision points still lack clear procedures and timelines. Policies that are constantly changing in response to lawsuits, policy workgroups and federal guidelines only add to the confusion.

More Surveillance Tech Coming to the Border

A new law requires every vehicle, truck and freight train that crosses into the United States from Mexico or Canada to be scanned by X-ray or similar technology at ports of entry, the U-T reports.

If the law is enforced,the requirements could cause massive traffic delays at the San Ysidro Port of Entry and cost cargo importers who use the Otay Mesa Port of Entry major revenue losses, the paper reports.

There has been a lot of new technology being introduced at the ports of entry recently. U.S. Customs and Border Protection also rolled out biometric facial comparison technology at San Ysidro and Otay Mesa pedestrian crossings last month.

News Nuggets

  • The Union-Tribune reports that city attorneys earlier this month took an initial legal step toward permanently banning work with a streets contractor it claims defrauded taxpayers by exploiting contracting rules.
  • So NASA just gave UC San Diego $5.8 million to help design electric flying taxis. (Union-Tribune)
  • San Diego County on Tuesday named Andrew Strong the director of its new Office of Equity and Racial Justice, Times of San Diego reports.
  • NBC 7 San Diego reports that a delayed shipment of the Moderna vaccine that forced the county to postpone some appointments arrived on Tuesday, allowing appointments to resume on Wednesday.
  • NBC 7 San Diego found that San Diego Sheriff’s deputies carried out 975 evictions last year despite ongoing moratoriums.
  • Nick Yphantides, the county’s chief medical officer, is on an unexplained leave of absence that is not health-related, the Union-Tribune reports. Yphantides, known within the county as “Dr. Nick,” would say only “I have been out of the office for a while and you need to check with the county,” in response to questions from the U-T, such as whether the leave is voluntary.

The Morning Report was written by Lisa Halverstadt and Andrew Keatts, and edited by Sara Libby. 

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