Friday, May 24, 2024

Open Letter to Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina

Letters to the Editor submitted to The Coronado Times are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the publisher, editors or writers of this publication. Submit letters to [email protected].

Submitted by Daron Case

Aloha, Mayor Dedina:

I am a Coronado resident, an attorney with Citizens Against Sewage (CAS), and the founder & administrator of Coronado Residents Against Poop (CRAP).

There is nobody who has done more than you have to raise public awareness to our regional trans-border sewage crisis. Your role as Mayor of Imperial Beach has allowed a platform to advocate on a higher level. You have used this platform wisely, to continuously expose the sewage problem via effective utilization of the media, and to demand federal aid via the notice of intent to sue the International Boundary & Water Commission (IBWC). As a local resident of the South Bay, I sincerely thank you for your efforts, and for leading the charge in the fight for clean water at our beaches.

Citizens don’t have the same platform to advocate from that you do as Mayor. As a citizen activist surveying the current landscape of our regional transboundary sewage problem, below is quick list of the top 10 things I would do if I could be Mayor of IB for one day:

  1. Pick up the phone and call California Governor Jerry Brown. Governor Brown has astonishingly taken the position that trans-border sewage is outside his jurisdiction. However, it would be unconscionable for the Governor of California not to speak with the mayor of a California city calling for help, where a state of emergency has been declared in IB. I would explain to Governor Brown the scope of the problem and request state aid.
  2. I would follow up my phone call to Governor Brown with a stern letter demanding state aid, explaining that the State of California has ignored this problem too long. I would issue a media advisory to release this open letter to hundreds of media contacts. If written correctly, the letter would go viral, raise more awareness of the problem, and apply more pressure to Governor Brown to take action.
  3. I would apply the same strategy outlined in (1) and (2) above with President Donald Trump, to demand federal aid for sewage infrastructure before a “wall” is considered.
  4. I would call and write the San Diego County Board of Supervisors to request the County declare a state of emergency in the Tijuana River Valley (TRV), as the cities of San Diego and Imperial Beach have done. The blue print for the County to declare a state of emergency is found in California Health & Safety Codes § 101080, § 101085 and § 101075. Once the County declares a state of emergency, they can request state disaster relief, and the state can request federal aid.
  5. File for state aid via the California Disaster Assistance Act (CDAA). The cities of San Diego and Imperial Beach have already declared a state of emergency in the TRV. This allows IB and SD to file jointly for state relief per CDAA.
  6. I would have IB City Manager Andy Hall provide written notice to the City of Coronado of the termination pursuant to paragraph 4.2 of the “Reimbursement Agreement between Coronado and IB for Tijuana Sewer Spill Related Litigation.”  The Reimbursement Agreement (wherein Coronado provides “up to” $50K of legal fees related to the IBWC litigation reimbursed to IB based on litigation milestones) is not the help IB requested, and there is no reason to delay its termination. Coronado is the lone city in the South Bay inexplicably withholding support on signing the notice of intent to sue the IBWC and Veolia Water. Without Coronado onboard, there cannot be a united front and solidary in the South Bay with respect to the IBWC lawsuit. A meager “reimbursement” offering is unacceptable and, quite frankly, insulting.
  7. In all his recent media interviews, Christopher Harris (Director of Legislative & Political Affairs Union Representative for Border Patrol) asks, “where is Governor Jerry Brown?”  I would recite a similar mantra for each of my media interviews, while I am also pressing for federal aid via the IBWC lawsuit.
  8. I would send a written invitation to relevant state and federal officials (e.g. President Trump, Governor Jerry Brown, Head of EPA Scott Pruitt, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, etc.) to tour the TRV and observe firsthand the scope of the problem.
  9. I would book my next trip to D.C. As Imperial Beach is the city most adversely affected by sewage spills from Mexico, there is nobody better to lobby on this issue than the Mayor of IB.
  10. I would meet face to face with citizens and NGO’s fighting for clean water who have requested to meet with the Mayor of IB, because we’re all on the same team, and we can help each other.

Thanks again for leading the charge for clean water.


Daron A. Case, Esq.
Citizens Against Sewage (CAS)
Coronado Residents Against Poop (CRAP)


Managing Editor
Managing Editor
Originally from upstate New York, Dani Schwartz has lived in Coronado since 1996. She is happy to call Coronado home and to have raised her children here. In her free time she enjoys reading, exercising, trying new restaurants, and just walking her dog around the "island." Have news to share? Send tips or story ideas to: [email protected]

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