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No Room for Bipartisan Divide in Tijuana Sewage Crisis, Activists Say


Alexia Palacios-Peters, Marely Ramirez, and Laura Wilkinson pose at the Coronado International Film Festival.

There’s no room for bipartisan divide when it comes to the Tijuana sewage crisis, according to Coronado activists.

Members of the city’s respective Republican and Democratic parties ushered community members into a Nov. 10 premiere of The Big Dump, a documentary outlining the crisis, at the Coronado International Film Festival.

“Sewage is a nonpartisan issue,” said Jean Seager, co-founder of Stop the Sewage – a Coronado-based grassroots organization pushing for quicker fixes to the failing infrastructure. “There’s no one I know who thinks sewage in our ocean is a good idea, and I felt that this was an opportunity to reach out to people who are on the other side of the political spectrum.”

Stephanie Kaupp, one of the co-founders of Stop the Sewage, ushers audience members inside for a screening of “The Big Dump.”

Dressed in attention-grabbing poop costumes and handing out fliers replicating the beach closure signs that have become common among beaches in the South Bay, they urged people to watch the film and sign a petition hosted by Stop the Sewage.

Mary Jane Clements, president of Republican Women of California, San Diego County – Coronado Crown City, connected with Seager and told her that she knew people who wanted to be involved.

“We have to somehow get across to our government that this is important,” Clements said. “It’s affecting our active duty community members who have to train in the water, it affects our families who want to use the beaches, and it affects our Coronado economy and tourism.”

Tijuana dumps about 35 million gallons of raw sewage per day into the Pacific Ocean due to failing treatment infrastructure on both sides of the border. This year, the federal government allocated money to fixing the problem, but unforeseen costs and other hiccups have stalled progress. Some projects are underway now, and the International Boundary and Water Commission expects “incremental improvements” starting this month.

Stop the Sewage is a decidedly nonpartisan group. It was formed earlier this year and has quickly gained traction, with its latest protest yielding more than 100 attendees.

“It’s good for people who wouldn’t normally be politically aligned to get together and try to do something about this horrible problem,” Seager said. “People who get involved want to make things better. We have that in common: We all want to see things get better.”

Editor’s Note: 11/21/23 Article has been updated with correct title for Jean Seager.

Megan Kitt
Megan Kitt
Megan has worked as a reporter for more than 15 years, and her work in both print and digital journalism has been published in more than 25 publications worldwide. She is also an award-winning photographer. She holds BA degrees in journalism, English literature and creative writing and an MA degree in creative writing and literature. She believes a quality news publication's purpose is to strengthen a community through informative and connective reporting.Megan is also a mother of three and a Navy spouse. After living around the world both as a journalist and as a military spouse, she immediately fell in love with San Diego and Coronado for her family's long-term home.Have news to share? Send tips, story ideas or letters to the editor to: [email protected]

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