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Monday, Feb. 26, 2007 | In a perfect world, past city councils and the mayor would have incorporated negligible increases to fund the infrastructure needed to give the residents of San Diego the clean water and safe sewer system we deserve. Or, they would have proposed infrastructure bonds to pay over time.

An inattentive citizenry, a disinterested new media, scapegoating of environmentalists who raised alarm, and politically neutered regulators, have combined to bring us to the point where we find ourselves.

However, clean water, safe sewer systems, clean air, and efficient mass transit are not infrastructure issues that are politically sexy. Neither was pension system funding. Crime fighting, fire protection, and education are the kinds of issues those running for office have found more attractive.

Make no mistake, the endorsement of the mayor’s proposed rate increase by environmental leaders Bruce Reznik and Marco Gonzalez is an act of statesmanship in joining with the mayor to solve our collective dilemma in a measured way that inflicts the least amount of pain on the citizens of our city. They did not have to do this.

San Diego Coastkeeper and the Surfrider Foundation have been in a legal position for a long time to compel an even more aggressive and costly remediation schedule than that to which the mayor has proposed and to which they have agreed.

While we are collectively absorbing the lessons to be learned in all this, we must remember that finger pointing will not give us the clean water and safe sewer systems cost we need. A rate increase will.

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