Both Tom Friedman and Atul Gawande have written op-ed columns recently for The New York Times that shed light on the reasons why policy makers and elected officials have failed to take action to solve our current border water quality crisis in a comprehensive fashion.

Friedman recently wrote how Albert Einstein took “rebellious imaginative leaps that throw out old conventional wisdom” to develop his most far-reaching scientific and world changing theories. Gawunde, a brilliant physician, New Yorker staff writer and recent author of “Better: A Surgeon’s Notes on Performance” discusses how using negative thinking in “finding and exposing … inadequacies, which can be overwhelming” is the only way we can collectively n deal with solving complex problems.

If we use Gawande’s example of negative thinking, we would carefully examine all of the sources of pollution that result in beach closures along the U.S.-Mexico border in order to develop far-reaching solutions. However, in the case of the beach closure and water quality crisis along the U.S.-Mexico border, many policy makers have allowed themselves to be hoodwinked by the promises of the Bajagua company to painlessly, and at no cost, reduce beach closures in a comprehensive fashion.

Rather than acknowledge that a single project could never be expected to solve such a complex problem as fixing the sewage and infrastructure crisis in a third world city such as Tijuana, Filner-Bilbray-Hunter-Cunningham-Cheney lobbied for Bajgua to receive a contract they promised will be cost-free and solve of all of our beach closure problems. In the case of Congressmen Bob Filner and Brian Bilbray, just supporting Bajagua (who provided large campaign contributions to both officials) allowed them to claim during their campaigns last year that they had already cleaned up the Tijuana River.

In the case of Bajagua, the company manufactured a solution based on its need to make a profit, rather than have real stakeholders (as in border residents as opposed to North County lawyer-lobbyists) and policy makers develop a comprehensive solution to the multiple sources of ocean pollution in the border region in a cost-effective fashion. And then the company paid “stakeholders” to support the project.

This obtuse and muddled thinking and lack of imagination on the part of Filner-Bilbray to deal with the source of border sewage problems will only produce failure. For Filner-Bilbray the future profits of Bajagua became the dependent variable when discussing the border pollution rather than improving community health and reducing beach closures. This is reminiscent of how the Bush administration used 9-11 as an excuse to attack Iraq and then manufactured the WMDs claim to justify going to war.

It is embarrassing that an anti-war congressman like Filner would knowingly compare Bajagua to Iraq:

Just like George Bush has to live with the Iraq war, I have to live with Bajagua.

What is even worse is that like Bush, Filner has surrounded himself with an entourage of sycophants

who reinforce the mutually destructive and bad decisions he only has himself to blame for. And just like the case of George Bush in which the president must be held accountable for his crimes in Iraq, Filner must be held accountable for allowing our children and our communities to wallow in raw sewage while Bajagua makes a profit at the public’s expense.


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