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Wednesday July 25, 2007 | Recently, in a study commissioned by 10 News, nationally respected scientists at the UCSD School of Engineering and the Scripps Institute of Oceanography indicated they believe there is a very high likelihood that the recently discovered active Coronado earthquake Fault runs underneath the Navy Broadway Complex project site. These findings reinforce earlier studies by local geologists and seismic experts.

California State law prohibits the construction of habitable buildings on liquefiable fill above active earthquake faults. A recent news article on global warming indicated there is a very good chance that the NBC site will one day be under water, and that rising seawater levels will further destabilize the filled tidelands on the NBC site.

Yet CCDC and the City of San Diego continue to ignore this concern, insisting that they are “following a process” that will only consider this problem very late in the review and approval process. I have been told by staff to city council members that “everybody knows that earthquake faults exist under the NBC site” — yet nobody will talk about this 900 lb. gorilla in the middle of the room.

This is a repeat of the recent Sunroad debacle. Once again, the city and CCDC are trying to stay on good terms with a developer, even when they know that moving forward with this project might very well result in loss of life and property when an earthquake takes place on this site in the future. Just as people could die if an airplane flies into the Sunroad building, people will die if an earthquake destroys high-rise buildings on the Navy Broadway Complex site. When that happens, everyone will be looking for someone to blame. The developer of this project recently sued the individual members and staff of the California Coastal Commission. I have no doubt that should an earthquake someday destroy the buildings on the NBC site, he will have no qualms about personally suing the mayor, members of the city council, the CCDC board and their staff and advisors.

Given the CCDC Board and the City Council’s “Just build something” theology, it will probably take an earthquake to shake them out of their complacency, but by then it will be too late and we will be pulling bodies out of the wreckage.

Don Wood served on the public advisory panel to the Navy Broadway Complex Coordinating Group in the early 1990s. He is active with Citizen’s Coordinate for Century 3 and the Navy Broadway Complex Coalition, which is suing the city and the Navy over the Navy Broadway Complex. These comments are his own.

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