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In response to readers:

1) Wow and More Questions want to know who my clients are relevant to this issue. During 2000 through 2002, I was the lead consultant for the Safe and Fair Environmental (SAFE) Treatment Coalition, which represented most of the regional business associations in San Diego county and was endorsed by most of our congressional delegation, many state representatives, the Metro JPA, and the San Diego mayor and City Council, except Councilwoman Donna Frye. The coalition’s public positions were:

  • Cost Effectiveness: Higher treatment standards will not solve San Diego’s beach and bay closures, and would raise city sewer rates, while short changing effective solutions to beach and bay closures.
  • No Harm: Extensive scientific studies and monitoring demonstrate the city’s treatment and discharge are safe for the ocean environment.
  • Rate Impact: San Diego metro region sewer rates could increase 150 to 300 percent for the $3 billion secondary treatment upgrade cost.
  • Authors’ Intent: City’s position is consistent with the federal law’s intent as authored by Congressmen Bob Filner and Duke Cunningham.
  • Treat City Equally: San Diego’s treatment regulations should be the same as other cities under the Clean Water Act Section 301(h).

The SAFE Treatment Coalition convened a science panel and invited environmental groups to present their findings about the city’s sewer discharge. Bruce Reznick and Marco Gonzalez presented no information but instead deferred to Ed Kimura of the Sierra Club. The science panel reviewed Ed’s information, and listened to a presentation by Lori Saldaña and him. The science panel’s assessment of the Sierra Club’s review very kindly stated: “The use of selective analysis is incomplete and could be drawing misleading conclusions …”

All of the SAFE Treatment Coalition positions are still valid today; however, I am not representing the coalition nor do I have any client paying me to advocate about this issue.

1) ReaderAlmost Speechless believes:

… the City of San Diego was warned by the federal government at their last waiver, create secondary treatment next time, because the City would not get another waiver.

I encourage you to post such documentation to enlighten all of us, because I can assure you it does not exist. EPA scientists and the RWQCB staff have repeatedly stated the existing ocean discharge is safe. So, when the US EPA approves the city’s very likely to be forthcoming waiver application, would you still prefer water supply and sewer treatment issues be addressed in closed session settlement negotiations or in a public forum through public legislation?

3) I recommend Cory Briggs talk to Marco Gonzalez about “small-minded people always resort to personal attacks because they’re incapable of mounting even the slightest argument to defend their (usually indefensible) positions.” Also, he should ask Marco why he is unwilling to defend his “litigate and settle in closed session” tactics rather than participate in public policy to gain adoption of legislation. Since Cory hired Marco as co-counsel you might also want to chide him about personal attacks. False perceptions of my past actions or someone else’s, does not grant you or anyone else a free pass on abusing the closed session process. Public policy deserves everyone’s participation in an open public forum through publicly adopted legislation.

— DOUG SAIN

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