When it began to finish and reinforce a fence at the border, the federal government pledged it wouldn’t forget the environment.

But local officials say the feds haven’t lived up to their promise. They point to unprotected hillsides at Border Field State Park and the Otay Mountain Wilderness area that are in danger of causing damaging erosion.

One barren hill near the border has seeds and mulch but no water. Plants haven’t grown, and the winter rains could wash soil into a nearby estuary that’s already plagued by sediment from Mexico. Construction has put animals and plant at risk too, biologists say.

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokeswoman says the agency is monitoring the situation.

In other news:

  • Tracy Jarman, San Diego’s first female and first openly gay fire chief, has hardly had an uneventful 3.5 years in the Fire Department’s top job. Among other things, she dealt with 2007’s devastating fire and a well-publicized lawsuit.

    Now she has chosen to step down. In a Q&A, we talk to Jarman about her financial reasons for leaving, the state of women and minorities in the firefighting business and the cuts facing the fire department.

  • A group of businesspeople that works with Mayor Jerry Sanders is trying to swing into action to oppose a proposal giving the City Council more oversight over some hotel construction downtown. “Urgent Call to Arms!!!” blared an email to members, with its author calling the proposal a labor “power grab.”
  • Also: There are going to be even more public meetings about the city’s budget. And endorsement season is nearing in the race for open seats on the county board of supervisors, meaning that some people — we’re looking at you, Donna Frye — may want to figure out what they’re going to do about that hat and that ring.

    There hasn’t been a new county supervisor since 1995, when the average price of gas in California was around $1.19.

  • Our Photo of the Day is of the spectacular dome at Escondido City Hall, which was built in the 1980s. The LA Times called it a “stunningly handsome” building and said residents thought it would mark the “dawn of a new era for the inland city.” 
  • Elsewhere: The Navy has ended the career of the “chief who oversaw the prolonged hazing and sexual taunting of members of a Navy dog-handling unit in Bahrain.” University of San Diego student and former sailor Joseph Rocha helped bring the abuse scandal to public notice and has become a national figure in the movement to allow gays to serve openly in the military. (U-T)

    The U-T wrote about Rocha earlier this week, and we’ve been in touch with him too. We plan to interview Rocha today and post a story tomorrow about his life in the national spotlight.

  • On a lighter note, an LA Weekly writer explores the joys of a Mexican-food staple and wonders if he should “dare insult the oozing tubes of melted cheese that pass for burritos in San Diego.”

    Wow. We just got served. Well, Mr. LA Weekly, game on!

    Seriously, should we be lectured about authenticity by a critic in a city that thinks tacos come with kimchee and blood sausage?

    If you have a snappy comeback for our pal to the north, drop me a line. I’ll print the best ones.


Dagny Salas was web editor at Voice of San Diego from 2010 to 2013. She was an investigative fellow at VOSD from 2009 to 2010.

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