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California has first dibs of much of the Colorado River’s once-bountiful waters. Now, this magnificent source of water that carved a continent is drying up and water officials across the Southwest are talking about what they can do to avoid a crisis. The stakes are huge: 26 million people in California, Arizona and Nevada depend on the river.

Representatives of the three states have been huddling behind closed doors. California water officials are offering to give up some of the state’s strongest claims to the river – at least temporarily and under certain conditions. But even voluntary cuts to California’s Colorado River access would be unprecedented.

Water officials involved in the negotiations worry that without a new deal, politicians will eventually decide everyone’s collective fates rather than folks like themselves with experience managing water.

The San Diego County Water Authority is not involved in the negotiations. Instead, it’s on the sidelines. The Water Authority calls the talks a “dubious closed-door process.”

“Everybody goes to the table with their guns at their sides and says we’re willing to talk, but if need be, we’re right back it,” said Jeffrey Kightlinger, the general manager of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, who has been involved in the negotiations. “But, so far, we’ve found more good reasons than not to say, ‘Let’s agree.’”

Smaller One Paseo Approved

The San Diego City City Council on Monday again approved the One Paseo development, an ever-contentious 23-acre project in Carmel Valley. The approved project is smaller than one that was nixed last year after opponents collected enough signatures to invalidate a previous City Council approval. After that bust, developer Kilroy Realty went back to the drawing board and came up with a compromise meant to assuage the concerns of some of the project’s critics.

Trump’s Baja Bust

About 250 buyers — including several from the San Diego area — were bilked by a failed condominium project in Baja that bore Donald Trump’s imprimatur. The condos at the Trump Ocean Resort were to be “spectacular” and cover 17 acres of oceanfront property about 10 miles south of the United States-Mexico border. Instead, they don’t exist and there are lawsuits accusing Trump of fraud, according to the Los Angeles Times, which correctly describes the episode as one in a series of fiascoes.

In Other News

More than 250 people in San Diego County died from meth-related causes in 2014 — that’s more people than died from the flu or were killed in homicides that year. KPBS explores the meth problems in the county. It’s a nasty drug and hard to escape.

• The City Council is scheduled Tuesday to debate a ballot measure for the November election that would raise property taxes to pay for the construction of 18 fire stations. Two-thirds of city voters would need to approve the $205 million bond measure for it to go into effect. (Union-Tribune)

Rep. Susan Davis and other members of Congress want a Stanford rape victim’s stirring victim statement to be used by UC and CSU schools as part of their consent education programs. If you have not yet read the letter, it is here.

• Gov. Jerry Brown and some state lawmakers announced a measure to scale back the duties of the much-maligned California Public Utilities Commission, giving it more time to focus on its core mission rather than dealing with brawls over Uber and Lyft, among other things not directly related to keeping the lights on and affordable. Critics said the changes were not enough and mostly cosmetic. The changes require legislative approval to take effect. (Sacramento Bee)

The city attorney’s office released guidance for how city officials might enforce the local minimum wage ordinance that voters approved earlier this month.

• No hospitals in San Diego have five-star ratings for “patient experience.” (inewsource)

Ry Rivard

Ry Rivard was formerly a reporter for Voice of San Diego. He wrote about water and power.

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