Stormwater runs into Auburn Creek in San Diego. / Photo by Jamie Scott Lytle

In 2015, the drought became Californians’ top concern. In 2017, after a record-setting winter helped pull the state out of the drought, San Diego stopped worrying so much about whether it would have enough water and started worrying about what was in the water.

I took a look back at a year in which lead in schools and sewage in rivers became a dominate concern for parents, surfers and politicians.

Now, San Diego Unified is taking aggressive action to test for lead and repair any plumbing causing the toxic metal to show up in water. And it’s possible after decades of inaction that state and federal bureaucrats on both sides of the border are getting serious about the sewage coming into the United States from Tijuana.

Arts: Going, Going, Gone

In this week’s look at the San Diego art scene, Kinsee Morlan talks with a tireless duo who host pop-up art shows around the city. She also reports on the demise of an app meant to help sell fiction and on what the closure of Rebecca’s Coffee House in South Park will mean for singers, storytellers and poets.

In Other News

• So many migrants fleeing humanitarian crises are showing up at San Ysidro looking for asylum that it they’re overwhelming border officials. Stranded refugees are sleeping at the border crossing and running out of money while they wait for their chance to be put into temporary holding cells and eventually detained at an immigration facility until an immigration court can handle their case. Officials can’t point to a specific reason for the backlog. (Union-Tribune)

Andrew Keatts’ look at the slow death of the once-powerful Neighborhood Market Association ran yesterday, but we gave you all the wrong link to it. Click above to go straight to the story.

Christmas was pretty bleak at Westfield Horton Plaza, the downtown mall: “No Santa, no Christmas tree, few shoppers,” the Union-Tribune reports. The mall, which helped revitalize downtown when it opened in 1985, is now struggling. Roger Showley, the paper’s real estate reporter, looks back at what the mall meant then and wonders what can or should be now.

Everybody knows recreational marijuana sales are about to be legal, but there are a bunch of other laws taking effect in 2018 you should know about. (Capital Public Radio)

• Once marijuana sales are legal, city of San Diego officials aren’t quite sure how many millions in new revenue to expect, after voters approved a tax on recreational sales last year. (Union-Tribune)

Of course, not every law on the books is obeyed; KPBS has a helpful update on employers in San Diego who are failing to pay the city’s minimum wage.

Carlsbad officials say new license plate readers have helped them uncover three stolen vehicles since the readers were installed recently. These readers allow police to track you and your whereabouts. Our friends at NBC San Diego have been looking into how local law enforcement officials use license plate readers.

Carlsbad’s city council also voted earlier this month to phase out the use of a popular weedkiller that has been linked in some studies to cancer. (Union-Tribune)

In a Washington Post story about a recent United Nations report on poverty in America, the paper features a photo of one of San Diego’s camps for homeless people. The United Nations report, while telling us a lot that we already know, should be a reminder that American poverty is a growing problem and that the international community’s opinion of this country’s promise is eroding.

What are you going to do with that Christmas tree? You can drop it off at one of 16 locations across the city.

It’s flu season, and doctors say San Diego is getting hit pretty hard. (NBC 7 San Diego)

Ry Rivard

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

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