One of two sewage pipelines rendered inoperable in Tijuana as of Aug. 2, 2022. / MacKenzie Elmer
One of two sewage pipelines rendered inoperable in Tijuana as of Aug. 2, 2022. / Photo by MacKenzie Elmer

The good news is that Tijuana isn’t currently pumping sewage to a broken wastewater treatment plant called Punta Bandera that just pumps it, untreated, straight into the Pacific Ocean. 

The bad news: That’s because at least one critical pipe that gets it there is busted in half. Another is precariously perched atop a crumbling cliff face, eroded by the geysers of sewage a botched repair created.

U.S. officials crossed the border Tuesday to examine the situation and see how they could help. Our MacKenzie Elmer was there

The wastewater that would normally go to Punta Bandera, and then be pumped miles out to sea, instead filled the Tijuana River with an extra 10 million gallons of untreated sewage per day due to those breaks, which will eventually make its way to the Pacific Ocean just below the city of Imperial Beach. As of Tuesday afternoon, the beaches at Imperial Beach were under a new warning category, meaning that they’re not technically closed. 

Read more here

And, on cue, an announcement from the county: “A water contact closure for the Imperial Beach Shoreline is issued due to sewage contamination. South swell conditions are present and pushing ocean waters from the south to the north (transboundary flows). … Beach goers are advised that the ocean water contains sewage and may cause illness.”

Climate Plan: City Commits to Getting Natural Gas Out of Buildings

The San Diego City Council passed Tuesday a new version of the city’s Climate Action Plan, which commits the city to reaching “net zero” carbon emissions by 2035. What’s net zero? Elmer broke that down earlier this year, but basically it means the city will produce the amount of emissions that can be sequestered, either by the natural environment or to-be-developed technological means.

The city’s new plan is a meaningfully grander commitment than its last one, nearly doubling the greenhouse gas reductions it commits the city to making by 2035. 

Among the most significant of the new actions: The plan says the city must eliminate 90 percent of natural gas usage from all existing buildings in the city.

Doing that alone is how the city plans to get nearly half of all the emission reductions in the plan. Alternatively, that means failing to eliminate natural gas usage from nearly all buildings in the city would wipe out a substantial chunk of the carbon emissions they’re counting on by 2035.

As Elmer outlined last year, labor unions have had concerns about the city’s push to electrify nearly all buildings, and it’s not yet clear how the city will ensure such a dramatic shift within private properties.

City staffers said at the meeting that by February, they’d come back to the Council with another plan to implement all the goals and policies in this plan. That’s a nod to the extent to which the city has largely ignored significant chunks of the last plan, while implementing other major components, such as the creation of San Diego Community Power, a public energy provider that the city created after committing to do so in the first plan. 

Team Pickleball Has Resorted to… Radical Activism?

If you are like me (Will Huntsberry, here) you may have missed just how insane people are for pickleball. They love it. They must have it. 

Only, there isn’t any space. 

Pickleball is kind of like tennis and one of the best places to play is on a tennis court. As the U-T detailed earlier this month, this has led to a straight-up war between pickleball players and tennis players. And not just here. Everywhere. 

“The city appears to be in bed with tennis, protecting them at every turn,” one pickleballer told the paper. 

The battlelines of this drama have largely been confined to planning board rooms, heretofore. But now, as the OB Rag reported, pickleballers are taking their fight for space right to the tennis court. 

The city’s two leading pickleball antagonists staged a takeover of the Peninsula Tennis Club at Robb Field in Ocean Beach. The pickleballers learned that Peninsula’s permit had expired, which meant, technically, the club didn’t have exclusive access to the space. 

YouTube footage (you should definitely watch it) shows a whole crew of pickleballers rolling up on a row of empty tennis courts. They set up their nets and start playing over objections from the club’s proprietors. 

The tennis club contends that the pickleball crew ultimately prevented a tennis camp for kids from happening. But the pickleballers claim the camp was scheduled for other courts and the proprietors were shamelessly using the children as political pawns to protect their hardscape monopoly.  

Ultimately, the tennis club proprietors called police to the scene. A police officer can be seen telling the proprietors that, in fact, their permit is out of date and she can not make the pickleballers leave. She asked the pickleballers, nonetheless, to be adults and leave anyway, which they did. 

Lest you fear escalated violence between these hardtop rivals, let me reassure you, fellow citizens: City leaders are on the case. They have called in a “national expert on turbulence between pickleball and tennis” to help calm these stormy waters, the U-T reported. 

In Other News

  • After years of work, San Diego’s surveillance ordinance is all set to become law. The City Council gave its final stamp of approval on Tuesday. The ordinance creates rules for the use and acquisition of technology capable of monitoring the public. As Jesse Marx previously reported, elected officials exempted police officers who work on federal task forces from the ordinance’s disclosure requirements, but opened the door to changes down the road. 
  • A Superior Court judge has ordered the city to pay nearly $900,000 to a Clairemont woman injured falling in a pothole after city attorneys failed to show up in court, a ruling the City Attorney’s Office says followed an improperly filed claim. (CBS 8)
  • San Diego renters could see up to a 10 percent spike in rent this year per the state’s rent cap law and a steep inflation rate. (Fox 5 San Diego)
  • The county on Tuesday declared monkeypox a local public health emergency. (NBC 7)
  • Backers of a proposed ballot measure that aimed to speed city hiring announced Tuesday they have decided against moving forward with a November measure after the city Personnel Department promised to make changes that may address their concerns. (Union-Tribune)
  • The San Diego City Council approved a plan that could radically change the way money on infrastructure projects is spent. Developer fees could previously only be used on infrastructure projects in the neighborhoods where they were generated. But the new plan will push funds into the neighborhoods with the greatest infrastructure needs. (City News Service)
  • An outside investigation has found San Dieguito Union board member Michael Allman did not harass colleagues on the basis of gender. But some have questioned the investigation’s findings, saying they did not address whether Allman engaged in general harassment. The report itself has not been released – only a one and a half page internal summary. (Union-Tribune)

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