Stephany Garcia who is in the Master of Science program for Department of Geography at San Diego State University walks around the Tijuana River Valley on Dec. 20, 2022.
Stephany Garcia, a graduate student at San Diego State University, checks on new, real-time water quality testing technology to measure contamination in the Tijuana River Valley on Dec. 20, 2022. / Photo by Ariana Drehsler

Sewage spills and trash from Tijuana have spilled into San Diego via a cross-border river for decades, yet public health officials didn’t know the extent of that contamination until this year. 

What changed: San Diego County started testing coastal water quality with a new technology that counts the DNA of bacteria that’s harmful to human health. Once San Diego started using it, bacterial levels along the beaches closest to the border were off the charts. 

So, the county closed those beaches down, including Coronado which rarely ever experienced summer beach closures before 2022. Political pressure from local leaders mounted and the county eventually opened those beaches, even though they were failing water quality tests.

Our environment reporter MacKenzie Elmer unpacks this sewage saga and the story behind another new technology that might signal contamination before it reaches the beach. 

Read the story here. 

This is the first story in our annual What We Learned This Year series. Read more stories throughout the rest of the week here. 

The Tales We Told: Our Favorite Stories of 2022

Estrella, 12, showed off their new digs to her friends on FaceTime by opening cupboards and drawers in the kitchen, showing off the dishwasher and empty refrigerator. / Photo by Peggy Peattie for Voice of San Diego

As part of Voice of San Diego’s annual year-end tradition, our team of reporters and editors shared a recap of their favorite stories from 2022.

Some highlights: San Diegans have moved north to Riverside County to escape sky-high home prices. The city has created safe parking lots for the homeless – but still managed to tow the RV that housed a homeless family of six. We explored San Diego’s past where we uncovered hidden history and dug into some mysteries. 

Read the full roundup here. 

Politics Report: The ‘Best’ of This Year’s Politics 

A lot happened this year in San Diego politics.

Voters in the city of San Diego decided they would allow the city to start charging a fee for trash collection. Councilwoman Jen Campbell won her re-election bid, but as our Scott Lewis detailed last month, it was thanks to her supporters driving money and support for Republican Linda Lukacs’ campaign, enabling her to make it through the primary with Campbell. And longtime friends Georgette Gómez and David Alvarez ran against each other and, well, are no longer friends.

The Politics Report has that and much more in the latest post. It’s available to Voice of San Diego members only. Please consider supporting our work here.

Read the Politics Report here. 

Judge Nixes Old Central Library Deed Restriction

Lines of tents occupied the sidewalks alongside the old Central Library early Friday, Sept. 2, 2022. / Photo by Peggy Peattie for Voice of San Diego

More than a century ago, city father George Marston signed off on a deed restriction that has more recently complicated efforts to redevelop the long-vacant old Central Library. Now that deed restriction is officially history.

Our Lisa Halverstadt reports that Superior Court Judge Ronald F. Frazier on Thursday signed off on a city-drafted order stating that the deed restriction that seemed to mandate that the property house a public library and reading room is now invalid.

So what’s happening with the old library now? The city has been preparing to use a portion of it to shelter unhoused residents during the winter months and hopes to soon begin welcoming them.

You can read more here.

In Other News 

  • Qualcomm, the San Diego-based technology giant, laid off 153 workers – one percent of the company’s 12,500-person workforce in San Diego around the time company executives said they’d expect a double-digit percentage drop in smartphone sales this year. (Union Tribune)
  • Cited as a climate action measure, San Diego is behind on building the number of roundabouts it aimed to build by 2020. (inewsource)

The Morning Report was written by MacKenzie Elmer, Andrea Lopez-Villafaña and Lisa Halverstadt. It was edited by Andrea Lopez-Villafaña.

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