Clockwise from left: Janessa Goldbeck, Amy Reichert, Monica Montgomery Steppe and Paul McQuigg

Voters in the county’s District 4 have just five days left to vote on the candidate they think should replace former Supervisor Nathan Fletcher.

The county’s homelessness and behavioral health crises are top priority for many voters of the district that includes central San Diego, La Mesa and Spring Valley – and for the candidates vying to represent them.

Our Lisa Halverstadt talked to Amy Reichert, Monica Montgomery Steppe, Janessa Goldbeck and Paul McQuigg about what they’d do to tackle those challenges if they win the seat.

They all agreed on a few things. For example, all want the county to do more to aid seniors, retain behavioral health workers and add more shelter or behavioral health beds.

But they’ve also got differing ideas.

Read the full story here.

Still need to vote? Get more details on how to get ‘er done here.

Mexico: We’ll Fix Our Broken Sewage Plant Faster Than the U.S.

Ponds of untreated sewage at Punta Bandera

Both the United States and Mexico have broken sewage treatment plants sending undertreated wastewater into the Pacific Ocean.

But Mexico committed to fixing its plant on a schedule that beats the other side’s current timeline. 

Tijuana’s public services commission, called CESPT, said it plans to begin rehabilitating the plant known as San Antonio de los Buenos by mid-2024, according to a press release from the U.S. embassy and consulates in Mexico. Scientists linked that plant, also called Punta Bandera, as the main source of sewage reaching and closing Southern California’s shores in the summertime.

A U.S.-owned treatment plant in San Diego that’s supposed to treat Tijuana sewage is also broken, but still providing some level of treatment. Yet actual construction work on the International Wastewater Treatment plant probably won’t begin until the summer of 2025, confirmed Frank Fisher, a spokesman with the agency, on Thursday.

Maria Elena-Giner, the head of the International Boundary and Water Commission, revealed the plant needs up to $150 million worth in repairs. It’s currently violating federal Clean Water Act standards. 

Congress promised $300 million toward expanding the capacity of border infrastructure to treat more sewage than it currently can, thereby reducing the amount of beach closures in California coastal cities. Half that money may now have to go toward fixing the old plant before anything new can be built, unless the IBWC can get more funding. 

The IBWC expects to award a contract for designing the plant’s expansion to treat more sewage by the summer of 2024. Repairs and expansion work are expected to happen simultaneously, Fisher confirmed. 

Chula Vista May Follow San Diego’s Lead and Create a Camping Ban of Its Own

View through the fence of the Chula Vista Village at Otay, a 65 white, prefab shelter units for the homeless on July 18, 2023.

Chula Vista Mayor John McCann, with unanimous support from the City Council, directed the city manager Tuesday to explore additional options to curb homelessness in Chula Vista. Staff will review San Diego’s homeless camping ban and El Cajon’s licensing requirements for providers issuing hotel vouchers and present their findings at a Sept. 12 City Council meeting.

San Diego police officers started enforcing the ordinance at the beginning of the month. Chula Vista officials and service providers say they have seen an increase in unsheltered people in the city. McCann wants to draw from other cities’ solutions to find one that works for Chula Vista. 

“I realize this is not one size fits all,” McCann said. 

Possible hiccups: If Chula Vista follows San Diego’s footsteps, it needs shelter space. San Diego and other cities looking to crack down on homelessness are restricted by a 2019 federal appeals court ruling that it is unconstitutional to prohibit people from sleeping outdoors without offering indoor alternatives. 

A little history: Chula Vista took a long time to open its first shelter, which began accepting clients on May 15. The city established its housing and homeless solutions department this year. The Chula Vista Village at Otay, a shelter of 65 prefabricated tiny homes, is one of their main projects. City officials say the shelter is not at full capacity yet and have not confirmed the number of people currently staying there or when the shelter will be able to accommodate 65 residents. 

Per the January 2023 point-in-time count, 318 unsheltered people lived in Chula Vista. 

In Other News

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

Clarification: A previous version of this article stated the U.S. and Mexican treatment plants were sending untreated wastewater to the Pacific Ocean. The plants provide are providing some level of treatment.

Leave a comment

We expect all commenters to be constructive and civil. We reserve the right to delete comments without explanation. You are welcome to flag comments to us. You are welcome to submit an opinion piece for our editors to review.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.