Saturday, June 13, 2009
Attendees: Roger, John, Dan, Sara, Jay, Belinda, Ben, Jeff, Joseph, Barry
1. River Valley Clean up on 6/6: safety issues, giveaways, coalition flyer to be handed out, Jay spoke to Audobon Society regarding their concerns about the nesting birds and that next year the clean up may be scheduled later in the year to avoid the conflict.
2. Coalition Calendar: create joint calendar with other coalition members for planning meetings, events, etc and to avoid scheduling conflicts.
3. Focus for No B.S. business/Coalition related business: The Surfrider No B.S. campaign will focus on outreach and education for members. The Coalition as a group will focus on the solution which is the main objective and the hardest part. And since there is nothing to object to it means coming up with ideas and a plan. The goal being a project that will fix this problem so the voice of the coalition can be directed at something. Includes getting Mexican support which is key. Approaching companies like Coca-Cola in a positive way about being part of the solution. Also need to make the issue controversial enough to get attention (would it be tolerated in Del Mar for example). TRCC to come up with name for the coalition. John is working on summary for the campaign for Alexis Henry (Nat’l office PR)
4. Field Trips to Tijuana to educate coalition members and volunteers need to be organized. Joseph to contact Oscar Romo to schedule. Also tour CESPT (Comisión Estatal de Servicios Públicos de Tijuana), Tijuana’s water authority and is in charge of water services and wastewater collection and treatment. Need to come up with weekday dates so Ben can work on planning a visit. Also need to make contacts (both US and Mexico) and get plugged in regarding the maquila zone that runs along our where all the American and International factories are located. They are basically there to take advantage of cheaper labor, and no laws to protect the environment. Not only is sewage and solid waste coming across the border but highly toxic chemicals and debris from these factories.
5. Create some type of forum (twitter/blog) with public access where people can report smelly events
6. Testing Methods: need better testing methods current tests aren’t picking up the bacteria. Water is technically not polluted since it has been treated with chlorine. Need to contact/acquire experts/forensics to work for our side to get the bacterial data to back up the polluted water claim. Possible to test for another chemical marker as opposed to bacteria to prove its coming from Mexico. Approach Clay Clifton about research (long time Surfrider Foundation volunteer helped with Blue Water Task Force and was hired by the city develop their program).
7. Policy training for No BS and coalition members - put together a presentation that can be shown once a month.
8. Call Doug at EPA regarding sludge disposal from the San Ysidro plant. Petition Feinstein’s office for the funds.
Monday, June 8, 2009
Nearly every time it rains, trash, human waste and tires from the hills of Tijuana flow from Mexico into California. Hoping to bring awareness to the problem, environmental groups spend the day cleaning up the Tijuana River Valley.
Perette Godwin Reporter
By Katie Orr
Monday, June 8, 2009
SAN DIEGO — Hundreds of people turned out this weekend to help clean up the Tijuana River Valley in San Diego’s South Bay.
Volunteers rolled, dragged and carried a seemingly endless procession of tires from the River Valley Park and tossed them into large dumpsters. Ben McCue, with WildCoast, is one of the organizers of the second annual clean-up event. He says a lot of the volunteers are ranchers and horseback riders who use the park’s trails.
“You’re also seeing families here who want to make sure their kids aren’t stepping on trash when they’re using the trails,” he says. “You see surfers from Coronado through IB who are here because they know that with the next rain a lot of this trash will make its way to our local beaches.”
San Diego Councilman Ben Hueso and County Supervisor Greg Cox were also among the volunteers. Along with tires, McCue says they picked up soda and water bottles, bags of trash and even medical waste.
Thursday, June 4, 2009
The Surfrider Foundation's San Diego chapter and Wildcoast, the Imperial Beach-based environmental group, are teaming up on a border litter cleanup June 6 in the pollution-plagued Tijuana River Valley.
Border pollution issues have served as a wedge between the two environmental groups in the past -- particularly between Serge Dedina, Wildcoast's executive director, and Marco Gonzalez, an attorney who represents Surfrider.
The two disagreed about Bajagua, the private company that promised to reduce border-area sewage pollution. (The project has since been discarded by the federal government.) From my 2006 story on the division between Gonzalez and Dedina:
[N]either minces words when describing their rift -- or each other.
Gonzalez on Dedina: "Serge, he may surf, but his politics get in the way of meaningful representation of constituents...This project is big enough, and their opposition offensive enough, that it has seriously eroded our ability to do work together."
Dedina on Gonzalez: "Bajagua has essentially co-opted a law firm. Anytime we bring this issue up, I literally have Marco screaming at me. This is something I'm used to dealing with in Mexico. It's not something you see a lot here."
So with the two groups joining on border litter issues, has the hatchet between the two men been buried? Not so much.
Dedina said the two organizations themselves hadn't had any problems and pointed to cooperation on their fight against the Trestles toll road as an example.
"Definitely I think what this represents is a new coalition to work on resolving water quality issues on the border," Dedina said. "We're amazingly stoked that Surfrider San Diego is a partner in that. It's all good, all positive, all moving forward."
Gonzalez said the event serves as "the next phase of Surfrider's involvement in border pollution issues." He'll be out of town and isn't going.
"I don’t think it's appropriate to characterize my disagreements with Serge as Surfrider's disagreements with Wildcoast," he said. "I continue to have disagreements with Serge. But those aren't Surfrider's problems. Those are Serge's problems."
The cleanup starts Saturday at 9 a.m. at the Tijuana River regional park.
-- ROB DAVIS
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Rancher Dick Tynan is still removing trash from his Imperial Beach property after a flood that occurred five months ago. Mostly it’s just plastic bottles, Styrofoam and car tires—but he’s also found a whole truck, a refrigerator and even a 16-pound bowling ball.
In exchange for this garbage, the Tijuana River took three of his horses—one of them pregnant—drowning them in a brown, watery blend of raw sewage and trash coming in from Tijuana.
Tynan, 68, said this isn’t the first time pollution coming in from Tijuana has caused him grief. Every winter, the river floods the Tijuana River Valley with trash, silt and sewage, clogging up the trails around his ranch so that riders can’t use them for months.
“When you go out and ride, [the trails] are all full of trash—and I mean waist-deep,” he said.For decades, pollution from across the border has found its way into southern San Diego, stirring up trouble for the environment, the economy and public health. Sensitive salt marsh in the valley is deteriorating, beach-goers at one of the most popular surf spots in the county are getting sick and business owners are losing customers because of beach closures
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