The Changing San Diego Landscape

Weather changes are old news. Wherever you are in the globe, you have likely witnessed your fair share of environmental mayhems that probably have temporarily put your lives on hold. Devastating as it may be, there is little one can do once disaster strikes. And in its aftermath are even more problems as people try to rebuild their lives and pick up from where they left off. There are services to help clean up, but often, they may not be enough.

More often than not, the people rely on the government for help. With taxes that are supposed to fund the most basic of services, the government can tap into these resources to secure calamity funds needed by everyone. And the United States is not an exception. Major cities like San Diego in the West Coast face the wrath of nature where storms, droughts and bush fires are quite common.

Gov. Jerry Brown issued state-of-emergency proclamations Tuesday for counties across the state, including San Diego, in response to damage during powerful storms that struck in January and February.

Brown also sent a letter to the White House requesting a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration to complement state and local recovery efforts.

The emergency proclamations direct Caltrans officials to immediately request assistance through the Federal Highway Administration’s Emergency Relief Program to obtain federal funds for “highway repairs or reconstruction.” They also direct the Office of Emergency Services to provide assistance to counties affected by the late January storms.

(Via: http://fox5sandiego.com/2017/03/07/governor-issues-state-of-emergency-for-san-diego-other-counties-after-storms/)

And even neighboring towns outside the country are just as affected as San Diego itself considering their close proximity. They also suffer when infrastructure breaks down because of wear and tear that are perhaps hastened by the elements or the failure to maintain it.

Baja California’s governor is preparing to declare a state of emergency in the coming days, hoping to draw financial aid for Tijuana’s strained and underfunded sewage system following a massive spill that sent millions of gallons of untreated wastewater from Tijuana across the border and into San Diego last month.

The incident was triggered by the collapse of a major sewage trunk line in Tijuana, state officials say, and repairs led to the release of a large amount of untreated sewage into the Tijuana River channel, which empties into the ocean at Imperial Beach. The spill generated outrage north of the border, especially because of Mexico’s failure to notify U.S. officials, who found out only after residents reported foul odors over a two-week period.

(Via: http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/border-baja-california/sd-me-border-sewage-20170310-story.html)

It is also common to see other infrastructure problems brought about by weather disturbances and neglect from public agencies that are supposed to oversee its repair and maintenance.

We apparently have 36,000 potholes to fill, on 2,800 miles of street. Your writer says the crews “can fix a small hole in five minutes.”

A 2011 U-T article called the budget $26 million then, no indication what the 2017 cost is. If increased at the rate of inflation that could be $31 million. I doubt that includes pension costs. That’s almost $900 per pothole.

Do we think any private companies might be willing to take on the job of pothole repair for, say, a measly $800 per pothole and save us a few dollars?

What if we simply hired a city “inspector” to drive those streets and held a private company (or two) to standards for timeliness and quality of repair? Effective government?

(Via: http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/sd-pothole-san-diego-20170214-story.html)

The United States is a first class country. San Diego itself is a big city with a bustling economy. Even if the weather and other environmental factors are a constant threat to the city, it is not an excuse for its public officials to slack and do nothing when many of the infrastructures are crumbling and negatively impacts the lives of the people.

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