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San Diego Environmentalists Weigh In On Next Mayor

Evening Edition

Above: Diane Takvorian, the executive director of the Environmental Health Coalition, and Megan Baehrens, the executive director of San Diego Coastkeeper, talk to KPBS.

Aired 9/24/12 on KPBS Midday Edition.

GUESTS

Diane Takvorian, Executive Director, Environmental Health Coalition

Megan Baehrens, Executive Director, San Diego Coastkeeper

Transcript

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In just a few weeks, San Diego voters will select a new mayor and city administration. The second part in our series of interviews shows what environmental groups are hoping for in a new mayor.

So, what do environmentalists think San Diego's city government could be doing to better our quality of life?

Megan Baehrens, the executive director of San Diego Coastkeeper, told KPBS the biggest water pollution problem is urban runoff.

"Managing ongoing development in a good way, with environmental practices, low impact development, is really going to reduce pollution in our region," she said.

For Diane Takvorian, the executive director of the Environmental Health Coalition, the biggest issue is pollution in low income communities south of Interstate 8.

"The biggest issue is air pollution," she said. That pollution comes from freeways, industries located in the area and the Port of San Diego.

Although the city's government cannot make all the changes environmentalists would like to see, Baehrens said Coastkeeper goes to City Council and talks to the mayor's office about environmental impacts in the city of San Diego.

She said the city will soon fact development and infrastructure decisions, and stressed that roads need to be built in an environmentally-sound way. Water that percolates on the surfaces of roads has a big environmental impact, she said.

Baehrens said she also hopes the city will help incentive installation of rain barrels in residential areas, which she said is a decision people can make in their daily lives.

Takvorian said San Diego's environmental record is mixed.

"So we really are looking forward to a new administration that will take these issues much more seriously," she said.

Claire Trageser contributed to this report.

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