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Governor Brown Signs Bill Allocating $2.1 Million To Address Tijuana Sewage Spills

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October 10, 2017 1:20 p.m.

Governor Brown Signs Bill Allocating $2.1 Million To Address Tijuana Sewage Spills


Assemblyman Todd Gloria, D-San Diego

Related Story: Governor Brown Signs Bill Allocating $2.1 Million To Address Tijuana Sewage Spills


This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

Even though it is not in the news every day, polluted water from Mexico is flowing into the Tijuana River Valley and it contaminates South Bay beaches. Jerry Brown signed legislation this week to help restore the area. The bill authored by Ben Russo and co-authored by Todd Gloria is one of a series of efforts being made to solve the problem. Residents are increasing -- increasingly losing patience. Welcome back.

What will the bill do to help clean up the Tijuana River Valley.

This is been with us for decades but it seems like it has got worse. This provides $2.1 million and eight funding to start us on the way of studying a long-term permanent solution on the American side of the border. There have been efforts but the growth of Tijuana means that these spills happen more frequently. We want to spend the next couple of years to study some long-term solutions and then work with local state and federal authorities to fund those improvements so that sewage and contamination don't flow into the Pacific Ocean and close the beaches.

This money won't go toward funding facilities, it is for study?

Yes. Solutions to the problem. We know the problem. We know what it is. What we don't know is what we could build on the American side. What would that look like? These are specific things that we need to take to feculent -- federal regulators. We could go to other resources to fund the actual construction. As this idea has caught on a retention ponds on the American side, the things that we can control, coupled what is already down there, we think it would be an effective way of dealing with this growing problem.

I want to talk to you about the retention ponds. So, some of this money would go specifically to study how those could be effective on our side of the border?

We think this is a reasonable solution. The mayor is also a clean water advocate. He believes this is the right intervention. I think with these dollars we can figure out where this should go and what are the engineering documents, the kind of things that makes best assistant desk Pacific projects. It can get us to the kind of conceptual level and something more specific to actually build this. The Trump administration has interest building border infrastructure. As the federal government looks to make investment, let's show them what we can do that would make a difference in the quality of life

The South Bay communities are losing patience with these sewage spills. The Sandy -- city of San Diego is joining Imperial Beach in a lawsuit for trying to force some action from the federal government. Should the state be working more closely with the feds on this issue?

We do work closely with them. There are others that are deeply involved in the situation. It ourselves they cities are frustrated. They are losing their patience and they should. I represent those areas. This is the first and most important thing they raised to me when I'm there. It is a part of why we authored this bill, we get it. We want to be a part of the solution. The state will be able to do something meaningful sooner than the federal government. That does not mean they are off the hook though. We want to create this document and these studies. We want the feds to focus their attention on what is solvable. The federal government is spending millions to have several demonstration walls down in also Mesa -- Mesa. Of part of why they are nonspecific is because we don't know yet.

We need to make sure the beaches in San Diego are open and clean. And while all this goes -- goes on the new budget in DC shrinks the budget. Can you envision how the information that you get from this that he will be transferred into actionable things that the federal government might be able to do?

I take note that we live in an era where what we hear from the administration is not always truthful. What I do take heart in is the fact that our congressmen have indicated that they want to be involved in this effort. As locals and state officials, we can give them specific things to react to. They can advocate how they need to in DC. There is a clear interest in border infrastructure we just need to focus on what makes a difference. What will happen is the beaches will be open more frequently. Over the last decade the beaches have been closed for years of the 10 years. That is unacceptable. It should not be accepted here. We can work together.

I have been speaking with Todd Gloria from San Diego. And you so much.

Thank You

Jerry Brown defied the drug industry. That will force drugmakers to justify big price hikes. As our health reporter explains, the leader of our state has some strong words for the industry.

Governor Brown pounded on the patriot -- podium.

The rich are getting richer and the powerful are getting more powerful.

That includes drug companies is another example where the powerful get more powerful.

That is why he signed his Senate Bill 17 into law. They must give notice anytime the race the price of it job -- drug 16% or more.

Californians must know why their medical costs are out of control. The Florida soon -- pharmaceutical profits are soaring. This woman says her MS drugs jumped from $10,000 a year to $91,000 per year. It is ridiculous. It is unfair to the entire system.

The drug industry lobbied against this. Caitlin Carol called Brown's decision disappointing.

It is time to move beyond your -- bureaucratic programs.

Having to justify prices will make companies think twice before raising them. This could inspire stronger laws.

It is a step toward transparency in truth.

We have to point to the evils. There is a real evil when so many people are suffering so much from rising drug profits.

That story is from April Dembosky.