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A look at the tenure of IB’s mayor

 October 21, 2022 at 5:00 AM PDT

Good Morning, I’m Debbie Cruz….it’s Friday, October 21st.

We look back at Mayor Serge Dedina’s tenure in Imperial Beach as he leaves office.

More on that next. But first... let’s do the headlines….

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One-time payments of up to one-thousand-dollars are supposed to be filling the bank accounts of millions of eligible California taxpayers.

The state said they began sending out the money two weeks ago … but the payments have been slow to roll out.

For those who electronically filed their taxes in 20-20 and received a refund by direct deposit, their payment will come via direct deposit before November 14th.

Others should expect to receive the money in the mail on a debit card as late as January.

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A heads up for coaster passengers.. there will be no COASTER service in San Diego County tomorrow and Sunday.

The closures are for regular maintenance and infrastructure improvements along the coastal rail.

No replacement bus services connecting COASTER stations will be available this weekend either.

COASTER will resume regularly scheduled services on Monday.

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It’s going to be a big weekend for San Diego’s sports teams.

The Padres are in Philadelphia playing against the Phillies today, tomorrow and Sunday for the National League Championship series.

San Diego Wave F-C is also getting ready for a big game this weekend.

The team is headed to Oregon to face the Portland Thorns on Sunday in the league’s semi finals.

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From KPBS, you’re listening to San Diego News Now. Stay with me for more of the local news you need.

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Imperial Beach residents will welcome a new mayor to city hall in January.

Eight years after winning his first term in office by just 43 votes, Serge Dedina is returning to his environmental activism roots.

KPBS Environment reporter Erik Anderson has details.

The Imperial Beach library holds a special place in Serge Dedina’s heart.  The mayor grew up in the old library, so renovating this building has been a centerpiece of his effort to renovate his hometown. “Everybody got it. You don’t need to make it fancy, but you need to make it accessible, colorful, warm and friendly, and a resource for everybody.” County officials, businesses, community advocates all bought in and spent millions to turn the community hub into something special. Serge Dedina Imperial Beach Mayor “and it helped use fuse everything that we did in Imperial Beach for the last eight years, to really renovate it and just restore, this beautiful dynamic we have in Imperial Beach, the ocean, the community and doing things that make the city better for every part of the city. That’s what this is about.” Dedina’s energy and ability to build coalitions exemplified how San Diego’s southernmost beach community changed during his tenure.  The library, senior center, and park are a focal point but not the only measure of success.  His community-based coalition-building sparked a reinvestment in the city.  Colorful murals capture the spirit of Imperial Beach.  Business invested in the beach town’s front door.  The pier is a fixture, and the surrounding area exudes life. Dedina implored those with resources to invest in the city, not just their businesses. Kim Frink Suncoast Co-op “He’s been a great voice for the city.  He really has been driven to bring attention to the problems that we have in our community so he’s very much what I would say is an activist mayor.” Kim Frink says Dedina’s passion for community building and grassroots organizing put him at the forefront of her effort to open a co-op grocery store in a city that didn’t have a supermarket when he took office. But if there is one issue that dominated Dedina’s two terms in office, Frink says it was cross-border sewage. “It’s a serious public health issue and an environmental disaster.  And it really impacts people’s lives. We have this wonderful beach here.  Our kids and our families and our tourists should be able to enjoy it every day. And yet I know in the time that I’ve been here the number of days that it’s closed has really increased.” Dedina has pushed hard to fix an environmental disaster that has pummeled Imperial Beach both of his four-year terms. In 20-18 the city sued the federal government and an emotional Dedina took stock. “Me personally….a very emotional morning for me….vivid memories of taking my kids to the emergency room.  You know, we have little kids here.  Our kids are getting sick.  Our lifeguards are getting sick, sorry, it’s been a long road and a really tough fight.” The lawsuit focused attention on the issue. Other south county governments joined. So did clean water groups. Dedina lobbied federal, state and local officials for a solution as he watched the problem get worse. In April of 2020 he chided public officials for not acting. “The river flow in the Tijuana River should be zero gallons a day during dry weather.  Today it is 60 million gallons a day.  That’s a minimum flow. The entire sewer system in Tijuana has collapsed.  And it appears there are absolutely no efforts underway in Mexico or on the part of the U.S. federal government, the Trump Administration to actually move forward and ask for emergency repairs so we don’t endure an entire summer of polluted beaches.” The first major break came in 2020, when $300 million dollars was included in the USMCA trade deal. Dedina lobbied federal state and local officials. By November of last year Federal officials crafted a $630 million dollar plan to deal with the issue on both sides of the US Mexico border.  Earlier this year Mexico promised to add $147 million dollars to fix Tijuana’s sewage issues.  A solution is finally in sight. “indefatigable. Never ceasing. Constant.” David Gibson is the head of the Regional Water Quality Control Board. David Gibson San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board I think that’s what it took. This issue has been going on for a very long time, so what was different about it now?  I think Serge offered that kind of perspective to elected officials in Mexico as well as in San Diego, and California, and Washington D.C. Gibson says Dedina’s drive and passion for a safe place to surf off the coast of Imperial Beach fueled the change.  It finally has the south county beach town in reach of reopening the ocean waters for recreation.  Dedina says the journey was uniquely Imperial Beach. “This is not anywhere else.  You gotta be cool and funky and grassroots, and community.  And that’s what works here.” Four people are running to replace the incumbent and whoever the next mayor is, will find themselves surfing in Dedina’s wake. Erik Anderson KPBS News

Four seats on the San Diego City Council are up for election this November.

KPBS Midday Edition host Jade Hindmon spoke with KPBS Metro reporter Andrew Bowen about District 2.

He unpacks the race for us.

Let's start with District 2. What are the communities covered by that district, and what are the main issues in the race?

The incumbent in District 2 is Jennifer Campbell. Tell us about who she is.

Campbell's challenger is Linda Lukacs. What's her story?

KPBS’s Andrew Bowen also has an explainer on Measure C from your ballot this fall.

MEASURE C WILL ASK SAN DIEGO VOTERS WHETHER THEY WANT TALLER BUILDINGS IN THE MIDWAY DISTRICT.

HERE'S THAT EXPLAINER.

AB: MORE THAN 56% OF VOTERS ALREADY SAID "YES" TO EXEMPTING THE MIDWAY DISTRICT FROM THE CITY'S 30-FOOT COASTAL HEIGHT LIMIT. BUT THE BALLOT MEASURE'S OPPONENTS SUED THE CITY, ARGUING IT HADN'T CONDUCTED A PROPER ENVIRONMENTAL ANALYSIS. THE CITY LOST ITS INITIAL COURT BATTLE AND IS APPEALING. BY TAKING THE ISSUE BACK TO VOTERS, MEASURE C IS THE CITY’S DE FACTO BACKUP PLAN. DA: MIDWAY IS NOT A BEACH NEIGHBORHOOD. PERIOD. FULL STOP. AB: DIKE ANYIWO LIVES IN THE MIDWAY DISTRICT AND SUPPORTS MEASURE C. HE SAYS MIDWAY SHOULDN'T HAVE THE SAME HEIGHT LIMIT AS TRULY COASTAL NEIGHBORHOODS. AND TO FIGHT THE BLIGHT AND REVITALIZE MIDWAY, HE SAYS PROPERTY OWNERS NEED THE ABILITY TO BUILD TALLER. DA: WITH THIS CURRENT ARTIFICIAL CONSTRAINT THAT WE'VE PUT UPON OURSELVES FOR THE LAST 50 YEARS, THE UNDERLYING ECONOMICS JUST DON'T PENCIL FOR ANY SORT OF DEVELOPMENT AT SCALE. PH: I'M NOT ANTI-DEVELOPMENT. AB: PHILLIP HALPERN IS A RETIRED FEDERAL PROSECUTOR AND MISSION HILLS RESIDENT, WHO OPPOSES MEASURE C. HE SAYS IT'LL MAKE TRAFFIC WORSE. PH: MIDWAY IS NOT A TYPICAL BEACH AREA, THERE'S NO QUESTION ABOUT THAT. BUT WHAT IT IS — IT'S A GATEWAY TO THE BEACH AREA. IT'S THE GATEWAY TO OCEAN BEACH. AB: ALSO AT STAKE WITH MEASURE C IS THE CITY'S REDEVELOPMENT PLANS FOR THE SPORTS ARENA, WHICH WON'T BE FEASIBLE UNLESS THE HEIGHT LIMIT IS LIFTED. ANDREW BOWEN, KPBS NEWS.

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Coming up.... We have some weekend arts events worth checking out. We’ll have that and more, just after the break.

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From now until Sunday, Veterans needing resources can find them all in one place in Vista.

KPBS North County reporter Tania Thorne tells us the details. 

For the 6th year, North County Veterans Stand Down brings resources to Green Oaks Ranch in Vista. Free clothes, food, dental and eye exams, legal aid, and overnight stays... are some of the things available. Matt Foster is president of the event. He says the services can help Veterans resolve problems holding them back. “Theres a lot of veterans that cant get a job because they have a warrant, or they have a ticket, they cant get a drivers license, at this event we can actually clear those charges. We can clear warrants.” Pets are welcome too and can receive veterinary services.The event is open to all veterans in San Diego County until Sunday at noon. TT KPBS News 

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OVER 17-MILLION EARTHQUAKE DRILLS WERE HELD ACROSS AMERICA YESTERDAY FOR THE GREAT AMERICAN SHAKEOUT …

ONE OF THEM HAPPENED AT KATE SESSIONS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL IN SAN DIEGO …

KPBS REPORTER KITTY ALVARADO GOT TO LEARN SOME IMPORTANT INFORMATION ON HOW TO STAY SAFE FROM A CLASS OF THIRD GRADE STUDENTS.

just your typical day inside Mr. Romo’s third grade classroom at Kate Sessions Elementary in San Diego … But it’s October 20th … and in just  a few seconds it will be 10:20 … nat sound bell uh oh what’s that bell what do you guys do?on this day and time 9.6 million people across California are practicing what to do in case of an earthquake. After students, drop, cover and hold on Nat sound alarms …out the door go Once the drill is over students are eager to talk to Mr. Romo about the drill. Eight-year-old I was pretty emotional Eight year old Autumn Case says It’s normal to feel this way that’s why practicing is important You really want to practice it a bunch because it will come unexpectedly Kitty Alvarado KPBS News

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Filmmaker Todd Field has stated that he wrote TÁR specifically for actress Cate Blanchett and if she had turned down the role he would have shelved the project.

KPBS film critic Beth Accomando says fortunately Blanchett accepted the role.

I love movies about unsympathetic characters. Give me a Rupert Pupkin or Daniel Plainview over a Maria Von Trapp or Forrest Gump any day. Which is why I love Todd Field’s TÁR in which a riveting Cate Blanchett plays an arrogant but breathtakingly talented conductor named Lydia Tar. You cannot start without. I start the clock. The film opens with Tar at the pinnacle of her career and then lets us watch her life unravel. It’s an elegant, intensely detailed character study of an artist entirely consumed by her passion for music and her determination to get what she wants no matter the cost. It examines what drives Tar and what an artist like her can survive on. It’s a detached, unflinching portrait that never tells us how to feel or think about Tar, about allegations that arise, or whether we are to interpret the end as a punishment, a tragedy or perhaps proof that all she needs is music no matter what kind or who’s listening. I love a film that consumes us with a complex character and then abandons us in a darkened theater to contemplate what it all means. TÁR is as ruthless, brilliant, maddening, thrilling and stunning as its protagonist. Beth Accomando, KPBS News.

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And before you go…

We have some weekend arts events worth checking out, thanks to KPBS’s Julia Dixon Evans.

The music ensemble Bach Collegium San Diego’ – that we’re listening to– is having two concerts this weekend. The group will be accompanied by four soloists as they perform works by 17th-century, English, Baroque composers.

The first concert is at 7 p-m tomorrow at ‘All Souls Episcopal [EPIS-CO-PAL] Church’ in Point Loma… and Sunday’s concert will be at ‘Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church’ in Cardiff at 7 p-m.

Plus, there’s a visual art exhibition happening outdoors this weekend.

It’s part of the ongoing Park Social initiative from the City of San Diego's arts commission.

The exhibit is a community photo lab called “Floating Photo Studios.”

Attendees will fly a camera-kite and snap an aerial photo.

At the end of the project, the photos will become a community archive that will be distributed to all the participants as postcards.

It’s happening tomorrow from 2 to 5 p-m at Hilltop Community Park in Rancho Peñasquitos.

You can find more details about the arts events mentioned, and more, at kpbs-dot-org-slash-arts.

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That’s it for the podcast today. This podcast was produced by KPBS news editor Joe Guerin and Producer Emilyn Mohebbi. We’d like to thank KPBS reporter John Carroll for helping out. As always you can find more San Diego news online at KPBS dot org. I’m Debbie Cruz. Thanks for listening and have a great weekend.

Imperial Beach residents will welcome a new mayor to city hall in January, as Mayor Serge Dedina returns to his environmental activism roots. In other news, Veterans needing resources can find them all in one place in Vista this weekend. Plus, we have some weekend arts events worth checking out.