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The Mayor’s Corner

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Posted: Friday, October 11, 2019 4:38 pm

Symphony by the Sea, held on Saturday, Oct. 5, was a wonderful evening at the Portwood Pier Plaza. With one of the largest audiences ever against the backdrop of a gorgeous technicolor sunset, the SDSU Symphony Orchestra and Wind Symphony treated Imperial Beach to inspiring music. The evening also included a very well received intermission performance by the Mar Vista High School Band. Symphony Orchestra Conductor Michael Gerdes opened the evening with Beethoven’s “Egmont Overture” in honor of the 250th anniversary of the German composer’s birth. Then graduate student’s from SDSU’s Musical Theatre program (one of only a handful in the country), performed songs by Oscar, Grammy and Emmy award winning composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim including “Take Me to the World,” “Being Alive” and “Moments in the Woods.”

After the intermission and performance by the Mar Vista Band, Wind Symphony Conductor Shannon Kitelinger took the audience on a rousing and inspiring musical tour that included The “Jedi Steps and Finale” by John Williams, “For the Fallen” by Onsby Rose (guest conducted by United States Marine Corps Conductor Mark Pellon), “Within our Reach” by Carl Holmquist (who guest conducted his new piece that included excerpts from President Obama’s speeches) and a rendition of “America the Beautiful” by Ray Charles featuring the singing of SDSU undergrad Uriah Brown. Then like every year, the Wind Symphony brought the crowd to their feet with the “Armed Forces Salute” and John Phillips Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes Forever.” Thanks especially to the SDSU Arts Alive Program and the Port of San Diego and SDG&E for their generous support of the Symphony by the Sea. Supporting the arts is so critical for improving the quality of life for all and I hope that we can continue to seek out the partners that can help Imperial Beach to provide even more arts programming throughout our friendly little beach town.

On Sept. 24, I attended a meeting at the White House with Coronado Mayor Richard Bailey, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, County Supervisor Greg Cox and Port of San Diego Commission Chair Admiral Gary Bonnelli to ask for funding in President Trump’s budget to stop cross border sewage flows from reaching our beaches. We met with William Crozier, Deputy Director, White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs; Mary Neumayer, Chairwoman, Council on Environmental Quality; Chad McIntosh, Assistant Administrator, EPA’s Office of International and Tribal Affairs; and Brian McCormack, Associate Director for National Resources, Energy & Science with the Office of Management and Budget.

At the meeting we discussed the significant impact that cross border pollution has on the quality of life, public health and economic activity in Imperial Beach, Coronado and south San Diego as well the well documented impacts to Border Patrol Agents and Naval installations and personnel in Imperial Beach and Coronado. I am thankful that we have such a strong leadership team throughout San Diego to advocate for clean beaches. I am hopeful that the Trump Administration will allocate funding to build diversion infrastructure on the U.S. side of the border. Meanwhile we will continue to forcefully push Mexican authorities to invest in upgrading their collapsing sewage infrastructure. This week Senator Diane Feinstein announced that $20 million will be allocated to invest in solving the border pollution crisis, but much more is needed from the White House (the budget is established by the President as prescribed in the Budget and Accounting Act of 1921 and subsequent federal legislation). That is why it was necessary to have a representative of the Office of Management and Budget at the meeting.

It is critical that we continue to strongly push for an all of the above strategy to secure funding for the construction and repair of sewage and diversion infrastructure on both sides of the border. Having a robust and active coalition to push for solutions is absolutely necessary in this essential effort to secure a clean and bright future for Imperial Beach.

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