“Every lie told incurs a debt to the truth and sooner or later that debt is paid” – Valery Legasov. Sobering words from the Chernobyl scientist best known for investigating that disaster and mitigating further catastrophe. I agree. The number one rule in my former profession was tell the truth and tell it early. So let’s do that.

Campaigns are in full swing and the voices of misinformation are loud. Midterm voting is in a few short weeks. Malevolent clowns feel safe online, smearing from behind fake accounts, or ugly-posting from anonymous websites. They delight in dishing up their standard stew; toxic bits of half-truths mixed with a slew of falsehoods. IB residents deserve so much better than this. We need to cut through the noise and practice ethical communication. Time to level up.

Some truth. Imperial Beach is a small town whose voice has grown strong in the region over the last two decades thanks to the hard work of several city councils. IB’s voice is now a recognized leader in regional, national and bi-national discussions concerning our beaches, ocean and the biodiversity of South Bay San Diego’s coastline. It is vital we pull together as a community and continue to support the city’s widely accepted science-based approaches to our largest concerns.

More truth. IB is always in fiscal competition with many towns across the region, state and nation for limited resources. Significant funding has finally arrived to address our critical environmental needs thanks to the diligent work of our current council and regional partners. IB residents have identified our environment as a priority, and we’re all seeing the effects of climate change: changing weather patterns, droughts, firestorms, rising seas. All citizens know that planning and adapting to our future is a necessary component of every responsible public agency’s plans. It’s become basic public safety.

Important truth. We now have $300M in federal funding to expand facilities and treat increased inflows entering the South Bay International Wastewater Treatment Plant, and our current council also negotiated a huge commitment from Mexico of $140M for Punta Bandera upgrades to manage larger volume. This funding is set to repair, increase capacity, treat and process sewage in order to ensure outflows entering the ocean continue to meet Clean Water Act standards. Outflows will be constantly monitored, using the same processes and meeting the same standards as the Pt. Loma facility to the north.

The $300M federal investment to expand facilities is expected to decrease beach closures by 60%. Subsequent Punta Bandera upgrades with the $140M are expected to further decrease summer beach closures up to 90%.

Relevant truth. At the Candidate’s Forum, candidates McKay, Nakatawase and Seabury, stated they do not respect, nor support, the well-documented science-backed research of IB’s proposed updated Local Coastal Plan (LCP). These candidates support changing direction to ideology unsupported by widely-held science. These unsupported theories from a few non-science voices are not only dangerous for residents but could doom IB to a loss of public infrastructure attention and major credibility loss among serious stakeholders.

The three candidates above stated that, not only did they not support aspects of the LCP, but that it was merely authored by “people behind desks.” Nothing could be further from the truth. The LCP is available on the City’s website and the City staff practiced a high level of due diligence, listening to, and including residents in its completion. In addition, the work of nearly 50 scientists, engineers, universities and agencies went into the SLR (Sea Level Rise) and LCP documents. These candidates not only made false statements about the creation and contents of the City’s LCP, but stated they would subject it to more reviews and would purchase new studies to “find out the truth” if elected.

Two of these candidates (McKay, Nakatawase) have roles in the small nonprofit, (Citizens for Coastal Conservancy, C4CC), relationships they’ve hidden from the public. The members of this group are undiscoverable from its website and it takes a search of the OAG (Office of the Attorney General) to find them. Nakatawase’s husband, Leon Benham is Executive Director. C4CC is unsupported by scientific facts, and is in opposition to the City’s LCP developed by several councils over the last decades. C4CC ideas are also in opposition to other widely established environmental groups such as Surfrider Foundation, and in opposition to the city and regional partners direction on the International Wastewater Treatment Plant upgrades.

It may sound less than neighborly to expose C4CC. Uncovering things isn’t pretty and I’ll likely take some flak. Fact is however, truth is truth and it is less than neighborly these candidates weren’t forthcoming about this relevant information. This is purely a business decision. We are hiring people to work for us. Everything mentioned is readily available for anyone to research. As voters, it’s up to us to select the most qualified people to work on our behalf. It’s critical we hire transparent, strong leaders that will represent us well regionally while we also expect them to pay attention to our street-by-street issues.

Being a city leader is not easy. Like many jobs, it takes people that honestly want to serve, have a passion for the work, are willing to listen to experts and residents, get along well with others, and can hold their own in all situations. The following candidates are the strongest contenders to keep IB moving forward: PALOMA AGUIRRE for Mayor; ANNA WEBB for District 3 and JEN CRUMLEY for District 1. They are strong, experienced, transparent. They love this town and are who they say they are.

And what do we need most of all? Most of all, we need those that tell the truth, all of it. Because that debt always comes due anyway. Let’s cut through the noise and keep LEVELING UP IB. We deserve the best.

Vol. 38, No. 37 - Thursday, Sept. 15, 2022

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