Coronado Must Apologize To Imperial Beach - Coronado Eagle & Journal | Coronado News | Coronado Island News: Opinion

Coronado Must Apologize To Imperial Beach

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Posted: Thursday, June 13, 2019 2:29 pm

A couple weeks ago Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina was quoted during an interview with KPBS as saying the City of Coronado “has done nothing to help solve” our regional transborder sewage crisis. Due to a non-disparagement clause (paragraph 6.1) of the Reimbursement Agreement between Coronado and IB, such public criticism about Coronado’s approach to cross-border sewage is prohibited, and Mayor Dedina issued several public apologies within 48 hours (e.g., in the San Diego Union Tribune, in the Coronado Eagle & Journal, on social media, and in a letter to Coronado Mayor Richard Bailey).

At the IBWC Citizens Forum last week, Coronado Councilman Whitney Benzian presented several slides to the audience (with several media outlets in attendance) explaining why Coronado pursued a “diplomatic approach” to the sewage crisis. One of the slides detailed the “pros” and “cons” of joining a sewage lawsuit, with only one “pro” and five “cons.” IB Councilman Ed Spriggs who was in attendance took umbrage with the slide, and suggested if Coronado wanted to maintain a good relationship with IB, they should not publicly point out the negative aspects of litigation by using the term “cons.” Per the non-disparagement clause, “both the City of Imperial Beach and the City of Coronado, and each of its elected officials… shall refrain from written or oral comments that in any way will publicly criticize the other with regard to its strategies of dealing with cross-border sewage issues.” Given that IB Mayor Dedina apologized to Coronado for his criticism of Coronado’s perceived inaction to solve the sewage crisis, Councilman Benzian and/or the City of Coronado should similarly issue an apology to Imperial Beach for publicly criticizing IB’s litigation strategy of dealing with cross-border sewage issues.

Perhaps after Coronado publicly apologizes to Imperial Beach, either Coronado or IB might consider terminating the Reimbursement Agreement along with its related gag order, as pursuant to paragraph 4.2 either party may terminate the agreement without cause with 15 days written notice to the other. Our regional transborder sewage crisis is the biggest environmental issue facing our region, and our local elected officials in Coronado and IB should be able to aggressively advocate for their constituents without any infringement of their First Amendment rights.

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