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Director Gastelum Censured by Otay Water District Over Racist Social Media Posts

Hector Gastelum has been censured by the Otay Water District Board of Directors for posting controversial comments on social media. Again.

In 2017, the water district censured Gastelum and removed him from all committees because of a tweet that described Muslim people as “subhuman scum.”

This time, Gastelum’s censure is the consequence of a racist post criticizing the Black Lives Matter movement.

Money to Repair Central Valley Canal in House Bill. A Large Funding Gap Remains

South San Joaquin Valley farmers have a reason to celebrate this week: Democratic leaders in the House of Representatives appropriated $200 million to fix the Friant-Kern Canal. Rep. Marcy Kaptur, Chairwoman of the House Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee, attributed the allocation to the advocacy of Rep. T.J. Cox.

350 Facilities Skip Reporting Water Pollution Under Temporary EPA Rule

More than 350 facilities nationwide have taken advantage of a temporary Environmental Protection Agency rule that lets companies forgo monitoring their water pollution during the pandemic.

Opinion: Affordability Must Be a Priority as California Charts a Course for Economic Recovery

There’s no doubt California has been hard hit by the recession caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The state’s unemployment rate is north of 15% and millions of households are struggling to pay their bills, whether it be the monthly rent or mortgage, a car payment or their utility bills.

San Diego County Water Authority Priced into a Market Eager for California Paper

The San Diego County Water Authority’s decision to do a forward delivery on one of two series for a $400 million refunding paid off with the water wholesaler realizing $67.4 million in savings.

The Water Authority decided to explore what has become a more frequent option used by issuers since tax-exempt advance refundings were eliminated by the 2017 federal tax bill with the aim of realizing greater savings for ratepayers, said Lisa Marie Harris, the water authority’s finance director.

Co-lead managers B of A Securities and Loop Capital Markets priced Wednesday a $283.5 million series and $117.7 million series of water revenue refunding bonds. Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP is bond counsel. Montague DeRose and Associates LLC and Acacia Financial Group are co-municipal advisors.

Water Utility Hero of the Week, LaMont Foster, Santa Fe Irrigation District

Editor’s Note: This feature highlights water utility employees in the San Diego region working during the coronavirus pandemic to ensure a safe, reliable and plentiful water supply. The water industry is among the sectors that are classified as essential. LaMont Foster, Santa Fe Irrigation District Utility Worker I, is the Water Utility Hero of the Week.

Opinion: Imperial County, the COVID-19 Epicenter

Even as a boy, I knew there was something unusual, even other-worldly, about living in the Imperial Valley.

We seemed so isolated, more connected to Mexico than California. In fact the valley’s largest city was Mexicali, just across the border, and we’d often walk across for cheap restaurant food. It was an hours-long, 100-mile automobile drive through treeless, boulder-strewn mountains to San Diego, the nearest California city of any size.

IID Files Opening Brief in Petition to Suspend DCP

Imperial Irrigation District made the first notable follow-up to its petition to hit the brakes on the Lower Basin Drought Contingency Plan for the Colorado River with an opening brief filed Wednesday.

IID originally filed the petition in Superior Court of Los Angeles County on April 18, 2019. The petition calls on the court to suspend approvals and actions related to the Lower Basin Drought Contingency Plan until such time an appropriate analysis of Metropolitan Water District of Southern California’s commitment to the plan has been completed in accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act.

Mexico Says Help Is On The Way For Communities Suffering From Cross Border Pollution Flows

Mexican officials say there may be relief soon for San Diego South Bay residents living with massive daily sewage flows from Tijuana.

The sewage-tainted flows routinely hit 25 million gallons a day. Some days earlier this year, the flow topped 70 million gallons.

Binational ‘Meeting of the Minds’ on TRV Contamination

California State Senator Ben Hueso (D-San Diego) convened a half-day meeting at the South Bay International Wastewater Treatment Plant on July 9, 2020 between officials from both sides of the border to discuss the binational efforts that are underway to stem the flow of toxic wastewater in the Tijuana River Valley.