Imperial Beach mayor praises pandemic response, says sewage crisis ‘needs to stop’

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IMPERIAL BEACH, Calif. – Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina delivered his State of the City address Monday night, hitting on issues related to the pandemic and longstanding efforts to address the Tijuana River sewage crisis.

“As we move forward in recovery, public safety in Imperial Beach will be at the front and center of everything we do,” Dedina said.

Dedina called Imperial Beach a model for addressing the pandemic. He noted that more than $120,000 in small grants were handed out to help struggling businesses. The mayor also recognized health officials and first responders who “sacrificed time with family and put themselves in harm’s way to protect all of us.”

“The City Council adopted the first financial preparation and recovery plan in the county and one of the first testing and vaccination sites in the county opened in I.B.,” he said.

The mayor highlighted the award-winning I.B. Boulevard Enhancement Project and commended the city for lowering its crime rate by 6.8 percent.

According to Dedina, Imperial Beach firefighters responded to 2,892 calls in 2020 and helped battled wildfires in the state, including the 16,390-acre Valley Fire which burned for much of September in East County.

Additionally, he said lifeguards conducted 15,346 preventative water safety actions, 149 water rescues, 216 medical aids and gave 28,000 enforcement warnings.

Turning to the sewage crisis, Dedina said the city is working at the local, state, federal and international level to put an end to the decades-long pollution to city beaches from raw sewage flowing into the ocean from the Tijuana River Valley.

Funding includes $300 million from the EPA for long-term fixes and $15 million from the state.

“There’s no excuse for any government or any country to ever discharge raw sewage and toxic waste in our waterways and onto our beaches,” he said. “There’s no excuse for it. It needs to stop, and we will continue to push harder than ever to make this happen.”

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