Ruth DeSantis, president of University City Community Foundation (UCCF), provides background information and a status update on the lawsuit filed by UCCF to move the routing for the Pure Water Project pipelines away from the heart of Clairemont and University City (away from Clairemont Drive, Clairemont Mesa Boulevard and Genesee Avenue). This information was orginally posted on Nextdoor in a slightly different format.
In early 2018, the president of University City Community Association (UCCA) Barry Bernstein and I, as president of University City Community Foundation (UCCF) d/b/a Improve UC, joined forces with several of our board members to lobby all 9 City Councilmembers to delay the vote and move the routing for the Pure Water Project.
We were joined in several of our meetings by Clairemont Town Council members Morey Rahimi and Roseline Feral and we all spent time down at City Hall pleading with City Council on this matter. We were able to get only one Clairemont Planning Group (CPG) member to join us in our crusade and he had to attend as an individual because the planning group didn’t want to take an official position opposing the alignment.
I post this publicly because the power to object to the alignment was with our Planning Groups (PG) and the Clairemont PG was silent on this matter. It was frustrating. The Planning Groups for each community are supposed to be the voice for the residents and they are the group that the City recognizes as their “advisor group”. The Clairemont Town Council board also refused to oppose the alignment. Clairemont residents should direct their comments and frustrations to their representatives on their Clairemont Planning Group and the Clairemont Town Council.
[Please refer to Editor’s Note below for an update related to its position on the Pure Water alignment from Eden Yaege, Clairemont Town Council immediate past president.]*
The University City community was unified in their opposition to the alignment. The University Community Planning Group (UCPG) wrote a lengthy letter, endorsed by UCCA, in opposition to the pipeline route and met with our City Councilmember Barbara Bry on this as well. When the vote was taken and the project was approved by the City Council, UCCF, which is supposed to undertake community improvement projects, was thrust into the role of advocacy as we scrambled to raise enough money to file a lawsuit to try to stop the project from coming through our community.
When our communities are threatened, we must band together as a showing of force and vocal opposition makes a difference. University City alone was not enough to make an impact. I share this in the hope that more people will attend a planning group meeting or a town council meeting in the future. Read the newsletter that University City Community Association publishes because there is valuable information in every issue. The print version can always be found at the Starbucks, the Recreation Center, and the Community Library, all on Governor Drive, and is posted online at https://www.universitycitynews.org/ucca-newsletter-archives/
There are a small handful of community watchdogs in University City and Clairemont and all we can do is sound the alarm. It takes YOU to help us effect change. We simply are not as effective if we don’t have your support. And sadly, that’s what the developers and City are often hoping for; our complacency and apathy.
The one good thing that came out of our crusade was the formation of Working Groups for the Pure Water project. There is a working group for each area where the pipeline will be placed. Each group is comprised of residents who expressed concern over the pipeline. In these groups we had a chance to review construction details and try to effect changes for safer construction. The Water Department has been good about adopting many of our requests. These working group meetings are open to the public and lots of information can be found on the water department website at https://www.sandiego.gov/public-utilities/sustainability/pure-water-sd
The next University City Working Group meeting date will also be posted on our UCCF website at https://uccfsd.org/ and on the City’s website at https://www.sandiego.gov/public-utilities/sustainability/pure-water-sd/information/working-groups as soon as they are announced.
Back to the lawsuit: there is a hearing scheduled in January. Because this is an active/pending lawsuit, there’s not a lot of public discussion. It is true that this project will proceed and construction will begin in 2019, despite the fact that there is a lawsuit pending. We are fighting a battle against Goliath. It will not be the last.
Ruth DeSantis can be contacted through the ‘contact us’ link at https://uccfsd.org/
*Editor’s note: UCCA received an update on 1/3/2019 from Eden Yaege, Clairemont Town Council immediate past president: Before City Council took their vote (in April), the CTC wrote a formal opposition to the Pure Water pipeline route and sent it to the City Councilmembers. The CTC also posted information about the Pure Water Project on their Facebook page, sent the information out via multiple newsletters and addressed it in a number of CTC General Meetings.
For more information at CTC, visit https://www.clairemontonline.com/
For more information about Pure Water from University City News, visit https://www.universitycitynews.org/?s=pure+water