Finding Fault in Downtown San Diego + A Red Hot DA Race = San Diego Summarized | 5-7-18
Welcome to San Diego Summarized where each week we examine headlines from around the city:
Last week we looked at some of the more colorful responses to the new NFL renderings that San Diego State University put out amidst it bid to capture the Mission Valley SDCCU Stadium site for its own purposes, but this week we kick off with a rather disturbing story that KPBS ran that outlines a rather distressing occurrence.
According to the KPBS story, San Diego government agencies discovered an active earthquake fault nearly 10 years ago under the Central Embarcadero on the downtown waterfront, yet they didn’t alert the public, the state, or the company currently undertaking a billion-dollar redevelopment of the land.
Apparently, the individuals who headed up the two agencies involved in the initial investigation, a geologist with San Diego’s Development Services Department and the president of the San Diego Unified Port District felt that it wasn’t their responsibility to alert the state or the public, nor did they feel any obligation to alert any of the parties who bid to redevelop the area that includes the Seaport Village site.
Since there is no law requiring such a disclosure, our villains are factually accurate.
The downtown fault was rediscovered in 2017 by the land’s current developer, Yehudi Gaffen, who proposes to reshape the Central Embarcadero with parks, hotels, an aquarium, a revived commercial fishing industry and other improvements. Gaffen estimates the geological testing and plan changes to avoid building on the fault have cost close to a million dollars.
inewsource interviewed three independent geologists for this story. All said evidence of the waterfront fault was available long before 2008 in state and consultant data — but no one wanted to look at it comprehensively.
The story goes much deeper than the 30 or so feet deep that the fault lies, but a few things stick out.
“It is a cover-up,” said Mark Legg, president of Legg Geophysical, Inc. in Huntington Beach.
“It’s a very contentious issue,” he said. “There’s big dollars behind it, there’s big government behind it, there’s all sorts of egos behind it.”
“There really needs to be a major, thorough investigative report on this type of cover-up,” Legg said. “It’s not just San Diego — though San Diego just seems to be one where it’s blatant.”
Allegations of a cover-up are nothing to sniff at. The story goes on to lay a pretty solid foundation for why the landscape is what it is when it comes to the scientific geological community, and also references several historic moments at which earthquakes and suspected earthquakes have been covered up by the powers that be.
Clearly this isn't a problem that is unique to San Diego, but it remains no less a problem that information was concealed that could have prevented time, energy and money from being wasted. Luckily, it isn't the end of this specific project.
“It's not a show stopper by any means,” Gaffen said. “It's just the nature of where we live.”
Elsewhere, the Voice of San Diego Podcast featured a recap of the debate featuring Summer Stephen and Geneviéve Jones-Wright’s race for the District Attorney seat, before closing with an interview with Omar Passons, a North Parkian who seeks to replace termed-out Ron Roberts in the 4th District of the County Board of Supervisors.
UPDATE: On Monday Passons was endorsed in his race by the San Diego Union Tribune Editorial Board. Kind of a big deal.
The District Attorney race is easily the lowest profile yet simultaneously most meaningful race set to be decided in the primaries, and there is absolutely zero love lost between Stephen and Jones-Wright. Barbed words have been bandied back and forth for months now, and with just four weeks and a few days to go until the primary, this narrative will likely only intensify. Stephen was endorsed by the SDUT Editorial Board on Sunday. Also kind of a big deal.
Also, if you've somehow missed it, the Chronicles of San Diego Podcast is a thing. In the latest episode I sat down with Bernhard Schroeder, Director of the Lavin Entrepreneurship Center at San Diego State University. People are LOVING this episode. Enjoy!
Questions? Comments? Concerns? Leave a comment below and join the conversation.