Rethinking the Tijuana River Valley with Serge Dedina


Manage episode 290714300 series 2899812
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This week, Kate introduces a conversation between C3 Board Director and Government Relations Professional Denise Price and Serge Dedina. Serge is the current mayor of Imperial Beach, California and Executive Director of Wildcoast, a non-profit environmentalist group. The two speak about the sensitive environmental systems that span the U.S.-Mexico Border and connect our two binational neighbors. Serge discusses the significance of binational coordination and cooperation on environmental policy, the biggest challenges we are currently facing, and some possible solutions for a cleaner and healthier environment.


[1:52] Serge Dedina, the Mayor of the City of Imperial Beach, grew up there and spent his childhood helping to preserve the Tijuana Estuary as a National Wildlife Refuge. Serge has worked on water quality issues in the San Diego-Tijuana region since 1980.

[2:30] While there are many benefits of shared wildlife, the Tijuana River and Estuary heavily struggles with transborder pollution and waste management.

[3:13] Serge is impressed by the leadership both in San Diego and Mexico to double down on cross-border cultural, economic, and climate issues and take them seriously. It is very apparent that something must be done about the raw sewage being dumped into the water.

[5:29] It takes a special kind of skill set to work in politics in these binational cities, as every day something has changed and it’s a brand new challenge. Leaders must have patience and be able to deal with informality and a lot of gray areas.

[8:25] Serge speaks about the daily pollution and waste problem we face at the Tijuana River Valley. It’s a big problem, and there is nothing else like it in North America. It’s gone on for way too long, and there needs to be a solution. Raw sewage and toxic chemicals can end up polluting the coastline, along with a tsunami of trash.

[14:43] One long-term solution may be monetizing the proper removal of sewage and making sure our focus is water reuse.

[15:40] When we talk about environmental justice issues, we tend to frame things as problems rather than solutions. Serge speaks about focusing on the solution that brings a liveable, breathable functional place for all citizens at the border, not just the 1%.

[17:10] A shared ecosystem would work best for everyone to have clean air and clean water. That should be what every elected official should focus on. Serge points to the urban river parkways that have been doing well in other cities such as Austin, and the possibility that they may work here as well.

About C-3

In its 60 years of existence, Citizens Coordinate for Century 3 (C-3) has brought together local thought leaders from planning, design, policy, academia, community development, and more to address our region’s distinctive and pressing land use challenges. In founding C-3 almost 60 years ago, architect Lloyd Ruocco’s vision was to bring together our region’s most creative minds from the arts, sciences, academia, and government to share ideas, learn new perspectives, and build fellowship around the idea of creating livable communities.

Opportunities for Advocacy and Engagement:

Mayor Serge Dedina


Tijuana Estuary


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