Andrew Hamlin 11 a.m., Dec. 6
City council rejects a settlement offer to resume dredging projects in the Tijuana River Valley
The City of San Diego isn't ready to give up in their fight against San Diegans for Open Government over dredging projects in the Tijuana River Valley.
Today, more than five months after Judge Timothy Taylor halted work in the valley after the City failed to meet CEQA guidelines, City Attorney Jan Goldsmith responded to the settlement agreement submitted by the plaintiff in the case, San Diegans for Open Government.
Goldsmith didn't pass up the opporunity to take a dig at his opponent:
"Normally, settlement discussion are in private, in fact, there are some principles in the law to keep them confidential. But I've gotten used to practicing law in a fishbowl. It doesn't bother me. If they make their settlement public, we'll give our response in public. I'm ok with that."
Goldsmith then went on to read council's response.
*"Dear Mr. Briggs,
I am writing on behalf of the city council in response to your proposal. We were heartened to see Ian Trowbridge appear before city council yesterday to express sympathy for those residents of the Tijuana River Valley. it is nice to see some sensitivity. We agree that removing your litigation as an obstacle to the City's effort to protect these folks from the risk of flooding is the right thing to do. In the spirit of cooperation, we propose that both sides promptly appear in front of Judge Taylor to request the City be permitted to conduct stormwater maintenance work in the Tijuana River Valley channels before February 2013, in order to reduce the risk to residents. This makes sense even though the City has completed an environmental impact report for this area. We suggest that the issue of attorney's fees be left to the court. We hope this will be acceptable as a step toward mutual cooperation..."*
The letter shows that city councilmembers not only rejected the proposed settlement offer but also failed to admit any wrongdoing in obtaining the necessary environmental reports.
The attorney for San Diegans for Open Government, Cory Briggs, says Judge Taylor can meet as soon as Monday morning, in the final hours before he leaves for a month-long trip.
"We have confirmed that the judge is available to see the parties Monday morning, said Briggs in a phone interview. "It is now up to the city to schedule the meeting since it is at their request."
If the meeting does not happen then all residents of the Tijuana River Valley can do is hope for a dry winter.
More like this:
- Attorneys Gonzalez and Briggs reap big settlement from City of San Diego — Oct. 8, 2013
- Dredging of sediment begins in Tijuana River Valley — Oct. 2, 2013
- New lawsuit challenges Todd Gloria's pledge to open government — May 17, 2013
- Dredging to begin in Tijuana River Valley — Feb. 9, 2013
- Council faced with decision on dredging in Tijuana River Valley — Oct. 8, 2012