CITY BUDGET IGNORES HEALTH ISSUE
The first fly appeared in my kitchen at the beginning of May sending a signal that summer is about to begin. It’s our San Diego version of the swallows returning to Capistrano for the season.
Why is that important? Because a day later I read that Mayor Faulkner had cut the $80,000 budget item for the extra weekly trash removal from Mission Beach. That means if the service is not restored between July 1 and Labor Day, Mission Beach will again be overrun by swarms of flies.
Why does this happen in Mission Beach and not necessarily in other city areas during the summer? The simple answer is the winter population of Mission Beach is 6,000 increasing to 20,000 during the peak summer months. The winter residents are more careful in how they handle their trash by using the recyclable containers and keeping the disposable material securely bound in plastic bags.
A large number of the summer residents who are here temporarily for a week or two accumulate an incredible amount of trash including food products that they don’t take home. Consequently, without always proper recycling and or container protection, the trash is dumped to overfilling. This is aggravated by the regular turnover of short-term renters on Saturday morning when the trash is not picked up until Tuesday morning by the city.
In the meantime the dumpster divers roam the narrow alleys of Mission Beach seeking recyclable metal cans and plastic. Due to the overfill conditions in the containers by Saturday afternoon, the plastic trash bags have been cut open and are spilling the contents onto the ground while the overstuffed containers are left with lid open.
Enter the flies. As the weather warms they swarm to these open containers and lay their eggs that breed very quickly, and voilà there are swarms of flies everywhere in the Mission Beach area. This is not good for the important tourist business as visitors find siting outside for a meal is very unappealing with their food covered with flies.
The situation is even more drastic when you consider the health hazard of what these flies carry to your food inside and outside.
Tourism is an important business for San Diego. The annual report prepared by Dean Runyan Associates shows travel spending in San Diego County for 2016 to be $15 billion which in turn produces $543 million in tax revenues and 140,300 jobs. How can the mayor ignore the damage the flies create to spoil America’s Greatest City. Why not take that $80,000 extra trash day out of the taxes paid by tourists on their hotel bill?
I know why. City officials think it is unjust to give Mission Beach an extra trash day each week. I bet Hillcrest and Kensington do not have swarms of flies in the summer. So if the summer tourists create the problem and we want tourists, the problem needs attention.
Another source of funds is the ridiculous combing of the beach area so often during the winter when no one uses the beach. I know, we have to keep those city union workers busy with their huge equipment screening for cigarette butts when smoking is not allowed on the beach. It seems the fly infestation is more critical for Mission Beach maintenance.
Let’s hope the local community groups are successful in their protests and the City Council listens. Maybe Mayor Faulkener could spend a week during July in Mission Beach. It ain’t like Point Loma!