Sent: Tuesday, May 22, 2007 6:34 AM
Subject: Fwd: hard times in S. D., almost no news from Mexico
I worry about my cousins in San Diego, and don't hear much very often. At least they are all still alive.The water problem is really really bad, and looks to get worse. Figures, I guess, big city in what's basically a near-desert, now suffering constant water interruptions from power outages and pump breakdowns. In the summer heat waves, homeless and poor folks were getting sick and even dying; first from heatstroke and dehydration, later from sickness caused by the free-lance tanker trucks selling water around town. Turns out it was non-potable irrigation water, and to make things worse, some of the tanker trucks had been carrying chemicals, and never got properly cleaned out.
Most people can't wash clothes but once a week, if that, and a shower is a luxury. Sponge baths are positively patriotic now, and the use of umbrellas while walking in the sun is the new fashion statement.
People are planning winter gardens and praying for winter rain, but right now everything is brown, dead and dusty, except for the occasional backyard lemon or avocado tree which gets lovingly tended. Fresh produce is pretty expensive, cause it mostly has to be brought in, (the big growers in the valley north and east still get all the water and deisel they need of course), so the diet is pretty starchy, but at least nobody has to worry about needing heat in the coming winter.
The big push has been to put in residential rainwater collection and storage systems and try to get priority freight approved to bring in composting toilets. Standard toilets and sewer systems use a LOT of water and San Diego just can't plan on being able do it that way anymore.I guess some of the local politicians and citizen's groups are trying to woo one of the composting toilet companies to put a manufacturing plant in one of the abandoned port facility warehouses, so there's a local supply without all the shipping. They already placed a huge order so they can put them in the green shelters.
Solar energy is such a natural there that there are already a number of outlets around and of course they're going like gangbusters now, and expanding. Pete had a friend in the business and was lucky enough to get a job with him when the real estate market tanked.
Except for during the heat waves and when the smoke was really bad from the wildfires, there's been a steady stream of low-skill latinos heading through to the border. The INS buses showed at the border every few hours day and night in July and August to drop off passengers to walk over the border too, but lately the exodus has slowed. Of course there's precious little food and water in Tijuana, but at least Mexico has a good network of long-haul bus lines, and rumor has it that Pemex (the Mexican national oil company) provided free diesel to all the routes taking folks south from the border town til two weeks ago and forced the companies to lower their fares accordingly on those lines.