Trust Between Southeastern San Diego Flood Survivors and Local Government Is Dead

Flooded residents of the Southcrest, Shelltown and Mountain View neighborhoods of San Diego say they’ve been abandoned by the city and county and some say politicians are trying to drive them out to inflate real estate prices.

Will Huntsberry at the Voice of San Diego:

The flood waters have receded, but in these southeastern San Diego neighborhoods a crisis of trust is now ripping through the streets. From block to block the narrative is the same: City officials knew for years the flood canals were clogged and did nothing to clean them. After the floods, city leaders didn’t jump into action to provide relief; it was neighbors and homegrown nonprofits.

The residents of these historically Black and Latino neighborhoods can draw but two conclusions. At best, city leaders don’t care if they are forced from their homes. At worst, city leaders want them gone.

In other words, city leaders purposefully allowed Shelltown, Southcrest and Mountain View to flood, so that other people could take the land.

City officials, of course, have offered many explanations for why they never cleaned Chollas Creek. The amount of money for stormwater improvement is dangerously low. Certain environmental regulations were hard to get around. They have also said the amount of rain was so severe that cleaning the canals would not have stopped the floods. But none of this has resonated with the flood survivors. Would so many calls for a channel to be cleaned have gone unanswered in La Jolla they wonder?

Now, they are all forced to watch as the fabric of their community is torn apart.

Jessica Calix adored her neighbors in Southcrest. She rented a two-bedroom for $1,650 per month — unheard of in today’s rental market. Now, she’s stuck in a motel, searching for a new place. She can barely find a studio apartment in the same price range.

That’s bad for her and other renters, Calix said. But it’s good for landlords.

“Landlords will clean their places up and rent them for an extra thousand dollars or more now,” Calix said.

Roughly 70 percent of people in Shelltown, Southcrest and Mountain View are renters, according to US Census data.

And it’s not just renters being pushed out, according to the rumors going around. Stories of cheap cash offers for waterlogged houses are also making the rounds.

Rain and possible flooding is forecast to start again in a few hours and continue two days.