Our Readers Write: Earthquakes, Faults, and Misguided Development in San Diego

by Eleanora Robbins (La Mesa)


Italy isn’t the only place making dumb decisions over earthquake prediction. Here in San Diego, never-ending broken utility lines and stinky sewers are occurring because our local and state government officials have suspended their responsibility for oversight of development on known and suspected faults downtown.

Surprisingly, the City and Port of San Diego actually funded studies of downtown faults but refuse to release them. The reason? They probably don’t want to turn down potential development money and the resulting property taxes. Even non-geologists can see the cracks in the asphalt and cement adjacent to the Navy Broadway Complex and Tailgate Park. Geologists like myself see that the cracks have a distinctive pattern, thereby displaying the traces of some of these unmapped faults.

The most important unmapped fault is the onshore extension of the Coronado fault that projects right into the Navy Broadway Complex. This is where Doug Manchester has decided to build high rise buildings, right on liquefiable soils. The Navy made the same decision for their new west coast headquarters.

I want written acknowledgement from the developers, the City, the Port, and the Navy that they are not going to request taxpayer money to fix all the structural damage that is going to follow the small and large earthquakes that occur here. We are already being soaked for the never-ending breakage of downtown sewer and water lines that supposedly were built to last 100 years, but keep getting broken where they cross these unmapped faults.

Any judges want to tackle this issue like they did in Italy?




  1. avatarbob dorn says

    Do we remember that part of Soledad Mountain that slid downhill and took months of road closing to shore up the site? Or, all those near eastern suburbs north of I-8 where vast subdivisions popped up on liquid soil? Nope. Downtown? Trouble with an uncertain bottom? No problem, nobody lives there. Do they?