By Mayor Pro Tem Steve Knoblock
Happy New Year, San Clemente!
The year 2023 is going to be a great year in San Clemente, good Lord willing. Let me start by saying, I am blessed to have been reelected to our City Council and am honored to serve this year as your mayor pro tem.
This year, San Clemente should experience a number of very positive and exciting changes.
First of all, we will soon have a new and experienced city manager on board guiding our city departments and operations. Hopefully, this person should begin full-time service as early as mid-February.
Also, a new chief of Police Services for San Clemente, OC Sheriff Capt. Jay Christian, will be joining us to replace Capt. Tony Benfield, who was promoted to head up the Sheriff’s Investigations Division.
Capt. Christian began his duties in San Clemente last week. He will be leading our contingent of deputies and is committed to having our deputies interact more in our community and spending more time patroling on foot on sidewalks and parks.
In addition, we are currently receiving proposals to provide city attorney legal services in response to a Request for Proposals the city issued late last year. A new updated contract for the city’s legal services should also be in place within the next month or so. I am optimistic that this will result in substantial savings of taxpayers’ dollars.
Another exciting opportunity for our city is the desalination project at Doheny State Beach. South Coast Water District (SCWD), with our city’s support, recently obtained California Coastal Commission approval to build a 5 million-gallon-a-day facility to produce fresh drinking water from ocean water.
This facility could be expanded over time to 15 million gallons or more per day. This year, we will be analyzing the financial viability of the facility and of either partnering with SCWD to form a Joint Powers Authority or entering a long-term water purchase agreement.
Once the financial analysis, governance issues and construction bids are completed and approved, this project could be underway within the next several years. This project would provide future generations of San Clemente and South County residents long-term water delivery protection against droughts and natural or man-made disasters.
One of the most exciting events to take place this year will undoubtedly be the delivery of the long-awaited 250,000 cubic yards of fresh sand on our beaches along Linda Lane to T-Street. While this Army Corps of Engineers project has been 20 years in the making, more needs to be done.
When this new sand is placed, we will still have miles of beach sand erosion left unaddressed. There are a number of additional options that need to be considered to preserve and replenish our beautiful beaches.
Those options include the possibility of a series of small jetties to keep the sand from migrating south or north depending on the season. Another option is close-to-shore dredging operations to capture the quality sand that was once on our beaches and now lying underwater close to our shore.
This sand can be captured and rainbowed back onto our beaches. A dredging operation of this kind, sponsored by a consortium of cities, would benefit not only San Clemente, but could benefit cities along the entire Southern California coastline.
Some people have opined that the environmental challenges posed by these options are insurmountable. However, I adhere to this proverb: “He who observes the wind will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap.”
Let’s get on with it.
Steven Knoblock was elected to a two-year term on the San Clemente City Council in 2020, and reelected in 2022. He’s serving as mayor pro tem for 2023.