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Clean Water, Clean Beaches protest deadline Jan 15!

January 15th deadline approaches to protest new property tax! We need a measure to clean up storm water run off — not one without any accountability or clarity on how clean up will be achieved.

Yesterday Altadena Heritage Board Members Mark Goldschmidt, John Zoraster, Karin Bugge, and Michele Zack met with a few other community members including Marietta Kruells to discuss the county's Clean Water, Clean Beaches Measure. 

The public hearing on this is January 15 at 9:30 am in the Hearing Room of the Board of Supervisors downtown on Temple Street. That's this Tuesday morning. Anyone who wishes to protest, must send in form or letter that must be received by Jan. 15. 

Altadena Heritage is in process of deciding whether to officially protest this measure — not because we don't believe in the need to address non-point pollution and storm run off as big environmental problems, or because we don't want to pay for it — but because as written, the measure offers little accountability or clarity on how these goals will be achieved.

Below please find a sample protest letter that explains some of our concerns you can print out and send. (This is for those who have misplaced the flyer that came in the mail). It is also possbile to retrieve a protest form online or call (800) 218-0018 or emailwater.info@dpw.lacounty.gov to ask for more information.

To view sample flyer click the following link: http://antonovich.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/LACWCB_Ballona-Creek-Watershed-Notice1.pdf but be aware that the tax i.d. number of property, or at very least the address, will need to be on any protest for it to be counted. Only property owners, not general public, are being asked to fund this measure.

Sample Protest Letter

Date


Executive Officer of the Board of Supervisors

P.O. Box 866006

Los Angeles, CA 90086

 

Los Angeles County Clean Water, Clean Beaches Measure Protest Letter

Gentlemen:

X  I protest the proposed clean water fee.

Assessor's Parcel Number:      xxxx-xxx-xxx

Parcel Address:                  Street Address

                                                      Altadena, CA 91001

I am not opposed to the concept of this measure, or to a fee supporting its goals. However, I protest it because it is inadequately thought out and provides few details on how, and no assurance of when, cleaner water and beaches will be achieved. It lacks accountability and doesn’t explain how programs (or those implementing them) will be chosen and overseen. The process of how property will be asessed is not transparent. More developed proposals need to be presented regarding:

  • Watershed authority groups receiving 50% of the funds. What would their legal structure and governance be?
  • Needs identification.  The Engineer's Report refers to an "overall needs assessment utilizing the collective findings of several independent studies and evaluations of various segments of the storm water infrastructure within the District," and lists those studies.  But, no synthesis or summary is provided, other than a statement on page 26 that "the cost ... will most certainly far exceed the revenues being proposed" of the  $296,730,000 annually. Such sloppy accounting to citizens being asked to pay infers only that someone thought $300 million sounded about right, and that the county will ask for more later.
  • Criteria for project selection. While lists of possible eligible projects are provided, no idea as to how these would be prioritized or rated is given. Will the majority of funds go to street sweepers or to groundwater recharge basins?  Or something else — like city staff, consultants, and more studies?  Cities need leeway to decide which projects make sense, but policy guidance and an accountability mechanism for the proposed watershed authority groups is needed.
  • Longevity of the measure.  While the task is large and solutions uncertain, there should be an established time limit, such as 10, 15, or 20 years. 

 

Print Name ______________________________   

Sign Name_____________________________

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Steve Lamb January 12, 2013 at 06:27 PM
Michelle- I could not agree more. this thing is kind of a blank check. We really dont need a Soviet array of pipes, pumps, and filtering stations. The best way to prevent storm water run off is to place a French Drain at the low side of a property. This sends the water down into the local soil and cleans it all at the same time, functioning more like the aquifur did before we paved over everything.
michele Zack January 12, 2013 at 06:59 PM
One our major concerns is that we don't see any language assuring us that small scale projects, down to the individual property level such as the French Drain idescribed by Steve, will be vigorously supported and subsidized by this measure. Broad scale implementation of small projects — sumps, drains, swales and other low tech solutions — is a key part of the solution to reduce non-point pollution and to absorb water where it falls. This needs to be focussed on and encouraged. We should never forget that the single most effective water conservation devise has been the low flush toilet installed in millions of individual homes! Altadena Heritage would embrace a county measure to reduce storm water run off and increase percolation into local basins as long as it was clearly spelled out that a significant amount of resources would go to such projects — along with larger, regional solutions. Our fear is that the present measure offers no such promise, and also that unincorporated communities (such as Altadena) near the top of the watershed would not have adequate control or resources fairly allocated. If the measure passes in its current form, it seems likely that existing political entities will take control of the annual $300 million raised and channel it to large, sexy projects downstream that promise sparkling beaches. We need to evenly apply resources throughout the watershed and think more about enhancing local water supplies such as the Raymond Basin.
Steve Lamb January 12, 2013 at 07:19 PM
The really nice thing about focusing on small individual lot projects is that you create more LOCAL and localized employment and multiplier than you do by spending the money on huge systems where most of the material comes fromm out of the arra and the labor is all from Arizona. So there is a large economic development reason to focus on the small projects. Additionally lets say somehow the small project fails, its a small impact. the big project has a failure, its a huge even titanic problem. The County presently requires on all new parking lots discharge filters for the run off, so its hard to see where the commercial nexus really is. Its also hard to see where the residents shpould get tagged for $54 for at least 30 years (and probably forever) when you can install a great sump for $300 or a property wide (fifty feet long) French Drain for $1500 and it will NEVER need any maintenence, will never need a retirement plan, and will forever return water near to your lot, forever reducing your need to water because your local area ground water table will be higher.....
Steve Lamb January 12, 2013 at 07:21 PM
If you are already doing extensive landscape, the cost of the french Drain goes way down because chances are you will be digging for walkways and such anyhow.....
michele Zack January 12, 2013 at 09:48 PM
In response to Steve, who makes many good points: the reason I would support a well-written county wide measure (with perhaps a 10 or 15 year sunset) is that most property owners are not as aware as they should be about the many things they should be doing to collectively prevent non-point pollution and encourage recharge. If the state had NOT come in and mandated low-flush toilets and offered subsidies/free exchange of water guzzlers to low-flush for a set number of years, they would not have had the huge impact on water conservation that they've had in a very short time. In the same way, a good storm run off/local water percolation measure would have the power to educate and motivate people to do the right thing, and build the necessary infrastructure over a set number of years. Then, if the job is not done, or we decide on concrete projects still needed to reach well-defined goals, we could vote for another 10-year measure.
Lisa Hastings January 12, 2013 at 11:37 PM
Agreed!
Lisa Hastings January 14, 2013 at 11:03 PM
Protest letters can be dropped off downtown at the Kenneth Hahn Administration building, 500 West Temple Room 383. It's an easy short walk through Grand Park from the Red Line Civic Center Station. And there is no standing in line; just place your protest letter in the ballot box located outside Room 383.

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