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May 8
1875 - John F. Powell, an Irish immigrant, becomes Justice of the Peace [story]
John F. Powell


The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted to move forward with a comprehensive plan to increase local water supply and improve water quality.

Known as the Safe Clean Water Program, the plan would fund projects and programs that capture, clean, and conserve stormwater, increasing local water supplies, improving water quality, and creating opportunities for new recreational green space and habitat making communities safer, greener, healthier and more livable. The Safe Clean Water Program was outlined in a Board Letter presented to the Supervisors today by the LA County Department of Public Works.

Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, Chair of the Board of Supervisors, said, “Every year a full 100 billion gallons of water run down our curbs and out into the ocean. We have to get water-wise. Extreme weather is our new normal and recurring cycles of drought are a reality. We need smarter ways to capture, clean and store stormwater, so we can increase our local water supply, clean that water, and save it for future use.”

The Safe Clean Water Program would be paid for by a parcel tax that will go before voters in November 2018. The 2.5 cent tax would only apply to impermeable areas such as concrete roofs and sidewalks. The measure will raise an estimated $300 million per year.

Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, co-author of the motion that directed the Department of Public Works to develop a long-term plan for improving water quality and supply, said, “The Safe Clean Water program not only dramatically increases the amount of stormwater we capture, it will provide health benefits to residents by reducing trash and toxins and increasing green space throughout the County. Clean water is not only an issue for coastal communities: what ends up in the ground and in our water affects us all. Everyone will benefit from improved water quality and enhanced water conservation efforts, including underserved communities with unique water needs.”

A diverse group of elected, business, public health and environmental leaders as well as firefighters have expressed support for the plan, commending the County’s action. Supporters cited a wide array of benefits, from securing future water supplies and improving water quality, to protecting marine life and adding much-needed green space to local communities.

“Capturing and cleaning stormwater is an imperative and an opportunity — work that is made more urgent by the effects of a changing climate,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. “The Safe, Clean Water program will help L.A. and cities across the County meet our obligations under the federal Clean Water Act — and put new momentum behind our efforts to conserve a precious resource, shield our communities from flooding, and protect waterways from pollution.”

LA County Fire Department Chief Daryl L. Osby said, “Wildfires are putting new and greater demands on our water supply. Currently 100 billion gallons of precious water are not captured during storm run-off. Additionally, preserving our environment and its natural resources is extremely important to the mission of the Fire Department. We simply can’t afford to waste water anymore. Water is a firefighter’s best friend during several types of emergencies. The Safe Clean Water Program takes important steps toward securing our future water supply.”

LA County’s Director of Public Health Barbara Ferrer noted, “There is a direct connection between stormwater runoff and public health. Pollution and toxins from stormwater pose a real public health threat, and the Safe Clean Water Program would help provide the resources to address it. Access to safe, clean water is a critical determinant of health, with social, economic, and environmental consequences.”

Jerry Velasco, Chairman of the San Gabriel Valley Civic Alliance, a coalition of Business, Labor, Government, Education and Community groups, said, “I am very enthusiastic about this plan which will help ensure our future regional water supply. I hope voters will also support it because it represents sound, fiscally-prudent public policy that addresses an urgent need.”

Mark Gold, Associate Vice Chancellor for Environment and Sustainability at UCLA said, “Over fifty million people visit our beaches annually, and too often, many of them are unsafe for swimming due to polluted runoff. Also, our beaches and rivers look like trash dumps after every rain, and stormwater runoff in our rivers, lakes and coastal waters is often toxic to a wide variety of aquatic life. If this measure is approved by the voters, it will be the most important water quality action in LA County history.”

If the measure passes, 40% of the revenue would return to cities for local priority projects; 50% would be returned proportionally to each of the region’s nine watersheds to fund projects best and most cost-effectively tackled at a regional scale that no individual city could do alone; and 10% of funds would go to the LA County Flood Control District for stormwater education, projects, and administration. Schools would be exempt from the parcel tax, and property owners who have recently made qualifying improvements to their properties would be eligible for credits.

“This is a historic opportunity to modernize LA County’s water infrastructure to meet the needs of the 21st Century,” said Mark Pestrella, Director of LA County Public Works. “The flood protection system designed and built in the 1940s and ‘50s has done an outstanding job managing flood risk within the LA Basin. But it was never designed to handle the tremendous population growth and urbanization that has contributed to the volume of pollutants we see in our waterways today. This program will continue the County’s mission of flood safety while protecting water quality within our communities and providing water resiliency for current and future generations.”

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3 Comments

  1. Dan Colonello says:

    Anothe BS “Program” from the Politicians with a real snazzy title to induce the public to vote for more taxes! If they want more “open space” and more “green areas” why are they rubber stamping/approving All of these construction projects all over the County? Plus we don’t need this program, just think of all that water we will be saving from Gov. Browns new water rationing Bill ! In just a few years we will be limited to 55 gallons a day per person per household and going down to 50 gallons per day per person when it goes into full effect!

  2. Heisenberg says:

    This will neither increase local water supply nor improve quantity. In the SCV, water infiltrates readily and is cleaned by the geologic formations. Credit to Supervisor Barger for voting against this.

  3. Joseph Olynyk says:

    Let’s see – $7.5 billion approved a few years ago (Prop 1) divided by $300 million this would generate = This baby is pre-paided for the next 25 year!

    STOP giving them money when NOTHING is given back!

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LOS ANGELES COUNTY HEADLINES
Friday, May 7, 2021
On Friday, Los Angeles County Public Health officials confirmed 16 new deaths and 421 new cases of COVID-19 countywide, with 27,766 total cases in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Friday, May 7, 2021
The L.A. County Financial Navigators program, operated by the Los Angeles County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs’ Center for Financial Empowerment in partnership with Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund, announced it is currently providing L.A. residents with free assistance to help them deal with the financial challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thursday, May 6, 2021
The County of Los Angeles announced Thursday that it has distributed 23 million units of free PPE through its joint effort with PPE Unite to protect 433,000 employees at small businesses across the County.
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The Department of Public Social Services (DPSS) has launched its annual CalFresh Awareness Month campaign to publicize the CalFresh Nutrition Program and acknowledge community partners throughout the month of May for helping to raise public awareness year-round.
Thursday, May 6, 2021
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed Thursday 19 new deaths and 414 new cases of COVID-19, with 27,744 total cases in the Santa Clarita Valley.

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