If you were enjoying last week’s rain, just think how great it will be when we are able to capture that rain and return it to our local groundwater. Los Angeles County is poised to start collecting the first inch of rain that falls instead of pushing it out through storm drains and sending contaminates into the ocean. This was the topic of a presentation at Tuesday’s meeting of the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council’s Sustainability Committee.
In November, a remarkable coalition of business leaders, environmentalists, labor leaders and municipalities united to fund a campaign to pass Measure W, which called for a 2.5¢ parcel tax to fund projects that clean up storm water and reduce the amount of water that runs off permeable surfaces, like road and parking lots. Voters overwhelmingly supported the measure, which passed with 69.45% to 30% margin. The measure would raise $300,000,000 annually for the county flood control district to fund projects that are subject to some nine oversight committees, explained William Funderburk, Jr., at the meeting. Funderburk is a La Brea Hancock resident and former member of the LADWP Board of Commissioners.
Funderburk said the desire to address this issue goes way back to the beginnings of the environmental movement in the 1970s, with federal legislation requiring that pollutants be removed from water before being discharged into rivers and streams. Once that was accomplished, efforts turned to reducing contaminants from storm water runoff. Federal laws required municipalities to get annual permits to control water runoff…and then organizations like Heal the Bay increased public awareness of the importance of cleaning the waters for marine life as well as people, said Funderburk.
“Think of this as a water quality bond, not water supply, ” said Funderburk, adding “the goal is to capture the first 3/4″ or 1″ of rain that falls, not for water use but for reducing pollution. What we want is to capture and then clean the water.”
He urged committee members to get involved in the oversight process, too.
“Call your County Supervisor to get a seat on a panel so local residents will have some oversight over the $300 million a year,” said Funderburk.
The committee then approved a motion to recommend the board of the GWNC coordinate an effort to get citizens appointed to the the oversight process, and assigned Julie Stromberg, GWNC Sustainability Committee Chair to spearhead the effort.
Residents who want to learn more about Measure W and what their tax will be under the new law can use a property tax calculator at safecleanwaterla.org.
In other business, the committee discussed the urban forest management report prepared by Dudek, an independent third-party consultant hired by the City of Los Angeles to analyze and make recommendations for its urban forest management system. The committee decided to review the report and highlight the most important of Dudek’s recommendations, then prepare a letter of support for the consideration by board of the GWNC.
The committee also passed a motion to recommend to GWNC Board to file Community Impact Statement calling on the City of Los Angeles, and the Los Angeles City Council specifically, to establish a human health and safety buffer that prohibits oil drilling within 2,500 feet of sensitive land uses including homes, schools, early childhood centers, senior centers, hospitals and medical clinics, parks, etc.
Finally, Windsor Square resident Steve Matloff agreed to open his LEED certified home for a tour next Spring. The home is a 1920s classic that has been updated conforming to the Windsor Square HPOZ.
The next meeting of the GWNC Sustainability Committee is scheduled for February 12, 2019, at Marlborough School, Board Room, 250 S. Rossmore Ave., Los Angeles, CA. All are welcome to attend. Click here for more information on the committee and the GWNC.