Cities Take Stormwater Fight to Political Website
'Rough & Tumble' Ad Aimed at Key Decision-Makers
The Coalition for Practical Regulation, a broad coalition of Southland cities and others hoping to modify or repeal controversial stormwater regulations recently adopted by the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board, moved this week to bring their plight to the attention of key political decision makers via an ad on the "Rough & Tumble" website.
The www.rtumble.com website is widely relied upon by public officials throughout the state for its daily compilation of news articles covering important issues of interest to California lawmakers. Many Southland cities believe no issue is more important than the catastrophic economic impacts that will result should the new rules be implemented without modification.
"We're talking about across-the-board cuts in essential public safety services such as police and fire protection," said Bellflower Mayor John Pratt. "We're talking about shutting down after-school recreational programs for kids. And all because the L.A. Regional Board failed to conduct the economic analysis required by law before adopting rules that could cost billions and not get us any closer to the goal of clean water.
"The money has to come from somewhere," Pratt continued. "And unless our citizens agree to some major tax increases, we're going to have to take the ax to everything else in our city budgets to pay for compliance with these new rules."
"The Regional Board has virtually been acting in a vacuum," said Signal Hill Council Member Larry Forester. "We hope that by posting our ad on Rough & Tumble, key government officials will become aware of exactly what these rules will cost, and what we'll get for the money. Specifically, billions of tax dollars will be wasted on programs with little or no environmental benefit."
Under the provisions of the Porter-Cologne Act, the Regional Board was required to conduct an economic analysis prior to adopting the rules. Although that agency failed to do so, a separate study commissioned by the State of California found that "the full stormwater treatment system would require about $53.6 billion in capital improvement costs...and $198.9 million in annual operations and maintenance costs."
In addition to the multi-billion dollar hit to municipal budgets, the rules are expected to eliminate hundreds, if not thousands, of construction and related jobs due to the added financial and regulatory burdens they will impose on the development of industrial, residential and commercial projects in Los Angeles County.
Lawmakers viewing the ad on the Rough & Tumble website can access a direct link to the Coalition For Practical Regulation's site, www.citiessavejobs.com, which features an informative selection of background materials including a fact sheet, answers to frequently asked questions, and quotes from public officials and community leaders.
Said Forester: "This isn't about clean water, because there will be no significant clean water benefits no matter how much we spend on these particular programs. It's about safeguarding public safety, saving jobs and preventing the completely unnecessary squandering of scarce taxpayer dollars. If this ad helps us get that point across, it will have been well worth it."
The State Water Resources Board is currently reviewing an appeal of the Regional rules, filed by many Southern California cities as well as the County of Los Angeles. A decision is expected by late summer or early fall.