Prop O Passes By An Overwhelming Margin
By Dr. Mark Gold, Executive Director, Heal the Bay
In an overwhelming mandate for clean water, nearly 76% of City of Los Angeles voters supported Proposition O, the Clean Water and Beaches bond measure that appeared on the November 2, 2004, ballot. Proposition O, a $500 million general bond measure to help the City of Los Angeles clean up the polluted stormwater that flows to our rivers, lakes and beaches, will provide the initial funds to help Los Angeles meet new stormwater regulations by improving storm drain systems, creating new community parks, controlling pollution at its source and increasing and improving local water supplies.
About Prop O
Proposition O will provide the initial funding to help Los Angeles meet the new stormwater pollution limits and will serve as a national model for other cities to do the same. In addition, Prop O can potentially provide funding for inland open space uses that improve water quality, as well as increase water conservation, or provide flood protection.
The types of projects eligible for Prop O funds include stormwater cleanup; control and diversion to the sewer systems; pollution prevention technologies; trash capture; urban lakes and bay improvements; habitat/wetlands restoration and creation; stormwater retention facilities/parks/greenbelts; and water conservation/and drinking water protection efforts.
Accountability of Funds
To assure that Prop O funds are allocated only to projects that provide water quality benefits and reduce toxins and bacteria in polluted waters, Heal the Bay worked closely with the City to develop the following bond provisions:
- Within 80 days of bond passage, Mayor Hahn and Council President Padilla will appoint a Citizen Advisory Oversight Committee to help develop criteria for measuring the adequacy of projects, and for selecting projects for Council approval and funding.
- The Citizen Oversight Committee will include watershed experts from nonprofit groups and an appointee from the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board.
- Further, an Administrative Oversight Committee, including a representative to be designated by the Board of Public Works, will be established by the City Council to oversee and direct the Program.
- The projects will be periodically audited.
Heal the Bay will continue to serve as a watchdog to ensure that the City uses the bond dollars wisely and effectively to reduce water pollution.