|The Yaroslavsky Money Dash|
Of course, what this really is all about is a new and creative way for the money mulching operation Los Angeles County is running to lay their hands on even more of our dough. The $23.5 billion big ones they're getting today is apparently not enough for them anymore. This Stormwater Runoff Parcel Tax (my term) being a way for the Soops to receive another $200,000,000 million for whatever it is they do to make this packed out County the dysfunctional mess it is today.
Wayne Lusvardi, who writes for the always brilliant Cal Watchdog site (along with his currently at leisure local affairs site Pasadena Sub Rosa, which he assures us will be back in action soon), has published a number of articles on this latest attempt to squeeze even more cash out of we the too often dunned people. Here is how Wayne lays it all out in an article titled "Pollution tax heads for LA County" (click here):
The tax climate forecast for Los Angeles County has turned gloomy. There is an $8 billion annual tax storm that is coming in 18 months. It will rain on every property owner in the county.
But the tax monies will mainly flow to a few politically connected groups and unions. To comply with new state law, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works is proposing an annual parcel tax of $8 to $83 per single-family home.
Big box retailers will get a tax bill for $15,000 per year, in addition to their existing property taxes. And commercial properties in downtown Los Angeles on impervious clay soils will get socked with a $200,000 added tax per year for storm water capture projects.
The parcel tax is being called necessary to comply with unfunded mandates of the Federal Clean Water Act to prevent the downstream pollution of flood control outlets to beaches and artificial recreation lakes along flood control channels. However, in 2010 the California Legislature enacted its own storm water cleanup law only for Los Angeles County, Assembly Bill 2554.
The remainder of the state has no such law. This tips off voters that the real intent of the legislature is to create green jobs in L.A. County’s distressed unincorporated areas, which overlap the watershed area zones in the county’s storm water capture program.
Los Angeles County is complying with this new state law with its “Clean Water — Clean Beaches” Measure. However, calling it a tax “measure” is a misnomer because there are no suitable limits or control mechanisms on how much would be spent under the current law.
One of the things that typifies current marketing trends for many of the things we don't want is to Greenwash them (click here). According to the Sierra Madre Green Committee densely packed shelve-housing development downtown would be "green" because it would somehow magically encourage people to take the bus to work. The coal industry, very concerned about electric power plant change-overs to more environmentally beneficial natural gas, proclaims as often as it can afford that their product is "clean." As in "clean coal." Which is oxymoronic.
Not that long ago the uber burger barons at McDonalds changed the inspirational color hues of their patty packaging from yellow and red to yellow and green. Why? Because they want you to believe that they care about preserving our planet's precious natural resources. Which means landfills are now being filled to the brim with green colored burger wrappers instead of the traditional ketchup red.
Can I get a right on, people?
So in a marketing environment such as this, why not proclaim that an effort to cozen even more tax money out of property owning L.A. County residents is green? If McDonalds can do it, why not the LA County Board of Supervisors?
So what is the actual purpose behind the Soop's "Clean Beaches" baloney? Here is where Wayne Lusvardi brings it home:
On Nov. 9, the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board passed Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System Order MS4. It requires all 88 cities in the county to develop storm water clean up projects within the next 18 months.
The proposed $5 to $8 billion project will mandate that property owners pay a flat parcel tax unconnected with the market value of their property (not ad valorem or added value tax). The tax is purportedly for many water detention basins to be constructed in unincorporated watershed areas and in each city instead of on a regional basis as they are today.
Fifty percent of the $8 billion in taxes will go to nine unelected watershed groups in the following watersheds to divvy up the proceeds for green jobs: Ballona Creek, Dominguez Channel, Upper Los Angeles River, Lower Los Angeles River, Rio Hondo, Upper San Gabriel River, Lower San Gabriel River, Santa Clara River, and Santa Monica Bay watersheds.
The stated purpose of creating Watershed Groups is to provide jobs to residents in unincorporated areas with high proportions of low-income households. Funding shall be in the same proportion as the fees collected in each watershed area. The watershed groups will also constitute an additional layer of unnecessary government.
So much for the beaches. And can this be how John Buchanan planned to deliver all those "green jobs" to the people of Sierra Madre? On the backs to the taxpayers? Shouldn't that be called "green welfare" instead?
A lot of good people are now gearing up to defeat this tax, and according to some of the folks I've been talking with it can be beat. We will be writing about this issue a lot over the next couple of months. It is the kind of local politics that we can - and should - do. We beat the UUT extension. We can help beat this as well.
Is Sandra Levin getting out of the City Attorney business?
Recently I got an e-mail from our friends over at The Avocado Express blog, and it now appears that our departed City Attorney Sandra Levin is preparing to announce her denouement from similar responsibilities in La Habra Heights. This following closely on the heels of her recent scamper from Los Alamitos as well.
But it's not just that. Apparently Lawyer Levin is also looking at a career change. According to a Dec. 18 press release from the LA Law Library (click here), someone we know very well has just been appointed their new Executive Director.
LA Law Library Board of Trustees today announced that Sandra J. Levin will be joining LA Law Library as Executive Director, effective December 26, 2012, succeeding Marcia J. Koslov, who is retiring after 7 ½ years in the position.
“We are extremely pleased that Sandi will be joining the LA Law Library full time” said Susan Steinhauser, President of the Library’s Board of Trustees. “She has already distinguished herself in her role as the Law Library’s General Counsel. With a total of 25 years in the legal profession in roles ranging from named partner to elected official, she brings an extraordinary blend of experience and ability to the Library. Her legal intellect, thoughtful approach to problem-solving and planning, and interpersonal and management skills, make her the ideal leader as we expand our position as a leading legal research and community center."
“I am excited to be joining the LA Law Library at such a momentous time,” Ms. Levin said. “The accomplishments of Marcia and her staff over the last seven and half years are nothing short of remarkable. I look forward to carrying out the vision of the Board of Trustees to reach a larger segment of the public and the legal community, provide services both virtually and at our Main Library, branch and partnership locations and open our doors to a broader range of events and activities.”
We can only hope that Sandi will find this librarian gig more to her liking. As most of us are aware, a resume' that contains too many job changes is never a positive reflection on one's career.