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Streetsblog Endorsement: Yes on Measure W for Clean Water for L.A. County

Measure W would fund projects like the Woodman Avenue green street project which slows and soaks rainwater in a landscaped median. Photo: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

Streetsblog L.A. has endorsed the L.A. County Measure W which would enact a parcel tax to raise funds for clean water. Streetsblog urges readers to vote Yes on W.

Measure W is a parcel tax. Property owners would pay 2.5 cents per square foot of impermeable surface area. There are exemptions for low-income seniors, non-profits, publicly-owned parcels, and property owners who already capture/treat rainwater on site.

The parcel tax would raise an estimated $300 million annually for L.A. County.

Those funds would all go to projects to detain and clean runoff water; projects would emphasize green, nature-based, multi-benefit projects. Streetsblog has reported on various public space projects that fall into this category, from the Expo Greenway in Westwood, to the Woodman Avenue green street in Panorama City, to broader revitalization of the L.A. and San Gabriel Rivers, Ballona Creek, and other waterways. Measure W's clean water projects prevent pollution from reaching L.A.'s beaches and rivers - which improves public health. They also green neighborhoods, reduce dependence on imported water, and help minimize flooding. As the L.A. Times emphasizes in its Measure W endorsement, cities are mandated to meet clean water standards but lack reliable funding to do so.

Measure W funds raised goes to three programs:

    • 50 percent to Regional Program - These funds go to multi-benefit (water quality, with water supply and community investment) infrastructure; this includes planning, design, building and maintenance, with some limited funding for technical resources and scientific studies. This program is broken down by watershed.
    • 40 percent to Municipal Program - Similar to Measure M's local return, these funds to go to cities to implement rainwater and/or urban runoff water quality projects and programs, emphasizing multi-benefit and nature-based solutions.
    • 10 percent to District Program - These funds go to the L.A. County Flood Control District, for administration, training, and education.

Full details on the measure are at the county's informational Safe Clean Water L.A. website. Pro-Measure W information is available at the Yes on W website.

Belinda Faustinos, the Executive Director of Nature for All states that she and her organization support Measure W because "making our water safe and clean is an equity and environmental justice issue. This measure provides for the implementation of projects which will improve our water quality and supply using nature based solutions which will in turn benefit our communities, particularly those that are the most vulnerable."

Measure W has broad support among environmental and environmental justice nonprofits, labor, and progressive elected officials. It has been endorsed by numerous livability organizations, including BikeSGV, People for Mobility Justice, the L.A. County Bicycle Coalition, Investing in Place, NRDC, Pacoima Beautiful, and many others. Elected officials championing W include County Supervisors Sheila Kuehl, Hilda Solis, Mark Ridley-Thomas, and Janice Hahn - plus L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, L.A. City Councilmembers Nury Martinez and Mike Bonin, and Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia.

Streetsblog encourages readers to vote Yes on Measure W on November 6.

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