Sunny Southern California! Most days are a beautiful day to walk, bike, or spend some time outside waiting for the bus or train – this is part of what makes LA living so livable.
But summer – and the Santa Ana winds of the fall – can be brutal, especially in heavily paved and low-income urban areas with hardly a tree in sight. The sun’s rays and the heat radiating off the sidewalk can make an otherwise pleasant stroll feel like a punishment, and leave you thirsty for a tall drink of cold water. In the wet season, neighborhoods parched in the dry months flood from trash-blocked storm drains or lack of infrastructure, swamping intersections with pollution-laden puddles and waterlogging kids on their way to school. Cities and non-profits have dreams to plant more trees and address these issues, but seem stuck on their way to implementing solutions, citing a lack of funding to build or maintain infrastructure.
If only we could do something to address this web of worries!
We can! This November 6, voters will be asked to consider County Measure W for Safe, Clean Water.
This measure (W for Water), would fund an action plan to tackle these overlapping issues: extreme weather like drought and flooding, water contamination, and the funds to both build solutions and keep them running. Through a modest parcel tax that collectively makes a big difference, this measure would invest $300 million a year into our communities and water infrastructure, building and maintaining public projects like Echo Park Lake and the South LA Wetlands, the Avalon Green Alley network, planted medians and parkways, and retrofitting schoolyards, we can turn LA County into a sponge instead of a slick.
Milton Street bulbout, photo credit Joe Linton, StreetsblogLA
Right now, we’re wasting 100 billion gallons of water each year, sending it through our storm drains and river channel as fast as possible into the ocean. By “unpaving” the County, planting more street trees, converting blacktops into playgrounds, running raingutters to cisterns, and diverting storm drains to parks, we can use nature and science to capture and clean this water – enough for 3.5 million people. At the same time, we’ll be investing in our communities with shade and green space, bringing much needed resources especially to low-income communities, and creating thousands of good jobs building projects and keeping them humming over time. All for about $7 a month for the average homeowner (and $1-3 a month if you own a condo)!
Join environmental justice advocates, public health experts, firefighters, labor leaders, scientists, and regular humans from all walks of life in voting Yes on W for water this November 6! (Click here for a lengthy list of endorsing organizations and elected officials.)
Guest blog post by Lauren Ahkiam, Director of Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy's Water Project. LAANE is a member of the OurWaterLA Coalition, which advocates for clean, safe, affordable and reliable water for all.