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Poll: Do You Support the 'Clean Water' Parcel Fee for Contra Costa?

Please cast your vote in our reader poll on Contra Costa County's mail-ballot "2012 Community Clean Water Initiative," which would add a parcel fee for local government efforts to reduce pollution in the Bay and creeks.

Property owners in Contra Costa County this past week received mail ballots for the "2012 Community Clean Water Initiative," which would add a fee to property tax bills to fund local government programs for reducing water pollution.

Our article Saturday about the non-traditional ballot measure, "," drew several reader comments on both sides of the issue. So we'd like to know what additional readers think.

Please cast your vote in our reader poll below and feel welcome to share your view in the comments section.

JKohn Aronovici February 26, 2012 at 02:14 PM
Most people do not object to the proposal BUT They object to the mailing which made it look like an official ballot from tehe County, therefore deceptive. JGA
Milford Brown February 26, 2012 at 05:57 PM
Certainly clean water is desirable. However, this is not the way to accomplish it. We haven't been told specifics of how the money will be spent - what will be purchased, who will be hired or otherwise paid, etc. We need more than just a "sales pitch."
Richard Leigh February 26, 2012 at 06:32 PM
The Water District and Contra Costa County Supervisors who passed it must really think the property owners are stupid. What a scam, probably to increase all their pensions. With no details, no dice.
Michael Bennett February 26, 2012 at 07:27 PM
More bureaucratic waste, NO WAY!! We pay enough taxes as it is!
Terry O'Hera February 26, 2012 at 08:51 PM
Stop with the "one more thing for us to pay for that's so important". I am not an endless pit of money!
Tonto Pomo February 26, 2012 at 09:21 PM
This fake county ballot is an end run around the legal way parcel taxes are approved.. This is not an "OFFICAL BALLOT". It is a completely illegal. A REAL ballot would need thousands of signatures to make it legal to ballot and then, if approved, be put into the NEXT local elections. Carol in Walnut Creek, is not in any position to send out and receive "OFFICAL Contra Costa BALLOTS" This is under-the-table politics at work. I can't believe they would even try this. Completely ILLEGAL. Do not vote this through. Call the CCC offices, and find out for yourself. Gee, I think I will send out an "OFFICAL BALLOT" to add a parcel tax to fund my gardening efforts to "make it a better world". You too can make up one of your own ...Politics ... Sleasy Politics ... by sleasy politicians.
Kathy A. February 27, 2012 at 12:10 AM
where did the idea come from that this is a way to increase pensions? or a waste, or illegal? if we do not approve this fee, the costs of compliance come out of local general funds, according to the website: http://www.cccleanwater.org/cleanwaterinitiative/index.html If an election is unsuccessful, Contra Costa County and its 19 cities/towns municipalities) will not have sufficient dedicated revenue to fund all NPDES Permit compliance mandates. Each Contra Costa municipality will need to determine how it will fund permit compliance activities. The most likely funding source will be a municipality’s general fund. Funding from municipal general funds for compliance with the Federal and State mandated stormwater rules will necessitate cuts in funding for other community services. Failure to identify and obtain additional funding for stormwater compliance mandates will result in municipalities not being able to fully fund all their stormwater compliance activities resulting in permit non-compliance and potential Administrative Civil Liabilities imposed by the California Regional Water Quality Control Boards up to $10,000 per day in violation and $10 per gallon of polluted discharge. Additionally, Contra Costa municipalities may face potential liabilities resulting from third party lawsuits allowable under the Federal Clean Water Act.
Kathy A. February 27, 2012 at 12:23 AM
i personally am OK with 16 cents per day, the amount we would pay on our property. i am not OK with taking the funding for compliance from other city programs. there are businesses in our area far more likely to pollute than any household, and i would prefer the costs of compliance rest more heavily on them. but it is literally penny-wise and pound-foolish to vote against this measure because you oppose taxes as a general matter. our community seriously needs to not be taking fines out of general funds. and also, who's against clean water?
Kathy A. February 27, 2012 at 12:29 AM
the quote above ("if an election is unsuccessful...") is from the link to agenda memo 02/07/12, page 3, under CONSEQUENCE OF NEGATIVE ACTION. it is a pdf file, and i couldn't figure a direct link.
Dan Cloak February 27, 2012 at 06:21 PM
Kathy A., thank you for looking up the facts and posting them here. Yes, the ballot was approved by the Contra Costa Board of Supervisors. Yes, the fee is designed to cover cities' additional costs for complying with new clean water regulations. And yes, if it doesn't pass, cities will need to cut other services to cover the costs of compliance.
John Stashik February 27, 2012 at 06:27 PM
AKA: blackmail.
Larry Craighill February 27, 2012 at 08:32 PM
John, these are laws enacted by our officials long ago, and with huge benefit to society. Blackmail is hardly an appropriate term for our governing process. We are governed by law, and the winners in this process are the citizens. If you followed the progress of the Clean Water Act, you would understand how much things have changed for the better.
John Stashik February 27, 2012 at 08:43 PM
Citizens who cannot afford the tax are losers. I'm not saying that the laws enacted by those well paid officials are bad. We all like water. I am saying that in this miserable economy those well off officials ought to consider the plight of low income, under- and un-employed citizens before slapping additional costs on them.
Larry Craighill February 27, 2012 at 09:06 PM
Many municipalities will have to outsource this work. The qualified individuals must be state certified, and have to go through costly training and certification. While they may make a reasonable income in this work, they are hardly "well off officials". You can find out more by looking up CESSWI online using a search engine. Again, we are being asked to spend pennies a day to pay for work already mandated by law. Your grievance is with the regulatory requirement, not the agency that is trying to comply with it.
John Stashik February 28, 2012 at 12:32 AM
Be it the people who make up the rules or the agencies complying with same, it still boils down to total arrogance on the part of politicians and bureaucrats responsible. Maybe they need sensitivity training to put it in a PC term. Those that make and enforce rules have a financial interest and monetary incentive in the system that keeps them on the job. Less fortunate residents must make choices as to where to spend their scarce dollars and taxes grab those few dollars first. If the regulators wanted to show some compassion to the lower class who struggle to pay these fees, they'd postpone the tax until the economy improves and more people can find work.
Jane Alta February 28, 2012 at 01:47 AM
Let's see before the clean water act the bay was a cesspool of raw sewage and garbage, we had rivers catching on fire (the cayahouga) and a Bay that no one wanted to be around. We have made much progress - and had to pay for water treatment, disposing of wastes other than to our water ways. This is one that has been worth it to all levels of society and income levels.
Karl A. February 28, 2012 at 02:55 AM
I will vote against this measure not because I am against the idea, but because home owners are once again expected to support programs that the whole community -- businesses, immigrants, renters, and everyone else that makes use of the natural resources of the area and the region -- use and exploit for fun and profit. Therefore, everyone should have to support and protect through taxes and /or direct fees, instead of just levies applied to those of us that own SFR's for personal use, our limited natural resources.
Larry Craighill February 28, 2012 at 04:30 AM
A "no" vote means voting to not pay our municipality to follow the law now on the books. The result will be fines greater than the cost of compliance by far, or cutting other services to pay for the compliance. It's like deciding that you shouldn't have to pay for a license, and driving without one. There is no option that costs nothing. There is nothing to be gained by squeezing the local agencies charged with enforcement. If the regulations are the problem, then there is a process for having them repealed. Non-compliance does nothing to change the laws, but it will guarantee more pain, and will certainly cost more than a few pennies per homeowner per day.
Larry Craighill February 28, 2012 at 04:34 AM
The reason property owners pay for the enforcement is because this is how the laws are written. A property owner controls the runoff from their property, and the rights of property owners give them recourse for controlling the impacts users effect on that property. This is true of both public and private land holders.
Wayne Price April 03, 2012 at 04:47 PM
I voted "no" on Patch to reject the Clean Water Initiative. I think you would too if you knew the CWI was out of the United Nations incarnations of Agenda 21 and OneBayArea's playbooks to subjugate the USA through environmental laws, regulation, and taxes. Their goals cannot be accomplished without violation of basic civil liberties and wholesale seizures of property. I think you would oppose the CWI if you realized the federal government’s mandate to carry out the will of the United Nations, whether the feds provided the money. Local governments should challenge the feds authority in purely local matters. I think you would oppose CWI if you knew they plan on forcing you into high-rise concentrations near transportation nodes. Housing could not, at best, be anything better than something like Section 8 housing. They simply need to find a convincing way of saying land-use is “unsustainable”, condemn property around nodes to build housing, and enforce it with police power. Does the term "jack-booted thugs" have any meaning for you? How could CWI election be found legal. The fact the board of supervisors called this election with large third-party expenses, votes counted by a 3rd party, non-secret ballot, and local governments and nonprofits having thousands of votes against its own citizens using the citizens own tax dollars means the CWI doesn’t even come close to passing the smell test. My friends, consider getting out your pitch fork and storm the castle.

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