Fact – Measure V will establish a “Clean Beaches and Ocean Parcel Tax” to raise $2.3 million annually from all Santa Monica property owners based on the amount of urban runoff that flows from their respective properties. The tax proceeds can only be used to reduce the amount of dangerous bacteria, pesticides, toxic chemicals, oil and grease, trash and other pollutants that are deposited onto Santa Monica’s beaches and into the ocean via our storm drains, and for the repair and maintenance of our aging stormdrain system to prevent urban flooding. State law prohibits the City from using the tax proceeds for any other purpose, and all of the expenditures will be subject to audit by an independent citizens’ oversight committee.
Fact – Measure V will initially cost every single family property owner $7 per month; an average condominium owner $2.50 per month; an average apartment tenant $2 per month; and each business a commensurate amount per month based on the size of their parcel. Thereafter, these amounts will be adjusted each year to match the change in the Consumer Price Index. Neither the City Council nor City staff can increase the Clean Beaches and Ocean Tax beyond these amounts. The only way the tax can ever be increased in the future would be through more than two-thirds approval by Santa Monica voters.
Fact – Measure V funds are needed to fix the stormwater pollution problems being created within Santa Monica’s boundaries, not to solve the pollution problems of other cities in the region. Very stringent stormwater pollution control requirements that have been issued by the Regional Water Quality Control Board compel Santa Monica and every other city in the region to reduce the amount of polluted runoff that they each create and that exits each of their respective boundaries. Cities that do not comply with these requirements may be fined up to $10,000 per day. The City of Los Angeles is currently spending far more money per capita to clean up beach and ocean runoff pollution than any other city in Southern California, including Santa Monica.
Fact – Santa Monica has done a great deal over the past several years to reduce stormwater runoff pollution and improve the health and safety of our beaches and Bay. But, an enormous amount of additional work estimated to cost as much as $100 million over the next 20 years now needs to be accomplished to prevent beach visitors from becoming ill, protect the marine environment and comply with regional pollution control requirements. The Watershed Management Plan that was adopted by the City Council in July of this year following a rigorous two-year process provides a comprehensive vision of the types of multi-benefit community projects that Measure V would fund. Each of the eligible Measure V projects would be implemented only after an extensive public input process followed by City Council review and approval. All Measure V expenditures would be subject to audit by an independent citizens’ oversight committee.
I appreciate this opportunity to provide some of the facts that may help Santa Monica voters make the right decision on Measure V. Any voter who wants to know more about Measure V and the types of projects that it would fund is welcome to contact me directly at 310.458.8221.