By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
Montevideo said he was not surprised that all of the City Council members were not “up to speed” on the coalition’s activities and the details of the litigation. “It’s not their responsibility to understand all the issues,” the attorney said. “I don’t brief cities on the causes of action on this or any other lawsuit. They leave the contentions to me.”
With lawsuits in motion, coalition cities could face untold additional invoices for legal fees. NRDC’s Beckman, who estimates that the coalition already has spent some $1 million collected from small cities, says it could spend “millions” before the litigation is concluded.
Sierra Madre is another coalition city. This upscale villagelike community, where the average household income is $66,000 a year, is nestled in the canyons along the base of the San Gabriel Mountains. Here, pristine mountain streams begin their course to the ocean through the Los Angeles metropolis. Bruce Inman, director of public works, says that the city is spending $250,000 to comply with the storm-water rules. While he expects that cost to increase in the future, so far it amounts to $22 a year per household.
Forester maintains that the coalition’s campaign is simply aimed at restoring balance to the board’s water-pollution-control policy, which he says has gone too far. “We’re all interested in cleaning up this entire basin,” he says. Yet he notes, “We are living our good lifestyle because of the industrial revolution.”
Following lunch he emerges from the dimly lit café in Signal Hill and departs in his cream-colored Mercedes along streets lined with big-box retail plazas, a sign of the pro-development city-council coalition’s success and the type of development that the regional water board now says must install storm-water-pollution control filters.
In Venice, meanwhile, Seino, who lacks health insurance, worries about how he will afford overdue surgery to replace his pacemaker battery, and at the law offices of Rutan & Tucker, the meter ticks.
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