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
Re: “Beaching the Cleanup Plan” [June 20–26]. William Kelly’s article missed the point on the current controversies surrounding storm-water and beach pollution. The article attempts to paint the picture of a one-man crusade to overturn the water board’s controls. This overly broad brush also blames a group of city managers for “rushing” their local councils into filing court cases against the new regulations. This misrepresents the facts, as well as underestimates the deeply rooted concerns over the new unfunded mandates by local elected officials. It is important to correct the record.
The article cites as evidence city managers authorizing legal action on the storm-water permit, prior to taking the issue to their city councils. More than 46 cities challenged the rules in January 2003. We scheduled our legal challenge at a regular open meeting, so that any member of the public would know the city was moving forward with the litigation and what were our concerns.
The litigation and the “rush” were triggered by the refusal of the State Water Quality Control Board to hold a promised public hearing on the cities’ grievances. The board notified the cities on December 22 of their refusal and then waited until the last day to inform the cities. The cities were given until January 17 to file a legal challenge. Most cities could not schedule meetings during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, due to scheduling conflicts. The cities saw this as a deliberate attempt by the board to limit the number of cities filing a court challenge.
The board’s tactic backfired. Several city managers authorized the litigation, contingent upon official council approval after the January 17 deadline. This allowed a handful of city managers to indicate their intent to join the litigation, if authorized by their city councils. The vast majority of the 46 cities authorized litigation prior to the January 17 deadline at either regular or special meetings. This information was provided to the Weekly, but did not appear, in fairness to the cities.
The Weekly also omitted information provided on the many programs that the cities are implementing to address very real problems. Examples included sponsoring legislation to ban Styrofoam cups and containers and pushing the State Waste Board to study the issue of plastics pollution, a major problem on the beaches. Cities have also been active in obtaining grants, both state and federal, to begin addressing pollution issues. These include a small “earmark” of $450,000 in federal funds targeted for trash on the beaches. Although this is a small amount, it is a good first-year start, and the cities will be pushing for more federal funding.
It is truly unfortunate that the Weekly did not want to engage in a dialogue on the real issues surrounding the current storm-water and urban-runoff regulations. Preferring to sensationalize the issues and demonizing the opposition (as being driven by one man) is doing a disservice to your readers.
—Ken Farfsing City Manager Signal Hill
The L.A. Weekly–referenced article reminds me of the adage “When you can’t argue the facts, attack the source.” I take personal offense at William Kelly’s lack of reporting credibility and with the Weekly’s choice to print such a one-sided article. I spent more than an hour with Kelly, and gave him some very specific details and reports documenting the problems with the current National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. Maybe you should ask him for this information and educate yourself on these issues.
In the meantime, let me take a few statements, and omissions, to task:
Yes, I am gay and proud of it, but the quote on Curley’s being a “redneck place” is wrong.
The money spent to date on lawsuits was driven by the regional and state boards’ refusal to hold meaningful public hearings on the subjects.
The USC study given to Mr. Kelly did not create an “acting out of fear” response by city officials, but gave us all a reasonable outlook on the current NPDES and Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) requirements.
Why is there no discussion on the “administration review” of the 30-plus-year history of the “Basin Plan,” with which Mr. Kelly was provided?
Mr. Kelly’s discussion of the number of beach closures does not mention that this is a reduction from previous years.
Cities in the L.A. basin have spent millions on the first two NPDES iterations. We therefore take exception to Heal the Bay’s Mr. Gold’s quote. We have “done a damn thing.”
As a person living with HIV/AIDS and on disability income, I take offense at the inference that I am a rich man pursuing a selfish agenda. My “cream-colored” Mercedes is 27 years old, and I only hope that it will provide transportation for the rest of my life.
I hope I have made myself very clear. The L.A. Weekly needs to get responsible; Mr. Kelly’s journalism deserves an award from the National Enquirer.
—Larry Forester Signal Hill ‰
Re: Judith Lewis’ “Killing the Angel in the House” [June 20–26]. I thought the comments made by Brody Armstrong about Rock n Roll High School pretty damn weird. I attend the school, and I can’t say that relating to other girls with similar interests to me has ever been “annoying.” But that’s just me. As for the people running the school being “Nazi sows”? I have been learning classical piano from Stephanie Bourke at the school for some years now, and I can’t think of any Nazi-sow moments — though one time she did tell me to practice a bit more.
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