County likely to abandon 'Clean Water, Clean Beaches’ measure
At least temporarily
LOS ANGELES, Calif.—A plan to charge Los Angeles County property owners a fee to fund the cleanup of local waterways seemed destined to be abandoned today, at least temporarily.
Nearly two months ago, the Board of Supervisors acknowledged that the plan needed to be reworked.
But now, Supervisors Gloria Molina and Don Knabe have formally recommended against instituting the measure “at this time.”
Combined with Supervisor Michael Antonovich’s vocal opposition to imposing what he’s characterized as a tax, there are sufficient votes to kill the fee.
Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky championed the “Clean Water, Clean Beaches” measure as a cost-effective way to reduce urban runoff—including trash and toxic substances such as industrial solvents, lead, mercury and infection-causing bacteria—into county waterways and the ocean. It was the result of years of work to reach consensus among various municipalities and environmental organizations.
But even Yaroslavsky seemed resigned to taking a step back, recommending that county staffers instead draft a 2014 ballot measure asking voters to fund projects to address stormwater and urban runoff pollution.
At a Jan. 15 public hearing packed with both supporters and opponents, those against the plan objected to more fees on behalf of residents and businesses they said were already struggling economically. Fees for a typical homeowner would average $54 annually, while large commercial property owners could pay thousands of dollars, according to the Department of Public Works.
“Gods sends us rain and you figured out how to tax it,” Santa Clarita City Councilman TimBen Boydston said during that hearing.
Others in opposition argued that the measure lacked detail on the projects to be funded and contended the ballot process was designed to push the measure through without scrutiny, while environmentalists and other elected officials hailed the measure as a way to support local cleanup efforts.
As proposed, more than 50 percent of property owners would have to oppose the fee in order to avoid a ballot survey of owners to decide the measure’s fate. As of this morning, 113,556 owners had objected, according to county spokesman David Sommers, roughly 5 percent of the total.
Dozens of speakers on both sides of the issue waited to be heard by the board this morning. But it appears that whatever is said, the measure will not move forward in its current form.
The Inglewood City Council voted to place a property transfer tax measure on the General Municipal Election ballot, despite pleas from homeowners for increasing it incrementally and real estate professionals’ objections that it will stifle a slowly recovering residential market.
LOS ANGELES, Calif. — A former Los Angeles resident who was a federal fugitive for 12 years pleaded guilty today to aggravated identity theft and bankruptcy fraud for a massive scam that promised to postpone foreclosure sales for more than 800 distressed homeowners in the Southland and elsewhere.
Glen Alan Ward, 48, pleaded guilty in connection with three separate sets of charges in federal courts in Los Angeles and San Francisco, all stemming from his 15-year fraud, according to the Department of Justice.
Congresswoman Karen Bass will host a Mortgage Relief Town Hall and Resource Fair at 6:30 p.m. tonight at the Culver City Senior Center, 4095 Overland Ave., Culver City, to inform residents about the latest news on the Obama Administration’s housing and mortgage relief programs.
Homeowners will have the opportunity to receive a private consultation with bank representatives or a HUD-approved housing counselor to get guidance on working with mortgage servicers to avoid foreclosure, organizing financial matters and understanding available mortgage options.
The last time this column visited the affairs of state Attorney General Kamala Harris she was fresh from scoring a significant negotiated victory for beleaguered California homeowners in the federal omnibus settlement with mortgage banks. What has she been up to lately? She has followed up that triumph with a principled, relentless political effort to convince California legislators to pass a Homeowners Bill of Rights.
SACRAMENTO—Attorney General Kamala D. Harris announced Wednesday the California Homeowner Bill of Rights, which is designed to protect homeowners from unfair practices by banks and mortgage companies and to help consumers and communities cope with the state’s urgent mortgage and foreclosure crisis.
Joined by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez, Harris announced her sponsorship of six bills designed to guarantee: