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Okay on Prop. O

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Yesterday, we lauded the cleansing properties of the rain that has been falling on our fair city for the last few days. This welcome precipitation washes our streets, lawns, buildings, and cars of all the accumulated pollution and grime our city can pile up over the long dry season. It renews and reinvigorates us, and our built environment. Our city shines like polished stone. We fall in love with her all over again.

This cleansing comes at a price, however. All that the rains wash away must go somewhere, and that somewhere is Santa Monica Bay. The LA Stormwater Program's website states that:

"[A]pproximately 100 million gallons of contaminated water and debris drain through the storm drain system each dry day. One hundred million gallons would fill the Rose Bowl 1.2 times. On rainy days, the daily flow can increase to 10 billion gallons [emphasis added]."

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That's a lot of oil, dog feces, pesticides, fertilizer, and plain old trash. It pollutes the Bay. It washes up on the beaches. You definitely don't want to swim in it.

The worst part of it is that our storm sewer system is woefully inadequate, performing poorly even on dry days. An overhaul of the entire network of drains is needed, and it won't be cheap. The price tag as calculated by the framers of Proposition O, a bond measure aimed at fixing the sewer problems, is $500 million.

It's a large sum. But with LA already in violation of EPA Clean Water regulations, and large fines in the offing, it's better to face up to the problem now.

Besides, we owe it to ourselves to have a clean Santa Monica Bay. Our beaches are a large part of who we are, as a place, and a people. We should protect it as we protect large sections of the Santa Monica Mountains, ensuring that it will always be a blue, welcoming, safe place for all Angelenos to enjoy.

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