SAVE LAGUNA LAKE, FULLERTON’S TREASURE
It is with great urgency that I write this article/post.
On Monday, May 11, 2015 a joint meeting of the Park and Recreation Committee and the Energy Resource Management Committee approved a far reaching proposal to impose an overall state mandated 28% reduction in our water usage that with council approval will go into effect on June 1, 2015. The highlights are as follows:
1. Both committees approved a Park and Recreation Department Plan to…(PLEASE SIT DOWN BEFORE READING THIS) SHUT OFF THE WATER TO LAGUNA LAKE ON JUNE 1 AND KEEP IT OFF FOR A MINIMUM OF 9 FULL MONTHS.
• The intent is to let the lakebed go dry! Not only will we not have use of our precious lake, but the city will be putting local residents in danger by increasing the possibility of West Nile Virus that occurs where there are large pools of stagnated water.
• The shut off of water at Laguna Lake will remove a significant habitat for many species of fish, ducks, coots, geese, turtles and birds. It would endanger all the wildlife that makes that lake their home.
• The timing for this could not be worse at the beginning of our long hot summer period.
2. Laguna Lake Park is the only public facility in Fullerton that is being asked to cease to exist for an extended unknown period of time as a lake. No fishing, nowildlife, no water. Where is the fairness or joint sacrifice in that decision?Twenty-six city sport parks and Fullerton School District fields only get a meager10% cut in water consumption. Does the city really think we are that gullible tobelieve that increasing the water cutbacks for those fields from 10% to 15% oreven 20% is not doable when the city is asking other neighborhood parks to cutback by as much as 85%?
3. Starting June 1st, every residence will be restricted to outside watering two days a week on the specific days mandated by the city. Any violations of these rules could result in the levying of fines against the homeowners.
4. In order to reach the 28% water reduction, the plan estimates that all homeowners must reduce their water consumption by 50%.
5. There are no ratepayer protections that the City will not raise our water rates significantly to make up for the reduced revenues that these cutbacks will automatically create. Any ordinance must include language that protects the ratepayers from having to financially bail out the city. Any attempt to recover lost revenue by the city should be directed at the State of California that is mandating these cutbacks.
6. Draining and refilling your pools or spas will also be subject to a fine. Therefore, pool owners will be fined for maintaining and repairing their pools as necessary. Pool owners will also be required to cover their pools at their own expense.
The above-mentioned meeting took place in the Grand Ballroom of the Community Center starting at 5:30 PM. Please note that the Park and Recreation Committee’s regular meeting place is the Fullerton Council Chambers starting not at 5:30 pm but at 6:30 pm. I learned of this dictated change via an emailed letter I received from City Manager, Joe Felz a mere 6 days prior to the scheduled meeting. I contacted both Park and Recreation Director and my fellow committee members to point out that both the change in venue and especially the time at this late date would make it more difficult for the public to attend this very important meeting impacting all of us. My concerns fell on deaf ears. Apparently I was the only person concerned with maximizing public involvement and allowing those hard working Fullertonians to have time to get to the meeting after work.
Although a plan for water conservation is being mandated by the State via Executive Order of Governor Jerry Brown, how it is accomplished is totally left up to each municipality. Therefore, I abstained from voting for it because the plan needs so much work before it is ready for prime time.
Two committees; yet yours truly was the only committee member who had any issues with this dictated plan by the Water Department and the Parks and Recreation Department. We were given no optional plans to consider.
When it comes before the council, the city can’t truthfully say that the two committees have approved the ordinance they will be voting on. (Park and Recreation Committee members only voted to approve those portions impacted Park and Recreation facilities.) We voted on a brief overview of the proposal presented by a power point presentation from Dave Schickling, Water Department Manager.
Question – Is it not reasonable to have a written copy of the proposed ordinance before being asked to vote on it? Obviously, that was not to be the case. May I suggest that many of you should seriously consider letting the chief administrator of Fullerton, City Manager, Joe Felz know that we do not approve of his methods.
PLEASE ATTEND THE MAY 19TH FULLERTON COUNCIL MEETING AT 6:30 PM TO SPEAK AGAINST THIS EXTREMELY BAD ORDINANCE. LET US COME TOGETHER AND PREVAIL!
Fullerton Resident and Park and Recreation Committee Member