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Cleaning Up the Water: the How and the Who

April 14, 2002

Re "A Watershed Event Ahead for Runoff?" April 8:

Orange County is proposing either a joint powers authority (JPA) or a watershed-by-watershed series of governing bodies to address contamination of our streams from urban runoff. The continuing farce of countywide lip service goes on. This is the "same old, same old" practice of leaving the wheel in the hands of the captain who ran this ship aground repeatedly for innumerable years.

The degradation of watersheds like Aliso Creek warrants a changing of the guard. Instead, public advocates and concerned citizens once again sit at the back of the environmental bus, with the good-old boys in charge of a plantation-politics atmosphere.

We need 21st century solutions to 20th century problems, including processes that allow people the dignity of stewardship for their habitats. Clean Water Now Coalition has challenged this county for two years to follow successful models found in other regions of California and the country.

The JPA (or JPAs) being proposed are like lyrics from a 1971 song ("Won't Get Fooled Again") by the Who: "Meet the new boss ... same as the old boss." Just what everyone wants--another expensive, do-nothing layer of government that weakens the public's input.

The fact is that developers control this county, not the residents who want a safer recreational environment. Those of us who love where we live can't stroll off into the fog whistling a happy tune. All we have is the memory of creeks that once ran with steelhead trout and were rife with frogs and crawdads. These places of wonder for children are now condemned to being flood-control drainage ditches.

Roger von Butow

Chairman, Clean Water Now

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