The following is a press release from an organization unaffiliated with Voice of OC. The views expressed here are not those of Voice of OC.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jonathan Volzke, Public Affairs Manager
Municipal Water District of OC Opposes Prop. 53
Fountain Valley, CA (October 24, 2016) – Directors of the Municipal Water District of Orange County (MWDOC) unanimously voted to oppose Prop. 53, which would significantly limit local control of major projects and would hinder recovery and repair projects after natural disasters or other emergencies.
“Proposition 53 is not just bad public policy, it’s dangerous,” MWDOC President Wayne Osborne said after the October 19 vote. “Water agencies need the ability to quickly and efficiency to repair or rebuild systems after an earthquake or other crisis.”
MWDOC’s seven directors are elected to represent geographic regions of Orange County. The agency is a wholesale water supplier serving more than 2.2 million people through 28 cities and retail agencies. Additionally, MWDOC appoints two of its elected directors and two at-large members to the Board of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, which imports water from the State Water Project through the Sacramento Delta and from the Colorado River.
Not only would Prop. 53 limit local control by giving voters throughout the state the right to vote on projects in Orange County, the measure fails to include any exemptions for disasters or other emergencies. Repairs to critical aqueducts and other infrastructure would be delayed until considered by voters statewide.
The State Water Project, which includes the Sacramento Delta, and Colorado River Aqueduct are critical pieces of infrastructure that risk damage during an earthquake. Both crisscross seismic faults, and an earthquake could wipe out 100 percent of Orange County’s imported water supply. The Delta is especially fragile, with manmade levees built on unstable peat materials and could fail during an earthquake.
Directors also said Prop. 53 is misleading because it does not make clear the difference between general obligation bonds and revenue bonds. The measure only applies to revenue bonds, for which private investors bear the financial risk, not the state or its general fund. Revenue bonds are repaid by users of a project who directly benefit, not taxpayers. General obligation bonds – which are repaid by state funds – already require voter approval.
In opposing the measure, MWDOC Directors join the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA), the California League of Cities, the California Chamber of Commerce and major newspapers throughout the state in urging residents to vote no on Prop. 53. For more information, see www.noprop53.com
Street Address: 18700 Ward Street, Fountain Valley CA 92708 Phone Number: (714) 963-3058 Website: www.mwdoc.com Twitter: @MWDOC
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