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County specific measures

Sanitation, transportation, technology, oh my

Posted: November 4, 2008 10:34 p.m.
Updated: January 5, 2009 5:00 a.m.

A local measure on water softeners and a county measure on a utility tax appeared headed for victory in Tuesday's election, but another county measure that would increase sales tax for mass transit was too close to call.

Measure S called for the removal of all "salt-based" self-regenerating water softeners from homes in the Santa Clarita Valley serviced by the county's local sanitation district.

"I voted ‘yes' to do that because I've actually done that," said Michael Ballard of Measure S calling for the removal of water softeners in homes in Santa Clarita Valley.

"We've given them all sorts of encouragement," he said about stubborn water softener owners. "We offered them the carrot, now it's time for the stick."

In supporting Measure S, the county sanitation district argued that getting rid of existing water softeners would reduce the amount of salt that ends up in the Santa Clara River. The salt is harmful to crops downstream.

State mandates to reduce the level of salt in the river could force construction of a costly desalination plant paid for by Santa Clarita Valley water consumers if the measure didn't pass, supporters said.

Measure R, which would raise sales tax throughout the county, required a two-thirds majority to pass.

Supporters say it was placed on the ballot in a bid to expand mass transit in the county.

Backed by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority, it would raise sales tax in Los Angeles County by a half cent to 8.75 percent to pay for mass transit and road projects.

Critics said it was a way to get residents countywide to pay for a "subway to the sea" that would benefit only select communities in the city of Los Angeles.

The measure was opposed by county Supervisor Mike Antonovich, who represents the Santa Clarita Valley.

Measure U, which would extend a utility users tax in unincoprorated areas to clearly include cell phones and new technology, appeared headed for victory.

Measure U asked voters in unincorporated Los Angeles County to extend a utility users' tax to help fund county services.

The measure, which requires a simple majority to pass, would lower the tax from 5 percent to 4.5 percent but extend it to cell phones and other "new" communications technologies.


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