Clean Water Initiative Fails by Almost 60% to 40%

By Allen Payton, Publisher

Below is the email sent out detailing the results of the recent election for the Clean Water Initiative, in which property owners could cast their vote and mail-in their ballots.

The entire process cost approximately $1.43 million, the largest portion of which was $444,092.40 spent on campaigning, labeled as “educational outreach” by county staff, as well as $346,800 on printing and mailing the ballots. Almost $435,000 was spent on analysis, research, the Engineer’s Report and action plan prior to the election.

The result is each city, the county and the County Flood Control District will have to determine how to pay for the requirements for complying with the new clean water regulations.

From: Don Freitas


Contra County County Board of Supervisors

City/Town Mayors

City/Town Councilmembers

City/Town Managers

Contra Costa Clean Water Program Management Committee Members & Alternates

Cities/County Attorneys’ Association Ad Hoc Committee

Cities/County Engineering Advisory Committee

SCI Consulting Group, Inc. and sub-consultants


Dear Interested Parties:

The purpose of this email is to inform you of the final election results for the “2012 Community Clean Water Initiative”. Contrary to recent press articles, Monday, May 7th has always been designated as the deadline to receive this information. Passage of the Initiative required fifty percent (50%) plus one of those casting a vote which included all property owners in Contra Costa County. The results are as follows:

Mailed Ballots                –  339,586

Received Valid Ballots  –  100,768

Yes” Ballots   –     40,924

No”  Ballots    –    59,844

Invalid Ballots                 –       1,355

Based on the aforementioned results, the Initiative failed by approximately a 60% to a 40% margin. As was stated many times during this process,  the defeat of the Initiative does NOT negate the need for all twenty-one affected jurisdictions in Contra Costa County from the regulatory mandates of the Federal Clean Water Act and California’s Porter-Cologne Water Quality Act. Each entity needs to immediately determine how the necessary funding will now be generated in order to implement the regulatory mandates or be found to be in noncompliance and subject to fines which could run into the thousands or millions of dollars.

The election results can and will be interpreted in many ways, but suffice it to say, the methodology outlined in the voter approved 1996 Proposition 218 ( California Constitution XIII ) had great challenges even though the Program followed its provisions religiously. Courts in California have said the legal nexus between urban runoff and property is valid, but the requirements of Proposition 218 became suspect in the voter’s mind and the press. It’s very easy for the press to condemn actions of local government; but rarely if ever, do they suggest valid alternatives. The election result has worsened local government’s ability to finance Federal and/or State mandates when it is done with no local financing. If the general fund becomes the only alternative to finance the regulatory mandates than the public debate will be simplified between “clean water vs. hiring police officers and other vital community services.”

Donald P. Freitas

Project Manager

Contra Costa Clean Water Program


One Comment to “Clean Water Initiative Fails by Almost 60% to 40%”

  1. Skip says:

    Seems like they keep trying to push taxes down our throats and we keep rejecting them. Even when they do biased surveys that say we’d support certain initiatives, it’s clear that Antioch is tired of being taxed to death by our local leaders. Instead of trying to boost revenue by picking our pockets, it’s time for city leaders to make the tough cuts that our necessary to move our city forward. Quit handing out pensions and raises to the police, city workers and other employees like candy and get tough on negotiating a salary that’s more in line with what the rest of the residents our making. There are more than enough funds to support our city if the few people who control our government would be more realistic on their compensation. Instead of wasting our money on campaigns that have no chance to succeed, lets start finding ways to attract businesses and improve our community with the resources that we have. Every vote I cast this year will be against the incumbents for shenanigans just like this one, even if I’ve got to write in my vote.

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