Clean water, expanded parks touted in Prop 68

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Scenes of sparkling streams and clean tap water are how advocates of Prop 68 are reaching out to voters.

Supporters say the $4.1 billion bond measure will clean up groundwater and much more, from making brush land more resistant to fires to creating park areas in low-income areas.

At a rally Monday at Los Angeles State Historic Park, a youth member of the L.A. Conservation Corps said getting out of South Central and seeing the great outdoors changed his life.

"I was on the streets, doing drugs. Now I want to be a better person for my family," said David Soto.

Environmental groups and California Democrats solidly back the measure. "It is for every single person in the state of California no matter your age or where you live," said Laura Shell of The Nature Conservancy.

Opponents say it is too costly. "The state is rolling in dough right now so one of the issues I have with this measure is plain more debt," says Jack Humphreville, a taxpayer watchdog and president of the DWP Advocacy Committee.

With interest and other costs added, critics say the price tag rises to nearly $8 billion.

Humphreville says that in the past, powerful lobbies in Northern California have taken the bulk of bond funds. He fears that L.A. groups could squander the money on pet projects. One he calls a potential boondoggle is a bridge over the 101 Freeway for the male cougar P-22 when less costly options are available.

Yet Prop 68 supporters say to look no further than the tap water in Compton. Filled with brown sediment, it is a sign that the aging infrastructure needs replacement.

The funds could develop urban reservoirs that could store water as well as keep brush areas greener, less likely to catch fire.

Then there is the filth that enters the LA River and groundwater. Start fixing it now, says Mayor Eric Garcetti, before costs go up. "Paying for something in the short term insures that you don't pay for it in the long term," Garcetti said.

Voters will decide on June 5 how to keep clean water flowing without overburdening future generations with debt.
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