Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

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SM To Consider Water Rationing

Californians have failed to voluntarily cut their water usage by 20 percent, as Gov.Jerry Brown called for in January, so now the Santa Monica City Council is considering a mandatory conservation effort.

At the Aug. 12 meeting, city staff will ask the Council to declare a Stage II water emergency that will include the implementation of water budgets, require all customers to decrease their water consumption and provide a fee schedule for violators, according to the Santa Monica Daily Press.

The city's ability to enforce water-waste fines derives from a July 29 emergency regulation issued by the state, which allows local governments to fine violators to the tune of $500 a day.

"This regulation establishes the minimum level of activity that residents, businesses and water suppliers must meet as the drought deepens and will be in effect for 270 days unless extended or repealed,"George Kostyrko of the State Water Resources Control Board said in a statement.

Local agencies will be held responsible for enforcing the rules within their jurisdictions, the Daily Press points out, and can be fined up to $10,000 per day by the water board if they do not comply.

Santa Monica has been at the forefront of conservation efforts, however, as sustainability analyst Kim O'Cain explained to the newspaper.

"The City of Santa Monica has been in compliance with this legislation since 1992 because we never rescinded the rules passed during the '92 drought," O'Cain said. "While we are in compliance, we feel the need to go above and beyond these minimum requirements."

O'Cain says that if the Council approves the motion, the there will be water allocations, and that if customers exceed their water ration, "they will have to pay a penalty on the amount that's over."

A sliding fee scale ranges from $4 per HCF (equal to 748 gallons) to $40 per HCF depending on the amount used, according to the report, which says that violators could have their water flow restricted and eventually disconnected.

3.0 Earthquake Felt Locally

A magnitude 3.0 earthquake struck in Santa Monica Bay 12:23 p.m. Wednesday, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The temblor hit at a depth of 5.7 miles about 6 miles west of Manhattan Beach, USGS said.The epicenter was in the Pacific Ocean, west of the beach cities and the South Bay (map USGS). It appeared to strike near the northern tip of the Palos Verdes Fault Zone, which generally runs from near the center of the bay southwest toward and through the Palos Verdes Peninsula and then perpendicular with the Orange County coastline, according to a map from Caltech's Southern California Earthquake Data Center.

The quake was felt widely along the Santa Monica Bay coastline, but only as a "light" or "weak" shaking, according to the USGS ShakeMap.

"We have just experienced what felt like a small earthquake," the Hawthorne Police Department tweeted. "No reports of damage or injuries at this time."

Call for Gun Control at SMC From

Aggrieved Dad

Victims of gun violence are mobilizing behind a new drive for a national gun registry. They spoke out in Santa Monica Wednesday, where a gunman carried out a mass shooting last year.

A group of survivors and family members of shooting victims gathered outside Santa Monica College Wednesday to call for stronger gun control.

"I have to find some meaning in my son's death," said Richard Martinez, whose son, Christopher Michaels-Martinez, was fatally shot in Santa Barbara. "I can't accept that he died for nothing." Michaels-Martinez died after leading other people to shelter during the Isla Vista mass shooting in May.

Richard Martinez has been on a campaign ever since, calling for universal background checks and asking the public to reach out to politicians.

"I support gun rights, but our kids have a right to be free from fear and death in their schools and in the streets of this country," said Martinez.

During the shooting here at Santa Monica College last year, Debra Fine was shot five times, but survived. Now she's calling for better mental health services.

"That can ruin your entire life because you never get rid of that feeling of being a victim. Or if you get help and support, you can come through it and help other people," said Fine.

Amardeep Kaleka's father was killed in the 2012 Sikh temple shooting in Wisconsin. Now he is running for Congress against Paul Ryan, and calling for accidental-discharge insurance and tougher gun-trafficking laws.

"Since that time over those two years, not one meaningful law has been passed on domestic safety or public safety decreasing violence," said Kaleka.

Patricia Maisch was hailed as a hero during the mass shooting in Tucson, Arizona that killed six people and wounded 13 others, including Congresswoman Gabby Giffords in 2011. Maisch took the shooter's gun away during the rampage.

"Since then, I've asked myself: Where was I after Columbine? Where was I after Virginia Tech?" said Maisch.

 

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