Letters to the Editor: Aug. 29, 2008

Disappointed in letter

I was troubled by, and sincerely disappointed in, the letter published in the Del Mar Times Aug. 15 by Mr. Volicek, a member of Del Mar’s Finance Committee. Mr. Vorlicek, whom I recruited to this committee, asked in accusative tones why the city of Del Mar is required to pay $500,000 annually to meet the requirements of the state mandated clean water program. He suggests that we can avoid these costs by some manner or another, and we have failed to do so. It is not so.

He quotes an outdated study of rates for the clean water program around the state of California, and suggests you jump to his conclusion that somehow the city of Del Mar is not minimizing those costs by methods not revealed by him.

The study he points to was published around 2005 based on 2003 data. At the time of data collection, Del Mar was mandated by the State of California to pay “only” $200,000 per year. Now those mandated fees have risen to $500,000 annually.

It personally insults me that we are mandated by the state to pay these fees, and that this mandate is unfunded. The state’s obvious inability to govern itself is being thrust on your back (and my back too) by such moves. I am sorry it is so, but fines of up to $10,000 per day await cities violating this mandate.

The fees we must pay are determined by the Regional Water Quality Board, with whom I am certain Mr. Vorlicek failed to consult, and rose about three fold in the past three years, namely after the study he quotes.

Further Mr. Vorlicek fails to recognize that there are five Regional Water Quality Boards in California, and the one governing San Diego County has levied the most severe fees among all others in our state, and levies the most fines for non-compliance within the state. The report he points you to fails to provide this information too, while suggesting a comparison among cities in different regions. Really, all this could have been discovered quite easily, if one wanted to know.

The city of San Diego has paid millions in fines levied by this board; the city of Del Mar has paid none. Perhaps Mr. Vorlicek would have us skimp on Del Mar’s commitment to clean water and then pay even more through fines levied for violations, That would be bad local government for sure.

Henry Abarbanel

Del Mar City Council