I love Costa Mesa. I live in the Westside with my husband and our two four-legged daughters. We often walk the dogs or ride our bikes and all too often we see trash piling up, like a couch dumped by a curb, a mattress leaned against a random wall, or drug needles laying on the ground. At first, I thought “This will get cleaned up soon” but day after day we would see the same couch, the same mattress, the same needles.
After doing some research I found out that important services like bulk item pickup are not available to many families in our community. I also discovered some concerning information about our trash services that are not being adequately addressed.
I am running for Costa Mesa Sanitary District because I love Costa Mesa and I want us all to enjoy clean neighborhoods.
Did you know:
- The board recently voted to raise our rates each year for the next FIVE years, and none of the revenue will be allocated to improving or expanding existing trash services. Our rates are going up because current leadership has balanced budgets and paid bills with our rainy-day funds. Using precious reserves to pay bills is fiscally irresponsible, requires future rate hikes, and prevents us from receiving the best quality services available.
- A 2020 survey was taken by ratepayers showing one-third of respondents felt their trash services were “poor” or “average.” We should achieve nothing less than excellence. There should be more accountability and oversight with our trash vendor CR&R. Stricter performance measures or a Service Level Agreement (SLA) will help reduce the ongoing service complaints.
- Our service contract hasn’t been put out to bid since WWII, and the terms favor CR&R over ratepayers. By introducing market competition and renegotiating our contract, we can save millions of dollars and upgrade to the best services available.
- CMSD faces an open Federal and State court case resulting from a 2015 toxic spill. The complaints state that CMSD is responsible for water pollution, under reporting, and refusal to report the extent of the spillage. A minimum fine of $500,000 will likely be imposed. Fines from the Federal court case are still unknown. When these cases are resolved, ratepayers will bear the cost.
- Our aging infrastructure makes us vulnerable to system failure. A few years ago, the board voted to purchase a five-million-dollar property that is virtually unused. Ratepayer revenue should not be used to build a government real estate portfolio. This five-million-dollar expenditure would have been better utilized maintaining and upgrading our infrastructure in an effort to prevent future spills and system failures.
- Some households are not served by the Sanitary District, and are categorized under the non-exclusive franchise service area. This means a significant portion of the Westside is not served by CMSD nor do they receive equal access to bulk-item pick up. Accessibility to this service will help mitigate the trash pile up and litter in our neighborhoods.
- Misaligned priorities compromise the cleanliness and beauty of our community and hurts our fiscal sustainability. While I’m grateful for the decades our current Board Members served, it’s time to move forward with new ideas that benefit all of us.
Go to “The Three R’s” section and learn more about how we can reform the Sanitary District. I humbly ask for your vote this November 3, 2020.