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Posts Tagged ‘Keith Bohr’

Note: This is another segment of an interview with Huntington Beach mayor  Keith Bohr, conducted in November, 2008.

Water Conservation in Huntington Beach.

Q: What are some specific things we can do in Huntington Beach to conserve water?

Mayor Keith Bohr, Huntington Beach, California

Mayor Keith Bohr, Huntington Beach, California

Well you start with education before you make it a law. Don’t water down your driveways, sweep them. Do your sprinklers every other day. Only do them for five minutes.

People already know that. Right? They’ve been educated about that.

There’s still room for a ton of improvement. I’m trying to educate my gardener still. It’s a constant battle. What they’re doing with groundwater replenishment, that’s huge. A huge expense and I think it’s been well worth it. Don’t go make it salt water and try to desal it. Let’s capture it early. Put it in, let it filter itself through the whole normal process basically. I say do all three prongs. But then as we get closer, mandatory; it’s the law, you get fines if you get caught watering your driveway down. If you have a swimming pool like I do you can’t change that water but once every five years. You end up going on a shared water system and you get punished like on an electric bill.

Do you think there’s any chance of getting that passed on this new city council?

I would like to maximize the education and figure out how the gap relates on those tiers, like how many kids and people are in your household. You have to do several things to hit different baselines. If you have six kids obviously you should use more water than somebody who has no kids…When I lived in a condo for 15 years I had an electric bill of $15. Then I moved into a house where’s it’s several hundred and I go `holy schmoley, what’s going on?’ I went to fluorescents. So you pay attention. So the tier system would help incentify that, right? You think that water’s cheap. It is. You think of water, it’s something that’s so fragile and so scarce, it is…So it makes you wonder why it isn’t already more incentified. So I think that one of the things that we absolutely are going to. I don’t know if that’s going to happen on our term or not, but we need to start looking at that, absolutely. (more…)

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This is Part II of a series of excerpts from a lengthy OC Voice interview with Mayor Keith Bohr of Huntington Beach. We spoke to the mayor about the long delayed efforts to clean up the ASCON toxic waste site in southeast Huntington Beach and the nearby desalination plant planned by Poseidon Resources Inc.

Note that the interview was conducted last November, when George W. Bush was still president of the United States and prior to the ASCON study session referred to in the interview.

By John Earl
OC Voice

Q: There hasn’t been any change at ASCON toxic waste dump in southeast Huntington Beach for decades now. In every election every city council candidate has said we want to clean that up. Fundamentally, not a thing has happened.

H.B. Mayor Keith Bohr. PHOTO/OC VOICE

H.B. Mayor Keith Bohr. PHOTO/OC VOICE

Something has happened. We’ve had the polluters identified. They said ‘Yes we’re responsible.’ And they have five or six alternative plans that are listed by the Department of Toxic Substances. And we’re supposed to have a study session the first quarter of next year that says this is what DTS recommends as the clean up solution. And then we have to have the neighborhood talks. All of the cleanup choices include thousands of truck trips. Do you want it cleaned up to the point that you can put residential on it? I think that’s probably too expensive and the clean up people don’t want to do it and I think the neighborhood would probably say ‘We’d love that but we probably don’t want to do five years or whatever it is of clean up.” So we are moving. (more…)

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The following the first part of a series of excerpts from a wide ranging interview with Keith Bohr, the mayor of Huntington Beach, California, conducted by OC Voice editor John Earl last November.

Part One: Goals for the next year, New Urbanism and transportation.
Tomorrow: The proposed Poseidon desalination plant.

Q: Where do you want to lead the city and where do you see it going in the following year?

Mayor Keith Bohr, Huntington Beach, California

Mayor Keith Bohr, Huntington Beach, California. Photo/OC Voice

I will preface everything by saying that I am just one of seven. I can try to steer a little bit and set some tone but I need at least three others to agree with me.

When I came on the council it was about generating revenues. Of course, you should do everything you can to keep down costs, but with my background in development and with the city in redevelopment it’s about increasing your sales tax, your bed tax from the hotels and the property tax.

That goes to projects. So you look at the Strand [hotel]finishing here [in downtown] … You’re going to have the new retail stores. In the spring you will have the Strand Hotel, The TOT (transient occupancy or “bed” tax) to go along with the rest of the hotels that are operating now. [Get] Pacific City started again. You have 517 condos and the hotel, which is about 250 rooms, and the retail that goes along with that and restaurants.

Bella Terra Phase I has been completed since I’ve been on the council; we just approved Phase II, which they’re calling the Village at Bella Terra, which will be 700 units and about 140,000 square feet of retail.

We’re hoping to provide all the opportunities we can for people, including myself and my wife not to shop at Westminster Mall and South Coast Plaza and Fashion Island. So the more we do that the more we capture those tens of millions of dollars that leak out of Huntington Beach every year. And the extent that we can [we want to] provide something that nobody else has and that makes them come down to Huntington Beach and spend money. (more…)

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Part 2 of a series.

By John Earl
OC Voice

Huntington Beach City Councilmember Don Hansen reassured the public. “I’m actually pretty comfortable having a private company potentially evaluate the dedication of a source for our future water supply,” he said.

The Tampa Bay, Florida desalination plant: A series of failures and costly delays. Photo: www.treehuggers.org

The Tampa Bay, Florida desalination plant: A series of failures and costly delays. Photo: http://www.treehuggers.org

That was three years ago at a city council meeting when Hansen and three other council members, Cathy Green, Gil Coerper and Keith Bohr (now Mayor Bohr) voted to allow Poseidon Resources Inc. to build a desalination plant at the corner of Newland and Beach avenues in southeast Huntington Beach.

If all goes according to plan, the facility would convert 127 million gallons of seawater into 50 million gallons of fresh drinking water every day of the year.  The city would have the option of buying up to 3.5 million gallons of that water at a discount compared to the cost of imported water (two-thirds of the city’s water comes from ground wells, its cheapest source of water). The rest would be distributed throughout the Municipal Water District of Orange County (MWDOC), in theory, to provide a guaranteed water source to help offset drought conditions in the state.

The plant still needs approval from the State Lands Commission and the California Coastal Commission and Poseidon still lacks the private and public financing needed to build and operate, although Poseidon officials say that all are forthcoming (see Part 1).

No matter if the Huntington Beach desalination plant fails, Bohr said, because the burden will be strictly Poseidon’s. “We’re not hiring Poseidon, so there’s no risk,” he told hundreds of people packed tightly into the city council chambers. “If it fails, it doesn’t cost us anything.”

But Poseidon’s facility in Tampa Bay, Florida, it’s first (and failed) attempt to build and operate a desalination plant,  is used by opponents to argue against building the Huntington Beach desalination plant.

The Tampa Bay desalination plant, about half the size of the one planned for Huntington Beach, has operated improperly  if at all since it opened in 2003. (more…)

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Why I Proposed a Spay and Neuter Ordinance

By Keith Bohr
Mayor Pro-Tem, Huntington Beach, California

BohrI have had a few former elected officials over the past few months advise me that one should not meddle when it comes to people’s children or their animals. Definitely information I could have used a year or more ago!

So why did I propose the City of Huntington Beach adopt a “Mandatory Spay Neuter Chip” Ordinance?

A quick look at the numbers:

Six million cats and dogs in the United States are euthanized each year. In California approximately 800,000 dogs and cats end up in taxpayer-funded shelters every year and more than half are euthanized at a cost of more than a quarter of a billion dollars.

Orange County Animal Care Services, contracting with 21 cities, including Huntington Beach, picked up 29,690 stray animals in 2006. Despite commendable efforts by the county to reunite these animals with their owners, or to adopt them out to new owners, the county still had to euthanize more that 12,000 dogs and cats that year. Huntington Beach, which pays the County approximately $400,000 annually for animal control, accounted for more than 1,500 dogs and cats that were picked up, and 40 percent of those were euthanized.

We are killing too many of our pets! (more…)

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Isn’t $250,000 Enough?

By John Earl
OC Voice Editor

Hansen

As a candidate for governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger proclaimed “I don’t need to take any [campaign contribution] money from anybody else; I have plenty of money myself.”

And he warned that, “Any of those kinds of real, big, powerful special interests, if you take money from them, you owe them something.”

Five years later, Governor Schwarzenegger has collected over $124 million in campaign contributions from special interest groups, the largest chunk, over $20 million, coming from real estate, development and construction concerns, according to ArnoldWatch.org. And critics say he has served the needs of corporations over the needs of the people.

While cynics, who lament the loss of “one person one vote” to “one dollar one vote,” created by corporate donors and PACS, and call for public financing of campaigns as a solution, Huntington Beach Councilmember Don Hansen and some of his colleague’s think they have a better idea: allow unlimited individual campaign contributions to city council candidates.

Last August, Hansen proposed increasing the current $300 limit to $500 retroactively, but removed the latter when skeptics objected that past limit violations could be covered up. A subcommittee was then formed to study the overall issue of campaign regulation reform and to make recommendations to the city council at a later date, which it did at a March 17 study session.

Hansen chaired the committee and councilmembers Cathy Green and Jill Hardy joined him along with several H.B. residents. The committee met 5 times and reviewed campaign regulations for 7 other Orange County cities and the State.

Two main issues remain unsettled: spending limits and whether to redact personal address information from electronic (Internet) filings of candidates’ financial contribution updates. (more…)

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