Infrastructure and Environment
What would you do about Outsourcing the Management of Upland’s Water?
First, under no circumstances should we sell the water or water rights, even though that is not on the table right now. I do not believe we should outsource the management to an outside entity. While doing this can offer certain benefits under certain circumstances like pension costs, there are also considerable risks to the public interest, to water resources systems, and to the environment that require strong government oversight. Protecting public ownership of water rights, taking into account the impacts on downstream communities and the environment, and ensuring that water quality is protected are the issues that we should look at closely. Outsourcing the management of the water could marginalize the community’s right to their decision making.
It has taken us 30 years to buy up the majority of the water shares. The city was visionary in obtaining most of the shares and we have an underground aquifer. If someone took over this job, they may be less educated, experienced and knowledgeable .Why should we take away the control of one our best assets? The fact that we own our own water system is precisely why we have lower rates than other cities that do not own their own water.
How would you fix the streets?
After extensive research with an infrastructure specialist, I have found our city’s infrastructure is failing. The black tar that is put over many of our streets is simply a band aide that is only temporary. We need funding for fixing the streets or we might end up like UCLA with massive water leaks because of failing water pipes under the streets. The specialist said that there were some federal grants coming down the pike, but we needed to map our infrastructure on software. The city does not have this and said, “We don’t have the money.”
Rancho Cucamonga won an award for their infrastructure maps and gave it away to a city in Northern California. I suggest that we go to Rancho and ask to have a copy of the infrastructure software so that we can map our infrastructure and be able to be eligible for federal grants.
What plan do you have for the trees?
The city needs to plant trees that have a deep root system, not shallow roots that uproot the sidewalks. The city should install an affordable PVC pipe beside new trees that will be used to water the deep roots and discourage the roots from rising and destroying sidewalks.
The staff must respond to reports of dead trees. Six people I talked to had trees that totaled their cars, but the city did not respond to their calls to cut down the dead trees. It is easier to cut down a dead tree than to deal with a city lawsuit.
We need to address a program where people are allowed to trim their own trees on their parkway, but not cut them down without permission.
How can Upland protect its environment?
Water is our number one natural resource here in Upland. Our global reserves of drinkable water are a fraction of 1%. So Upland owning and maintaining its own water is more valuable than oil. Columbia University’s water scarcity study (February 2013) showed that most of California, from San Diego all the way to Santa Barbara, is at high risk for water problems.
Recycling is important to our environment in Upland. We can build new homes with recycling in mind like “The Double Zero House’s” for KB homes that feature a grey water recycling system, which recycles water from sinks, showers and washing machines for outdoor use. It eliminates the need to use potable water for irrigation. “ It’s the first use of grey water recycling in a home in the U.S. and a critical source of water savings given that outdoor water use accounts for 50 to 70 percent of the typical family’s water use,” according to Robert Neal, Public Works Director in Lancaster, California. Senior Manager Megan Wilcox reports, “The grey water system, combined with drought tolerant landscaping, water sensitive fixtures and real time monitoring add up to savings of roughly 150,000 gallons of water per year, or half an acre-foot, for a family of four.”
Solar Energy is another renewable energy that can be used over and over and should be encouraged in Upland. Renewable energy like Solar Energy, Hydropower and Wind Power are important for the environment.
I have read many Environmental Impact Reports as a Planning Commissioner and was sensitive to the various flora and fauna that needed to be preserved as well as indigenous animals and other environmentally sensitive issues. Preserving our natural resources is vital to Upland moving forward in the 21st century.