Candidate Alleges Sewage Spill Cover-up



I’m Paul Merritt, your new candidate for Laguna Beach City Council 2014. I’ve been a resident of Laguna Beach since the early ‘60s.

I want to know why our current council has failed to do anything about recycling the tons of glass and paper and metal cans left behind by visitors to our beautiful public beaches?

At the very least, why hasn’t our City Council asked seaside hotels and restaurants to voluntarily use paper cups, plates and straws when they serve their customers takeaway food and beverages instead of non-biodegradable plastics, metals and glass which litter our beaches and tidewaters and, ultimately, harm our planet.

I strongly favor a public fishing ban. However, I do support issuance of short-term fishing permits limited to select shoreline locations.

There is more unsettling news about our environment. Roger Butow emailed me a few days ago to inform me that California River Watch, the statewide river, shoreline, and estuary ecological watchdog, has filed a notice of intent to sue Laguna Beach.

Un-disclosed to Laguna residents and tourists, from June 2009 through June 2014, the city of Laguna Beach has routinely been dumping untreated raw sewage into the sea. I am severely disappointed that our city council has literally swept this foul matter into the sea and covered up the events alleged by California River Watch.

According to Mr. Butow, of Clean Water Now, around 2001 Laguna Beach paid a fine of $60,000 for a similar infraction and settled the issue with a monitoring fund of $114,000.

It’s not just that the city has, surreptitiously, been discharging untreated raw sewage into the pristine waters of the Pacific Ocean that is so offensive, it is also the failure of the current city council to inform us of this very serious ecological matter that affects every beachgoer and taxpayer, and the council’s failure to fairly and honestly admit their own culpability to this very serious offense.

Our  city council  has not been open and transparent with the citizens it represents about a serious environmental issue and breach of local and state laws. Clean water is our right.

Laguna is our masterpiece. If I am elected to city council, I vow to protect both the land and the sea. I would never fail to warn visitors and locals about untreated raw sewage being discharged at our shores.

Paul Merritt, Laguna Beach



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