Voter's Edge California Voter Guide
Get the facts before you vote.
Brought to you by
League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
Tuesday November 6, 2018 — California General Election
Invest in unbiased information

With your support, we can reach and inform more voters.

Donate now to spread the word.

Special District

Los Angeles County Flood Control District
Measure W - 2/3 Approval Required

To learn more about measures, follow the links for each tab in this section. For most screenreaders, you can hit Return or Enter to enter a tab and read the content within.

Election Results


1,805,050 votes yes (69.45%)

793,890 votes no (30.55%)

100% of precincts reporting (4,551/4,551).

Shall an ordinance improving/protecting water quality; capturing rain/stormwater to increase safe drinking water supplies and prepare for future drought; protecting public health and marine life by reducing pollution, trash, toxins/plastics entering Los Angeles County waterways/bays/beaches; establishing a parcel tax of 2.5¢ per square foot of impermeable area, exempting low-income seniors, raising approximately $300,000,000 annually until ended by voters, requiring independent audits, oversight and local control be adopted?

What is this proposal?

Details — Official information

Impartial analysis / Proposal

Mary C. Wickham, County Counsel

Approval of Measure W (“Measure”) would authorize the Los Angeles County Flood Control District (“District”) to levy a special tax (“Tax”) annually on parcels within the District, which encompasses cities and unincorporated areas of the County, beginning with fiscal year 2019-20, and continuing until ended by the voters. The Tax shall be levied at a rate of 2.5 cents per square foot of impermeable area, except as exempted. Impermeable area is area covered by materials or constructed surfaces such as buildings, driveways, concrete, pools and other hardscaped areas. Impermeable area does not include vegetated and other natural permeable areas where water penetrates through the ground. The Measure was placed on the ballot by resolution of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors (“Board”), acting also as the governing body of the District on July 17, 2018. If passed, the Tax is estimated to generate $300,000,000 annually.

Proceeds from the Tax shall be used to fund projects and programs consistent with the expenditure plan in an ordinance (“Ordinance”) amending the District Code establishing the Los Angeles Region, Safe, Clean Water Program. The Ordinance shall become effective only if the Tax is passed. Projects include, but are not limited to; increasing stormwater capture and reducing urban runoff pollution which may increase water supply; improve water quality; and provide community investment benefits as defined in the Ordinance.

An independent Regional Oversight Committee consisting of subject matter experts shall prepare progress reports on whether the goals of the Measure are met, and submit recommendations to the Board. The Board shall cause independent financial audits to be conducted to determine compliance with the terms of the Ordinance. All Tax funds shall be deposited in a special account. The County Auditor-Controller shall file an annual report with the Board stating the amount of funds collected pursuant to the Ordinance.

The Auditor-Controller shall place the tax on the secured roll, and the County Treasurer and Tax Collector (“Treasurer”) shall collect the Tax for fiscal year 2019-20 and subsequent fiscal years at the same time, in the same manner, and subject to the same penalties and interest as for ad valorem taxes collected on behalf of the County. All laws and procedures regarding exemptions, due dates, installment payments, corrections, cancellations, refunds, late payments, liens, penalties, and collections for the secured-roll ad valorem property taxes shall apply to the Tax. All property that is otherwise exempt or partially exempt from ad valorem property taxes shall also be exempt from the Tax in such year. Additionally, upon application, low income senior-owned Parcels may be exempt. The District shall establish and administer a Tax appeals process.

This Measure requires a two-thirds (2/3) vote for passage.

Published Arguments — Arguments for and against

Arguments FOR


Water is life. Yet in Los Angeles County, water is scarce and much of it is polluted.

MEASURE W creates the Safe, Clean Water Program, a comprehensive action plan to increase local water supplies, clean up contaminated water to protect public health and the environment, and prepare our region for drought.

Every year more than 100 billion gallons of rainwater flow down our gutters and out to the ocean. Wasted. Measure W will modernize Los Angeles County’s outdated water infrastructure to capture and save more rainwater, enough for more than 2.5 million people – one quarter of our County’s population.

Polluted stormwater exposes our kids and neighborhoods to toxins, results in beach closures after every rainstorm, and makes people sick. Measure W will protect public health by keeping trash, liquid toxins, and infection-causing bacteria out of local waters.

Extreme heat and more frequent and severe droughts are the new normal. Measure W will help us prepare for future droughts by capturing more water when it does rain.

Thousands of tons of trash––everything from plastics to cigarette butts to syringes––enter our storm drains, flow out to sea, and wash onto our beaches, killing thousands of dolphins, birds, and other marine life. Measure W will protect Los Angeles County rivers, lakes, bays, and beaches by reducing stormwater pollution.

Measure W includes strict accountability requirements, including an independent oversight committee and independent annual audits. All revenue will be spent on local projects to improve our local water quality and increase our local water supplies.

The time to act is now. Let’s ensure our children and grandchildren have the clean water they need – before the opportunity dries up.

Join public health experts, environmentalists, homeowners, renters, labor, business leaders, and firefighters from every corner of Los Angeles County and VOTE YES ON MEASURE W FOR SAFE, CLEAN WATER.

Mayor of Los Angeles

Director of Public Health, Los Angeles County

Fire Chief, Los Angeles County

Aquatic Biologist/Associate Vice Chancellor for Environment and Sustainability, UCLA

Water Scientist/President and CEO Heal the Bay

Arguments AGAINST

Stop the Forever Rain Tax. Vote NO on Measure W.

The Board of Supervisors wants to raise your taxes, again!


We already pay the nation’s highest income, sales and gasoline taxes! The politicians added a parcel tax in 2016; are proposing this tax in 2018 and are planning more increases for 2020. When will it stop?

This rain tax on your property will add $300,000,000 to local tax bills. They claim it will clean up dirty storm water and generate more water local supply. No one would argue with those goals, but this is not the proposal to get that done.

The problem is there are:
No projects,
No plan,
No schedule,
No guarantees, and
No end to the tax.

The politicians are merely saying, “Give us the money and we’ll figure out what to do with it later.”

Living and working in Los Angeles County is already out of reach for most residents; homelessness is the highest in the nation, transportation is gridlocked, and the County wants to make it worse by increasing the cost of living and adding yet another forever tax.

And this tax is only on private property owners. Major publicly owned sources of pollution won’t pay a dime of this tax; ports and airports are tax-free! It doesn’t just rain on private property. This tax should be the responsibility of every source of pollution, not just the individual homeowners and businesses of Los Angeles County.


The politicians are taking advantage of the drought to raise our taxes. But local, state and federal laws already protect our waterways and oceans from climate change, and we pay for water sustainability, storage and conservation.
This tax proposal simply isn’t ready. Vote NO on Measure W

President & CEO, CALTAX

President, Valley Industry & Commerce Association

Executive Director, California Small Business Alliance

Replies to Arguments FOR

Vote NO on Measure W.

Absolutely amazing. The proponents make a lot of unsupported claims and avoid telling you what Measure W really is. A brand new parcel tax to the tune of $300,000,000 a year. That will last FOREVER! On your home and the businesses of LA County. They don’t even tell you how much you will actually have to pay in brand-new taxes. Why are they hiding this information? Or are they afraid to even mention it?

And you will be taxed for what? Not one project is listed. Where is the “plan” they claim to have for your money? When will any project be built? Without any information, how can you have any idea what you might get for sending in your hard-earned money?

So, not only do you not know how much this brand-new parcel tax will cost you, you have no idea what this permanent tax will accomplish. Just send in more of your money and trust the bureaucrats to spend it wisely? We have heard that before and know it does not work. So don’t be fooled again. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.

It is well known we have an affordable housing crisis, a homelessness crisis, over 25% of our people living in poverty, struggling small businesses, and some of the highest tax rates in the country, so this is not the time for another permanent parcel tax.

Join community leaders, taxpayers and small businesses -- Vote NO on Measure W.

President & CEO

President, VICA

Executive Director

Replies to Arguments AGAINST

We can’t afford to stick our heads in the sand. Water is scarce in our area - and drought, pollution, and a century-old system threaten our water supply.

Here are the facts:

Yes on W will benefit every community in Los Angeles County by implementing local, priority projects to capture more water and clean up sources of drinking water.

Yes on W means guaranteed local control of all funds, with independent oversight and public audits.

Yes on W will fund specific projects identified and designed by clean water experts.

Yes on W will implement a comprehensive action plan supported by public health professionals, community leaders, businesses, environmental groups, homeowners, teachers and firefighters.

Read the plan for yourself:

Yes on W will remove toxins and trash from neighborhoods, rivers, and streams throughout Los Angeles County including the Los Angeles River, San Gabriel River, Rio Hondo and Santa Clara rivers; Malibu and Ballona creeks; Dominguez Channel, Arroyo Seco, Tujunga Wash, Santa Monica Bay, San Pedro Bay, and our iconic beaches and ocean.

Yes on W will help the economy by investing in solutions that make local water supplies more reliable, helping our community and local businesses weather the next drought. We can act now and pay a little, or watch the problem get worse and pay a lot more later.

Yes on W means cleaner, safer water for our children, families, rivers, lakes, bays, ocean, and marine life.

We need Yes on W now for a smarter water system and more secure water future.

Join us in voting Yes on W.

Long Beach Mayor

Chief Engineer of Los Angeles County Flood Control District

Urban Conservation Director, The Nature Conservancy

Marine Programs Director, Los Angeles Waterkeeper

Founder and Chair Valley Alliance of Neighborhood Councils

Use tabs to select your choice. Use return to create a choice. You can access your choices by navigating to 'My Choices'.

Please share this site to help others research their voting choices.