L.A. County leaders wash cars two-three times a week amid drought: report

Reuters News
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Posted: Aug 26, 2015 6:18 PM

By Dan Whitcomb

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Despite a devastating four-year drought that has forced strict water conservation measures across California, most Los Angeles County supervisors still have their cars washed two or three times a week, a local newspaper reported.

The multiple weekly car washes carry on despite Governor Jerry Brown's admonitions to Californians to take shorter showers and stop watering their lawns and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti's own "Save the Drop" campaign, according to the Los Angeles Daily News.

The five supervisors can either collect a car allowance or have the county buy them a vehicle, which is washed, maintained and kept fueled at taxpayer expense.

The Daily News determined through public service records that two of the supervisors, Don Knabe and Michael Antonovich, have their SUVs washed by county workers an average of twice a week and that a third, Mark Ridley-Thomas, has his car cleaned three times a week.

The remaining two, Sheila Kuehl and Hilda Solis, wash their cars about once a week, according to the paper.

It said Ridley-Thomas, Knabe and Antonovich actually increased the frequency of their car washes after the governor

ordered the first statewide mandatory water restrictions in April, directing cities and communities to reduce their water usage by 25 percent.

"The governor's executive order calls on every Californian to help save water during this drought and it specifically includes limiting car washing and making sure to wash with recycled water," said George Kostyrko, a spokesman for the State Water Resources Control Board.

"All over the state many Californians are rising to the challenge and there's always more conservation work to be done, Kostyrko said.

Unlike many commercial car washes, the county's facilities do not use recirculated water, the Daily News said.

The supervisors declined to answer questions from the Daily News about the car washing.

County public information officers and representatives for Garcetti had no immediate comment when contacted by Reuters.

California is in its fourth year of a withering drought that has killed 12.5 million trees, forced farmers to fallow a half-million acres of land and left mountains bereft of snow that melts to replenish streams and reservoirs.

Garcetti's "Save the Drop" campaign urges residents of America's second-largest city to save water with ads on buses and trash trucks and educational programs at libraries, and alerts them to programs such as rebates for replacing water-gulping grass lawns with drought-tolerant plants.

(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)