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Behind the smoke curtain

The city of Mission Viejo Web site boasts that, according to the

FBI, it is the “safest city in America.”

What is obscured is that this city contaminates both the Aliso and

San Juan Creeks with pathogenic bacterial counts equivalent to those


found inside a toilet bowl during use, according to Orange County

Health Department testing.

City officials there refused to implement a new permit, which

regulates urban runoff, and are spending hundreds of thousands of the


local coffers to litigate. The city has evidence some are, especially

minority children, harvesting crawdads from the storm drain systems

to be taken home and eaten.

So the city officials, akin to Nero of Rome, fret over a clouded

issue in a non-scientific mode during the degradation of the public

resources. Meanwhile, locals swim and play in tributaries that are

little more than open sewers of contaminates also containing

pesticides, herbicides, PCBs (noted by EPA last year), etc. Is this


any way to run “the safest city in America?”

* ROGER VON BUTOW Clean Water Now! Coalition & South Orange

County Watershed Conservancy.