Do I hear three dollars?

Posted on | March 30, 2010 | 3 Comments

Click on the checklist to be taken to the Long Beach lawn-to-garden program website

Las Vegas topped the regional cash-for-grass payout rate with $2 per square foot (now down to $1.50) until the City of Long Beach today announced that it will be offering $2.50 per square foot up to $2,500 for qualifying homeowners.

The calculus behind this sort of bribery is that it is cheaper for a Western water authority to pay homeowners to remove turf and replace it with a drought tolerant garden rather than for the city to vie with competitors for ever more water from an ever shrinking common pool.

Beyond the decision to increase the bounty on turf, what sets Long Beach’s program apart from, say, the cash-for-grass scheme launched by the City of Los Angeles last June is an enviable combination of conviction and competence.

While the City of Los Angeles sat on its hands during 2006-07, the driest rain year in Southern California history, Long Beach voted in strict watering ordinances. When in 2008-09, Los Angeles finally followed suit with watering ordinances and offered a cash-for-grass program of $1 per square foot, the incentive got lost in a Metropolitan Water District-sponsored phone system whose automated voice mail greeted visitors with news that all rebates had been canceled. Only those who hung on after being told to go away were eventually put through to an operator from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.

Meanwhile, Long Beach had moved on to sponsoring yard makeovers in each of its districts.

This year, the Long Beach program has expanded to a cash-for-grass program timed to coincide with local events designed to teach residents about replacement landscapes. These include the Long Beach City College plant sale on March 31-April 3 and the Theodore Payne Foundation Tour on April 10-11. For a look at some of the gardens on the tour, including two in Long Beach, click here (and groove on the fact that one is an apartment complex).

For a full listing of dry garden events around Southern California, click here.

This all begs the question as the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power fishes around for a new general manager, why can’t we have someone from Long Beach?

Comments

3 Responses to “Do I hear three dollars?”

  1. Jorge Ochoa
    March 30th, 2010 @ 8:31 pm

    2010
    LONG BEACH CITY COLLEGE
    Horticulture Club
    Presents the 38th
    ANNUAL
    Open House & Plant Sale
    MARCH 31 & APRIL 1, 2, 3 2010
    9 am until 6 pm

    THOUSANDS OF PLANTS!

    TREE & BUSH ROSES
    SHADE & SUN SHRUBS
    WATER-WISE PLANTS
    ANNUAL & PERENNIAL BEDDING PLANTS
    TOMATO, VEGETABLE & HERB PLANTS
    TROPICAL HOUSE PLANTS
    CACTI & SUCCULENTS

    HORTICULTURE GARDENS
    PACIFIC COAST CAMPUS
    1305 E. Pacific Coast Hwy.
    Long Beach, CA 90806
    CALL (562) 938-3092 for more info

    PARK IN STAFF LOT (TURN NORTH FROM PCH ONTO MAY STREET)
    OR THE NEWLY CONSTRUCTED LOTS IN THE SOUTHEAST CORNER OF CAMPUS
    AT WALNUT AVE AND PCH
    WE WILL TAKE YOUR PLANTS TO YOUR CAR

    Free Parking
    710 fwy. So. to PCH, go East to Walnut Ave.
    turn north, parking lot is to your left.

    405 to Orange Ave. South to campus parking lot on left.
    RAIN OR SHINE

  2. Gayle
    March 30th, 2010 @ 9:48 pm

    I’ve heard that the cost of artificial grass is between $3 and $5 per square foot*…it’s getting close to that magical intersection of real-fake parity!
    *not installed, of course

  3. David Zetland
    April 2nd, 2010 @ 2:11 am

    LB rocks, but couldn’t they just RAISE PRICES? Mo admin, pays for itself. No brainer?

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