9021H20: Super-Rich Beverly Hills to Punish Water Wasters

California’s drought is worsening, and despite asking residents to conserve, Beverly Hills officials will fine uncooperative, water-wasting citizens $1,000.
California’s drought is worsening, and despite asking residents to conserve, Beverly Hills officials will fine uncooperative, water-wasting citizens $1,000.

I live in West Hollywood, just a few blocks from the border of Beverly Hills. Lately, I worry about the unfortunate residents who live just across that boundary.

With California’s historic drought getting worse day by arid day, many of the state’s communities are requiring citizens to conserve water. In some areas, severe fines punish those who use too much of the state’s shrinking resource. In Beverly Hills, where billionaires dwell in multi-million-dollar estates, residents are required to obey the water conservation measures. To combat the drought, according to a recent Los Angeles Times article, Beverly Hills officials have instituted a $1,000 fine as punishment for uncooperative, water-wasting citizens.

We must assume some of those wealthy plutocrats believe the law doesn’t apply to them. They may choose to go right on overwatering their enormous lawns, exotic bushes, putting greens, palm trees and tropical gardens. They may continue to top off decorative fountains, hot tubs, swimming pools and Jacuzzis, as well as committing other serious water-use violations.

Is it possible that the authorities of Beverly Hills will come down hard on those water wasters? When they are brought to justice, will the sentences be brief Martha Stewart-ish jail terms or other severe punishment? No, those moneyed aristocrats will just have to reach a tad into their very-deep pockets and pay the measly thousand bucks.

Of course, for a struggling family in my West Hollywood slum, that monetary penalty could cause a serious shortage in the annual food and clothing budget. However, for even the lowliest Beverly Hills multimillionaire who commits the sin of overwatering within the exclusive boundaries of that super-rich California city, the fine is a mere trifle. Perhaps, to those wealthy citizens, the fine represents the cost of a cheap frock from a Rodeo Drive shoppe. Or it could pay for a modest dinner for two at the Polo Lounge overlooking Sunset Boulevard in the Beverly Hills Hotel.

On my daily hikes, I frequently reach the border between West Hollywood and Beverly Hills. I’m not sure if the thousand-buck fine applies to visitors. Therefore, now that the strict new law is in effect, I’ll be sure my water canteen is full before I decide to step across the border and venture into that arid Beverly Hills wasteland.

And, hey, I have a brilliant idea to end the city’s drought. Bring back Jed Clampett’s “Beverly Hillbillies” to dig again, hoping this time expensive water will spout up instead of cheap oil.

Ted Sherman is a contributing journalist for TheBlot Magazine. He will turn 90 on Aug. 8. He’s a U.S. Navy vet who served in World War II and the Korean War, and after a lifetime of writing for other people, he’s now sharing his opinions with the world at large for various publications and on his blog 90 Is The New Black. It’s a daily rant on current news, sports, health, travel, careers, entertainment, sports, relationships and, of course, problems of advanced age.

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