Want to be part of the glitz and glamour of Hollywood? Care to join
the hip crowd in La La Land? Here's your chance: Adopt a stormdrain.
LA isn't all about premieres, lavish parties, liposuction and
Cruise-Cruz sightings. We're a real city, with streets, hospitals, used
car lots and, yes, storm-drains. Lots of stormdrains. So many, in fact,
that they carry some 900 billion gallons of toxic Southern California
runoff into our rivers and the Pacific Ocean every year. (Hey, I swim in
that ocean!) That's worse than anywhere else in the US, including New
It seems enough is finally enough, so city officials in Redondo Beach
have launched a PR-fundraising effort to convince folks to adopt a
The campaign was announced with much fanfare at a press conference
attended by major politicos. The money raised from adoptions will go to
heightening public awareness ("Hey, dude, that dirty oil is going to end
up in Santa Monica Bay!"), cleaning the catch basins, and installing
"The adoptions are geared more toward businesses than individuals," said
Mike Shay, who is involved with the new program, "but I suppose
individuals could sponsor one, too." Hell, yeah, we can! There are
plenty of drains to go around.
The cost of adopting a poor little stormdrain depends on the amount and
extravagance of signage and recognition the sponsor is seeking, Shay
informed me. A simple commemorative plaque won't set you back much. If,
however, you want to put in a water recycler, wet bar and Jacuzzi, well
then, my friend, expect to cough up some serious pesos.
Adopt-A-Stormdrain is an imaginative PR plan with an unimaginative
Sure, they're trying to capitalize on the awesome sexiness of the
"Adopt-A-Highway" campaign, but couldn't they have come up with
A rose by any other name would still be ridiculously expensive on
Valentine's Day, but don't overlook the importance of a catchy label.
Would Engelbert Humperdink have become the legend he is without that
Still, the allure of the adoption is irresistible. Imagine being able to
drive your date by a drain and announce off-handedly, "See that catch
basin (the terminology alone will impress) next to the fire hydrant and
the bus stop there? That's my stormdrain."
The effect of such boasting? I dare say, I hope you bring along proper
If you never got around to adopting a highway (and how do you live with
yourself if not?), don't let this chance slip by. I'm hoping to get one
in Beverly Hills so that I can paint it, enclose it, and put up a huge
neon sign above saying, "Toxic waste water of the stars! Photos: $4."
Nah, forget it. I'm holding out for the big kahuna: Adopt-A-Dumpster.