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Slide the City: A slippery slide toward waste?

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Concerned about wasting water in a record drought, some are signing a petition to stop a giant slip ‘n slide event from coming to downtown Los Angeles in September. Organizers for Slide the City could not be reached for comment Monday, but the Slide the City Facebook page offered a short statement: “In our effort to preserve water, we recycle water used on the slide throughout the day, treat it with pool chemicals, and dispose of it properly.” COURTESY OF SLIDETHECITY.COM

VOICES

What do you think of a proposed giant slip-and-slide in Downtown L.A.?

"I think it's a giant waste of water. It's a slap in the face to for people who are trying to conserve water." - Tyler Tucker, 26, of Los Angeles

"It sounds like a lot of fun. When it comes to the drought, the city really needs to focusing on fixing the old pipes that are breaking, like the one that broke at UCLA. That's the real problem." - Tesia Yi, 22, Cal State Los Angeles student

"I think it would be fun and a good way for people to cool off and enjoy downtown, but we do need to save water. I can see both sides of it." - Thayenn Hellement, 18, of Los Angeles

It’s either an awesome way to cool off in the heat or an awesome waste of water.

Some in Los Angeles are sounding off against a giant waterslide proposed next month in downtown, saying the water-logged event is a bad idea when California is facing its worst drought on record.

Karina Soto started a petition Saturday on the Care2 website to stop the traveling Slide the City, a Slip‘n Slide-style soapy, vinyl swath the length of three football fields. As of Monday, Soto’s petition had more than 2,500 signatures from as far away as Australia, Germany and the United Kingdom.

The organizers, who plan to run the slide Sept. 27 along Olive Avenue between Third and Sixth streets, say the water they use doesn’t go to waste. A promotional website encourages attendees to bring water balloons, buckets and water guns.

“It is extremely irresponsible for any city in California to allow an event like one featuring a giant water slide to take place for the sake of money and fun while the state as a whole has been suffering from this drought,” Soto wrote in her petition.

Los Angeles city officials on Monday said the application for the permit is pending.

“The application is being reviewed, and there is not a time frame yet when a decision will be made,” Paul Gomez, a spokesman for the city’s Public Works Department, wrote in an email.

Gomez said community concerns are a factor when reviewing such requests.

A spokeswoman for Mayor Eric Garcetti said the mayor’s office was still gathering information, including how much water would be used and the source of that water.

Event organizers posted this statement on Facebook: “In our effort to preserve water, we recycle water used on the slide throughout the day, treat it with pool chemicals and dispose of it properly.”

They did not return messages seeking further details.

The founders are three men from Salt Lake City, John Malfatto, T.R. Gourley and David Wulf, according to Utah news reports. Malfatto also is a co-founder of Color Me Rad, a traveling 5K run where people are doused in colorful cornstarch.

Slide the City kicked off in Salt Lake City last month and has plans to visit more than 50 cities in the U.S. and Canada, including four other cities in California.

Soto said she’s received some negative comments about her petition – people calling her a “party pooper” and a “Debbie Downer.” Still, she hopes to have 5,000 signatures by Sept. 27.

“May not be a huge deal for some, but I love California and I refuse to see our precious resources be wasted on such a careless thing,” Soto wrote on her Facebook page.

While all of California is in a drought, downtown Los Angeles has been hit particularly hard. The past two rainy seasons have been the driest on record since record-keeping began in 1877, according to the National Weather Service.

Contact the writer: kpuente@losangelesregister.com

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