Mayor Jonathan Curtis said he and a couple of city staffers were not shy about expressing their displeasure with Southern California Edison’s service when they met with representatives of the electrical utility Sept. 13.
La Cañada Flintridge officials bemoaned the regular outages in the Flintridge area of the city, as well as the recent hourslong outage along Foothill Boulevard that proved costly for many businesses operating there.
That outage, on Sept. 2, was caused by underground equipment failure, according to SCE spokesman David Song, who said crews had to replace 400 feet of underground cable.
“There are constant problems,” Curtis said during Wednesday’s City Council meeting. “We talked to a number of businesses, from the supermarkets to the hair salons. It’s a tremendous, tremendous impact to them.
“And one of my comments … was don’t even go there on how it’s squirrels down there in Flintridge who like to commit suicide, because I just don’t buy it; they don’t do it up in my area. So they stayed away from trying to blame the critters, because that only goes so far.”
Curtis said two of the representatives who met with him and City Manager Mark Alexander as well as Edward Hitti, director of Public Works, indicated that they were planning to begin “looking at the reliability issue on the Flintridge circuit.”
That news was met, Curtis said, with some astonishment: “Haven’t you been doing that? Why haven’t you been doing that?”
Alexander indicated that Adrian Garcia, SCE’s liaison to LCF, said he’d make it a point to attend a future City Council meeting, where he would provide an update on where SCE is with its investigation and potential reliability improvements. Garcia hadn’t yet committed to a date, however, Alexander said.
IN CASE OF FIRE
Los Angeles County Assistant Fire Chief Gregory Hisel implored residents to prepare themselves and their homes for the prospect of wildfires, telling City Council members that the fires he’s seen so far this year are more intense than any he has seen in his 34 years with the department.
“What we’ve seen this year so far is extreme fire behavior,” Hisel said. “More active burning, more aggressive than what we have seen. And this season is not over, even though we had some precipitation just [Monday]. We’ve got Santa Ana winds coming.”
Hisel asked residents to visit fire.lacounty.gov for pointers. He also asked them to be ready to evacuate if asked, especially with the fires traveling so fast.
“It’s moving very quickly,” he said. “Normally, we figure we have an hour, [now] it’s down to 15, 20 minutes. So we’re doing very early evacuations. Count on that.”
At Curtis’ suggestion, Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Capt. Bill Song also addressed another sort of public safety threat in his monthly presentation: terrorism.
“We can never be safe in any respect right now in this day and age,” said Song, speaking to concerns caused by last week’s violence in New Jersey, New York and Minnesota. “If you see anything suspicious, you can’t call us enough times. Please, let us check it out, let us examine the package. We’ll have special guys who come out and handle those packages.
He said no one need feel paranoid about asking the authorities to investigate: “No matter how innocent, in light of the times, call us.”
STOP SIGN A GO
After hearing various viewpoints from several residents, the City Council voted 5-0 to approve the addition of a stop sign in the eastbound and westbound direction on El Vago Street at the intersection of Donna Maria Lane.
Though there was debate, the hope, as expressed by the city’s traffic engineer and its Public Works and Traffic Commission, is that the stop signs will help slow drivers along the stretch of roadway.
The city also will ask the Sheriff’s Department to conduct temporary targeted enforcement on El Vago when drivers are traveling 10 miles per hour or faster than the current 35 mph speed limit.
If these traffic calming measures bring the average speed on that stretch down by 3 mph, the city will be able to reduce the speed limit on the street to 30 mph, according to traffic engineer Farhad Iranitalab.