Mayor: How We Will Move Forward

By Mayor Michael Davitt
Special to Outlook Valley Sun

Mayor Michael Davitt

I hope that this letter finds everyone well during this most difficult time. As the community and L.A. County start to reopen certain businesses and recreational areas, I thought it would be helpful to share some information about the processes which are being followed.
The city of La Cañada Flintridge is one of 88 cities in Los Angeles County. Of those 88 cities, 86 cities, including La Cañada Flintridge, are under the control of Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (DPH) and rely on the expertise of the county health officials. This means that DPH is our city’s Public Health Agency.
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Crime Statistics Down in LCF, Altadena Station to Remain Open

Los Angeles County’s “Safer at Home” response to the COVID-19 pandemic has proven to be true for La Cañada Flintridge residents with a decline in crime, and most notably, a decrease in residential burglaries.
“I think obviously the ‘Stay at Home’ order has helped reduce overall crime,” Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station Capt. Todd Deeds said in a phone interview. “As you know, residential burglaries have been a problem [in LCF] over the past years, and the numbers we’ve had have been positive.”
Deeds reported there was only one residential burglary in La Cañada during the month of April and one so far in May in which the suspect was caught. According to the Crescenta Valley Station’s crime report last week, there was an arrest made after a woman, who was home, reported a man trying to open her back sliding-door window. Officers later found the suspect walking nearby.
No residential burglaries have been reported in La Crescenta in April or May, he added.
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La Cañada Council Picks Davitt as Mayor; Inducts Eich, Gunter

Michael Davitt

Amid a notable lack of fanfare due to social distancing, Michael Davitt was chosen unanimously as mayor of La Cañada Flintridge at a virtual City Council meeting on Tuesday, which also featured the installation of new members Keith Eich, Rick Gunter and incumbent Terry Walker.

The meeting, which typically would have celebrated the council re-organization after an election, with special recognition to new members and those leaving office — which this term includes Gregory Brown and Leonard Pieroni — was held quickly and from the privacy of separate locations.

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City Talks Coronavirus Measures, Ratifies LCF Emergency

Among topics of discussion, eight local confirmed cases of COVID-19 were discussed by the La Cañada Flintridge City Council during a special meeting Tuesday night.
“If you look at the per capita rate, we’re way up there,” said Councilman Gregory Brown. “If you look at all the cities in L.A. County, we’re in the top 10% of per capita basis.”
The city’s eight confirmed cases were according to Los Angeles County Public Health, as of Wednesday. Earlier statistics had lumped LCF data together with Montrose and La Crescenta, but that is no longer the case, Brown noted.
Meanwhile, Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station Captain Todd Deeds told the council that everyone in the city has been “extremely” cooperative in trying to comply with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s “Shelter in Place” order announced last month, giving directives on social distancing to stop the spread of coronavirus. A deputy at the local farmers’ market on Saturday spoke to some attendees about social distancing and they cooperated, Deeds said.
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LCUSD Closes All Schools

The La Cañada Unified School District Governing Board directed Superintendent Wendy Sinnette to shut down all of its schools Friday because of the coronavirus threat.

The action was taken at a special meeting of the board on Thursday night with another meeting scheduled to review the decision next Thursday.

Teachers and staff members will be on site today for parents and children to obtain their items as well as to answer questions. Students will not report today through Monday, March 23. Teachers and staff will also prepare further materials to be sent home to students via distance learning.

“(Today) is a stop gap,” Sinnette said before the decision was made. “Classes would not be in session in the traditional manner. Classes would be open, a facility for parents who are in a tight situation because it’s now 8 p.m.,” Sinnette said.

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LCFEF Gala Is Canceled

The La Cañada Flintridge Educational Foundation, citing “public health risks that the coronavirus disease poses in large public gatherings,” has made the unprecedented decision to cancel the organization’s 29th annual Spring Gala, which was scheduled for March 21.
“This is a huge loss for us because it’s our main fundraiser, but public safety outweighs it,” LCFEF Executive Director Marilyn Yang said. LCFEF and La Cañada Unified School District officials “are aligned in this decision, out of an abundance of caution,” she added.
The gala, which is widely regarded as the city’s biggest social event of the year, has drawn upward of 700 attendees. Last year, it netted more than $500,000, with gross revenue likely in excess of $700,000.
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LCUSD Cancels Student Trips Amid Coronavirus Precaution

The La Cañada Unified School District Governing Board instructed Superintendent Wendy Sinnette this week to cancel student out-of-state field trips involving air travel because of the coronavirus pandemic, and the district is also assessing the importance of large group activities amid social distancing precautions.
At a regular meeting of the board Tuesday night, Sinnette and LCUSD’s Chief Technology Officer Jamie Lewsadder delivered a detailed report about the district’s plans regarding the possibility of school closures. The board also discussed upcoming air-travel field trips outside California as an agenda item and voted to cancel them.
Following the meeting, Sinnette sent out a district-wide letter about the decision.
The coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, is a respiratory illness that has spread worldwide. In a statement Wednesday, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said there were 27 cases in the county, including three reported by the city of Long Beach. Officials also reported the county’s first coronavirus-related fatality; the woman who died was an older woman with underlying health issues and a nonresident who had been visiting friends.
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Boy Scouts CEO Takes Confident Stand on Future

Photo by Wes Woods II / OUTLOOK
Jeff Sulzbach’s grasp of the L.A. area’s complexities helped him land his job as CEO of the Greater Los Angeles Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America, said the group’s chairman.

La Cañada Flintridge resident Jeff Sulzbach, CEO of the Greater Los Angeles Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America, is not running away from the topic of bankruptcy.
On Feb. 18, the national BSA announced it had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, a move that will allow it to reorganize its finances and create a fund to provide equitable compensation to victims of abuse that occurred while they were scouts.
“The main thing we want to make sure everybody knows is that this is a national issue,” said Sulzbach, who began in his post Nov. 1. “It affects the Boy Scouts of America nationally and their finances. The local council, which is called the Greater Los Angeles Area Council, has not filed for bankruptcy, is not filing for bankruptcy. We’re still financially sound and continue to operate our program here in this area.” Continue reading “Boy Scouts CEO Takes Confident Stand on Future”

City Council Seeks to Regulate, Not Ban, Vacation Rentals

The La Cañada Flintridge City Council decided Tuesday night not to ban short-term rental units and instead try to regulate them, starting a subcommittee to investigate the issue further and bring its findings to the municipal Planning Commission and the council.
Short-term rental advocates who stated their case appeared to have swayed the council. Continue reading “City Council Seeks to Regulate, Not Ban, Vacation Rentals”