The La Cañada Flintridge City Council could soon discuss creating a community safety plan related to the county’s impending Devil’s Gate Dam sediment removal project, after a contingent of parents, students and educators requested the city help minimize the project’s impacts.
Starting May 7, a convoy of diesel trucks will begin hauling away nearly 2 tons of sediment from Hahamongna Watershed Park, taking 400 daily round trips along portions of Oak Grove Drive and Berkshire Avenue eight months a year over a four-year period.
Fearing the health effects of particulate matter generated by the trucks, parent-led community group LCF 4 Healthy Air is working with La Cañada school officials and the office of L.A. County Supervisor Kathryn Barger to impose air quality and truck monitoring throughout the life of the project.
At Tuesday’s regular City Council meeting, 15 members of the group asked city officials to formally back them by writing a letter of support and helping devise a plan that would highlight steps to be taken if and when monitoring returns worrisome results.
La Cañada High School mom Sharon Grey, an attorney who’s litigated asbestos cases for two decades, said the compound effects of the nearby Foothill (210) Freeway, truck emissions and the removal of sediment from a Superfund site that contains old rocket fuel will be staggering.
“The carcinogenic effect that can be created by those hazards is mind-boggling,” Grey said. “I truly hope the city realizes how dangerous and how important this is.”
Several students shared with council members their concern they would no longer be able to participate in extracurricular activities, like marching band, which requires outdoor practices. LCHS seventh-grader Allison Ingrassia said she worried for the health of her classmates.
“Frankly, I don’t feel comfortable with a pollution maker hurting my fellow students and my own health every day at school,” she told the council. “School is a place where we should feel safe.”
Council members shared with the speakers their awareness of and involvement with the project and its impacts. City Manager Mark Alexander asked the group to draft a letter outlining their specific concerns, which the city could build off of and sign.
Ultimately, the council agreed to discuss crafting a plan at their next regular meeting, which takes place May 7 — the anticipated first day of the sediment removal.
Afterward, Councilwoman Terry Walker, who’s participated in past meetings between county officials and LCF 4 Healthy Air, said she respected the group’s wanting the city’s full backing.
“We’re receptive to seeing how we can be supportive of [their] efforts,” she said.
CV Station captain selection
Three months after the departure of Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station Capt. Chris Blasnek — who was promoted to the rank of commander by Sheriff Alex Villanueva — sheriff’s officials are hoping to soon identify a suitable replacement and have invited the city to participate.
A five-member interview panel will be formed comprising one La Cañada City Council member, a member of the city’s business committee and Public Safety Commission, along with an individual from Supervisor Kathryn Barger’s office and a La Crescenta representative.
The group will interview several finalist candidates and recommend their top individuals to La Cañada City Manager Mark Alexander, who will conduct his own second-round interview and make a final recommendation to Villanueva.
Alexander said the Sheriff’s Department hopes to have a new captain selected sometime in early May.
“What it will really come down to is the one on one, the rapport,” he said of the ideal candidate.
Also Tuesday, council members:
• Heard a public safety presentation from CV Station acting captain Lt. Mark Slater, who shared news of several recent arrests made, including one juvenile thought to be linked to at least three La Cañada residential burglaries. Slater said the final funds have been received for a new $360,000 mobile command post that will allow local deputies to respond to large-scale incidents and catastrophes. Bids will hopefully go out soon, he said.
• Learned of efforts by the city’s Public Works Department to repair damage on Alta Canyada Road just north of Foothill Boulevard, caused by the overflow of a nearby County Parks water tank used to irrigate Descanso Gardens. Public Works Director Pat DeChellis said a contractor would soon submit a work schedule to allow for immediate repair of the water line.
• Received the 2018-19 annual report on Lanterman House museum from Executive Director Laura Verlaque, which showed the historic house on Encinas Drive received 2,246 visitors and hosted 791 visitors in 13 special events throughout the year.