Spence, Del Guercio, Burlison Spell Out Positions

With Election Day a month away, more than 60 residents were given an opportunity Tuesday to ask questions to the three men vying for two seats on the La Cañada Flintridge City Council.

At the candidate forum at Flintridge Preparatory School, moderated by Headmaster Peter Bachmann, incumbents David Spence and Steve Del Guercio and challenger Bob Burlison spelled out their positions on city issues through a series of questions posed by residents.

In opening statements, Burlison, an attorney mounting his second drive for a council seat, described his fondness of discussion. He said discussion of city issues should be affirmative and move the city forward, and that issues that will face the next city council will need to be "discussed, debated and solved."

Del Guercio, running for second term at the dais, recounted the accomplishments the city council has made in the past four years, including the first citywide traffic study, the addition of a student drop-off zone across the street from La Cañada High School, creation of a skate park and the acquisition of such open space as Hall Beckley Canyon.

Spence, seeking a fourth term, spoke of his affinity for the city's government and the city council's recent accomplishments.

"I love being on the city council," Spence said. Mayors' Discovery Park, which is set to open at the end of the month, would not have been possible if not for the city council's initiative to seek a state grant and buy the land. He said his close relationship with other elected officials in the area makes him privy to their experiences.

Asked what the most important issue facing the city is, Del Guercio and Spence listed public safety while Burlison cited oversight of the city's massive sewer project.

"If you have to boil it down to one issue, it's always safety," Del Guercio said, adding that ensuring public safety should be government's main charge and has been the city council's No. 1 goal.

To maintain public safety, "This council takes a very had look at maintaining proper sheriff's presence," Spence said.

Citing the city's road conditions, Burlison said oversight of the sewer project should be increased.

"We have an engineering firm that is supposed to be monitoring that sewer project, and I don't think they are," Burlison said.

One resident asked about the costs of constructing sewers in the Flintridge area, where preliminary estimated place assessments at $38,000 and $48,000.

"That cost is something residents should discuss with the city council," said Burlison, adding that he disagreed with the decision to create separate sewer areas, which was made several years ago.

Del Guercio said the costs are preliminary and that city has sent surveys to Flintridge-area residents and will decide how to proceed based on those results. If the survey shows support of sewers, then the council will move toward creating a final sewer plan that would further define costs.

Spence said he has been working with state officials to obtain for the city a low-interest loan that would lower the cost of the sewer project.

After the forum, resident Robert Covey said the city's voters would be in good shape after the election.

"We can't go wrong," Robert Covey said. "We've got three good people running for two offices."

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