Dave Spence: A 20-year incumbent seeks reelection to La Cañada City Council

Dave Spence has sat behind the City Council dais for more than 20 years. At 75, he is the oldest elected official in the city, with five terms as mayor under his belt. Spence says his breadth of experience will help the council maintain the city's independent, small-town feel.

Valley Sun: How would you improve traffic flow in the downtown area? Would you support installing one or more parking structures in the area?

Spence: Since the approval of the Downtown Village Specific Plan, the Sport Chalet corporate headquarters development and other significant developments in and along Foothill Boulevard, the public works and traffic commission, along with our traffic engineer and public works director, constantly review proposals to improve traffic flow in the downtown area. I will continue to recommend that our commissions periodically review traffic congestion. As new development proposals come up, I will insist that staff and all commissions provide and review traffic issues for that specific proposal. In the past, the council has evaluated a parking district proposal that could reduce congestion. The parking structure would be a private development. One suggested area would be behind the County Library parking lot, tied together with private property adjacent to the library. The hope is that with a parking structure, more residents and visitors would walk to businesses, which would help reduce traffic volume along Foothill. This ties in with the goal of a more pedestrian-friendly downtown village. I would strongly support a parking structure in our downtown area.

You have said you are opposed to a Long Beach (710) Freeway extension. What alternatives would you offer?

In my study of the proposal brought forward by the MTA, I believe the best alternative to the extension of the 710 freeway and tunnel would be a new light rail from the Cal State east L.A. campus north toward Pasadena to connect to the existing Gold Line train. I would support new express bus service to reduce congestion in this corridor as the quickest to initiate and less costly to help reduce pollution and congestion. The “low build alternative” has been proposed by former Rep. David Dreier and supported by Rep. Adam Schiff. With one-way streets and coordinated traffic signals, rapid bus could be a positive proposal at one-tenth the cost of all the other alternatives. I am opposed to the freeway with tunnel extension, as it is the most costly. If built it would operate at level F (as evaluated by Caltrans' own study) and would cause the most damage to the health of our schoolchildren and adults in LCF.

Home burglaries have recently spiked in La Cañada Flintridge. How would you attempt to prevent these incidents from happening? Would it help if the city had its own police department?

Home burglaries have not spiked. We have had a slight increase in the month of February, with a significant decrease in January. One burglary is one too much, but we do not live in an isolated area of the county and must prevent as many as possible. I will continue to support the neighborhood watch committee formation throughout the city with the help of the Sheriff's Department. We currently have extra patrols in unmarked cars instituted by our local station's captain and our city manager, and I support a continuation of this policy. We all must take responsibility for watching our neighbors' homes, and report unusual activity in our neighborhood. In my opinion, it would not help if we had our own police department.

We get untold support from being a contract city and our contract with the Sheriff's Department. Helicopter support, extra patrols, unmarked surveillance and burglary suppression units are available as needed by our captain at little or no additional costs to the city contract.

What are your thoughts on agricultural use of privately owned property in residential areas, whether it's for commercial or personal use?

Agricultural use of private property must be in conformance with our R1 residential ordinances. We have provisions for plants and trees as well as large animals. The ordinances must be applied in a fair and even manner throughout the city. Variances must go through the proper planning process as provided in these ordinances.

Do you think the new city website is user-friendly? Should the city add or change anything about it? How do you feel about using social media to inform residents of meetings and forums?

The new city website is reviewed periodically for ease of use and relevance. We are always looking for ways and suggestions to improve this system. If any additions such as social media or future developments are proposed, I would support their addition after review and evaluation of the added benefits to improve openness in our city government process.

Tell us something about yourself that the public might not know.

I grew up working in my dad's pharmacy, working as a soda jerk and as a delivery boy. I delivered inoculations to the doctors for their young patients and frequently was given the chance to administer the “shots.” I always wanted to be a pediatric doctor, took premedical science at Ohio Wesleyan University, but ended up in sales in the pharmaceutical industry.


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