Guest Column: An update from the mayor

Over the past few months, there have been a couple of significant issues that have concerned or frustrated our residents and merchants and thus have received attention from the City Council and staff. Because of this, I wanted to apprise you of what the city has been doing to help bring about resolutions that we hope will address our community’s needs.

Southern California Edison Power Outages: Residents have been frustrated by the frequent recurrence of power outages, both prior to, and subsequent to, the windstorm of Nov. 30, 2011. The city has held, and continues to hold, candid discussions with the executive management of Southern California Edison, as well as its parent company, Edison International, regarding the unacceptable number of power outages that have plagued our community. Discussions have centered on SCE's poor disaster response and lack of communication with our residents and city officials, along with its failing infrastructure and the improvements needed to stop these recurring outages.

The city views SCE’s performance and response to these events as unacceptable. Our concerns have been communicated to the utility, as well as to the California Public Utilities Commission, the regulatory agency overseeing SCE. The city not only expects SCE to learn from the mistakes that were made in its response to the windstorm, but to ready itself for future disaster situations by recognizing the urgent need to upgrade antiquated infrastructure in the community and improving communications with its customers. You are encouraged to visit the city’s website at if you would like information on how to file a claim with SCE for damaged or lost property as a result of the power outages, or on how to file a complaint with the California Public Utilities Commission regarding SCE’s service or system.

Residential Burglaries: While the city saw an increase in residential burglaries in the latter portion of 2011, overall for the year, we experienced only five more residential burglaries in 2011 than we did in 2010 and we have seen a 45% reduction in residential burglaries since 2008. The sheriff’s department and city staff are working closely to eliminate residential burglaries. Some of the tactics that have been employed include additional patrols dedicated to burglary suppression, bringing in specialized law enforcement tactical units to work specifically on burglary suppression, and shifting traffic-enforcement units to emphasize residential burglary prevention. In some cases, more than 30 additional marked and undercover units were deployed in the community, emphasizing burglary suppression.

The sheriff’s department has been tremendously supportive and recognizes the seriousness of property theft in this community, even as we continue to have one of the best overall crime rates in Los Angeles County and the state. In addition, at the request of the city, the sheriff’s department is preparing door hangers and a video public service announcement to help educate residents on how to minimize the potential for becoming a burglary victim. After hearing all that the sheriff’s department has done to help combat burglaries, I am asking community members to be good partners and report suspicious activity immediately, even if you’re not sure whether the activity warrants a call into the Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. Should you see anything that looks out of place, please contact the CV station at (818) 248-3464 immediately. If you would like to host or attend a Neighborhood Watch Program meeting, please contact our city’s liaison deputy, Eric Matejka, at the station.

The city will continue to work hard on these issues on your behalf. If you have questions, please contact City Hall at (818) 790-8880 and city staffers will be able to direct your call as appropriate to your area of interest. Your input is always appreciated.

DAVID SPENCE is mayor of the city of La Cañada Flintridge. Email him at

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