Topangans expressed their concerns at a virtual town hall meeting with L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva and Captain Salvador Becerra of the Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriffâ€™s Station.
Fires, evacuations, crime, motorcycles and illegal street racing led the conversation as about 100 Canyon residents asked questions of the Los Angeles County Sheriff on July 16.
â€śI want to thank you for dialing in and attending,â€ť said Sheriff Villanueva. â€śThe deputies that work, especially those in Topanga, are dedicated and determined, putting their lives on the line, thatâ€™s what speaks volumes.â€ť
Captain Becerra said it had been decades since the Sheriff communicated directly with Topanga and asked for questions from the residents.
One concerned resident inquired about the resolution of the situation of an armed man on Old Topanga Canyon early that morning that resulted in about a dozen patrol vehicles, two armored trucks and the EMT positioned at Pine Tree Circle.
â€śWe served a search warrant on the suspect this morning and filed a criminal complaint; the helicopter was used for surveillance and the suspect is in custody,â€ť Captain Becerra said.
As many residents continued to express their concerns during the town hall, the majority of the questions concerned illegal road racing, excessive noise violations, the Wednesday night motorcycle club, and speeding on Old Topanga Canyon Road.
â€śI live and work in Topanga, on Old Canyon; my question is in two parts,â€ť said Karen Dannenbaum. â€śTraffic on Old Canyon is on the increase and the road racing at night and on the weekends â€¦ someone totaled a car on a pole in front of my house. The second partâ€”there are three kids that race mini-bikes from Fernwood to Old Topanga, to the Skyline loop every day, they had a BMW boxed in; I am concerned about the lives of those kids.â€ť
Captain Becerra considered Dannenbaumâ€™s questions carefully. â€śWe had an accident on Old Topanga Canyon Road just last week,â€ť he said. â€śWe are trying to get the California Highway Patrol to patrol more up there; we will be looking for the three mini-bikes to see if we can stop that for their own safety.â€ť
Tam Taylor of the Canyon Sages said she had two questions regarding evacuations.
â€śWe were told to leave your door open unlocked when you evacuate so fire fighters can enter quickly when needed,â€ť she said. â€śDuring the Woolsey fire, we left our doors unlocked for seven days with lots of people coming in and out of the Canyon during that timeâ€¦ so how do we best protect ourselves, after the three-four or five days that we left our houses unlocked?â€ť