Topanga Town Council Report—February and March

Annemarie DonkinBy Annemarie Donkin

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Topanga Town Council Report—February and March
Aerial photo and Rendering courtesy SCE
Undergrounding on the way soon! LA Fire Department gets more aerial fire-fighting power! And the library is due to open…soon! Town Council President Carrie Carrier and Vice President Alisa Land Hill facilitated the April 14th Zoom meeting updating February and March reports from SCE, L.A. County Fire Department (LACoFD), Supervisor Sheila Kuehl’s office, Rep. Ted Lieu’s office, the Lost Hills Sheriff’s Department and community groups. Southern California Edison Update There was exciting news from SCE who reported that Undergrounding in Topanga is due to be completed soon. Bob Ciccarelli from SCE said the approval for environmental clearance for the Topanga undergrounding is on schedule and the community will be given a two-week advanced notice. “It’s pretty exciting moving ahead with getting those poles down,” he said. “We just need to notify the businesses which poles are coming down; people can check out our website ( and with the Department of Public Works, who is overseeing the project. It’s an awesome community; it’s great to be working with Topanga Canyon,” he said. Fire Report—With a dry winter behind us and nervous anticipation of the coming fire season, Chief Andrew Smith of Los Angeles County Fire Department (LACoFD) reminded us of the new Coulson aircraft, the CH-47 Chinook helitanker, that will be on call starting August 15 through December. While he advises residents not to be complacent, do their brush clearing and have their emergency plan in place, he and the department are excited to have this resource in their firefighting toolbox. “We have never before had that aircraft allocated to us,” he said. “Look up the aircraft for a video on how it works to showcase what this piece of equipment can do.” (The Canyon Chronicle featured “The World’s Largest Helitanker” in the November 13, 2020 edition.) Do Your Brush Clearing—In response to concerns about drought conditions this year, Chief Smith announced that brush clearance begins in mid-May and urged residents to complete their brush clearing sooner rather than later. “We live in a wind-dependent fire regime,” he said. “It’s not just the amount of rain that determines the level of dry brush on the hillsides; plants pick up moisture from dew and fog. In the Santa Monica Mountains, we don’t have fires in the absence of wind, even if we don’t have rain. It’s the wind that fuels the fires; the moisture within the air and fog play an important role in those plants being robust. Look at the grass; is it green, purple, or brown? Soil moisture doesn’t care how the water is delivered, be it dew, fog, or rain. The concern is how soon it dries out and turns into a receptive fuel. We’ll have May Gray and June Gloom when fog and ocean moisture play a role in how fires start. We need to be aware of environmental conditions all the time. When Mother Nature turns on the fan, we will get Santa Ana winds after Sept. 15,” he said. “So, do your brush clearance and keep your plants watered.” Activity Report—Chief Smith reported that in February, there was one fire, 31 medical calls, and three service calls. “The fire was a vehicle fire,” Smith said. “There was also a gas leak and power lines down in Topanga; one call for an advanced life support unit and Paramedic services in the Canyon.” In March, there were two vehicle fires, and a third fire caused by an electrical cord wrapped in a stump for “creative lighting; there was no spread or threat on Grandview,” he reported. There were 27 medical calls in March, one requiring a Mohawk helicopter rescue. Sheriff’s Report—Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Michael Cerveny of the Malibu/Lost Hills Station said he was pleased to report very little crime in Topanga for February and March. “For February, we had one burglary from a locked vehicle and one petty theft,” he said. “For the locked vehicle, they pushed down a rear window and stole a pair of shoes, a smog certificate, and vehicle registration; there may be a surveillance camera for the possible suspect.” For the domestic violence call, he said the incident took place at Top ‘O Topanga between two residents from another city. For March, he said, “We had a few more residential burglaries, one from a garage; one petty theft and one Grand Theft vehicle. For the residential burglary, it was from the same residence twice; no property taken from a garage at the top of Skyline Drive. Another burglary gained access through an unlocked sliding door and took unknown items. There was one vehicle theft at the north end; items stolen were recovered later in the day; there were two package thefts from the doorsteps.” Lock your doors, cars, houses, and garages, folks. Town Council president Carrie Carrier asked about a possible assault by a person in Pine Tree Circle in the past week, but Deputy Cerveny said there were no further details. “If you come across any person experiencing homelessness, or acting in a suspicious, aggressive or hostile manner toward you or another, call the Sheriff; everyone has a cell phone, call 9-1-1,” he said. Federal Report—Janet Turner representing Congressman Ted Lieu, reported that the Infrastructure bill, known as the American Rescue Plan, will allocate $26 billion to California. “There will be $1.9 billion for the County. LAUSD received $2.9 billion; $5 billion is allocated to create more homeless services; and $5 billion for Section 8 vouchers,” she said, adding that half of the money that is being delegated will be coming in May; the other half will arrive in May 2022. “The Bill will address a lot of infrastructure—roads, bridges, drinking water, and more jobs,” she said. “That is, once the Bill is finalized and hopefully passed into law.” County Report—Tessa Charnofsky, District Director for the Office of Third District Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, spoke of the homeless issue, identifying how many homeless are in Topanga and working on getting them all vaccinated. County COVID-19 Vaccine Program—For information on how you can obtain a free Covid-19 vaccination, visit the L.A. County Public Health site set up expressly for this purpose. Locations, times, priority-phase criteria and FAQs are all covered here: Fire Drill—She also discussed the upcoming virtual fire drill plan for mid-August. Topangans can learn about evacuations and fire prevention at. “Things are moving in the right direction,” she said. “Megan Currier of the Los Angeles County Fire Department and I have been talking about how we can do a virtual fire drill. It’s really cool: just like a real fire with images, emergency evacuations, so people will participate online and learn what they must do to follow the rules. We are hopeful that we can give Topangans essential information they need to prepare for emergencies.” Topanga Library Report—Topanga Library Manager Ashley Abrams reported that the Topanga Library will open soon, following all of Department of Public Health safety protocols. “We have laptop packages and hot spot loans, and have expanded the Wi-Fi to the parking lot,” she said, in order to be more accessible during COVID-19. “We are still offering holds for pickup; give us a call and pick them up outside.” Abrams said the spring and summer Discovery Programs are up and running for all ages, to read books to “help with the summer slide.” SAGES—Tam Taylor reported that the SAGES have created Operation Knock for seniors and others who may need assistance from the Sheriff’s Department in case of emergency or evacuation. SCE has funded a mailer that will be sent to all Topanga residents. Keep an eye out for the mailing; it could save a life. Topanga Elementary School—Alisa Land Hill reported that Topanga Charter Elementary School is going into a hybrid model, reopening on a four-day period to be taught in two sections, or students can stay remote. She also reported that one year after the five-acre Oak Woodland fire, “We are in the process of mitigation and restoration with the Resource Conservation District.” 5G Report—Kathleen Gildred of 5G Free California expressed concern that Elon Musk and SpaceX has plans to launch 42,000 satellites that may create modulated signals “beyond our ability to adapt.” Gildred also reported that a protest by 5GFree California took place on March 19 at the SpaceX facility in Hawthorne with about 60 people who collected 8,000 signatures against the installation of 5G technologies. “Malibu is moving forward with a restrictive 5G ordinance; we need to educate more people,” Gildred said. “We still feel we need a Town Hall meeting with outreach with our elected officials.” Council President Carrier has asked SCE if 5G is coming to Topanga or not. “SCE said they currently have no plans to have it in Topanga. If it is coming, then we will move forward with a Town Hall,” she said. Town Council Report—Town Council President Carrie Carrier announced that they are working with the county on the homeless issue, as well as on emergency response for high wind days. She announced that Roger Pugliesi, has officially joined the Town Council Board of Directors. “He has developed a proactive relationship with government officials, Caltrans, and SCE, and will be in charge of development and liaison,” Carrier said. The Topanga Town Council Mask Program—If you need a mask, call (310) 455-3001 or email Topanga Access Cards—Renew your cards online. First-time cardholders should call to arrange an appointment. Call (310) 455-3001, then press 0 to leave your name and phone number. Call Lindsay Zook for an appointment at (310) 569-8931 or purchase online at: Volunteers Needed—The Town Council is looking for volunteers to help on various activities. To apply:; (310) 455-3001. GOVERNMENT RESOURCES: Third District Supervisor Sheila Kuehl’s Office—Contact Tessa Charnofsky at:; (818) 880-9416 State Senator Henry Stern’s Office—Jeremy Wolf at:; (818) 876-3352 Assemblymember Richard Bloom’s Office—Tim Pershing at:; Phone (310) 450-0041 Topanga Canyon Town Council was formed in 1977 in response to needs unique to the mountain community by residents who created it to serve as a liaison with Topanga’s official governing body, the Los Angeles County Supervisor’s Office and other County government resources.
Annemarie Donkin

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April 30, 2021

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