Topanga Town Council’s October Meeting

Annemarie DonkinBy Annemarie Donkin      October 29, 2021

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It was a spirited gathering when Council President Carrie Carrier and Vice President Alisa Land Hill co-hosted the Oct. 13 Zoom meeting of the Topanga Town Council with updates from the Sheriff’s Dept., CHP, County Fire, and guest speaker Ken Craft from Hope of the Valley. Sheriff’s Department Briefing. Sheriff’s Deputy Michael Cerveny provided an update on law enforcement in the Canyon: “We are looking at five crimes during October—including one burglary from a locked car, one grand theft, one petty theft from an unlocked vehicle, and one stolen car with a net drop of 14 crimes from this month last year.” CHP Briefing. CHP Officer Wes Haver updated the Council on Operation Safe Canyons: “For the two months of August and September, we issued 84 citations, 27 arrests for street racing, and 11 impounded vehicles with four verbal warnings,” Officer Haver said “These were from six deployments in the San Fernando Valley, the Santa Monica Mountains, and South L.A.” Haver also referred to Assembly Bill No. 3 that was signed into law by Gov. Newsom, that, commencing on July 1, 2025, will inflict harsher penalties for speeding and street racing, up to suspending a driver’s license from 90 days to six months. “There will be more severe consequences of street racing, longer impounds or longer jail time,” Haver said. “Assembly Member Jesse Gabriel helped author that bill.” To report unsafe driving behaviors in Topanga and the Santa Monica Mountains, please call CHP dispatch at (323) 259-3200. Fire Department Briefing. Los Angeles County Fire Chief Drew Smith provided a summary for the upcoming peak wildfire season during Red Flag days. “We usually get about eight Red Flag days between Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas with the Santa Ana conditions,” Chief Smith said. “We look for rainfall amounts, and new growth stimulated at each rain event. We are talking with predictive services and weather agencies to keep the community updated during wind events/Red Flag days.” Topanga Access Cards— You can 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: topangatowncouncil.org. The Topanga Town Council is looking for volunteers to help on various activities. For more info, email us at: contact@topangatowncouncil.org; or (310) 455-3001. Tiny Homes Communities Address Homelessnes Hope of the Valley guest speaker Ken Craft, CEO of Hope of the Valley (and winner of Senator Henry Stern’s Nonprofit of the Year Award), provided an overview of his organization’s innovative housing and safe parking solutions for the unhoused. “We stared 12 years ago in August and provided 22 meals the first night,” he said. “Now we provide 1,500 meals every day.” He noted that they opened up three family shelters this year with 100 beds in Van Nuys and 80 beds in North Hollywood in Tiny Homes communities. “People can get a pathway out of homelessness in the Tiny Homes community,” Craft said. “They are each 64 square feet, with air conditioning, heating, storage, and locking doors. They are a game changer.” Additionally, Craft said Hope of the Valley opened shelters, Tiny Homes and permanent housing in North Hollywood, Tarzana and Reseda. “We will finish this year with 16 shelters and 1,000 beds in partnership with the City of Los Angeles and have $1.2 billion for building affordable housing.” At the Tiny Homes, Craft said people are provided with hygiene, clean clothes, mental and drug treatment where they can see a case manager, a housing navigator, and get job training. There are some strict some requirements for living in the Tiny Homes communities—no drugs or weapons so that “it is a safe place for everybody.” Pets are allowed, there are dog runs and dogs sleep with owners inside the tiny homes. “Permanent and supportive housing is the key to ending homelessness; our goals are to overcome any and all barriers,” Craft said. “The streets can’t be the waiting room. We are addressing immediate needs. Living on the streets is just survival mode and everything they need is provided for them at the Tiny Homes community.” “We are not giving up on you until they get you permanent housing,” he said. While Hope of the Valley works within the City of Los Angeles, folks experiencing homelessness in the unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County can contact the Hope of the Valley emergency shelter in Pacoima. It is open 24/7 and provides everything they need including food, shelter, clothing, psychiatric care and job counseling. For more information, go to hopeofthevalley.org. RESOURCES Third District Supervisor Sheila Kuehl’s Office—Contact Tessa Charnofsky at TCharnofsky@bos.lacounty.gov; Phone (818) 880-9416 State Senator Henry Stern—Contact Jeremy Wolf at Jeremy.Wolf@sen.ca.gov; Phone (818) 876-3352 Assemblymember Richard Bloom—Contact Tim Pershing at Tim.Pershing@asm.ca.gov; (310) 450-0041 Topanga Canyon Town Council—Formed in 1977 in response to needs unique to the mountain community, residents created the TCTC to serve as a liaison with Topanga’s official governing body, the Los Angeles County Supervisor’s Office. For information: onetopanga.com/topanga-town-council; (310) 455-3001.
Annemarie Donkin
      October 29, 2021

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