Town Council Reports New Programs are On the Move

Annemarie DonkinBy Annemarie Donkin      June 25, 2021

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Topanga Canyon Town Council (TCTC) President Carrie Carrier and Vice President Alisa Land Hill co-hosted the June 9 online meeting with reporting from the CHP, County Fire, Topanga Library, SAGES, and TASC. TCTC will take a summer break for July and August and return to monthly meetings in September. Sustainability Report—Cecilie Stuart reported that the amazing motion from Supervisor Sheila Kuehl’s office has been supportive with public works, land use, and funding for a full-scale residential community composting program in Topanga. “We have had success at Pine Tree Circle,” Stuart said. “We get 60 gallons of food waste each week from the Canyon Bistro alone and it’s only been going for five weeks. We have a great team of volunteers, it’s really an effort and successful already.” Stuart said they are also working to sustainability in other communities. “We are working with the Malibu Foundation to install bins out there,” she said. “We partnered with the Resource Conservation District (RCD) where sustainability meets fire preparation, practices that support the land, and are supported by the public.” SAGES’ “Operation Knock” effective in Palisades Fire—Tam Taylor of the Topanga SAGES reported that several folks in Zones 4 and 6 were helped with evacuations during the Palisades Fire, thanks to Operation Knock, a self-ID program for people who say they need assistance from the Sheriffs Department during an emergency. The new program, headed up by the SAGES’ recently appointed president, James Grasso, received a grant from Edison to create a mailer in Topanga to alert the community to the service. CHP Traffic Report, May—Officer Wes Haver of the California Highway Patrol, West Valley Area, reported that in May, there were four traffic collisions on Topanga Canyon Blvd. north of the two-mile bridge; one injury and three property damage. The cause of the collisions were unsafe speed and unsafe turning. In May, 2020 there was just one traffic collision in the same area. From the two-mile bridge south to PCH, Haver reported three collisions. “Of the three, one was an injury and two were property damage,” he said. “The causes were unsafe lane change and one DUI. Only one collision was reported for May, 2020.” Haver also reported that in May, the Street Racing Task Force sent out six deployments of officers. During that time, they wrote 195 citations and issued 14 verbal warnings. “There were 15 arrests due to reckless driving and 18 vehicles were impounded for 30 days,” Haver said. “That’s going to be quite a bill.” To report unsafe driving in Topanga and the Santa Monica Mountains, please call CHP dispatch at (323) 259-3200. Topanga Fire Report—Chief Drew Smith of the Los Angeles County Fire Department reported that the Palisades Fire on May 14 started as a 12-acre fire but grew to 1,400 acres due to the steep terrain, thick fuel load, and challenges from the weather due to heavy fog. There was no property damage and no lives were lost. Because the fire started in the in the City of Los Angeles, he said the County Fire Department was a support agency until it threatened Topanga and began burning in the State Park—then it became a Unified Command. Chief Smith confirmed that there were evacuations in Zones 4 and 6 east of Topanga Canyon Blvd. near the State Park. “From our side, it went smoothly on the delivery of evacuations,” he said. “We fought the fire threat and were able to repopulate. The Sheriffs’ Department’s priority is property and home protection; one thing we don’t like to do is evacuate twice, which presents challenges for folks and family dynamics. We do it for safety every time; we get feedback from the community, from people who couldn’t come back in who have animals and dogs that need food and water. We look at livestock; our engine companies look in on large animals and provide them with food and water; we do that on a regular basis.” Chief Smith emphasized the importance of preparedness during fire season. “The Sheriffs communicate and talk with people,” he said. “Everybody in this group should understand and communicate with their neighbors about ‘Ready! Set! Go!’” The disaster preparedness guide helps residents create their personal wildfire action plan to harden their homes against fire and prepare an evacuation plan, knowing they have done everything reasonably possible to protect their home and families. “Ready! Set! Go!” is available online at ( Topanga Library Report—Library Manager Ashley Abrams reported that the Topanga Library re-opened on May 10 following all of the Department of Public Health safety protocols. “It’s going great,” she said. “It’s great to see everyone back; sidewalk service is still available. We also have laptop packages and hot spot loans and have expanded the Wi-Fi to the parking lot; we are still offering holds for pickup; give us a call and pick them up outside. We have our summer Discovery Programs with books and challenges for all ages. The meeting room and study rooms are still closed to the public, but they may be available over the next couple of weeks.” TASC—Roger Pugliese of the Topanga Association for a Scenic Community (TASC) reported that Southern California Edison plans to continue work on the undergrounding project in Topanga’s center during July. The project, begun in 2015, was halted due to scheduling conflicts. Announcements: The Topanga Town Council Mask Program—The Council is providing free masks to seniors and vulnerable members of the community. If you need a mask, please call (310) 455-3001 or email Topanga Access Cards—Renew your cards online. First-time cardholders should call to make an appointment: (310) 455-3001, press 0 to leave your name and phone number; or call Lindsay Zook for an appointment, (310) 569-8931; or purchase online at: Volunteers Wanted—The Town Council is looking for volunteers to help on various activities. Email:; or (310) 455-3001. Government Contacts: Third District Supervisor Sheila Kuehl’s Office—Contact Tessa Charnofsky at:; (818) 880-9416 . State Senator Henry Stern’s Office—Contact Jeremy Wolf at:; (818) 876-3352. Assemblymember Richard Bloom’s Office—Tim Pershing at:; Phone (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.
Annemarie Donkin

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