department of public works and the La Canada Flintridge City Council,
stating that the county has been negligent in its maintenance of the
Mullaly Debris Basin at the top of Ocean View Boulevard. Failure to
clean out the basin, which catches mud and debris washed down during
rains, "constitutes an immediate hazard to our lives and property."
The three-page letter lists a litany of alleged misrepresentation
about the work the county has done to clean out the basin, including
promises made during a March meeting with residents by employees of
the Public Works Department water resources division to clean out the
debris basin and report on the progress to the community.
Neither has been done, according to the letter. Calls to the
office of the county counsel about the legal weight of the letter
were not returned.
Residents who signed the letter say it is not a matter of if the
15-foot high debris basin overflows, but when.
"From my point of view, this letter was necessary because we do
not trust the people we are dealing with because they have
consistently failed to meet promises," said Pat Anderson, who lives
on Manistee Drive, the street directly below the basin.
County officials in the past have said the basin may look full,
but it is only 3% full.
The home of Anderson -- executive director of the La Canada
Flintridge Chamber of Commerce -- has sustained damage twice in the
past when the basin overflowed during heavy rains. In both cases, the
county compensated her for the damage to her home.
Another resident living close to the basin said getting
reimbursement was not easy for him when more than $30,000 in damage
was caused to his home when a county drainage pipe clogged, sending
torrents of mud slamming into his home. The county settled Bill
Gehr's lawsuit two weeks before it went to trial, Gehr said.
"That debris basin has not been cleaned out. We want it cleaned
out for our immediate protection," Gehr said. Though public works
officials have provided documentation showing that the basin has been
cleaned out several times over the years, Gehr does not believe them.
"They are congenital liars," he said. "Drive up there and look at
it yourself and tell me if it has been cleaned out."
Antonovich's office has requested that the Public Works Department
look into the issue.
"The supervisor has personally asked the [interim] director of
public works [Don Wolfe] to investigate this situation and give us an
overview of the facts and whatever measures are deemed necessary,"
spokesman Tony Bell said.
La Canada Flintridge officials support the residents' concerns.
"I am here to support the residents who are worried, and we will
study to see what kind of assistance we can lend," Mayor Laura
Olhasso said. "It would seem to me that [the basin] should be cleaned