Political Landscape: Panel will discuss Station fire problems

October 07, 2010

Members of Congress are coming to Pasadena next week to hear about problems during the Station Fire, but Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich already knows what he wants Congress to do.

In an interview, he said he wants the U.S. Forest Service to allow night flights to battle blazes, which would require a reversal of current policy. He wants the agency to have more and better mechanized firefighting equipment. He wants the feds to allow Los Angeles County Fire Department to take the lead the next time a blaze breaks out in the local mountains.

Antonovich expressed frustration that the federal government has not moved more quickly. "Look how long ago the fire was and where we are today," he said. "We're still talking.


"Because our county is faced with the fire season, I would have expected the federal government to move expeditiously to resolve the problems that took the lives of two of our firefighters and burned 160,000 acres."

The congressional panel will hear from state and federal firefighting authorities, as well as residents and environmental advocates. It takes place Tuesday, Oct. 12, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the U.S. Court of Appeals Building, 125 S. Grand Ave., Pasadena.


Gatto aides want restraining order

Two aides to Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Silver Lake) testified in court earlier this month that videographer Pete Musurlian intimidated them at political events. They are asking a judge for a restraining order to bar Musurlian from coming near them.

At an Oct. 1 hearing at Los Angeles Superior Court in Burbank, senior field representative Stacey Brenner and aide Christina Aghakhani said Musurlian accosted them on two occasions: once at an April candidate forum and once at a town hall meeting in July. Musurlian, who has not yet testified in the proceedings, denies the claims.

The case stems primarily from Gatto's July 24 town hall meeting at Glendale's Central Library.

At that meeting, Aghakhani and other Gatto aides told Musurlian, who had set up his video camera in the back of the room, that library rules barred him from filming inside without prior permission. Glendale police officers ultimately escorted Musurlian outside. He later returned without his video gear and observed Gatto's discussion of the state budget in front of an audience of about 30 people.

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