On Wednesday, April 18th, Mark Gold, Chair of the Citizens Oversight Administrative Committee [COAC] thanked the Bureau of Sanitation and its Watershed Protection Division for developing the Verdugo Hills Storm Water project, praising their efforts.
City Councilmembers Paul Krekorian and Richard Alarcon attended the meeting and spoke eloquently about the significance of the storm water project and its recreational and water quality benefits. Krekorian and Alarcon also acknowledged the strong community support for the project and the dedicated efforts of so many to preserve the Verdugo Hills Golf Course and expand its use. Your voices are being heard.
Since last year, when Krekorian recommended the VHGC for Prop O consideration, the COAC has begun setting aside potential surpluses for a contingency fund, thereby assuring all current projects will have the funds necessary to be completed. Gold indicated that as current projects reach completion, committee members would have more definitive numbers to consider for new projects. .
Gold, former president of Heal the Bay, emphasized the critical need for water projects such as the VHSWP and the funding needed to implement such projects. He referred several times to a clean water bond measure that is being considered by L.A. County, perhaps as early as November 2012. There was also discussion regarding state water bonds and the dearth of water projects designated for Southern California.
The good news is Gold said that the Verdugo Hills Storm Water Project meets the necessary criteria for Prop O funding. The COAC was unable to vote on Wednesday as they lacked a quorum. However, based on Gold’s comments it appears that an eventual vote will simply be a formality. Then it comes down to availability of funding.
So What's Next??
First off, we will be arranging a public presentation of the Verdugo Hills Storm Water Project to showcase the beauty and practicality of the plan. It’s important for the foothill communities to see first-hand what the Verdugo Hills Golf Course could become.
Next, we will heed Mark Gold’s advice and scour funding sources at the state and federal levels, as well as non-profit entities. We expect our elected representatives to do the same. We ask all supporters of the VHGC to join us in this effort of search out additional funding.
Finally, if the Final Environmental Impact Report [FEIR] is released and does not adequately address the significant negative environmental impacts we detailed in our Draft EIR public comments, we will challenge its conclusions.
Since late 2006 when a dozen community members from throughout the greater Crescenta Valley first sat down to talk about the Verdugo Hills Golf Course, one of the difficulties has been the 'stop & go' process, periods of activity followed by ‘wait and see’.
We are told that patience is a virtue and your patience has been much appreciated. We continue to champion the golf course and the Verdugo Hills Storm Water Project. And we appreciate your participation.
We wouldn’t be where we are today if it wasn’t for all of your support and effort, from attending meetings, sending emails, collecting signatures, contacting elected officials, writing letters to the newspapers, talking with friends and neighbors about the VHGC, to playing and enjoying the VHGC. You are the VOICE of the VHGC.
An Interesting Historical Side Note
During public comments at the COAC Meeting, Tomi Lyn Bowling, First VP of the Sunland-Tujunga Neighborhood Council and Chair of the Land Use Committee, provided one of the lighter moments of the meeting when she shared a bit of local history involving water rights.
Tomi shared with the committee that Tujunga wasn’t always part of the City of Los Angeles, adding there had been ‘a little skullduggery’ on the part of the City of L.A. when the water-rich Tujunga was finally annexed in 1932. Tomi noted that it was now “payback time and this was L.A.’s chance to make things right!”
After the meeting Tomi was asked about this ‘skullduggery’. She explained during the late 1920’s the City of Los Angeles tried four times to annex the city of Tujunga by way of the ballot. After failing three times to annex Tujunga, and its water supply, the measure finally passed in 1932 with a simple majority of 59 votes.
In her book, Sunland and Tujunga: From Village to City, Marlene Hitt describes the 1932 annexation vote:
“A peculiar thing had happened about the time between the third and fourth elections for annexation. Suddenly, after the third, every house, shack and building in Tujunga became occupied. The newcomers registered and became voters. Then, the morning after the annexation was established there was a great exodus and plenty of empty houses appeared once again. The election was protested in the courts, but nothing was accomplished, and Tujunga became for all time a part of Los Angeles.”
Several people overhearing Tomi’s explanation were heard to echo the sentiment as they entered the elevator: “Payback time!”
We thank Councilmembers Paul Krekorian and Richard Alarcon,
for attending Wednesday's COAC Meeting and speaking on behalf of
the Verdugo Hills Storm Water Project and their constituents.
We also thank the Prop O Committees, the Bureau of Sanitation and the Watershed Protection Division. Your work is critical
for the future of Southern California and those who call it home.
The V.O.I.C.E. Board
Volunteers Organized in Conserving the Environment
P.O. Box 273
Montrose, CA 91021
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