The following is a CyberWatch update from Bob Genest:
Many of you have been upset and outspoken about the City of Los Angeles’ neglect of the deteriorating conditions on Western Ave. beginning at 1st St. and extending to the entrance of South Shores. That same stretch also has signs that ironically proclaim “Scenic Drive” (attach.).
This condition consists of dead and dying trees on two median strips, overgrown weeds and accumulating litter and debris. This blight has created “visual pollution” in the immediate vicinity of that area we all call home.
Here, as promised in our earlier CyberWatch email, is a recap of our efforts to address this ongoing problem with Councilman Joe Buscaino’s office:
July 23, 2021
Responding to South Shores residents’ outrage over this growing crisis, SSCA President Rich Scandaliato and I contacted Councilman Joe Buscaino’s office. This began a series of frequent email dialogues with Ryan Ferguson, the Councilman’s San Pedro Field Deputy.
September 16, 2021
Rich Scandaliato and I engaged in a one-hour Zoom-type “virtual meeting” with Ryan Ferguson. Purpose of the meeting: Nail down timelines to solve the blight problem on Western. Some of the pointed questions that were asked:
WHY HAS THIS NEGLECT PERSISTED AND GROWN WORSE FOR OVER A YEAR?
Ryan explained that progress in rectifying this embarrassment has been stymied for the following reasons:
- Western Ave. is a state highway.
- The City of L.A. has an “outdated” maintenance agreement with CalTrans, a state agency. This agreement specifies the City of L.A.’s Street Services will maintain this section of Western Ave. Though “outdated”, this agreement is still in place.
- CalTrans, in turn, will reimburse Street Services for their costs in maintaining this state highway.
- Some time ago, CalTrans stopped sending reimbursement funds to Street Services.
- L..A.’s Street Services, in turn, stopped maintaining Western Ave.
WHAT IS THE COUNCILMAN’S OFFICE DOING ABOUT THIS STALL?
Ryan responded as follows:
The Councilman’s Office has reached out to California State Assemblyman Patrick O’Donnell for assistance in updating the CalTrans agreement with the City of L.A. This should help clear this log jam of inaction affecting Western Ave. maintenance.
HOW CAN WE CUT THROUGH THIS BUREAUCRATIC NONSENSE AND FIX WESTERN AVE WITHOUT FURTHER DELAY?
The Councilman’s Office has the following plan:
Plan for Dead and Dying Trees
- Ryan has verified that the trees to replace the dead ones on the media strip are in inventory and available for planting.
- Los Angeles Conservation Corps, a non-profit organization, has agreed to dig the holes, amend the soil, plant the trees and arrange for irrigation.
- This project cannot move forward until a lane closure permit is obtained from CalTrans, the state agency that issues such permits. We’re advised this is a time consuming, forms-intensive process.
- The Councilman’s Office is asking for Assemblyman O’Donnell assistance in expediting this request.
- The Councilman’s Office estimates this tree project should be completed by late October or early November.
Plan for Overgrown Weeds at the Median Strips
Most of the weeds on the median were removed over the past two weeks.
Plan for Litter and Debris Accumulation on the on the Western Ave. Roadsides and Slopes
Nothing is simple. Some of this property is private. Some of it is City property. Some of it is County property. These boundaries need sorting out by the Councilman’s Office.
The Councilman’s Office has reached out to L.A. County Supervisor Janice Hahn for assistance in maintaining the County’s property and removal of litter and debris.
The Councilman’s Office will ask non-profit groups’ help in clearing of City and private property of litter and debris.
So, there you have it.
Politics aside, this problem was created by the inattention of public officials to recognize this blight as it grew for over a year. Now that our community has expressed itself with forceful clarity, it appears a remediation plan has developed.
That plan will need the vigilance and attention of each of us if we are to realize its full execution.
Stay tuned, folks…