As many of you know, I have been very rough on the L.A. County Department of Public Works, specifically the Water Resource Division who were responsible for the in January. Actually listening to the legitimate concerns of the local community is anathema to the culture of the DPW's Water Resources Division.
I have recently had an extremely positive experience with the Flood Maintenance Division of the DPW, specifically Keith Tang, Mike Long and Crew Chief Albert (sorry, I missed his last name). I would like to commend their efforts and genuine desire to treat the local community like their customers (which they are).
Keith, Mike and Albert were tasked to perform fire clearance in the area to the north and west of the Santa Anita Debris Basin. The area to be cleared was between the maintenance road and the back yard fences of the homes along Highland Oaks Drive.
About six weeks ago, I went for a walk in this area and discovered that a major fire clearance project was underway. I was dismayed to see that the portion that had already been cleared was performed far too aggressively. All trees (except for oaks) had been cut down including many native 18" diameter elderberry trees. In addition, many large patches of native and non-native prickly pear, that in actuality act as a fire barrier, had been cleared. There was also evidence that heavy equipment was being used to scrape the ground which promotes the growth of non-native and highly flammable grasses in the upcoming years.
I contacted Mr. Keith Tang of the Maintenance Division by phone and told him of my concerns. He was very interested in making sure that the fire clearance was done correctly so we set up a meeting. Keith and the fire clearance project supervisor, Albert met me at the site and I pointed out the improper fire clearance practises that were being used. Keith said that he would request that the Arcadia Fire Department come out to the site to get their take on proper clearance methods.
A few days later, Keith Tang, Mike Long, Albert and three members of the Arcadia Fire Department met at the site. We all agreed on how clearance on the remainder of the site would be performed.
Yesterday, I went for a walk through that area and found that the fire clearance on the area performed after our meetings was performed perfectly. I would like to personally thank Keith, Mike and Albert in addition to the Arcadia Fire Department for taking the time out of their busy schedules to work together with a member of the community (especially one that has created many headaches for the DPW in the past). The effort has paid off and I look forward to working with the Flood Maintenance Division on their future maintenance projects to ensure that maintaining habitats and the environment are included in the planning process.
Kudos for a job well done.