By Brandon HENSLEY
The seat for L.A. County Supervisor is up for grabs, now that incumbent Mike Antonovich is leaving the job he’s held since 1980 to run for state senate. With the opening for the Fifth Supervisorial District come a slew of candidates vying for the position, and on Feb. 18 the Crescenta Valley Town Council welcomed city councilmember Mitch Englander. Before he took questions, Englander spoke to the audience about his life and why he’s running for supervisor. His appearance is part of a series the Town Council is holding to introduce the candidates to the community. The series will continue every month until the June 7 primary election.
“It’s the first time in nearly 40 years this seat is actually open. It’s the first time it’s actually an open seat without an incumbent running in 100 years,” Englander said. “This is a game-changer. It’s time for some new vision, I believe. Mike’s done a great job, but I’m not running against Mike.”
Englander, the lone Republican, grew up in the San Fernando Valley, a product of El Camino Real High School. He said he prides himself on building relationships within the communities he represents. He is the past chair of the North Valley Family YMCA and has served on the boards of the American Diabetes Assoc. and the West Valley Boys and Girls Club.
“I love being on and representing a community that I was born and raised in. I would have never fathomed in a million years that I would be where I’m at, and having the opportunity that I have to help so many,” he said.
Englander has been critical of the Southern California Gas Co. for its handling of the recent Aliso Canyon gas leak, and had a motion passed to investigate what he called unusual rate increases given to SoCalGas customers this month across L.A. County.
As for issues pertaining to the foothills, Englander said he does not think the 710 Freeway tunnel will ever be constructed during his lifetime. He called it a “Hatfield and McCoy situation.”
“This has become generational. You have new generations being born and fighting what their grandparents are fighting on the 710,” he said. Still, if the tunnel ever does get built, he said the 210 Freeway would become a “congested artery.”
“Foothill … will become the 405 and the 101 of the north,” he said, while noting the traffic studies on the tunnel didn’t include the foothills because the reports don’t consider those impact areas.
Englander was asked his thoughts on the high-speed rail, or “bullet train,” that would connect northern California to Southern California. He said instead of the rail, he would like to invest in the county’s infrastructure.
“We’ve got $68 billion on the table that we’ve taxed ourselves now,” he said. “Our infrastructure underneath our feet is crumbling and dying every day, and I’m not just talking about roads and sidewalks. I’m talking about complete streets and everything underneath it. We have 200 utilities that cut into the county streets on a regular basis and it’s falling apart.”
Englander was also asked about what he would do in regard to working with the Crescenta Valley Town Council. He said he would like to strengthen the council’s influence on the community while noting he wasn’t taking anything away from those already a part of it, and added a goal of his would be to provide more local funding.
“This county’s so big, a town council is critically important – extremely important. And funding has to back that up as well,” he said.
At the March 17 council meeting, candidates Elan Carr and Robert Huff will speak.
In other news, retiring L.A. County Sheriff’s Dep. Randy Forney was given two certificates of appreciation, one by council and the other by Antonovich’s office. Sheriff’s Capt. Bill Song was on hand to present to Forney.
“You’ll be very missed at our station. I’m sure you’ve gone through a lot of captains. I’m sure you’ll say I’m the best,” Song joked.
Forney said many people in his position promote up and move on. He never did that.
“You guys are a great community. It’s my home away from home … I’m going to miss it,” Forney said.
Also, the Crescenta Valley Chamber of Commerce is having a bingo night on Saturday, Feb. 27 at the American Legion Hall, 4011 La Crescenta Ave. Doors open at 6 p.m. with food and beverage. The first game starts at 7 p.m. Every game pays $100, with a $10 buy-in. There are only 150 tickets available, so space will be limited. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
The next CVTC meeting will be held March 17 at the La Crescenta Library, 2809 Foothill Blvd. at 7 p.m.