By Dana DOWSE
On Thursday, the Crescenta Valley Community Association (CVCA) held an election forum at the La Crescenta Library. All candidates were invited to attend.
Anthony Portantino, candidate for State Senate District 25, and Darrell Park, candidate for Supervisor District 5, participated in the event. It was a small roundtable discussion with a friendly informal format. Each candidate introduced himself and talked about their background and policy interests. The candidates also answered questions from the audience.
Major concerns among the attendees centered around area transportation, development and congestion. One audience member noted the tension between growth and congestion saying that developers continue to build more apartments and condominiums, contributing further to the traffic, congestion, and water crisis. Attendees also mentioned increased traffic, in addition to an increase of big rigs and large containers on the 210 freeway. Questions were asked of the candidates on their thoughts on completing the 710 freeway and building the high speed rail (HSR). Both candidates said they oppose the 710 freeway completion and the HSR’s proposed routes. Park emphasized that the HSR routes are bad but noted that he doesn’t want to “get left behind.” He proposed using better technology than the plan currently includes and putting more of an emphasis on using the HSR as a freight train to bring more jobs to Los Angeles.
Portantino talked about needing better urban planning, particularly as it relates to affordable housing. He talked about reopening Twelve Oaks as a relatively low-cost way to meet affordable housing quotas.
Portantino also talked about how his number one policy issue is education. He highlighted that this community is no longer a farming and manufacturing based economy, which the current K-12 system was meant to serve. He has plans to make K-14 education free and to make it easier for high school graduates to enter community college.
Park would like to see more environmentally friendly business initiatives. He highlighted clean energy, particularly solar, as ways to decrease pollution and for residents to be prepared in the case of a major earthquake. He also said that he believed clean energy projects would help to create jobs and lift people out of poverty. Park also mentioned Devil’s Gate and a project called the “Big Dig,” a plan to remove 2.4 million cubic yards of sediment by truck for flood management purposes. Park suggested going with a more environmentally friendly and natural plan rather than moving forward with a costly plan that will also increase truck traffic in the area. He suggested a method known as “slurrying” that would flush the sediment out over a long distance. At the end of the pipeline, the water would be removed and the sediment could be used as sand at beaches. Slurry pipelines offer an economic advantage over truck or railroad transport and much less disturbance to the environment.
Park also spoke about current trash and landfill practices saying, “We don’t have to do what we’re doing” and proposing new products out of sorted and recycled trash.