By Natalie MAIER
A live, informal Crescenta Valley Town Council forum was held at the La Crescenta Library on Oct. 25 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. between three of the six candidates competing for the six spots on the CVTC. Current member Robbyn Battles, current alternate Mike Claessens, and newcomer Marti Marshall were present to answer questions from the audience. Although the six candidates who have applied for a position on the CVTC are guaranteed a spot, only three candidates will be full-time-council members, while the other three will be alternates.
The forum began with a three-minute opening statement from each of the candidates and then proceeded in a town hall style, where members of the audience voiced their concerns regarding the foothills.
Battles expressed her passion to establish a Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program, which helps to alleviate traffic and air pollution while encouraging children to safely walk or bike to school within the Crescenta Valley.
One of the biggest obstacles the CVTC faces is trying to obtain a grant to establish a SRTS. Battles said that lack of planning has stopped the Crescenta Valley from getting a grant in the past.
The CVTC has been in the works of constructing a “master plan” for SRTC and some of the new ideas include benches with better lighting, improved signage and safety medians in the middle of Foothill Boulevard, said Battles.
“We’ve got a really great plan that we are putting together, and I think the next time [we apply] for SRTC, I have no doubt in my mind that we [will] get it,” Battles said.
A question of how much influence the CVTC has over other cities and communities was raised by audience member Susan Bolan. Bolan is a Glendale resident.
“I would like to see the CVTC expand beyond the microcosm of the unincorporated section and look beyond. We don’t work within a bubble. We are connected in so many different ways,” Bolan said.
Battles responded by agreeing that the CVTC needs to reach across borders to gain insight and help from other communities.
“I do think we have the ability to influence [other communities]. If we as a council did a better job of including more people from the community we would have a more powerful reach and voice into these other communities,” she said.
Claessens disagreed with this idea by explaining how he feels it is more important to focus mainly on the Crescenta Valley community instead of other cities.
“[The CVTC] serves only the unincorporated area of La Crescenta. We would like to work with the other cities and towns but that is outside of our authority and jurisdiction. As a volunteer, I want to focus and help this community. My focus is right here,” Claessens said.
One issue Marshall wishes to address is the suicides that have been taking place. She wants to reach out to the Crescenta Valley community by creating a suicide prevention night when people can come and get information.
“I think that it’s important because our kids are suffering. And we need to let the parents know that there are solutions and ways to handle it before it happens,” Marshall said.
The candidates all encourage more people to write petitions and express their concerns on the CVTC’s website at www.thecvcouncil.com.
The CVTC election will take place on Saturday, Nov. 3 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the La Crescenta Library, 2809 Foothill Blvd., La Crescenta.