Glendale has a new councilmember, Vartan Gharpetian, and the council selected Ara Najarian to be mayor for the next year. Congratulations to both, and to Paula Devine who won reelection. Congratulations also to GUSD Board of Education incumbent Nayiri Nahabedian and newcomer Jennifer Freemon and to returning Glendale Community College board members Tony Tartaglia and Vahe Peroomian. Thanks to all who ran and worked on the campaigns. The community is fortunate to have so many good people willing to step up to participate in local government.
I hope our local elected officials are reviewing the recently released Rim of the Valley Corridor Special Resource Study Draft Environmental Assessment and communicating with the National Parks Service and our federal representatives about the possible options.
The study, which began in 2010, looked at a wide area in Los Angeles and Ventura counties surrounding greater Los Angeles to determine the suitability and feasibility of designating all or part of the area for more federal protection. The NPS looked at four alternatives starting with baseline alternative A to do nothing. Alternative B would foster cooperative planning and funding but add no new land to the SMMNRA (Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area).
Alternative C is the NPS preferred alternative and would include approximately 173,000 additional acres in the SMMNRA boundaries and would provide more parks and wildlife habitat linkages. The emphasis is on providing recreation opportunities for the residents in the area. Alternative D goes further and also emphasizes regional wildlife corridors and linkages with the Los Padres and Angeles National forests. Approximately 313,000 acres would be included in the SMMNRA boundaries with Alternative D, including areas north of the Conejo and Simi valleys and north of the Angeles National Forest.
With news of Griffith Park mountain lion P-22 spending some time under a Los Feliz area house and siblings P-32 and P-33 crossing the 101 Freeway at great peril to their lives, it is clear our large predators need more room. Alternative D would facilitate wildlife crossings over or under major highways to minimize the danger to these big cats when they grow up and seek new territory and mates. If the sheer beauty and majesty of these animals isn’t enough to make you want to protect them and strengthen their bloodlines, consider they hunt deer and keep that population manageable. As cute as local mule deer are, without mountain lions our gardens would become deer feeding stations.
No U.S. Forest Service managed lands are included in the boundary adjustment recommendations. Management and ownership of the Angeles National Forest and San Gabriel Mountains National Monument lands would be maintained under all alternatives. Local land use policies and existing regulatory authorities would be retained. While the details will be specified in legislation when/if the Congress approves expanding the SMMNRA boundaries, the NPS policy is to acquire private land only from willing sellers. The Rim of the Valley Trail would be supported by partnerships and technical assistance from the NPS under all alternatives.
Our Congressman Adam Schiff held a town hall meeting on the Rim of the Valley on April 27 at Descanso Gardens and most of the residents in attendance preferred Alternative D. The NPS held an online public meeting April 21 and will have hosted community meetings in La Crescenta, Newhall, and Thousand Oaks by the time this is published. Additional meetings are on Thursday, May 21 from 7 p.m. to 9 pm at the Mason Recreation Center, 10500 Mason Ave., Chatsworth and Tuesday, June 2 at the El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument, Hellman/Quon Building, 130 Paseo de la Plaza, in downtown Los Angeles.
The full report is available at http://www.nps.gov/pwro/rimofthevalley/ and you can submit your comments at any of the public meetings, via mail or online. Comments are due by June 30.
I urge everyone to consider the need for both more recreation resources and wildlife habitat, especially in view of all the new housing in Glendale and surrounding areas since the recession has eased, and submit comments in favor of Alternative D. Public input does have an effect. Remember that last year Alternative 20 was ultimately recommended by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the Los Angeles River Revitalization project even though they had tentatively recommended the more limited Alternative 13.
Please don’t forget to submit your comments on the 710 extension DEIR due by July 6. If you get your comments in early for these two major projects your slate will be clear to deal with other land use issues. The re-circulation of elements of the DEIR for the Verdugo Hills Golf Course property is still pending.
The next Crescenta Valley Community Association meeting will be May 28, starting at 7 p.m. at the La Crescenta Library, 2809 Foothill Blvd. The program has not yet been set.