Reusable Bags Now
It is time for La Cañada Flintridge to join our surrounding communities and move to reusable bags. We should do this not only for environmental reasons but for cost savings as well.

All the communities around us have done it. The County did it over two years ago. Glendale and Montrose began on July 1; L.A. City passed their ordinance in June and will implement it next January. Thirty percent of California and two-thirds of L.A. County are now covered with ordinances that ban plastic carryout bags.

The environmental problems with plastic bags are that they are light and blow around, and that they degrade very slowly. As a result they contribute to the litter on our streets and freeways and around the Scholl Canyon landfill. They also get into our storm drains, the L.A. River, and end up on our beaches. They have caused harm to over 200 different species of marine animals, and small children still suffocate from time to time.

And how about money? The plastic and paper bags that are currently used by our big stores are not free. The cost (estimated to be $18 to $30 per person per year) is built into the price of our food. Those of us already using reusable bags still have to pay for the bags we are not using. And a recent National Resources Defense Council study of 95 cities showed that Californians are paying almost $500 million per year to clean up litter and trash. La Cañada Flintridge estimates about $150,000/year for street sweeping and storm drain clean out. L.A. County pays about $23 million per year, and that is included in our property tax bills. So there is money to be saved at the individual, city and county levels.

These ordinances apply to the big grocery stores and pharmacies, and later to convenience stores. These stores are not opposed to it, and would prefer to have consistency across various communities. Our city is proud of being a Tree City. We now have the opportunity to help clean up our streets and to develop our reputation as a green city. Please contact your city council members and urge them to pass the Reusable Bag Ordinance.

In the meantime, we can all voluntarily use reusable bags and refuse plastic bags when they are pushed on us at the big stores.

R. Rhoads (Rody) Stephenson
La Cañada

Holding Council Members Accountable
Struggling families and small businesses will have to deal with the new reality of the Glendale City Council calling for a 30% electrical rate increase compounded over the next five years. Never mentioned within the ordinance was the 7% Utility User Tax, future de-coupling charges or green fuel technology that will actually bring the rate increase to about 70%. Explanation of de-coupling charges or green fuel technology was somehow swept under the table by the city manager and council members.

Not spoken about was “pay to play politics” as the reason for the needed rate increases and protection of city unions, at any cost. Recently, at city council, a speaker stated that Councilwoman Laura Friedman had received about $12,000 from the city unions. Friedman replied, to the speaker, that she did not as city campaign laws limit $1,000 per union and there are only four city unions and not 12.

The following week, the same speaker did a Power Point presentation using city documents showing Councilwoman Friedman had received over $18,000 in campaign contributions from three city unions: Glendale Fire Association $12,000; Glendale Police Association $5,000; and Glendale Managers Association $1,000. Mrs. Friedman replied by flippantly saying to Councilman Najarian that she had received about $4,000 more than he did from the city unions. Councilwoman Friedman added she was very proud of the campaign contributions from the unions.

Again, the same speaker came before the council and stated that incumbent candidates Friedman and Najarian never told the public in their political mailers or at the different candidate forums that they were going to raise electrical rates. Mrs. Friedman replied that there was going to be a small electrical rate increase. Why was Councilman Najarian silent on this discussion?

Last year our new city manager and GWP manager told the rate payers they needed either a 14.7% or 17.4% rate increase in order to maintain the utility infrastructure. Is 30% considered a small rate increase?

Mike Mohill

Pro Decriminalization
Let me put my cards on the table right off. I am in favor of decriminalizing drug use – any drug use. The only laws to which I would agree would be those that deal with doing something “bad” while “under the influence” just like currently exist for drinking and driving and perhaps another one establishing a minimum age. This would bring marijuana in line with other current drugs on the market that are legal yet with some limitations/rules for the young.

We’ve tried criminalizing drugs. It only drives producers to neighboring countries. Criminalizing is expensive in many ways: by distracting police from more serious crimes; by overcrowding of jails for minor offenses; by using our military to go after drug cartels and intercepting illicit shipments; by militarizing out borders; and by lost possible tax revenue. Imagine a new source of (sin) tax revenue that we could certainly use these days!

Besides, we tried prohibition in the 1920s and what did that get us? If there are no legal recourses to get what people want, illegal means will prevail. Gangsters thrived. Less people may have died from drinking and driving during that time, but more died from getting shot.

If I were president, I would instantly issue a Presidential Directive because you can die waiting for Congressional consensus to:

1. Decriminalize drugs. We cannot control a people through negative means.

2. Disband the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency), redefine the drug czar’s job description (see below) and reduce drug enforcement details at borders or within cities.

3. Treat marijuana similarly to alcohol or smoking (two legal drugs) by establishing a minimum age for buying/selling/using.

4. I would allow marijuana production within the states immediately. This would provide much needed extra income for our farmers and promote a healthy competition to outside producers, cutting into the cartel’s profits, further destabilizing them.

5. Tax the product like other drugs (tobacco or alcohol).

6. Establish laws promoting a certain quality of the product. Marijuana grown organically!

7. Promote marijuana plant derivative products: rope, textiles, soaps, oils, etc.  More tax sources. Let free enterprise thrive.

8. Establish drug addiction treatment and education programs funded by the money saved from Nos. 2, 5, and 6, and from reducing the need to build more jails.

There will always be weaker individuals who get hooked on a substance as there will always be those who drink or smoke responsibly. After all, it was mainly education that made smoking and heavy drinking undesirable socially. Once the popular opinion turned, it was easy to pass laws restricting their use in certain public places. This would be the socially conscionable thing to do. It’s a win-win-win in so many ways!

Gordon Mah

New Tradition Launched?
On Wednesday, Sept. 11, the Crescenta Valley Chamber of Commerce inaugurated a community tradition to honor and remember the lives of 2977 men, women, children, firefighters, and law enforcement individuals lost in the 2001 terrorist attack on our country.

This year’s “Crescenta Valley Remembers 9/11” was an entourage of Early Rodders car enthusiasts, community dignitaries, community business members, and residents, all displaying American flags while driving along a route which took us along Foothill Boulevard, by our local schools, past city and county fire stations, and through downtown Montrose and La Cañada Flintridge.

Led by Officer Tom Miller of the California Highway Patrol and backed by the CV Sheriff Station and Glendale Police Department, the hour long procession was an opportunity for people along the streets of La Crescenta, Montrose, Glendale, and La Cañada to cheer, wave, and show their respect for those we lost. And we will never forget the cheers and display of signs from the children at Valley View Elementary and Lincoln Elementary as we proceeded along the route. It was an emotional and inspirational moment for each of us.

Crescenta Valley Chamber of Commerce is planning to host “Crescenta Valley Remembers 9/11” again next year to make it an annual event.

Crescenta Valley Chamber of Commerce
Board of Directors

Emergency Preparedness: Do It For Your Family
Today is your chance to get ready ahead of time before something happens to your family. Be proactive when it comes to preparedness instead of reactive in an emergency. Disasters happen all around us. You say to yourself, “That can’t happen to me.”  Well, that may be true … for now.

We teach our children at an early age how to brush their teeth. Why not make emergency preparedness part of their routine? Disasters can happen anytime, anywhere. My daughter Jennifer is attending school at Colorado University of Boulder. She is experiencing what the National Weather Service is calling, “A flood of Biblical proportions” and it’s scary out there. Boulder had a years’ worth of rain in one week. She got prepared ahead of time and she called us to let us know what was happening.

As a parent, I was very worried about her (I still am); the whole situation scares me, mostly because she is in another state and I am here in California.   At a young age, Jennifer and I started having conversations about being prepared. She learned how to call 911. We practiced home evacuation drills.  Conversations got a little more intense as she got older and we went over “what if” situations.

She picked up additional food and bottled water, extra batteries and packed a bag to go in her car. Then she got to higher ground. Why? Because it was second nature to her, just like brushing her teeth.

You prepare for your vacation months ahead of time – where you will go, what you will bring so that your experience goes smoothly. Emergency preparedness works the same way; your experience will hopefully be better because you took the time to plan things out ahead of time.

Have a fire drill. Check the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Get a two-week supply of bottled water and food, first aid kit, flashlights and extra batteries. Have an emergency contact list. Don’t forget your pets. Go to these websites: www.ready.gov, www.fema.gov/areyouready/  and www.redcross.gov. Take charge of your family’s future ahead of time – you will be glad you did!!!

Lisa Dutton – CV CERT Program Manager and Instructor
CV Sheriff Station Volunteer and Red Cross Instructor
La Crescenta