June 19, 2019

After a seond fire on June 19 2019 at the ElDorado nature center, the time for city and county officials to act has arrived

At about 5:30 this afternoon as I was headed southbound on the San Gabriel River bike path. I  noticed smoke in the area of the Eldorado Park nature center and I said to myself this could not possibly be another fire in the nature center as we just had one on April 3rd 2019 That fire was located here

As I got closer I entered the nature center and saw Long Beach Park Police driving around in their SUVs trying to figure out how to get closer to the fire. I could hear sirens in the distance of the fire trucks trying to locate the fire and how to get closest to it as it was not very accessible. They eventually did locate it and it was in the section of the park where people are not allowed to go near the off-ramp from the southbound 605 freeway to westbound Willow Street. This map shows the location of the June 19th fire to the east of the April 3 fire (about 1500 feet apart). The photos and video here show where the fire trucks are parked to fight the fire. As you can see its far enough away from the freeway that it was not likely caused by any motorist. So we concluded it was likely set by a vagrant as the one on April 3 likely was. LBPD did not catch any suspects who were likely long gone by the time they got on the scene.

Just before leaving the house today I had sent another email to Stacy Mungo's office along with Pat West and the county (see below) explaining to them that the fence along the San Gabriel River which prohibits vagrants from getting into the unoccupied sections or restricted sections of the nature center was still down in about five places where the fire department (and vagrants before them) had cut it down to fight the fire. I also saw over the last few weeks new trash in that area since the April 3rd fire and its seemed likely to me that vagrants were still going into the parts of the nature center that are prohibited to enter

The County of Los Angeles also did one of their infamous river sweeps on May 27th to try to “clean up” the vagrant problem and their “byproducts” along the river which of course is bleeding over into the El Dorado nature center, which gives them cover from the authorities

The problem is you can see from the emails is that the system that the county and Long Beach is using to deal with homeless in this particular area is not working because the drug addicted or mentally ill vagrants often refuse treatment because they do not want to be restricted in any way in their housing situation and prefer to make it on their own out on the river or in the nature center where they can start fires to cook drugs or food and sort of live out in nature sort of like in the middle of a forest.

Obviously this practice of allowing the vagrants to stay under the bridges and living in the nature center is not working and we need to have a new approach. This is not really a "homeless" problem per se it's more of a vagrant drug user petty crime problem. The homeless word is just a label masking a multifaceted causation issue and in a way is preventing realistic solutions.

That new approach needs to be that if these vagrants in these heavily restricted areas that involve public safety issues such as bridges, the nature center places (where fires can break out and are hard to reach and extinguish) and where there are oil and gas pipelines over the river attached to these bridges, refuse assistance or treatment they will have to be told that if they do refuse they're going to have to move their camp to some other place where they can be watched more closely. We cannot allow them to remain in these areas where they can create costly damage and possibly catastrophic damage.

This is the problem with the nature center there is no way for anyone to see what is going on in that thickly wooded area normal people are not allowed to go into. Same with living under freeway bridges or roadway bridges. No one can see the activity under those bridges except the occasional cyclist that happens to drive under that bridge on his bike. Those vagrants are not seen by police and they are not seen by helicopters and they are not seen by residents or motorists passing by. They are invisible 24 hours a day to do whatever they want with our infrastructure and our natural wooded areas like the nature center. Start fires, damage the infrastructure with all the tools they have (we know many have bolt cutters to cut fences and locks and gain access to non permitted areas)

Common sense says that it's one thing to have a vagrant on a sidewalk it's another thing to have a vagrant or numerous vagrants living inside a thickly wooded area that is very difficult for firefighters to reach and even more difficult for them to put out these fires because there is no nearby water for them to use other than the river. Which is why today they had to again use a water dropping helicopter. This is the same problem with the homeless living on the San Gabriel and LA Rivers where numerous natural gas and oil pipelines cross within a few feet of their encampments. If a fire were to happen in those encampments a short distance from those oil and gas pipelines that could be catastrophic results for human life and people traveling over those bridges every day.

We suspect that the reason the vagrants are allowed (by the city and county) to stay in the non visible yet restricted areas is that voters don't see them and so feel there is less of a problem. Out of sight out of mind.

"L.A. County Supervisor Janice Hahn admits finding the right office to call can be frustrating for people looking to report homeless problems. With the county allotting $460 million this year to homelessness-related programs, Hahn says the resources are there to get more people off the street. "What I want to see happen is more of our homeless outreach workers traversing the county of Los Angeles on a daily basis and finding people before someone has to call," Hahn said." Quote from this June 2019 article.

The homeless response situation as it's currently set up needs to change and it needs to change now. This is the second fire we've had in 2 months and it's at least the fifth fire that we've had on the San Gabriel River that is likely been started by vagrants. These last two just happened to be the most visible.

Emails sent today by LAAG just before the fire started:

From: Long Beach Accountability Action Group <updates@laag.us>
Date: Wed, Jun 19, 2019 at 4:27 PM
Subject: Re: SGR river sweep on 5/21
To: Herlinda Chico | Hahn 4th dist LA Co Field Deputy <HChico@lacbos.org>, Hahn 4th dist LA county general email <fourthdistrict@bos.lacounty.gov>, Chris Stone, Asst. Deputy Dir LA Co DPW <cstone@dpw.lacounty.gov>, Rich Armond | LBPD East Division Quality of Life Unit <richard.armond@longbeach.gov>


The 5/21 sweep was delayed to 5/27. Almost impossible to notice that it occurred. I dont see any homeless folks "gone" from Carson st to the ocean along the bike path as a result of the sweep. Some of their "trash" was taken out but that was it. Ill just assume that all "refused" "help" and were then told to have a nice day trespassing/defacing/trashing county property. We are going to need to start twisting arms when they refuse or apply some sort of consequence. All carrots wont work apparently. But the 125 beds in LB wont help either. drop in the bucket.

I dont want to tell you how pissed off people are on nextdoor.com since the so-called "river sweep". you know that. And no they are not all crazies. Most just concerned homeowners that fear encroachment of more homeless spilling out of the river.

So I hope we can increase the frequency and effectiveness of the sweeps in the near future
From: Long Beach Accountability Action Group <updates@laag.us>
Date: Wed, Jun 19, 2019 at 4:50 PM
Subject: Re: SGR river sweep on 5/21
To: Herlinda Chico | Hahn 4th dist LA Co Field Deputy <HChico@lacbos.org>, Hahn 4th dist LA county general email <fourthdistrict@bos.lacounty.gov>, Chris Stone, Asst. Deputy Dir LA Co DPW <cstone@dpw.lacounty.gov>, Stacy Mungo Councilwoman City of Long Beach, 5th District <stacy.mungo@longbeach.gov>, Pat West LB city Mgr <patrick.west@longbeach.gov>


One more point. In the 5/27 sweep no one fixed the fences along the east side of the river (which I was lead to believe was part of the sweep process). Who has fence fixing responsibility from carson to ocean on the east side of river boundary.? The county or LB or both. That fence needs to be checked weekly. the LB nature center fence still down in about 5 places since fire on april 3 2019  Amazing.   That fence being down was the reason the fire got started to begin with  https://photos.app.goo.gl/1XnnES9e2gwy2KKg9

Long Beach Accountability Action Group™ LAAG | www.LAAG.us | Long Beach, CA | A California Non Profit Association | Demanding action and accountability from local government™ | click here to receive LAAG posts by email

April 4, 2019

There was ample warning given to city officials before the fire at the ElDorado nature center on April 3 2019

Most are already aware of all the publicity surrounding the fire that occurred on April 3 2019 at the El Dorado nature center. Most who use it or ride by it on the San Gabriel River (SG River) bike path are also aware that the area is fenced off from the river and for the most part inaccessible (or supposed to be) from humans. It is in an area that is meant to be "natural" and so there is no tree trimming, grass mowing or any other maintenance of those premises. As a result its a perfect place for the "homeless" ( I use that term loosely) to set up camp.Its also the perfect place for a fire to start. Police and Park rangers don't patrol that area as they rarely bike or ride down the bike path in their vehicles. The squatter camps and trash cannot be seen by passing motorists on roadways and cannot be seen well from the air. I think its ironic that this is all going on while our Mayor Garcia touts his "Everybody Home" initiative on top of the millions if not billions raised by Propositions H and HHH (Garcia touting his Imitative here in Sept 2018 and in April 2018)

Yet despite all this the city is well aware of the problem as you will see from emails below.  This is simply a case of either city management refusing to tell police to clean up the situation or worse a feeling by many at the city that since the problem is not visible to most voters to just leave it alone and wait until problems happen. As long as the problem is well hidden from the majority of voters they ignore it. These are photos sent to the city in Dec 2017 showing the destruction to the fence in the very area where the fire occurred on April 3 2019. Tearing down the fence along the bike path is the only way really for the homeless to gain access to the area where the fire occurred. People are not supposed to be in this fenced off area. This is only visible to bike riders on the SG river trail. Weekly fence damage patrols need to be done in that area.

We are aware of at least three physical attacks of bike riders by homeless on the SG River in the last few years. We have been told by police on the river not to ride down there without pepper spray. We have also been told by police that many of these "homeless" down there would have been in jail but for voter passed propositions (passed in the last few years) that allow "low level criminals" to escape any jail time. (As an aside the cops explain that courts only look at the current offence for the violence determination and ignore all prior violent convictions so the "non violent offenders" claim is bogus..here is an example) Again all homeless are NOT the same. Many are criminals, drug addicted or mentally ill. These are the ones that typically refuse help. 99% of the homeless we see down on the river are adult males between 30 and 50 years of age. No children. No families.

The city leaders of course claim that (1) they did not know about the "problems" and (2) that "the law" "prevents" them from doing "anything". They are wrong on both counts. The emails below take care of item one as well as direct face to face communications we have had with police and park rangers over the last 24 months on the problem. As for the second issue, fortunately the City of Long Beach had a large very capable bureaucratic City Attorneys office to deal with how to legally move these homeless off the trail and into shelters. But they simply don't want to be bothered with the problem until of course it blows up in their face.

The city of Lakewood is responsible for the west side of the Carson street bridge (or rather under it) and has posted no trespassing signs there on the bridge and in January 2019 removed a large homeless camp of many individuals. This camp is now once again starting to form. They have been advised of the problem and how to fix it but like Long beach they are know it alls and will not listen to citizen complaints, dismissing them as not credible or simply "we cant do anything". The Santa Ana river was filled with hundreds of homeless in 2016-2018 and that problem was cleaned up.

There is a legal process to move the homeless out of camps and into facilities. We are not talking about that many people on the SG river, no where near the daunting tasked that faced the cities on the Santa Ana river. The problem is that it has become chronic and we suspect the same individuals are causing the problem over and over again. The city needs to step up and start tackling this problem where it is least seen, not just the visible homeless on the sidewalks around city hall. Problem is cleaning up the river does not garner a lot of re-election votes as so few voters are aware of the extent of the problem.

Onto the fire issues. We have known of three fires on the SG river all in Long Beach. Im sure there are many more as most are not covered by the media and swept under the rug by police and fire depts.

FIRE 1: The first fire was around April 1 2017 and occurred at a homeless camp at the SW corner of the Carson St Walmart parking lot (photo) which was on SG River property (at the NW order of El Dorado park). It was 15 feet off the bike path. Fire and Police dept were on scene. As it was recent it was brought up at a Councilperson Mungo's public event on April 10 2017. Basically Mungo and the police (present) told everyone they could not do anything about it. You know legal stuff that none of you little people could understand.

FIRE 2: On or about November 30 2017. Again this was at another spot favored (prized) by the homeless: The east side of the Willow street bridge over the SG river just 100 feet from where the fire was on April 3, 2019. This fire was under the bridge itself, which I'm sure makes motorists feel comfortable as they traverse that bridge daily. The people living under this bridge were tossed out of there using the legal procedure Dec 13 2017 but within a month they were back again. We have talked to fire personnel in that area literally warning these homeless under that bridge of high water threats in the river but doing nothing to remove them. The problem at this bridge (like Carson st.) is well known. Every time the police and fire go down there to retrieve another dead body in the river they are reminded of the problem. The concern especially at Willow street is that gasoline generators are being used by the homeless. That's right. Gasoline. What could go wrong. No idea what "business" they are running under there but from talking with Seal Beach police in that area its mostly stolen bikes (chop shops for bikes).

FIRE 3: April 4 2019. This fire of course well documented by the media due to its size and location. the perfect place for a fire. hard to get to an no hydrants nearby (just river water which they failed to use)

The next problem that will be occurring is at the 405 freeway and the SG River. This place is notorious for homeless. Seal beach and Caltrans have cleared out a large camp (Feb 2019) at the side of the SB 605 ramp to the 405 north. A few years ago they were literally living INSIDE the freeway bridges over the river accessing them thru panels cut by Caltrans to add seismic updates to the bridge. More recently they are using the holes to store (likely) stolen bikes! A photo from March 7 2019. I would hate to see what it now looks like up inside that bridge. Wonder what internal damage they have done to the bridge itself. I know for a fact many of these homeless carry large bolt cutters and other tools to gain access to non permitted areas. Lock and fence cutting is also occurring at Carson St bridge and SG River as we write this. City of lakewood is well aware of it.

The email exchange with various council people and Long beach city officials is below along with the dates of the communications. Judge for yourself if the fire at the Nature Center was preventable by the city had they listened and taken appropriate timely action. Time has come for some real action with respect to the homeless on the river. Hopefully this fire will draw more public attention to the problem that has been well known by the city for years.

On Wed, Feb 21, 2018 at 8:36 AM, Stacy Mungo <Stacy.Mungo@longbeach.gov> wrote:

Sir or ma’am, 

We will look Into this. I have addd Councilman Supernaw as this is in the 4th and I know he’d like to keep an eye on it.


On Feb 19, 2018, at 9:46 AM, Long Beach Accountability Action Group <updates@laag.us> wrote:

On Fri, Feb 16, 2018 at 10:49 AM, Long Beach Accountability Action Group <updates@laag.us> wrote:
Sadly the fence has two new "holes" (just north of willow along river bed east side) and a sagging spot halfway between willow and spring. that sagging spot likely occurred as the fence installers did not properly secure the top of the chain link fencing to the top guide wire still in place between the poles (which you can still see in place in my blurry photo)

Here are some pics from this week. get it fixed before they start going in there again if they are not already.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Long Beach Accountability Action Group <updates@laag.us>
Date: Wed, Dec 20, 2017 at 11:06 AM
Subject: Re: Homeless issues in Eldorado Park Nature Center
To: Stacy Mungo <Stacy.Mungo@longbeach.gov>, "Stacy Mungo Councilwoman City of Long Beach, 5th District" <district5@longbeach.gov>
Cc: Pat West LB city Mgr <patrick.west@longbeach.gov>, "Marie Knight | Dir. Long beach Parks, Recreation and Marine" <Marie.Knight@longbeach.gov>


I ride by thre 3-4 days a week. They are very well hidden from above and even from bike path. military grade camouflage. One thing that would help is keep checking the chain link fence between the nature section and the river bike path. They use the bike path to get in there and have damaged the fence in at least 5 paces to gain access. Keep that fixed and they likely will stay out

As for fires that place is ripe for a fire and most of the people in there likely have lighters or other ignition sources for cooking or for smoking or using drugs

Finally even if these people cannot be locked up they can be "arrested" for most of the things they are "likely" doing and that give you the right to take all their "crap" and store it for 90 days (per ACLU cases) either way its out out of there. If you keep doing that they will get the msg. My retired cop capt friend said whenever they got a homeless person setting up they would move them out as they know more would follow and word would get out that it was a good place to camp. next thing you know its the Santa Ana river. Govt is good at kicking the can down the road and putting off problems until they are huge  and blow up.

On Mon, Dec 18, 2017 at 11:17 AM, Stacy Mungo <Stacy.Mungo@longbeach.gov> wrote:
Hi, just want you to know I’ve followed up with staff and we’ll get a response going. You bring up a good point about the fires. Thanks for your vigilance!

-          Stacy Mungo

From: Long Beach Accountability Action Group <updates@laag.us>
Sent: Thursday, December 14, 2017 8:37 AM
To: Patrick West
Cc: Mayor; Council District 5; Christine Schachter; Marie Knight; Valerie Davis; Angela McGrath
Subject: Re: Homeless issues in Eldorado Park Nature Center

Thank you Pat for responding. You are the only one that did out of all the people below. Here is an interesting news article from today on what Santa Ana is doing. of course the lazy reporter did not bother to cite the ordinance number or quote it. I found it and attached it as I know cities like to copy ordinances of other cities. Lets hope Eldo does not become the place all the Santa Ana river and Santa Ana civic center refugees head to next. And I really do fear a fire either under bridges or worse in the nature area. I bike past that area daily and see what is going on. Go take a look for yourself. they are well hidden

On Wed, Dec 13, 2017 at 2:00 PM, Patrick West <Patrick.West@longbeach.gov> wrote:
Thank for your email.  We'll make sure the appropriate entities follow up. Pat west

Sent from my iPhone

On Dec 13, 2017, at 10:47 AM, Long Beach Accountability Action Group <updates@laag.us> wrote:

I am sending this email again with new info. I want to be on record of telling the city the problem so that when this issue blows up in your face you wont be able to say you did not know about it or were not told
there was a fire under bridge at Willow (right neat nature park) on Nov 30 2017 as FD records will show. It was started by a long standing homeless camp under the east side of the willow bridge. There was another fire near wal mart at the carson st bridge in April 2017 that was brought up at the Mungo meeting on April 10 2017. Why homeless are allowed to camp IN eldorado park nature center area is beyond me. The park rangers chase out bikes, dog walkers and cars at sunset but Homeless are exempt? This is sheer laziness on the part of the LB elected officials staff and the police. enforce the park ordinances. The park is closed to ALL at sunset. Those are the rules. And I want to go on record as saying there is a very good chance the "Nature" section of the park (along the river north of willow south of Spring) has a very good chance of catching fire reading the stories below and the fires we have already had very near that section. act now. before its too late. This is not homelessness on public sidewalks or in the riverbed where APPARENTLY "different rules" apply. this is a park. I will bet that if I did not get a permit and let a bunch of boy scouts camped out in the park (esp the forbidden "nature section")  the rangers would be all over us in ten minutes rousting us out of there via their vehicle loudspeakers. This is disparate enforcement of rules that favor the homeless!! Outrageous!

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Long Beach Accountability Action Group <updates@laag.us>
Date: Fri, Nov 17, 2017 at 3:23 PM
Subject: Homeless issues in Eldorado Park Nature Center
To: "Brad Futak, LBPD Quality of Life Unit" <brad.futak@longbeach.gov>, Chris Roth LBPD Quality of Life Unit <chris.roth@longbeach.gov>, Jeanette Rowe <jrowe@lahsa.org>, "Robert Cerince, Homeless Services Long beach" <Robert.Cerince@longbeach.gov>, "Tom Kirk, LA county dept Mental Health (LACDMH)," <tkirk@dmh.lacounty.gov>, Elsa Ramos | homeless services long beach <Elsa.Ramos@longbeach.gov>
Cc: "Stacy Mungo Councilwoman City of Long Beach, 5th District" <district5@longbeach.gov>, "George Chapjian, Dir Parks, Rec, and Marine Long beach" <George.Chapjian@longbeach.gov>, "Marie Knight | Dir. Long beach Parks, Recreation and Marine" <Marie.Knight@longbeach.gov>, Meridith Reynolds | Long beach parks dept <meridith.reynolds@longbeach.gov>, Byron Brno | LBPD <Byron.Brno@longbeach.gov>, Laura Farinella LBPD <Laura.Farinella@longbeach.gov>, Liz Griffin | LBPD East Division Commander <liz.griffin@longbeach.gov>, William Lebaron | LBPD <William.Lebaron@longbeach.gov>


As you well know the homeless on the SGRT are becoming a bigger and bigger problem and now that OC has evicted all the homeless from SART we are going to get more on SGRT. So now that they are invading the Eldorado nature center (a place that is to remain pristine and natural) and filling it with trash and debris what is going to be done? They need to be moved out. Anywhere. If you keep letting them infest that area as they are doing its only going to get worse. In the last few months it has gotten worse and their numbers are increasing. This is the PARK not the river bed (different issue legally and substantively). Here is where they are at (see attached). Something needs to be done and done now. I have heard ALL the excuses form LBPD and the park Rangers. (they told me to complaint to city hall and city leaders so here I am) I dont need to hear the excuses any more. We are beyond that. Action needs to be taken now.


Long Beach Accountability Action Group™ LAAG | www.LAAG.us | Long Beach, CA | A California Non Profit Association | Demanding action and accountability from local government™ | click here to receive LAAG posts by email

March 2, 2017

Government emails on personal devices are public record: California Supreme Court

This took a while but it is the right decision. For years and to this day Lakewood city council members refuse to use city email like "todd.rodgers@lakewoodcity.org" and "prefer" to use their "private" email accounts (just like Hillary Clinton did at the State Dept.). Well those "private" accounts (or any account) are no longer safe or off limits form public records act requests if they have been used to conduct municipal or government business. So if you want to mingle personal business with public business like Hillary did at the State Dept. go ahead, but realize that those private email accounts are no longer safe. I really hope this puts an end to shenanigans by city council members and their cronies. Our initial story on this goes way back to 2008

Here is a lead story and the opinion itself. Enjoy. For once the public wins against City Hall.

Lakewood Accountability Action Group™ LAAG | www.LAAG.us | Lakewood, CA | A California Non Profit Association | Demanding action and accountability from local government™ | click here to receive LAAG posts by email

November 3, 2015

Lakewood ranked 1,050 out of 1,268 small cities in Wallet Hub's 2015 Best & Worst Small Cities in America.

Lets see how the Lakewood City council spins this one. Lakewood ranked 1,050 out of 1,268 small cities in Wallet Hub's 2015 Best & Worst Small Cities in America. That is the bottom 18%. Yikes. Clearly all the fake awards like "Sports town" USA and "Playful City" USA and all the other fake awards the city paid for are not paying off. Better luck next year Lakewood.

Lakewood Accountability Action Group™ LAAG | www.LAAG.us | Lakewood, CA | A California Non Profit Association | Demanding action and accountability from local government™ | click here to receive LAAG posts by email

August 3, 2014

Dangerous Condition on Arrow Highway between Azusa Ave and Cerritos Ave

Unfortunately it has come to this. Over the last 30 years infrastructure in California has crumbled and the pace is accelerating. We have warm weather year round but nonetheless are roads are crumbling. The problem (as pointed out by long time city staffers) is that there is no budget. But this issue is not a recent phenomenon. Its been a long time in coming. Years of "robbing" from city infrastructure budgets to pay for silly "pet" projects or to lure private investment (which should pay its own way) or feed ever hungry public unions and bloated pension plans. The problem has been ignored for years. Assumptions were made that streets would just last forever. Well the problems have now come home to roost. [as an update to this story we feel vindicated by this plight of this poor woman]

And the public "servants" (now referred to by LAAG as the "public aristocracy") is starting to feel the pressure of these problems. But not to fear. City employees are very good at ignoring the public, dismissing them with belittling comments (to their face or behind their back) and basically telling them they know nothing and to go away. This is all done in a very "politically correct" fashion of course. We have even seen elected politicos go so far as to ask LAAG to praise the city employees for doing their job with our tax money (tax money to pay the employee for working and tax money to fix the infrastructure)! How is that for absurd! And all because the PROBLEM is directly attributable to them wasting our tax dollars and at the same time failing miserably to DO their job over the last 30 years! Then the public servants sit there in amazement as to why "these people" complain and why they are so cynical.

Typically voters/taxpayers complain about infrastructure problems via phone call. That's useless. Might as well call your aunt and complain to her. Records of those calls/complaints are gone the minute you hang up. How about emails you ask? Well those are typically "erased" as well or at least they will be if there is ever a lawsuit due to an injury. Cities are loathe to keep them for fear someone might find out that they actually KNEW about a problem and failed or more likely "refused" to fix it even though it involved public safety and could be remedied for very little of OUR tax dollars.

As you can see from the email below we complained (on June 1, 2014) about some very dangerous potholes right in the area where bicycles ride, especially large groups. This condition has slowly gotten worse over the last 6 months with the tiny bit of rain we did get this spring. The city that is responsible (Azusa) really did not come out and say that this southern section of the roadway was their responsibility but the border city (Covina) which claims it had no responsibility over that roadway section put the blame on Azusa! Way to go Covina!

All Azusa had to say in response to our initial reporting email was this:

"Yes that section of the roadway in your email is our responsibility. We are sending a crew out there in the next two days to assess the situation and will make emergency repairs as warranted that same day. Once they are complete we will send you and email indicating they are complete. Once that is done please let us know if we solved the dangerous condition at least temporarily." (they don't even have to thanks us even though unlike the (grossly over compensated) public servants LAAG does this for NO compensation.

But instead we got a bunch of dismissive backtalk (by one of the top Public Works people) about how we are not doing anything that helped the situation, and that the prior problem we alerted them to was also of no help, (even though they did exactly what we told them to do a year later), no thanks for calling it to their attention and basically dismissed us as bothering them. Again public servants transformed into public aristocracy.

We did note that the paving in front of Azusa City Hall is new and pristine!! What a coincidence!!

The thought in government these days is that all the "good ideas" come from government. They know it all. Nothing good  (ideas or observations) can ever come from taxpayers that actually understand the problem better than the city does as taxpayers have to deal with it on a daily basis. Bicycle riders unfortunately know the problems with roads much better than the public "servants" who never ride bikes on their own roads. Bicycle riders see all the potholes and defects right up close at speeds slower than cars. The potholes in these photos wont affect most cars and motorcycles nearly as much as a bicycle. The bicycle wheel in the photo does not do these holes justice. Some of them are 2 inches deep or more. You ride into these holes at 25 mph on a bicycle you are in for a nasty spill and then a car will run you over as you lay there. The failure of our infrastructure is much more dangerous to cyclists than to car drivers. The city people apparently don't get that (or more likely don't care) as they don't ride.

The repairs we are/were asking for would take a city crew 30-45 minutes to patch. Now granted the city may need to check on the patches after a rain but we don't have to worry about that for 5 months and then about 3 x a year. In the meantime a serous injury could easily have been prevented. But instead the condition still exists as of this posting. Sure we understand that it takes months and years to play catchup after "ignoring" road decay problems for years (well ignoring with money, not with lip service especially during campaigns). But we are asking for a temporary fix. Apparently the city does not care enough about public safety to make a 30 minute fix. We are too "busy" go away. Well the people that run this website are too busy as well but we find the time when it comes to issues like this.

So given that calls and votes do nothing, emails are destroyed or never "found" we feel that our website must do the only responsible thing it can...notify the public of the situation and its attempts to get it fixed by city leaders and staffers. We take this stuff very seriously as hitting the pavement with your face at 25 mph hurts a lot. If using this website to call attention to this problem in this way is what we have to do to get it fixed, then so be it. That is what the web is for. We don't want any government agencies to be able to use the very effective "no one ever told us" defense, which unfortunately works very well and the government agencies use it very effectively every day. They have for years. Well that won't work here in this situation that's for sure. Because once someone gets hurt on this street they will google it and guess what a bonanza they will find in this posting. Hopefully it will yield punitive damages as well where the government agency's employees have demonstrated a "conscious disregard" for safety. Only then will government entities (and their employees) learn to to act properly and promptly in the face of dangerous conditions reported to them.

Our emails and their recipients are set forth below. The two responses were mostly meaningless and not to the point (as set forth above) and we don't want to further embarrass the senders at this point in this forum. Again the point is we told them what to do, how to fix it, where it was and why it was dangerous. Nothing else matters after that given the cost to repair is negligible.

From: Lakewood Accountability Action Group <updates@laag.us>
Date: Sun, Jun 1, 2014 at 11:34 AM
Subject: Re: Fwd: Street problems
To: Tito Haes <thaes@ci.azusa.ca.us>, Vera Mendoza <vmendoza@ci.azusa.ca.us>, francesdelach@ci.azusa.ca.us, Candy Toscano <ctoscano@ci.azusa.ca.us>, Fran Delach <fdelach@ci.azusa.ca.us>
Cc: Walter Allen City Council Covina CA <wallen@covinaca.gov>, "John C. King, Mayor Pro Tem, City of Covina" <jking@covinaca.gov>, "Peggy Delach, Mayor, City of Covina" <pdelach@covinaca.gov>, transportation@covinaca.gov

​ Unfortunately once again local cities need to be reminded of their obligation to keep roads in good condition. Every Saturday (for that last 20 years) hundreds of bicycle riders head eastbound on the south side of E. Arrow highway to make a left turn on Northbound Cerritos Ave. Every sat. All year. (and yes thank you Azusa for repaving Cerritos Ave upon our request after 30 years of neglect)  The section of Arrow Hwy from S. Azusa Ave to Cerritos Ave​ has a number of areas where large chunks of asphalt have been broken out of the surface due mainly to the roadway slowly disintegrating. If the city feels that it does not need to spend sizeable portions of its budget every year keeping its roads properly resurfaced (due to years of failure to do this maint.), then it needs to run a monthly or weekly "road patch team" over all its roads to insure potholes and other road defects are fixed rapidly. If a bicycle hits one of these potholes there will very likely be a crash of 10 or more people given the size of the group that takes up most of the entire 2 eastbound lanes of E Arrow Hwy.. Im just making you aware of this now in writing so you cant later deny you did know of the dangerous condition. That way when you get sued this email will show up. It completely baffles me how derelict cities are in their ethical and legal responsibilities instead relying on the "oh we never new about it defense" well thats gone now. No more excuses. I like to call it "municipal malpractice".
It appears that that section of Arrow Hwy is divided between Covina and Azusa. (yet another opportunity cities use to dodge responsibility) I have to assume that Covina has responsibility for the south half of the road but can't be sure from google maps. Thats your problem to figure out between the two of you. However just to be sure I have put both cities on notice.
This is a major east/west thoroughfare and so it deserves some attention. "Properly" fixing the 10 more so problem areas in this road section mentioned above will take a few hours of city worker time. And most have the time apparently. http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-street-services-workers-20140523-story.html

​I have to chuckle when I see blatant bicycle promotion like this  http://www.covinaca.gov/images/webuser/PublicWorks/Transportation/Covina_-_Info-post_-_Bikestation_-_04.10.pdf
then a total failure to ensure good roadway conditions to use those very bikes. Remember for those of you that dont ride costly road bikes​..the contact patch of most bicycle road tires is about the side of a quarter or less so think about that when doing roadway repairs/upgrades.  Use this as a handy guide as to the roadway surface quality that bicycles require http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/oppd/hdm/pdf/chp1000.pdf

​From: Lakewood Accountability Action Group <updates@laag.us>
Date: Mon, Jun 2, 2014 at 10:15 AM
Subject: Re: Fwd: Street problems
To: Alex Gonzalez <AGonzalez@covinaca.gov>
Cc: Tito Haes <thaes@ci.azusa.ca.us>, James Makshanoff <jmakshanoff@ci.azusa.ca.us>, Monica Vargas <MVargas@covinaca.gov>, Mayor Pro Tem John King <JKing@covinaca.gov>, Peggy Delach <PDelach@covinaca.gov>, City of Covina Transportation Division <transportation@covinaca.gov>, Walter Allen <wallen@covinaca.gov>, Kalieh Honish <khonish@covinaca.gov>, Daryl Parrish <dparrish@covinaca.gov>

​ We totally support bicycle infrastructure "creation". But over the years we have noticed there there seems to be more enthusiasm for "new" projects (maybe as a way to get votes, who knows) and less enthusiasm for "maintaining" what is already in place as that again is "boring" and not viewed as much by voters as a reason to vote for a candidate. Also when a new project is created there never seems to be a set aside to maintain that project over the next hundred years​. I keep telling cities. Take the money from the feds. (11% chance of passing)  https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/113/hr3978?utm_campaign=govtrack_email_update&utm_source=govtrack/email_update&utm_medium=email  But the feds are guilty of the same problem. Only money for new stuff not fixing and maintaining old. Unfortunately with local govt we voters have found that using the stick approach works better than the carrot. We also find out only after prodding that much of this work re maint going on behind the scenes and is never posted on the website. It also crawls at a snails pace compared to most things. Post a chart with all the sections of all major streets and when they are due for resurfacing or when last resurfaced. I know that usually exists. just hidden from view? why? The internet is a (mostly) free resource. Use it for REAL info dissemination.

on behalf of
LAAG's Active Voting Constituents

​From: Lakewood Accountability Action Group <updates@laag.us>
Date: Sat, Jun 21, 2014 at 6:46 PM
Subject: Re: Street pothole problems [emergency maint needed]
To: Tito Haes <thaes@ci.azusa.ca.us>, Vera Mendoza <vmendoza@ci.azusa.ca.us>, Candy Toscano <ctoscano@ci.azusa.ca.us>, "Joseph R. Rocha, Mayor city of Azusa" <jrocha@ci.azusa.ca.us>, "Juana Hernandez, city of Azusa" <jhernandez@ci.azusa.ca.us>, "Jeff Ferre, City attorney City of Azusa" <Jeff.Ferre@bbklaw.com>
Cc: Walter Allen City Council Covina CA <wallen@covinaca.gov>, "John C. King, Mayor Pro Tem, City of Covina" <jking@covinaca.gov>, "Peggy Delach, Mayor, City of Covina" <pdelach@covinaca.gov>, transportation Dept City of covina <transportation@covinaca.gov>, citymanager@covinaca.gov, mwalczak@covinaca.gov, mayor@covinaca.gov, pw@covinaca.gov, "William.Priest, city atty City of Covina" <William.Priest@bbklaw.com>

Just rode this section of roadway again today. Problems start at the Lowes sign on E. Arrow Hwy and go east in the #2 lane to Cerritos Ave. (see below for more detail)
I really don't know why this is not fixed yet (after 18 days written notice which was acknowledged). this an item that does not need budgeting (so I don't want to hear that excuse) and takes 30-60 minutes of employee time. this is routine repair that needs to be expedited as it involves public safety.

Failure to get this fixed is a "conscious disregard of bicycle rider safety" and should someone get hurt I would tell them to sue the city for punitive damages. Thats right. look it up. Ask the city attorney how that works

​From: Lakewood Accountability Action Group <updates@laag.us>
Date: Tue, Jul 29, 2014 at 12:32 PM
Subject: Re: Street pothole problems [emergency maint needed]
To: Tito Haes <thaes@ci.azusa.ca.us>, Vera Mendoza <vmendoza@ci.azusa.ca.us>, Candy Toscano <ctoscano@ci.azusa.ca.us>, "Joseph R. Rocha, Mayor city of Azusa" <jrocha@ci.azusa.ca.us>, "Juana Hernandez, city of Azusa" <jhernandez@ci.azusa.ca.us>, "Jeff Ferre, City attorney City of Azusa" <Jeff.Ferre@bbklaw.com>
Cc: Walter Allen City Council Covina CA <wallen@covinaca.gov>, "John C. King, Mayor Pro Tem, City of Covina" <jking@covinaca.gov>, "Peggy Delach, Mayor, City of Covina" <pdelach@covinaca.gov>, transportation Dept City of covina <transportation@covinaca.gov>, citymanager@covinaca.gov, mwalczak@covinaca.gov, mayor@covinaca.gov, pw@covinaca.gov, "William.Priest, city atty City of Covina" <William.Priest@bbklaw.com>

Your funding problems solved. see attached

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