So far, the debate avoids the primary issue of ultimate responsibility. We read about evacuation and fire hazards and then jump to the question of how much tax should we citizens agree to.
But let’s look at a fundamental question. Who owns these wires and poles? If these utility poles pose legitimate hazard (beyond natural beauty and etc.), who should pay to correct that? If cell towers or gas lines are in need of improvement, who is expected to write the check? Verizon or SoCal gas! Not the taxpayers of the city they serve.
Normally, utilities (private or not) are responsible for the maintenance of their own assets and infrastructure.
Despite the absurd costs being quoted for this ditch digging project, and the contrived hazards posited, why should I or anyone else outside of a power company board room be compelled to pay for these asset improvements, needed or not?
As an aside, how useful are power lines any more these days? So many homeowners are topping their rooflines with solar panels and generating more than enough electricity for their units and even sending power back into the “grid.”
Maybe as a “green” town we should generate our own juice and ask SoCal Edison to kindly remove their ugly and perhaps dangerous overhead wires.
Matt Smith, Laguna Beach