CANDO, the Canyon Alliance of Neighborhoods Defense Organization, supports Measure P for Laguna Beach.
Downed electrical wires were the leading cause of wildfires in California in 2017. As the number and intensity of wildfires goes up our risk is increasing, not decreasing.
In addition to fire danger, inevitably, earthquakes and mudslides (as in ’98) will bring poles and live wires down, blocking evacuation routes, disrupting communications, interrupting power, and preventing first responders from coming to the aid of those trapped.
We may not be able to evacuate, nor reach out for help and help may not be able to get to us. It’s a problem that needs solving.
But nobody is going to help us but us! Well, us and 6 million visitors. Approximately two-thirds of sales tax revenues in Laguna Beach are paid by our visitors. With a 1 percent sales tax increase, visitors would pay the majority of the costs needed for undergrounding.
But won’t Southern California Edison (SCE) or Caltrans pay for undergrounding?
SCE will not pay. The City has tried to work with Sacramento, and directly with SCE for three years – to no avail. Amongst SCE’s proposals are to cut down trees on your private property (up to 200 feet from the lines) and, in the case of high fire danger, to turn the power off.
Caltrans is prohibited by law from paying for improvements to electrical facilities. And although the county is paying for the undergrounding of 14 poles from El Toro to the Toll Road, the county has no proposal nor budget for any undergrounding from Canyon Acres to El Toro. Neither Caltrans nor the County will provide a solution.
Undergrounding is critical to our safety. Together we can protect one another. Vote Yes on P.
Penelope Milne, Laguna Beach, President CANDO