LVMCOG Governing Board Meeting addresses wildfire concerns with water limitations

LVMCOG logo. Photo courtesy.

The Las Virgenes-Malibu Council of Governments (COG) Governing Board Meeting met on Aug. 16 to address water restrictions, Homeless Connect Day, and school safety.

To start off the meeting, Councilmember and LA County supervisor candidate for District 3 Lindsey Horvath spoke during public comment and shared her support and acknowledged the COG for their leadership.

Las Virgenes Municipal Water District General Manager David Pederson provided an update on the drought emergency and said he has received concerns with water limitations.

“Probably the number one concern that we’ve heard from residents was the relationship between drought and increased wildfire risk,” Pederson said. “And of course with Woolsey Fire in the rearview mirror, we have done our very best to run that to the ground and just wanted to thank the COG cities and also [State] Senator Henry Stern and even the county for their support in that.”

As for mandatory water use restrictions, Pederson said residents should continue to conserve water.

“It’s such a severe water shortage and crisis here in California that there is not enough water to provide,” Pederson said. 

Pederson said they are looking into hosting a wildfire safety and preparation webinar on Sept. 7, and include residents in all the COG cities.

“We would put on a webinar that would give residents information on how to be best prepared for wildfires, what can they to protect not only their families but also their homes,” Pederson said.

LVMCOG Executive Director Terry Dipple provided a city report and said Homeless Connect Day would take place on Sept. 22 and hopes to work with LA County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl before she leaves the office on the Measure R special allocation of $12 million throughout the COG. 

Tessa Charnofsky, district director of office for Kuehl, said they were unable to provide an update on Campus Kilpatrick with little data.

“At this point, a lot are on vacation and they just don’t have [someone in] probation to come out and speak for this month, but next month I promise we will have someone out here to speak,” Charnofsky said. “Kids have not been transferred yet is my understanding.”

Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff’s Capt. Jennifer Seetoo provided an update on school safety and introduced Sgt. Bill Velek.

“Lost Hills committed a sergeant who has an extraordinary background in resource deputy in the Hart [school] district and he actually responded to the [2019] Saugus shooting, and he’s ready to go,” Seetoo said. “He’s already partnering with the Malibu school district and the Las Virgenes school district.”

South Bay Cities COG Program Manager for the South Bay Fiber Network Aaron Baum presented the regional broadband initiative. 

The COG approved the Measure R Project List. Metro allocated $175 million to the Las Virgenes-Malibu COG region when Measure R was approved. All of the funds have been programmed by the COG over the last 14 years, with the exception of $15.5 million. Earlier this year, the COG discussed programming the remaining funds with Supervisor Kuehl’s transportation deputy, Madeleine Moore and Jim de la Loza. Both of whom were supportive of the allocation.

For Malibu, $5 million will go to PCH at Las Flores and Rambla Pacifico intersection improvements.

This project was identified in the 2015 PCH Safety Study and includes making various safety and efficiency improvements at the Las Flores Canyon Road and Rambla Pacifico Street intersection. The project will reconfigure the traffic signals and traffic lanes, and will provide additional room for bicycle lanes. This project will be coordinated with other Caltrans projects planned for this intersection.

A total of $325,000 will replace the existing pedestrian flashing beacon with a new pedestrian traffic signal at 22523 PCH. The current flashing beacon does not provide motorists sufficient warning when a pedestrian enters the crosswalk to cross the street. The proposed pedestrian signal will improve notifications to motorists and improve pedestrian safety.

The COG also motioned to continue to host the meeting virtually. The next governing board meeting is scheduled for Sept. 20.

The article was updated on Sept. 3 to fix a quote.