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Location: Anaheim, California, United States

Regular contributor ("Carson City Limits" and other content) for Random Lengths (circulation 56,000) in San Pedro, CA, 2001-present. Manga reviewer: LA Alternative (circulation 150,000), 2005-2006. Some manga reviews also ran in NY Press around this time. Entertainment reporting: Music Connection (circulation 75,000), 1983-1906. Travel writing: Oakland Tribune (1998) and Life After 50 (2006). Other bylines: Goldmine, Star Hits, Los Angeles Reader, Los Angeles Times, Long Beach Press Telegram, Blade, BAM, Daily Breeze, LA Weekly. Specializations include community news reporting, writing reviews (book, theater, concert, film, music), copywriting, resumes, editing, travel writing, publicity, screenwriting, lecturing, and content development. Education: B. A. Theater Arts, UCLA. Post-grad work, Education, Chapman University.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Random Lengths Link: Agencies Work to Keep Winter Floods Away

Random Lengths News featured my article, "Agencies Work to Keep Winter Floods Away" in the Dec. 7-20, 2017 issue. Here's the link to the online version, which you may copy and paste in your browser:

If the above link is not active (doesn't work), below is the text:

Several of the biggest news stories of 2017 involved flooding, especially after the hurricanes that hit Texas, Florida, and the Caribbean in August and September, resulting in hundreds of deaths and otherwise endangering public health and safety. 

Carson experienced flooding, too, last January 22, when one of the heaviest storms to hit the Los Angeles area in several years flooded the 110 freeway under the Carson Street overpass. TV news crews including KTLA reported water as high as car hoods, resulting in the freeway being shut down and traffic diverted.

That day KTLA’s website also posted a cellphone video that showed dangerous flooding on Sepulveda Boulevard in West Carson between the 110 freeway and Vermont Avenue, engulfing several cars--and their occupants. Here, too, water was up to car hoods.

As another winter storm season approaches, Random Lengths contacted Carson’s public works department about what’s being done to protect the city and adjacent areas from dangerous levels of flooding. 

Julio Gonzalez, a city senior engineering technician, responded local flooding has to do with the capacity of storm drains. City crews have been making sure the city’s storm systems, including catch basins, are clean and free of debris. If not, then the drain can get clogged. To prevent that, the city is in the process of putting screens on its catch basins.

Another concern is assessing that everything’s operable concerning the city’s several pumps, including the Dominguez pumping station at the east end of Torrance Boulevard. That station, one of Carson’s largest, was installed in 2001 to mitigate what had previously been one of the city’s most obvious problem areas. It pumps water into the Dominguez Channel from an underground storm system.

Gonzales said there are no plans for system improvements at this time because the city’s storm water system currently in place is sufficient.

Concerning flooding on the 110 freeway, he noted Carson doesn’t have jurisdiction. The California Department of Transportation, also known as Caltrans, does.

When Random Lengths asked Caltrans about last January’s freeway flooding, spokesperson Timothy Weisberg responded, “[I]t was caused by a variety of factors … The Carson pump house also had a mechanical issue that kept it from operating at full capacity, and there was a power outage in the area. … The pump has since been fixed and is ready to run at full capacity.”

Weisberg added, “Pump houses all across the South Bay region have been inspected to ensure they are working properly.”

As for the stretch of Sepulveda in West Carson that has a history of flooding, who has jurisdiction may be an issue. West Carson is an unincorporated area of Los Angeles County, outside Carson’s jurisdiction. The nearby Bixby Marshland is within Carson’s city limits but is maintained by the Los Angeles County Sanitation Department. It provides a natural low area for large volumes of water to collect--and perhaps backflow.

Gonzalez suggested a channel just south of Sepulveda, which he identified as part of the Wilmington Drain, a tributary of the Dominguez Channel, may have a maintenance issue, or a right-of-way issue. 

Ed Teran of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works responded that the stretch of Sepulveda Boulevard in West Carson is not on his department’s radar. He commented the “hot spots” for flooding tend to be along coastal areas, while cities like Carson and Torrance are normally not considered a problem.

Kerjon Lee, Public Affairs Manager for the county department of public works, said cities work with the county when improving drainage infrastructure. He suggested persons concerned about flooding, or potential for flooding, may contact their city’s public works department or, for unincorporated areas, their county supervisor’s office. He directed persons with urgent needs to visit the county website or phone the public works dispatcher at 1-800-675-HELP.


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