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What's bugging you? Brush clearance

July 25, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Spring brings new grass, but new vegetation also brings an old danger.

"It's going to keep growing and it's going to get dry in the summer and could very well be a danger to the area very quickly," said Encino resident Bob Friedman. "It'll sweep right up the hill and everything else around it."

The Los Angeles City Fire Department sent out mailers to residents in the Encino neighborhood letting them know it's time for brush clearance, and if clearance is not done, residents will be fined.

But nothing was being done about one huge lot.

"Of course it's bugging me, yeah, absolutely," said Encino resident Mike Walden.

Mike Walden is angry because the lot is right next to his home, and the lot's owner is the Department of Water and Power.

There are high-tension power lines that he worries could spark a fire. Walden says he called the DWP several times, but was told brush clearance is on a list of things to do.

"I've done everything I can. As a citizen I just want things to be taken care of but they haven't been so far," said Walden.

"They are in violation. Notices were sent in the middle of April and their due date was May 1st," said Paul Terris, L.A. City Fire Dept.

L.A. City Fire Dept. says the DWP has to clean up its properties just like everybody else.

"It's already June and I understand they're working on it, but as with many agencies and budget cuts, they're behind schedule also," said Terris.

After Eyewitness News shot video of the overgrown brush, an interview was attempted with the DWP for several days. After a phone call explaining the issue, the very next day, crews came to the lot and cleaned it up. But no interview was granted.

The DWP issued a statement which says, in part: "This year we experienced a minor delay in contracting but our employee crews have continually made steady progress on their own .... an employee crew was scheduled to clear brush along the Tarzana-Olympic transmission line corridor, which passes through Encino and includes the location brought to our attention by local residents and KABC."

That is good news to Mike Walden.

"We appreciate Channel 7 a great deal for taking action on this, and that helped stimulate those people, DWP, to come and take care of the matter," said Walden.

So if it's bugging you, it's probably bugging other people too. So keep telling us about it.


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