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South Bay Digest

Rancho P.V. : City Officials Work With Felando on Landslide Bill

April 11, 1985

City officials and Assemblyman Gerald N. Felando (R-San Pedro) are working together to rewrite a landslide abatement bill that they were squabbling over just a short time ago. The new measure is expected to encompass both a study of coastline stabilization and specific abatement projects to draw water out of the slide area.

Mayor John McTaggart last September asked Felando to draft a bill to help the city with the slide. But the measure, which Felando announced in a citywide mailing in March, called only for a feasibility study of a seawall to retard coastal erosion in the slide area. When it reached the City Council two weeks later, it met with unanimous disapproval.

McTaggart said the slide has already been studied by several geologists and what the city needs now is money for projects to stop or slow the Portuguese Bend, Klondike and Abalone Cove slides. The council also said the city could not meet the terms of the bill, which called for financing the study through a $300,000 state loan to be repaid in five years at an interest rate of about 10%.

City officials also reacted sharply to a statement by Felando--who became the city's representative when his district was reapportioned in 1982--that he has been trying for years to get state money for the slide because the city has largely been "inactive on this issue."

Terming Felando's statement "inflammatory," Councilman Melvin Hughes said the city has "been working desperately" to deal with the slide. He cited realignment of Palos Verdes Drive North through the slide area, formation of a redevelopment district for slide abatement, and identification of specific projects, including more wells to remove subsurface water, and repair of drainage courses to carry runoff water.

Each side blamed the other for poor communication at the staff level during preparation of the bill. But after a recent meeting, both staffs said they will speak the same language from now on.

Felando has agreed to carry any bill the city wants, provided it has unanimous council support. The price tag would be considerably more than the initial $300,000, and Felando said the city's first financing choice--an outright grant--is not politically feasible.

"I see the possibility for a loan, but not for an out-and-out handout," he said.

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