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POLITICAL LANDSCAPE:Supervisor ponders fire season

May 12, 2007

In the wake of the recent fire in Griffith Park, Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich, whose district includes Glendale, Burbank, Montrose and La Crescenta, is pushing for a pair of measures that he says will enhance public safety.

With the fire season off to an early start, Antonovich is pushing for the early acquisition of leased fire-fighting aircraft.

In addition to county-owned water-dropping helicopters, the Los Angeles County Fire Department routinely leases fixed-wing CL-145 SuperScoopers from the government of Quebec, Canada, in August, Antonovich said.

The board of supervisors will consider a motion made by Antonovich to acquire the airplanes earlier than usual this year.

The specialized aircraft carry 1,600 gallons of water mixed with a flame-retardant foam, he said.

"Had Los Angeles city had access to those SuperScoopers, the fire in Griffith Park would have been put out a lot quicker," Antonovich said.

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"The motion that we have is to direct the Fire Department to review if we can move [the acquisition of the SuperScoopers] up to June because the fire season is starting earlier this year and to prepare for increased risk of wildfire for our mountains and valleys."

And though Southern California is not known for tornado risk, the tornadoes that tore through Greenburg, Kan., on May 4, reportedly killing 10, offer a lesson on how Los Angeles County can be better prepared to react to disasters, Antonovich said.

"The county of Los Angeles, all of our municipal law enforcement and fire agencies are developing an interoperability communications system using towers.

However, the recent tornado in Kansas, which destroyed emergency communication towers, points out that we ought to explore the use of satellites," Antonovich said.

Antonovich is urging county agencies to consider using satellites instead of communication towers in their interoperability communications plan, he said.

"Satellites would be virtually unaffected by circumstances on the ground," he said.

Legislators call for entrants for awards

State Sen. Jack Scott and Assemblymen Anthony Portantino and Paul Krekorian — whose districts include Glendale and Burbank — are seeking nominations for the annual "Women In Business" awards to be held Sept. 28 at The Castaway restaurant in Burbank.

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