Friday, September 15, 2017

Red Car Canyon: Shredding Trees, Spreading Dust, But What About Insects & Pathogens?

Video: Red Car Property Neighbor, September 14, 2017.  While it's technically OK per LAFD to spread the tree shred/mulch around to help retain moisture on the slopes, it's not exactly the best thing for air quality during the chipping or shredding.  There's also the question of spreading pathogens of the dead trees.

After consulting a neighbor who is a landscape designer, and reading up on some of the local insects and pathogens, I can wholeheartedly say, if you have a sick, dead or dying tree, consult a certified arborist.  This issue is way beyond my skill set to simplify beyond the following advice.  There are too many ways to infest/infect other trees depending on the insect and or pathogen, and you may be able to save your trees.  Your mature trees are an investment in not only your home's resale value, but also the future of our neighborhood and local air quality.

We've lost a lot of large trees in the neighborhood in the past few years.  Take care of your large and native trees.  Every tree counts.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Red Car Canyon: More Trees Coming Down

Photo: Red Car Property Neighbor #1, September 14, 2017.  This morning, photos and videos came in from vigilant neighbors of more tree carnage in Red Car Canyon.  (Click on photos to enlarge.)

Neighbors report they seemed to be removing dead branches and trees.  Yet, photos appear to indicate smaller trees recovering from the 2016 fire appear cut down in recent weeks.  We'll run a comparison post soon.  (These things take time and are depressing as all hell to look at what we lost.)
Photo: Red Car Property Neighbor, September 14, 2017.  Enlarged from previous photo, you get a better idea of scale when you see the worker up on the tree trunk.
Video: Red Car Neighbor Property Neighbor #2, September 14, 2017.  Another neighbor captured the moment they felled the same Eucalyptus.
Photo: Red Car Property Neighbor #2, September 14, 2017.  Photo confirmed the same contractor who's been doing brush clearance for the past few weeks, was chopping up trees in the canyon today.  

Looks like our heat island is expanding.
 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Corralitas Drive: Hillside Parking

Photo: Corralitas Neighbor, September 13, 2017.  Ever notice cars parked this way never seem to get ticketed nor crashed into by large trucks?  Be a good neighbor and park courteously. 

You can report parking violations to the City Dept of Transportation (LA DOT): 818-374-4823.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Corralitas Drive: Rats!

Photo: Corralitas Neighbor, August 19, 2017. In the past few weeks, I've received reminders from multiple neighbors regarding rat poison and cats.  When the cat, pictured here, showed up with a fresh kill, the cat's owner immediately distracted the cat with cat treats, praised the cat's hunting skills.  Simultaneously, the owner scooped up the rat in a plastic bag and threw it in a closed trash bin.

The owner did not want the cat to get poisoned in the event the rat had ingested poison.  Rat poison works its way up the food chain, as the Griffith Park Mountain Lion, P-22's bout with mange highlighted the way rat poison weakens the immune systems of the animals further up the food chain. P-22 recovered with veterinary assistance, but he was a much larger animal than a killer house cat.  House cats are extremely sensitive to poisons.  Bobcat deaths from the effects of secondary poisoning are epidemic in the Los Angeles Area.

Another neighbor contacted me last week after finding a dead rat on the sidewalk.  The rat showed no sign of trauma or puncture woulds.  The neighbor suspects rat poison and is concerned that people dispose of dead rats appropriately - bag up the dead rat and throw it in the trash.  DO NOT throw rats retrieved by your cat or killed in a trap, into a vacant lot, your neighbor's yard or in the street.  A cat, some dogs and scavengers may ingest poison causing serious illness or potentially death.

Read more abut the dangers of rat poison in the food chain: Urban Carnivores.  

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Red Car Property: Brush Clearance Resumed Today

Photo: Red Car Property Neighbor,  August 30, 2017.  Workers took a break from the insane heat and brush clearance on the slope below Lake View Ave, in the shade of a protected Native Black Walnut Tree.  It's hard to tell in this photo, but it looks like some more of the recovering Black Walnuts were chopped yet again.  

The Red Car Property line goes, roughly, along the power lines. 

Note: We're playing catch up for the month of August. This was post was actually published 8-31-17 and backdated to the date the photo was shot and originally published on Twitter.  It's our goal to catch up this weekend. 

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

2 Freeway: Sunday's Tree Work

Photo: Corralitas Neighbor, August 27, 2017.  The sound of chainsaws on the 2 Freeway at 6:30 AM, Sunday, awoke neighbors on Corralitas Drive.   One neighbor investigated.  CalTrans took down more than a dozen big trees in past month, claiming they were dead after last year's fire.  (We've not yet had a chance to put together a comparison post on what was removed a few weeks ago.  It is pending.)  We only have a handful of big trees left on the section of the 2 Freeway just south of the 5 Freeway
Photo: Corralitas Neighbor, August 27, 2017.  Unlike previous rounds of tree removal, there were a host of actual CalTrans vehicles and a backhoe working on the medians on both sides of the northbound 2 Freeway.  Previous work was done by tree contractors.
Photo: Corralitas Neighbor, August 27, 2017.  It appears they cut down everything growing in the medians, including young trees making a comeback after last year's fire and a few rounds of CalTrans' tree removals.

Photo: Corralitas Neighbor, August 27, 2017.  They picked up the green carnage in the dump trucks. It also appears they planted new trees.
Photo: Corralitas Neighbor, August 27, 2017.  To our surprise, at least a half dozen trees were planted in the slope between north and southbound lanes.  While the trees may not do much to clean the air today, at least it's a commitment to the future.  Neighbors have been asking for trees for more than a year since the fire.

Two weeks ago, another Red Car Property neighbor spoke to a representative from State Senate President Kevin DeLeon's staff regarding planting trees.  According to the deputy, CalTrans planted 12 Sycamore trees and 40 Toyons on the 2 Freeway.  Toyon is a slow growing, drought tolerant native shrub.  The conversation occurred 10 days prior to the planting. We'd still like to know where all those trees were planted.
Photo: Corralitas Neighbor, August 27, 2017.  There are 2 large Eucalyptus in the median south of the overhead "End of Freeway" sign. That's pretty much all the mature trees between the north and southbound lanes now. 

Related: Why We Bitch About Losing Trees
What Difference Do Trees Make?  Part 1, Part 2 
Weekend & Evening Traffic (2015)
Why We Need Trees (2014)
 

Monday, August 28, 2017

Corralitas Red Car Property: When The Weeds Are Taller Than The Workers...

Photo: Red Car Property Neighbor, August 28, 2017.  When the weeds are taller than the workers doing the weed whacking, you understand why neighbors have been bitching about the brush clearance.  Hope they know the slope on the 2 Freeway side of that hill going down to the sidewalk is part of the Red Car Property too.  This slope is where the 2016 Silver Lake Fire started.
Photo: Red Car Property Neighbor, June 28, 2017.  Yup, that's a second worker among the brush.  Enlarged from first photo.

Hear the sounds of weed whacking in short video: @Red Car Property

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Corralitas Drive: "Since CalTrans [Expletive Deleted] Woke Me Up This Morning"

Photo: Corralitas Neighbor, August 27, 2017.  Sunday, a neighbor got a scenic sunrise shot because CalTrans started chainsawing on the 2 Freeway medians at 6:30 AM.
Photo: Corralitas Neighbor, August 27, 2017.  The neighbor could not see what CalTrans was doing to the freeway through the neighbor's trees. However the work appeared to take place in the two medians on the northbound side, south of Rosebud Ave.  The neighbor wondered if there were any trees left on the 2 for CalTrans to remove.

Note: We're playing catch up for the month of August. This was post was actually published 8-28-17 and backdated to the date the photo was shot and originally published on Twitter

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Red Car Property: Abandoned Squatters' Camp Used Again Last Night

Photo: Red Car Property Neighbor, August 13, 2017. Neighbors are fed up by the Red Car Property owner's failure to pick up the debris left behind after the squatters vacated their camp.  These photos and email (excerpted here) are from one of many concerned neighbors contacted CD13 and LAPD.  "Someone slept again last night on the old Red Car squatters encampment - I know because they left a new red blanket and new trash (see pics)."

The camp was established by a couple of squatters, mid-June.  Neighbors reported it immediately and constantly for the past few months to CD13 and LAPD.  A few weeks ago, neighbors reported the camp abandoned by the couple of squatters who had been driving a white car to and from their camp near Rose Scharlin Nursery School on a daily basis. 

Neighbors raised the concern that so much debris left behind will only attract new inhabitants.  "Does the owner really want to leave an open invitation for squatters to come live, sleep, and trash his property?"
Photo: Red Car Property Neighbor, August 13, 2017.  Pictured here: dry brush right next to the campsite.  Neighbors continue raising the alarm over brush clearance.  Out of self-interest, a few neighbors cleared some of the slopes near their own homes.  "I see the [brush] clearance is still not completed, or even started (Rose Scharlin did their own hill themselves rather than wait)."  

Considering the number of cigarette butts discarded in and around the camp, neighbors are justified in their alarm.  "This is a danger to the whole neighborhood, especially with smoking squatters sleeping there."  The neighbor continues, "Does our whole neighborhood have to go up in flames before someone enforces the Brush Clearance ordinance!?!  Has LAFD even inspected this negligent property that is putting our neighborhood at risk for a catastrophic fire?"  Yes, LAFD has cited the owner several times this year.
Photo: Red Car Property Neighbor, August 13, 2017.  Adding insult to injury, last night's homeless left new bags of trash.

Click here for all our squatter related posts. 

Follow us on Twitter for more timely updates on the squatter camp and brush clearance.

Note: We're playing catch up for the month of August. This was post was actually published 8-26-17 and backdated to the date the photos were shot and originally published on Twitter.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Corralitas RedCar Property: Why We Bitch About Brush Clearance

Photo: Red Car Property Neighbor, August 12, 2017.  A number of neighbors were very concerned about a newer red pick up truck suspiciously parked in the middle of the dry grass on the Red Car Property for hours, earlier tonight.  Brush has yet to be cleared from the Red Car Property.  There is nothing preventing vehicles from driving onto the Red Car Property. 
Photo: Red Car Property Neighbor, August 12, 2017.  Several neighbors called LAPD's non-emergency 1-877-ASK-LAPD.  At least one stayed on hold for an hour before giving up.  However, it only made neighbors more creative.  They shined lights on the truck, annoying the people inside, and the truck finally took off.

Note: We're playing catch up for the month of August. This was post was actually published 8-26-17 and backdated to the date the photo was shot and originally published on Twitter.

Corralitas Drive: Ring-Necked Snake V.S. Cat

Photo: Corralitas Neighbor, August 12, 2017.  A neighbor's cat found a tiny snake to play with.  Use the garden hose for scale.
Photo: Corralitas Neighbor, August 12, 2017.  It was a fast moving, squirmy little thing, fascinating the cat.
Photo: Corralitas Drive Neighbor, August 12, 2017.  The snake was about a foot long, the width of a pencil, olive green, dark head, light ring around the neck.  It was a Ring-Necked Snake. 
Photo: Corralitas Drive Neighbor, August 12, 2017.  The snake made a break for nearby rocks where it made its getaway,  distracting the cat by wiggling and curling/uncurling the bright red underside of it tail.

Ring-Necked Snakes in our neighborhood live in the leaf litter below big trees and lots of shade.  They seem to prefer areas with more moisture on Riverside Place, Corralitas Drive and Red Car Canyon.  According to California Herps, they eat Slender Salamanders - also found in all the same habitat in the neighborhood.

Learn more about Ring-Necked Snakes: California Herps.

Worth noting on California Herps is the conservation status.  USDA Forest Service lists the subspecies as "Sensitive;" Nature Serve State Ranking: S2, "Imperiled in the state because of rarity due to very restricted range, very few populations (often 20 or fewer), steep declines, or other factors making it very vulnerable to extirpation from the state."  

Luckily this snake got away!

Note: We're playing catch up for the month of August. This was post was actually published 8-24-17 and backdated to the date the photos were shot and originally published on Twitter. 
 

Friday, August 11, 2017

Corralitas Red Car Property: LAFD Instructs Property Owner, Do The Brush Clearance

Photo: Red Car Property Neighbor, August 11, 2017.  LAFD Brush Inspector Perez, CD13's Hector Vega met the Red Car Property Owner and his son, at the Corralitas end of the Red Car Property.  In no uncertain terms Inspector Perez instructed to do the brush clearance and remove fire hazards like dumping and abandoned homeless debris.  According to CD13's Vega, the owner said it would be done next week.

Worth noting in this photo: the green slope directly above the cul-de-sac, is the southbound 2 Freeway.  November 30, 2016, a car flew off the freeway and crashed onto Corralitas Drive.  CalTrans merely replaced the damaged guardrail, rather than extend the guardrail further south.  After the 2016 fire, CalTrans removed all the trees that prevented cars from landing on the street or on the Red Car Property.  

CalTrans has not seen the need for even temporary K-rails to prevent cars from flying off the freeway.  The guard rail is there to protect the overhead sign across the southbound lanes, not to protect neighbors. A chain link fence is at the bottom of the hill.

Note: We're playing catch up for the month of August. This was post was actually published 8-24-17 and backdated to the date the photo was shot and originally published on Twitter

Red Car Property: Abandoned Squatters' Camp In Use Again

Photo: Red Car Property Neighbor, August 11, 2017.  More than one neighbor reported someone slept in the recently vacated squatters' camp last night.  A CD13 representative and LAFD Brush Inspector told the property owner to remove the abandoned debris.  LAFD Senior Lead Officer Lenny Davis told the owner he would arrange for an officer to be on site when the owner removes the debris in case of any misunderstandings with squatters. 

Note: We're playing catch up for the month of August. This was post was actually published 8-24-17 and backdated to the date the photo was shot and originally published on Twitter.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Corralitas Red Car Property: Why Are LAFD Brush Clearance Fines The Same, No Matter The Size Of Your Lot?

Photo: Red Car Property Neighbor, August 4, 2017.  Neighbors are understandably nervous about fire on the Red Car Property. Weeds are taller and more dense than before the 2016 Silver Lake Fire.  (Click on photos to enlarge.)
Photo: Red Car Property Neighbor, August 4, 2017.  Most  of the protected native Coast Live Oaks and California Black Walnuts are returning to the slopes.  Looks like there are still a few upslope neighbors on Lake View who still have not done their brush clearance.  You'd think after last summer's fire, they'd be the first to do brush clearance.  But then no one can believe the Red Car Property owner hasn't done the brush clearance yet.  

Perhaps part of the problem is the fines for failing to do brush clearance are the same - no matter what size lot you have - 5000 sq feet or 5 acres.  The fine from LAFD is per lot, not per square foot. You still have to pay for brush clearance, but you'd have to pay for brush clearance, whether or not you did it on time.  

Raise the potential fines for non-compliance on the large lot owners to encourage prompt brush clearance.  Track the non-compliant lot owners every year.  Each year the lot is fined for non-compliance, increase their penalties.   Prioritize the routine scofflaws.  

There is no incentive for large lot owners to take responsibility for their own property.  LAFD has the potential to bring in more fees from fining up to 135 adjacent lots, than from the 5 (or 6 according to APNs) lots of the Red Car Property.  There's not a lot of impetus for LAFD to red tag the Red Car Property owner, other than a fire starting  on or spreading via the Red Car Property, would endanger the whole neighborhood.   In 2016, 200 firefighters, wildland fire crews and a massive air assault (water dropping helicopters from at least 3 agencies) kept the 2016 Silver Lake Fire from becoming a major disaster

A neighbor ran into the LAFD Brush Inspector on site July 28, 2017.  The inspector said another notice to comply would be mailed to the owner. 
Photo: Red Car Property Neighbor, August 4, 2017.  The Red Car Property goes up to the telephone poles running across the middle of the slope.  In some cases the adjacent property owners cleared well beyond their property line.  

Unfortunately, last December, LAFD Brush Clearance contractors also took out a lot of native Black Walnuts when they did clearance.  Some very native large trees on this slope were cut down to the ground, even though they were recovering.  Most of the walnuts are recovering are coming back despite the butchery (the green shrub like plants midway up the slope on the left.)  There was no need to cut them down as they were already recovering from the fire.  Native trees are fire resistant.

Related: 
LAFD Brush Inspection Process 
All our brush clearance posts

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Red Car Property: Not A Park, It Just Looks Like One

Photo: Red Car Property Neighbor, August 5, 2017.  Bounce house, parents, kids, cars, and amplified music between Lake View Ave and Riverside Place north of Rose Scharlin.  No brush clearance, but the protected native Black Walnut Trees are looking good.  The non-native invasive arundo is looking overgrown.

Note: We're playing catch up for the month of August. This was post was actually published 8-23-17 and backdated to the date the photo was shot and published on Twitter

Friday, August 4, 2017

Riverside Drive: Closed For Repaving This Weekend

Map from Dept of Public Works.  

I got a confusing Media Advisory from the Dept of Public Works this week re: repaving and road closure of Riverside Drive.  Their map and the text of the advisory did not match up.  

Hector Vega in CD13 contacted me to clarify: they're repaving Riverside Drive between Newell and Birkdale.  Birkdale is just north of Dorris Place Elementary in the southern part of Elysian Valley.  

Vega said Public Works will be working north to south, Saturday and south to north, Sunday.  They will be scraping then paving 6 AM to 6PM.

Neighbors who live on Riverside Drive, Riverside Terrace, Riverside Place, Silver Lake Ave and India Street who only have vehicle access via Riverside Drive, as well as Corralitas Drive residents should plan extra time into your driving this weekend.   Residents will be able to take Riverside Drive, but plan ahead.  

Do NOT use the Red Car Property as a short cut.  Brush clearance has NOT been done yet.  Please do NOT cut through residential streets in Elysian Valley.

The Dodgers are NOT at home this weekend.  The project was postponed once due to Dodgers' schedule.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Corralitas Drive: Sunset Over Silver Ridge

Photo: Corralitas Neighbor, August 2, 2017.

Corralitas Drive: New Homeless Camper Next To Dry Brush Of Red Car Property

*Update, August 4, 2017 at end of post
Photo: Red Car Property Neighbor, August 1, 2017.  Tuesday morning, neighbors discovered a new camper/trailer parked next to the Red Car Property on Corralitas Drive.  (Click on photo to enlarge.)
Video: Red Car Property Neighbor, August 1, 2017.  First posted on Twitter, also available on YouTubeNot only is the camper parked next to the dry brush of the Red Car Property, the sidewalk is blocked, there's a propane tank in front and what appears to be a bag of charcoal briquettes at the the back of the camper (see video below).  The white Saturn parked behind the camper, is associated with the squatters who recently abandoned their camp on the Red Car Property near Rose Scharlin. 

The protected native California Black Walnut Tree has recovered well from last year's Silver Lake Fire

Neighbors want to know why the Red Car Property owner always seems to get away with not doing brush clearance by May 1, every year.

Send your concerns about brush clearance, vehicle access and any other concerns regarding the Red Car Property to hector.vega@lacity.org in City Council District 13.  Include your name, street address and phone number.


*UPDATE: August 4, 2017, LAPD Senior Lead Officer Lenny Davis spoke to the woman living in the trailer yesterday.  The trailer was gone today.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Red Car Canyon: Neighbors Call Police On Suspicious Jaguar Convertible

Photo: Red Car Property Neighbor #1, August 1, 2017.  Neighbors called police upon finding an abandoned green Jaguar convertible.  (Click on photos to enlarge.)

Longtime neighbors recognize the signs of a suspected stolen car: serious front end damage, punched trunk lock (see last  photo), flat tire, car abandoned in a totally inappropriate place for cars to drive on the property.  However, according to LAPD Senior Lead Officer Lenny Davis, as of 8:30 AM the car was not reported stolen.  
Photo: Red Car Property Neighbor #2, August 1, 2017.  Apparently the car was stuck on one of the many cut up logs surrounding the Charles Lacey Memorial.  On more than one occasion, Red Car Property neighbors reported an  abandoned car prior to the car owner learning his car was stolen.  Neighbors saw the driver of the Jaguar attempting to extricate the car from its sticky predicament around 6:30 PM last night.

In 2016, the Silver Lake Fire burned right up to homes in this canyon before a massive effort by LAFD and partner agencies stopped it. 
Photo: Red Car Property Neighbor, #3, August 1, 2017.  Neighbors are particularly nervous about vehicles driving on the Red Car Property since the dry brush has not yet been cleared from the property.  A hot engine parked on dry grass or a rock hitting metal under a car driving on the property can spark a fire. 

We have long advocated for installation of heavy steel gates (similar to gates at the entrance to every fire road in Griffith and Elysian Parks) blocking all vehicle access except for emergency vehicles.  LAFD has requirements for "security gates" posted on their website.

Link to video of Jaguar showing the extent of the dry brush in this location.

Click here for all our suspected stolen cars posts.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Corralitas Red Car Property: LAFD Brush Inspector

Photo: Red Car Property Neighbor, July 28, 2017.  Neighbors are wondering how long it will take to get brush clearance done.  The LAFD brush inspector told a neighbor on Corralitas Drive, the Red Car Property owner will be noticed once again for failure to clear brush.  

All neighbors who were here for the 2016 fire cannot understand why any property owner wouldn't do their brush clearance by May 1.

Note: We're playing catch up. This was post was actually published 8-23-17 and backdated to the date the photo was shot and published on Twitter.