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Leader looks at state of county

Antonovich announces many new projects, blasts feds for Station Fire

Posted: May 19, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: May 19, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Michael Onuscheck, senior vice president at Boston Scientific, left, welcomes keynote speaker Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich to the stage to give the State of the County presentation to hundreds gathered for the luncheon in the Grand Ballroom of the Hyatt Regency Valencia in Valencia on Wednesday.

A library for Stevenson Ranch, a new boat ramp for Castaic, a half-dozen new fire stations for the Santa Clarita Valley and a new courthouse — possibly at Castaic Junction — were among the projects outlined Wednesday by Los Angeles County Mayor Michael D. Antonovich at a luncheon attended by many local community leaders.

From a podium inside the Hyatt Regency Valencia, Antonovich delivered his annual State of the County speech to more than 300 local government and community representatives.

Antonovich gave a rundown on just about all the county projects and programs operating in the Santa Clarita Valley — from the Placerita Canyon Nature Center and Natural Area receiving environmental awards to 42 local storefront facades being built on Disney/ABC Studios at The Ranch.

“We all know how tough it is right now,” Antonovich said during his opening remarks. “These are times when we get predeclined credit cards in the mail,” he joked, “and CEOs are playing miniature golf.”

Antonovich blasted the state for not using the $2.5 billion recently announced unanticipated revenue to pay down the state debt.

He also blasted the federal government for dragging its heels in delivering its critical assessment of the Station Fire, the 2009 blaze that killed two firefighters, destroyed homes along the San Gabriel Mountains, foothills and in Acton and was dubbed the largest fire in Los Angeles County history.

“That devastating fire — the Station Fire — is still being reviewed” on the federal level, Antonovich said.

“The U.S. Forest Service has not yet completed their investigation of that fire,” he said, referring to the service’s input into a study undertaken by the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

“Our study took us four to six weeks to complete,” he added, referring to the county’s assessment of the Station Fire.

“That report came before us, and we sent it to Washington (D.C.), where it’s being reviewed. We’re moving to have the county have a more active role when fires like this happen.”

Antonovich called it “stupid” to have fire calls made to a command center in Idaho to fight fires here.

The Government Accountability Office has assigned two full-time investigators to its Station Fire inquiry, which began several months ago and is expected to continue until the end of the year.

The study should be complete by late fall, Forest Service spokesman Stanton Florea said when he was contacted after the luncheon.



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