Lake Balboa Fire Likely Arson, Investigators Say

A 6,400-square-foot fire along the 405 Freeway had multiple ignitions points and was likely set on purpose, authorities said.

A brush fire that broke out along the San Diego (405) Freeway in Lake Balboa today may have been intentionally set, authorities said. The approximately 6,400-square-foot fire was reported at 4:15 p.m. in the 15600 block of Roscoe Boulevard and extinguished by 4:48 p.m., Margaret Stewart of the Los Angeles Fire Department said. Smoke blanketed the freeway and the Roscoe Boulevard off-ramp from the southbound side of the freeway was closed due to fire department operations, Stewart said. Firefighters found more than one start point and while no arson investigation was launched, it was believed that the fire may have been set intentionally, Stewart said.

Special Olympics Soccer Competitions to Be Played in Lake Balboa – Get Involved!

Please find below two versions of the flyer with facts about the Special Olympics World Games and the volunteer opportunity for the Fans in the Stands program. Read more

Lake Balboa mural honors slain journalist Daniel Pearl


Students from Daniel Pearl Magnet High School painted a colorful mural featuring the slain Wall Street Journal reporter’s image for which the school is named on Haskell avenue near Victory Boulevard this weekend with Los Angeles police West Valley cadets.

The Lake Balboa Neighborhood Council, which sponsored and organized the two-day event, selected four students from the high school who had proposed designs for the mural as part of a contest to work on the project together. The students chose to fuse each of their designs to create the 65-foot-long mural that includes an image of Pearl in front of a typewriter, several white doves, a cityscape, a quote about freedom from singer/songwriter Bob Dylan, and the journalist’s final words: “I am Jewish.”

The students received certificates of Community Service from the City Council and the State Assemblyman’s office.

• Video: Mural features slain journalist Daniel Pearl

San Fernando Valley muralist and digital artist Levi Ponce, who is perhaps best known for being the force behind “Mural Mile” in his native Pacoima, helped the students use geometry and the grid system to translate their design to a cinder block wall on Haskell near the Victory Boulevard onramp of the 405 Freeway.

For senior Meagan Ford, one of the four students who helped design the mural, it was “an exercise in frustration” since she had never painted a mural before. But it was also important, she said, since not even all high school journalists know the story of Pearl or that he’s “an icon of free speech and what you believe in.”

“Whenever I see and hear things about him, I’m always struck by how much courage it takes to go out on a limb to a hostile nation just because you believe so much in what you’re doing that you’re willing to die for that,” Ford said Sunday.

Pearl, who was raised in Encino and went to Birmingham High School, was killed in 2002 after he was abducted by militants in Karachi, Pakistan while retracing the steps of Richard Reid, the terrorist known as the shoe bomber. His parents, Judea and Ruth Pearl, still live in the area.

Sheena Gonzalez, a junior and a cartoonist for the school paper The Pearl Post, said she felt honored to participate in the design and painting of the mural.

“As a journalist myself, (Pearl) inspired me to speak my mind,” she said.

Jennifer Sahakian and Dianne Villata, the other two students who helped create the design, and more than a dozen LAPD West Valley cadets were also among the community members who painted the mural on Saturday and Sunday.

This is the third mural that the Lake Balboa Neighborhood Council has sponsored here on Haskell Avenue in as many years and the most significant, said Allen Nelson, the council’s communications officer and outreach chairman.

“It actually has someone’s face (on it) that most of us know as a hero,” Nelson said. “Certainly, he had tremendous courage when he went into Pakistan. It’s such an honor that his parents allowed us to have his portrait (painted) there.”

Internship Opportunities with Assembly District 46

Dear Friend,

The 46th Assembly District Office Internship Program offers high school and college students a unique opportunity to participate in and experience the work of a state Assembly office. The program exposes students to district office operations and the grass roots activities of a legislator’s work. These experiences include working with constituents, conducting community outreach efforts, assisting community-based organizations, organizing civic events and projects, database development and upkeep, staffing the office, and other activities.

Internships are available to all part-time or full-time students 16 years of age or older. Depending on their high school or college programs, students may also receive different types of school credits for participating as an intern.

Many legislators and senior policy staff began their careers by interning in a district office. It is an invaluable way to gain a true understanding of California’s democratic process, as well as an excellent opportunity to make important contacts while serving the community.

Interns will gain valuable education and work experience by fully participating in agreed-upon hours of work. All internship work is voluntary and students will not receive any monetary compensation.

If you are interested in participating in the 46th Assembly District Office Internship Program, simply email my Field Representative, Steven Butcher at In the subject line of the email please write “Internship.” You should indicate in the email that you are interested in interning and attach a copy of your resume.

As space becomes available, qualified candidates will be invited for an interview. Thank you for your interest in this very unique opportunity to serve your community. I look forward to your participation. If you have any questions you can contact Steven Butcher at (818) 376-4246.


Adrin Nazarian

Assemblymember, 46th Assembly District

Lake Balboa NC Emergency Preparedness Update for May 2015

Hi, Everybody:  Time again for our Lake Balboa NC Emergency Preparedness Meeting, this Saturday, May 9th, at 9 AM at the Flyaway Bus Terminal, 2nd Floor Community Meeting Room, at 7610 Woodley Avenue (NE Corner of Saticoy and Woodley), in Lake Balboa, 91406.  Plenty of FREE Parking out front in the short-term lot in the spaces closest to the street.  Come inside the building and take the elevator at the north end of the building, or the steps outside the building!

We have a real treat for you this week!  Sami Dahdal of the Southern California Chapter of the International Dutch Oven Society will be our guest speaker!  Many of you will remember him from the Disaster Preparedness Fair last year!  Wondering how you’re going to cook delicious, healthy meals after a disaster?  No power?  No gas?  No problem!  Sami will tell us how!  This is a great skill to add to your list for camping, too — or maybe try it in your own back yard!  I didn’t make it to the booth last year in time to see the demonstrations, but I did manage to get a couple samples of his dishes and they were EXCELLENT!  He’ll be back this year at the Disaster Preparedness Fair, but this is your chance to ask him questions without having to wait for hours in line to speak to him!  :-)

Bill Hopkins, EP Chair of North Granada Hills NC will bring us up to date on plans for the 8th Annual Disaster Preparedness Fair on October 3rd at Fire Station 87 (MARK YOUR CALENDARS NOW!!!), and also what the newly formed Southern California Preparedness Foundation is up to these days!  

Start saving your pennies now, folks!  The H-U-G-E Sidewalk Sale at SOS Survival Products (15705 Strathern Street in Van Nuys) is coming up June 5th and 6th (Friday and Saturday), from 9 AM to 4 PM each day.  You know this is their biggest sale of the year, and they’re going to have bargains up to 75% off their great preparedness products!  I never cease to be amazed at the number of folks who attend these sales each year, but when you consider the mark-downs on so many items, I guess it’s not at all surprising.  Brian and Bill and Ted and I will be there with a table to talk about Map Your Neighborhood, CERT and the DP Fair, so please come by and say “Hello”!

Don’t forget to check out the CERT Web Page at on a regular basis to keep up with what’s happening in the CERT World!
And please, all you HAMS out there, check in to our Ham Radio Net each Sunday at 9 AM on Simplex 145.570. We want to hear from as many licensed hams as possible — especially NEW hams!  We’re really an easy-going net, and this is a great place to get your feet wet with your first check-in!  Our own Dan Tomlinson will lead you thru!  And this Sunday, 5-10-15 at 9:45 AM on Channel 5 we’ll be doing our FRS/GMRS/Walkie-Talkie checkin.  This and Ham may well be the only way most of us will be able to communicate after a disaster, so it’s time to get involved!  :-)

Take a look at the attached Agenda, and if you have questions, give us a call or email us!  Looking forward to seeing you Saturday morning!

Linda Pruett and Brian Tessier, Co-Chairs,
Lake Balboa NC Emergency Preparedness
Linda’s Email:
Brian’s Email:
(818) 345-9809 Linda’s Home or (818) 384-8375 Linda’s Cell

Half the People in LA to Ditch their Cars? It’ll Happen, Insists Mayor

Mayor Eric Garcetti released a long-range plan multibillion dollar plan, including bikesharing and solar panels, to get Los Angeles green.

Mayor Eric Garcetti released a long-range plan today that lays out his goals for making the city more economically and environmentally sustainable, including adding electric car charging outlets and bikeshare stations around the city and installing more solar panels on local rooftops and lots.

Garcetti, who discussed the 20-year sustainability plan at Echo Park Lake this morning, wants the city to set goals — most of them to be achieved over the next 10 and 20 years — in dozens of areas, such as cutting water and electricity usage, making buildings more energy efficient and reducing dependence on cars for transportation.

He is calling for reducing per capita water use 22.5 percent by 2025 and 25 percent by 2035, and aiming to cut greenhouse gas emissions 45 percent by 2025, 60 percent by 2035 and 80 percent by 2050.

Garcetti wants to raise the amount of local solar power produced to 900 to 1,500 megawatts by 2025, and 1,500 to 1,800 megawatts by 2035. Among the ideas in the plan for increasing local solar energy is to put at least 1 megawatt of solar energy capacity atop the Los Angeles Convention Center by 2017. Read more

FAA Will Track Helicopter Noise

The Federal Aviation Administration has launched a new system for logging
complaints about helicopter noise in Los Angeles County. For more information on
the program and how to log complaints please see:

Los Angeles Will Finally Fix its Sidewalks!

For the first time in the history of Los Angeles, the City has made a commitment this week to establishing a sustainable, fair, long-term sidewalk repair policy by settling the Willits class action lawsuit. The City will invest $31 million per year for the next 30 years to fix our broken sidewalks!

“As chairman of the Public Works committee, I have been committed to finding solutions to fixing our streets and sidewalks since my first day on the Los Angeles City Council. The settlement of this lawsuit is a win for not only the mobility impaired, but for all Angelenos as it finally requires the city to fix its broken sidewalks. There are no losers here. I look forward to hearing from the public as we develop the details in the Public Works Committee on how residents can submit repair requests, which locations to prioritize and how quickly we can start the work,” said Councilman Joe Buscaino.

The basic terms of the settlement are as follows:

  • 30 year agreement
  • $31 million per year (in today’s dollars)
  • 15% cost escalator every 5 years to keep up with inflation
  • Will increase to $67 million per year in the final 5 years
  • Total: just over $1.3 billion
  • $5 million per year will be dedicated to curb ramps, and $26 million will be dedicated to sidewalks
  • 20% will go toward addressing specific requests made by disabled persons

Locations will be prioritized as follows:

  1. City offices and facilities (parks, rec centers, libraries, police stations, etc)
  2. Transportation corridors
  3. Hospitals, medical facilities, assisted living facilities and similar
  4. Places of public accommodation such as commercial and business zones
  5. Facilities containing employers
  6. Residential Neighborhoods


  1. How can residents report broken sidewalks?

Call 311 or use the MyLA311 app

  1. How soon will my sidewalk be fixed?

The settlement requires repairs next to city-owned facilities first. It will take at least 2 years before that work is complete and we can move on to repairs of sidewalks adjacent to private property

  1. How can I see where my request is on the list?

There is no list of individual locations, only general direction on what types of locations get priority over what. The Budget & Finance and Public Works Committees will hold hearings in the coming months to solicit public input and develop a fair and transparent policy about priority of specific requests, as well as all of the other policy details like:

  • whether the city will pay for sidewalk repair after the 30 years or return the responsibility to the adjacent property owner
  • whether city workers or contract workers will do the work
  • whether alternative materials like porous pavement and rubber sidewalks will be allowed
  • whether the city will pay for 100 % of the repair costs, or implement a cost sharing program like 50/50.

After 40 years with no repair policy, we’re not going to get one in place overnight. But this week’s action commits the City to solving this problem.

Lake Balboa residents angry over increased propeller noise near Van Nuys Airport

For Craig Welzbacher and his neighbors, the racket begins south of Van Nuys Airport then rumbles in like an air attack from 12 o’clock high.

For the past 18 months, they say flight instructors and their new pilots have defied a long-standing tradition of flying propeller-driven aircraft over the uninhabited Sepulveda Basin before swinging back to the airport for touch-and-go practice landings.

This has resulted, they say, in fleets of pilots making early turns above their Lake Balboa homes, often blasting them with excruciating propeller and internal-combustion engine noise.

“It’s equivalent to a Harley-Davidson driving around your house every four to five minutes,” said Welzbacher, 44, who lives with his wife, Heather, a mile southeast of the airport. “We’re pulling our hair out. You can’t have a conversation on the phone in your backyard.”

Since January 2014, he and scores of homeowners have complained about the increasing propeller-driven aircraft noise. They’ve appealed to a Van Nuys Airport advisory group and voiced their anguish to airport, city, congressional and federal aviation officials.

But despite their pleas — and apparent Van Nuys Airport attempts to reach out to area flight schools to rein in the racket — they say the daily din from early airplane turns continues, recorded on video, audio, in photographs and on Web-based flight tracking systems.

Federal air regulators, however, contend there’s no evidence of a recent spike.

“We reviewed radar data and did not find any pattern of early turns by aircraft doing practice work at Van Nuys Airport,” said Ian Gregor, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration. “Van Nuys controllers will sometimes instruct pilots of small propeller planes to turn early if a jet is departing behind them, but this occurs very infrequently.

“We would consider any request that Los Angeles World Airports makes to address residents’ concerns. But again, a review of radar data did not reveal any pattern of early turns.”


For decades, pilots at what was once the nation’s busiest general aviation airport respected a voluntary tradition of taking off and flying south past Victory Boulevard over the Sepulveda Basin golf course before exercising any turns. New pilots then swung back to the airport for continual touch-and-go landings and practice takeoffs.

Signs have long been posted on the taxiway saying, “No turns before the Sepulveda Basin” and “Fly Quietly” on the airport runway.

All was relatively quiet, neighbors say, until a few years ago. Despite a steep drop in prop aircraft and flight schools at Van Nuys Airport, the growl grew over their homes, often from the same planes circling round and round every few minutes. Residents felt like they were under attack.

The noise near the airport got so bad that residents shied away from gardening, they say. They couldn’t hold patio cook-offs. They even had trouble with their animals, with one 80-year-old neighbor struggling to bring in her spooked cat.

For Gary and Cherie Aragon, TV watching inside their Gaviota Avenue home even went into a steep tailspin. When planes fly over, they have to put a show on pause.

“It’s almost a desperate situation, we’re so angry about it,” said Gary Aragon, who once videotaped a plane flying for an hour and a half directly over his house, looping back every few minutes. “This is constant, daily. When we moved here 16 years ago, I don’t remember ever having planes. … It’s maddening.”

“You cannot have the family outside for a barbecue,” adds Cherie Aragon, whose tutoring at home is interrupted during the day. “It’s almost comical. It’s wild.”


The neighbors took their noise beef to the Van Nuys Airport Citizens Advisory Council, which determined that the early turn problem corresponded with a recent changing of the guard at the FAA control tower and the hiring of a new airport director. While veteran controllers once advised instructors to guide their charges over the Basin, the newer controllers do no such thing, they say.

They also suspect flight schools from Santa Monica Airport, which charges $11 each time a new pilot makes a practice touchdown, fly their students to nearby Van Nuys for free touch and goes. They say they have identified culprits on Van Nuys Airport flight trackers coming up from the south, disturbing neighbors during numerous runway passes, then heading home.

“We don’t think this is a regular habit by pilots at Van Nuys Airport,” said Don Schultz, a 30-year member of the Van Nuys Airport Citizens Advisory Council, which took up the issue nearly two years ago. “We think that this is occurring when pilots from out of the area not familiar with Van Nuys Airport come in and do touch-and-goes. Nothing has happened: There’s been no change.”

The problem may be one of jurisdiction.

While Los Angeles World Airports governs planes on the ground, the FAA controls planes in the air. But the federal agency says it cannot enforce a voluntary noise-avoidance tradition of not turning early; it can divert planes only to protect aircraft safety. A pilot must follow directions from a controller if he or she has a flight plan, but flight instructors have no flight plans.

Jess Romo, general manager of Van Nuys Airport, could not immediately be reached for comment. Two VNY flight schools, among a handful still operating at the airport, did not return calls.

A change may be in the works, however. A LAWA Board of Airports commissioner, Cynthia Telles, has reportedly said she will soon introduce a resolution to address the noise. And City Councilwoman Nury Martinez also plans to introduce a noise control motion this month restricting State 3 jets and early turning propeller planes. Rep. Tony Cardenas, D-Panorama City, is also monitoring the airport noise issue.

“I want to see Van Nuys Airport succeed,” Martinez said. “It employs 1,000 people, is one of the biggest job generators in my district, but it can’t be at the expense of the quality of life of the residents of Lake Balboa.

“The FAA has jurisdiction of what happens in the air. I want to get to what we were doing before … directing small propeller pilots to delay their left turns.”

For Welzbacher, it’s an easy fix. It’s simply a matter of pilot courtesy, he said, where pilots would agree to fly the extra mile.

“Good pilots know when to stay straight in a plane,” said Welzbacher, a film producer, director and actor who also lives on Gaviota Avenue. “New pilots drift to the left right over my house.

“We want the noise to stop. We’re not anti-aviation; we love planes. We just want some peace and quiet — and safety. We want them to fly further south before turning.”

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