California Spring Landscape – Walk through the Oaks
A Walk through the Oaks
16 x 12 oil on canvas
This is where I’d like to be right about now, walking along a trail in an oaky meadow. The last 24 hours have been more than a little traumatic to our small town of La Canada Flintridge. If you’re in LA, no doubt you know that a big rig car transport truck came down the Angeles Crest Highway, ran through an intersection, impacting numerous cars and finally stopping in a bookstore on Foothill Blvd., the main street. Two people were killed, a man and his daughter, and 12 were injured, some critically. I have not heard the names of the injured.
The accident is under investigation and the driver, Marcos Costa, has been arrested for vehicular manslaughter. He did not live in the area. Why his brakes failed is not known, whether it was operator error or mechanical error. Nor is has it been revealed if he was DUI. One thing is known, however, and that is that it was an accident waiting to happen. A near miss happened in September and our city council has been unable to get Caltrans to make changes to its policies that ban trucks on the steep mountain road that leads into the city, and to put signage back up that tells drivers that there is a gravel filled runaway median. (Which as not been maintained by Caltrans.) Why the median notification signs were taken down is a good question.
Our city council has been hammering the local Caltrans district office for months since the September incident, only to be rebuffed, ignored, given lame excuses about how they need more time to make a study.
Last month a Girl Scout, Malia Milez, as part of her Gold Award project put together a comprehensive 46 slide powerpoint presentation about this problem and the urgency to fix it. Her presentation ended with a photo of the bookstore and adjacent nail salon – in the bullseye. This was presented at a city council meeting who lauded her for her work and one councilperson suggested that Caltrans should look at it.
What I want to know is, what options does a city council have if they are rebuffed by a bureaucrat, in this case, a Mr. Doug Failing of Caltrans? Other than shrugging their shoulders and saying “oh well” is there no way to file a complaint instead of accepting the typical “we’re studying it – stop bugging us” answer.
Other than the public safety issue, which is of foremost importance, I was also impacted by this terrible accident. A number of my paintings were hanging at Flintridge Books, on the wall hit by the truck. I am optimistic that some of them may be recoverable. If you are a regular reader of this blog, you may remember me writing about the weekend art event in February where I was demoing in the store for two days. When I think how much time I’ve spent there, and that I could have been there on any given day, it just gives me chills. On the art show weekend there were 80 or more people there at times – right where the truck went through. Shiver.