Council ignored residents on undergrounding issue

By Sharon Feierabend

Resident, Del Mar

Heedless to the anxiety they had caused, the Del Mar City Council’s decision on Feb. 2 was to move forward despite the plea of many residents trying to make their circumstances known of the frightful consequences to them if the intended undergrounding of utilities moves forward.

Scores of our residents could be displaced unnecessarily, many more than is known, for sure. Attempting to sell a home at this time is problematical; certainly not enough time is available to do so before having a lien slapped on the homes. It was appalling to watch the Del Mar City Council ignore the panic visible in front of them of vulnerable residents facing a major unanticipated life-changing disruption that appears to be close to overwhelming them. Do I exaggerate? Not by a mile.

Not one council member expressed doubt or concern about their intent to move forward. One wonders about how these people got elected.

View improvement was forgotten; instead, the safety factor was trotted out. A description of a “fire” that threatened the community was dramatically told, a wire down in a storm with shooting flames and sparks which had to be scary to see, but I was there, one house away, and here is the rest of the story.

Half-dead trees directly above a telephone pole and wires in the yard of the home one house away from mine caused the incident described at the council meeting. The high winds and driving rain broke heavy dead limbs, severing the wire and creating the shooting flames described. Obviously, there would have been no continuing fire because of the heavy rain.

My home sits above the property, and I see those dead limbs daily from my front window. I have been concerned for a long time about the high desert winds blowing embers our way in the fall from inland fires. Clearly, there is no rain that would inhibit a spark in a dead tree from causing an unstoppable conflagration during a hot desert wind in the fall.

The danger of fire will not go away, even if we underground the utilities. Partially dead trees provide tinder for instant fires.

Scare tactics were used to hide the gross unfairness of the undergrounding issue for a longtime group of residents. It is a large group because it includes reasonably well-off residents who refuse to pay unreasonably high fees and find the unfairness distasteful.