Blumenfield Gets Ball Rolling on Earthquake Resiliency Measures

Motions follow Mayor’s release of preparedness recommendations by Dr. Lucy Jones.  

LOS ANGELES, CA –Councilmember Bob Blumenfield today introduced a pair of motions that will begin the process of implementing recommendations put forward by Mayor Eric Garcetti and his Science Advisor for Seismic Safety, USGS Seismologist Dr. Lucy Jones, in a report released last month and presented to the Los Angeles City Council today.

The report, Resilience by Design, developed over the course of the past year by Dr. Jones and a team of technical experts, highlighted three key areas: building retrofits, securing the city’s water supply, and strengthening Los Angeles’s communications infrastructure.

Among these first policy initiatives is a proposal to strengthen the City’s communications infrastructure by ensuring that cellular communications towers are built to withstand vigorous shaking. The measure requires future towers be built to an Importance Factor of 1.5—the same standard currently required by public safety facilities. Ensuring that communication can continue uninterrupted is central to emergency response and rebuilding efforts.

“In the event of an earthquake or major disaster Angelenos rely on our wireless communications networks to coordinate response, check-in on family and loved ones, and call for help. We must be proactive in our efforts to strengthen and expand that infrastructure,” said Blumenfield, who as Chair of the City’s Innovation, Technology and General Services Committee is also leading efforts to expand public access to high-speed wireless broadband—another critical communications resource highlighted in Resilience by Design.

Blumenfield also put forward concrete steps to include Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing programs as an option for soft-first story retrofits. PACE is a state-run program that assists property owners to finance upgrades by paying them off through their property taxes. The PACE program explicitly allows for earthquake retrofits.

“The PACE program will make implementation possible through sensible financing. As an Assemblymember, I championed the PACE program as an innovative financing mechanism for critical energy and water upgrades. Last year, as a Councilmember, I made sure the City was taking advantage of those programs, and now it’s time for the City to include earthquake retrofits for soft-first story buildings to help business owners absorb costs,” concluded Blumenfield.

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