Residents of Brookside gathered last night to hear a presentation about the California Earthquake Authority (CEA) and get an update on earthquake retrofitting of the formers Farmers Insurance building, now owned by CIM, which is planning a housing development on the site.
As previously reported in the Buzz, CEA, the state-run earthquake insurer, has recently reduced its rates and expanded its coverage options, explained CEO Glenn Pomeroy at last night’s meeting. Pomeroy, the former Insurance Commissioner of North Dakota, who joined the CEA in 2008, told residents there is a 99% likelihood of a 6.7 earthquake in California in the next 30 years. In Southern California, the likelihood is 93%. Pomeroy urged residents to visit the CEA website and investigate the variety of the coverage options and deductibles now available through CEA.
Following the earthquake insurance presentation, Brookside Homeowners Association President Owen Smith told residents the former Farmers Insurance building has severe earthquake damage already and said he would like the Association to send a letter to the Los Angeles City Council, directing CIM to comply with the retrofit the building as required by city ordinance. Smith told neighbors that CIM recently announced it would not begin the earthquake retrofit because residents had objected to any work being done on the building before the environmental review process was completed. Smith expressed concern that an earthquake could happen at any time, and could damage the building and, potentially, surrounding homes.
But several other residents raised questions about the potential danger, as the building is currently unoccupied now that Farmers has vacated. One resident, Randy Haberkam, asked Smith why the city has not cited the building if it was unsafe. He asked for more information from the city regarding the safety hazard.
Taylor Louden, an architect, asked why the retrofit work needed to be done as an emergency measure and why it could not wait until the environmental review process is completed.
Roy Forbes, a Brookside board member, said it was important to consider the potential hazard of toxic materials in the building, which could escape following a major quake. Smith added there is a methane pocket on the site. After much discussion about the potential hazard as well as how the neighborhood would be informed about any work, the discussion moved to developing a process for determining who could speak on behalf of the neighborhood.
Forbes presented a letter that has been mailed to residents, outlining a process. He said the letter and a video of the meeting would be posted on the association’s new website at www.brooksider.net.
The meeting was adjourned shortly after 8:30 pm.